Grave of Scotland’s last witch discovered
Archaeologists in Scotland believe that they located the final resting place of Lilias Adie, who was accused of being a witch and, following her death in prison, was buried in deep mud with a heavy flat stone placed on top of her – a tradition based on the belief that witches could rise from their graves unless held down by a heavy stone.
The Valleyfield Community Centre based in Fife, Scotland, recounts the story of the Lilias:
In the small village of Torryburn in the West of Fife in the year 1704 August 29th, an old woman, Lillias Adie, was accused of bringing ill health to one of her neighbours, a certain Jean Nelson. Summoned before the ministers and elders of Torryburn church, poor old confused Lillias confessed that she was indeed a witch. She told the grim faced committee of church elders that she had met the Devil in a cornfield and had accepted him as her lover and master. The terrified woman described how she and the devil had led many others, whom she named, in a wild heathenish dance. According to Lillias a strange blue unearthly light had appeared and had followed the dancers round the cornfield, her tales grew wilder and wilder and were eagerly accepted as proof of her dealings with the Devil. Lillias was, according to the official records, “Died in Prison and was buried within the sea mark at Torryburn.
As part of a 2014 program titled ‘The Walking Dead’, on BBC Radio Scotland, researchers tried to trace the original burial site of Lilias, based on 19 th century descriptions of the area. During the investigation, a large, seaweed-covered stone slab was found, matching the description of both the area and the features of the burial. Fife archaeologist Douglas Speirs, who examined and cleaned it, confirmed the slab was not natural to the beach but quarried and deliberately placed there. While a full archaeological excavation has not been undertaken, it is possible that there are still remains of Lilias left beneath the slab, in what is believed to be the only known witch’s grave of its type in Scotland.