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Paisley's Enchanted Threads

Murder of a Minister

Murder of a minister

Murder of a Minister

John Hardie was minister in the parish of Dumbarton, of advanced years, and respected within the local community. Most of the seven who were accused of bewitching Christian Shaw were also charged with his murder. A local minister, and a local schoolmaster, testified that they were present with Hardie as he suffered an excruciating death. This was not in itself unusual for many people of this era. However, it was the circumstances surrounding his final moments that aroused suspicion.

It was claimed in court that Hardie was "extraordinarily tormented" as he declared to be having visions of tormentors surrounding him in his home. Hardie was said to have chided them in return, crying that he put his faith in the Son of God on whom he depended. In his bed, it was claimed in court that he "was in extraordinary agony and his face extraordinarily red and he had a strange look than ever had appeared in any man." He also claimed that his hallway door had opened when nobody was near it, and that he heard noises above his head.

This description sounds similar to the death throes, but in 1697, community suspicions had been heightened due to the rumours about witchcraft was rife in the area. In court, both Lindsay confessants, and Elizabeth Anderson, confirmed that the witches had been responsible for Hardie's death. It was claimed that they created an effigy of the minister outside his house, before dousing it with alcohol, burning it, and sticking pins in it.