Anne Pierson; the witch of Goatland

It has been documented in history books of local legend and history that throughout the 1600’s (during England’s witch mass hysteria) Goatland was the most plagued of North Yorkshire for the fearsome devil spawn.

Goathland was a unique village, though, and had considered witchcraft a good trade for a woman, a trade that would be passed down from mother to daughter through many generations. There was decent money to be made in witchcraft as farmers would pay for spells to make it rain during a drought, and men would buy love potions to finally woo the girl they most desired, but one which changed all of this and took advantage of the villagers.

As most witches are depicted, Anne Pierson was an old lady who secluded herself from the village, since fear of witches had now reached Yorkshire she felt she would be more safe in the woods away from people. The people of Goathland knew where she lived

1051_05_3---Goathland-Aidensfield-Heartbeat-Country_web

Goathland in more modern times

though, and one night she heard a knock at her door which shocked her.

Usually people would scream at the sight of her in fear that she would cast a spell on them, in a town where witchcraft was once very welcome Goathland had now been caught by the hysteria. Anne opened up the door to see a nobleman begging her for her help “it’s my daughter” he explained, and he went on to confide in Anne how his beloved daughter had fallen in love with a poor farmer and he could not let her marry him, it would bring too much shame on his family. After hearing as much as she needed to hear Anne raised a finger to shush the nobleman and told him she had the perfect potion that would make his daughter fall out of love with the farm boy.

Little did he know that when the nobleman was pouring the potion into his daughter’s food he was actually poisoning her with a potion that would paralyze her from the neck down. The nobleman felt helpless and went back to Anne’s to beg for help again, but she cackled and slammed the door in his face. This is exactly what she intended to happen.

As news traveled fast around the village the farm boy finally knew why he hadn’t heard anything from his love, but he had an idea that could save her. He headed towards the home of a wiseman who informed him that the only way to break the curse was to rub the girl’s feet with holy water and the blood of the witch that cursed her, the farmer nodded and then left with the plan to wait till nightfall to catch Anne.

You see, it was well known that during the evening Anne would disguise herself as a wild rabbit so that she could cause mischief without being caught, but this would be her last change from human to rabbit. The farm boy waiting until he saw the abnormally large rabbit and took a shot at it, only maiming Anne but having enough blood to rub on his lover’s feet.

With a mixture of holy water and Anne Pierson’s blood he rubbed her feet and she looked amazed as she could begin to feel her lower body again. The lovers ran away togehter, leaving the nobleman to live with what he had done to his daughter.

 

 

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