Sunday, March 12, 2006

Don’t Burn Your Bridgets!

When we think of witches being burned (which hopefully most of us don’t spend TOO much of our time doing), we usually think of it being at least 300 or 400 years ago in some place like Salem, Massachusetts. But not all of them were that long ago. Barely over a hundred years ago in Ireland a “witch” or perhaps a “changeling” was burned by her own husband. Such things can happen when people are ruled by their superstitions.

Left, a scene from “Burning Bridget Cleary.”

Bridget Cleary’s story is a sad one of death and betrayal caused by superstitions that still had a strong hold over the Irish in the countryside in 1894. Bridget’s husband applied one of those “witch tests” that always involves the accused needing to die to be proven “innocent.” This tragic story has been brought of life on the stage by Allison Gregory in her play “Burning Bridget Cleary.” The play is running in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Arts Center, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. For more information call: 800-838-3006 or go to

Related Resources:

* The Burning of Bridget Cleary — A True Story

* Bridget Cleary

* Read “The Burning of Bridget Cleary” by Angela Bourke


MacSwiney said...

'The Burning of Bridget Cleary' by Angela Bourke is overlaid with a lot of feminist claptrap. She was certainly a victim of well meaning and deep seated superstitious/old religion belief. Had the tables been reversed Bridget would have done the same for her husband to release him from the grip of the fairies.

Anonymous said...

I read the book recently and have been wondering what happened to michael cleary when he went to canada.