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Mary Webster
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Oddity
    ( -1696)
    Born in Hadley, Massachusetts
    Birth name was Mary Reeve
    Nicknamed 'Half-Hanged Mary'
    Accused of witchcraft in 1684, but acquitted. Subsequently lynched by community members
    Survived the lynching to live another 14 years
    She was apparently ill-tempered and foul mouthed, making her vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft.
    She and her husband lived on the 17th Century equivalent of welfare.
    She was accused of inflicting a man with illness for not being more generous with her family.
    She was acquitted on the charges of witchcraft, but was kidnapped from her home and lynched.
    She was left hanging from the tree to die and was buried in the snow the next morning, but she turned up the next morning alive, scaring the hell out of the whole neighborhood.
    Her story has been widely repeated by occultists who believe her story proves the existence of witches (maybe she just did sit-ups in her sleep?)
    She also provided fodder for religious zealots like Cotton Mather, who railed about the influence of witches and sorcery on Puritan society, using her case as 'proof.'
    More likely than not she walked away from the experience with a disturbingly outstretched, 'giraffesque' neck.
    Margaret Atwood claims to be a descendant of hers, but no record exists of her having any children.
    She was subjected to a nude body examination by court magistrates, during her trial, to search for marks of the devil.
    Ironically, when the Salem Witch Trials occurred eight years later, no one dared accused her out of fear that she couldn't be killed (which bore the question as to why they even bothered to continue hanging convicted 'witches' to begin with).
    Margaret Atwood used her for the basis for her famous poem, 'Half-Hanged Mary.'
    Atwood also dedicates her book, 'The Handmaid's Tale' to her.
    She was a victim of vigilante justice and mob rule.
    The man who accused her of witchcraft died not long after she survived the hanging, deemed further proof of her 'witchcraft' (or karma could just be a bitch).
    His bed and furniture were written to have moved on their own accord after he died, furthering the case that supernatural elements were involved.
    She turned the tables on a superstitious society that victimized strong women, through sheer dominance of will, and she won out.
    Her story makes for neat Halloween and campfire ghost stories.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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