Inspiration can come from anywhere. During my research of witches from around the world, I discovered Maggie's Wall. This is why I developed the character of Maggie Balfour in my novel, Magick. Balfour was a popular name among those hunted for witchcraft in Scotland, and no one knows who the "Maggie" of this dedication truly is. Thus, I gave dear Maggie a story - for no one's tale should end as an unknown finish.
Outside of a small village of Dunning, nestled in the former parklands of Duncrub Castle, lies a monument. It’s a collection of stones about 20 feet high, topped with a cross and decorated with gifts left by visitors—pennies, feathers, shells, fluffy stuffed animals, and tiny tea candles. The stones bear the words in stark white lettering: “Maggie Wall burnt here 1657 as a witch.”
Scotland was home to nearly 3,800 people accused of witchcraft between 1500s and 1700s, the vast majority of whom were women. In the end, about 1,500 were murdered as a result of witch hunt inquisitions. However, mysteriously, there is no record of a woman named Maggie Wall being tried as a witch. What’s more, there’s no record of the monument itself until 1866, though a forest surrounding the monument called Maggie Walls Wood was documented as of 1829.
Some claim that Maggie Wall did exist, her records simply didn’t. Some locals theorize that a member of the Rollos, a powerful family that lived in Duncrub Castle, had an affair with Maggie Wall and built the monument out of guilt. Another theory is that Maggie was a part of a backlash against a group of officials trying to elect a new local minister. The group was attacked by a horde of women, and some believe Maggie could have been singled out and punished.
The accepted theory is that this monument stands as a testament to all the witches murdered in Scotland during the witch hunts as no other such monument exists. Perhaps the name was taken from the surrounding wood to represent the countless and forgotten women who were killed. Occasionally a wreath is laid at the foot of the monument, serving as a reminder of the injustices suffered by the mysterious symbolic witch, Maggie Wall.
This monument is located right outside of Dunning Scotland. Dunning is in Perth and Kinross. It is off of the road B8062 which you can access from the A9 highway.