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The Strange Case of Hellish Nell

The Story of Helen Duncan and the Witch Trial of World War II

by Nina Shandler


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On March 23, 1944, as the allied forces prepared for D-Day, Britain’s most famous psychic, Helen Duncan-“Nell” to her family-stood in the dock of Britain’s highest criminal court accused of...witchcraft. It was a trial so bizarre Winston Churchill grumbled, “Why all this tomfoolery?” But the Prime Minister was not privy to the Military Intelligence agenda fueling the prosecution: Duncan’s séances were accurately revealing top-secret British ship movements. The authorities wanted “Hellish Nell” silenced. Using diaries, personal papers, interviews, and declassified documents, Nina Shandler resurrects this strange courtroom episode and the shadowy world of wartime secrets and psychics. Sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, The Strange Case of Hellish Nell is a true crime tale laced with supernatural phenomena and wartime intrigue.

Publication Details

Da Capo Press
Publication Date:


Nina Shandler (Author)

Nina Shandler, Ed.D., a licensed psychologist and family therapist, is the author of Estrogen: The Natural Way and Ophelia's Mom. She lives in Massachusetts.

More about Nina Shandler
The Strange Case of Hellish Nell
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