The way to find out whether a Hag is a Witch or not, Witches in Welsh folklore and mythology, a tale from Llanidloes Wales
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Category: Witches
Sub Category: Hag or Witch
Title: The way to find out whether a Hag is a Witch or not


It was generally supposed that a witch could not pray, and one way of testing her guilty connection with the evil one was to ascertain whether she could repeat the Lord’s Prayer correctly. If she failed to do so, she was pronounced to be a witch. This test, as everyone knows, must have been a fallacious one, for there are good living illiterate people who are incapable of saying their Pader; but such was the test, and failure meant death.|Some fifty years ago, when the writer was a lad in school, he noticed a crowd in Short Bridge Street, Llanidloes, around an aged decrepit woman, apparently a stranger from the hill country, and on inquiring what was going on, he was told that the woman was a suspected witch, and that they were putting her to the test. I believe she was forced to go on her knees, and use the name of God, and say the Lord’s Prayer. However, the poor frightened thing got successfully through the ordeal, and I saw her walk away from her judges.|Another manner for discovering a witch was to weigh her against the Church Bible; if the Bible went up, she was set at liberty, if, on the other hand, she were lighter than the Bible, she was a witch, and forfeited her life.|Swimming a witch was another method, and this was the one generally resorted to. The suspected person was taken to a river or pool of water, her feet and hands were tied, and she was thrown in; if she sank she was innocent, if she floated she was a witch, and never reached the bank alive.|Such as the preceding were some of the ridiculous trials to which poor, badly clad, aged, toothless, and wrinkled women were put by their superstitious neighbours to ascertain whether these miserable women were in league with the devil.


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