Scotland’s Famous 17th Century Child Witch Hunter

In Scotland, people used to believe in an ability they termed “Second Sight.” This gift could allow those who were blessed with it to foretell the future, detect hidden witchcraft, or see things that were happening in far off places. This is similar to what we term “psychic ability” to be today. A young 17th century Scottish girl by the name of Janet Douglas was one notable and mysterious person who was said to have this gift of Second Sight.

Not much is known about Janet’s early life, though she was probably from the Scottish Highlands, an area that was steeped in mystery and folklore during that time. Her first demonstration of her abilities occurred when she was still quite young, probably less than 10 years old. She apparently helped a Sir George Maxwell, who lived in the Scottish Islands region, who had suddenly become very ill. She determined that a witch was secretly torturing him in effigy, and once she located this effigy in the witch’s cottage, his condition improved.

She really came to fame when she traveled to the city of Glasgow alone, at the young age of 11. She immediately made a name for herself when she helped a local goldsmith whose business was failing. She told him that a witch had placed an effigy in his shop and that he must destroy it. He did so, and his business immediately improved. Crowds soon flocked to see her, and the city authorities felt compelled to place her in protective custody in the local jail to protect her from them.

She stayed in the Glasgow jail for over a year before being summoned to a meeting of the Privy Council in Edinburgh in 1678. Here, she was questioned by a Reverend George Hickes about her abilities. He tried to determine if she was insane or possessed by the devil. Unable to find anything wrong with her, he promised to ask for her release from custody.

Another story regarding Janet’s time in Edinburgh concerns a meeting she had with the full Privy Council. At this meeting, Archbishop Sharpe tried to accuse her of witchcraft, since she had been causing some trouble by accusing various persons of witchcraft. When he suggested that Janet should be banished to the West Indies to work on a plantation, she asked him who had been in his room the previous Saturday, in the middle of the night. The archbishop turned pale and could not answer.

Duke Rothes, a member of the council, asked Janet who had been in the archbishop’s rooms. She refused to answer unless he promised not to send her to the West Indies. When he agreed to the promise, she told him the devil had been in Archbishop Sharpe’s room.

Soon after these events, Reverend Hickes was able to secure Janet’s release from official custody on the condition that she leave Scotland for England. We don’t know if Janet followed through with her promise because she completely disappears from the historical record at this point. It is possible that she returned home to the Highlands to live in obscurity, though she may have fulfilled her promise to Reverend Hickes. Whatever happened to her, this may be the earliest case of a child “star” burning out at a young age.

Next Article
  • The Rapist Hunting Warrior Woman

    The Hundred Year War between France and England was the birthplace of many legends and tales of revenge. Years of turmoil and battles created the perfect outlet for warriors to become legends. Or they became the perfect place for you to seek your vengeance: to hunt your demons. That is what Marguerite de Bressieux did,...

    Read More
  • Swarm Robots Ready For Mass Production

    If you have had ever had nightmares about robots taking over the world, then maybe you should close this article right now. The Zebro swarm robot is an insect hive mind-like robot which is pretty much ready to be mass produced. Why are we potentially causing a Terminator plot like scenario? ...

    Read More
  • When Ants Go To War They Bring The Medics

    A species of aggressive Viking-like raiding ants actually save their wounded and then stitch them up. Yes, it appears they have dedicated doctor and nurse ants ready to save the wounded. And the incredible thing is researchers have determined that this strange behavior actually gives the injured ant a 90%...

    Read More
  • Secret Painting Found Behind A Picasso Masterpiece

    A new scanning technique put together by art researchers in the US continues to undercover amazing art secrets. The newest discovery has been found beneath a Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece: The Crouching Woman or “La Misereuse Accroupie” as called in French. Scanning systems for art pieces have existed for some time...

    Read More
  • The Man Who Fought WWII For 30 Years

    The mission was to stay out of sight and collect information about the Allied troop movements. The Location was the island of Lubang in the Philippines. Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda from the Japanese Imperial Army was tasked with a Rambo-like top secret mission: him and his four man team against the world. At least that is...

    Read More
  • Transgender Women Able To Breastfeed

    A transgender woman was able to happily produce healthy milk to feed her partner’s newborn child. A new report that was following the case shows she was able to breastfeed the baby for six weeks without any issues. This is a groundbreaking report and the first medical document of its...

    Read More
  • Your DNA Could Stretch To Pluto And Back Over 17 Times

    The human genome, the genetic code that makes a human well a human is a fascinating science. It continues to open up new doors and understanding about our wellbeing and health. Some things today we still do not fully understand. But what we do know is that the length of all your DNA combined is...

    Read More
  • The Mad Egyptian Pickpocket King

    King Farouk the last ruler of Egypt had an embarrassing and strange problem: he could not stop pickpocketing people. A bit of a bizarre trait for someone who had unlimited wealth, no? In fact, he was he caused so many problems during his monarchy that some people believe he is...

    Read More