King James VI Brings a Macabre Fad Back to Scotland
in 1560 a ravenous coastal storm forced sea-traveling King James VI of Scotland to take refuge in Norway for weeks.
The King was was en route to marry Princess Anne of Denmark in Copenhagen. Heavily influenced by the ongoing Trier Witch Trials in neighboring Germany, Copenhagen was experiencing a witch frenzy of its own.
Anna Koldings was the first Danish woman to be accused of sorcery.
After being tortured for a time, Anna admitted to summoning the storms that had ravaged the seaway of King James' voyage. She said she bade devils to climb up the keels of the ships. Koldings also named several other women before eventually being burned at the stake.
King James VI was fascinated with the idea of black magic being blamed for nature's blunders. After marrying Anne in Norway, he brought the concept of witch trials back to Scotland where it quickly become just as trendy.
The resulting North Berwick witch trials in Scotland lasted from 1590-1592 and claimed an estimated 3,000-4,000 lives.