Edinburgh had very harsh rules for anyone who was pregnant. Should you try to conceal your pregnancy you would be tried, found guilty, and hanged.
Unfortunately, for Maggie Dickson, she was found guilty.
The woman became pregnant by her boss’s son and attempted to conceal the pregnancy. Maggie had her baby prematurely and disposed of the body in a bush by the riverbank. She was wrong when she thought no one had seen her. Maggie was brought to trial and sentenced with death by hanging.
Maggie was brought to the noose in Grassmarket where a large crowd had gathered. Executions were always an event for the town. Maggie was hung then placed into a coffin where they proceeded to take her back to her home town.
A crowd of people followed the procession. Part way there, one of the pallbearers heard a banging coming from inside the coffin. He told them to stop as the banging became louder and louder. When they opened the coffin, Maggie was alive.
People didn’t know what to do, nor did the judge. Some wanted her hanged again. The judge ruled that Maggie had served her sentence: hanged until death. The fact that she came alive again wasn’t something he could control. She was eventually let go as she had served her sentence.
She continued to live a long life, but was forever marked with a crooked neck and a burn from the rope.
Today, you can visit the sight where she was hung and check out the pub dedicated to her: Maggie Dicksons.