The Witch of Saratoga

(Reposted from my Facebook profile)

This fascinating story has been on my mind a lot lately. Angeline Tubbs, known as the Witch of Saratoga, died on this date in 1865, reportedly at the age of 104. She lived in a shack with numerous cats on a mountain just north of Saratoga Springs. She told fortunes to earn a little money and people recounted stories of seeing her out on the mountainside with her arms outstretched and hair flying wild during violent thunderstorms (she would've probably loved the weather that came through downtown Albany yesterday). It was said she had been a very beautiful young woman who was engaged to a British soldier at the time of the Revolutionary War. He jilted her after Burgoyne's defeat at the Battle of Saratoga (some versions of the story say he tried to kill her and other versions says she was accused of witchcraft and nearly hanged for it). Alone, she made her way to the mountain where she spent most of her life. A photographer took this photo of her when she was in her 90s and she would sell copies to tourists. She died in a local poorhouse. It's hard to say if she was really 104 or if her backstory was true (a doctor who saw her some time before her death said she was ten years younger than believed). For years after her death, there were still reports of a wild-haired woman on the mountain during the worst storms.

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