In 1711, in County Antrim, eight women were put on trial accused of orchestrating the demonic possession of young Mary Dunbar, and the haunting and supernatural murder of a local clergyman’s wife. Mary Dunbar was the star witness in this trial, and the women were, by the standards of the time, believable witches – they smoked, they drank, they just did not look right. With echoes of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and the Salem witch-hunt, this is a story of murder, of hysteria, and of how the ‘witch craze’ that claimed over 40,000 lives in Europe played out on Irish shores.
Andrew Sneddon, PhD, undergraduate teachings at Ulster focuses on politics, religion, culture, medicine and magic in Europe and Colonial America in the early modern and modern periods. Dr. Sneddon served for six years as president of the Ulster Society for Irish Historical Studies. He is currently a member of the editorial board of the journal, Irish Historical Studies.
His latest research explores Irish witchcraft, magic and the supernatural in a comparative framework from the medieval to the modern period. His latest articles on witchcraft and magic appear in leading edited collections and peer reviewed journals, including Preternature, Irish Historical Studies, Historical Journal and Cultural and Social History.