The Newbury Witch was an old woman executed in 1763. She was spied by Oliver Cromwell's soldiers sailing down the River Kennet (near Newbury in Berkshire, England)....on a plank of wood. The men saw this and rather than thinking it was a hip and 'with it' surfing Granny, believed she was a witch and had a pact with the devil (some thought she was walking on the water). These days such behaviour in a geriatric would make the news - then, you were thought to be pure evil. Crazy days.

The soldiers captured her and tried to shoot her, but as a 17th century pamphlet tells us, "with a loud and deriding laughter at them, she caught the bullets in her hands and chewed them". Confronted with an elderly woman with speed and agility equal to Superman , the soldiers decided to blood her, a custom whereby a witches forehead was slashed in order to drain them of their power. This must have been an efficient method, for after that was done a man drew his pistol, placed it under her ear, and shot her. She did not catch the bullets this time - "she sank straight down and died". Oddly enough.

The 17th century pamphlet depicting this incident is available at

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