Lilias Adie died in the 1700s, when fear of witches ran rampant and the belief that those who had had their souls sucked by the devil (through their teat, I have been informed) would come back to exact vengeance after death was much more common. But her torment didn't end there.
It's easy, on the week of Halloween, to forget that witches (and warlocks) were not always seen as fun characters to dress up as or the villains in scary stories. Historically, they were men and women who were discriminated against, persecuted and often killed with nothing more than hearsay as evidence. And Lilias Adie, who died in prison before she could be tried, is just one of many people who perished due to narrow minds and superstition.
The BBC, which will be airing a documentary about Adie, reports that the woman confessed to fornicating with the devil (probably under duress) and was then buried on the beach beneath a hefty stone slab. But why, The BBC asks, go through such trouble? Usually, witches were buried as cheaply as possible.
Allegedly, Adie may have committed suicide in prison, which was considered to be a great crime against god (possibly worse than being a witch?) inspired by none other than satan himself. Couple that with the fact that, according to demonologists, the devil had sex with his victims by using the corpse of a freshly deceased male and you've got the perfect recipe for a revenant (basically a zombie.) And you know that the only way to kill a zombie is by shooting them in the head. But what do you do if you don't have guns? You bury the at-risk corpse outside of consecrated ground and cover them with a stone. If it only ended there!
In the 19th century, entrepreneurs decided that Adie's corpse should be dug up and bits of her sold off to the highest bidder. This included her skull, which was sold to St Andrews University Museum and then, after being extensively photographed, disappeared. (Because witches.)
The BBC has found Adie's grave (or what they believe to be her grave at least) and report that the body is likely very well-preserved. It's not clear whether that grave will be opened on the television show, but The BBC is likely to be very careful about depictions of witches, ghosts and ghouls after the outcry of their terrifying fictional program Ghostwatch.
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