The WW2 Witch Trial of Hellish Nell

What made a working class woman from Edinburgh become such a threat to British intelligence services during the Second World War, that they tried her as a witch?In today's episode, we're telling you the story of Helen Duncan, aka Hellish Brown, a medium who lays claim to being the last woman in England to be tried as a witch, culminating in her trial in 1944 under the 1735 Witchcraft Act.Joining us is Jess Marlton, manager of Bodmin Jail where all sorts of paranormal events take place.What made Duncan's performances so memorable? Why did her trial capture the public's imagination? And how does the 1735 Witchcraft Act live on today?Let's go Betwixt the Sheets to find out.This podcast was edited by Tom Delargy and produced by Stuart Beckwith. The senior producer was Charlotte Long.Discover the past on History Hit with ad-free original podcasts and documentaries released weekly presented by world renowned historians like Kate Lister, Dan Snow, Suzannah Lipscomb, Lucy Worsley, Mary Beard and more.Get 50% off your first 3 months with code BETWIXT. Download the app on your smart TV or in the app store or sign up at can take part in our listener survey here.

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Why did kings and queens have spectators on their wedding night? Who had the very first boob job? And did our ancestors have their unmentionables pierced?Join historian, Kate Lister, Betwixt the Sheets as she unashamedly roots around the topics which seem to have been skipped in history class.Everything from landmark LGBTQ+ court cases, to political scandal, to downright bizarre medieval cures for impotence. The etymology of swear words, gender bias in medicine, and satanic panic and cults - there’s nothing off limits.She'll be bed-hopping around different time periods; from ancient civilisations, to the middle ages, to renaissance and early modern...right up to now.You’ll laugh, you’ll wince, and you’ll ask yourself how much has actually changed.So join Kate Betwixt the Sheets: The History of Sex, Scandal & Society - a podcast from History Hit.Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code BETWIXT sign up at can take part in our listener survey here.