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The Strange Case of Hellish Nell

Helen Duncan's Story ... as told Nina Shandler

ISBN: 0306814382
Published November 2006 by Da Capo Press

The Strange Case of Hellish Nell by Nina Shandler, [available from runs to 289 pages. It has been reviewed by Monica Stark as follows:

"In England, in 1944, Helen Duncan became the last person to be tried [and imprisoned] under the Witchcraft Act of 1735. As interesting as the story of Duncan - nicknamed Hellish Nell in her home village of Callender - is, the author's own story of discovery is almost as good.

The 44-year-old Scottish mother of six is [dubbed] England's last 'official' witch. Duncan’s file had been ordered closed for 100 years. But a clerical error at the Home Office Records in London put the closed file in the hands of Shandler, an American psychologist, family therapist and author, leading her to stare in dismay at a note in Winston Churchill’s own hand at the top of the file, alluding to the “obsolete tomfoolery” that investigators were indulging in. In 'The Strange Case of Hellish Nell', and with the help of that closed file plus a lot of footwork, Shandler recreates Duncan's remarkable life.

A fascinating work that reads like an interesting but off-beat piece of fiction."

Published Date: January 19th 2007

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