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Monday, April 28, 2014

Witch Bathsheba Sherman:: Ghosts and Hauntings


Bathsheba Sherman, Bathsheba Sherman Ghosts and Haunting

Bathsheba Sherman

Ghosts and Haunting


Many of you have no doubt seen 'The Conjuring'. Many of the questions have been about the 'witch' Bathsheba Sherman, so rather than detailing all of the haunting s in full, which would be quite an interesting task indeed and one that would take a long while, I thought I would just focus on Bathsheba herself and see what facts are present.

Bathsheba Thayer was born on Rhode Island in 1812, and, in her early thirties, she married Judson Sherman who was one year older than her on March 10, 1844. About five years later they had a son named Herbert. The Shermans owned a farm in which Judson worked during the long days while Bathsheba kept house and looked after their young son. Although it is believed that the Shermans had several other children, a girl and two more boys, there are no records to substantiate this or the fact they were all meant to have died in their young years.

However, living the good life it was all to turn around for Bathsheba when a infant died whilst in her care. Different sources get a little bit sketchy on just whose baby it was, some say it was a neighbouring family‘s while others say it was one of the Sherman children, but the result was the same... the cause of death was found to be an impalement at the base of the child's skull, probably from a large gauge sewing needle, and Bathsheba was put on trial.

Many of the townsfolk believed the child's death was a sacrifice on Bathsheba's part to the devil, or some form of witchcraft. There was much jealousy aimed towards Bathsheba, she was beautiful and many of the local women coveted her looks, no doubt some of this envy fuelled the rumours. However Bathsheba was cleared of any wrong doing, there was insufficient evidence to find her guilty of murder, accidental or otherwise. Unfortunately the law courts are not the only courts, and it was the court of public opinion that was to do the most damage and cause Bathsheba to lead a more sheltered life thereafter.

Locals held onto their belief that she was up to dark deeds and possibly some of them knew stuff that we can not possibly know today, after such a long period of time. Something changed in her after this time, she became embittered and began to treat the hired help on the farm poorly. She would physically assault them, and in some instances starve them, not to death, but rather fed them poorly. Bathsheba never hanged herself, but rather lived to quite an old age. She had outlived her husband Judson by four years when she died at the age of 72/73 (her exact date of birth is not known but the date of her death was May 25, 1885).

She died from a strange case of paralysis which doctors did not completely understand at the time. Reportedly the medical report on her death states that her body had turned as if to stone. This no doubt further fuelled the rumors of Bathsheba Sherman being a witch, having made a deal with the devil.
Her son Herbert outlived her, had a family and children of his own.


So was Bathsheba  a witch?


Asides from the strange death of the child in her care and the public opinion there are no hard facts as to this being the case. However there probably would not be either way. If she had caused that child's death, and had done so via impaling the infants skull, then that is an unforgivable act in any aspect. The main photograph with this post is said to be the oldest surviving photo of what was then known as the Arnold Farmhouse, which nearly a hundred years after this photo was taken would be purchased by the Perron family. There are several websites and researchers that believe the woman in the chequered dress at the front is Bathsheba Sherman, who lived on a neighbouring property. If it is her then this photo would have been taken just before her death, as it was taken at about 1885. Bathsheba is buried in the Harrisville Cemetery, the fenced off enclosure also holds the headstone of her husband. Bathsheba's headstone had been broken in half, possibly by vandals or those taunting her in death. She was well known of before the movie was released, though not by as many people.

As for the haunting, the Perrons have stated there is some confusion as to Bathsheba's role in the whole affair. Roger Perron believes the entity he saw one night was that of a woman who had hanged herself in the barn (in her 90's). She appeared with a very obvious broken neck, the face seemed to change form, from looking like a dessicated hornets nest (cracks, ridges, deep gouges) to that of a old woman with a vacant stare. However Cynthia saw something slightly different as revealed in this interview:

"I was playing upstairs with the Little People, and the door opens to the closet. I thought it was one of my sisters coming through the door, but it wasn’t. It was an older woman with her head tilted to the side and her arms out (she was wearing gray dress with little yellow flowers all over it, and a gray apron or pinafore.) She had a handkerchief held out. I looked at the face, just for a second, and then I looked down and saw the handkerchief. I didn’t see any feet.
So I jumped up and bolted. I ran through the next bedroom and down those stairs, but I was running so fast that I missed the landing in the middle of the stairs. So, I ended up kind of going down them on my butt. Well, my mom just happened to be coming in from the kitchen, which meets at the bottom of the stairs, and she basically caught me. I was hysterical, and, at that time, holding my back and trying to explain to her what just happened. And she’s more concerned about what’s going on with my back. And I’m like, ‘I don’t care about that, mom. She just came to me and said, “Come to me, little girl. Come to me, little girl."

The link with Bathsheba and the haunting was made when Carolyn Perron (the mother) was lying on a sofa when she felt a sharp prick in her leg followed by muscle spasms. When she checked her leg she found a small amount of blood coming from a perfectly circular hole in her leg. It was Lorraine Warren (an investigator who worked on the case) who went on to suggest that that mark was very similar to what was described as having been done to the infant who died under Bathsheba's care.

Main Photo: Arnold Farmhouse, about 1885, later the Perron home.
Inset left: Bathsheba Sherman headstone.
Inset right: Close up of the headstone.

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Reference:

Trespass Magazine

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