Demons & Dames

Episode 7

Published on:

11th Feb 2020

Anne Gunter the Oxford Demoniac

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In 1604 Anne Gunter, under extreme pressure from her father, did "feign and counterfeit herself to be bewitched”.

Join Ash & Sarah as they explore this fascinating and well documented case of Demonic Possession in which a slip of a girl hoodwinked the leading London doctors, the Oxford Dons, and even the King. Explore what motivated Anne's Demonic possession and the socio-cultural nature of medical diagnostics in the early 17th century that spanned the natural world and the demonic.

(also Ash makes fun of Sarah for falling down the stairs ...again)


  • J. Sharpe, The bewitching of Anne Gunter: a horrible and true story of deception, witchcraft, murder and the king (1999)
  • Walker, D. (1981). Unclean Spirits : Possession and Exorcism in France and England in the Late Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Centuries.
  • Ewen, C. (1938). Witchcraft in the Star Chamber.
  • Sharpe, J. (1997). Instruments of Darkness : Witchcraft in England 1550-1750.
  • Jorden, E. (1603). A Briefe Discourse of a Disease Called the Suffocation of the Mother: Written Uppon Occasion Which Hath Beene of Late Taken Thereby, to Suspect Possession of an Evill Spirit, or Some Such like Supernaturall Power. Wherein Is Declared That Divers Strange Actions and Passions of the Body of Man, Which ... Are Imputed to the Divell, Have Their True Naturall Causes, and Do Accompanie This Disease .

Episode 6

Published on:

28th Jan 2020

Artemisia Gentileschi & the Bloody Canvas

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“As long as I live I will have control over my being

So wrote bold Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, who took control of her life and her art, breaking the norms of society both in gaining renown for her painting and in taking her rapist to court at a time when few women were able to do either.

Ash gets deep into the fetishisation of women killing men in Baroque painting, touches on why 17th century ‘it girls’ chose opted to hold spikes in their portraits, and establishes that the only thing to wear when beheading an enemy general is Damascus pearls.

*also, the one in which Sarah has fallen down the stairs


Garrard, Mary D. Artemisia Gentileschi : The Image of the Female Hero in Italian Baroque Art (1989). Print.

Marjorie Och, "Violence and Virtue: Artemisia Gentileschi’s ‘Judith Slaying Holofernes,’ Art Institute of Chicago, October 17, 2013-January 9, 2014," catalogue by Eve Straussman-Pflanzer, The Woman’s Art Journal 35/2 (2014): 63-64.

"It's True It's True It's True" preformed by Breach Theatre at the Underbelly, Cowgate, Edinburgh 2018

Episode 5

Published on:

14th Jan 2020

Hedy Lamarr: Beauty & The Brain

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“Any girl can look glamorous. All you have to do is stand there and look stupid.“

But what if you’re not stupid? What if you are, in fact, a formidable inventor who also, just happens, to be the Most Beautiful Woman In The World? It’s not easy to be more than one thing. And Hedy Lamarr found out the hard way. 

In this episode, Sarah delves into the inner life of the renowned starlet, who brought marvellous inventions into the world but was known only for her beauty.

Along the way, she sashays through her daring flit from a Nazi arms dealer, shoots down some withering words from Charlie Chaplin, rails against the rejection of her blueprints for a communications device by the US Navy, and finally leaves Ms Lamarr somewhere in Florida - plasticated, but still Hedy.


Lamarr, H. (1967). Ecstasy and me : My life as a woman. Mayflower Books.

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story. Dir Alexandra Dean. Zeitgeist Films. 2017. Film. 

Bush, E. (2018). Hedy Lamarr's Double Life: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor by Laurie Wallmark. Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, 72(4), 185.

Commissariat, Tushna. (2018). Reviews : A tale of two lives. Physics World, 31(8), Pp43-44.

Episode 1

Published on:

31st Dec 2019

MINISODE: Queen Τεύτα of Illyria (and PIRATES)

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"He was succeeded on the throne by his wife Teuta [who] gave letters of marque to privateers to pillage any ships they met, and collected a fleet and force of troops as large as the former one and sent it out, ordering the commanders to treat all countries alike as belonging to their enemies."

So began the reign of Queen Τεύτα, who ruled Illyria from 231 to 227 BC. During this time, she would bring the Greek states to their knees with her buccaneering ways and get right up Ancient Rome’s aquiline nose. No wonder contemporaneous(-ish) chroniclers would do their best to relegate her to the footnote of history. 

In this minisode, ancient historians Polybius and Appian hold a misogyny-off. And Sarah proves her cool credentials by claiming various classical figures as her ‘home boys’.


Appianus, White, Horace, and Denniston, J. D. Roman History (1912). Print.

Dell, H. (1967). The Origin and Nature of Illyrian Piracy. Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Bd. 16, H. 3 (Jul., 1967), pp. 344-358.

Derow, P. (1973). Kleemporos. The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 58, Parts 1 and 2 (1968), pp. 1-21.

De Souza, P. (1999). Piracy in the Graeco-Roman world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Macurdy, G. (1937). Vassal-queens and some contemporary women in the Roman Empire (Johns Hopkins University studies in archaeology 22). Baltimore : London: Johns Hopkins University Press ; Oxford University Press, H. Milford.

Polybius, & Paton, W. R. (1954). The Histories (Repr. ed., Loeb Classical Library). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Episode 4

Published on:

17th Dec 2019

Madeleine Smith: Murder She Wrote

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“Emile, for god’s sake do not send my letters to papa. It will be an open to rupture. I will leave the house. I will die...”

So wrote Madeleine Smith to her erstwhile and soon-to-be-deceased lover Emile L’Angelier in 1857. But just what drove this delicately-raised upper middle-class belle (a lover of dances, romantic intrigue and sentimental poetry) to an act of murder? Why did Victorian society have no choice but to let her get away with it?


Flanders, J. (2011). The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime. Thomas Dunne Books.

House, J. (1961). Square Mile of Murder. W. & R. Chambers.

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About the Podcast

Demons and Dames
Demons & Dames is a tongue-in-cheek feminist history podcast. Ashley Mauritzen and Sarah Worley-Hill dive deep into the stories of notorious women who shaped history - by design or simply by being in the right (or wrong) time or place. We examine how they were viewed by their contemporaries, and how and why their stories have been interpreted, shaped and passed down. We also laugh. A lot.

About your hosts

Sarah Worley-Hill

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Bibliophile, historian, and all round goof ball. Sarah has an MA Oxon from Oxford University in Ancient and Modern History, but has also taught maths at a boys' boarding school so considers herself an all-rounder. She would invite Alexander the Great, Queen Teuta of Illyria, and Wu Zetian to her ideal time-machine sponsored dinner party but would definitely need a translator. She loves her Shih Tzu, Calypso, very much and wants to get a French bulldog named Odysseus. She's terribly dyslexic and really really can't spell (or pronounce things). She has a mild tea obsession.

Ashley Mauritzen

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Writer, thinker and former wild child, Ashley has a BA in English Literature from Oxford (apparently - she doesn't remember any of it) and an MA in Fashion Journalism. She does an uncanny Kate Bush impression, wears wigs on nights in, and asked for 10 metres of black velvet ribbon for Christmas when she was seven. By day, she's a commercial semiotician. It's a thing. Former alter egos include Oxford gossip column denizen 'Masher', queer comedy performance artist 'the Dreary Mademoiselle', cerebral burlesque star 'Curious Peach', and everyone's favourite Halloween mashup - 'Adam Antoinette.'