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It’s a Witch Hunt @ VizClub!

Quick notes to recap:

  • We’ve finally moved to a pub (ode to true VizClub fashion). Next time we’ll bring a pocket projector so we can ALL see the screen.
  • Our original dataset on weed sales/activity in Denver didn’t pan out (our meeting was on April 20th)
  • We differed back to Sophie’s suggestion on a dataset about the witches of Scotland

Gotta be honest, Sophie really delivered on this dataset. Despite the strange and obscure topic, the dataset is robust. Not only does it span almost 300 years, but comes with 72 pages of documentation/definitions and schema map. It even has the lot/lats of where they were accused and case notes.

Really cool right? Even the case notes are old-timey and creepy! Really cool right? Even the case notes are old-timey and creepy!

As a side note, it doesn’t seem like Tableau recognizes Scotland’s county’s at all. At first Andy suggested this may be the old recorded name… but then was corrected that its still named that today. #everythingisoldhere

Here’s where we ended up:

Surprisingly, there are male witches?

The chart just above this is a % of total split between male and female for every year in the dataset. I am surprised that even the “low season” of witch hunts, there can still be high proportions of men persecuted.

Do witches run in families?

Yes. The dataset includes first and last names as separate fields as well as each year they were accused. We created a word cloud and ended up concluding that there may have been 3 generations of Thomsons that were accused of being witches.

Corroborating the data with the outside world

Mara was on her phone furiously doing research and asked us to look up tidbits of info on Scottish witches and looked up Isobel Gowdie. I always find it to be a surreal experience when a real life story is reflected in the data. However, the team ended up getting sidetracked and started entering random names into the search filter.

Sizing for Mobile

You might have noticed that there are lots of interesting details I’ve mentioned here that didn’t make it to the final viz. While not an explicit talking point, I think we all agreed that we’re reading and looking at our vizzes on our phone, hence the mobile size. Maybe next time we’ll be able to add things more scroll-y style a la a Matt Francis, but it was 9:30 (time to wrap up!). I expect we’ll be doing more of these in the future.

To Wrap Up

The night rolled out in a completely unexpected way – from analyzing weed sales in Colorado, to then exploring the world of witches in early modern Scotland. You really never know where you’ll end up at Viz Club.

Oo and thanks to the Pauls for being good sports. That was all Andy.