I have mentioned somewhere - not sure if here in these blogs - that my maternal grandmother was widely seen as a witch. We are talking about the start of the 20th century when spiritualism was seen as another branch of religion. Grandma was, apparently, recognised as a gifted medium and seances were frequent. How she fitted this in with her 'day job' as Matron of an Army hospital I cannot say. Matrons were no soft touch in those days and I assume an Army variety would be enough to scare anyone without the benefit of talking trumpets and ectoplasm.
I think the term 'witch' rather than 'medium' came from her children. Certainly, my aunt and uncles had no fond memories of the spiritualist times and only very very rarely did I ever get them to talk about them. They did seem to think their mother had a gift rather than her being a fraud or trickster. It was just that they would rather she had kept her light under a bushel. My own memories of her revolve around being asked if I could 'see' someone sitting in a chair - I never could. What she was good at was what we called 'putting the mockers on' something. I would be off to play, she would not wish me to do that, I demurred. She would say "If you go out to play, you will fall down and hurt your knee" I regarded this as do all 6 year old boys. Five minutes later, Dettol and bandages were the order of the day. Some scars I still bear. Other recipients of mockers would be sunny days. I would suggest ducks, bread and nearby park. 'Oh no. It is going to rain in a bit' - even without looking at the bright and cloudless blue sky. If we stayed indoors - no rain. If we did get as far as the park - the monsoons came to East Ham. I never saw the 'witch' side but certainly accorded her far more respect than any other little old lady who came into the life of a young lad.
Well, it seems she may have had no bits of fey from her native Southern Ireland. No insight or contact with those who had gone before. Just a cold reader. I have a problem with this though. I cannot associate the cold reading with scarred knees and wet woolies at the park. You make up your own mind.
TODAY'S GUEST BLOG
Late explanation re an Old Granny from my youth.