Helen Duncan was the last woman to be tried and convicted in the United Kingdom for the crime of witchcraft (Section 4 of the Witchcraft Act of 1735). Born in Scotland in 1897, she grew up to be one of the most famous mediums of the twentieth century. She married at the age of twenty, had twelve pregnancies, with six surviving children. To help support her family she worked in the local bleach factory by day, and then conducted séances at night. She soon developed a budding reputation for her mediumship skills as she was able to produce ectoplasm during the séances. There are many accounts both for and against this ability.
Her demise began when during a séance in 1944. Her spirit guide Albert brought forth the spirit of a young sailor who was wearing a hat with the name HMS Barham on it. He explained that his ship had sunk during combat. The problem with this was, the spirit came through at 3:30 in the afternoon, and the HMS Barham had sunk at 1:30, only a mere two hours before. There was no way that any one could have had the details so fast or so accurate in that amount of time in 1944. This raised the question of security with the military that were planning the D-Day Invasion of Europe. Political paranoia was what brought Helen Duncan to the attention of the courts.
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