Half-Hangit Maggie: The Strange Tale of Maggie Dickson

Hello there! Pull up a chair. Today I am going to tell you a strange tale about a woman named Maggie Dickson who lived in Scotland in the 18th century. History remembers her better as Half-Hangit Maggie.

The story of Maggie Dickson began when her husband abandoned her. Forced to find work, she took a job at an inn in Kelso in the Scottish Borders, where she became involved with the innkeeper’s son. You can probably guess what happened next. Yes, Maggie became pregnant.

Because she did not want to jeopardize her job, she concealed her pregnancy. Unfortunately, the baby was born prematurely and died. In an attempt to further hide her ordeal, Maggie decided to place the lifeless little body in the nearby River Tweed. She was unable to go through with it, however, and instead left the wee one on the river bank. The baby was discovered, and Maggie’s secret was out.

Maggie Dickson was arrested and taken to Edinburgh, where she was tried and convicted for her crime. On September 2, 1724, Maggie hanged in Grassmarket. After being pronounced dead, she was placed in a coffin for transferral back to her home in Musselburgh.

Then something extraordinary happened. On the trip to Musselburgh, the travelers heard a banging coming from the inside of the wooden box. Just imagine their fright! Upon inspection, they discovered that Maggie was not dead, but was, in fact, very much ALIVE! The law ultimately deemed that it was God’s will that she survived the gallows, and Maggie Dickson went on to live another 40 years.

The legend of Maggie, ie. Half-Hangit Maggie continues to this day. I told you it was a strange one! If you fancy it, there is a pub named in her honor in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket where it all went down nearly three-hundred years ago. If you visit the pub, lift a pint to her spirit and cheers the woman who somehow, quite miraculously, managed to survive her own execution.

Maggie Dickson's Whisky and Ale House in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Cheers, Maggie!  And to you too.