Throughout history, witches have been an integral part of myths, legends and folklore. Between the 15th and 17th century, the witch hunt craze took the lives of 40,000 supposed witches in Western Europe. In the US, colonial colonies in Connecticut, New England, the notorious Salem trials in Massachusetts and New Haven had hunts spread throughout them. Drowning, hanging and getting burned at stake were the most common methods of execution for the convicted witches. Despite the fact that most of these witches’ resting places are lost upon us, the following 5 graves serve as a stark reminder of the darkness of human nature.
The Grave of Meg Shelton
Location: Woodplumpton, Lancashire, England
In Woodplumpton, a village in Lancashire, England, in the late 17th century a woman named Meg Shelton was believed to be a witch. The townsfolk claimed that she would steal the milk from their cattle and shapeshift into animal form at night to go about with her business. She was killed by a barrel that pinned her to the wall. When it was time to bury her, preventative measures were taken to halt her from ever rising again. She was buried vertically, head first in a small, tight shaft so she would be incapable of digging her way out. A large rock was then placed over her grave. In St Anne’s Church’s yard, the stone remains to this very day. A small plaque accompanies the grave warning people of Meg’s burial beneath.
The Tomb of Lilias Adie
Location: Torryburn, Scotland
In 1704 in Scotland, Lilias Adie was accused of being a witch. The church coerced her into confessing that she was the devil’s wife. Before she could be tried and sentences and burned for witchcraft, she died in prison. Off of West Fife coast, her body was taken and buried deep below in the mud between the low and high tide. A large tombstone was used to mark her place of burial. However, as legend has it, when the high tide came up, her body vanished leaving the erect tombstone in place.
The Witch Whose Mouth Was Nailed Shut
Location: Piombino, Tuscany, Italy
In Piombino, Tuscany, archaeologists discovered the remains to an 800-year-old woman during a recent archaeological dig of a ‘witches graveyard’. It is believed that she died in the middle ages. It appears as if the locals believed that she had the power of resurrecting herself. Seven nails were driven into her jawbone and more were used to hammer her into place so she may not escape her shallow grave. Nailing the mouth shut was an old custom practiced to keep the dead in their graves.
The Chesterville Witch
Location: Chesterville, Illinois, United States
The grave of the Chesterville Witch lies in the heart of Illinois Amish country. In the early 1900s, a local woman was accused of being a witch after she challenged the Amish faith. The elders of the town banished her and named her the servant of the devil. A few days later her body was found in a nearby field. How she died and what brought her to the field remains a mystery to date. The locals were afraid that she would come back and exact revenge on the village and hence buried her and marked her grave with an oak tree. Legend has it that the tree contains the souls of young women and that cutting the tree down will let all the spirits loose.
The Witch of Yazoo
Location: Yazoo County, Mississippi, United States
Legend has it that a witch lived along the banks of the Yazoo River in the early 1800s. She would torture fishermen after luring them from the river. The witch fled after two butchered bodies were found in the home, hanging from the rafters. As she was escaping, she fell into quicksand. As she sunk into the soil, she proclaimed that the city would burn. Truly so, in 1904, the city of Yazoo was set ablaze as her prophecy said. Ever since then, her grave has been surrounded by chains. According to legends, if the chains break, the whole city will burn again.
Over history, multiple instances have risen where witches were killed mercilessly and pinned into the earth to stop them from resurfacing. The chilling and dark nature of mankind has shone through even in the olden days. From hammering nails into people to burying them at sea, the horrors inflicted upon these souls stands out even today.