Witches have been famous throughout history, and we have all heard the tales of witchcraft, devil-worshipping, and fortune-telling for years.
Many of the most famous witches in history were killed for their powers and the threat they posed to religion or conventional society. Witch hunts were quite popular for a long period.
Let’s take a look at 7 of the most famous witches in history and what their powers were:
1. The Salem Witches
Of all the witches and witch trials in history, the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 are perhaps the most famous in the world. In Massachusetts, at the time, there was great insecurity following the British-French war and the fear of Native American retribution.
In 1692 two little girls became dangerously ill and suffered from fits and convulsions. The local doctor deemed it the work of witchcraft. Three women were held responsible for bewitching the girls: a slave woman Tituba, a beggar Sarah Good, and an elderly Sarah Osborn. Tituba confessed to using dark magic and named many other women as witches, thus beginning the Salem witch hunt.
2. Moll Dyer
Moll Dyer has become one of the most famous witches because of her story being told in the popular movie The Blair Witch Project. If you haven’t heard of her, the legend goes that Mell Dyer was a resident of the town Leonardtown in Maryland in the late 1600s who was accused of witchcraft by her fellow townspeople. She was chased out of her house, and her frozen body was found some days later. Her spirit was malevolent and lingered in the land surrounding her home.
3. La Voisin
Catherine Monvoisin, better known as La Voisin, was a French midwife who lived in the mid-1600s. She practiced medicine, carried out abortions, made potions and poisons, told fortunes, and held masses with the Devil. She was also a part of the affaire des poisons, a cult that poisoned many members of the French aristocracy. Most famously, La Voisin was asked to poison King Louis XIV by his mistress Madame de Montespan for infidelity.
Towards the end of the 1670s, France’s fear of witchcraft and poisoning had reached its pinnacle, and many poisoners and fortune-tellers were arrested and killed. La Voisin was publicly burned in 1680 for witchcraft.
4. Mother Shipton
Mother Shipton, born Ursula Southeil, was a feared and highly regarded English Prophetess in the 1500s. Because of her disfigured appearance, many called Mother Shipton “Hag Face.” She was believed to be the daughter of the witch Agatha Shipton and the Devil himself.
Mother Shipton was considered England’s greatest clairvoyant, even rivaling Nostradamus. She has extraordinary vision and is said to have predicted great events like the Plague of London and the Execution of Mary Queen of Scots.
5. Marie Laveau
Marie Laveau was a Voodoo Priestess. She lived in New Orleans towards the end of the 1700s and commanded great respect and fear. Her magic was a mix of Catholic and African spiritual beliefs, and she practiced the art of Voodoo and divination. After her death, many people believed that her spirit would grant them their wishes, and so they would vandalize her gravestone to call forward her spirit.
6. Isobel Gowdie
Isobel Gowdie was tried and executed for being a witch in 1662, but what is shocking about her story is that she confessed to being a witch on her own. She lived in Scotland and was part of a witches’ coven. Upon her confession, she detailed the powers of the witches in her coven, including being able to transform into different animals and having contact with fairies. Isobel Gowdie’s accounts have greatly informed how European folklore speaks about witchcraft.
7. Dion Fortune
Born Violet Mary Firth, Dion Fortune was a British author and believer of the occult. She is what many people would consider a modern-day witch. She wrote extensively about the occult and founded the Fraternity of the Inner Light in 1924. The Fraternity was a magical society that dealt with alternate realities and religious and magical philosophies. Her magical society exists to this day, years after her death in 1946.
These famous witches have been accused of it all, from fortune-telling and divination to masses with the Devil and brewing potions and poisons. Many thousands of women have been accused of witchcraft and killed for it throughout history. Some burned at the stake, while others were decapitated or publicly hung. Which of these most famous witches you know about before?