Leonardtown, MD

The Blood Chilling Legend of Moll Dyer Who was Accused of Witchcraft

Yana Bostongirl

A resident of Leonardtown, Maryland, Moll Dyer was accused of witchcraft during the 1600s. Her harrowing story in turn spawned several local tales and is even said to have been the inspiration behind the 1999 movie The Blair Witch Project.

Moll Dyer and her brothers were indentured servants who came from Devon, England. They had spent time in West Indies before settling in Maryland. Reports suggest she was familiar with medicinal herbs and natural remedies.

According to reports, the winter of 1697/98 had been especially hard on residents of St, Mary's County mainly because of deaths caused by influenza which resulted in people accusing Moll Dyer of witchcraft. Somehow managing to escape the mob that came for her, she was later found frozen to a large stone as this excerpt explains: "A mob of villagers set fire to her small hut in woods just south of what is now Leonardtown. She escaped both the fire and the mob and was found several days later laying frozen to a large rock."

The famous rock dubbed the Moll Dyer rock mysteriously disappeared from the public eye for centuries before a writer for the Washington Evening Star, Philip H. Love, discovered it in the woods behind Moll Dyer Road. The rock was housed at the Old Jail before being moved to Tudor Hall in Leonardtown.

The local myths claim there are indentations on the rock that was made by her right hand and represent a curse she had placed on the town and the people who had driven her to her tragic death. It is also said that her spirit haunts the area looking for those who wronged her as this excerpt explains: "Stories say her spirit haunts the land, looking for the men who forced her from her home. The land near her cabin is said to be cursed, never again growing good crops, and an unusual number of lightning strikes have been recorded there. A white dog is mentioned as causing accidents on Moll Dyer road."

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