Bird Bird

Paisley's Enchanted Threads

John Lindsay in Barloch

The Story of John Lindsay in Barloch

John Lindsay in Barloch

John Lindsay in Barloch was a married man, and worked as a tenant farmer on the Laird of Bargarran's land. He would have been a familiar face to the Bargarran household. The name Lindsay crops up numerous times in this story, both in terms of those who were executed, and also individuals who gave evidence at the trial itself. Some of these Lindsays were related, although John Lindsay in Barloch was not closely related to any of them. As a tenant farmer, John Lindsay would have had a difficult time making ends meet due to the pressures that were being placed upon the land at this time. It is also worth noting that he relied upon Christian Shaw's father for his livelihood. The Laird was essentially his employer and master, and would have kept a close, and perhaps critical, eye on his efficiency.

Lindsay was accused at the beginning of February, 1697. It seems that he almost stumbled into the story. Christian Shaw saw him talking to her father in the hallway. Unfortunately, we can only guess as to the topic of conversation. It is reasonable to assume that Lindsay would have been well aware of the trials and tribulations that the family were enduring at this time. Christian Shaw sought her mother, and told her that Lindsay had been a particularly violent invisible assailant against her. However she had been unable to explicitly name him due to the threat of extreme consequences for her if she did. 

Christian Shaw was then encouraged to sneak upon Lindsay without his knowing and touch him. Upon doing so, it is said that she fell into an extremely violent fit, and John Lindsay was subsequently taken away to be interrogated. Later on, Lindsay was asked to take the young girl by the hand. When he did this, she fell into another fit, where it is said that her eyes twisted around in her head before her body became completely rigid, and she fell to the floor, resembling a corpse. The girl then sprang up and, clawing at her clothes, began to assault Lindsay in front of several witnesses. This form of 'touch testing' was used on all of the suspects, and if it produced the reaction that John Lindsay provoked in the girl, it was seen by many witnesses as irrefutable proof of that person's guilt. All seven who were executed failed to pass this test.

Like the other witches, Lindsay was not only accused of tormenting Christian Shaw. He was also charged with renouncing his baptism in front of the devil, meeting with the other witches, and participating in a number of crimes in the local area. One witness swore that Lindsay strangled a child with a small cord. Lindsay was the only individual not to be found guilty by a unanimous verdict, but the majority carried the day, and he went to the scaffold continuing to protest his innocence.