The WW2 Witch Trial of Hellish Nell

Betwixt The Sheets: The History of Sex, Scandal & Society

What made a working class woman from Edinburgh become such a threat to British intelligence services during the Second World War, that they tried her as a witch?

In today’s episode, we’re telling you the story of Helen Duncan, aka Hellish Brown, a medium who lays claim to being the last woman in England to be tried as a witch, culminating in her trial in 1944 under the 1735 Witchcraft Act.

Joining us is Jess Marlton, manager of Bodmin Jail where all sorts of paranormal events take place.

What made Duncan’s performances so memorable? Why did her trial capture the public’s imagination? And how does the 1735 Witchcraft Act live on today?

Let’s go Betwixt the Sheets to find out.

This podcast was edited by Tom Delargy and produced by Stuart Beckwith. The senior producer was Charlotte Long.

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