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Paisley's Enchanted Threads

Elizabeth Anderson

The story of Elizabeth Anderson

Elizabeth Anderson

Elizabeth Anderson was one of the first suspects to be apprehended, along with her father, Alexander. Like many of the suspects they would be described as people who lived on the margins of society, both economically, and in terms of their standing in relation to what the wider community would see as respectability. Elizabeth was seventeen years old, and quickly confessed to having a history of attending meetings with local witches dating back to when she was just seven years old. She was inducted into these events by her deceased grandmother, Jean Fulton. Fulton, she alleged, had introduced Elizabeth to the devil, who appeared as a ‘black grim man’ who was cold to the touch.

Elizabeth Anderson’s testimony was particularly stunning, and it contained all of the major charges that were laid against the seven accused. This included meeting with the devil in the hills above Kilpatrick and the murder of a number of local children. After killing Matthew Park’s child, she admitted being with the crew of witches as they immediately set about sinking the Erskine ferry boat, leading to the drowning of two local men. She admitted being with the witches and the devil as they met outside the minister of Dumbarton’s house, stuck pins in an effigy made in his likeness, before dousing it in ale and brandy resulting in his death shortly afterwards. Anderson also acknowledged that she was present as the witches plotted the death of Christian Shaw with the devil.

Importantly, Elizabeth claimed never to have renounced her baptism, or to have given herself up to the devil at any time. This, along with her confession, is what saved her. The prosecution would have been satisfied with her contribution, and would set about seeking corroboration from other sources.