What names of famous witches can you think of? If you’re anything like me recently, not many! For such an instantly recognisable figure of legend and fiction, I realised it is surprising how few truly famous real witches are still known today. We can think of The Wicked Witch of the East from the Wizard of Oz, Samantha from Bewitched and more recently Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, no problem. But outside of imaginary witches, there are also tales of real ones, those who created interest and intrigue in their time. Too many of the true stories of their lives will now be lost but let’s look at some of the names of famous witches of history and what they were famous/infamous for!
Granny Boswell 1813 – 1906
A Romany gypsy, she was known as a Cornish witch but was actually born in Ireland. She was a renowned troublemaker, at least in the eyes of the authorities, often to be seen drunk in the street! But her reputation lives on in a curious tale, as told by the son of a man that fell victim to her scorn. With cars being a novelty, Granny Boswell was fascinated by the sight of one about to come towards her – as she stood in the road! The driver, the story teller’s father, sounded the horn and told her to get out of the way. She shouted abuse and told him that the vehicle wouldn’t make it to the end of the road. It didn’t, they broke down before they reached the end of the street.
Tammy Blee 1798 – 1856
Another of Cornwall’s “cunning folk”, Tammy Blee (Tamsin Blight) was know for going into trances in order to communicate with the dead. She was also a local charm maker, working with herbs and divination.