Jinn Witches of Britain
The last person to be executed for witchcraft in the British Isles was named Janet Horne, and it was in Dornoch, Scotland in 1727 that she – along with her daughter – was convicted. The name Janet Horne, or Jenny Horne was a generic name at the time for a witch, so the actual name of the convicted woman may not have even been Janet Horne.
Lets take a look at the names Janet and Jenny. Both come from the name Jane. Janet comes from the French diminutive form of Jane, which is an affectionate version of a name given to a child or loved one. In French they add ‘Jan-ette’ to indicate the diminutive, and in the British Isles ‘Jane-y’ is used. So as well as Janet, here we also have a possible explanation for the origin of the name ‘Jenny’. Although, back then Jenny was pronounced ‘Jin-ee’, and it can be said this is a dialectic version of the name ‘Jane’, it is also an old name for an entity that we know today as a ‘Genie’.
The English word ‘Genie’ actually comes via the French ‘Génie’, which in turn comes from the Latin word ‘Genius’, which described a guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at birth. Ultimately this comes from the PIE root ‘Gen-‘, meaning ‘to produce’. The Arabic word ‘Jinn’ comes from the Arabic root ‘g-n-n’ which means ‘hide, conceal’. ‘Jinn’ means ‘those who are concealed’. It is the name given to a group of spirits who are said to cohabited Earth alongside Humans, but in another realm. The singular term is ‘Jinni’. The French translator of ‘The Book of One Thousand and One Nights’ used the word ‘Génie’ for the Arabic word ‘Jinni’ because he felt it was so similar in meaning and sound.
There is no known link between the roots of these two words, yet both so obviously describe the same phenomenon, a spirit form that is not the Anima, but is still in some way important to the Human experience. Perhaps the Scottish word ‘Jenny’ was in fact an older word too – not an English or Arabic one at all – but a much more ancient indigenous name for someone with a dark, malevolent spirit attached to them. Could all three have ‘coincidentally’ picked the exact same phonetic and descriptive word for this adversary?
The name Horne however still alludes our research. But i think its fair to say we have a good contender for why the name Jenny was used to describe a witch in 16th Century Britain.
Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Names