Dummy, the Witch of Sible Hedingham

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Dummy, the Witch of Sible Hedingham (c. 1788 – September 4, 1863) was the pseudonym of an unidentified elderly man who was one of the last people to be charged with witchcraft in England in the 19th century.

A longtime resident of Sible Hedingham, Essex, a small farming village in the English countryside, he was a deaf-mute who earned a living as a local fortune teller. In September 1863, Dummy was accused by a local girl of bewitching her house in Ridgewell and dragged from The Swan tavern by a drunken mob. Thrown into a nearby brook as an "ordeal by water", he was also severely beaten with sticks before eventually taken to a workhouse in Halstead where he died of pneumonia. Following an investigation by authorities, Emma Smith and Samuel Stammers were charged with his death and tried at Chelmsford Assizes where they were sentenced to six months imprisonment on March 8, 1864.

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Further reading[edit]

  • Gordon Ridgewell, "Swimming a Witch, 1863", Folklore Society News 25 (1997): 15–16.
  • Davies, Owen. Witchcraft, Magic and Culture, 1736–1951. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-7190-5656-X
  • Hutton, Ronald. The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-19-285449-6
  • Pickering, David. Cassell's Dictionary of Witchcraft. New York: Sterling Publishing Company, 2002. ISBN 0-304-36562-9
  • Summers, Montague. Geography of Witchcraft. Kessinger Publishing, 2003. ISBN 0-7661-4536-0

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