Joan Wytte (1775-1813) was also known as the “Fighting Fairy Woman” or the “Wytte Witch.” She was well known throughout Cornwall as a clairvoyant, diviner and healer. As part of her healing routine- she used “clouties.”

Clooties: They are wells or springs, almost always with a tree growing beside them, where strips of cloth or rags have been left, usually tied to the branches of the tree as part of a healing ritual. In Scots nomenclature, a “clootie” or “cloot” is a strip of cloth or rag.

As Joan got older, she became very ill-tempered as a result of an abscess tooth and was known to scream and act out in violence. She exhibited such unusual strength- it was suspected that she was in cahoots with the devil. She was eventually put in prison (not for witchcraft, but for public brawling) and died of pneumonia at the age of 38.

She was not buried right away- her bones were somehow taken and used for seances and pranks— but not without incident. The museum where her bones were eventually displayed experienced a very angry poltergeist up until the bones were laid to rest. Her tombstone reads: “Joan Wytte. Born 1775. Died 1813 in Bodmin Jail. Buried 1998. No longer abused.”

 

 

 

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