Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hand of God Intervenes in an Unjust Death Sentence

Anne Greene worked in the house of  Sir Thomas Read of Dunstew in the county of Steeple Barton, Oxfordshire in England in 1648 and 1650. While in Sir Read's employee, Anne was seduced by her master's grandson which resulted in the birth of a child. The child was allegedly stillborn, and despite medical evidence that provided proof that this was true, the infants death was suspicious due to the circumstances.

Greene was accused of committing infanticide in 1650 and condemned to death by hanging for murder. She was fearful of the execution, not of death, but of not dying. Greene had an eery precognition that her execution would not be successful and asked several friends to pull at her body and hit her to ensure she was dead. She was executed on December 14, 1650. Her body hung the usual amount of time and her friends followed her wishes and pulled and hit her body. She was dead.

Greene's body was delivered to the medical doctors for educational dissection. It was there, that the doctors discovered that Greene was breathing. The medical doctors nursed her back to health and the courts granted her a free pardon. Surviving an execution was deemed as the hand of God intervening on behalf of an innocent put to death. Her ordeal inspired many pamphlets and poems including the "Newes from the Dead, or a True and Exact Narration of the Miraculous Deliverance of Anne Greene" written by an Oxford Scholler.

Anne Greene married, had several children, and went on to lead a  full life. Whether her survival was of a divine nature or there is a biological reason the hanging was not successful,Greene cheated death and it could only be deemed miraculous!

Kerri L. Schultz

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