Famous Witches

Witches and witchcraft have been very popular subjects throughout history in many legends, tales and myths. We also have more reliable documentary evidence of real or supposed witches being present in more recent times.

These biographies of selected personalities include witches and witch figures from myth and folklore as well as self-confessed witches and occultists throughout recorded history and people who have made important contributions to the development of witchcraft and related beliefs, even while perhaps not practicing witch craft themselves.

The list has been split the list into four chronological categories:

Contemporary Witches:

  • Eleanor Bone (1910 – 2001)
  • Stewart Farrar (1916 – 2000)
  • Rosaleen (“Roie”) Norton (1917 – 1979)
  • Doreen Valiente (1922 – 1999)
  • Sybil Leek (1922 – 1982)
  • Monique Wilson (1923 – 1982)
  • Alex Sanders (1926 – 1988)
  • Patricia Crowther (1927 – )
  • Anton LaVey (1930 – 1997)
  • Laurie Cabot (1933 – )
  • Ray Buckland (1934 – )
  • Zsuzsanna Budapest (1940 – )
  • Margot Adler (1946 – 2014)
  • Janet Farrar (1950 – )
  • Gavin Bone (1964 – )
  • Raven Grimassi (1951 – )
  • Starhawk (1951 – )
  • Silver RavenWolf (1956 – )

Biblical, Mythical and Folklore Witches:

  • Witch of Endor Accredited with the raising of the spirit of Samuel at the request of King Saul of Israel. In the bible it is said Saul wished to find out whether he should fight the Philistine Army. Some say that the witch was a fake and that she was able to throw her voice to sound like Samuel. Some believed that there may have been a spirit conjured but that it was more likely to have been the Devil or a demon.
  • Solomon
  • Simon Magus
  • Hecate
  • Circe
  • Medea
  • Cassandra
  • Abaris the Hyperborean
  • Baba Yaga
  • Morgan Le Fey
  • Merlin
  • Holda
  • Aradia

Medieval and Renaissance Witches:

  • Angéle de la Barthe (c.1230 – 1275)
  • Alice Kyteler (1280 – c.1325) Lady Alice was a wealthy woman from Ireland who was accused of witchcraft. It is said that she lured her husband into marrying her for the purpose of money. These charges were later dropped. She moved to England were she lived in luxury until her death.
  • Abramelin the Mage (15th Century)
  • Anne Boleyn (1507-1536) Ann was the second wife of King Henry VIII of England. Her own husband accused her of witchcraft sighting her sixth finger (a common witches mark in those days) and the fact that she could not bear children. She was beheaded.
  • Agatha Southeil (c.1470 – c.1488)
  • Mother Shipton (c.1488 – 1561) A 15th Century Yorkshire witch. She was said to have powers of prophecy, healing and spell-casting. Many of her prophecies about modern times have come true. Some of those examples include airplanes, cars, scientific inventions, technology, politics and war.
  • Cornelius Agrippa (1486 – 1535)
  • Johann Weyer (Johannes Wier) (1515 – 1588)
  • Joan of Navarre (1370-1437) – The Duchess of Brittany who was the wife of King Henry IV of England. She was accused of being a witch and conspiring to bring down the king. Later she was pardoned and reinstated.
  • Joan of Arc (1412-1431) She was not accused of being a witch so much as she was a relapsed heretic who denied the authority of the church.
  • Dr. John Dee (1507 – c.1608)
  • Edward Kelley (1555 – 1597)
  • Walpurga Hausmannin (? – 1587)
  • Isobel Gowdie (? – 1662)
  • La Voisin (c.1640 – 1680)
  • Moll Dyer (? – 1697)

Modern Era Witches:

  • Joan Wytte (1775 – 1813) A Cornish woman also known by the name of the Fighting Fairy Woman of Bodmin. She was said to be clairvoyant, a seer, diviner and healer. She was known to visit a holy well where she tied clouties (a charm created from strip of cloth taken from a sick person. This would decay and was thought to heal the ill person in a magical way. This act is still done today.) on the branches of trees.As a result of a tooth abscess she became very ill-tempered and would shout at and become angry with people. It is said that she, in a fit of rage, used her remarkable strength and bashed people and threw them across a room using magick. She was arrested and sent to jail where she died as a result of the poor conditions. When she died her body was dissected and the skeleton was placed in a coffin. Later on, her bones were recovered and used as a joke in a séance which went. Eventually, her remains found their way to the founder of a Museum of Witchcraft. While on display in the museum, the building experienced poltergeist activity. A witch was then bought in to communicate with the ghost. She claimed it was Wytte’s spirit and that she wished to have a proper burial.The empty coffin remains on display along with a plaque accounting her story.
  • Tamsin Blight (1798 – 1856) A famous English witch and healer who was said to be able to remove curses or spells from a person. She was also said to have put spells on those who did not please her. She was also known as Tammy Blee and Tamson.
  • Marie Laveau (c.1801 – 1881) The most renowned voodoo queen in North America was actually a mother and daughter. Their appeal was their magical powers, control both lovers and enemies, and sex. Marie, the first, was an extremely powerful women who increased her powers using all of the secrets she was told. Marie, the second, was feared more than her mother and often inspired subservience.
  • Eliphas Lévi (1810 – 1875)
  • Florence Newton (mid-17th Century) One of the most famous trials in Ireland was that of Florence Newton also known as “the Witch of Youghal”. She was accused of bewitching people into fits which often killed them. Her trial, unlike most trials, involved no physical torture. It is said that one young, bewitched lady vomited unusual things and that objects were thrown at her. If Florence Newton was left un-cuffed, the same young lady would have fits and fall immediately ill but if handcuffed would remain calm.
  • George Pickingill (c.1816 – c.1909)
  • Isobel Goldie (?-1662) It is said that she had wild sexual escapades with the devil who eventually initiated her into the art of witchcraft. She confessed this several times though many thought that it was just a story she had made up and that it had simply gotten out of hand. There are no records as to what really happened to her or the other people she accused confessed to being witches.
  • Charles Leland (1824 – 1903)
  • Caroline of Brunswick (1768-1821) She was Queen to King George IV of England. It is said that, due to constant neglect on the part of her husband, she resorted to creating a wax effigy of him. Using stick pins and thorns, she tortured the effigy and the placed it in the palace fireplace.
  • Dolly Pentreath (1692-1777) Born in Cornwall, England, she never married but had a son. She was accredited with the knowledge of astrology and possessed magical powers. She was able to use those powers for both good and bad.
  • A. E. Waite (1857 – 1942)
  • Margaret Murray (1863 – 1963)
  • Mary Butters (late 18th century-early 19th century) Known as the Carmoney Witch, she narrowly escaped trial for the killing of a cow and three people. She claimed at her inquest she saw a black man who killed the three people and that she was knocked unconscious. Later, the incident was made into a humorous ballad.
  • Margaret Jones (?-1648) A physician and the first witch to be executed in Massachusetts Bay Colony. She was accused of being a witch after the conditions of the patients under her care became worse. It is said that the real reason why these patients became worse was because they refused to take the medications she prescribed.
  • Aleister Crowley (1875 – 1947)
  • Gerald Gardner (1884 – 1964)
  • Dion Fortune (1890 – 1946)
  • Elisabeth Sawyer (?-1621) Elisabeth Sawyer, also known as “Witch of Edmonton” was accused of bewitching her neighbors children and cattle because the neighbors refused to buy her brooms. During fierce questioning, she confessed and was hanged.
  • Old Dorothy Clutterbuck (1880-1951) Clutterbuck was allegedly the high priestess of a coven of witches and was said to have initiated Gerald B. Gardner into witchcraft. It also said that Clutterbuck was actually not the high priestess but a protector of the high priestess that the real high priestess was a woman by the name of Dafo. She was a woman of high respect and wealth.