HEALING by using what was deemed the dark arts in the mid-16th century resulted in a person being accused of witchcraft.

This was before the start of the Great Witch Hunts of the later 16th, 17th and early 18th centuries.

In Clackmannan on July 16, 1700, 38-year-old John Scobie, son of John Scobie, of Clackmannan, was called before the judiciary court and interrogated.

It was alleged he had gone with his uncle James Scobie to a south running well at Grassmainston to conduct magic.

He said that on the first night he was there with him, his uncle took off his clothes, but his attention was drawn to movement nearby.

He had caught sight of a black man coming from Kersemill, and when this man reached the head of Robert Stupart's folds, Scobie could hear cattle squealing.

He also stated that when he was in the well with his uncle, and his uncle was splashing water in him, he saw a bridled cat coming out of the cornfield a short distance away.

The reason they had gone to the well was to sprinkle magic powders on his uncle while he was naked, which he received from his uncle's wife Margaret Bruce.

She had told him that the woman who instructed her 'would get a flee before he came back.'

On returning to Goldney Scobie then heard a loud noise like coaches, and by the time he entered the house, he was dripping with sweat.

Margaret had told him not speak when coming or going so he remained quiet.

When his aunt and uncle came to his home the second night, expecting him to go once more to the well, Scobie refused.

That was until a man called Robert Reid arrived

They all saw the black man, and the cat, then heard the cattle squeal once more.

When they were coming back again, a strong wind picked up, bending and bowing the trees by the side of the River Devon.

When crossing the Cartechy Burn, his uncle's foot slipped, and he fell into the burn.

At that moment Reid said: "The cure is lost. There is no helping of you now.'"

They discussed it on the way home, as Margaret had told them that if he fell into the water, he would not be cured of whatever ailed him.

Scobie went on to tell the inquiry that Margaret wept when told of her husband's fall into the burn.

The outcome of the case is unknown.