Scottish Officials Begin Hunt for Lost Bones of 18th Century 'Witch'

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Scottish Officials Begin Hunt for Lost Bones of 18th Century 'Witch'


On the 315th death anniversary of an alleged 18th-century witch, Scottish officials announced to search for her missing bones following a memorial service for the woman.

The bones of Lilias Adie were removed from her grave during the 19th century for research purposes of local scholars and later disappeared from records. Her skull was once put on exhibit in Scotland's Museum of the University of St. Andrews and at the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow in 1938 but also vanished in the 20th century. 

Now, Fife authorities are seeking information regarding the location of Adie's skull and the rest of her skeleton. Her remains will be incorporated into a monument that will honor thousands of Scottish men and women who were persecuted and killed under allegations of practicing witchcraft.


Photo by Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, University of Dundee


Live Science reported that Adie died in prison in 1704 after she confessed—likely after being tortured—of casting malicious spells on her neighbors in Torryburn, Fife, in Scotland and even having sexual relationships with the devil.

Being set somewhere in the town's beach, Adie's grave was only exposed during the low tide since the site was originally obstructed by a heavy stone. The stone was said to keep her from rising from the dead and taking vengeance against her tormentors.

The site is the only known witch's grave in Scotland, according to Live Science, even though about 3,500 Scottish people were put on trial and executed as witches during the early 18th century.

This is why Fife's Depute Provost Councillor Julie Ford believes that the solitary grave and Adie embody a special significance in remembering the dark times of the country's history.

"It's important to recognize that Lilias Adie and the thousands of other men and women accused of witchcraft in early modern Scotland were not the evil people history has portrayed them to be," Ford said in a statement.


Screen-grabbed from LiveScience


"They were the innocent victims of unenlightened times. It's time we recognized the injustice served upon them."

Adie's resurfaced in 2017 after Scotland's Centre of Anatomy and Human Identification at Dundee University (CAHID) made a digital deconstruction of her head. Since her skull was still missing, the digital model was crafted based on photographs of the skull collection in the University of St. Andrews.




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