The First Irish Witch Condemned for Witchcraft – Alice Kyteler

The Only Daughter of a Banker

Alice Kyteler was born in Kilkenny, Ireland, in  1280 and was an only child. In 1298 her father died and left her as the sole beneficiary of his banking business and properties. She married an associate of her father’s not long after, in 1299. And a year later gave birth to her first child, a son named for his father William Outlawe. An ordinary life so far, but it would not be long before suspicions of witchcraft would enter her life.

It was said, William Senior made a discovery. A basement cupboard filled with a witches collection of jars and potions, entrails, eyes, worms, dead men’s hair, pieces of unbaptised babies, pots made from the skulls of thieves, and sprays of herbs and flowers. The shock of such a discovery could have contributed to his mysterious death. And only months later she married again.

Murdering her husbands with Witchcraft

Alice Kyteler was married four times. Her first husband gave her a son, the second wealth, the third a dower she had to go to court for, and her fourth was a knight. And each of them increased her wealth, until only the Church could claim to be richer.

Sir John le Poer, the knight, fell ill in 1324 believing he had been poisoned.  Going to the Abby of St Francis, for help, and to tell them of his suspicions. After his death, his children and the children of Alice’s other husbands accused her of sorcery and poisoning. Claiming she favoured her firstborn son, who had gained from each of her marriages.

Magically usurping the church

The Bishop of Ossory, Richard de Ledrede, attempted to have Kyteler arrested and tried for witchcraft after the reports from the Friars at St Francis reached him. A subject he was very passionate about tackling. In his efforts he got himself arrested and questioned. But he returned to his task upon release, although it was not an easy one with other figures of authority trying to convince him to stop his pursuit. And it was only when Petronella de Meath gave testimony, after torture, of her own and Alice Kyteler’s involvement with witchcraft and demons that the promise of punishment for the crime moved forward.

Sacrificing to demons

Everyone knows crossroads are places of magic. Most associate that magic as being evil or demon related. And there are many myths and legends about crossroads. I mean, we’ve all seen that episode of Supernatural right, where Dean raises a demon at the crossroads? Things are always being buried or dug up or placed at crossroads – bones, charms, crosses, traffic lights.

Supposedly having sacrificed three cocks (the bird not the body part) to the demon Robert, son of Art, at the crossroads. First pouring out the cocks blood. Then chopping them up and mixing them with other witchy ingredients:  Intestines of three fat cocks, spiders, black worms, Milfoil, and whichever other herbs and worms you have handy in your pantry, the brain and clothes of an unbaptised boy, and one decapitated robber’s head.

Method: First exsanguinate the cocks, then dice. Mix the intestines with the worms, spiders, milfoil, and your other pantry ingredients. Once combined boil in a large pot and add brain, clothes, and head.

Communing and Sexual Affairs with demons

The servant who gave the statement detailing the crossroads sacrifice also spoke to the demon Robert, who would appear before her to speak with her mistress. Three male entities carrying rods. Who then had intercourse with her mistress, Alice Kyteler, in her presence.  As the medium for these demon communications, the servant, Petronella de Meath, had to be present.

Petronella’s testimony was enough to send her to the stake to burn for witchcraft. The first person in Ireland to be sentenced to this fate for witchcraft and heresy. It is believed that Petronella could have been under the influence of the LSD like substance Ergot, which was prevalent at the time.

The prosecutors continued their pursuit of Alice Kyter but she fled to England and seemed to disappear.



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