Frozen to death after being accused of witchcraft, the legend of Moll Dyer keeps haunting Maryland. It is said she placed a curse upon the land and seeks revenge on those that hunted her down. 

In 1967 a woman known as Moll Dyer was chased from her home and into the woods on a cold winter night. She had been accused of witchcraft by the villagers in Leonardtown in Maryland. She was found dead a few days later in that forest, frozen to a large stone. But this was not the last the town heard of the accused witch according to the legend. 

At one point, the legend of Moll Dyer was probably used to give a good scare, but these days it is probably just another entry in the horrid witch hunting of women in this time under the witch panic. 


Who Was Moll Dyer?

The legend of Moll Dyer has gone through many revorks and to this day it has many variants depending on who you ask. There are still old families named Dyer in the area and many claim to be descendants of her family. 

In some variations she was either from Ireland, Virginia, Kentucky, New England or Connecticut coming to Maryland as it was considered to be more religiously tolerant towards catholics which she is in some of the stories. 

Frozen to death after being accused of witchcraft, the legend of Moll Dyer keeps haunting Maryland. It is said she placed a curse upon the land and seeks revenge on those that hunted her down. 
Moll Dyer Road: Many places are named after the alleged witch today.

She has been presented as both a widow, a spurned lover and a mother of two sons that were left by her man. If Dyer was her maiden name is also up to debate. In some of the legends she wasn’t even a European immigrant, but a Native American that was abandoned by her European lover as soon as she gave birth to their love child. 

What is a common denominator was that she was a lonely woman that lived an unusual and independent life far from the rest of the villagers. Which at the time was suspicious enough to be accused of witchcraft. 

She is said to have lived outside of Leonardtown which was at the time known as Newtown. Many places outside of Leonardtown are named after her today, like Moll Dyers Road and Moll Dyer Run where her cottage is believed to have been.

Whoever Moll Dyer was or where she came from is really of no consequence as her ending would be just as tragic either way. She was described as an old hag that lived in the outskirts of the town in many of the early accounts. She was poor and lonely and was often seen begging for food or looking for it in the woods. 


Moll Dyer also had a reputation for her knowledge about herbal medicine, and the villagers would seek her advice for different maladies. This is especially told now in more recent times where the “old hag” version is both outdated and not very likely. She was for many years left to her own devices on her own in the woods and no one really thought much of it until that winter in 1697, which is the year she died in most accounts. 

The Witch Hunt and the Haunting

It was a brutal winter and the crops were failing and the sheep and cattle died in Maryland that went through more than one tragedy. There was also a plague of influenza that took the lives of many in the whole county. This culminated in suspicion and desperation to believe that something supernatural was afoot. The town needed a scapegoat, and the lonely old woman would be a good victim to blame, even though she had spent her time to heal the villagers, perhaps even some of those that ended up chasing her. 

Frozen to death after being accused of witchcraft, the legend of Moll Dyer keeps haunting Maryland. It is said she placed a curse upon the land and seeks revenge on those that hunted her down. 
Froze to Death: The chase of the alleged witch ended with her freezing to death in the cold.

The angry mob of villagers brought clubs and flaming torches to her small cottage in the outskirts to rid themselves of this supposedly dangerous witch on a cold February night. In the legend, she was chased from her cottage into the forest after they accused her of witchcraft. 

Moll Dyer had no choice but to run away from the mob that was chasing her down with ill intent. She knew the forest around her cottage very well and escaped her mob. But when she finally had escaped them she was all alone in the forest without a home to return to as they burned it to the ground. The weather that night was so brutal with a harsh winter storm and she ended up freezing to death. 

Many days later, a young boy was looking for his cattle when he stumbled over the dead body of the old woman that had frozen to death on a large rock in the middle of a river. After her body was found, the villagers probably thought they had chased the evil away and that that was the last they would hear about Moll Dyer. But alas, the place was later haunted by her spirit and the area around the parts where she lived and died has been said to be cursed. 

It is alleged that the ghost of Moll Dyer is seen in the dead of the winter and in some cases, seeking revenge to this day. 

She allegedly is looking for the very men that chased her from her home and caused her death. The very land around where her cottage stood is said to be cursed. It will never grow good crops and there have been reports about lightning striking the premises an unusual number of times. 


There is also the matter of the white dog that appears in the legends that are said to cause accidents on the Moll Dyer Road. Moll Dyer is said to only have had this dog as her companion in her later years.

In the 70’s, a hunter was hunting around the Moll dyer’s Run. he told of an “”very dense fog patch, cylindrical in shape, with the light emanating about eight inches down from the top…. It crossed the stream and went east … moving across the wind instead of with the wind … then turned and went south…. But what made it really strange was that it did it twice! … I’m not saying that it was the spirit of Moll Dyer. I just don’t know what it was.”

The Curse of Moll Dyer’s Rock

Frozen to death after being accused of witchcraft, the legend of Moll Dyer keeps haunting Maryland. It is said she placed a curse upon the land and seeks revenge on those that hunted her down. 
Moll Dyer Rock: The rock were she is said to have been found is still in Leonardtown to see.

Her name may not be printed in black and white in historic reports, but a large rock that is connected to her legend can still be found at Tudor Hall in Leonardtown in Maryland. According to the story, Moll Dyer was resting on this large stone before she died and still has her handprints engraved on it. 

The location of the rock was for many years lost in history. Then in 1968, a writer named Philip H. Love found it after reading up on the legend and making the locals take him to the place they believed was the place she froze to death. They moved it to the town square of Leonardtown before it was moved to Tudor Hall in 2021. 

According to the legend, the stone itself is a cursed one. People that have gone near it have reported feeling dizzy, even fainting when being in close proximity to it. 

The Search for the Witch

Although this is a legend that has stood the test of time and is still printed in the local newspapers, told amongst the locals and has inspired several movies, books and other pop culture, there is no real evidence of a Moll Dyer ever having lived there. 

In this time, if you came on a smaller ship across the ocean, there was often a case of them not keeping record of a passenger list, something that also clouds if there really was or wasn’t anyone by that name that came from Europe. 

The courthouse burned down in 1831 and in that fire, many documents were lost. Perhaps also the documents detailing her life and what really happened. There are documents of different Moll and Mary’s (something that Moll is a nickname for) in this time. 


There are also existing documents of a cottage of a woman named Moll who was burned to the ground.  In Maryland, there were several witchcraft trials from 1654, and the last being in 1712. For example was the woman named Rebecca Fowler hanged as a witch in Calvert County in 1685 in the next door county. 

In 2013, Lynn Buonviri claimed to have found out who the real Moll dyer was and her story. According to her, she was born in England in 1634 and knew a thing or two about herbs and natural medicine. She didn’t go to the West Indies before she was 35 years old together with her brother where she served as a servant. She came to Maryland in 1677 and therefore had a short life in these parts before dying.

Inspiration to The Blair Witch Project

The legend of Moll Dyer and her death has inspired a lot of movies, books and music over the years. The legend about her tragic story as well as her haunting is still the topic of the locals. The most famous piece of fiction, the story of Moll Dyer, inspired the witch behind The Blair Witch Project. This movie legend created almost another legend by itself and has helped keep the story of Moll Dyer alive even in modern times. 


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