An elderly widow named Alice Fowler, thought to be a witch for a long time because she often talked to herself, people thought she talked to spirits, she nursed a girl who reported she was a witch, her son Walter often accused her as well, but was hung in Barbados for murdering his wife, after which Alice fell sick, a neighbor nursing her found her dead, naked, and with clay all over he back, her toes tied together, they found five black teats on her.
Strange News from Shadwell, Being a True and Just Relation of the Death of Alice Fowler takes place in King Fleet and focuses on the accusation against Alice of being a witch and her eventual death. Alice Fowler was a widowed woman that was viewed as being evil and had been deemed a witch by her peers for years. When she was witnessed speaking to herself, some would say that she was talking to spirits and communicating with those beyond the realm of the living. Although she sold biscuits, it was not enough to keep her from living a life of poverty.
While there was no concrete evidence of the accusations against Alice, a young girl whom she had nursed accused her of being a witch. Even after twenty years had passed, the young girl, now a young woman was still afraid of Alice and her “trickery”. Many people believed the young woman was scared of Alice and her perceived witchcraft until the day she died. The young woman’s accusations were not the only ones that helped other believe that she was a witch; her own son accused her of the same crime. Her son, Walter, left to Barbados and fifteen years after his move he still was being bewitched by his mother. Walter believed that he could still see his mother in his room, though no one else would be able to do so. Walter continued to accuse his mother of bewitchment until the day of his death which he caused by murdering his wife and being hung as a punishment.
Over the years, Alice had become ill and had to resort to having a neighbor help with her care in her own furnished room. One day her neighbor had left to retrieve something for her and had left her alone and locked in her room, he returned and found Alice dead. Alice’s body had been found lying naked on the floor and with her two great toes tied together. Other neighbors were called in to see Alice and they all were shocked when they saw her dead body and said it smelled terrible. Some neighbors were curious enough to want to search her body and they found five black teats on her private area. Because of the previous accusations made against Alice and the condition of her dead body, everyone refused to attend her burial. At the end of the pamphlet we are told that this was a true story and the people of King-Street all affirmed this. All of the statements are believed to come from a credible source, who investigated the story from people who had been neighbors of Alice.