Ep. 103 – The Ghost of Cock Lane

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In 1762, an unusual scandal riveted the population of London: the case of the Cock Lane Ghost. The story had something for everyone. Forbidden love, money, death and the supernatural were all elements in the sad tale of “Scratching Fanny of Cock Lane.” After the death of Fanny Lynes from smallpox, her lover William Kent fell under public suspicion of murder after séances were held to determine who or what was behind the scratching noises coming from the home on Cock Lane. The one person that these noises seemed to be attached to was the young daughter, Elizabeth Parsons, of the landlord who owned the Cock Lane home, and it was determined from these sessions that Fanny had not died from smallpox, but rather arsenic poisoning that Kent had administered to her!

After reading the accusations in the press, William Kent vowed to clear his name. He enlisted two of the physicians that had attended Fanny in her last days, as well as a reverend to help hold their own séances, but it wasn’t until a maid revealed that she had seen the young daughter sneak out of the séance to get a small stick that the whole thing was exposed as a fraud. Elizabeth Parsons confessed that her father had made her make the scratching noises for him in retaliation of a loan disagreement between the two men.

Join us on episode 103 to hear more about the sordid tale of Scratching Fanny of Cock Lane!

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