04 September, 2013

How The Witch Raised A Dead Woman From Her Grave

St Stythians or St Stithians Church Cornwall
St Stythians (St Stithians) Church, Cornwall
Living in Cornwall I'm surrounded by legends and stories of witchcraft. One of the most famous of Cornish witches was Tamsin Blight (1798-1856). She was also known as Tammy Blee and or the White Witch of Helston.

Blight started practising her craft around 1830 and built up a reputation as being able to remove spells, that had been cast by other witches. People, especially farmers, would consult her for cures for themselves and their animals.

The most quoted story about her is known as The Ghost of Stythians. Here she attempted to conjure the spirit of an old woman buried in St Stythians graveyard to discover where she had hidden cash that a relative believed was rightfully his.

I saw the following description of what she did in an 1870 book Traditions and Hearthside Stories of West Cornwall by William Bottrell:

Tamsin Blight the Cornish Witch
"She marked a circle by drawing her Staff on the ground three times round the man, at the same time mumbling in her unknown tongue [Cornish language]. This done, turning to the man she said, 'Now, mind you don't move out of this charmed ring which I have made to protect ye, and if you are determined I will now begin and summon the Spirit.'

"The Witch, holding out her Staff towards the spot where the old woman was buried, began her incantation. or citation, with long, strange words, slowly pronounced. Then she continued in a louder tone, 'Spirit of Jane Hendy, in the name of the powers above and below, I summon thee to rise from the grave and appear before me and this man! By the spirits of Fire, Air, Earth and Water, I summon thee to arise! Come hither, appear and speak to this man! Come!' This she said three times, raising her voice at each repetition until it ended in a shriek.

The Witch paused. All was silent for a moment, and then we heard, most fearful, because unusual, sounds, which more than any other earthly noise resembled the crashing or rending of wood and stones, seemed to come from the old woman's grave.

The Witch stretching out her arms, her red cloak and grey hair streaming back on the wind, pointed with her Staff towards the place whence these frightful sounds proceeded, and said, 'Behold, it cometh: be thou prepared.'"

The spirit of the dead woman was raised and questioned about the hidden cash.

Other Witch Story Posts:
Get Keyed Up Said The Witch And Gurdjieff Agrees
Puritan's Diary And The Devil's Women
The Buryan Town Witch And The Running Pig

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2 comments:

  1. Fascinating! I think I would have passed out from fear.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The life of this woman must have been incredible.

    ReplyDelete