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On This Day: Virginia woman accused of being a witch agrees to trial by water

On this day in history, July 10, 1706, a Virginia woman tried to defend herself against...
On this day in history, July 10, 1706, a Virginia woman tried to defend herself against accusations of being a witch by agreeing to be thrown into a river while tied up, known as a “witch ducking.”(Old Donation Episcopal Church)
Updated: Jul. 10, 2021 at 2:12 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - On this day in history, July 10, 1706, a Virginia woman tried to defend herself against accusations of being a witch by agreeing to be thrown into a river while tied up, known as a “witch ducking.”

Women were accused of being witches for a number of reasons in the 1600s and 1700s, from livestock dying unexpectedly to a neighbor having a miscarriage.

Grace Sherwood, later known as the “Witch of Pungo,” was one of many women to face accusations of being a witch in colonial America, and like in the famous Salem Witch Trials, she was convicted for witchcraft through a test based on legends.

Nancy Egloff, a historian from the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation with an interest in telling what she calls HER-story, tells the story of a woman who tried to defend herself against staggering odds - rather than sinking into society’s standards, she floated:

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