Ursula Kemp: A Witch or a Victim?

Ursula Kemp was accused of performing witchcraft together with 13 other females in 1582.  When her body was exhumed during the mid-1900s to put on display in a museum, the public noticed that she had iron spikes on her body which means people feared that she might return as a vampire.

The incident took place in Essex, England in the coastal area of St. Osyth.  Ursula Kemp lived a poor-stricken life and she was one of the first woman accused of performing the dark arts.  During the trial she claimed that she could unwitch or dispel the evil hex that was placed into people.

A close friend of Ursula Kemp, Grace Thurlow had a son named Davy, who became mysteriously sick.  She went to Kemp and asked her to help her, Thurlow believed that Kemp put a spell on her son and after a few days, her son’s conditions improve.  Eventually the friendship of the two would be tested over the death of Joan.  When Joan was just a few months old, she fell into the cradle and broke her neck and eventually died.  Thurlow was so upset about the incident that he started to feel ill.  She asked Kemp to help her once more and Kemp agreed under one condition.  Thurlow had to pay her an amount of money if she managed to cure her.  After a few days, Thurlow felt better and refused to pay Kemp, she told her she doesn’t have the money and cannot afford to pay her.  Surprisingly, after a few days, Thurlow once again acquired a disease.  She blamed Kemp for her disease, for her child’s disease and even for the death of Joan.

Thurlow who firmly believe that Ursula Kemp has something to do with her worsening condition, she decided to take the matter to Judge Bryan Darcy.  Darcy started conducting investigation on his own and began questioning those who knew Kemp.  He also interrogated Thomas, the 8 year old son of Kemp who told the judges that his mother have 4 familiars.  The four familiars would feed on the blood of his mother’s arms.  Tyffin (gray cat), Jacke (black cat), Pygine (toad) and Tyttey (lamb) were allegedly the familiars of her mother.  A man also claimed that Kemp placed a hex on his wife that caused her death.
Darcy then confronted Kemp but she denied the allegations.  Darcy tricked her that he would go easy on her if she confessed the evil doing.   Eventually, Kemp decided to confess the allegations and told about the names of 13 other witches.  Kemp was proven guilty.


During the mid-1900s, the body of Kemp was exhumed by an occultist named Cecil Williamson and was displayed on a museum.  The event was televised and the public noticed that Kemp has iron spikes in her chest.

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