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Witchcraft and Lore in South West Scotland

Key in a Bible



In witchcraft lore, the Bible and a key was a tool in divination. The key could be suspended from a chain or cord and replicate a pendulum when asked a question over the pages. It was believed if this was done on New Year's Eve, one may know the future of the incoming year.  Further, the key in a bible may also be able to identify thieves and even curse people.

In 1697 John Fergusson of Cummertrees was accused of using witchcraft to identify a thief who had taken his sack of cheese and herrings. It was claimed that he had placed a key inside a Bible and then named various local people. The Bible and the key had moved at the mention of William M'Kinnel of Bankend.

Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
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Dumfries & Galloway Council