During the Middle Ages, many women were subjected to great torture on charges of “witchcraft.” The institution of “witchcraft” was used for women who wanted to be punished by any man or society. When a woman was claimed to be a “witch”, she was asked to pass tests that were impossible to survive. For example, a woman who was brought to trial for witchcraft was thrown into the sea with her hands and feet tied and with various weights on her. If the woman managed to get out of the sea, it turned out that she wasn’t a witch! Of course, no “witch” has ever managed to survive such a situation. However, witchcraft was not something that only existed in the Middle Ages. In 20th century England, a woman named Helen Duncan was accused of witchcraft and convicted under the Witchcraft Act of 1735. Here’s what you need to know about Britain’s “last witch” Helena Duncan…
Helen Duncan was born into a middle-class family in Perthshire, Scotland, in 1897.
Even in his primary school years, he was known as a “weird” boy. Because he was constantly making different and extraordinary prophecies at school. In addition, he often scared his friends with his strange gestures. So much so that many parents and even his own mother were disturbed by Duncan’s behavior. Duncan worked for a time at Dundee Royal Hospital after finishing school. Helen Duncan’s “paranormal abilities” were also developing at this time.
Spiritualism in the 1920s was something quite remarkable
Helen Duncan was quite happy with the spiritualism scene of the 1920s. She had a keen interest in paranormal phenomena since childhood. That’s why Duncan became a psychic from the mid-1920s!
Duncan’s sessions were causing his fame to spread.
Because Helen Duncan was pretty good at organizing paranormal sessions! Duncan, who went into a kind of trance state during the sessions he held, was able to talk to the spirits he summoned! In fact, she could even give these souls a body. When Duncan’s meticulously prepared “session shows” were combined with Duncan’s outstanding theatrical skills, quite interesting and shocking performances emerged. For this reason, Helen Duncan soon began to attract the attention of not only spiritualism enthusiasts, but also opponents!
Duncan gets all the attention after producing “ectoplasm”
Ectoplasm was the name of supernatural beings or substances that could sometimes materialize, coming out of the organs such as the mouth, nose and ears of the psychics who went into a trance state! Duncan wanted to take his sessions to the next level. Their ectoplasm, which looks like a white ghost, also helped it achieve this goal. However, it soon turned out that this ghost was just some kind of egg white-washed paper and towel! Because of this, suspicions that Duncan might be an impostor began to be strongly voiced. Despite this, Duncan’s psychic career continued…
Helen Duncan was convicted of a man walking around in white cloths!
Duncan summoned a spirit once again during a very carefully prepared session! Answering his call, the spirit began to roam the room before the eyes of the audience. All the spectators were watching what was going on with fear and excitement. Until the lights come on! After a while, it turned out that the spirit that came into the room was nothing more than a man in the sheets! Later, Helen Duncan, who was complained to the police and the court, was found guilty of forgery…
The event that led to Duncan’s conviction took place in 1941.
Helen Duncan has had a bumpy career. However, there was always someone to attend his “rites”. For this reason, Duncan managed to come as a recognized psychic until 1941! But she had to regain her former credibility. That’s why she decided to hold a ritual that would make quite a splash!
Duncan learned about the sinking ship from the soul of a sailor
In 1941, II. During World War II, the British ship HMS Berham was sunk by German troops. But this was highly classified information and was not made public. Only the relatives of the ship’s personnel were informed of the incident. And Helen Duncan! Duncan said that during a seance he held, he communicated with the spirit of one of the soldiers on the ship and the ship was sunk! This incident caused the intelligence services to become angry with Duncan and to follow him more closely.
In 1944, Helen Duncan was once again arrested for cheating!
Government officials who frequently attended Duncan’s sessions were finally able to find evidence of his frauds. Thus, Duncan was once again arrested for forgery. Coming to court, Helen Duncan was initially prosecuted under the “Volunteer Act” of 1824. Accordingly, she would be accused of petty things such as fortune-telling and forgery, she! However, Duncan’s session in 1941 was not forgotten! For this reason, Helen Duncan was put on trial under the Witchcraft Act of 1735!
Britain’s last witch sentenced to 9 months in prison
Helen Duncan probably never would have gone to jail if she hadn’t divulged government secrets in 1941. However, Duncan had somehow exposed the classified information he had obtained and put the state’s security in jeopardy. For this reason, Duncan was not tried as a psychic or a fraud, but as a witch and earned the title of the last witch of England…