This is now the beautifully tranquil princes street gardens in the centre of town, but many moons ago it was something entirely different. It was a loch. It was called the Nor loch and during the witch trials it was said that one of the tests they performed to see if you were a witch was 'Witch Ducking', and was performed at this loch.
What would happen is that someone would be accused of witchcraft (always a woman) and regardless of how baseless the accusation, you would face the trials. You'd get sent to the loch and thrown in. If you sank and drowned then rejoice! You were not a witch, they'd fish your body out of the loch and give you a good christian burial.
If you floated then it was a good old fashioned witch burning for you! It gets crazier. If you were lucky enough to have a loving husband who cared for you and the children he'd be standing by with a stick to push you under to ensure you sank. Why? because if you were found to be a witch, you AND your husband AND children were all burned at the stake.
The rationale behind the test was that witches flew, so did ducks. They were obviously light enough to fly which also enabled ducks to float on water. So if you floated you were also light and probably flew around on a broomstick because you are a filthy witch!! Now most women floated.. because the dresses of the day had those bustles on the back, the big wooden cages to 'enhance' the rear.. (fashion is weird). These devices would trap air and provided a great deal of buoyancy making you float. Hence the reason your loving husband would ensure the survival of the family by helping you to drown like the good christian you are..
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