A Case Of Alien Abduction That Became A Witch Trial

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
April 21, 2020
Last Updated
November 14, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
5 min read
Posted in
Aliens, Abductions

If we accept that alien abductions are real, then given the wealth of reports throughout recorded history of strange objects in the sky and equally strange creatures roaming the Earth, then it is highly likely that alien abductions have also occurred for centuries.

And while in our contemporary era the reactions to such revelations can be anywhere from mocking and ridicule on the one hand to being the subject of a serious investigation to your claims on the other, hundreds of years ago such claims would almost certainly draw accusations of satanism, Devil worship, and witchcraft. And what’s more, it would appear they often did.

A sketch of Thomas Weir blended into a picture of a UFO

Was Thomas Weir actually abducted by aliens?

While there are several cases that could perhaps be examined and interpreted in such a way, one of the most intriguing occurred in Scotland toward the end of the 17th century. It features the apparent confessions of a respected former military officer of the Scottish army, who along with his sister, seemingly sealed their own fate with claims of strange creatures, “fiery coaches” and bizarre walking sticks.

If the following account is one of misunderstood alien abduction, possibly even by those claiming to have experienced the strange incidents, then it should alert us to the fact that this can’t have been the only such account of the times. It is perhaps the case that many other similar accounts can be found elsewhere in other official records of the past.

The account we will examine here comes to us from the writing of Charles McKay in his 1841 publication Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. We have, of course, put our own speculation around the account.

The Bizarre (And Fatal) Sickbed Confessions Of Major Thomas Weir

The case we will examine here is that Major Thomas Weir a one-time respected Scottish soldier and commander of the Edinburgh Town Guard, who upon his sickbed in early 1670 apparently confessed to the Lord Provost some obscure and bizarre activities, not least an apparent practicing interest in the occult. What’s more these activities involved his sister, Jean Weir. [1]

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of these confessions came when Jean herself appeared to break down and tell of a lifetime of strange occurrences. Most interesting to us here as far as UFOs go is how a mysterious stranger arrived seemingly out of nowhere in a “fiery coach” to take her brother away. During this bizarre journey, said to have occurred in 1648, this strange entity would impart “supernatural intelligence”, mainly in relation to a battle taking place at Worcester that very day, a battle the Scots lost.

A depiction of Weir's encounters

A depiction of Weir’s encounters

We should perhaps pause here to examine the wording of “fiery coach”. Anyone with half an interest in the ancient astronaut theory will be familiar with terms such as “fiery chariots” or “chariots of fire” and how many perceive these descriptions to be of a nuts-and-bolts, metallic, futuristic craft. Might this be the case here – if we assume Jean Weir was being truthful of the account – that the fiery coach was a craft that we would call today, a UFO.

And even stranger, the fact that her brother was “taken away” during this sudden appearance also has all the hallmarks of an alien abduction encounter. However, it would appear that whatever the truth of the matter, this incident seemingly set off a chain of events that would eventually lead to the confession of the Weirs to activities that would result in nothing less than their execution.

Alien Abduction Or Genuine Interest In Occultism?

While the confession was not taken seriously at first, in part due to the noble standing Weir enjoyed but also due to the suspicion he was suffering senility, following the bizarre confessions of Jean both were arrested and tried for witchcraft. They were ultimately found guilty, although it is perhaps worth taking note – and certainly an indicator of the hypocritical times – while his sister was found guilty of witchcraft, he was found guilty on the “lesser” charges of incest and bestiality.

While awaiting execution (in different locations), however, further details would come out. These would revolve around, as the charges above suggest, incest with his sister, and consorting with strange creatures, one of whom was the Devil himself, who would often disguise himself as an old woman.

a pair of hands about to catch a glowing orb

Might there be an occult aspect to alien abduction encounters

This description is also of interest to us here. Was the “old woman” the same demonic hag experienced by many who suffer from sleep paralysis, a condition often associated with cases of alien abduction, rightly or wrongly. Or might it be that the “old woman” was actually something we might recognize as a grey alien today? Might an old woman have been the best way Weir could describe it, especially if he suspected occultism to be at the heart of these strange sightings?

What’s more, a walking stick which Weir would carry with him (which had a strange carved head as its topping), was regarded as an item of distrust and wickedness. So much so, that many townsfolk would later spread the rumors of seeing the walking stick moving of its own accord in front of the major.

While it is again speculation on our part here, might it be that this walking stick – if it did have some kind of strange power – was not magic but a technical device?

Claims Of Hauntings At The Weirs’ Family Home For Over A Century After

It is also interesting to examine the final moments and words of Major Weir. As he was taken to the location of his execution, he was urged to repent his sins and beg God for forgiveness. However, both he, as would his sister the following day, would refuse to repent. Major Thomas’s apparent last words were that he had “lived as a beast and must die as a beast!”

This is perhaps an interesting development. If we believe that the Weirs were so guilt ridden and so fearful of what might await them in the afterlife, then repentance would have been the first thing they would have done, regardless if it would do little to avert their brutal fate.

While Major Weir was garroted and then burnt at the stake, his sister Jean was hanged the following day before also burnt at the stake. A final twist in the whole macabre affair was that the stick with the carved head was thrown into the flames after Weir. Witnesses would state that it appeared to “turn” strangely in the flames.

A sketch of the Weir house

A sketch of the Weir house

In the years that followed, Weir’s one-time home had claims of being haunted and of general strange activity. In fact, so convinced were most of these bizarre and otherworldly happenings in the property that it would remain virtually abandoned for over a century. It was eventually purchased in 1780 by a former soldier, William Patullo. However, he and his wife would flee the property after one evening after experiencing strange activity in their bedroom with the sudden appearance of a bizarre calf heading toward them.

The house would then remain empty for another half a century before being demolished in 1830.

A Bizarre Lifetime Of Occurrences With No Apparent Regret

Just what did happen during the lifetime of Major Thomas Weir and his sister, Jean, will remain a mystery. Was it merely a case of the Weirs falling foul of the moral expectations of the times and the brutal justice of the Church, whose own influence over the justice system at the time, while diminishing was still strong? Or is this a case of repeated alien abductions over several decades? Abductions that might very well have disturbed both of their minds to the degree where they would attempt to make reason of the happenings using the logic of the times.

What should we make of both of the Weirs’ refusal to repent? Had they simply lost their faith in God? Had they come to accept and understand the true nature of the strange visitations? Or might they have genuinely believed the strange happenings to be the work of the Devil? Was the interest in the occult also genuine for which the siblings expressed no regret?

There is little doubt if we or others were to search through the records and writings of the centuries that we would find other such cases that could very well be those of alien visitation. Perhaps the whole subject of witchcraft – at least as it was perceived in the past – and connections to UFO sightings and alien abduction is worthy of our time a little more in-depth in a future article. If we accept the reasoned chance that different aspects of the paranormal likely share the same truth, then it would make sense that such fields of interest as the occult and witchcraft would also share those truths.


1 Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Charles Mackay, ISBN 9781853 263491

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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