The prosecution were determined to prove Helen Duncan was a fraud. Her trial took
place barely a few months before the famous D-
The true story of a Scottish housewife who found herself in the centre of a WWII legal battle which ended with her being convicted under the Witchcraft Act.
During the second world war Helen was in great demand from anxious relatives, especially those who had lost close family on active war service.
Two second degree burns were found across Helen's stomach. She was immediately taken back to her Scottish home and later rushed to hospital.
Helen was sent back to London's Holloway prison, that Victorian monstrosity for female prisoners still being used today.
The Prime Minister had been ordained into the Grand Ancient Order of Druids and was a client and also a keen supporter of Helen Duncan.
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He was a Spiritualist Medium for the last three decades, a former British Fleet Street
But his civil servants were over-
Helen Duncan, mother of nine and part time bleach factory employee was considered a risk and they wanted her out of the way when the Allies struck. Her case was a transparent conspiracy to frame her 'in the interests of national security'.
Meanwhile, having served her full sentence, Helen Duncan was released on 22 September 1944, vowing never to give another séance.
Churchill was no stranger to psychic phenomena. Recalling the events of the Boer War when he had been captured, had escaped and seeking sanctuary he explained in his autobiography how he was "guided by some form of mental planchette (a Spiritualist tool) to the only house in a 30 mile radius that was sympathetic to the British cause".
Had he knocked on the back door of any other house he would have been arrested and returned to the Boer commanders to be shot as an escaping prisoner of war. Many years prior to this he had been ordained into the Grand Ancient Order of Druids. Throughout his life he experienced many times when his psychic sixth sense saved his life.
Churchill was exceeding angry indeed when the Helen Duncan case began. He penned an irate ministerial note to the Home Secretary; "Give me a report of the 1735 Witchcraft Act.
What was the cost of a trial to the State in which the Recorder ( junior magistrate) was kept busy with all this obsolete tomfoolery to the detriment of the necessary work in the courts?"