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Local Council Launches Search For 300-Year-Old Witch

Lilias Adie died in prison in the year 1704. 

She was accused of witchcraft and had confessed to the crimes of being a witch and having sex with the devil.

Her death came before she was formally convicted of any crimes and before she could face the punishment for witchcraft-- being strangled and burned at the stake.

She was buried by locals in the Scottish village of Torryburn in the parish of Fife. Despite her death, members of the public were concerned she might 'reanimate' and rise from her grave to terrorise them.

To prevent this, they buried her under a large stone.

A digital image of Lilias Adie by the University of Dundee. Photo: AAP Photos.

Now, 300 years since her death, local government officials at Fife Council have launched a campaign to locate Aide's remains and give her a proper funeral.

"It's important to recognise that Lilias Adie and the thousands of other men and women accused of witchcraft in early modern Scotland were not the evil people history has portrayed them to be. They were the innocent victims of unenlightened times," local government official Julie Ford said in a statement.

But it seems the search will be more difficult than expected. Back in 1852 Adie's skull and some of her bones were dug-up from her burial site and removed by antique hunters.

Her skull was later located in the St Andrew's University Museum, according to CNN. A photo of her skull that dates to 1904 was taken at the museum, but her head and the rest of her bones later went missing.

A digital image of Lilias Adie by the University of Dundee. Photo: AAP Photos.

The University of Dundee in Scotland has used the 1904 photograph to construct a digitised image of what Adie would have looked like.

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According to CNN, at least 3,500 women were killed for being witches between 1560 and 1727.

Hundreds of years before Adie's time, the first Great Scottish Witch Hunt took place in 1597. A series of nation-wide trials for people accused of witchcraft and contact with the devil took place between March and October. It's believed about 200 people were executed after being found guilty of the crime.

The witch hunt in 1597 was the first of five major hunts which took place in 1590/91, 1628-31, 1649/50 and 1661/62.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au