A Woman Was Convicted Of Witchcraft In 1940s Britain
Witch trials are a relic of the 17th Century, when mass hysteria ruled and every single problem in the world could be traced back to fact that women possessed vaginas (okay, this sounds suspiciously like the modern-day internet).
"Actually, it's about ethics in crop blight journalism."
But these weren't just unwashed mobs rising up to improve their personal outlook on life by hosting a good ol' witch-b-que; they were state-sanctioned affairs backed by the highest echelons of government. Hell, King James I literally wrote the book on witch hunting. Thankfully, reason eventually prevailed, and that's all in the distant, shitty past.
But Actually ...
The last witch trial in Britain took place in 1944, at a time when the U.S. was hell-bent on developing some potentially world-ending magic of its own, and the Brits were preoccupied with planning a little thing called D-Day.
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Loosely inspired by the Spielberg classic.
Helen Duncan was sort of the Long Island Medium of her day. She traveled the UK holding seances, offering her patrons closure, and probably only swiping the occasional pocket watch. During one such divination in April of 1944, she told a pair of worried parents that two British battleships -- including their son's, the HMS Barham -- had sunk. Military authorities, fearing a leak of state secrets in such close proximity to the Normandy landings and completely oblivious to the fact that Duncan could have garnered the information from a strikingly un-supernatural source known as "the newspaper," picked her up and charged her with conspiracy, fraud, and, to top it all off, violation of the Witchcraft Act of 1735. Only the black magic charge stuck, and Duncan was sentenced to nine months in prison. For black magic. In 1944.
Newsreel footage of her trial can been seen here.