A Suicide a Wen & a ‘Wise Woman’

hesleden

The body of a suicide who had hanged himself in Hesleden-Dene, not far from Hartlepool, was laid in an outhouse, awaiting the coroner’s inquest. The wife of a pitman at Castle Eden Colliery, suffering from a wen* in the neck, according to advice given her by a ‘wise woman’ went alone and lay all night in the outhouse, with the hand of the corpse on her wen. She had been assured that the hand of a suicide was an infallible cure. The shock to the nervous system form that terrible night was so great that she did not rally for some months, and eventually died from the wen. This happened about the year 1853, under the cognisance of my informant, The Rev. Canon Tristram.

Notes on the Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties of England and the Borders.

William Henderson 1879

*Wen – a boil or cyst.

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