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Moll Pitcher

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Moll Pitcher was born in 1736 and was believed to be descended from generations of wizards. Known originally as Mary Diamond, she was a shoemaker’s daughter from Marblehead, Massachusetts. Though when she was a young girl there were no public schools for her to attend she does seen to have acquired some form of education. She wed Robert Pitcher, apprentice to her father in 1760. It wasn’t until after she was married that her reputation as a fortune teller came to the fore. Her family were not surprised by her talents, after all her grandfather had been known as ‘The Wizard of Marblehead’ and was widely known for being able to use his powers to save sailors when their ships wrecked during a storm. Moll grew to command the same kind of reputation. She is even claimed to have prophesised that George Washington would be made president.

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Tassomancy; the reading of tea leaves was her chosen method of divination. Over the fifty years that she practiced her trade her reputation did nothing but grow. The people she read for were amazed by the accuracy of her predictions. People from all walks of life found their way to her door from European noblemen to uneducated paupers. The most important of her predictions were related to the sea, to the outcomes of voyages that were to be undertaken. If she said that the voyage was ill fated then the crew would refuse to sail, and the wealthy merchants that owned the ships would not release them for the voyage. There were those who came to see her looking for financial gain but they were given short shrift from Mrs Pitcher. The people that lived in the region considered her to be a witch, and indeed living where she did, if she had been born a century earlier she would probably have been executed.

Making the News

In 1879 an article was published about her in the Boston Traveller, which gave readers something more of an insight into the woman herself and not just her amazing abilities.  Unlike the accounts that described her as a wizened hag, Moll had been a woman of striking appearance and quite beautiful in her youth. She was always well dressed and fashionable. Time was not kind though, she grew thin with age and her features became sharp, giving her a somewhat fierce appearance.

Moll seemed to possess a keen ability to judge people, see their true nature and relate their persona to the events that surrounded them. For those who provoked her or doubted her skills there was the fear of being cursed, of having the devil himself sent after them. Therefore it was a brave person that confronted her.  Moll died at the age of seventy five, she had four children and many grandchildren though there is no record of whether any of them were blessed with her ability to divine the future. Moll Pitcher was laid to rest in the old cemetery which lies opposite the South Street Church.

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