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Fight to pardon two Pendle 'witches'
CAMPAIGNERS want pardons for two Lancashire women condemned as witches 400 years ago.
The cases of Pendle Witches Anne Whittle and Elizabeth Southerns will be presented to the Justice Secretary and Blackburn MP Jack Straw on Hallowe’en.
Mr Straw will also be handed details of six other ‘grave miscarriages’ of justice from across the country.
The family behind Angels Fancy Dress, the UK’s largest costume retailer, is spearheading the campaign. On October 31, they will handover a petition, which they said started because of their frustration with the association between Hallowe’en and sinister acts.
The bid to obtain justice for the victims follows an official pardon granted earlier this year by the Swiss Government to Anna Goeldi, beheaded in 1782 and regarded as the last person executed as a witch in Europe. Emma Angel, head of Angels Fancy Dress, said: “The Swiss have led the way on this one, and I really hope that we can encourage our government to follow suit.”
Anne Whittle, who had the alias Chattox, and Elizabeth Southerns, also known as Demdike, were well-known local healers in the Pendle area in the 17th century, and were believed to reverse the effects of magic. Elizabeth Southern's granddaughter Alison was initially accused by the peddler John Law of having refused him payment for some pins, and an argument ensued.
When he later fell ill, he accused Alison of witchcraft. Alison's family turned the accusations on the family of Anne Whittle, who were also believed to exercise supernatural powers for good and ill.
Ten people were executed in 1612, including members of both families.
Elizabeth Southerns died awaiting trial.