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Ancient Mysteries

Expert reconstructs face of Scottish 'witch'

October 31, 2017 | Comment icon 18 comments



The woman's face was reconstructed in incredible detail. Image Credit: University of Dundee / Twitter
A forensic artist has pieced together the appearance of a woman who was once imprisoned for witchcraft.
Lilias Adie, whose remains were discovered buried beneath a large stone on the coast of Fife, was imprisoned in Scotland in the 18th century for allegedly 'confessing' to being a witch.

She died in jail in 1704 before her sentence of death by burning could be carried out.

Now forensic artist Dr Christopher Rynn from Dundee University's Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification has used photographs of her skull to create a 3D reconstruction of her face.
"There was nothing in Lilias' story that suggested to me that nowadays she would be considered as anything other than a victim of horrible circumstances," he said. "So I saw no reason to pull the face into an unpleasant or mean expression and she ended up having quite a kind face, quite naturally."

Most suspected witches from the time would have been burned rather than buried.

"It was a truly eerie moment when the face of Lilias suddenly appeared," said BBC Radio Scotland presenter Susan Morrison. "Here was the face of a woman you could have a chat with, though knowing her story it was a wee bit difficult to look her in the eye."



Source: BBC News | Comments (18)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by taniwha 5 years ago
Someone should submit an xray of their own skull for forensic reconstruction, that should at least solve the question of how close to real life the artist in fact is.(Or isn't)  
Comment icon #10 Posted by Farmer77 5 years ago
Why am I not surprised the "witch" wasnt a  beautiful  woman? Ill bet the hotties never got burned  #hotchickprivilidge 
Comment icon #11 Posted by skliss 5 years ago
I think they often find actual pictures once people have been successfully identified and so they are pretty sure these constructions come very close.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Black Monk 5 years ago
She was in her 70s when she died.
Comment icon #13 Posted by susieice 5 years ago
It's such a pity that so many women were accused of witchcraft and tortured like they were. Usually they were older. Had dementia and didn't make much sense when they talked. Couldn't recite the Lord's Prayer because they couldn't remember it. Many were skilled in herbal medicine that was connected to witchcraft. When men were accused, it was because they had something someone else wanted. Their property and assets were confiscated. I hope this woman will be remembered well now as the innocent person she was.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Black Monk 5 years ago
Not in the eyes of the law.
Comment icon #15 Posted by freetoroam 5 years ago
She does a bit, but Camilla is not sleeping with the devil....as far as we know.
Comment icon #16 Posted by susieice 5 years ago
Unfortunately that is true. Now the word witchhunt has taken on a whole new meaning. But it isn't poor old ladies any more.
Comment icon #17 Posted by rashore 5 years ago
Unfortunately so... but let's not potentially derail the topic with that please. Let's keep it on topic with talking about the 1704 witch, not modern meanings or implications of the term witch hunt.
Comment icon #18 Posted by susieice 5 years ago
I didn't mean to try and derail the thread. I'm sorry. 


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