Blitz witch

Interesting time watch thingy just ended looking at a woman sent to prison in 1944 for witchcraft. It seems she conjured up spirits of the dead that told of the loss of Barham, Hood etc before they became known....

However Bladrick left many things unanswered for me. For instance "Sid" a dead sailor who appeared in a Barham Tally'd Hat at one seance and told all the ship had gone down was a PO Stoker, who would have worn a tunic wouldn't he (even a dead professional sailor appearing out of uniform? Don't think so)

Secondly the investigting officer, One Guy Liddel, a rising star of MI5 but also a possible Russian agent, could all this have been "ramped up" to storm in the office and divert attention elsewhere.

Lastly the revelation that she announed the sinking of Hood and when a witness present (admittedly an Int Corps Brigadier) rang the admiralty he was told this was not the case, and was allowed to think this for another 24 hours. The need to know principle at a time when Force H was enaged in hunting down Bismark?

Most of her information was naval, Was our "Witch" talking to the dead? Or a mate in the Portsmouth Commcen?



Just got 4OD (Ch4 On Demand) , not bad actually, and watching the programme now. Helen Duncan was nicked by Military Intelligence and sent to jail because she revealed information ( a state secret) that had not yet been made public, and which she should have had no way of knowing -- except by either conspiring with the enemy, or by genuine second sight.
The original conspiracy charge was reduced, "to contravening the Witchcraft Act of 1735 by pretending to raise the spirits of the dead."

She was locked away for nine months and treated pretty badly. "Hounded to death" says Baldrick. All in the interests of National Security.

Source:"As one of many, many, examples during 1943 and once more in that ungrateful city (sic) of Portsmouth Helen Duncan had given a seance during which a sailor materialised reporting that he had gone down with His Majesty's Ship "Barham" whose loss was not officially announced until three months later. " HMS Barham was sunk by torpedo in the North Sea.

Source quote: "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?" But his civil servants were over-ridden by the all -powerful intelligence community. D-Day was coming and their levels of paranoia had reached an all time high and even a Prime Minister's anger was to be set aside. 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'"

Until recently, there were reunions of HMS Barham crew survivors in Devonport.

HMS Barham was built on Clydeside. and sank on 25th November 1941 (or was it?) with 862 officers and men.

Edited for accuracy and mong spelling
You would have fought that there was some security regualtion she could have been held under if she was genuine, or maybe if you are nasty what ever predated the mental health act. It doesn't stack up in many ways.

Thinking about why keep going after her into the 1950's when she was no longer a risk unless the local Old Bill (who would have had better things to do even in those tranquil times) felt they had to act.



If other people knew about the sinking of the Barham before it was announced, maybe Helen knew herself. ? And she later revealed the sinking of HMS Hood, when "no one else knew".
Trotsky said:
.... For instance "Sid" a dead sailor who appeared in a Barham Tally'd Hat at one seance and told all the ship had gone down was a PO Stoker, who would have worn a tunic wouldn't he?...

Square rig (traditional sailor suit with a big square collar, ridiculously tight tunic, and baggy trousers) was worn by some Petty Officers.

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