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The Haunted Bones of the Fighting Fairy Woman

A few days ago, we learned the history of making human skeletons. In 19th-century Britain, human skeletons were often taken from criminals, who were either executed or died in prison. If you purchased a skeleton, it could have been the leftovers of a medical school dissection, and might originally have belonged to a petty thief, a murderer, or someone who was mentally deranged.  

In the mid-19th century William Hicks, the mayor of Bodmin, in Cornwall, hosted a dinner party.  As the story goes, rather than entertaining his guests with music or poetry, he chose to prank his guests with a fake seance.  He brought in the skeletal remains of a purported witch and encouraged his guests to ask it yes or no questions.   In response, the spirit of the witch would supposedly rap its responses with the extra bones placed in front of the witch’s remains.  What he didn’t tell them was that the person doing knocking was a friend who was hidden nearby.

Everything that night was going to plan until the host and partygoers encountered actual paranormal activity.  According to Cecil Williamson, the founder of The Museum of Witchcraft, the bones used for the rapping were “seized by the poltergeist force on that fateful night of the spoof seance organised by William Hicks and with which the assembled party guests were beaten about the head and shoulders.”

The bones were traced back to Joan Wytte, who was called the "Fighting Fairy Woman" because she was short and had a bad temper. Did that bad temper carry on after death? Read about Joan Wytte and the eventual disposition of her remains at Strange Remains. -via Strange Company

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