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3 Oct: Mrs Bell's spell

In 1843, a Mrs Bell in Norwich was taken to court, accused of assault – her weapon, it was said, was a pin-pierced candle.

A pin-pierced candle like the one Mrs Bell used. CREDIT: Stacia Briggs

Neighbours Mr and Mrs Curtis said that Mrs Bell had bewitched them: she had lit a candle and filled it with pins before putting dragon’s blood, water and parings from her own nails into an oyster shell and putting it to warm on the fire.


As a result of this spell, Mr Curtis was rendered unable to move his arms or legs which, the couple claimed, led to Mrs Bell “taking a malignant pleasure” in his predicament.

It is not recorded what happened to the accused, but late in the same year another Norwich woman complained in the police court that a neighbour had bewitched her by sending “a vast number of vermin” into her house.

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