313 years on, face of ‘witch’ is finally revealed
THE face of an 18th century ‘witch’ who died in jail before she could be burned for her ‘crimes’ has been digitally reconstructed.
Lilias Adie, from Torryburn, Fife, in Scotland, died in 1704 while held in prison for her “confessed” crimes of being a witch and having sex with the devil.
BBC Radio Scotland unmasked her face by working with a forensic artist at the Centre for
Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee.
The team believes it is likely to be the only accurate likeness of a Scottish ‘witch’ in existence as most were burned, destroying any hope of reconstructing their faces from skulls.
Presenter Susan Morrison said: “It was a truly eerie moment when the face of Lilias suddenly appeared.”
Ms Adie had been sentenced to be burned to death but died in prison beforehand, with one theory being she committed suicide.
Her remains were buried on the beach between the low and the high tide marks under a large stone.
Locals had sought to weigh down Ms Adie in her grave, perhaps to prevent her coming back to haunt them.
By the 19th century, scientific curiosity outweighed zombie fears and some antiquarians dug up Ms Adie’s remains to study and display.
Her skull eventually went to the St Andrews University Museum, where it was photographed more than 100 years ago.
It then went missing at some point in the 20th century but the images remain and are held by the National Library of Scotland.
The records of her accusers paint a picture of a woman, possibly in her 60s, who may have been frail for some time, with failing eyesight.
‘Pennywise’, played by Fran Minter, scares Cindy O’Halloran (7) from Garryowen, Limerick, at the Halloween Holiday Horror Fun at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Clare. Photo: Brian Arthur A digitally reconstructed face of 18th century ‘witch’ Lilias Adie as she might have appeared.
Photo: Press Association