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Moll Dyer (died 1697), is the name of a legendary 17th-century resident of Leonardtown, Maryland who was said to have been accused of witchcraft and chased out of her home by the local townsfolk on a winter night. No historical record has been found of Moll Dyer's existence. The Washington Times has called her "perhaps Maryland's best-known bit of witch lore".[1]

Contents

Moll Dyer's Rock

According to legend, Moll Dyer rested on a large stone before she died, leaving indentations behind. In 1972, an 875-pound boulder was found in a wooded ravine in Leonardtown, which is supposed to bear the marks of Dyer's hand and knees. The rock was transported to the courthouse lawn in front of the old 1848 jailhouse, which now serves as the St. Mary's County Historical Society building, and is there to this day.[2]

Cultural influences

The story of Dyer inspired a ballet production, Legend of the Witch, Moll Dyer, choreographed by St. Mary's Ballet founder Jane Caputo and set to the music of Loreena McKennitt. The ballet is produced at the College of Southern Maryland's Leonardtown campus as part of the county's yearly Halloween celebration. The ballet recasts the legend in the mold of a morality tale of feminism and tolerance. According to ballet company's literature, "The ballet is a poignant and beautiful look at the unfortunate results of intolerance in societies and is relevant to our own time."[3]

A road in Leonardtown, Moll Dyer Road, is named after her.[4]

This account of Moll Dyer also inspired the cult movie The Blair Witch Project, in which Moll Dyer was supposed to be the Witch.

References

External links

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