Exeter is a city in the county of Devon in the West Country of the United Kingdom, with a population of around 119,000 people. Exeter has a fascinating history, which has some links to the dark arts of witchcraft and black magic.
Exeter has a particularly significant claim to fame in the whole ethos of witchcraft, in that the last individual to be executed in England, for the purported crime of witchcraft, was held prisoner in the city. This was in the year 1685, and the unfortunate woman was called Alice Molland who was imprisoned in Rougemont Castle, the ruins of which still stand today.
Many people will be aware that witchcraft and the whole concept of witches and their familiars was an issue that reached feverish proportions in society in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This was the case not only in Exeter and other areas of the United Kingdom, but also in other parts of the world, including the United States of America, most famously in the Salem witch trials in Massachusetts.
In this unfortunate social phenomenon, elderly women in Exeter and other places around the world would be accused unfairly of being witches, usually for no good reason and with only flimsy evidence that was not evidence at all. These women would be persecuted and punished with all sorts of cruel and unusual punishments.
Even in those days, elderly women liked to keep cats as pets, as indeed they do today. In those days even the poor cat would be persecuted as being a witch's 'familiar' which was supposed, quite ludicrously, to be an agent through which the woman was supposed to communicate with the spirit world. If the cat was black, then the poor creature was in trouble straight away.
From witches to ghosts, and the Guildhall is an ancient building in Exeter with foundations that are believed to date from medieval times. It has been claimed to be the oldest municipal building in England still in use, and there have been reports of ghosts being seen in the building, particularly late at night and when there are few people around. Other phenomena include people feeling suddenly very cold in certain parts of the building, or seeing dark shadows moving across the floors, walls or ceilings of the building.
Exeter is the home of "The House That Moved". This is a building that dates from the fourteenth century and it gained its spooky name in the year 1961. This was nothing to do with poltergeists, the mischievous ghosts that move things from one place to another to confuse people. Instead, it happened when its owner decided to move it from Edmund Street, Exeter to make way for the construction of a new road. The house weighed in excess of 21 tonnes, it was put on the back of a low-loader lorry and driven very carefully through the streets of Exeter to a new location that is out of the way of any new roads that are likely to built at any time soon.
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