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Arsenic of Love: The Dark Tale of Mary Blandy and the Haunting of Oxford Castle Prison

In the hallowed annals of history, Mary Blandy's story stands as a chilling testament to the fragility of innocence and the depths of human tragedy. As the fateful day of 6 April 1752 dawned, the 33-year-old "Fair Parricide" faced her impending doom with unwavering resolve and a steadfast claim of her innocence. Her serene composure amidst the impending darkness would both astonish and captivate those who bore witness to her final moments.


As the solemn procession made its way to the gallows, a poignant air of sorrow descended upon

Mary Blandy (1718/19–1752)
Mary Blandy (1718/19–1752)

the gathered crowd. Mary's dignified countenance evoked a sense of both surprise and admiration, as her demeanor defied the weight of the heinous crime she was accused of. Onlookers, some of whom shed tears, were simultaneously captivated and mystified by the enigma of Mary Blandy.


A paragon of grace until the bitter end, Mary addressed the assembled gentlemen with a plea for decency as she ascended the ladder at the place of execution. "Gentlemen, don't hang me high for the sake of decency," she beseeched, a testament to her unwavering sense of propriety even in the face of imminent death. And in a moment of vulnerability, she tremulously expressed her fear of stumbling, further revealing the human frailty that lay beneath her stoic facade.


Her final moments, witnessed by those who had condemned her, left an indelible mark on the collective memory of that fateful day. Mary Blandy, the "Fair Parricide," departed from this world with the same serenity and composure that had enchanted many and defied their expectations. Her departure, tinged with tragedy and unanswered questions, marked the end of a life that would forever be etched in the annals of infamy.


Yet, beyond the earthly realm, Mary's spirit is said to linger, its ethereal presence haunting the very walls of Oxford Castle prison. Her unwavering resolve and tragic fate have woven a tale that continues to captivate the imagination of those who venture into the prison's depths. In the interplay between darkness and serenity, innocence and guilt, the legacy of Mary Blandy endures—a testament to the timeless allure of human drama and the haunting whispers of a troubled soul.

In the shadowed alleys of Henley, an intelligent and well-respected woman named Mary Blandy concealed a chilling secret that would shatter her reputation forever. Little did she know that her tragic fate would not only mark her demise but also leave an indelible mark on the very fabric of Oxford Castle prison, where her spirit is said to linger to this day.


In the year 1751, the tranquil facade of Mary's life was tainted by a fateful encounter with Captain William Henry Cranstoun, a man who would become the catalyst for her descent into darkness. As Mary's heart entwined with Cranstoun, their dreams of matrimony seemed within reach.


But fate had other plans, revealing the sinister truth of Cranstoun's hidden marriage. Unveiling the deception, Mary's father, Francis Blandy, grew suspicious and voiced his vehement disapproval of their relationship.


In her desperation to win her father's favor, Mary found herself entangled in a sinister plot. Lured by promises of a love potion, she unknowingly became an instrument of destruction. The potion, masked in the guise of affection, turned out to be the venomous arsenic that would seal her father's tragic fate.


The trial that followed was a spectacle of forensic intrigue, with Dr. Anthony Addington uncovering the truth behind the lethal poison. As the evidence mounted, Mary's fate was sealed, and she faced the grim prospect of the gallows. On Easter Monday, the solemn streets of Oxford witnessed her final moments, as she paid the ultimate price for the crime of parricide.


But even after her earthly demise, Mary Blandy's spirit is said to have found no rest. It is whispered that her ghostly presence lingers within the cold stone walls of Oxford Castle prison, haunting the very corridors where she spent her last days. Visitors and staff have reported eerie occurrences, unexplained phenomena, and an unsettling sense of unease attributed to the tormented soul of Mary Blandy.


The mystery of her actions, the conflict between love and deception, and the timeless question of moral culpability are interwoven with the haunting presence that still resonates within Oxford Castle prison. Mary Blandy's name lives on not only as a tragic figure of the past but also as a restless spirit forever tied to the dark legacy of the prison's halls.




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