Mother Redcap

1
Morgan le Fay

Mother Redcap

A name applied to English ale-wives,
wise women and witches. It was also given to familiar
animals.

One Mother Redcap was an elderly woman who lived
in a village about 14 miles from Cambridge, England,
who was known as a witch. She said she was endowed
with her witch powers in circumstances reminiscent of
the Devil’s pact legends of medieval centuries. According
to an article published in the London Sunday Chronicle on
September 9, 1928:

One day a black man called, produced a book and asked
her to sign her name in it. The woman signed the book
and the mysterious stranger then told her she would be
the mistress of five imps who would carry out her orders.
Shortly afterwards the woman was seen out accompanied
by a rat, a cat, a toad, a ferret, and a mouse. Everybody
believed she was a witch, and many people visited her to
obtain cures.

Mother Redcap’s neighbors apparently viewed her
new status as an asset and not something evil, and she
was not persecuted. Her story is odd, however, for she
claimed to sign the mysterious book without asking
what it was or why. In traditional stories of the Devil’s
pact, the person supposedly knows full well the terms of
the deal: their soul in exchange for earthly gain, which
places a moral burden squarely upon the shoulders of
the individual.

Mother Redcap appeared not to suffer and used her
alleged supernatural abilities to help others. She died in
1926.

An Essex Old Mother Redcap lived in a house called
Duval’s (Devil House) in Wallasea Island, where no traditional
witch’s familiars such as toads, frogs or snakes
lived. She would sit in her house peeling potatoes and
chanting spells such as “Holly, holly, brolly, brolly, Redcap!
Bonny, bonny.”

After her death in the 1920s, her house was haunted
by the spirit of a familiar and people considered it dangerous
to enter. If anyone did and stayed, they were assaulted
by a mysterious voice that shouted, “Do it! Do it!”
as though to urge them to commit suicide. Cows in the
vicinity were stricken with mad cow disease.
The house was bombed into ruins during World War
II. In 1953, the ruins were washed away in a tidal wave.

Morgan le Fay

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