Molly Leigh was born in Burslem in 1685 (now part of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, where I was born 282 years later). She was a solitary person who made her living selling milk.
Molly Leigh's Cottage
She was an eccentric person who kept a pet blackbird that sat on her shoulder when she bought milk to Burslem to sell. She was known for her quick temper and the local population were suspicious of her.
She was accused of being a witch by Rev. Spencer in 1746 when her blackbird flew into the Turk's Head pub and allegedly turned the beer sour.
Before she could be tried however she died of natural causes and was buried in St John's Church Burslem.
St John's Church, Burslem
The locals went back to her house and when they walked through the door there was Molly Leigh sitting by the fire with her blackbird.
The terrified locals killed her and reburied her. Once again they went to her house and there she was again. So they killed her again and reburied her but this time the grave was turned round to face North South instead of the normal East West and her blackbird was buried with her. Molly Leigh stayed dead this time.
Molly Leigh's grave, St John's Church, Burslem
I've been and seen the grave many times and was told the legend as a small child. The local legend states that if you run round the grave 3 times at midnight chanting "Molly Leigh. Molly Leigh. Come out and catch me" she will rise from the grave and do you in. When my Dad was dating my Mum in the early 1960s he took her to the graveyard and ran round the grave chanting twice but bottled the 3rd time. More recently some friends went down on a drunken Halloween and half way round the 3rd lap the vicar stepped out of the shadows and scared the crap out out them. Although I don't do God, I think I would have liked that vicar