Is Geillis Duncan on Outlander based on a real person?

Outlander Season 1 -- Courtesy of STARZ
Outlander Season 1 -- Courtesy of STARZ /

Is Geillis Duncan one of the real people from history included in Outlander?

There are many people on Outlander who are based on real people. This is the case for both the books and the series. Many people want to know if Geillis Duncan was based on a real person.

Throughout the books and seasons, we’ve met the likes of King Louis, Bonnie Prince Charlie, and even George Washington. There are also lesser-known people from history, including Louise de la Tour and Comte St. Germain. So, it makes sense to question everyone you meet and whether they’re based on historical figures.

Geillis Duncan is sort of based on a true person. However, it’s 200 years too late.

The real Geillis Duncan

You may have heard of the North Berwick Witch Trials from the 16th century. Think of it a little like Scotland’s version of the Salem Witch Trials. This is where the real Geillis Duncan can be found.

Geillis was a teenager who seemed to have a knack for alleviating pain and suffering. She had no formal education, and her employer, David Seton, didn’t think she should have the knowledge she did. It didn’t help that Geillis would wander off in the middle of the night, quickly causing gossip among the people.

The poor girl was interrogated, tortured, and humiliated as Seton and others decided she had to be a witch. They looked for all evidence they could find. And they did find “evidence.” They found a “Devil’s mark” on her throat, which led to her confession of witchcraft.

Did Outlander’s Geillis know the name?

Remember that Outlander‘s Geillis was known as Gillian in the 20th century. She took the name Geillis for her time in the past. It suggests that she had read up about the names, and took a fancy to Geillis. Maybe she took a liking to this young girl who had suffered so terribly.

The name Duncan happened more by chance than anything else. She never went out of her way to marry Arthur Duncan. She needed a man with a position, and Arthur was the best option for her. It just so happened that she ended up becoming Geillis Duncan.

Parts of Geillis’s story seem to be inspired by the real person. However, the two are not the same.

Explaining Geillis's timeline on Outlander. dark. Next

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