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Title: The Devil in Britain and America
Author: Ashton, John, 1834-1911
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  ‘Nam ut vere loquamur, superstitio fusa per gentes
  oppressit omnium fere animos, atque hominum
  imbecillitatem occupavit.’
                              CICERO--_De Divin._, Lib. ii. 72.


  [_All rights reserved._]


To my thinking, all modern English books on the Devil and his works are
unsatisfactory. They all run in the same groove, give the same cases of
witchcraft, and, moreover, not one of them is illustrated. I have
endeavoured to remedy this by localizing my facts, and by reproducing all
the engravings I could find suitable to my purpose.

I have also tried to give a succinct account of demonology and witchcraft
in England and America, by adducing authorities not usually given, and by
a painstaking research into old cases, carefully taking everything from
original sources, and bringing to light very many cases never before

For the benefit of students, I have given--as an Appendix--a list of the
books consulted in the preparation of this work, which, however, the
student must remember is not an exhaustive bibliography on the subject,
but only applies to this book, whose _raison d’être_ is its localization.

The frontispiece is supposed to be the only specimen of Satanic caligraphy
in existence, and is taken from the ‘Introductio in Chaldaicam Linguam,’
etc., by Albonesi (Pavia, 1532). The author says that by the conjuration
of Ludovico Spoletano the Devil was called up, and adjured to write a
legible and clear answer to a question asked him. Some invisible power
took the pen, which seemed suspended in the air, and rapidly wrote what is
facsimiled. The writing was given to Albonesi (who, however, confesses
that no one can decipher it), and his chief printer reproduced it very
accurately. I am told by experts that in some of the characters may be
found a trace of Amharic, a language spoken in its purity in the province
of Amhara (Ethiopia), and which, according to a legend, was the primeval
language spoken in Eden.





    Universal Belief in the Personality of the Devil, as
    portrayed by the British Artist--Arguments in Favour of his
    Personality--Ballad--‘Terrible and Seasonable Warning to
    Young Men’                                                           1


    ‘Strange and True News from Westmoreland’--‘The Politic
    Wife’--‘How the Devill, though subtle, was guld by a
    Scold’--‘The Devil’s Oak’--Raising the Devil--Arguments in
    Favour of Devils--The Number of Devils                              13


    ‘The Just Devil of Woodstock’--Metrical Version--Presumed
    Genuine History of ‘The Just Devil of Woodstock’                    28


    ‘The Dæmon of Tedworth’                                             47


    ‘The Dæmon of Burton’--‘Strange and Wonderful News from
    Yowel, in Surrey’--The Story of Mrs. Jermin--A Case at
    Welton--‘The Relation of James Sherring’                            60


    A Demon in Gilbert Campbell’s Family--Case of Sir William
    York--Case of Ian Smagge--Disturbances at Stockwell                 72


    Possession by, and casting out, Devils--The Church and
    Exorcisms--Earlier Exorcists--‘The Strange and Grievous
    Vexation by the Devil of 7 Persons in Lancashire’                   85


    James I. on Possession--The Vexation of Alexander Nyndge--
    ‘Wonderful News from Buckinghamshire’--Sale of a Devil             113


    The Witch of Endor--The ‘Mulier Malefica’ of Berkeley--
    Northern Witches                                                   129


    The Legal Witch--James I. on Witches--Reginald Scot on
    Witches--Addison on Witches                                        139


    How a Witch was made--Her Compact with the Devil--Hell
    Broth--Homage and Feasting--The Witches’ Sabbat                    148


    Familiar Spirits--Matthew Hopkins, the ‘Witch-finder’--
    Prince Rupert’s dog Boy--Unguents used for transporting
    Witches from Place to Place--Their Festivities at the
    Sabbat                                                             157


    Waxen Figures--Witches change into Animals--Witch
    Marks--Testimony against Witches--Tests for, and
    Examination of, Witches                                            175


    Legislation against Witches--Punishment--Last Executions
    for Witchcraft--Inability to weep and sink--Modern Cases
    of Witchcraft                                                      191


    Commencement of Witchcraft in England--Dame Eleanor
    Cobham--Jane Shore--Lord Huntingford--Cases from the
    Calendars of State Papers--Earliest Printed Case, that of
    John Walsh--Elizabeth Stile--Three Witches tried at
    Chelmsford--Witches of St. Osyth--Witches of
    Warboys--Witches of Northamptonshire                               199


    The Lancashire Witches--Janet Preston--Margaret and Philip
    Flower--Anne Baker, Joane Willimot, and Ellen Greene--
    Elizabeth Sawyer--Mary Smith--Joan Williford, Joan Cariden,
    and Jane Hott                                                      220


    Confessions of Witches executed in Essex--The Witches of
    Huntingdon--‘Wonderful News from the North’--Trial of Six
    Witches at Maidstone--Trial of Four Witches at Worcester--A
    Lancashire Witch tried at Worcester--A Tewkesbury Witch            234


    A Case of Vomiting Stones, etc., at Evesham--Anne
    Bodenham--Julian Cox--Elizabeth Styles--Rose Cullender and
    Amy Duny                                                           246


    The Case of Mary Hill of Beckington--The Confession of
    Alice Huson--Florence Newton of Youghal--Temperance Lloyd
    (or Floyd), Mary Trembles, and Susannah Edwards                    260


    Elizabeth Horner--Pardons for Witchcraft--A Witch taken in
    London--Sarah Mordike--An Impostor convicted--Case of Jane
    Wenham--The Last Witch hanged in England                           273


    Scotch Witches--Bessie Dunlop--Alesoun Peirson--Dr. John
    Fian--The Devil a Preacher--Examination of Agnes
    Sampson--Confession of Issobel Gowdie                              287


    Early Witchcraft in Scotland--Lady Glamys--Bessie
    Dunlop--Lady Foulis--Numerous Cases                                301


    Witchcraft in America--In Illinois: Moreau and Emmanuel--In
    Virginia: Case of Grace Sherwood--In Pennsylvania: Two
    Swedish Women--In South Carolina--In Connecticut: Many
    Cases--In Massachusetts: Margaret Jones; Mary Parsons; Ann
    Hibbins; Other Cases                                               311


    Cotton and Increase Mather--The Case of Goodwin’s
    Daughter--That of Mr. Philip Smith--The Story of the Salem
    Witchcrafts--List of Victims--Release of Suspects--Reversal
    of Attainder, and Compensation                                     326

  APPENDIX                                                             340




    Universal Belief in the Personality of the Devil, as portrayed by the
    British Artist--Arguments in Favour of his
    Personality--Ballad--‘Terrible and Seasonable Warning to Young Men.’

The belief in a good and evil influence has existed from the earliest
ages, in every nation having a religion. The Egyptians had their _Typho_,
the Assyrians their _Ti-a-mat_ (the Serpent), the Hebrews their
_Beelzebub_, or _Prince of Flies_,[1] and the Scandinavians their _Loki_.
And many religions teach that the evil influence has a stronger hold upon
mankind than the good influence--so great, indeed, as to nullify it in a
large degree. Christianity especially teaches this: ‘Enter ye by the
narrow gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to
destruction, and many be they that enter in thereby. For narrow is the
gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few be they that
find it.’ This doctrine of the great power of the Devil, or evil
influence over man, is preached from every pulpit, under every form of
Christianity, throughout the world; and although at the present time it is
only confined to the greater _moral_ power of the Devil over man, at an
earlier period it was an article of belief that he was able to exercise a
greater _physical_ power.

This was coincident with a belief in his personality; and it is only in
modern times that that personality takes an alluring form. In the olden
days the Devil was always depicted as ugly and repulsive as the artist
could represent him, and yet he could have learned a great deal from the
modern Chinese and Japanese. The ‘great God Pan,’ although he was dead,
was resuscitated in order to furnish a type for ‘the Prince of Darkness’;
and, accordingly, he was portrayed with horns, tail and cloven feet,
making him an animal, according to a _mot_ attributed to Cuvier,
‘graminivorous, and decidedly ruminant’; while, to complete his classical
_ensemble_, he was invested with the forked sceptre of Pluto, only
supplemented with another tine.


The British artist thus depicted him, but occasionally he drew him as a
‘fearful wild fowl’ of a totally different type--yet always as hideous as
his imagination could conceive, or his pencil execute.



That the Devil could show himself to man, in a tangible form, was, for
many centuries, an article of firm belief, but, when it came to be argued
out logically, it was difficult of proof. The only evidence that could be
adduced which could carry conviction was from the Bible, which, of course,
was taken as the _ipsissima verba_ of God, and, on that, the old writers
based all their proof. One of the most lucid of them, Gyfford or Gifford,
writing in the sixteenth century, evidently feels this difficulty. Trying
to prove that ‘Diuels can appeare in a bodily shape, and use speeche and
conference with men,’ he says:[2]

‘Our Saviour Christ saith that a spirite hath neither flesh nor bones. A
spirite hath a substance, but yet such as is invisible, whereupon it must
needes be graunted, that Diuels in their owne nature have no bodilye
shape, nor visible forme; moreover, it is against the truth, and against
pietie to believe that Diuels can create, or make bodies, or change one
body into another, for those things are proper to God. It followeth,
therefore, that whensoever they appeare in a visible forme, it is no more
but an apparition and counterfeit shewe of a bodie, unless a body be at
any time lent them.’

And further on he thus speaks of the incarnation of Satan, as recorded in
the Bible.

‘The Deuill did speake unto _Eua_ out of the Serpent. A thing manifest to
proue that Deuils can speake, unlesse we imagine that age hath made him
forgetfull and tongue tyde. Some holde that there was no visible Serpent
before _Eua_, but an invisible thing described after that manner, that we
might be capable thereof.... But to let those goe, this is the chiefe and
principall, for the matter which I have undertaken, to shewe euen by the
very storye that there was not onely the Deuill, but, also, a very
corporall beaste. If this question bee demaunded did _Eua_ knowe there was
anye Deuill, or any wicked reprobate Angels. What man of knowledge will
say that she did? She did not as yet knowe good and euill. She knewe not
the authour of euill. When the Lorde sayde unto hir, What is this which
thou hast done? she answereth by and by, The serpent deceiued me. Shee saw
there was one which had deceiued hir, shee nameth him a serpent; whence
had she that name for the deuill whome shee had not imagined to bee? It is
plaine that she speaketh of a thing which had, before this, receiued his

‘It is yet more euident by that she sayth, yonder serpent, or that
serpent, for she noteth him out as pointing to a thing visible: for she
useth the demonstratiue particle _He_ in the Hebrew language, which
seuereth him from other. Anie man of a sound mind may easilie see that
_Eua_ nameth and pointeth at a visible beast, which was nombred among the
beastes of the fielde.’

The Devil seems, with the exception of his entering into persons, not to
have used his power of appearing corporeally until people became too holy
for him to put up with, and many are the records in the Lives of the
Saints of his appearance to these detestably good people--St. Anthony, to
wit. Of course he always came off baffled and beaten, and, in the case of
St. Dunstan, suffered acute bodily pain, his nose being pinched by the
goldsmith-saint’s red-hot tongs. Yet even that did not deter him from
again becoming visible, until, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
of our era, he became absolutely familiar on this earth.

But, according to all the records that we possess, his mission no longer
was to seduce the saints from their allegiance, and, having become more
democratic, he mixed familiarly with the people, under different guises.
Of course, his object was to secure the reversion of their souls at their
decease, his bait usually being the promise of wealth in this life, or the
gratification of some passion.

He found many victims, but yet he met with failures--two of which are
recorded here.




  A poore Essex man
    that was in great distresse,
  Most bitterly made his complaint,
    in griefe and heavinesse:
  Through scarcity and want,
    he was oppressed sore,
  He could not find his children bread,
    he was so extreme poore.

  His silly Wife, God wot,
    being lately brought to bed,
  With her poore Infants at her brest
    had neither drinke nor bread.
  A wofull lying in
    was this, the Lord doth know,
  God keep all honest vertuous wives
    from feeling of such woe.

  My Husband deare, she said,
    for want of food I die,
  Some succour doe for me provide,
    to ease my misery.
  The man with many a teare,
    most pittiously replyde,
  We have no means to buy us bread;
    with that, the Children cry’d.

  They came about him round,
    upon his coat they hung:
  And pittiously they made their mone,
    their little hands they wrung.
  Be still, my boyes, said he,
    And I’le goe to the Wood,
  And bring some Acornes for to rost,
    and you shall have some food.

  Forth went the Wofull Man,
    a Cord he tooke with him,
  Wherewith to bind the broken wood,
    that he should homewards bring:
  And by the way as he went,
    met Farmers two or three,
  Desiring them for Christ his sake,
    to helpe his misery.

  Oh lend to me (he said)
    one loafe of Barley-bread,
  One pint of milke for my poore wife,
    in Child-bed almost dead:
  Thinke on my extreme need,
    to lend me have no doubt,
  I have no money for to pay,
    but I will worke it out.

  But they in churlish sort,
    did one by one reply,
  We have already lent you more
    than we can well come by.
  This answere strooke his heart
    as cold as any stone;
  Unto the Wood from thence he went,
    with many a grievous groane.

  Where at the length (behold)
    a tall man did him meet
  And cole-black were his garments all
    from head unto his feet.
  Thou wretched man, said he,
    why dost thou weep so sore?
  What is the cause thou mak’st this mone,
    tell me, and sigh no more.

  Alas, good Sir (he said)
    the lacke of some reliefe,
  For my poore wife and children small,
    ’tis cause of all my griefe.
  They lie all like to starve,
    for want of bread (saith he);
  Good Sir, vouchsafe therefore to give
    one peny unto me.

  Hereby this wretched man
    committed wondrous evill,
  He beg’d an almes, and did not know
    he ask’t it of the Devill.
  But straight the hellish Fiend,
    to him reply’d againe,
  An odious sinner art thou then
    that dost such want sustaine.

  Alack (the poore man said)
    this thing for truth I know,
  That _Job_ was just, yet never Man
    endured greater woe.
  The godly oft doe want,
    and need doth pinch them sore,
  Yet God will not forsake them quite,
    but doth their states restore.

  If thou so faithfull bee,
    why goest thou begging then?
  Thou shalt be fed as _Daniel_ was
    within the Lyon’s den.
  If thus thou doe abide,
    the Ravens shall bring thee food,
  As they unto _Elias_ did
    that wandred in the Wood.

  Mocke not a wofull man,
    good Sir, the poore man said,
  Redouble not my sorrows so,
    that are upon me laid.
  But, rather, doe extend
    unto my need, and give
  One peny for to buy some bread,
    my Children poore may live.

  With that he opened straight
    the fairest purse in sight
  That ever mortal eye beheld,
    fild up with crownes full bright.
  Unto the wofull man
    the same he wholly gave,
  Who very earnestly did pray
    that Christ his life might save.

  Well, (quoth the damn’d Spirit)
    goe, ease thy Children’s sorrow,
  And, if thou wantest anything,
    come, meet me here to-morrow.
  Then home the poore man went,
    with cheerfull heart and mind,
  And comforted his woful wife
    with words that were most kind.

  Take Comfort, Wife, he said,
    I have a purse of Gold,
  Now given by a Gentleman,
    most faire for to behold.
  And thinking for to pull
    his purse from bosome out,
  He found nothing but Oken leaves,
    bound in a filthy Clout.

  Which, when he did behold,
    with sorrowe pale and wan,
  In desperate sort to seeke the purse,
    unto the Wood he ran,
  Supposing in his mind,
    that he had lost it there;
  He could not tell then what to think,
    he was ’twixt hope and feare.

  He had no sooner come
    into the shady Grove,
  The Devil met with him againe,
    as he in fancy strove.
  What seek’st thou here? he said,
    the purse (quoth he) you gave,
  Thus Fortune she hath crossed me,
    and then the Devill said

  Where didst thou put the Purse?
    tell me, and do not lye,
  Within my bosome, said the man,
    where no man did come nigh.
  Looke there againe, (quoth he)
    then said the Man, I shall,
  And found his bosome full of Toads,
    as thicke as they could crawle.

  The poore man at this sight,
    to speak had not the power,
  See (q’d the Devill) vengeance doth
    pursue thee every hour.
  Goe, cursed wretch, (quoth he)
    and rid away thy life,
  But murther first thy children young,
    and miserable Wife.

  The poore man, raging mad,
    ran home incontinent,
  Intending for to kill them all,
    but God did him prevent.
  For why, the chiefest man
    that in the Parish dwelt,
  With meat and money thither came,
    which liberally he dealt.

  Who, seeing the poore man
    come home in such a rage,
  Was faine to bind him in his bed,
    his fury to asswage.
  Where long he lay full sicke,
    still crying for his Gold,
  But, being well, this whole discourse
    he to his neighbours told.

  From all temptations,
    Lord, keep both Great and Small,
  And let no man, O heavenly God,
    for want of succour fall.
  But put their speciall trust
    in God for evermore,
  Who will, no doubt, from misery
    each faithfull man restore.



‘Being a very particular and True Relation of one _Abraham Joiner_, a
young man about 17 or 18 Years of Age, living in _Shakesby’s_ Walks in
_Shadwell_, being a Ballast Man by Profession, who, on _Saturday_ Night
last, pick’d up a leud Woman, and spent what money he had about him in
Treating her, saying afterwards, if she wou’d have any more he must go to
the Devil for it, and, slipping out of her Company, he went to the _Cock_
and _Lyon_ in _King Street_, the Devil appear’d to him, and gave him a
Pistole, telling him _he shou’d never want for Money_, appointing to meet
him the next Night, at the _World’s End_ at _Stepney_; Also how his
Brother persuaded him to throw the Money away, which he did; but was
suddenly taken in a very strange manner, so that they were fain to send
for the Reverend Mr. Constable and other Ministers to pray with him; he
appearing now to be very Penitent; with an Account of the Prayers and
Expressions he makes use of under his Affliction, and the Prayers that
were made for him, to free him from this violent Temptation.

‘The Truth of which is sufficiently attested in the Neighbourhood, he
lying now at his Mother’s house,’ etc.

Stepney seems to have been a favourite haunt of the Devil, for there is a
tract published at Edinburgh, 1721, entitled ‘A timely Warning to Rash and
Disobedient Children. Being a strange and wonderful Relation of a young
Gentleman in the Parish of _Stepheny_, in the Suburbs of _London_, that
sold himself to the Devil for 12 Years, to have the Power of being
revenged on his Father and Mother, and how, his Time being expired, he lay
in a sad and deplorable Condition, to the Amazement of all Spectators.’


    ‘Strange and True News from Westmoreland’--‘The Politic Wife’--‘How
    the Devill, though subtle, was guld by a Scold’--‘The Devil’s
    Oak’--Raising the Devil--Arguments in Favour of Devils--The Numbers of


In the foregoing examples we have seen the Devil in human form, and
properly apparelled, but occasionally he showed himself in his supposed
proper shape--when, of course, his intentions were at once perceived; and
on one occasion we find him called upon by an Angel, to execute justice on
a bad man. It is in


  Attend good Christian people all,
  Mark what I say, both old and young,
  Unto the general Judgment day,
  I think it is not very long.

  A Wonder strange I shall relate,
  I think the like was never shown,
  In _Westmoreland_ at _Tredenton_,
  Of such a thing was never known.

  One _Gabriel Harding_ liv’d of late,
  As may to all men just appear,
  Whose yearly Rent, by just account,
  Came to five hundred pound a year.

  This man he had a Virtuous Wife,
  In Godly ways her mind did give:
  Yet he, as rude a wicked wretch,
  As in this sinful Land did live.

  Much news of him I will relate,
  The like no Mortal man did hear;
  ’Tis very new, and also true,
  Therefore, good Christians, all give ear.

  One time this man he came home drunk,
  As he us’d, which made his wife to weep,
  Who straightway took him by the hand,
  Saying, Dear Husband, lye down and sleepe.

  She lovingly took him by the arms,
  Thinking in safety him to guide,
  A blow he struck her on the breast,
  The woman straight sank down and dy’d.

  The Children with Mournful Cries
  They ran into the open Street,
  They wept, they wail’d, they wrung their hands,
  To all good Christians they did meet.

  The people then, they all ran forth,
  Saying, Children, why make you such moan?
  O, make you haste unto our house,
  Our dear mother is dead and gone.

  Our Father hath our Mother kill’d,
  The Children they cryed then.
  The people then they all made haste
  And laid their hands upon the man.

  He presently denied the same,
  Said from Guilty Murder I am free,
  If I did that wicked deed, he said,
  Some example I wish to be seen by me.

  Thus he forswore the wicked deed,
  Of his dear Wife’s untimely end.
  Quoth the people, Let’s conclude with speed,
  That for the Coroner we may send.

  Mark what I say, the door’s fast shut,
  The People the Children did deplore,
  But straight they heard a Man to speak,
  And one stood knocking at the door.

  One in the house to the door made haste,
  Hearing a Man to Knock and Call,
  The door was opened presently,
  And in he came amongst them all.

  By your leave, good people, then he said,
  May a stranger with you have some talk?
  A dead woman I am come to see;
  Into the room, I pray, Sir, walk.

  His eyes like to the Stars did shine,
  He was clothed in a bright grass green,
  His cheeks were of a crimson red,
  For such a man was seldome seen.

  Unto the people then he spoke,
  Mark well these words which I shall say,
  For no Coroner shall you send,
  I’m Judge and Jury here this day.

  Bring hither the Man that did the deed,
  And firmly hath denied the same.
  They brought him into the room with speed,
  To answer to this deed with shame.

  Now come, O wretched Man, quoth he,
  With shame before thy neighbours all,
  Thy body thou hast brought to Misery,
  Thy soul into a deeper thrall.

  Thy Chiefest delight was drunkeness,
  And lewd women, O, cursed sin,
  Blasphemous Oaths and Curses Vile
  A long time thou hast wallowed in.

  The Neighbours thou wouldst set at strife,
  And alwaies griping of the poor,
  Besides, thou hast murdered thy wife,
  A fearful death thou dy’st therefore.

  Fear nothing, good people, then he said,
  A sight will presently appear,
  Let all your trust be in the Lord,
  No harm shall be while I am here.

  Then in the Room the Devil appear’d,
  Like a brave Gentleman did stand,
  Satan (quoth he that was the Judge)
  Do no more than thou hast command.

  The Devil then he straight laid hold
  On him that had murdered his wife,
  His neck in Sunder then he broke,
  And thus did end his wretched life.

  The Devil then he vanished
  Quite from the People in the Hall,
  Which made the people much afraid,
  Yet no one had no hurt at all.

  Then straight a pleasant Melody
  Of Musick straight was heard to sound,
  It ravisht the hearts of those stood by,
  So sweet the Musick did abound.

  Now, (quoth this gallant Man in green)
  With you I can no longer stay,
  My love I leave, my leave I take,
  The time is come, I must away.

  Be sure to love each other well,
  Keep in your breast what I do say.
  It is the way to go to Heaven,
  When you shall rise at Judgment day.

  The people to their homes did go,
  Which had this mighty wonder seen,
  And said, it was an Angel sure
  That thus was clothed all in green.

  And thus the News from _Westmoreland_
  I have related to you o’er,
  I think it is as strange a thing,
  As ever man did hear before.

In the old days the Devil was used as a butt at which people shot their
little arrows of wit. In the miracle plays, when introduced, he filled the
part of the pantaloon in our pantomimes, and was accompanied by a ‘Vice,’
who played practical jokes with him, slapping him with his wooden sword,
jumping on his back, etc.; and in the carvings of our abbeys and
cathedrals, especially in the Miserere seats in the choir, he was
frequently depicted in comic situations, as also in the illuminations of
manuscripts. He was often written about as being sadly deficient in
brains, and many are the instances recorded of him being outwitted by a
shrewd human being, as we may see by the following ballad.



  Of all the plagues upon the earth,
    That e’er poor man befal,
  It’s hunger and a scolding wife,
    These are the worst of all:
  There was a poor man in our country
    Of a poor and low degree,
  And with both these plagues he was troubled,
    And the worst of luck had he.

  He had seven children by one wife,
    And the times were poor and hard,
  And his poor toil was grown so bad,
    He scarce could get him bread:
  Being discontented in his mind,
    One day his house he left,
  And wandered down by a forest side,
    Of his senses quite bereft.

  As he was wandering up and down,
    Betwixt hope and despair,
  The Devil started out of a bush,
    And appeared unto him there:
  O what is the matter, the Devil he said,
    You look so discontent?
  Sure you want some money to buy some bread,
    Or to pay your landlord’s rent.

  Indeed, kind sir, you read me right,
    And the grounds of my disease,
  Then what is your name, said the poor man,
    Pray, tell me, if you please?
  My name is Dumkin the Devil, quoth he,
    And the truth to you I do tell,
  Altho’ you see me wandering here,
    Yet my dwelling it is in hell.

  Then what will you give me, said the Devil,
    To ease you of your want,
  And you shall have corn and cattle enough,
    And never partake of scant?
  I have nothing to give you, said the poor man,
    Nor nothing here in hand,
  But all the service that I can do,
    Shall be at your command.

  Then, upon the condition of seven long years,
    A bargain with you I will frame,
  You shall bring me a beast unto this place,
    That I cannot tell his name:
  But, if I tell its name full right,
    Then mark what to you I tell,
  Then you must go along with me
    Directly unto Hell.

  This poor man went home joyfully,
    And thrifty he grew therefore,
  For he had corn and cattle enough,
    And every thing good store.
  His neighbours who did live around,
    Did wonder at him much,
  And thought he had robb’d or stole,
    He was grown so wondrous rich.

  Then for the space of seven long years
    He lived in good cheer,
  But when the time of his indenture grew near,
    He began to fear:
  O what is the matter, said his wife,
    You look so discontent?
  Sure you have got some maid with child,
    And now you begin to repent.

  Indeed, kind wife, you judge me wrong,
    To censure so hard of me,
  Was it for getting a maid with child,
    That would be no felony:
  But I have made a league with the Devil,
    For seven long years, no more,
  That I should have corn and cattle enough,
    And everything good store.

  Then for the space of seven long years
    A bargain I did frame,
  I should bring him a beast unto that place,
    He could not tell its name:
  But if he tell his name full right,
    Then mark what to you I tell,
  Then I must go along with him,
    Directly unto Hell.

  Go, get you gone, you silly old man,
    Your cattle go tend and feed,
  For a woman’s wit is far better than a man’s,
    If us’d in time of need:
  Go fetch me down all the birdlime you have,
    And set it down on the floor,
  And when I have pulled my cloathes all off,
    You shall anoint me all o’er.

  Now when he had anointed her
    From the head unto the heel,
  Zounds! said the man, methinks you look
    Just like the very De’el.
  Go, fetch me down all the feathers thou hast,
    And lay them down by me,
  And I will roll myself therein,
    ’Till never a place go free.

  Come, tie a string about my neck,
    And lead me to this place,
  And I will save you from the Devil,
    If I have but so much grace.
  The Devil, he stood roaring out,
    And looked both fierce and bold;
  Thou hast brought me a beast unto this place,
    And the bargain thou dost hold.

  Come, shew me the face of this beast, said the Devil,
    Come, shew it me in a short space;
  Then he shewed him his wife’s buttocks,
    And swore it was her face:
  She has monstrous cheeks, the Devil he said,
    As she now stands at length,
  You’d take her for some monstrous beast
    Taken by Man’s main strength.

  How many more of these beasts, said the Devil,
    How many more of this kind?
  I have seven more such, said the poor man,
    But have left them all behind.
  If you have seven more such, said the Devil,
    The truth unto you I tell,
  You have beasts enough to cheat me
    And all the Devils in Hell.

  Here, take thy bond and indenture both,
    I’ll have nothing to do with thee:
  So the man and his wife went joyfully home
    And lived full merrily.
  O, God send us good merry long lives,
    Without any sorrow or woe,
  Now here’s a health to all such wives
    Who can cheat the Devil so.

There is

  ‘A Pleasant new Ballad you here may behold
   How the Devill, though subtle, was guld by a Scold.’


The story of this ballad is, that the Devil, being much amused with this
scolding wife, went to fetch her. Taking the form of a horse, he called
upon her husband, and told him to set her on his back. This was easily
accomplished by telling her to _lead_ the horse to the stable, which she
refused to do.

  ‘Goe leade, sir Knave, quoth she,
     and wherefore not, Goe ride?
   She took the Devill by the reines,
     and up she goes astride.’

And once on the Devil, she _rode_ him; she kicked him, beat him, slit his
ears, and kept him galloping all through Hell, until he could go no
longer, when he concluded to take her home again to her husband.

  ‘Here, take her (quoth the Devill)
     to keep her here be bold,
   For Hell would not be troubled
     with such an earthly scold.
   When I come home, I may
     to all my fellowes tell,
   I lost my labour and my bloud,
     to bring a scold to Hell.’

In another ballad, called ‘The Devil’s Oak,’ he is made out to be a very
poor thing; the last verse says:

  ‘That shall be try’d, the Devil then he cry’d,
     then up the Devil he did start,
   Then the Tinker threw his staff about,
     and he made the Devil to smart:
   There against a gate, he did break his pate,
     and both his horns he broke;
   And ever since that time, I will make up my rhime,
     it was called “The Devil’s Oak.”’

But popular belief credited to certain men the power of being able to
produce the Devil in a visible form, and these were called necromancers,
sorcerers, magicians, etc. Of them Roger Bacon was said to have been one,
and Johann Faust, whom Goethe has immortalized, and whose idealism is such
a favourite on the lyric stage. But Johann Faust was not at all the Faust
of Goethe. He was the son of poor parents, and born at Knittlingen, in
Würtemberg, at the end of the fifteenth century. He was educated at the
University of Cracow, thanks to a legacy left him by an uncle, and he
seems to have been nothing better than a common cheat, called by
Melancthon ‘an abominable beast, a sewer of many devils,’ and by Conrad
Muth, who was a friend both of Melancthon and Luther, ‘a braggart and a
fool who affects magic.’ However, he was very popular in England, and not
only did Marlowe write a play about him, but there are many so-called
lives of him in English, especially among the chap-books--in which he is
fully credited with the power of producing the Devil in a tangible form by
means of his magic art.


But the spirits supposed to be raised by these magicians were not always
maleficent; they were more demons than devils. It will therefore be as
well if we quote a competent and learned authority on the subject of

Says Gyfford: ‘The Devils being the principall agents, and chiefe
practisers in witchcrafts and sorceryes, it is much to the purpose to
descrybe them and set them forth whereby wee shall bee the better
instructed to see what he is able to do, in what maner, and to what ende
and purpose. At the beginning (as God’s word doth teach us) they were
created holy Angels, full of power and glory. They sinned, they were cast
down from heauen, they were utterly depriued of glory, and preserued for
iudgement. This therefore, and this change of theirs, did not destroy nor
take away their former faculties; but utterly corrupt, peruert, and
depraue the same: the essence of spirits remayned, and not onely, but also
power and understanding, such as is in the Angels: y{e} heavenly Angels
are very mighty and strong, far above all earthly creatures in the whole
world. The infernall Angels are, for their strength called principalityes
and powers: those blessed ones applye all their might to set up and
aduaunce the glory of God, to defend and succour his children: the deuils
bend all their force against God, agaynst his glory, his truth and his
people. And this is done with such fiercenes, rage and cruelty, that the
holy ghost paynteth them out under the figure of a great red or fiery
dragon, and roaring lyon, in very deed anything comparable to them. He
hath such power and autority indeede, that hee is called the God of the
world. His Kingdome is bound and inclosed within certayne limits, for he
is y{e} prince but of darknes; but yet within his sayd dominion (which is
in ignorance of God) he exerciseth a mighty tyranny, our Saviour
compareth him to a strong man armed which kepeth his castle.

‘And what shall we saie for the wisedome and understanding of Angels,
which was giuen them in their creation, was it not far aboue that which
men can reach unto? When they became diuels (euen those reprobate angels)
their understanding was not taken awaie, but turned into malicious craft
and subtiltie. He neuer doth any thing but of an euill purpose, and yet he
can set such a colour, that the Apostle saith he doth change himselfe into
the likenesse of an angell of light. For the same cause he is called the
old serpent, he was subtill at the beginning, but he is now growne much
more subtill by long experience, and continuall practise, he hath searched
out and knoweth all the waies that may be to deceiue. So that, if God
should not chaine him up, as it is set forth, _Revel. 20_, his power and
subtiltie ioined together would overcome and seduce the whole world.

‘There be great multitudes of infernall spirits, as the holy scriptures
doe euerie where shew, but yet they doe so ioine together in one, that
they be called the divell in the singular number. They doe all ioine
together (as our Saviour teacheth) to uphold one kingdome. For though they
cannot loue one another indeede, yet the hatred they beare against God, is
as a band that doth tye them together. The holie angels are ministring
spirits, sent foorth for their sakes which shall inherit the promise. They
haue no bodilie shape of themselues, but to set foorth their speedinesse,
the scripture applieth itselfe unto our rude capacitie, and painteth them
out with wings.

‘When they are to rescue and succour the seruants of God, they can
straight waie from the high heauens, which are thousands of thousands of
miles distant from the earth, bee present with them. Such quicknesse is
also in the diuels; for their nature being spirituall, and not loden with
any heauie matter as our bodies are, doth afford unto them such a
nimblenes as we cannot conceiue. By this, they flie through the world over
sea and land, and espie out al aduantages and occasions to doe euill.’[3]

Indeed, ‘there be great multitudes of infernall spirits,’ if we can
believe so eminent an authority upon the subject as Reginald Scott, who
gives ‘An inuentarie of the names, shapes, powers, gouernement, and
effects of diuels and spirits, of their seuerall segniories and degrees: a
strange discourse woorth the reading.

‘Their first and principall King (which is of the power of the east) is
called _Baëll_; who, when he is conjured up, appeareth with three heads;
the first, like a tode; the second, like a man; the third, like a cat. He
speaketh with a hoarse voice, he maketh a man go invisible, he hath under
his obedience and rule sixtie and six legions of divels.’[4]

All the other diabolical chiefs are described at the same length, but I
only give their names, and the number of legions they command.

  Agares                             31
  Marbas or Barbas                   36
  Amon or Aamon                      40
  Barbatos                           30
  Buer                               50
  Gusoin                             40
  Botis or Otis                      60
  Bathin or Mathinn                  30
  Purson or Curson                   22
  Eligor or Abigor                   60
  Leraie or Oray                     30
  Valefar or Malefar                 10
  Morax or Foraij                    36
  Ipos or Ayporos                    36
  Naberius or Cerberus               19
  Glasya Labolas or Caacrinolaas     36
  Zepar                              26
  Bileth                             85
  Sitri or Bitru                     60
  Paimon                             20
  Belial                           none
  Bune                               30
  Forneus                            29
  Ronoue                             19
  Berith                             26
  Astaroth                           40
  Foras or Forcas                    29
  Furfur                             26
  Marchosias                         30
  Malphas                            40
  Vepar or Separ                     29
  Sabnacke or Salmac                 50
  Sidonay or Asmoday                 72
  Gaap or Tap                        36
  Shax or Scox                       30
  Procell                            48
  Furcas                             20
  Murmur                             30
  Caim                               30
  Raum or Raim                       30
  Halphas                            26
  Focalor                             3
  Vine                             none
  Bifrons                            26
  Gamigin                            30
  Zagan                              33
  Orias                              30
  Valac                              30
  Gomory                             26
  Decarabia or Carabia               30
  Amduscias                          29
  Andras                             30
  Andrealphus                        30
  Ose                              none
  Aym or Haborim                     26
  Orobas                             20
  Vapula                             36
  Cimeries                           20
  Amy                                36
  Flauros                            20
  Balam                              40
  Allocer                            36
  Vuall                              37
  Saleos                           none
  Haagenti                           33
  Phœnix                             20
  Stolas                             26

‘Note that a legion is 6666, and now by multiplication count how manie
legions doo arise out of euerie particular,’

Or a grand total of 14,198,580 devils, not including their commanders.

How many of these fall to the share of England? I know not, but they were
very active in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,
especially in the seventeenth. They seem to us, nowadays, to have
frittered away their energies in attending on witches, in entering into
divers persons and tormenting them, and in making senseless uproars and
playing practical jokes. Let us take about half a dozen of these latter.
Say, for argument sake, that they are not very abstruse or intellectual
reading; at all events, they are as good as the modern stories of
spiritual manifestations, and are as trustworthy.


    ‘The Just Devil of Woodstock’--Metrical Version--Presumed Genuine
    History of ‘The Just Devil of Woodstock.’


‘The 16 day of _October_ in the year of our Lord 1649, The Commissioners
for surveying and valuing his Majesties Mannor House, Parks, Woods, Deer,
Demesnes, and all things thereunto belonging, by Name Captain _Crook_,
Capt. _Hart_, Capt. _Cockaine_, Capt. _Carelesse_, and Capt. _Roe_ their
Messenger, with Mr. _Brown_ their Secretary, and two or three servants,
went from _Woodstock_ town (where they had lain some nights before) and
took up their lodgings in his Majesties House, after this manner: The
Bedchamber and withdrawing room, they both lodged in, and made their
Kitchin; the Presence Chamber their room for dispatch of business with all
commers: of the Councel Hall, their Brewhouse, as of the Dining room,
their Woodhouse, where they laid in the clefts, of that antient standard
in the High-Park, for many ages beyond memory, known by the Name of the
Kings Oak, which they had chosen out, and caused to be dug up by the

‘_Octob. 17._ About the middle of the night, these new guests were first
awaked, by a knocking at the Presence Chamber door, which they also
conceived did open, and something to enter, which came through the room,
and also walkt through the withdrawing room into the Bed chamber, and
there walkt about that room with a heavy step during half an hour; then
crept under the bed where Captain _Hart_, and Capt. _Carelesse_ lay, where
it did seeme (as it were) to bite and gnaw the Mat and Bed-coards, as if
it would tear and rend the feather beds, which having done a while, then
would they heave a while, and rest; then heave them up again in the bed
more high than it did before, sometime on the one side, sometime on the
other, as if it had tried which Captain was heaviest; thus having heaved
for some half an hour, from thence it walkt out, and went under the
servants’ bed, and did the like to them; thence it walkt into a
withdrawing room, and there did the same to all who lodged there: Thus
having welcomed them for more than two hours space, it walked out as it
came in, and shut the outer door again, but with a clap of some mightie
force; these guests were in a sweat all this while, but out of it falling
into a sleep again, it became morning first before they spoke their minds,
then would they have it to be a Dog, yet they described it more to the
likenesse of a great Bear, so fell to examining under the Beds, where
finding only the Mats scratcht, but the Bed-coards whole, and the
quarters of Beef which lay on the floor untoucht, they entertained other

‘_Octob. 18._ They were all awaked, as the night before, and now conceived
that they heard all the great clefts of the Kings Oak brought into the
Presence Chamber, and there thumpt down, and, after, roul about the room;
they could hear their chairs and stools tost from one side of the room
unto the other; and then (as it were) altogether jostled; thus having done
an hour together, it walkt into the withdrawing room, where lodged the two
Captains, the Secretary, and two servants; here stopt the thing a while,
as if it did take breath, but raised a hideous tone, then walkt into the
Bed-chamber, where lay those as before, and under the Bed it went, where
it did heave, and heave again, that now they in bed were put to catch hold
upon Bed-posts, and sometimes one of the other, to prevent their being
tumbled out upon the ground; then coming out as from under the bed, and
taking hold upon the bed-posts, it would shake the whole bed, almost as if
a cradle rocked; Thus, having done here for half an hour, it went into the
withdrawing room, where first it came and stood at the bed’s feet, and
heaving up the bed’s feet, flopt down again a while, until at last it
heaved the feet so high, that those in bed thought to have been set upon
their heads, and having thus for two hours entertained them, went out as
in the night before, but with a great noise.

‘_Octob. 19._ This night they awaked, not until the midst of the night,
they perceived the room to shake, with something that walkt about the
bed-chamber, which, having done so for a while, it walkt into a
withdrawing room, where it took up a Brasse warming-pan, and returning
with it into the bed-chamber, therein made so loud a noise, in these
Captains’ own words, it was as loud and scurvie as a ring of five untuned
Bells rang backward, but the Captains, not to seem afraid, next day made
mirth of what had past, and jested at the Devil in the pan.

‘_Octob. 20._ These Captains and their Company, still lodging as before,
were wakened in this night with some things flying about the rooms, and
out of one room into the other, as thrown with some great force: Captain
_Hart_ being in a slumber, was taken by the shoulder and shaked until he
did sit up in his bed, thinking that it had been by one of his fellows,
when suddenly he was taken on the Pate with a Trencher, that it made him
shrink down into the bed-clothes, and all of them, in both rooms, kept
their heads, at least, within their sheets, so fiercely did three dozen of
Trenchers, fly about the rooms; yet Captain _Hart_ ventured again to peep
out to see what was the matter, and what it was that threw, but then the
Trenchers came so fast and neer about his ears, that he was fain to couch
again: In the morning they found all their Trenchers, Pots and Spits, upon
and about the rooms; this night there was also in several parts of the
room, and outer rooms, such noises of beating at doors, and on the Walls,
as if that several Smiths had been at work; and yet our Captains shrunk
not from their work, but went on in that, and lodged as they had done

‘_Octob. 21._ About midnight, they heard great knocking at every door,
after a while, the doors flew open, and into the withdrawing room entred
something, as of a very mighty proportion, the figure of it they knew not
how to describe; this walkt a while about the room, shaking the floor at
every step, then came it close to the bed side, where lay Captains _Crook_
and _Carelesse_; and, after a little pause, as it were, The bed-curtains,
both at sides and feet, were drawn up and down, slowly, then faster again
for a quarter of an hour, then from end to end as fast as imagination
could fancie the running of the rings, then shaked it the beds, as if the
joints thereof had crackt; then walkt the thing into the bed-chamber, and
so plaied with those beds there: Then took up eight Pewter-dishes, and
bouled them about the room, and over the servants in the truckle beds;
then sometimes were the dishes taken up, and throwne crosse the high beds,
and against the walls, and so much battered; but there were more dishes
wherein was meat in the same room, that were not at all removed: During
this, in the Presence Chamber there was stranger noise of weightie things
thrown down, and as they supposed, the clefts of the King’s Oak did roul
about the room, yet at the wonted hour went away, and left them to take
rest, such as they could.

‘_October 22._ Hath mist of being set down, the Officers imployed in their
work farther off, came not that day to _Woodstock_.

‘_October 23._ Those that lodged in the withdrawing room, in the midst of
the night were awakened with the cracking of fire, as if it had been with
thorns and sparks of fire burning, whereupon they supposed that the bed
chamber had taken fire, and, listening to it farther, they heard their
fellows in bed sadly groan, which gave them to suppose they might be
suffocated, wherefore they call’d upon their servants to make all possible
hast to help them; when the two servants were come in, they found all
asleep, and so brought back word, but that there were no bedclothes upon
them, wherefore they were sent back to cover them, and to stir up and mend
the fire; when the servants had covered them, and were come to the
chimney, in the corners they found their wearing apparel, boots and
stockings, but they had no sooner toucht the Embers, when the firebrands
flew about their ears so fast, that away ran they into the other room, for
the shelter of their cover-lids, then after them walkt something that
stampt about the room, as if it had been exceeding angry, and likewise
threw about the Trenchers, Platters, and all such things in the room;
after two hours went out, yet stampt again over their heads.

‘_October 24._ They lodged all abroad.

‘_October 25._ This afternoon came unto them Mr. _Richard Crook_, the
Lawyer, brother to Captain Crook, and now Deputy-Steward of the Mannor,
unto Captain _Parsons_, and Major _Butler_, who had put out Mr. Hyans his
Majesties Officer: To entertain this new guest the Commissioners caused a
very great fire to be made, of neere the chimney full of wood, of the
King’s Oak, and he was lodged in the withdrawing room with his brother,
and his servant in the same room: about the midst of the night a wonderful
knocking was heard, and into the room something did rush, which, coming to
the chimney side, dasht out the fire, as with the stamp of some prodigious
foot, then threw down such weighty stuffe, what ere it was (they took it
to be the residue of the clefts and roots of the King’s Oak) close by the
bed side, that the house and bed shook with it. Captain _Cockain_ and his
fellow arose and took their swords to go unto the _Crooks_, the noise
ceased at their rising, so that they came to the door, and called; the two
brothers, though fully awaked, and heard them call, were so amazed, that
they made no answer, untill Captain _Cockaine_ had recovered the boldness
to call very loud, and came unto their bed-side; then, faintly first,
after some more assurance, they came to understand one another, and
comforted the lawyer: Whilst this was thus, no noise was heard, which made
them think the time was past of that nights troubles, so that, after some
little conference, they applied themselves to take some rest. When Captain
_Cockaine_ was come to his own bed, which he had left open, he found it
closely covered, which he much wondered at, but turning the clothes down,
and opening it to get in, he found the lower sheet strewed over with
trenchers, their whole three dozens of trenchers were orderly disposed
between his sheets, which he and his fellow endeavouring to cast out, such
noise arose about the room, that they were glad to get into bed with some
of the trenchers; the noise lasted a full half hour after this. This
entertainment so ill did like the Lawyer, and being not so well studied in
the point, as to resolve this the Devil’s Law-case, that he, next day,
resolved to begone, but, not having dispatcht all that he came for, profit
and perswasions prevailed with him to stay the other hearing, so that he
lodged as he did the night before.

‘_Octob. 26._ This night each room was better furnished with fire and
candle than before; yet about twelve at night came something in, that
dasht all out, then did walk about the room, making a noise, not to be set
forth by the comparison with any other thing, sometimes came it to the
bed-sides, and drew the Curtains to and fro, then twerle them, then walk
about again, and return to the bed-posts, shake them with all the bed, so
that they in bed were put to hold one upon the other; then walk about the
room again, and come to the servants bed, and gnaw the wainscot head--and
shake altogether in that room; at the time of this being in doing, they in
the bed-chamber heard such strange dropping down from the roof of the
room, that they supposed ’twas like the fall of money by the sound.
Captain _Cockaine_ not frighted with so small a noise (and lying near the
chimney) stept out, and made shift to light a candle, by the light of
which he perceived the room strewed over with broken glass, green, and
some as it were pieces of broken bottles. He had not long been considering
what it was, when suddainly his candle was hit out, and glass flew about
the room, that he made haste to the protection of the Coverlets, the noise
of thundering rose more hideous than at any time before; yet, at a certain
time, all vanisht into calmness. The morning after, was the glass about
the room, which the maid, that was to make clean the rooms, swept up into
a corner, and many came to see it. But Mr. _Richard Crooke_ would stay no
longer, yet as he stopt, going through _Woodstock_ Town, he was there
heard to say, that he would not lodge amongst them another night, for a
Fee of £500.

‘_Octob. 27._ The Commissioners had not yet done their work, wherefore
they must stay, and, being all men of the sword, they must not seem afraid
to encounter with anything, though it be the Devill, therefore, with
pistols charged, and drawn swords laied by their bed sides, they applied
themselves to take some rest, when something, in the midst of night, so
opened and shut the window casements, with such claps, that it awakened
all that slept; some of them peeping out to look what was the matter with
the windows, stones flew about the rooms as if hurled with many hands;
some hit the walls, and some the bed’s head close above the pillows; the
dints of which were then, and yet (it is conceived) are to be seen, thus
sometime throwing stones; and sometime making thundering noise; for two
hours space it ceast, and all was quiet till the morn. After their rising,
and the maid come in to make the fire, they looked about the rooms; they
found fourscore stones brought in that night, and, going to lay them
together, in the corner, where the glass (before mentioned) had been
swept up, they found that every piece of glass had been carried away that
night: many people came next day to see the stones, and all observed that
they were not of such kind of stones as are naturall in the countrey
thereabout; with these were noises like claps of thunder, or report of
Cannon planted against the rooms; heard by all that lodged in the outer
courts, to their astonishment; and at _Woodstock_ Town, taken to be

‘_Octob. 28._ This night, both strange and differing noise from the
former, first wakened Captain _Hart_ who lodged in the bed-chamber, who
hearing _Roe_ and _Brown_ to groan, called out to _Cockaine_ and _Crooke_
to come and help them, for _Hart_ could not now stir himself. Cockaine
would faine have answered, but he could not, or look about, something he
thought, stopt both his breath and held down his eye lids. Amazed thus, he
struggled and kickt about, till he had awaked Captain _Crook_, who, half
asleep, grew very angry at his kicks, and multiplied words till it grew to
an appointment in the field: but this fully recovered _Cockaine_ to
remember that Captain _Hart_ had called for help, wherefore to them he ran
in the other room, whom he found sadly groaning: where scraping in the
chimney he found a candle and fire to light it; but had not gone two
steps, when something blew the candle out, and threw him in the chair by
the bed side, when presently cried out Captain _Careless_, with a most
pittiful voice, Come hither, O come hither, brother _Cockaine_, the
thing’s gone off me. _Cockaine_ scarce yet himself, helpt to set him up
in his bed, and, after, Captain _Hart_; and having scarce done that to
them, and also to the other two, they heard Captain _Crook_ crying out, as
if something had been killing him; _Cockaine_ snacht up the sword that lay
by their bed, and ran into the room to save _Crook_, but was in much more
likelyhood to kill him, for at his coming the thing that pressed _Crook_,
went off him, at which _Crook_ started out of his bed, when _Cockaine_
thought a spirit made at him, at which _Crook_ cried out Lord help, Lord
save me; _Cockaine_ let fall his hand, and _Crook_ embracing _Cockaine_
desired his reconcilement: giving him many thanks for his deliverance,
then rose they all and came together, discoursed sometimes godly, and
sometimes praied, for all this while was there such stamping over the roof
of the house, as if 1,000 horse had there been trotting. This night, all
the stones brought in the night before, and laid up in the withdrawing
room, were all carried away again by that which brought them in, which at
the wonted time, left off, and, as it were, went out, and so away.

‘_Octob. 29._ Their businesse having now received so much forwardnesse, as
to be neer dispatcht, they encouraged one the other, and resolved to try
further, therefore they provided more lights and fires, and further, for
their assistance, prevailed with their Ordinary Keeper to lodge amongst
them, and bring his Mastive Bitch, and it was so this night with them,
that they had no disturbance at all.

‘_Octob. 30._ So well had they past the night before, that this night they
went to bed confident and carelesse, untill, about 12 of the clock,
something knockt at the door as with a smith’s great hammer, but with such
force as if it had cleft the door; then entred something like a Bear, but
seem’d to swell more big and walkt about the room, and out of one room
into the other; treading so heavily, as the floore had not been strong
enough to bear it; when it came to the bed chamber, it dasht against the
beds heads some kind of glasse vessell, that broke in sundry pieces; and,
sometimes, it would take up those pieces, and hurle them about the room,
and into the other room; and when it did not hurle the glasse at their
heads, it did strike upon the tables as if many smiths, with their
greatest hammers, had been laying on as upon an anvill: sometimes it
thumpt against the walls, as if it would beat a hole through; then upon
their heads such stamping, as if the roof of the house were beating down
upon their heads, and, having done thus during the space (as was
conjectured) of two hours, it ceased and vanished, but with a more fierce
shutting of the doors than at any time before. In the morning they found
the pieces of glass about the room, and observed that it was much
differing from that glasse, brought in three nights before, this being of
a much thicker substance, which severall persons which came in carried
away some pieces of. The Commissioners were in debate of lodging there no
more, but all their businesse was not done, and some of them were so
conceited as to believe, and to attribute the rest they enjoyed the night
before this last unto the Mastive bitch; wherefore they resolved to get
more company, and the Mastive bitch, and try another night.

‘_Octob. 31._ This night, the fires and lights prepared, the Ordinary
Keeper and his bitch, with another man persuaded by him, they all took
their beds, and fell asleep. But, about 12 at night, such rapping was on
all sides of them, that it wakened all of them. As the doors did seem to
open, the Mastive bitch fell fearfully a yelling, and presently ran
fiercely into the bed to them in the truckle bed. As the thing came by the
table, it struck so fierce a blow on that, as that it made the frame to
crack; then took the warming pan from off the table and stroke it against
the walls with so much force as that it was beat flat together, lid and
bottom; now were they hit as they lay covered over head and ears within
the bedclothes; Captain _Carelesse_ was taken a sound blow on the head
with the shoulder blade-bone of a dead Horse (before, they had been but
thrown at when they peept up, and mist,) Brown had a shrewd blow on the
leg with the back bone, and another on the head; and everyone of them felt
severall blows of bones and stones through the bed clothes, for now these
things were thrown as from an angry hand that meant further mischief; the
stones flew in at the window as if shot out of a Gun, nor was the bursts
lesse (as from without) than of a Cannon, and all the windows broken down.
Now, as the hurling of the things did cease, and the thing walkt up and
down, Captains _Cockaine_ and _Hart_ cried out, _In the Name of the
Father, Son and Holy Ghost, What are you? what would you have? what have
we done that you disturb us thus?_ No voice replied (as the Captains said,
yet some of their servants have said otherwise) and the noise ceast.
Hereupon Captains _Hart_ and _Cockaine_ rose, who lay in the Bed-chamber,
renewed the fire and lights, and one great candle in a candlestick they
placed in the door, that might be seen by them in both the rooms; no
sooner were they got to bed, but the noise arose on all sides more loud
and hideous than at any time before, in so much (as to use the Captain’s
own words) it returned and brought seven Devils worse than itself; and,
presently, they saw the candle and candlestick in the passage of the door,
dasht up to the roof of the room, by a kick of the hinder parts of a
Horse, and after, with the Hoof trod out the snuffe, and so dasht out the
Fire in the Chimnies. As this was done, there fell, as from the sieling,
upon them in the Truckle beds, such quantities of water, as if it had been
poured out of Buckets, which stunk worse than any earthly stink could
make. And, as this was in doing, something crept under the High Beds, tost
them up to the roof of the House, with the Commissioners in them, until
the Testers of the Beds were beaten down upon them, and the Bedsted-frames
broke under them. And here, some pause being made, they all, as if with
one consent, started up, and ran down the stairs until they came into the
Counsel-Hall, where two sate up a Brewing, but were now fallen asleep;
those they scared much with wakening of them, having been much perplext
before with the strange noise, which commonly was taken by them abroad
for thunder, sometimes for rumbling wind; here the Captains and their
company got fire and candle, and everyone carrying something of either,
they returned into the Presence-Chamber, where some applied themselves to
make the fire, whilst others fell to Prayers, and, having got some clothes
about them, they spent the residue of the night in singing Psalms and
Prayers; during which, no noise was in that room, but most hideously round
about, as at some distance.

‘It should have been told before, how that when Captain _Hare_ first rose
this night (who lay in the Bed-Chamber next the fire) he found their Book
of valuations crosse the embers smoaking, which he snacht up, and cast
upon the Table there, which, the night before, was left upon the Table in
the presence, amongst their other papers. This Book was, in the morning,
found a handful burnt, and had burnt the Table where it lay; _Brown_ the
Clerk said, he would not for a 100 and a 100l. that it had been burnt a
handful further.

‘This night it happened that there were six Cony-stealers, who were come
with their Nets and Ferrets to the Cony-burrows by _Rosamond’s_ Well, but
with the noise this night from the Mannor-house, they were so terrified,
that, like men distracted, away they ran, and left their Haies all ready
pitched, ready up, and the Ferrets in the Cony-burrows.

‘Now the Commissioners, more sensible of their danger, considered more
seriously of their safety, and agreed to go and confer with Mr. _Hoffman_,
the Minister of _Wotton_ (a man not of the meanest note for life or
learning, by some esteemed more high) to desire his advice, together with
his company and prayers. Mr. _Hoffman_ held it too high a point to resolve
on suddenly and by himself, wherefore, desired time to consider upon it,
which, being agreed unto, he forthwith rode to Mr. _Jenkinson_ and Mr.
_Wheat_, the two next Justices of Peace, to try what Warrant they could
give him for it. They both (as ’tis said from themselves) encouraged him
to be assisting to the Commissioners, according to his calling.

[Sidenote: _By which it is to be noted that a Presbyterian Minister dares
not encounter an Independent Devil._]

‘But certain it is, that when they came to fetch him to go with them, Mr.
_Hoffman_ answered, That he would not lodge there one night, for £500, and
being askt to pray with them, he held up his hands, and said, That he
would not meddle upon any terms.

‘Mr. _Hoffman_ refusing to undertake the quarrel, the Commissioners held
it not safe to lodge where they had been thus entertained, any longer, but
caused all things to be removed into the Chambers over the Gatehouse,
where they staid but one night, and what rest they enjoyed there, we have
but an uncertain relation of, for they went away early the next morning;
but if it may be held fit to set down what hath been delivered by the
report of others, they were also the same night much affrighted with
dreadful apparitions; but, observing that these passages spread much in
discourse, to be also in particulars taken notice of, and that the nature
of it made not for their cause, they agreed to the concealing of the
things for the future; yet this is well known and certain, that the
Gate-keeper’s wife was in so strange an agony in her bed, and in her
bed-chamber such noise (whilst her husband was above with the
Commissioners) that two maids in the next room to her durst not venture to
assist her, but, affrighted, ran out to call company, and their Master,
and found the woman (at their coming in) gasping for breath: and the next
day said that she saw and suffered that, which, for all the world, she
would not be hired to again.

From _Woodstock_ the Commissioners removed unto _Euelme_, and some of them
returned to _Woodstock_, the Sunday sennight after (the Book of
_Valuations_ wanting something that was, for haste, left imperfect), but
lodged not in any of those rooms where they had lain before, and yet were
not unvisited (as they confess themselves) by the Devil, whom they called
their nightly guest. Captain _Crooke_ came not untill _Tuesday_ night, and
how he sped that night, the gate-keeper’s wife can tell, if she dareth;
but, what she hath whispered to her gossips, shall not be made a part of
this our Narrative, nor any more particulars which have fallen from the
Commissioners themselves, and their servants to other persons; they are
all, or most of them alive, and may add to it when they please, and,
surely, have not a better way to be revenged of him who troubled them,
than according to the Proverb, tell truth and shame the Devil.

There remains this observation to be added, that on a Wednesday morning,
all these Officers went away; And that, since then, diverse persons of
severall qualities, have lodged often and sometimes long in the same rooms
both in the presence, withdrawing room and bed Chamber belonging unto his
Sacred Majesty, yet none have had the least disturbance, or heard the
smallest noise, for which the cause was not as ordinary, as apparent;
except the Commissioners and their company, who came in order to the
alienating and pulling down the house, which is well nigh performed.’

As to the authenticity of the above, we are told in the Preface: ‘And now,
as to the Penman of this Narrative, know that he was a Divine, and, at the
time of those things acted, which are here related, the Minister and
Schoolmaster of _Woodstock_, a person learned and discreet, nor byassed
with factious humours, his name _Widows_, who, each day, put in writing
what he heard from their mouthes, (and such things as they told to have
befallen them the night before), therein keeping to their own words.’

There was also a metrical account[6] of these strange doings, printed in
the year in which they occurred; but although it exactly tallies with the
prose as above, it is not written in so refined a strain.

The _British Magazine_ for April, 1747 (vol. ii., p. 156) professes to
give ‘The genuine history of the good devil of _Woodstock_, famous in the
world in the year 1649, and never accounted for, or at all understood to
this time.’ It is by an anonymous writer, who says he found it in some
original papers which had lately fallen into his hands, ‘under the name of
authentick memoirs of the memorable _Joseph Collins_ of Oxford, commonly
known by the name of _funny Joe_,’ and it puts forth that this said Joe,
under the name of Giles Sharp, entered the service of the Commissioners as
a servant, and with the help of two friends, an unknown trap-door in the
ceiling of the bedchamber, and some fulminating mercury, played the part
of the Devil; but as the document is not known to be in existence, and is
only mentioned in the pages of a magazine a hundred years afterwards, the
reader may attach whatever credit he pleases to it. At all events, it
proves that something very extraordinary, according to popular rumour, did
take place at Woodstock during the Commissioners’ occupation.


    ‘The Dæmon of Tedworth.’


‘Master _John Mompesson_, of _Tedworth_ in _Wiltshire_, being about the
middle of _March_, in the year 1661, at a neighbouring Town, called
_Ludgarshal_, heard a _Drum_ beat there, and being concerned as a
_Commission Officer_ in the _Militia_, he enquired of the _Bayliffe_ of
the Town, at whose House he then was, what it meant. The Bayliffe told him
that they had for some dayes been troubled by that _Idle Drummer_, who
demanded money of the Constable, by virtue of a pretended pass, which he
thought was counterfeit. Upon this Information Master _Mompesson_ sent for
the fellow, and ask’d him by what _Authority_ he went up and down the
Countrey in that manner, demanding money, and keeping a clutter with his
_Drum_? The _Drummer_ answered he had good _Authority_, and produced his
pass, with a warrant under the hands of Sir _William Cawly_ and Colonel
_Ayliffe_ of _Gretenham_. These papers discover’d the knavery, for M.
_Mompesson_ knowing those Gentlemen’s hands, found that his pass and
warrant were _forgeries_; and upon the discovery, commanded the _vagrant_
to put off his _Drum_, and charged the Constable to carry him to the next
_Justice_ of _Peace_, to punish him according to the desert of his
_Insolence_ and _Roguery_. The fellow then confest the _cheat_, and begg’d
earnestly for his _Drum_. But M. _Mompesson_ told him that if he
understood from Colonel _Ayliffe_, whose _Drummer_ he pretended to be,
that he had been an honest man, he should have it again; but in the
interim he would secure it. So he left the _Drum_ with the Bayliffe, and
the Drummer in the Constable’s hands; who, it seems, after, upon intreaty,
let him go.

‘About the midst of _April_ following, when M. _M._ was preparing for a
Journey to _London_, the Bayliffe sent the _Drum_ to his house; and, being
returned, his wife told him that they had been much affrighted in the
night by _Thieves_, during his absence; and that the House had like to
have been broken up. He had not been at home above three nights, when the
same noise returned that had disturbed his Family when he was abroad. It
was a very great _knocking_ at his Doors, and the out side of his House.
M. _M._ arose, and with a brace of Pistols in his hands, went up and down
searching for the cause of the Disturbance. He open’d the door, where the
great knocking was, and presently the noise was at another. He opened that
also, and went forth, rounding his House, but could discover nothing; only
he still heard a strange noise and hollow sound; but could not perceive
what was the occasion of it. When he was returned to his Bed, the noise
was a _Thumping_ and _Drumming_ on the top of his House, which continued a
good space, and then by degrees went off into the Air.

‘After this _It_ would come 5 nights together, and absent itself 3.
Knocking very hard at the out-sides of the House, which is most of it, of
Board. This _It_ did, constantly, as they were going to sleep, either
early or late. After a month’s racket without, _It_ came into the room
where the _Drum_ lay, where _It_ would be 4 or 5 nights in 7, making great
hollow sounds, and sensibly shaking the Beds and Windows. _It_ would come
within half an hour after they were in Bed, and stay almost two. The sign
of _Its_ approach was an _hurling_ in the Air over the House; and at _Its_
recess they should hear a _Drum_ beat, like the breaking up of a Guard.
_It_ continued in this Room for the space of two months; the Gentleman
himself lying there to observe _It_: and though _It_ was very troublesome
in the fore part of the night, yet, after two hours disturbance, _It_
would desist, and leave all in quietness: At which time perhaps the Laws
of the _Black Society_ required _Its_ presence at the general _Rendezvous_

‘About this time the Gentleman’s Wife was brought to Bed; the noise came a
little that night she was in Travail, but then forbore for three weeks
till she had recover’d strength. After this _civil cessation_, it return’d
in a _ruder_ manner than before, applying wholly to the younger children;
whose Bedsteads _It_ would beat with that violence that all present would
expect, when they would fall in pieces. Those that laid their hands upon
them, could feel no blows, but perceived them to shake exceedingly. _It_
would for an hour together beat, what they Call ROUNDHEADS and
CUCKOLDS--the Tattoo, and several other Points of Warre, and that as
dextrously as any Drummer. After which _It_ would get under the Bed, and
scratch there as if _It_ had Iron Tallons. _It_ would lift the children up
in their Beds, follow them from one room to another; and, for a while,
applied to none particularly but them.

‘There was a Cock-loft in the House which had been observed hitherto to be
untroubled; thither they removed their children, putting them to bed while
it was fair day: and yet they were no sooner covered, but the _unwelcome
Visitant_ was come, and played his tricks as before.

‘On the 5th of _Novemb. 1662_. _It_ kept a mighty noise, and one of the
Gentleman’s Servants observing two Boards in the children’s room that
seemed to move, he bade _It_ give him one of them, and presently the Board
came within a yard of him. The Fellow added, _Nay, let me have it in my
hand_: upon which it was shuft quite home. The man thrust it back, and the
Dæmon returned it to him, and so from one to another at least 20 times
together, till the Gentleman forbad his servant such _Familiarities_. That
morning _It_ left a _Sulphurous smell_ behind _It_, very _displeasant_ and
_offensive_.... At night the Minister of the place, Mr. _Cragge_, and many
of the Neighbours came to the House--and went to prayer at the Children’s
Bed-side, where, at that time _It_ was very troublesome and loud. During
the time of _Prayer_ _It_ with-drew into the Cock-Loft, but, the Service
being ended, _It_ returned; and in the sight and presence of the company,
the _Chairs_ walked about the Room, the Children’s Shooes were thrown over
their heads, and every loose thing moved about the Chamber; also a Bed
staffe was thrown at the _Minister_, which hit him on the Leg, but so
favourably, that a lock of Wooll could not have fallen more softly. And a
circumstance more was observed, viz., that it never in the least roul’d,
nor mov’d from the place where it lighted.

‘The Gentleman perceiving that _It_ so much persecuted the little
Children, lodg’d them out at a Neighbour’s House, and took his eldest
daughter, who was about 10 years of Age, into his own Chamber, where _It_
had not been in a month before. But no sooner was she in Bed, but the
troublesome Guest was with her, and continued his unquiet visits for the
space of three weeks, during which time _It_ would beat the Drum, and
exactly answer any Tune that was knock’d, or called for. The House where
the Gentleman had lodged his Children, being full of Strangers, he was
forced to take them home again; and, because they had never observed any
disturbance in the Parlor, he laid them there, where also their old
Visitant found them; but, at this time, troubled them no otherwise than by
plucking them by the hair and night-cloathes.

‘_It_ would sometimes lift up the Servants with their Beds, and lay them
down again gently, without any more prejudice than the fright of being
carried to the _Drummer’s_ quarters. And at other times _It_ would lie
like a great weight upon their Feet.

‘’Twas observed, that when the noise was loudest, and came with the most
_suddain_ and _surprizing violence_, yet no Dog would move. The Knocking
was oft so boysterous and rude, that it hath been heard at a considerable
distance in the Fields, and awakened the Neighbours in the Village, none
of which live very near this house.

‘About the latter end of _Decemb. 1662_. the _Drummings_ were less
frequent, and the noise the _Fiend_ made, was a _gingling_, as it had been
of money, occasioned, as ’twas thought, by some discourse of an antient
Gentlewoman, Mother to M. _M._ (who was one day saying to a Neighbour that
talked of _Fairies leaving money_, that she should like _It_ well, if _It_
would leave them some to make amends for the trouble _It_ made them) for
that night there was a great _chinking_ of money all the house over; but
he that rose earliest the next morning, was ne’re a groat the richer.
After this _It_ desisted from its _ruder noises_, and employed _It_ self
about little _apish_ Tricks, and less troublesome _Caprichios_. On
_Christmas Eve_, an hour before day, one of the little Boyes arising out
of his Bed, was hit on a sore place in his Heel by the latch of the Door,
which the _waggish Dæmons_ had pluckt out and thrown at him. The Pin that
fastened it was so small, that ’twas for the credit of his _Opticks_ that
he pick’t it out without Candle-light. The night after _Christmas Day_,
_It_ threw all the old Gentlewoman’s Cloaths about the Room, and hid her
_Bible_ in the Ashes. In such _impertinent ludicrous fagaries_, it was
frequent. After _this_ the _Spirit_ was very troublesome to a Servant of
M. _Mompesson’s_, who was a stout fellow, and of sober conversation....
His Master permitted him to give this proof of his courage, and lodg’d him
in the next room to his own. There was _John engarrison’d_, and provided
for the assault with a trusty Sword, and other implements of War. And, for
some time, there was scarce a night past without some doubty action and
encounter, in which the success was various. One while, _John’s_ bag and
baggage would be in the enemy’s _power_, _Doublet_ and _Breeches_
surprized, and his Shooes raised in _rebellion_ against him; and then
_lusty John_ by _Dint_ of Weapon recovers all again, suppresseth the
_insurrection_ of his _Shooes_, and holds his own in spight of _Satan_ and
the _Drummer_. And for the most part, our combatant came off with honour
and advantage, except when his enemy outwatch’d and surprized him, and
then he’s made a prisoner, bound hand and foot, and at the mercy of the
_Goblin_; till he hath got the opportunity of recovering his _Diabolical
Blade_, and then our Champion is in good plight again....

‘About the beginning of Jan. 1662 they were wont to hear a _singing_ in
the _chimney_, before _It_ came down. And one night, about this time,
Lights were seen in the House: One of which came into M. _Mompesson’s_
Chamber, which seemed _blue_ and _glimmering_, and caused a great
stiffness in their eyes that saw it. After this light, something was
heard coming up the Stairs, as if it had been some one without Shooes. The
light was also 4 or 5 times seen in the Children’s Chamber; and the Maids
confidently affirm that the doors were at least ten times opened, and shut
in their sight. They heard a noise at the same time when the Doors were
opened, as if half a dozen had entred in together. After which, some were
heard to walk about the room, and one rusled as if it had been in silk.
The like M. _M._ himself once heard.

‘During the time of the Knocking, when many were present, a Gentleman of
the company said, _Satan_, If the _Drummer_ sets thee a work, give three
Knocks, and no more, which _It_ did very distinctly, and stopt. Then the
Gentleman knockt, to see if _It_ would answer him as _It_ was wont, but
_It_ remained quiet. He further tryed _It_ the same way, bidding _It_, for
confirmation, if _It_ were the _Drummer_, to give 5 Knocks and no more
that night, which _It_ did accordingly, and was silent all the night
after. This was done in the presence of Sir _Tho. Chamberlain_ of
_Oxfordshire_ and several others.

‘On _Saturday_ morning, Jan. 10. an hour before day, the _Drum_ was beaten
upon the out-sides of M. _Mompesson’s_ Chamber, from whence _It_ went to
the other end of the House, where some Gentlemen, Strangers, lay, playing
at their door, and without, 4 or 5. several Times, and so went off into
the Air.

‘The next night, a Smith of the Village lying with _John_, they heard a
noise in the room, as if one had been shooing of a horse there; and
somewhat came, as it were, with a pair of _Pincers_, and snipt at the
Smith’s Nose, most part of the Night.

‘One morning M. _Mompesson_ rising early to go a Journey, heard a great
noise below, where the Children lay, and, running down, with a Pistol in
his hand, heard this voice, _A Witch, A Witch_, as they had also heard it
once before; but, upon his entrance, all was quiet. Having, one night
played some little pranks at M. _Mompesson’s_ Bed’s feet, _It_ went into
another Bed, in which one of his Daughter’s lay, where _It_ passed from
side to side, and lifted her up, as _It_ went under her. At that time
there were three kindes of noises in the Bed. They endeavoured to thrust
at _It_ with a _Sword_, but _It_ very carefully avoided them, still
skipping under the Child, when they were ready to thrust. The night after,
_It_ came _panting_ like a Dog out of breath; upon which one took a
Bed-Staff to knock, which was taken out of her hand, and thrown away with
some violence. Upon this the company came up, and, presently, the room was
filled with a _bloomy noysome_ smell, and was very _hot_; though without
Fire, and in midst of a very _sharp_ and _severe_ winter. _It_ continued
in the Bed, panting and scratching an hour and half, and then went into
the next Chamber, where it knock’d a little, and seemed to rattle a chain.
Thus it did for two or three nights together.

‘After this, the old Gentlewoman’s Bible was found in the Ashes open, the
paper side being downwards. M. _Mompesson_ took it up, and observed that
it lay open at the third chapter of S. _Mark_, in which there is mention
of the _unclean spirits falling down before our Saviour_; of his _giving
power to the 12 to cast out Devils_, and of the _Scribes’_ opinion, that
he _cast them out through Beelzebub_. The next night they strewed ashes
over the Chamber, to see what _impressions_ _It_ would leave. And in the
morning, found in one place the resemblance of a great Claw, in another,
of a lesser; some Letters in another, which they could make nothing of;
besides many _Circles_ and _Scratches_ in the Ashes; all which, I suppose,
were _ludicrous_ devices, by which the _sportful Dæmon_ made _pastime_
with human _Ignorance_ and _Credulity_.

‘About this time, my[8] curiosity drew me to the House, to be a witness of
some of those strange passages. _It_ had ceased from _It’s_ pranks of
_Drumming_, and _ruder noises_, before I came; but most of the more
remarkable circumstances before related were confirmed to me there, by
several of the Neighbours together, who had been present at them. At that
time _It_ used to haunt the Children; I heard _It_ scratch very loudly and
distinctly in their Bed, behind the Boulster. I thrust in my hand to the
place where the noise seemed to be, upon which It withdrew to another part
of the Bed; and, upon the taking out of my hand, _It_ returned as before.
I had heard of _It’s_ imitating noises, and therefore made the trial, by
scratching certain determinate times upon the Sheet, as 5. and 7. and 10.
which _It_ did also, and still stopt at my number. After a while _It_
went into the midst of the Bed, under the Children, and there _panted_
like a Dog, very loudly. I put my hand upon the place, and felt the Bed
bear up against it, as if something had thrust it up; but, by grasping,
could feel nothing but the Feathers: and there was nothing under it. The
motion _It_ caused by this _panting_ was so strong, that it shook the
Rooms and Windows. _It_ continued thus for more than half an hour, while I
stayed, and as long after. I was certain that there could be no _fallacy_
nor _deceit_ in these passages, which I critically examined; and I am sure
there was nothing of _fear_ or _imagination_ in the case; for I was no
more concerned than I am at the Writing this Relation.

‘But to proceed with M. _Mompesson’s_ own particulars.

‘There came one morning a light into the Children’s Chamber, and the
voice, crying, _A Witch, A Witch_, for at least an hundred times together.
M. _M._ seeing at a time some Wood move that was in the Chimney, when no
one was near, discharged a Pistol into it; after which they found several
drops of Blood on the Hearth, and in divers places of the Stairs.

There was a seeming _calm_ in the House for 2 or 3 nights after the
discharge of the Pistol; but then _It_ came again, applying _Itself_ to a
little Child, newly taken from Nurse; which it so persecuted, that _It_
would not let the poor Infant rest for two nights together, nor suffer a
Candle in the Room, but would carry them away up the _Chimney_, or throw
them under the Bed. _It_ so scared this Child by leaping upon it, that
for some hours, it could not be recovered out of the fright. Insomuch as
they were inforced again to remove the Children out of the House. The next
night, after they were gone, something about midnight came up the Stairs,
and knockt at M. _Mompesson’s_ door; but he, lying still, _It_ went up
another pair of Stairs, to his Man’s Chamber, to whom _It_ appeared,
standing at his Bed’s foot. The exact shape and proportion he could not
discover; but saw a great body, with two _red_ and _glaring_ eyes, which
for some time were fixt steddily upon him, and, at length, disappeared.

‘Another night, Strangers being present, _It_ purr’d in the Children’s Bed
like a _Cat_; and at that time the Cloaths and Children were lift up from
the Bed, and 6 men could not keep them down. Upon this they removed them
from thence, intending to have ript open the Bed: but they were no sooner
laid in another, but this second Bed was more troubled than the former.
_It_ continued thus 4 hours, and so beat the Children’s legs against the
Bed-posts, that they were forced to arise, and sit up all night. After
this _It_ would empty Chamber-pots into their Beds, and strew them with
Ashes; and that though they were never so carefully watch’t, _It_ put a
long piked Iron into M. _Mompesson’s_ Bed, and, into his Mother’s, a naked
Knife upright. It would fill porringers with Ashes, throw every thing
about, and keep a noise all day.

‘About the beginning of April 1663. a Gentleman that lay in the house had
all his money turn’d black in his Pockets. And M. _Mompesson_, one
morning, coming into his Stable, found the Horse he was wont to ride, on
the ground, with one of his hinder Legs in his mouth, and so fastned
there, that ’twas difficult work for several men, with a Leaver, to get it
out. After this there were some other remarkable things; but my _account_
goes no farther: Only M. _Mompesson_ told me, that afterwards the house
was several nights beset with 7 or 8 in the shape of men, who, as soon as
a Gun was discharged, would shuffle away together into an Arbour.

‘THE DRUMMER was tryed at the _Assize_ at _Salisbury_, condemned to the
_Islands_, and was, accordingly, sent away: but I know not how, made a
shift to come back again. And ’tis observable, that during all the time of
his restraint, and absence, the House was in quiet; but, as soon as ever
he came back, the disturbance also returned. He had been a Souldier under
CRUMWEL, and used to talk much of gallant Books he had of an odd Fellow’s,
who was counted a Wizard.’


    ‘The Dæmon of Burton’--‘Strange and Wonderful News from Yowel, in
    Surrey’--The Story of Mrs. Jermin--A Case at Welton--‘The Relation of
    James Sherring.’

The next case (in chronological order) that I have met with is very
similar to that of Mompesson, and, like that, shows the trivialities to
which this species of Devil could descend, apparently, with no object.


‘There is a Farm in _Burton_, a _Village_ in the Parish of _Weobley_, in
this County,[10] which Mr. _William Bridges_, a Linnen-Draper in _London_,
has in Mortgage from one _Thomas Tompkins_, a decay’d Yeoman man. This
Farm was, about Michaelmas, 1669. taken by Lease by Mrs. _Elizabeth
Bridges_, to commence from _February_ then next; Soon after this Tenant
was entered on the Farm, and lodg’d in the House, some _Familiar_ began to
act apish Pranks, by knocking boldly at the door in the dusk of the
Evening, and the like, early in the Morning, but no body to be seen.

‘After this, the Stools and Forms, though left in their proper places,
were, every night set round the fire, which the Tenant perceiving, she set
them next night under the Table, and next morning they were found set
orderly about the fire as before, and a continual noise of Cats heard all
night, but never seen.

‘Afterwards, the Tenant having in a Room a heap of Malt, and another of
Vetches, the two parcels were found next morning exactly mingled together,
and put into a new heap.

‘Another time she had baked a Batch of Bread, and laid the Loaves over
night on a Table; next morning the Loaves were all gone, and, after search
made, they were found in another Room, hid in Tubs, and covered with
linnen Cloathes, and all this while the Tenant had the keys of the doors
in her pocket, and found the doors in the morning fast lock’d as she left
them over night: so, also, her Cheeses and meat were often carried out of
one Room into another, whilst the doors were fast lock’d, and sometimes
convey’d into the Orchard.

‘Then the Tenant having set Cabbidg-Plants in her Garden, in the night the
Plants were pull’d up, and laid in several formes, as Crosses,
Flower-de-Luces, and the like. She caus’d them to be set again, and the
Ground finely raked about, to the end they might see if any footsteps
might be discovered in the morning, when the Plants were found pull’d up
as before, and no track or footstep to be found or perceived; the Plants
were set a third time, and then they continued unmoved.

‘She had in her Cheese-chamber many Cheeses upon Shelves, and a Bag of
Hops in the same Room. One night, the Cheeses were all laid on the floor
in several formes, and the Hops all strewed about the Room, and the
Chamber door found fast lock’d in the morning.

‘Another night in the Buttery there were several dishes of cold Meat left
upon a hanging Shelf; in the morning, the Table Cloath was found orderly
laid on the Floor, and the Dishes set on it, and most of the Meat eaten,
onely a manners bit left in every Dish; yet there were silver Spoons,
which lay by the Dishes, and none of them diminished.

‘At another time she had left half a rosted Pig, which was design’d for
breakfast next day, when the Pig was call’d for, there was not one bit of
either Skin or Flesh left, but the Bones of the Pig, lay orderly in the
Dish, and not one of them unjoynted or misplac’d.

‘Whilst these, and many other such pleasant tricks were play’d in the
Rooms that were lock’d to make a discovery of any deceipt, if possible,
the entrance of the doors were all strew’d with sifted ashes, and no
footstep or track of anything was found in the morning, when such pranks
were play’d in the Room.

‘One night the Tenant having bought a quart of Vinegar in a Bottel, she
set it in her Dairy-house, where there were six Cows Milk. In the Morning
she found her Bottle empty, and her milk all turned, and made into a
perfect Posset, with the Vinegar.

‘And the Cheeses were sometimes convey’d by night out of the Cheese
Chamber, and put into the Trines of Milk in the Dairy-house.

‘The Tenant had, likewise, divers of her Cattel that dyed in a strange
manner, among others, a Sow that leap’d and danc’d in several unusual
postures, and, at last fell down dead.

‘The _Hagg_, having thus for above a moneth together, almost every night
acted the part of _Hocus pocus Minor_, lay quiet for some moneths, and
then began to act the _Major_, and do greater mischiefs; and to this
purpose, One night, as the Tenant and her Maid were going to bed, and
passing by the Hall, which was dressed with green boughs tyed on the
Posts, after the Country fashion, they were all of a flame, and no fire
had been made in that Room of a fortnight before, nor any Candle that
night; but the fire was soon quenched by throwing water on it, yet an
outcry being made, the neighbours came in, and watched the House all

‘Not long after, a Loft of Hay, dry, and well Inned, was set on fire in
the daytime, and was, most of it, burnt, with the house it lay in; and no
way could be found how it should come to pass, but by the same black hand.

‘And, after some time, a Mow of pulse and pease was likewise fired in the
daytime, and all the grayn either burnt or spoiled, and in the middle of
the bottom of the Mow were found dead burnt Coales, which in all the
Spectators Judgements, could not be conveyed thither but by Witchcraft.

‘After these dreadful fires, which did endanger the whole Village had
they not been at length quench’d by a numerous Company of the Neighbours,
who came in to the Tenant’s Assistance, the poor Tenant dirst stay no
longer in the House, but quitted it, with all her losses, when one _John
Jones_ a valiant Welchman of the neighbourhood, would needs give a signal
proof of his Brittish Valour, and to that purpose undertook to lye in the
House, and to incounter the _Hagg_, to which end he carried with him a
large Basket hilted Sword, a Mastive Dog, and a Lanthorn and Candle to
burn by him; he had not long lain on the Bed, with his Dog, and Sword
ready drawn by him, but he heard a great Knocking at the Door, and many
Cats, as he conceived, came into his Chamber, broke the Windows, and made
a hideous noise, at which the Mastive howll’d and quak’d, and crept close
to his Master; the Candle went out, and the Welchman fell into a cold
sweat, left his Sword unused, and with much adoe found the door, and ran
half a Mile without ever looking behind him; protesting, next day, he
would not lye another night in the House, for a hundred pounds.’

The next in point of time is the following:


‘On _Thursday_, the 5th of _October_, one Mr. _Tuers_, a Gentleman, living
at _Yowell_ in the County of _Surry_, together with his wife, went forth
upon occasion, leaving their Servant Maid, _Elizabeth Burgiss_, at home,
to officiate in their absence, as she found occasion. In the meantime, or
interim, one _Joan Butts_, a person that hath been for a long time
suspected to be a _Witch_, came to the house of the aforesaid Mr. _Tuers_,
and, framing some discourse to the Maid before named, she, at last, askt
her for a pair of old Gloves; the Maid knowing her to be a person of ill
repute, and being willing to be rid of her company, gave her a very short
and sharp answer, telling her that she had no Gloves for her, or, if shee
had, she could not spare time to look them out; whereupon this _Joan
Butts_ went away, but in a little time returned, asking the aforesaid Maid
for a Pin to pin her Neckcloath, which she furnished her with, and so this
_Joan Butts_ departed, leaving the Maid without any dread or fear of any

‘But, about fourteen days after, there happened strange and miraculous
wonders, amazing and frightening all the Spectators; for stones flew about
the Yard at such a strange rate, as if it had rained down showers of them,
and many of them were as big as a man’s fist, and afterwards flew as thick
about the House as before they did about the Yard, notwithstanding the
doors were close shut, yet for all (that) they flew so thick about, they
hit nobody but the Maid, to the great astonishment of her Master, Mistris
and others; but more to be admired, the next day this maid was suddenly
attacqued with intolerable pain in her back, and such unsufferable
pricking of Pins, that she was not able to endure, or without lamentable
complaining. The groans and skreeches she sometimes parted with, would
have moved a stony heart to pitty her distress, and Mr. _Tuers_, her
Master, commiserating her condition, asked if he should put his hand down
her back, and feel what might be the cause of her pain or Torment, which
she willingly agreed to, and, to the amazement of all persons present,
pulled out a great piece of Clay as full of Pins as it could well be, and
throwing them into the fire, she was for that present at great ease. But,
after that, a second Torment did seize this Maid, which caused her to
complain more grievously and lamentably than before; whereupon one Mr.
_Waters_ put his hand down her back, and pulled out a piece of Clay as
thick of Thorns, as the other of Pins, so, throwing them into the fire,
she was again at ease for that time.

‘The next day, as she was going a Milking, she saw, in _Nonsuch Park_,
this wretched old Caitiff sitting amongst the Thorns and Bushes, bedaggled
up to the Knees in Dew, and looking like one that had lately had converse
with some Infernal Fiend; and, wondring to see her there so early, in that
pickle (being, as it were, doubtful of her wickedness); and supposing her
to be the cause of her (before mentioned) pain and misery, returned home
to her Master’s house, telling him how she saw this _Joan Butts_ in the
place before named, adding in what strange garb and posture she sat in;
which added to the suspicion of the (before doubtful) Master.

‘But the same night the Maid going into the chamber where she lay, to
fetch a Trunk which was intended to be sent to _London_, all on a sudden
cryed out, Master, Master, here is the old Woman: the master running
hastily to see whether it were so or no, could see no old woman, but the
Andirons thrown after the maid, and all her own Linnen thrown about at
such a rate, as it is hard to believe, but that it will, upon occasion, be
attested by unquestionable Evidence; and likewise a Wooden Bar which
belonged to the street door, was strangely removed and conveyed up stairs,
and came tumbling down after the maid, in the sight of her master.

‘About three days after, they were surprized with new wonders, for there
was to be seen such sights as they never saw before, _viz._, the Bellows
flew about the house, and Candlesticks and other things thrown after the
Girl as she passed to and fro in her master’s house; and, going to her
Mother’s house, which was at _Astead_, about three miles distant from
_Yowel_, such numberless numbers of stones were thrown at her, that she
found it hazardous to Travel, but had she returned, it might have been the
same; and so she continued till she came to her mother’s house, where, on
Sunday the 9th of _October_, they were possest with admiration, as well as
those of her Master’s Family, for her Grandfather’s Britches were
strangely found to be on the top of the house, as near as can be imagined,
over his Bed; and, besides, such great quantities of Nuts and Acorns flew
about, that the Spectators never beheld the like before. The pewter
danced about the house in a strange manner, and hits a Gentleman such a
blow on the back, that I suppose he will have but little stomach
hereafter, to go to see the Devil dance.

‘But the same day happened another Wonder, no less strange than what is
before recited, for there was a Fiddle close laid up in a Chest, which was
strangely, and unknown to any of the house, hung up in the room, and,
after, was removed to the top of the Bed-Tester, and, the third time,
carried quite away, and hath no more been seen since.

‘But, on Thursday, the 18th of this present _October_, there being a Fair
kept at _Yowel_, the mother of this afflicted maid came thither, and,
meeting with this old suspected _Witch_ (whom she had great reason to
imagine so to be,) fell foul upon her, and so evilly Treated her, that she
fetcht out some of her Hellish Blood, but the effects and event thereof, I
must get time to acquaint you with.’

The Rev. Joseph Glanvill was a great collector of these stories, and after
his death many were published, as being found among his papers. One is a
story of a Mr. Jermin, minister of Bigner in Sussex, who had noises in his
house like guns going off whilst it seemed that people ran swiftly down
stairs, into his chamber, and there seemed to wrestle, whilst one day,
when a physician was dining with him ‘there came a Man on Horseback into
the Yard, in Mourning. His Servant went to know what was his Busness, and
found him sitting very Melancholy, nor could he get any Answer from him.
The Master of the House and the Physician went to see who it was; upon
which, the Man clapt spurs to his Horse, and rode into the House, up
Stairs into a long Gallery, whither the Physician followed him, and saw
him vanish in a Fire at the upper end of the Gallery. But though none of
the Family received hurt at any time, yet Mr. _Jermin_ fell into a Fever
with the Disturbance he experienced, that endangered his Life.’

Then we have the story of an extremely uncomfortable house ‘at Welton,
within a mile of Daventry,’ where the younger daughter, ten years of age,
took to vomiting three gallons of water in less than three days, and
afterwards stones and coals, in number about five hundred. ‘Some weighed a
quarter of a Pound, and were so big, as they had enough to do to get them
out of her mouth.... This Vomiting lasted about a Fortnight, and hath
Witnesses good store.’ Things got rather lively in the house, and were
thrown about; the Bible, being laid upon a bed, was hid in another bed;
the things from the parlour were turned out into the hall; their milk was
spilt, their beer mixed with sand, and their salt with bran. The man of
the house, one Moses Cowley, seems to have had an especially bad time of
it. ‘A knife rose up in the Window, and flew at him, hitting him with the
Haft;’ and, to make the place more uncomfortable, ‘Every day abundance of
Stones were thrown about the House, which broke the windows, and hit the
people.’ Probably the Devil was disappointed, inasmuch as ‘they were the
less troubled because, all this while no hurt was done to their Persons,’
and after a while the persecution ceased, with the exception of ‘great
Knockings, and cruel Noise.’

Then there is ‘The Relation of _James Sherring_, taken concerning the
matter at old _Gast’s_ House of _Little Burton_.

‘The first Night I was there with _Hugh Mellmore_ and _Edward Smith_, they
heard, as it were, the Washing in Water over their Heads. Then, taking a
Candle, and going up Stairs, there was a wet Cloth thrown at them, but it
fell on the Stairs. They going up farther, there was another thrown as
before. And, when they were come up into the Chamber, there stood a Bowl
of Water, some of it sprinkled over, and the Water looked white, as if
there had been Soap used in it. The Bowl, just before, was in the Kitchin,
and could not be carried up but through the Room where they were. The next
thing that they heard, the same Night, was a terrible noise, as if it had
been a clap of Thunder, and, shortly after, they heard great scratching
about the Bed stead, and, after that, great Knocking with a Hammer against
the Beds-head, so that the two Maids that were in the Bed cryed out for
Help. Then they ran up the stairs, and there lay the Hammer on the bed,
and on the Beds-head there were near a Thousand Prints of the Hammer,
which the violent Strokes had made. The maids said they were scratcht and
pincht with a Hand that was put into the Bed, which had exceeding long
Nails. They said the Hammer was lockt up fast in the Cup board when they
went to Bed.

‘The second Night that _James Sherring_, and _Tho. Hillary_ were there,
_James Sherring_ sat down in the Chimney to fill a pipe of Tobacco, he
made use of the Fire-tongs to take up a Coal to light his Pipe, and by and
by the Tongs were drawn up the Stairs, and after they were up in the
Chamber, they were play’d withal (as many times Men do) and then thrown
down upon the Bed. Although the Tongs were so near him, he never perceived
the going of them away. The same Night one of the Maids left her Shoes by
the Fire, and they were carried up into the Chamber, and the old Man’s
brought down, and set in their places. The same Night there was a Knife
carried up into the Chamber, and it did scratch and scrape the Bed’s head
all the Night; but, when they went up into the Chamber, the Knife was
thrown into the Loft. As they were going up the Stairs, there were things
thrown at them, which were, just before in the low Room, and when they
went down the Stairs, the old Mans Breeches were thrown down after them.
These were the most remarkable things done that Night, only there was
continual knocking and pinching the Maids, which was usually done every

There is a great deal more of this case, which reads like the senseless
phenomena of a spiritual séance, but we will pass on to


    A Demon in Gilbert Campbell’s Family--Case of Sir William York--Case
    of Ian Smagge--Disturbances at Stockwell.


‘It happened in October 1654, that after one _Alexander Agnew_, a bold and
sturdy Beggar, who, afterwards, was hang’d at _Dumfries_, for Blasphemy,
had threatened hurt to _Gilbert Campbel’s_ family, because he had not
gotten such an Alms as he required; the said _Gilbert_ was oftentimes
hindred in the exercise of his Calling, all his working Instruments being,
some of them broken, some of them cut, and yet could not know by what
means this hurt was done. Which piece of trouble did continue till about
the middle of _November_; at which time the Devil came with new and
extraordinary Assaults, by throwing of Stones in at Doors and Windows, and
down through the Chimney head, which were of great quantity, and thrown
with great force, yet by God’s good Providence, there was not one Person
of the family hurt, or suffer’d damage thereby. This piece of new and
sore Trouble did necessitate Mr. _Campbel_ to reveal that to the Minister
of the Parish, and to some other Neighbours and Friends, which, hitherto,
he had endured secretly. Yet notwithstanding this, his Trouble was
inlarged; for, not long after, he found oftentimes his Warp and Threads
cut as with a pair of Sizzars, and the Reed broken; and not only this, but
their Apparel cut after the same manner, even while they were wearing
them, their Coats, Bonnets, Hose, Shoes, but could not discern how, or by
what means. Only, it pleased God to preserve their Persons, that the least
harm was not done. Yet in the Night-time they wanted liberty to Sleep,
something coming and pulling their Bed-clothes and Linnens off them, and
leaving their Bodies naked.

‘Next, their Chests and Trunks were opened, and all things in them strewed
here and there: Likewise the parts of the working Instruments that had
escaped, were carried away, and hid in holes and bores of the House, where
hardly they could be found again: Nay, whatever piece of Cloth or
Household stuff was in any part of the House, it was carried away, and so
cut and abused, that the Good-man was necessitated, with all haste and
speed to remove, and to transport the rest to a Neighbour’s House, and he
himself compell’d to quit the Exercise of his Calling, whereby only he
maintained his Family. Yet he resolv’d to remain in the House for a
season. During which time some Persons thereabout, not very judicious,
counselled him to send his Children out of the Family, here and there,
(to try whom the Trouble did most follow, assuring him that this Trouble
was not against all the Family, but against some one Person or other in
it) whom he too willingly obeyed. Yet for the space of 4 or 5 Days after,
there were no remarkable assaults, as before.’

After the Devil had twice set this poor man’s house on fire, and ‘the
persons within the family suffering many losses, as the Cutting of their
Coaths, the throwing of Peits, the pulling down of Turf and Feal from the
Roof and Walls of the House, and the stealing of their Apparel, and the
pricking of their Flesh and Skin with pins, the Presbytery set apart a day
for a solemn humiliation, which seems to have had some effect upon Satan,
for soon after he found a voice.

‘Upon _Monday_ the 12th of _February_, the rest of the Family began to
hear a Voice speak to them, but could not well know from whence it came.
Yet, from Evening to Midnight, much vain Discourse was kept up with the
Devil, and many idle and impertinent Questions proposed without that due
Fear of God that should have been upon their Spirits, under so rare and
extraordinary a Trial. The Minister hearing of this, went to the House
upon the _Tuesday_, being accompanied with some Gentlemen, who, after
Prayer was ended, heard a Voice speaking out of the Ground, from under a
Bed, in the proper Country Dialect, saying, _Would you know the Witches
of_ Glenluce? _I will call them_, and so related four or five Persons
Names, that went under an evil report. The said _Gilbert_ informed the
Company that one of them was dead long ago. The Devil answered, _It is
true, she is dead long ago, yet her Spirit is living with us in the
World_. The Minister reply’d, saying: _The Lord rebuke thee, Satan, and
put thee to silence, we are not to receive any Information from thee,
whatsoever Fame any Persons go under; thou art but seeking to seduce this
Family, for Satan’s kingdom is not divided against itself_.’

Then the Devil and the minister had a most unseemly wrangle, both
battering each other with texts of Scripture; and the holy man’s visit did
no good, for all their annoyances returned, until poor Campbell again
appealed to the Presbytery; which body ordered that a solemn humiliation
should be kept through all the bounds of the Synod. This was in February,
and Campbell’s persecutions gradually decreased till April, when they
altogether ceased, and so continued till August.

‘About which time the Devil began with new Assaults, and taking the ready
Meat that was in the House, did sometimes hide it in holes by the
Door-posts, and at other times did hide it under the Beds, and sometimes
among the Bed cloaths, and under the Linnens, and at last did carry it
quite away, till nothing was left there save Bread and Water to live by.
After this he exercised his Malice and Cruelty against all the Persons of
the Family, in wearying them in the Night time, with stirring and moving
through the House, so that they had no rest for noise, which continued all
the month of August after this manner. After which time the Devil grew
yet worse, and began with terrible Roarings and terrifying Voices, so that
no Person could sleep in the House in the Night-time, and sometimes did
vex them with casting of Stones, striking them with Staves on their Beds,
in the Night time, and upon the 11th of _September_, about Midnight, he
cryed out with a loud voice: _I shall burn the House_: and, about 3 or 4
nights after, he set one of the Beds on Fire, which was soon extinguished
without any prejudice, except the Bed itself, and so he continued to haunt

Here this thrilling narrative ends, and the minister and Presbytery seem
to have given up the job of quelling the Devil. A much milder case is:

‘_A true and faithful_ Narrative _of the disturbance which was in the
House of Sir_ William York, _in the Parish of_ Lessingham _in_

It began in May, 1679, with the latch of the outer door being lifted very
quickly, which was done for between two or three hours. In July the doors
banged to, and the chairs all held a conversazione in the hall, after
which they returned to their several rooms. In August the persecution took
the form of knocking at the doors; in September the noise was of a man
walking on stilts.

‘Afterwards the said Noise began to be more dreadful and greater yet, and
in more places, which mightily disordered Sir _William’s_ ancient Father;
and his Lady and Children very much. Upon which they were thinking upon
leaving the House. Sir _William_ was willing that they should, but
unwilling to leave it himself, and thereupon they all continued. At this
time Sir _William_ had a Plummer putting up Lead about the House, to
convey the Rain which fell into a Cistern, and this knocking was often
against the Lead, and often against the Iron that bore it, in imitation of
the Plummers knocking in the Day-time. He likewise had Carpenters at the
same time, and sometimes the Noise was like their Chopping at the Wood in
the Yard, insomuch that the head Carpenter said, That if he had not known
his Servants to be in the House, he would have thought they had been
chopping. Sometimes it was like the Servants Chopping of Coals in the Coal
Yard; sometimes knocking at the Doors of Out-houses, at the Wash-house,
Brew-house, and Stable-doors; and, as they followed it from place to
place, it was still immediately, and in one instant removed. These were
the usual Noises that were every Night when it came, which was 3 or 4
times a Week.’

It got worse until October, when Sir William had to go to London, to
Parliament, when it entirely ceased. As years went on, these
manifestations appear to have been of a much milder type. The belief in
witchcraft and the personal power of the Devil was much shaken in Queen
Anne’s reign, but _the Ghost_ began to be introduced. In the following the
two are well mixed, but, as we have nothing to do with such silly things
as ghosts, this narrative will not take up much time.


‘This now Dwelling-House of _Ian Smagge_, standing in _Canvy_ Island, in
the County of _Essex_, is said to have been Built, and for a great while
Inhabited by a certain Person deceased; who, with his Wife, were lookt
upon in their Life-time, jointly to have scrap’d together in the said
House, by Fraudulent and Oppressive means, a considerable lump of Pelf.
Having for a long time carried on this groveling Employ, the Wife being in
a declining Condition, went to _London_ to be advis’d for her Health; but
Sickness increasing, and she conceiving she should die, desir’d the Man
with whom she lodg’d, that happened to be the same Person that now lives
in the said disturb’d House, to acquaint her Husband, She would be Buried
in a Place call’d _Benfleet_, near _Canvy_-Island, where her deceased
Children lay: To which he answered, ’Twas all one where the Body was
dispos’d, so the Soul was Happy.

‘This discourse passed about Six a Clock in the Evening in the Summer
time. Immediately on which, _Ian Smagge_ affirms, He received a hard
Stroke or Stroking on the Arm, from the Wrist upwards to his Shoulder; and
then felt the Chair, that he sat in, to shake in an extraordinary manner.
He lookt under the Chair, and about him, to see what caus’d the Motion,
but discern’d nothing. His Wife and the sick Person were in the Room, but
both distant from him.

       *       *       *       *       *

‘In two or three Days the said Person died, and her Husband was sent for,
and acquainted with her Mind; but he, probably to save Charges, buried her
in Town. The Funeral being over, he return’d to his Habitation in _Canvy
Island_, and in a few Years made his _Exit_ also, which the old
Inhabitants compute to be upward of 20 Years since. Presently, upon his
death, unaccountable Noises were frequently heard in the House, to the
great trouble of those that succeeded him in it. Such as forcibly opening
and Shutting the Doors at Noon-day, no one being near them, or the least
Wind or Breeze of Air stirring to do it. Nay, whilst the people have had
the Doors in their Hands, they have been violently snach’d from them, and
shut to and fro, with exceeding quickness, for many times together.’

There were all sorts of noises and silly tricks, such as spirits seem to
delight in--breaking windows, throwing stones, etc., and a ghost or two
thrown in. The local minister did all he could to quiet matters, and
‘throughout this sore Visitation discharged his sacred Function in a ready
and constant attendance, in advising Mrs. Smagge to a Fast, and Prayers in
the Family’; and no doubt his remedies were effectual, for the
disturbances ceased.

Cases of this kind became scarce, possibly because the Devil got weary of
such puerilities, and I shall only record one more case in which he,
certainly, made a house very lively:


‘On _Monday_, _January_ the 6th 1772, about ten o’clock in the forenoon,
as Mrs. _Golding_ was in her parlour, she heard the china and glasses in
the back kitchen tumble down and break; her maid came to her and told her
the stone plates were falling from the shelves: Mrs. _Golding_ went into
the kitchen, and saw them broke. Presently after, a row of plates from the
next shelf fell down likewise, while she was there, and nobody near them;
this astonished her much, and while she was thinking about it, other
things in different places began to tumble about, some of them breaking,
attended with violent noises all over the house; a clock tumbled down, and
the case broke; a lanthorn that hung on the staircase was thrown down and
the glass broke to pieces; an earthen pan of salted beef broke to pieces,
and the beef fell about.’

A carpenter gave it as his opinion that the house was going to tumble
down, so Mrs. Golding removed to Mrs. Gresham’s, her next door neighbour,
and her effects were also removed as quickly as possible; but the demon
followed with them.

‘Among the things that were removed to Mrs. _Gresham’s_, was a tray full
of china, &c. a japan bread basket, some mahogany waiters, with some
bottles of liquors, jars of pickles &c., and a pier glass, which was taken
down by Mr. _Saville_, (a neighbour of Mrs. _Golding’s_): he gave it to
one _Robert Hames_, who laid it on the grass-plat at Mrs. _Gresham’s_;
but, before he could put it out of his hands, some parts of the frame on
each side flew off. It raining at the time, Mrs. _Golding_ desired it
might be brought into the parlour, where it was put under a side-board,
and a dressing glass along with it; it had not been there long, before the
glasses and china which stood on the side board, began to tumble about and
fall down, and broke both the glasses to pieces. Mr. _Saville_ and others,
being asked to drink a glass of wine or rum, both the bottles broke in
pieces before they were uncorked.’

This made the poor lady very nervous indeed, and she could no longer stop
in a house where there were such doings, so moved to that of a niece, Mrs.
Pain, but while they were picking up some of her things to store away, ‘a
jar of pickles that stood upon a table, turned upside down, then a jar of
rasburry jam broke to pieces; next two mahogany waiters and a
quadrille-box likewise broke to pieces.’

Mrs. Golding doubtless thought that her troubles were ended, for
everything was quiet in her new abode till about eight o’clock in the
evening, when there was ‘the Devil to pay.’

‘The first thing that happened, was, a whole row of pewter dishes, except
one, fell from off a shelf to the middle of the floor, rolled about a
little while, then settled, and what is almost beyond belief, as soon as
they were quiet, turned upside down; they were then put on the dresser,
and went through the same a second time; next fell a whole row of pewter
plates from off the second shelf over the dresser to the ground, and being
taken up, and put on the dresser one in another, they were thrown down

‘The next thing was two eggs that were upon one of the pewter shelves, one
of them flew off, crossed the kitchen, struck a cat on the head, and then
broke to pieces.

‘Next _Mary Martin_, Mrs. _Pain’s_ servant, went to stir the kitchen fire,
she got to the right hand side of it, being a large chimney, as is usual
in farm houses, a pestle and mortar that stood nearer the left hand end of
the chimney shelf, jumped about six feet on the floor. Then went
candlesticks and other brasses; scarce anything remaining in its place.
After this, the glasses and china were put down on the floor for fear of
undergoing the same fate, they presently began to dance and tumble about,
and then broke to pieces. A tea-pot that was among them, flew to Mrs.
_Golding’s_ maid’s foot, and struck it.

‘A glass tumbler that was put on the floor jumped about two feet, and then
broke. Another that stood by it, jumped about at the same time, but did
not break for some hours after, when it jumped again, and then broke. A
china bowl that stood in the parlour jumped from the floor, to behind a
table that stood there. This was most astonishing, as the distance from
where it stood was between seven and eight feet, but was not broke. It was
put back by _Richard Fowler_, to its place, where it remained some time,
and then flew to pieces.

‘The next thing that followed was a mustard pot, that jumped out of a
Closet, and was broke, A single cup that stood upon the table, (almost the
only thing remaining) jumped up, flew across the kitchen, ringing like a
bell, and then was dashed to pieces against the dresser. A candle stick,
that stood on the Chimney shelf, flew cross the kitchen to the parlour
door, at about fifteen feet distance. A tea-kettle, under the dresser, was
thrown out about two feet, another kettle that stood at one end of the
range, was thrown against the iron that is fixed to prevent children
falling into the fire. A tumbler with rum and water in it, that stood upon
a waiter upon a table in the parlour, jumped about ten feet, and was
broke. The table then fell down, and along with it a silver tankard
belonging to Mrs. _Golding_, the waiter in which had stood the tumbler and
a candle stick. A case bottle then flew in pieces.’

The food took to flying about, and it must have been heartbreaking for the
ladies to witness the destruction of their property, which must have been
aggravated by the conduct of Mrs. Golding’s servant. ‘At all the times of
action, she was walking backwards and forwards, either in the kitchen or
parlour, or wherever some of the family happened to be. Nor could they get
her to sit down five minutes together, except at one time for about half
an hour towards the morning, when the family were at prayers in the
parlour; then all was quiet; but in the midst of the greatest confusion,
she was as much composed as at any other time, and, with uncommon coolness
of temper, advised her mistress not to be alarmed or uneasy, as she said
these things could not be helped. Thus she argued, as if they were common
occurrences which must happen in every family.’

Nowadays, perhaps, she would have been termed a very powerful ‘medium,’
but as the property still continued in an abnormal condition, and its
destruction was proceeding at a very rapid rate, it was thought better to
discharge her, ‘and no disturbances have happened since.’


    Possession by, and casting out, Devils--The Church and
    Exorcisms--Earlier Exorcists--‘The Strange and Grievous Vexation by
    the Devil of 7 Persons in Lancashire.’

The New Testament, especially the Gospels, decidedly and authoritatively
teach that the Devil, or Devils, had power to enter into and possess men,
and Jesus not only cast them out, but gave His disciples power to do the
same; and, in order that this possession by the Devil should not be
ascribed to disease, it is expressly classified apart, Matt. iv. 24: ‘And
they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers
diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and
those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy, and He healed
them.’ And even the Revised Version does not materially alter the text:
‘And they brought unto Him all that were sick, holden with divers diseases
and torments, _possessed with aevils_ (or, _demoniacs_) and epileptic and
palsied; and He healed them.’


The early Christian Church fully believed in its powers of casting out
devils, and holy-water, accompanied with the sign of the cross, was very
efficacious in this matter. Now, in these latter days, it seems to be of
no effect of itself. In Addis and Arnold’s ‘Catholic Dictionary,’ a work
which has received the _imprimatur_ of Cardinal Manning, we read, under
the heading ‘Holy-water’: ‘Water and salt are exorcised by the priest, and
so withdrawn from the power of Satan, who, since the fall, has corrupted
and abused even inanimate things; prayers are said that the water and salt
may promote the spiritual and temporal health of those to whom they are
applied, and may drive away the Devil with his rebel angels; and, finally,
the water and salt are mingled in the name of the Trinity. The water thus
blessed becomes a means of grace.... The reader will observe that we do
not attribute to holy-water any virtue of its own. It is efficacious
simply because the Church’s prayers take effect at the time it is used.’

But this was not the belief of the Roman Catholic Church of the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries, as we may read in Boguet[13]: ‘But it was a
frightful thing to hear the Demon cry and yell when the priest had
pronounced the holy name of Jesus, and when he invoked the assistance of
the holy Virgin Mary, or when he approached the Demoniac with the Cross,
or when he sprinkled him with holy-water, or made him drink some. For he
said sometimes _that they were burning him_, and at others, _that they had
given him enough holy-water, and that if they persisted in throwing any
more over him, he would not go out, and would torment Roland’s body still

But, before the Church took up this good work, it would seem that there
were more or less effective agents for the purpose in existence, for
Reginald Scot tells us, in ‘A Discourse upon Diuels and Spirits,’ chap.
xv.: ‘But when Saule was releeued with the sound of the harpe, they say
that the departure of the diuell was by meanes of the signe of the Crosse
imprinted in _Dauid’s_ veines. Whereby we maie see how absurd the
imaginations and deuises of men are, when they speake according to their
own fansies, without warrant of the word of God. But methinks it is verie
absurd that _Josephus_ affirmeth: to wit, that the diuell should be thrust
out of anie man by virtue of a root. And as vaine it is that _Ælianus_
writeth of the magicall herbe _Cynospastus_, otherwise called
_Aglaphotis_; which is all one with _Salomon’s_ root, named _Baaros_, as
hauing force to driue out anie diuell from a man possessed.’

Nowadays we put some of those possessed with devils into prison, and we
endeavour to purify them by work, diet, good counsel, and the absence of
temptations--a course which is sometimes, but not always, effective; but,
then, the character of devils has certainly changed during the last four
or five centuries.

The reading of cases of possession is somewhat dreary work, and some are
evidently catch-pennies, extremely goody-goody, consisting of long-winded
theological discussions between the possessed and the Devil, in which the
former invariably gets the best of the argument, so that I shall not tarry
long on this branch of my subject, giving only three or four cases in


‘At _Cleworth_ in _Lancashire_, within the parish of _Leigh_, there
dweleth one _Nicholas Starchie_, gentleman, who, having only two children,
it went thus with them, in the beginning of februari, 1594: first, _Anne_,
his daughter, being 9 Yeares olde, was taken with a dumpish and heauie
countenaunce, and with a certaine fearefull starting and pulling together
of her body; about a weeke after, _Iohn Starchie_, his sonne, of the age
of 10 yeares, as he was going to the schoole, was compelled to shout,
neither was able to staie himself. After, they waxed worse and worse,
falling often into extreame fits, M. _Starchie_ seeking for remedy, after
9 or 10 weekes, heard of one, _Edmund Hartlay_, a coniurer, to whom he
repaired, made knowne his greife, and with large profers craued his helpe.
_Hartlay_ comes, and, after he had used certaine popish charmes and
hearbs, by degrees the children were at quiet, and so continued, seeming
to be well almost a yeare and halfe, all which time _Hartlay_ came often
to visit them. At length, he fained as though he would have gone into
another country, but wether, M. _Starchie_ might not know. When he begane
to goe his way, _Iohn_ fell of bleedinge; then, presently, he was sent for
again, who affirmed that if he had bene 40 rodes off, no man could have
stanched him, and thus it fell out at other times.

‘M. _Starchie_ hereupon fearing lest his children would be troubled in his
absence, and he uncertaine where to find him, offered to giue him his
table to tarie with them, and so he did for a certain space; but, after
couenaunted with him to giue him an annuel pension of 40s. for his
assistance in time of neede; which pension was assured him in writing, and
began at _Michael’s_ day 1598; wherewith _Hartlay_ not being satisfied,
desiered more, an house and ground: whereunto, because M. _Starchie_ would
not accord, he threatned in a fume (M. _Starchie_ being absent, but in the
hearing of diuers), that, if he would not fulfil his minde, he would make
such a shout as never was at _Cleworth_; and so ther was indeed, not only
upon the day, and at the instant of their dispossession, but also the day
before: when 7 of them, both in the afternoone and in the evening, sent
forth such a strange, supernaturall, and fearfull noyse, or loud
whupping,[14] as the like, undoubtedly, was neuer hard at _Cleworth_, nor
it, I think, in _England_. This he said in September 1596, and on the 17
day of Nouember folowing, they both began to be troubled againe after so
long rest.

‘On a certaine time _Hartlay_ went with M. _Starchie_ to his father’s
house in _Whally_ parishe, where he was tormented sore all night. The next
day, beinge recouered, he went into a little wood, not farr from the
house, where he maide a circle about a yarde and halfe wyde, deviding it
into 4 partes, making a crosse at euery Diuision; and when he had finished
his worke, he came to M. _Starchie_, and desiered him to go and tread out
the circle, saying I may not treade it out my selfe; and further, I will
meete with them that went about my death. When M. _Starchie_ saw this
wreched dealing of his, and his children still molested, he waxed wearie
of him, howbeit he sought other helpe for his children.

‘Then he tooke his sonnes water to a phisitian in _Manchester_, who sawe
no signe of sicknes; after, he went to _Doctor Dee_, the warden of
_Manchester_, whose helpe he requested, but he utterly refused, sayinge he
would not meddle, and aduised him that, settinge aside all other helpe, he
should call for some godlye preachers, with whom he should consult
concerning a Publicke or Privat fast. He also procured _Hartlay_ to come
before him, whom he so sharply reproved, and straitly examined, that the
children had more ease for 3 weekes space after; and this was upon the 8
of December.

‘About Newyeare’s Day, the children (being in good case, as it seemed)
went to _Manchester_, invited to a kinsman’s house, whom _Hartlay_
accompanied as their overseer, and in their returne homewardes, they were
desirous to see _Doctor Dee_, according to their promise, and his request.
But _Hartlay_ withstood them, and, because they went to his house,
notwithstanding his prohibition, he told them, with an angri loke, that it
had bene better for them not to haue chaunged an old frend for a new, with
other menacinge speaches, and so went before them in a rage, and neuer
came neare them all the way home.

‘Upon the Tuseday after newyeares day Ianuarie 4. _Iohn Starchie_ was
readinge, somethinge gave him such a blowe on the necke, that he was
soddenlye stricken downe with an horrible scryke,[15] saying that _Satan_
had broken his necke and laye tormented pitifully for the space of two
howres. The same day, at night, being in bed, he lept out on the sudden,
with a terrible outcry, that amased all the familye. Then was he tossed
and tumbled a long tyme, was very feirce like a mad-man, or a mad dogge,
snacted at and bite euery one that he layde hold on, with his teethe, not
spareing his mother, smiting the next, and hurling Bed-staues, Pillowes,
or whatsoeuer at them, and into the fire. From this day forwarde he had no
great ease until the day of his deliuerance.

‘His sister _Anne_ likewise began againe to be troubled, and 3 other yong
children in the house, of whom M. _Starchie_ had the education and
tuition, with there portiones committed unto him by ther parentes. The
first was _Margaret Hardman_, of the age of 14 yeares, the 2. _Elizabeth_
her sister of 10 yeares age, and the 3. _Ellinor Holland_ of 12 yeares.
The same day, at night, _Hartlay_ himself, was also tormented, and the
next day in like manner, where many held him, among whom one _Margaret
Byrom_ of _Salford_, by _Manchester_ 33 yeares olde, a poore kinswoman of
_Mistris Starchies_, was one; who beinge come thither to make merrie, was
requested to sit downe behind _Hartlay_ to hold him, and did so; but, when
he was out of his fit, she endeuored to arise, was so benumb and giddi,
that shee could not stand, yet, being lifted up shee stroue to goe, but
being unable, fell downe, and was sencelesse, and very unruly.

‘Which, _Hartlay_ seeinge, saide, I feare I haue done her harme. Then she
nicknamed and taunted all that were present, though she wyste not what she
saide, nor knewe or sawe _Hartlay_ onlye, whome she both knewe and saide
she sawe, albeit her eyes were shut close, that she could see nothing: at
him she rayled, and angerly smote. After her fit, _Hartlay_ came to
comforte her, for hee pretended to bere a louinge affection towards her:
and it was thought he had kissed her. Nowe they iudged in the house that
whomsoeuer he kissed, on them he breathed the diuell. He often kissed
_Iohn_ for loue, (as he saide) he kissed the little wenches in iest, he
promised _Margaret Hardman_ a thrane[16] of kisses. He wrastled with one
_Iohan Smyth_, a maide seruaunte in the house to kisse her, but he fayled
of his purpose; whereupon _Elinor_ in a fitt saide, if hee had kissed her,
3 men coulde not haue helde her. When he cam to comfort _Margaret_, she
could not abide his companye. He demaunded of her, why? She said for that
she thought he had bewitched her. He asked the reason why she thought so?
Shee answered, for thou art euer in myne eyes, absent and present.

‘But let us returne to the other 5, who were first possessed, of whome we
will say very little, seeing we have much to say of _Margaret Byrom_: and
it is sufficient to heare at large of one of them, and were too much to
discourse fully of euery of them, considering the number.

‘The 2. of February, in the night, _Iohn Starchie_ had verie shorte
fittes, and thick; and at the recouery of euery one, gaue 3 Knockes with
his hand on the seeling, and said that he must haue 20 such fits. The next
day he left knocking, and fell to washing his hands after euery short
fitt, and when so euer he washed, he would have newe water; if it were the
same wherewith he washed before (for he could tell) he refused it. About
the 14 of Januarie, these 5 beinge in theire fits, one of them began to
barke and howle (according to theire custom); after that 2. then 3, lastly
they were all in, like a ring of 5 bells for order and tune, and so
continued almost a quarter of an houre. After theer howling, they fell to
a tumbling, and after that became speachlesse, sencelesse, and as dead.

‘On the 1. of February, 4. of them fell a dauncing; _Elizabeth Hardman_
singing and playinge the minstrell, whome _Anne Starchie_ (the 5 being
well) followed, laughing at their toyes; but, after a while, she fel down
as dead. All the time of their dauncing, they wist not what they did. If
others called to them, they heard them not, answered not, and yet talked
one to another.

‘The 1. or 2. weeke of Lent, Mistres Starchie required them all 5. to tell
her how they were handled, that certaine knowledge might be had thereof to
the preachers: they all answered that an angell like a doue was come from
god, and that they must follow him to heauen, which way soeuer he would
lead them, though it were through neuer so little a hole, for he toulde
them he could drawe them through, and soe they ran under the beds. And
_Elizabeth Hardman_ was under a bedde making a hole, and beinge asked what
she did, she said that she must goe through the wall, for she on the one
side, and her lad on the other, would soone make a hole.

‘About a fortnight or three weekes before their delivery, _Elinor Holland_
and _Elizabeth Hardman_ foretould how many fits they shoulde haue before
they slept, and, tomorrowe, quoth _Elinor Holland_ in the forenoon I must
haue a fit of 3 howers long. When the tyme came shee bad them set the
hower glasse: they set it behind her, out of her sight; her eyes also was
closed. She was sencelesse and speachlesse, saue the noting of the time,
which she truly noted, saying, there is a quarter, the halfe hower, and,
as the glasse was runne out, she sayde, turne the glasse; and thus did she
3 tymes, or 3 howers. After comming to herselfe, she said _Iesus, blesse
mee_, which all of them usually said at the end of their fites. In like
manner did _Elizabeth Hardman_, for 2 howers, who beinge demaunded how she
knewe this, answered that a white Doue told them so.

‘About the 19 of March, the 4 youngest went on ther knees all morning
until afternoone, and they fleed from all the familye and neighbours, into
other chambers, calling them deuils with hornes, creeping under the bed,
when they had the use of their feete; their tongues were taken from them.

‘When _Maister Hopwood_, a Justice of peace, came of purpose to take their
testimony against _Edmund Hartlay_ to _Lancaster Assises_, and had them
before him to that end, they were speachlesse, and that daye, he gott no
answer of them. Being called out of one chamber into another, they sank
down by the way speachlesse. When they spake, they complayned that
_Edmund_ would not suffer them to speake against him.

‘At the same time _Iane Ashton_, a maid seruant in the house (the 7th
possessed person, of the age of 30 yeares) began to bark and houle when
she should haue gon to bear witnes against _Edmund Hartlay_, wherupon one
of them in her fit said, Ah _Edmund_, dost thou trouble her now when she
shold testify against thee? This was the second time she was troubled.
Almost a yeare before, it first tooke her in her throat, as if she had a
pyn sticking there, whereupon she strayned herselfe so sore that she got
up bloud, and for two dayes was very sicke.

‘About the 21 of March. _Ellinor Holland_ and _Elizabeth Hardman_ for 3
dayes and 3 nights together could nether eate, nor drinke, nor speake to
any except it were one to another, and to ther lads, saue that their lads
gaue them leaue (as they said) the one to eate a toast and drink, the
other a sower milk posset. And, notwithstanding that permission, thei said
he was angry that thei had eaten, and told them that thei should not be
quiet, until they had cast it up againe. So thei vomited, saying, take it
to thee, here it is agayne, for thou gauest us lisence to eate it, and
nowe thou art angry. And if thei went about to swallow a little drink,
thei were so taken by the throat, that thei pict it up againe. The 3
night, about 8 a cloke, _Elinor Holland_ being asked when she would or
could slepe, answered that ther were 4 howers yet to come before she could
slepe. About an houre and halfe of that time she tooke a distafe and spane
both faster and finer than at any tym before. When she had done spinning,
she said unto them, now shall I worke you all, and thenceforth was so
extreamly handled, that two could scarcely rule and hold her. At length
reuerting, she said I haue bene sleeping 3 daies and 3 nights, and now I
faint with hunger.

‘About a weeke before there deliverance some of the youngest used these
kind of speaches: thou naughtie lad, thou makest us sicke, for thou
knowest the preachers will come shortly.

‘This generally was observed in the 5 youngest, that when they gaue
themselves to any sporte, they had rest and were pleasaunt though the time
was longe. Their parents report beyng at a playe in a neighbour
gentleman’s house many houres together, they were quyet all the tyme
(_Hartlay_ boested that he had kept them so longe quyet); but on the
contrary, as soon as they went about any godly exercise, they were
trobled. And thus much brifly touching those 6 at _Cleworth_, and the
strange accedents which fell out there, as also how in all probabilitie it
came to be vexed, in like sort, by the appoyntment of God and by the same
mediant hand, the devil, and _Hartlay_ the coniurer.

‘The 10 of Ianuary (beyng the 4 day after her trouble begane), as
_Margaret Byrom_ sate by the kitchyne fyre, shee was throwne towardes the
fire, lyinge hard by the chimneye barres, as though shee should have bene
rosted. Thence she drewe her, and hauinge continued a longe tyme in the
fitte, and recouerynge, about halfe an houer after, as shee satte in a
Chaire, she was throwne headlonge under the boarde[17] but had no harme,
and thus was she suddenly and violently cast sundrie times after.

‘She, being desired to tel how her fits held her, said that she thought
something rouled in her belly like a calfe, and laye euer on her left
side, and when it rose up from her belly towardes her hart, she thought
that the head and nose thereof had bene full of nayles, wherwith being
pricked, she was compelled to scrike aloud with veri paine and feare.
When her belly was swollen, it lift her up, and so bounded, that it would
picke off the hand of him that held her downe, and sometyme the parti
himself, that held her, farr off. When her belly slaked, there went out of
hir mouth a could breath (that made her mouth very coulde), which caused
her to barke and houle; then plumpte it down into her body like a colde
longe whetstone, on her left side, when her belly was smale, wherewith
shee so quaked, that her teeth chattered in her head, and, if she went to
warme her, she was presently pickt backward.

‘About the end of Ianuary, from M. _Starchie’s_, she went home to
_Salford_, a towne adioyning to _Manchester_, accompanyed with _Hartlay_
and one other. The next morninge as _Hartlay_ prayed ouer her in a fite,
came one M. _Palmer_, a preacher of _Manchester_, who asked him what he
was doinge: he answeared, Praying. Thou pray, thou cans’t not pray, quoth
he, what prayer cans’t thou say? None, saide he, but the Lorde’s prayer.
Say it, quoth he; the which, as I remember, he coulde not say. He then, as
a privat man, examined him, and, after, had him before two Iustices of
peace; from whom he brought him by ther appointment, to _Margaret Byrom_,
to heare what she could say against him; but, as soone as she saw him shee
straightwaye became speachlesse, and was cast downe backwardes, and so did
she the 2 tyme; and 5 tymes was dumbe when _Hartlay_ came in her sight.

‘This morning as she came to the fier, she sawe a great blacke dogge,
with a monstrous taile, and a long chaine, Open mouth, comming apace
towardes her, and, running by her left side, cast her on her face hard by
the fier, houlding her tounge for halfe an hower, but leauinge at libertie
her eyes and handes. A litle after, a bigge blacke catt, staringe
fearfully at her, came runinge by her left side, and threwe her backward,
taking from her the use both of her eyes and handes, which with
yesking[18] were euer losed. About halfe hower after that fit, it came
like a bige mouse, and lept upon her left knee, cast her backward, took
away her tongue, eyes, and sences, that she lay as dead, and when she came
to any feeling, it put up her bellye as before. These visions and fites
ordinarely troubled her for 6 weeks every day, on the daytime, as is said;
and commonly everi night (as she thought) it sat on her head, very heavi,
laying (as it seemed to her) 4 great fingers on her browes, that she was
not able to open her eies. Often times she cried to her mother that she
should sit from off her Head, asking who it was that held her soe
straight, and, though she could not ster her head, hir kerchefe was pulled
off her head commonly, she, notwithstanding, lying still as a stocke from
9 to 3 in the morning, about which time it departed. In departing, it
somtimes gaue her a great thumpe, on the hinder parte of her head, that it
was verye sore for 2 dayes after.

‘Sixe times within those 6 weekes, the sperit would not suffer her to eate
or drincke; it tooke awaye, also, her stomake. If she offered to drincke
(at the earnest motion of others) it cast her and the drincke downe
together. At other tymes shee did eate greedily, slossinge up her meate
like a greedy dogge, or hogge, that her mother and her friendes were
ashamed of her. Styll shee was hungrye and cryed for more, saying shee had
nothing, though she spared no kinde of meate: all was fish that cam to
nett. After abundance of meate her belly semed neuer the fuller, that she
marueiled which waye it went.

‘The 10 of februari, it pulled her, as she thought, in an hundred peeces.
Ther came out of her mouth such a stincking smoke and breath, that shee
could not endure it her selfe. Her voyce and crying were quite altered,
and so continued till night. But her breath stank soe yll a day and a
nyght after, that her neighboures could not endure to come neare her.

‘Often, her sences were taken away, and she made as styfe as iron, and oft
as dead, euen breathlesse: somtymes it made a loud noyse in her bellye,
like that in the bellye of a great troting horse.

‘The two next nights before the day of her examination concerning
_Hartlay_, appeared the deuill in the likenesse of _Hartlay_, requesting
her to take heed what she sayd, and to speake the truth, for the time was
come: promising her siluer and gould. She answered (thinking it to be
_Hartlay_) that the truth she had spoken already, and that she would not
favour him, neither for siluer nor gold. The 2 night he departed, saying,
doe as thou wilt. The day before _Hartlay_, his execution, was a sore day
unto her, after which, euery day, she went to morning prayer, and was
never troubled in the Church, saue the 1 day, whereon it took her about
the middest of the sermon, in heauing up her shoulders, depriuing her of
her sences. After the recouery of her sences, it tooke away the use of her
leggs, and thus it molested her in the Church, to the admyration of the
people, about an hower and halfe.

‘At the assises at _Lancaster_, was _Hartlay_ condemned and hanged. The
making of his circle was chiefly his ouerthrowe, which he denyed; but
breaking the rope, he, after, confessed it.

‘After this time, she had more ease in the day, than she was wont; but, in
the night, she lay stif and stark, quaking and trembling, till the day she
came to _Cleworth_.

‘It going thus with the 6 at _Cleworth_ and the 7 at _Salford_, M.
_Starchie_ according to the counsel before given him, procured first one
preacher, then an other to see them, but they knew not well what to say to
their affliction. After hauing intelligence, by D. _Dee_ his butler, of
the like greuous affliction of _Thomas Darling_, his uncle’s son, and
recouery upon the aduice given by myself, he requested D. _Dee_ his letter
unto me (though unacquainted) and obteyned it, wherwith he sent his owne
also, which preuayled not with me.

‘Thereuppon, he procured other letters, whereof one was from a Iustice of
peace therby, and sent the second time unto me. Then I, crauinge first the
aduice of many of my brethren in the ministery, met togither at an
exercise, yealded to M. _Starchie’s_ request, and, about 3 weekes after,
went thither.

‘On the 16 of March ’96 M. _George More_, pastor of _Cawlke_ in
_Darbyshire_, and myself, came to _Cleworth_. Whither when we were come,
M. _Starchie_ tould us, that his sonn had bene well about a fortnight, and
his daughter 4 dayes: and, surely, to see to, they were, at that instant,
as well and free from any possession by Sathan, as any other; which we
suspected to procede from the subtilty of the _diuel_, and so it proved.

‘Shortly after our comming, as we sat at dinner, came in _Margaret
Hardman_ and hir sister, and _Elinor Holland_, one after another, like
players to bid us welcom. For as much as nobody sent for me, said one of
them, I am come of my owne accord. And, hauing thus spoken, shee was
throwen backward on a forme; and so all 3 were strangely and greuosly
tormented. Their faces (as I remember) were disfigured, their bodyes (I am
sure) greatly swelled, and such a sensible stiring and rumbling within
their bodyes, as to one’s sight and feling they had some quick thing
within each of them; and not only so, but such a violent mouing there was
also in their inward parts, (especially in M. Hardman) as was easily
hearde of us that were present. I remember, also, among the manifold
pleasant speaches they used, one or moe spake iocondly concerning _Edmund
Hartlay’s_ hanging, who was then newly executed; and it was to this
effect. Do they think they could hang the diuel? I wis no. They might hang
_Edmund_, but they coulde not hang the diuel. No maruel though the rope
broke; for there were two, _Edmund_ and the diuel. By that which I heard
of his fits (whereof we haue partly heard before) I, for my part, then
thought, and doe so still, that in the end, he who had so sweetly (by
kisses, forsooth,) sent the diuel into so many, had, by the iust iudgment
of god, the diuell sent into him.

‘Then hearde we _Iane Ashton_ howling, and perceiueing it was
supernaturall, and hearing also, other strange things concerning her,
especiallye that which was new fallen out of the swelling of her belly,
whereof you shal heare: we affirmed that we thought that she, also, was
possessed, which neither the family, nor the mayd, herself, mistrusted or
feared; and ther was cause, for besides her first taking with the hoke and
the wordes _Hartlay_ used thereupon, and kisses before, with promis of
mariage (which all were, perhaps, forgotten), she was taken with barking,
as the rest were, when M. _Hopwoode_ cam to examine them. Againe, the
children said no lesse in their fits, for, when she cam in their sight,
they would say, come and help us, for thou art one of our company. And
though they neither knew nor speake to any other, yet _Iane_ they knewe,
and speake to her onlye in these wordes, thou wilt shortlye come in
amongst us. And shee, herself, acknowledged that somtimes, as she carrien
up hot Ianoks,[19] she thought that she could haue eaten up a Ianoke, and
often did eat much by stealth, being passing hungry like _Margaret Byrom_
and the children, who, likewise, were sometymes exceedinglye greedye of
meate. This day, also, an hower or two before we came, her belly began to
swell greatly, so that she compared her bellye to a woman’s great with
child. When it abated a little, a breath came up her throat, which caused
yelling: after, it fell downe into hir body like a cold stone, as it did
with _Margaret Byrom_. And, as soone as tydings came that we were come,
presently her belly was fallne, and as litle as in former time, and so

‘Not long after our comming, all 7 being had in a chamber, the one of us
applyed his speach according to the present occasion: and then, behold,
all of them, even _Iane Ashton_, and M. _Starchie’s_ children were
presently greuiously tormented. Yea, Satan, in _Iohn Starchie_ exceeded
for crueltye.

‘And thus they contynued all that afternoone. 3 or 4 of them gaue
themselves to Scoffing and Blasphemy, calling the holy Bible, being
brought up, _bible bable, bible bable_; and thus they did aloud and often.
All, or most of them ioyned together in a strange and supernatural loud
whupping, that the house and ground did sound therwith againe; by reason
whereof we were dryven (as I maye say) out of the chamber, and keept out
for that daye.

‘This euening we did use some words of exhortation, for the sanctefying of
ourselues and the family, against the next daye’s seruice: immediately
before which, they all sent forth as they had before, a supernaturall loud
whupping and yellyng, such as would have amased one to haue gone into the
roome wher they were, but, as one of us opened his mouth, they were
presentlye silent, and so continued.

‘The next morning, all 7 being had into a faire larg parlor, and laid ther
on couches, M. _More_, M. _Dickens_ (a preacher, and their pastor) and
myself, with about 30 more, assembled together, spent that day in prayer,
with fasting, and hearing the word; all the parties afflicted remayninge
in their fits the said whole day. Towards the end wherof, they, all of the
sudden, began to be most extreamly tormented, beting up and downe with
their bodies being held by others, crying also (6 of them) aloud, in
strang and supernaturall manner; and, after, they lay as dead, where with
they which were present were so affected, that, leuing that good order,
which all the day had ben kept, confusedly, euery one with voice and hands
lifted up, cryed unto god for mercy in their behalf, and the lord was
pleased to heare us, so as 6 of them were shortly delyuered, wherein we,
with them, reioyced, and praised god for the same.

‘The first that was dispossessed, was _Margaret Byrom_, then all the
residu (saue _Iane Ashton_) one shortly after another, between 5 and 6 at
night. She began to be vexed by Sathan about 4 or 5 in the morning, and
neuer had rest until her deliuerance. All that day she heard only a
humming and a sound, but knewe nothing what was said: she could thus
heare, but not see. Sometime she sawe, and then marueyled what the company
did ther, and how she got thither: howbeit, she heard euery idle word that
the children possessed had spoken: she was more extreamly handled that
daye than any before, though she had had many sore daies. She was euer
full of payne, and it semed to her, as though her hart would haue burst:
she strayned up much fleamy and bloudy matter. Lastly, she lay as dead for
the space of half an houre, taking no breath. Then start she up most
ioyfully, magnifying god, with such a cherefull countenance and voyce,
that we all reioyced with her, but were somwhat amazed at hir suddayn
lauding of god, with such freedome and earnestnes in speach and gesture.

‘_Iohn Starchie_, the next, was so miserably rent, that aboundance of blod
gushed out, both at his nose and mouth. As the day before, so that day, he
gnashed fearfully with his teeth; he, also, lay as dead about the like
time, soe that some sayd to us, he seemeth to be dead. Then start he up
likwise on the suddain, and prayed god in most cherful and comfortable
manner. And so did the rest, who also maide sundry tymes greate shewe of
vomyting, and nowe and then vomyted indeede, somthing like fleam, thick
spettle. These 4, especially 3 of them used much light behauiour and vayn
gestures; sundry, also, filthy scurrilous speaches, but whispering them,
for the most part, among themselves, so that they were no let to that holy
exercise we then had in hand. Somtimes, also, they spake blasphemy,
calling the word preached--_bible bable; he will neuer haue done prating;
prittle prattle_. _Margaret Hardman_ whylest M. _More_ was preaching, used
these wordes. _I must goe, I must away; I cannot tarrie, whither shall I
goe? I am hot, I am too hot, I will not dye_; iterating them all: which
wordes did greatly incourage us.

When these 6 were deliuered, some desired to know how they assured
themselues thereof, and they answered as followeth. _Margaret Byrom_ said
that she felt it come up from her belly towardes her brest, thence to her
throat; when it left her throate it gaue her a sore lug, and all this
whyle a darke myst dazeled her eyes. Then she felt it to go out of her
mouth, but it left behind it a sore throat and a filthy smel, that a weke
after, her meate was unsauary. It went out in the likenes of a crowe’s
head, round, (as to her semed) and sate in the corner of the parlor, with
darknes about it a whyle. Then went it with such a flash of fyer out of
the windowe, that all the Parlor semed on fyer, to her onlye.

‘_Iohn Starchie_ said it went from him like a man with a bulch[20] on his
backe, very yll fauored, and, presently, he returned to haue re-entered,
but he withstood hym strong in faith. The same, in effect, said _Margaret
Hardman_. _Anne Starchie_ said, he went like a foule ugly man, with a
white beard, and a great bulch on his brest as big as a man’s head, and
straightway returned to have re-entered, but she faithfully resisted. Euen
so said _Elinor Holland_, the white beard excepted.

‘_Elizabeth Hardman_ said, it was like an urchin,[21] and went through a
very little hole (as she thought) out of the parler, but, out of hand,
returned againe in a very foule shape, promising her gold, and whatsoeuer
shee would desier, if she would giue him leaue to enter againe, but she
yealded not; then he threatened to cast her into a pit, saying, somtime
thou wilt go alone. He said also, he would cast her into the fyre, and
break her neck, but she, resisting, he departed like an urchine.

‘And thus the first dayes work was happily ended. But behold the
slight[22] of the wyly serpent, for when we were all at rest, the sperits
sett upon the 5 little children, like so many wolues the seely Lambes. The
poore children being newly recouered, and suddenly inuaded, were so
frighted, that they clasped fast about their middles those that lay with
them, and hid their faces with their bed clothes. M. _Dickens_ was called
down, who comming, saw them resisting, and encouraged them to stand fast,
neuer to yeald, but to pray and resist with faith, and shortly they were
well, and fell a slepe.

‘The next day we inquired how they were assalted. _Margaret Byrom_ said it
cam to her like an ugly black man with shoulders higher than his head,
promysing her enough if she would consent, and that he would lye still;
when she utterly denyed him, and prayed against him, he threatened to cast
her into a pitt as she went home. But, when she resisted, he cast her to
the ground, and departed twise as byg and foule as hee came, with two
flashes of fyer, one before and another after him, making a noyse like a
great wynd among trees. She was not assaulted at midnight with the 5, but,
after supper, before she went to bed.

‘_Iohn Starchie_ said he came in the former likenes, making many large
proffers, baggs of gould &c. But, when he saw he nothing preuayled with
sugred wordes, he used terrible menaces, saying he wold breake his necke
&c. _Anne Starchie_ said he came in the former likenes.

‘_Margaret Hardman_ said he came in the same forme he went out; proffering
golde, but she refusing, he threatned to breake her necke, cast her into a
pyt and drowne her, and so departed.

‘_Elizabeth Hardman_ said he came like a beare with fyer in his mouth,
wherwyth she was so terrifyed that she lept quite out of her bed, and rann
from him, she wist not whither, but one of the company stayed her. Then he
desyred her to open her mouth, as he opened his, shewing her two bagges,
one of siluer, an other of gold, promising her 9 times as much: but not
preuayling, he ran away as a beare that breakes loose from the stake. When
she was layd downe and prayed, he came agayn like an ape, promising her
golde &c, at her pleasure. Then he menaced to cast her out of the windowe
and into the fyer, if euer she stood neare it, and so departed very foule
and with an horrible scryke.

‘_Ellinor Holland_ said he came like a great beare, with open mouth, upon
her, and presently turned it selfe into the similytude of a white dove;
but she resisted, and it departed.

‘Thus we have heard of the dispossession of 6. and what thinges fell out
therein, as also presently after the same. It resteth that we conuert our
speach to _Iane Ashton_, the 7. Sathan, upon the aforesaid day, towardes
euening, put her to extreame payne, and continued the same longe very near
2 houres after their deliuerance, intising her to say he was gon, and to
make shew of welfare, promising that he would not molest her at all. She,
to be at ease, consented, and pretended, in wordes, to be as well as the
rest; but we thought otherwise, as the signes of dispossession were
wanting. After she had herein yelded to the diuell (which she concealed
untill after her deliuerance) she was as free from any vexation by him, as
the rest, notwithstanding that we prayed, or shee prayed: whereas before
for 3 houres togither, her fyt beinge ended, the shortest prayer that
might be, being used, she wold be in an other most greuous to beholde.

‘All night shee was very well, the next morning also, untill we 3, (who
were to be the leaders that day, also, in that holy action we had in hand,
having shut our doore,) had cast doune our selues before the throne of
grace, to craue the direction and assistance of god’s spirit, in the worke
we were to enter upon. This (I say) we had no soner don, but, behold, the
chamber wher we were, yea, the whol house did ring of her againe, whereby
we were not a little comforted, and incouraged, to enter the second tym
into the field, for thereby we were assured that we were not deceiued, and
that satan was certainly in her. After we cam downe into the parlor,
whither many more resorted that day, than the other, to the number of
about 50, we being all exercised as the day aforesaid. This morning she
was sore tormented. She often seemed to vomyt up all, and it got up only a
litle fleame; and when she hanged down her head to vomyt, often the sperit
would fall to shake her, as an angri mastife, a litle cur dogge, so that,
after her delivery, she was very hoarce and weake. About one of the
clocke, she being very extreamly tormented, fel a weping, that teares
trickled downe, and after, lay as dead: a litle space reuerting, she said,
he is gon, and gaue thanks for her deliuerance. It went out like a great
breath, ugly like a toad, round like a ball, and within an houer after, it
returned like a foule big blacke man, but she resisted, and it departed.
When we saw clearly that she was dispossessed, we asked her why she
dissembled the other night? She told us that the said euening it was com
up from her belly to her brest, thence to her throat, wher it held her as
at her first taking, thence to her head. Then, she said, it desired her to
tell us that he was gon, and promised her not to moue or hurt her, and
that she should lack nothing. Why, said we, would you harken to the
deuill? Because, (said she) I was very sore, and he promysed me ease, but
he hath deceaued me. Quoth M. _Dickens_, beleue the deuil againe, beware
of lying, he teacheth to lye, and you are taught for lying.

‘This day and 2 or 3 following, the uncleane spirits returned euer and
anone in visible formes upon all 7, throwing some of them violently downe
before us all, depriuing others for a litle space of the use of som member
of their bodies, as arme or legg; seking also both by goodly promises, of
siluer, gold, veluit, (which they thought verily, they saw,) and such
like, and fearful threats, their consents to re-enter; without which, it
would seem satan cannot re-enter, though he can first enter. But from
giving such consent, and yealding unto satan, therein god, in mercy, keept
6 of them: who, since that tyme, (praysed be God therfore) were neuer more
nor lesse, they nor any of them molested by satan until this day. Neyther
the 7 _Iane Ashton_ untill a good space after, when she, leauing M.
_Starchie’s_ house, went and dwelt in a place of ignorance and among
papists, and became popish herselfe, as I have heard. For which
opertunitie and advantage, the deuill watching; and noe doubt compasing,
he then recouered her, and now dwelleth there: whose last estat with
_Katherine Wrights_ and _Will. Somers_, shall be worse than their first.’

The learned (!) divine, John Darrell, then follows on with the case of
Will Somers, which is too long and prosy for reproduction.


    James I. on Possession--The Vexation of Alexander Nyndge--‘Wonderful
    News from Buckinghamshire’--Sale of a Devil.

In King James I.’s ‘Demonologie,’ Philomathes asks Epistemon two
questions. ‘The first is, whereby shall these possessed folks be discerned
fra them that are troubled with a naturall Phrensie, or Magic? The next
is, how can it be, that they can be remedied by the Papists Church, whom
we, counting as hereticks, it should appeare that one Diuell should not
cast out another, for then would _his kingdome be diuided in itselfe_, as
Christ said?’

Epistemon answers: ‘As to your first question, there are diuers symptomes,
whereby that heauie trouble may be discerned from a naturall sicknesse,
and specially three, omitting the diuers vaine signes that the Papists
attributes unto it: such as the raging at holy water, their fleeing a
backe from the Crosse, their not abiding the hearing of God named, and
innumerable such like vaine things that were alike fashious and feckles to
recite. But to come to these three symptomes then, whereof I spake; I
account the one of them to be the incredible strength of the possessed
creature, which will farre exceed the strength of sixe of the wightest and
wodest of any other men that are not so troubled. The next is the
boldning up so far of the patients breast and bellie, with such an
unnaturall sturring and vehement agitation within them: and such an ironie
hardnesse of his sinewes so stiflely bended out, that it were not possible
to pricke out, as it were, the skinne of any other person so far.... The
last is the speaking of sundrie languages, which the patient is knowen by
them that were acquaint with him, neuer to have learned, and that with an
uncouth and hollow voice: and all the time of his speaking, a greater
motion being in his breast than in his mouth.... It is easie, then, to be
understood, that the casting out of Diuelles is by the virtue of fasting
and praier, and in calling of the name of God, suppose many imperfections
be in the person that is the instrument, as Christ himselfe teacheth us,
of the power that false Prophets shall have to cast out Divels. It is no
wonder, then, these respects of this action being considered, that it may
be possible to the _Papistes_, though erring in sundry pointes of
Religion, to accomplish this, if they use the right forme prescribed by
Christ herein.’

A far more acute case of possession is the following:


‘Written by his owne brother _Edwn Nyndge_, Master of Arts, with the names
of the Witnesses that were at his vexation. London, 1615.

‘... You shall understand therefore that the first fit, and vexation
wherewith this _Alexander Nyndge_ was so fearefully perplexed, began about
seaven of the clocke at night. His father, mother, and brethren, with the
residue of the household being at that time in presence. And it was in
this manner. His chest and body fell a swelling, his eies a staring, and
his backe bending inwards to his belly, which did strike the beholders
into a strange wonder, and admiration at the first, yet, one of his
brothers, then also present, named _Edward Nyndge_, a Master of Arts,
being boulder than others were of the company, certainly perswading
himselfe that it was some euill spirit that so molested him, gaue him
comfortable words of mercy from the holy Scriptures, and also charged the
spirit by the death and passion of Jesus Christ, that it should declare
the cause of the torment. At which, the countenance of the same
_Alexander_ turned more strange, and full of amazement and feare than it
was before, and so returned to his former state againe.

‘This _Alexander Nyndge_ having his speech then at liberty, said unto the
same _Edward, Brother, he is marvellous afraid of you, therefore I pray
you, stand by me_.

‘With which words the same _Edward_ was the more bold, and said to
_Alexander_. _If thou dost earnestly repent thee of thy sins, and pray to
God for the forgivenesse of the same (my life for thine) the Diuell cannot
hurt thee. No, rather than he should, I will goe to hell with thee._ Then
the Spirit, (for a small time) racked the said _Alexander_ in a far more
cruell manner, for he did use such strange and idle kinds of gestures in
laughing, dancing, and such like light behavioure, that he was suspected
to be mad: sundry times he refused all kinds of meat, for a long space
together, insomuch as he seemed to pine away. Sometimes he shaked as if he
had had an ague. There was heard, also, a strange noise or flapping from
within his body. Hee would gather himselfe on a rounde heape under his bed
cloathes, and, being so gathered, he would bounse up a good height from
the bed, and beat his head and other parts of his body against the ground
and bedstead, in such earnest manner, that the beholders did feare that he
would thereby haue spoiled himselfe, if they had not, by strong hand,
restrained him, and yet thereby he receiued no hurt at all.

‘In most of his fits he did swell in his body, and, in some of them, did
so greatly exceed therein, as he seemed to be twice so big as his naturall
body. He was often seene to haue a certaine swelling or variable lumpe, to
a great bignesse, swiftly running up and downe betweene the flesh and the

‘Then would they carry the same _Alexander_ downe the Chamber, willing him
to call upon God for grace, and earnestly to repent him, and to put his
trust only in Christ Jesus. And, setting him in a chaire, desired his
Father to send for all his neighbours, to helpe to pray for him. And, on a
suddaine, he would be strangely handled, for, (sitting in a chaire when
the fit came) he would be cast headlong upon the ground, or fall downe,
drawing then his lips away, gnashing with his teeth, wallowing and foming,
and the Spirit would uexe him monstrously, and transforme his body, and
alter the same by many violences. Then the said _Edward_, his brother,
with one _Thomas Wakefield_, would lay hands on _Alexander_, and set him
in the Chaire againe, and there hold him. All that were in the house
praying earnestly.

‘And the said _Edward_ charging the Spirit with these words, _Thou fowle
Fiend, I coniure thee, in the name of Iesus our Sauiour, the Sonne of
Almighty God, that thou speake unto us_.

‘Whereat the Spirit transformed him very ugly against his Chest, swelling
upwards to his throat, plucking his belly iust to his backe, and so ceased
for a time.

‘The partie tormented, being somewhat restored, uttered these words,
_Sirs, He will speake with me, I pray you let him not speak with mee_.
Whereupon all that were present did pray earnestly, at which the Spirit
began to vexe him very grieuously, and swelled sore in his Chest, and, in
a base sounding, and hollow voyce, uttered these words, _I will, I will, I
will_. Then replyed the said _Edward_, and said, _Thou shalt not, and I
charge thee in the Name of Jesus Christ that thou speak unto us, and not
unto him_. Then the Spirit, in a hollow voyce said, _Why didst thou tell
them?_ Then the said _Edward_ did charge the Spirit, (as aforesaid) to
tell them the cause of his comming, and why he did torment his brother? To
the which the Spirit answered, _I come for his Soule_. Then the said
_Edward_ said unto the Spirit, _Wee have a warrant in the Holy Scriptures,
that such as doe earnestly repent them of their sins, and turn unto God,
with the only hope of Saluation, through the merits of Iesus Christ, thou
mayest not have them, for Christ is his Redeemer_. The Spirit uttered (in
a base, hollow sounding voyce) these words, _Christ, that was my
Redeemer_. Then _Edward_ said, _Christ that is his Redeemer, not thy
Redeemer but my brother_ Alexander, _his Redeemer_.

‘Then the Spirit said in his hollow voyce, _I will haue his Soule and body
too_, and so began to torment and racke the same _Alexander_, and
disfigure him more horribly than before, forcing him to such strange and
fearefull skriking, as cannot bee uttered by man’s power, and was of such
strength, as, sometimes, foure or fiue men, though they had much aduantage
against him by binding him to a chaire, yet could they not rule him. And
in shewing that strength, he was not perceiued to pant or blow, no more
than he had not strained his strength, nor strugled at all. Sometimes he
would cry extreamly, so as teares would come from him in great aboundance.
Presently, afterwards, hee would laugh aloude and shrill, his mouth being
shut close. And sometimes, he was heaued up from the ground by force
inuisible, the said _Edward Nyndge_, _Thomas Nyndge_, _Thomas Wakefield_,
_Thomas Goldsmith_, _William Miles_ and _William Nyndge, Iunior_ hanging
upon the said _Alexander_, unto the middest of the house, and the said
_Edward_ putting his mouth unto the eare of the said disfigured body of
his brother _Alexander_, said, _Brother, continue in your faith, and if
you goe to hell, wee will goe with you_. Then the force did somewhat
faile, and the hangers on drew him to the Chaire againe. Then one of his
younger brothers, named _William Nyndge_ said, _Wee will Keepe him from
thee, thou foule Spirit, in despite of thy Nose_.

‘Whereat the transformed body looked very terribly against the said
_William_, and turned his most ugly looks unto his brother _Edward_,
standing on the other side, uttering these hollowe sounding words, _Will
you, Sir, will you, Sir_. To which the said _Edward_ answered; _Not I,
Sir, but the merits of Iesus Christ will, we earnestly pray, keepe him
from thee_. Then all that were present, to the number of 20 persons, and
more, fell downe and said the Lord’s Prayer, with other sentences, every
one seuerally, and one of the Company uttered worde ioyning _God_ and the
blessed virgin _Mary_ together, whereat there came a voyce much like
_Alexander’s_ voyce, saying twice, _There bee other good Prayers_.
Whereunto the said _Edward_ made answere, and said, _Thou lyest, for there
is no other Name under Heauen whereby wee may challenge Saluation but the
onely name of Christ Iesus_. And then the Spirit roares with a fearefull
voice, and stretched out his necke long to the Fyre; and then the saide
_Edward_ desired _Peter Bencham_, Curate of the Towne, to coniure and
charge him in the Name of _Iesus_ the Sonne of the Almightie, that the
Spirit should declare unto them from whence hee came? And what was his
Name? To which the Spirit made answere in this mumbling manner, _I would
come out, I would come out_. Then _Edward_ charged him (as before) that he
should declare his name. And the Spirit said _Aubon, Aubon_. They charged
him then (as is aforesaid) to make knowne unto them whence hee came; and
the Spirit made answere in a hollow uoyce; _From Ireland, From Ireland_.
Then they laide the fourth Chapter of Saint Matthew against him, where
Christ said, _It is written Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him
onely shalt thou serue_. Which sentence, as it was pronounced, the hollow
voyce sounded. _My Master, My Master, I am his Disciple, I am his
Disciple._ Then they answered, _Thy Master we graunt he is, but thou
lyest, thou art none of his Disciple. Thou art onely an instrument and
scourge to punish the wicked, so farre as pleaseth him._ And then they
layd unto him the eight Chapter of S. Luke, whereas Christ himselfe did
cast out Deuils. And the Spirit answered hollowly, _Baw-wawe, baw-wawe_.
And within a little space after, the body of the saide _Alexander_ being
as monstrously transformed as it was before, much like the picture of the
Deuill in a play, with an horrible roaring voyce, sounding _Hellhound_,
was most horribly tormented. And they that were present, fell to prayer,
desiring God earnestly to take away the foule Spirit from him. The said
_Edward_ then desired to haue the window opened, for _I trust in God_,
(said hee) _the fowle Spirit is wearie of our company_. The windowes being
opened accordingly, within two Minuts after, the tormented body returned
to the true shape againe, the said _Alexander_ leaping up, and holding up
his hands, and saying _Hee is gone, hee is gone, Lord, I thanke thee_.
Whereat all the people that were there present, fell downe on their knees
with due reuerence, and yeelded unto God exceeding praise and
thanksgiving. This fit ended about eleven of the clocke the same night,
and so they went to Supper with great ioy and gladnesse.’

He seems to have had two or three fits afterwards, but they were of a very
mild type, and the last we hear of the afflicted Alexander is: ‘After
this, they took the said _Alexander_, and all of them ioyfully accompany
him to his brother _Thomas Nyndge_, his house, where, after his comming
thither, hee was not knowne to be perplexed with the like terrible

One more example of this branch of the devil’s work in Britain must
suffice. We find it in


‘This unhappy Maid, whose strange Afflictions this sheet undertakes to
give a true and impartial account of, lives at _Great Gadsdon_ in the
County of Bucks. She is descended of honest Parents of good repute, and by
them carefully educated in the Principles of Christianity; nor was there a
young maid of more lovely innocent Beauty, sweet Carriage, or virtuous
Disposition; or one that might have expected fairer preferment in Marriage
than she: So that as there is no room for the Censures of the
uncharitable, so neither, any place for the Surmises of the incredulous,
it being impossible she or any of her Relations could imagine any
advantage to themselves by counterfeiting or pretending a Possession;
which on the Contrary brings them onely trouble, loss, vexation, and
inconveniences, and that for a dozen years together. The beginning of her
affliction was thus.

‘In the year 1664, there happened to be some difference between this
maid’s Father and a certain woman who had an evil name, but whether
Causelessly or not, I shall not here determine, nor assert any dubious
opinions of any kind; onely relate the principal Circumstances that have
occurred, being matter of Fact, to which, as well myself, as scores of
other people, were Eye and Ear-witnesses; and so leave every one to judge
as they shall see cause, touching the Maid’s being Possest or not, and the
evil Instruments that are suspected to have been accessory thereunto, when
they have duely weighed the whole Discourse. This is certain, soon after
the before mentioned Difference, this maid being then about Sixteen or
Seventeen years of age, was taken with strange Fits, and something would
rise in her throat like two great bunches, about the bigness of an Egg;
and a strange voice was frequently heard within her, speaking _Blasphemous
words_, not fit here to be repeated: And if the Hearers and Bystanders did
reply to such voice, by asking any Questions that pleased him, he would
answer and discourse with them; and that with a voice as different from
hers as any two voices, I verily believe, in the world; she having a
cleer, smooth, pleasant voice, and that being very rough, guttural, and
coming, as it were from the _Abdomen_, or hollow of her belly, but yet
intelligible: and, though I am not ignorant of a certain sort of Jugglers
of old, called in Latine _Ventriloqui_, yet as no such Art nor designe
could be imagined in this innocent creature, so the things he declared
(impossible, many times, for her to know) wipes off all suspitions of that
kind: So that those about her generally concluded she was really and
exactly possessed with the Devil, and took occasion to ask him, _How he
came there?_ to which the Evil Spirit or voice answered, _Here are two of
us_, and _that they were sent thither by two women_. The voice further
said, _That they were sent first to the Maid’s Father; but when they came,
they found him at Prayer, and returned to those two women, and told them,
they could have no permission to enter into him; whereupon they sent them
to his Daughter, and that such a night, as she sat by the fire, they
entred into her_. Now, the Family did remember that that very night, she
had, as she declared, a sudden pain that seized her, and, ever since, had
continued in a bad condition, and, after a little time, the Swellings and
Voice happen’d as aforesaid.

‘By which the whole Neighbourhood and Country round about, were so alarmed
at the strangeness of it, that multitudes of people went to See her, and
returned full of wonder and amazement, at what they had seen and heard:
The report whereof coming to my ears, I did not at first believe it, but
hearing it still confirmed, did, at last, go to see her myself, resolving
to make my observations as warily and curiously as I could. There were, I
believe, at that time, Forty or Fifty Spectators present, and in strict
observation two or three hours. I was, for my own part, fully satisfied
that it was a Possession, it being, as I conceive utterly impossible that
those things should be acted by her or any other person living, either by
the force of Nature or power of the most afflicting Distemper.

‘Her Father, being of the same opinion, and willing to use all lawful
means for his only Child’s recovery, having read that passage of our
Saviour’s--_That kinde comes not out but by Prayer and Fasting_; he
resolves to use that means, and to that purpose, desired some Ministers to
keep a day with him on that occasion. Having sent for them, the Devil told
him, _He expected five men to come, but there should only four come_. This
the Girl could not know of herself; yet so it happened: for one, by an
unexpected accident, was prevented from coming. These _four_ desired the
assistance of several Godly Ministers and Christians in the Neighbourhood,
who accordingly, met, and kept several days in Fasting and Prayer; and,
according to the best judgment that could be made, one of the evil Spirits
then departed, as was supposed from some accidents I shall relate by and
by. I, myself, was present several of these days; First she had two great
bunches rose up in her throat, and then a voice followed, uttering
abominable Blasphemies; upon which, a godly Minister present, and since
deceased, being stirred up with great Zeal and Indignation, going to
Prayer, did earnestly beg of God, that he would plague and torment Satan
for such of his Blasphemies; upon which the Spirit made a most dreadful
crying, and bemoaning his condition, and said, _I will do so no more_: To
which the Minister replied, _Satan, that shall not serve thy turn_: and,
continuing his Prayer to God as before, the Devil again cried and roared
most hideously, to the great amazement of all the people present; and,
from that time, it was observed that there was but one bunch rose up in
her throat, from whence it was conjectured that one of the Spirits was
departed. However, one continued his possession still, and, after they had
done Prayer, and were about to refresh themselves, he shewed strange
tricks before them, tossing her up and down, and when she was going, took
away the use of her legs, on a sudden. When she sate in a great Wicker
chair, he would cause the Chair to fall down backwards, almost to the
ground, and then lift it up again. One of the company bid her read in the
Bible; the Devil said aloud, _She shall not read_: It was answered, _She
shall read, Satan, for all thee, and read thy Condemnation too_.
Whereupon, he plaid more tricks by tossing her about, and drawing her face
to one side, as if it had been placed to look over her shoulder, and drawn
in a very deformed manner; but, at last she read part of the 20 Chapter of
the _Revelations_, though not without much opposition.

‘When she got upon the Horse to go home, it was a great while before she
was able to get upon him, and was flung sometimes backwards, other whiles
turn’d with her face to the horse’s tail, and handled very sadly; yet,
’tis observed, that he hath not much power to hurt her: for she often
declares, that, being now accustomed to his tricks, and consequently not
so much affrighted, the temptations he injects into her minde, are far
worse than all the mischiefs he does her body.

‘At another time I was with them, when in the time of Prayer, he barked
like a Dog, bellowed like a Bull, and roar’d after a wonderful frightful
manner, and, on a sudden, would fling her up a great height, yet without
hurte; whereupon, she, being placed in a low Chair, a man sate upon the
Table side, endeavouring to hold down her head, and myself and another
stood on each side, pressing down her shoulders; and though it could not
be imagined so weakly a creature could naturally have half the strength of
any one of us, yet she was tossed up, do what we could, and, at length,
the Spirit in a desperate rage cries out, _If I come out, I will kill you
all. I will throw down the house, and kill you all._ I answered, _Satan,
come out and try_. He continued raging till they concluded Prayer, and
then was pretty quiet.

‘There have since hapned many things considerable; I was once in her
company at a house, where I was wholly unacquainted, and for aught I know,
so was she; the people of the house gave us drink, and I drinking to her,
she rising to make a Curtsey, he took away the use of her legs, and said,
she should not drink. But when he found we were resolved to force the Cup
of Beer on her, he said, _There is a Well in the yard, go and drown
thyself_; when none of us that were strangers, knew there was such a Well.

‘He will often talk to some of the Family, or those that come to see her,
and many times utter blasphemous filthy words to their great trouble:
sometimes tell strange Stories to move laughter; sometimes be sullen and
not speak a great while together; sometimes, he jumps her up and down, and
draws her Body into a multitude of strange postures, too tedious here to
be related.’

The pamphlet winds up with some pious and moral reflections, of no
interest to the reader.

There is no doubt but that people verily believed that the Devil lived
among them in a material shape, and we have throughout England divers of
his punchbowls, dykes, quoits, and even the prehistoric flint arrow-heads
were known as ‘Devil’s arrows.’ But a most singular instance of this
belief is to be found in Blount’s ‘Law Dictionary’ (ed. 1717), under the
word _Conventio_, an agreement or covenant. It is Latin, and is an extract
from the Court Rolls of the Manor of Hatfield, near the isle of Axholme,
in Yorkshire. It is also mentioned in the ‘Antiquarian Repertory,’ vol.
ii., p. 395. The following is a translation:

‘At a court held at Hatfield on the Wednesday next after the Festival--In
the 11th Year of Edward III. (1337).

‘Robert de Roderham appeared against John de Ithow, for that he had not
kept the agreement made between them, and therefore complains that on a
certain day and year, at Thorne, there was an agreement between the
aforesaid Robert and John, whereby the said John sold to the said Robert,
the Devil, bound in a certain bond, for three pence farthing, and
thereupon, the said Robert delivered to the said John, one farthing, as
earnest money, by which the property of the said Devil rested in the
person of the said Robert, to have livery of the said Devil, on the fourth
day next following: at which day the said Robert came to the forenamed
John, and asked delivery of the said Devil according to the agreement
between them made. But the said John refused to deliver the said Devil,
nor has he yet done it, etc., to the great damage of the said Robert to
the amount of 60 shillings, and he has therefore brought his suit, etc.

‘The said John came, etc., and did not deny the said agreement; and
because it appeared to the Court that such a suit ought not to subsist
among Christians, the aforesaid parties are therefore adjourned to the
infernal regions, there to hear their judgment, and both parties were
amerced, etc., by William De Scargell, Seneschal.’


    The Witch of Endor--The ‘Mulier Malefica’ of Berkeley--Northern

Of all the extraordinary popular delusions that have existed, the wave of
belief in witchcraft which flowed over this land in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries is one of the most remarkable. The belief that some
people have the power of exercising supernatural control over their
fellow-creatures is not confined to any land, and dates from remote
antiquity. But it is with the witches of Britain, and those of the Britons
who emigrated from their country, that it is my province to deal.


The earliest English pictorial representation of a witch that I know of is
in the Harleian MSS., 1776 (94, b), where the witch of Endor is
represented as showing the ghost of Samuel to Saul. But she was a
Pythoness, and did not at all come up to our idea of a witch. Nor can we
exactly class in the same category the ‘Mulier Malefica’ of Berkeley, who
is supposed to have been exhumed by the Devil about A.D. 852. She has been
immortalized by William of Malmesbury, who says he had the story from an
eye-witness, by Matthew of Westminster, by Schedel in the Nuremberg
Chronicle, from whom this illustration is taken, and a short account of
her is given by Olaus Magnus in his ‘Historia de Gentibus
Septentrionalibus’ (lib. iii., c. 21), when he treats of the punishment of
witches. Berkeley, however, in his hands becomes Bethelia. Southey also
wrote about her.




William of Malmesbury thus gives the story: ‘(A.D. 1065) There resided at
Berkeley, a woman addicted to Witchcraft, as it afterwards appeared, and
skilled in ancient augury: she was excessively gluttonous, perfectly
lascivious, and setting no bounds to her debaucheries, as she was not old,
though fast declining in life. On a certain day, as she was regaling, a
jackdaw, which was a very great favourite, chattered a little more loudly
than usual. On hearing which, the woman’s knife fell from her hand, her
countenance grew pale, and, deeply groaning, “This day,” said she, “my
plough has completed its last furrow; to-day, I shall hear of, and suffer,
some dreadful calamity.”


‘While yet speaking, the messenger of her misfortunes arrived: and, being
asked why he approached with so distressed an air, “I bring news,” said
he, “of the death of your son, and of the whole family, by a sudden
accident.” At this intelligence the woman, sorely afflicted, immediately
took to her bed, and, perceiving the disorder rapidly approaching her
vitals, she summoned her surviving children, a monk and a nun, by hasty
letters; and, when they arrived, with faltering voice, addressed them
thus: “Formerly, my children, I constantly administered to my wretched
circumstances by demoniacal arts: I have been the sink of every vice, the
teacher of every allurement: yet, while practising these crimes, I was
accustomed to soothe my hapless soul with the hope of your piety.
Despairing of myself, I rested my expectations on you: I advanced you as
my defenders against evil spirits, my safeguards against my strongest
foes. Now, since I have approached the end of my life, and shall have
those eager to punish, who lured me to sin, I entreat you, by your
mother’s breast, if you have any regard, any affection, at least to
endeavour to alleviate my torments; and, although you cannot revoke the
sentence already passed upon my soul, yet you may, perhaps, rescue my body
by these means.

‘“Sew up my Corpse in the skin of a stag; lay it on its back in a stone
Coffin; fasten down the lid with lead and iron; on this lay a stone, bound
round with three iron chains of enormous weight; let there be psalms sung
for fifty nights, and masses said for an equal number of days, to allay
the ferocious attacks of my adversaries. If I lie thus secure for three
nights; on the fourth day, bury your mother in the ground; although, I
fear, lest the earth, which has been so often burdened with my crimes,
should refuse to receive and cherish me in her bosom.”

‘They did their utmost to comply with her injunctions: but, alas! vain
were pious tears, vows, or entreaties; so great was the woman’s guilt, so
great the devil’s violence. For, on the two first nights, while the choir
of priests was singing psalms around the body, the devils, one by one,
with the utmost ease bursting open the door of the Church, though closed
with an immense bolt, broke asunder the two outer chains: the middle one,
being more laboriously wrought, remained entire. On the third night, about
cock-crow, the whole monastery seemed to be overthrown from its very
foundation, by the clamour of the approaching enemy.

‘One devil, more terrible in appearance than the rest, and of loftier
stature, broke the gates to shivers by the violence of his attack. The
priests grew motionless with fear, their hair stood on end, and they
became speechless. He proceeded, as it appeared, with haughty steps,
towards the Coffin; and, calling on the woman by name, commanded her to
rise. She, replying that she could not, on account of the chains: “You
shall be loosed,” said he, “and to your cost;” and, directly, he broke the
chain, which had mocked the ferocity of the others, with as little
exertion as though it had been made of flax. He also beat down the cover
of the Coffin with his foot; and, taking her by the hand, before them all,
he dragged her out of the church.

‘At the doors appeared a black horse, proudly neighing, with iron hooks
projecting over his whole back; on which the wretched creature was
placed, and, immediately, with the whole party vanished from the eyes of
the beholders: her pitiable cries for assistance being heard for nearly
the space of four miles.’

The Northern witches came nearer to our modern ones, and seem, if we can
believe Olaus Magnus, to have been very powerful.[23]



‘I shall shew you by a few Examples, how cunning some Women were formerly
amongst the _Northern_ people in _Magical Art_. _Hugbert_, Daughter to
_Vagnostus_ the Giant, was wont to change her stature at pleasure;
sometimes she was very great; sometimes less; sometimes exceeding small;
sometimes wither’d faced; sometimes beautiful: sometimes she was as tall
as the sky; sometimes so short as a Pygmy; and she was supposed to be able
to pull down the Heavens, to lift up the Earth; to harden Fountains, to
melt Mountains; to lift ships into the Ayr; to pull down the Gods; to
extinguish the Stars, and to make Hell a light place.

‘When _Hadingus_ the King was at Supper, another Woman of the same Art,
who carried pipes, was seen to lift up her head above the ground before
the fire; and stretching out her bosome, she seemed to ask in what part of
the World so new green Reeds grew; the King, that desired to know the
matter, was carryed by her under ground, wrapt in his own Cloak: and,
having shewn unto him the Monsters of the Infernal Regions, she restored
him back to the Earth again.

‘_Cvaca_, a Woman of _Norway_, that desired to know the future fortune of
her Son _Rollerus_, provided Water-grewel, and into this, she dropt the
venemous moysture of three Land-Snakes, that were hung up above by a small
Twig. But _Ericus_, son in law to _Cvaca_ took to himself the Dish that
was provided for her son _Rollerus_, and he, being refreshed with this
happy meat, by the internal operation of it, arrived to the highest pitch
of man’s wisdome. For the force of this meat bred in him the Knowledge of
all Sciences beyond belief; so that he could understand the meaning of the
cryes of Birds and Wild Beasts. Besides, he was so eloquent and curious in
his speech, that whatsoever he pleased to discourse of, he would
constantly illustrate it with pleasant Proverbs. By his counsel King
_Frotho_ overcame the Army of the mighty _Huns_, that was assisted by 170
Kings. And, at length, _Gestilblindus_, King of the _Goths_, made this
_Ericus_ heir to himself, and to the Kingdome of _Sweden_; and that about
the time of Christ’s Nativity.

‘But King _Frotho_, being lunged at by a Witch that turned into an Oxe,
was slain by her upon a certain Sea-coast. _Guthruna_ suddenly blinded the
forces of King _Larmericus_, and made them fight one against another. An
earthen pot useth to be the common Instrument of Witches, wherein they
boyl their Myces, Herbs, Worms, and Entrals, and by that Witchery meat,
they allure idle persons to them, and make ships, horses, and horsemen, to
be as swift as a boyling pot.’



‘Also, I shall show very briefly what force Conjurers and Witches have in
constraining the elements, enchanted by them or others, that they may
exceed or fall short of their Natural Order: premising this, that the
extream land of the _North Finland_ and _Lapland_, was so taught
Witchcraft formerly in the Heathenish times, as if they had learned this
Cursed Art from _Zoroastes_ the _Persian_; though other inhabitants by the
Sea Coasts are reported to be bewitched with the same madness; and in
this, and other such-like mischief, they commonly agree. The
_Finlanders_[24] were wont formerly, amongst their other Errors of Gentil
issue, to sell Winds to Merchants that were stopt on their Coasts by
contrary weather; and, when they had their price, they knit three Magical
Knots, not like to the Laws of _Cassius_, bound up with a Thong, and they
gave them unto the Merchants; observing that rule, that when they unloosed
the first, they should have a good gale of wind; when the second, a
stronger wind; but, when they untied the third, they should have such
cruel Tempests, that they should not be able to look out of the
Forecastle, to avoid the Rocks, nor move a foot to pull down the Sails,
nor stand at the helm to govern the ship: and they made an unhappy trial
of the truth of it, who denied that there was any such power in those



‘They that desire to know the state of their Frends or Foes, at a very
great distance from them, five hundred be it, or a thousand miles off,
they enquire of a _Laplander_ or _Finlander_, who is skilled in this
matter, giving him a gift (namely, some Linnen Garment, or Girdle;)
Whereupon he goes into his Conclave, content with one companion, or his
wife, and he beats upon a frog of brass, or Serpent, with a hammer upon an
anvil, so many strokes as are prescribed; and, by mumbling of charms he
turns it up and down; and, presently falling, he is ravished into an
extasie, and he lies a short time, as if he were dead. In the meanwhile he
is safely guarded by his fore said Companion, lest any Living Creature,
Gnat or Fly, or other Animal might touch him; for by the power of his
Charms, his spirit, by the misleading of Devils, brings from far some
token (namely, a Ring or a Knife), for a testimony of his Embassie or
Commission fulfilled. And, presently, rising up, he declares the same
signs to him that hired him, with the rest of the Circumstances.’

This illustration is from ‘The History of Witches and Wizards’ (1700 ?),
and shows a Northern witch raising a storm by means of a pump, whilst a
Laplander in his _kayack_ rides in safety.



    The Legal Witch--James I. on Witches--Reginald Scot on
    Witches--Addison on Witches.

The legal witch, as defined by our statute law (1 James I., cap. 12), is
as follows:

‘One that shall use, practise, or exercise any invocation, or conjuration
of any evill or wicked spirit; or consult, covenant with, entertaine, or
employ, feede, or reward any evill or wicked spirit, to or for any intent
or purpose; or take up any dead man, woman or child, out of his, her, or
their grave, or any other place, where the dead body resteth, or the skin,
bone, or other part of any dead person, to be employed or used in any
manner of Witchcraft, Sorcery, Charme, or Enchantment; or shall use,
practise, or exercise any Witchcraft, Enchantment, Charme or Sorcery,
whereby any person shall be killed, destroyed, wasted, consumed, pined, or
lamed in his or her body, or any part thereof. Such offenders, duly and
lawfully convicted and attainted, shall suffer death.

‘If any person shall take upon him by Witchcraft, Inchantment, Charme or
Sorcery, to tell or declare in what place any treasure of Gold or Silver,
should or might be found, or had in the Earth, or other secret places, or
where Goods, or things lost, or stolen, should be found, or become: Or to
the intent to provoke any person to unlawfull love, or whereby any Cattell
or Goods of any person shall be destroyed, wasted or impaired, or to
destroy or hurt any person in his, or her body, though the same be not
effected, &c, a yeares Imprisonment and Pillory, &c, and the second
conviction, Death.’

Here, then, we have a clear definition of what a witch is, and as it does
not state anything as to sex, we may imagine that it includes both male
and female, both wizards and witches. But the softer sex undoubtedly
predominated in the commission of this crime, wizards being very seldom
brought to justice. And King James I.[26] gives us the reason:

‘_Philomathes._ But before yee goe further, permit me, I pray you, to
interrupt you one worde, which yee haue put mee in memory of, by speaking
of Women. What can be the cause that there are twentie women giuen to that
craft, where there is one man?

‘_Epistemon._ The reason is easie, for, as that sexe is frailer than man
is, so is it easier to be intrapped in these grosse snares of the Diuell,
as was ouer well proued to be true, by the Serpent’s deceiving of _Eua_ at
the beginning, which makes him the homelier with that sex sensine.

Reginald Scot, than whom there can be no better English authority, tells
us[27] ‘who they be that are called witches.’

‘The sort of such as are said to bee witches, are women which be commonly
old, lame, bleare-eied, pale, fowle, and full of wrinkles; poore, sullen,
superstitious, and papists; or such as knowe no religion: in whose drousie
minds the diuell hath gotten a fine seat; so as, what mischeefe,
mischance, calamitie, or slaughter is brought to passe, they are easilie
persuaded the same is doone by themselues; imprinting in their minds an
earnest and constant imagination thereof. They are leane and deformed,
shewing melancholie in their faces, to the horror of all that see them.
They are doting, scolds, mad, diuelish; and not much differing from them
that are thought to be possessed with spirits: so firme and stedfast in
their opinions, as whosoeuer shall onelie haue respect to the constancie
of their words uttered, would easilie belieue they were true indeed.

‘These miserable wretches are so odious unto all their neighbours, and so
feared, as few dare offend them, or denie them anie thing they aske;
whereby they take upon them; yea, and sometimes thinke, that they can doo
such things as are beyond the abilitie of humane nature. These go from
house to house, and from doore to doore for a pot full of milke, yest,
drinke, pottage, or some such releefe; without the which they could
hardlie liue: neither obtaining for their seruice and paines, nor by their
art, nor yet at the diuel’s hands (with whome they are said to make a
perfect and visible bargaine) either beautie, monie, promotion, welth,
worship, pleasure, honor, knowledge, learning, or anie other benefit

‘It falleth out many times, that neither their necessities, nor their
expectation is answered or serued, in those places where they beg or
borrowe; but rather their lewdnesse is by their neighbors reproued. And
further, in tract of time, the witch waxeth odious and tedious to her
neighbors; and they, againe, are despised and despited of hir; so as
sometimes she cursseth one, and sometimes another; and that from the
maister of the house, his wife, children, cattell &c to the little pig
that lieth in the stie. Thus, in processe of time they have all displeased
hir, and she hath wished euill lucke unto them all: perhaps with cursses
and imprecations made in forme. Doubtlesse (at length) some of hir
neighbors die or fall sicke; or some of their children are visited with
diseases that vex them strangelie; as apoplexies, epilepsies, conuulsions,
hot feuers, wormes &c. Which by ignorant parents are supposed to be the
vengeance of witches. Yea, and their opinions and conceits are confirmed
and maintained by unskilful physicians: according to the common saieing;
_Inscitiæ pallium maleficio et incantatio_. Witchcraft and inchantment is
the cloke of ignorance: whereas, indeed, euill humors, and not strange
words, witches or spirits are the Causes of such diseases. Also some of
their cattell perish, either by disease or mischance. Then they, upon whom
such aduersities fall, weighing the same that goeth upon this woman (hir
words, displeasure and cursses meeting so iustlie with their misfortune)
do not onelie conceiue, but, also, are resolued, that all their mishaps
are brought to passe by hir onelie meanes.

‘The witch, on the other side, expecting her neighbors’ mischances, and
seeing things sometimes come to passe according to her wishes, cursses and
incantations (for _Bodin_ himselfe confesseth that not aboue two in a
hundred of their witchings or wishings take effect) being called before a
Iustice, by due examination of the circumstances, is driuen to see hir
imprecations and desires, and hir neighbors’ harmes and losses, to
concurre, and, as it were, to take effect; and so confesseth that she (as
a goddes) hath brought such things to passe. Wherein, not onelie she, but
the accuser, and also the Iustice, are fowlie deceiued and abused; as
being, thorough hir confession and other circumstances, persuaded (to the
iniurie of God’s glory) that she hath done, or can doo that which is
proper onelie to God himselfe.’

This is a good definition of a witch, and was published in 1584 when the
witch mania was becoming a cult. Let us hear what Addison[28] writes of it
in 1711, when it was decidedly on the wane:

‘... It is with this Temper of Mind that I consider the Subject of
Witchcraft. When I hear the Relations that are made from all parts of the
World, not only from _Norway_ and _Lapland_, from the _East_ and _West
Indies_, but from every particular Nation in _Europe_, I cannot forbear
thinking that there is such an Intercourse and Commerce with Evil Spirits,
as that which we express by the name of Witchcraft. But, when I consider
that the ignorant and credulous Parts of the World abound most in these
Relations, and that the Persons among us who are supposed to engage in
such an Infernal Commerce, are People of a weak Understanding and crazed
Imagination, and, at the same time, reflect on the many Impostures and
Delusions of this Nature that have been detected in all Ages, I endeavour
to suspend my Belief, till I have more certain Accounts than any which
have yet come to my Knowledge. In short, when I consider the Question,
Whether there are such Persons in the World as those we call Witches? My
Mind is divided between the two opposite Opinions, or rather (to speak my
Thoughts freely) I believe, in general, that there is, and has been such a
thing as Witchcraft; but, at the same time, can give no Credit to any
Particular Instance of it.

‘I am engaged in this speculation, by some Occurrences that I met with
Yesterday, which I shall give my Reader an Account of at large. As I was
walking with my Friend Sir _Roger_, by the side of one of his Woods, an
old Woman applied herself to me for my Charity. Her Dress and Figure put
me in mind of a Description in Ottway, which I could not forbear repeating
on this Occasion.

  ‘“In a close Lane as I pursu’d my Journey,
    I spy’d a wrinkled Hag, with Age grown double,
    Picking dry Sticks, and mumbling to her self.
    Her Eyes with Scalding Rheum were gall’d and red,
    Cold Palsy shook her Head; her Hands seem’d wither’d;
    And on her crooked Shoulders had she wrap’d
    The tatter’d Remnants of an old Striped Hanging,
    Which serv’d to keep her Carcass from the Cold:
    So there was nothing of a-piece about her.
    Her lower Weeds were all o’er coarsly patch’d
    With diff’rent colour’d Rags, black, white, red, yellow,
    And seem’d to speak Variety of Wretchedness.”

‘The Knight told me, upon hearing the Description, that this very old
Woman had the Reputation of a Witch all over the Country, that her Lips
were observed to be always in Motion, and that there was not a Switch
about her House, which her Neighbours did not believe had carried her
several hundreds of Miles. If she chanced to stumble, they always found
Sticks or Straws that lay in the Figure of a Cross before her. If she made
any Mistake at Church, and cryed _Amen_ in a wrong place, they never
failed to conclude that she was saying her Prayers backwards. There was
not a Maid in the Parish that would take a Pinn of her, though she should
offer a Bag of Mony with it. She goes by the Name of _Moll White_, and has
made the Country ring with several imaginary Exploits that are palmed upon
her. If the Dairy Maid does not make the Butter come so soon as she would
have it, _Moll White_ is at the bottom of the Churne. If a Horse sweats in
the Stable, _Moll White_ has been upon his Back. If a Hare makes an
unexpected Escape from the Hounds, the Huntsman curses _Moll White_. Nay,
(says Sir _Roger_) I have known the Master of the Pack, upon such an
Occasion, send one of his Servants to see if _Moll White_ had been out
that Morning.

‘This Account raised my Curiosity so far, that I beg’d my Friend, Sir
_Roger_, to go with me into her Hovel, that stood by it self under the
Side of the Wood. Upon our first entering, Sir _Roger_ winked to me, and
pointed to something that stood behind the Door, which, upon looking that
way, I found to be an old Broom-staff. At the same time he whispered me
in the Ear, to take notice of a Tabby-Cat that sate in the Chimney-Corner,
which, as the Knight told me, lay under as bad a Report as _Moll White_
herself; for, besides that _Moll_ is said often to accompany her in the
same Shape, the Cat is reported to have spoken twice or thrice in her
Life, and to have played several Pranks above the Capacity of an ordinary

‘I was secretly concerned to see Human Nature in so much Wretchedness and
Disgrace, but, at the same time, could not forbear smiling, to hear Sir
_Roger_, who is a little puzzled about the old Woman, advising her, as a
Iustice of the Peace, to avoid all Communication with the Devil, and never
to hurt any of her Neighbours’ Cattle. We concluded our Visit with a
Bounty, which was very acceptable.

‘In our Return Home, he told me that old _Moll_ had, often, been brought
before him for making Children spit Pins, and giving Maids the Night-Mare;
and that the Country People would be tossing her into a Pond, and trying
Experiments with her every Day, if it was not for him and his Chaplain.

‘I have since found, upon Enquiry, that Sir _Roger_ was several times
staggered with the Reports that had been brought him concerning this old
Woman, and would, frequently, have bound her over to the County Sessions,
had not his Chaplain, with much ado, persuaded him to the contrary.

‘I have been the more particular in this Account, because I hear there is
scarce a Village in _England_ that has not a _Moll White_ in it. When an
old Woman begins to doat, and grow chargeable to a Parish, she is
generally turned into a Witch, and fills the whole Country with
extravagant Fancies, imaginary Distempers, and terrifying Dreams. In the
mean time, the poor Wretch that is the innocent Occasion of so many Evils,
begins to be frighted at herself, and, sometimes, confesses secret
Commerces and Familiarities that her Imagination forms in a delirious old
Age. This, frequently, cuts off Charity from the greatest Objects of
Compassion, and inspires People with a Malevolence towards those poor
decrepid Parts of our Species, in whom Human Nature is defaced by
Infirmity and Dotage.’


    How a Witch was made--Her Compact with the Devil--Hell Broth--Homage
    and Feasting--The Witches’ Sabbat.

But how did a woman become a witch, and attain to the full possession of
her wicked powers? There is no doubt but that she must have been a
_mauvais sujet_ to start with, or else the Devil would not have thought of
meeting her, and introducing himself to her. According to the witches’
confessions, of which we shall have many, they generally first meet the
Devil by chance, and their differing testimonies affirm that he was
somewhat protean in shape, appearing to one as a great black man, to
another in the form of some animal. Others, again, were regularly
introduced to him by some perfected witch at one of their meetings, for it
was part of their duty to beat up recruits for his Satanic majesty.

Their agreement with the Devil is forcibly described by Reginald Scot,[29]
who quotes as his authorities such crushing names as the ‘Malleus
Maleficarum,’ Bodin, Nider, Danæus, Psellus, Erastus, Hemingius, Cumanus,
Aquinas, Bartholomæus Spineus, etc., so that doubtless he is correct.

‘The order of their bargaine or profession is double; the one solemne and
publike; the other secret and priuate. That which is solemne or publike,
is where witches come togither at certaine assemblies, at the times
prefixed, and doo not onelie see the diuell in visible forme; but confer
and talke familiarlie with him. In which conference the diuell exhorteth
them to obserue their fidelitie unto him promising them long life and
prosperitie. Then the witches assembled, commend a new disciple (whom they
call a nouice) unto him; and, if the diuell findeth that young witch apt
and forward in renunciation of the christian faith, in despising anie of
the seuen sacraments, in treading upon Crosses, in spitting at the time of
the elevation, in breaking their fast on fasting daies, and fasting on
sundaies, then the diuell giveth foorth his hand, and the nouice ioining
hand in hand with him, promiseth to obserue and keepe all the diuel’s


‘This done the diuell beginneth to be more bold with hir, telling hir
plainelie, that all this will not serue his turne; and therefore requireth
homage at hir hands: yea, he also telleth hir, that she must grant him
both hir bodie and soule to be tormented in everlasting fire, which she
yeeldeth unto. Then he chargeth her, to procure as many men, women and
children also, as she can, to enter into this societie. Then he teacheth
them to make ointments of the bowels and members of children, whereby they
ride in the aire, and accomplish all their desires. So as, if there be
anie children unbaptised, or not garded with the signe of the crosse, or
orisons; then the witches may and doo catch them from their mothers sides
in the night, or out of their cradles, or otherwise kill them with their
ceremonies; and, after buriall, steale them out of their graves, and seeth
them in a caldron, untill their flesh be made potable. Of the thickest
whereof they make ointments, whereby they ride in the aire; but the
thinner potion they put into flaggons, whereof whosoever drinketh,
observing certeine ceremonies, immediatlie becommeth a maister, or rather,
a mistresse in that practise and facultie.’



But there were other hell broths used by witches, as we may see by the
accompanying illustration from Molitor’s ‘Die Hexen’ (1489?), in which a
cock and serpent form part of the ingredients of the broth, which is
being brewed during a violent hailstorm. In ‘The Witch: a Tragi-comedie,’
by Thomas Middleton, we have good notices of the component parts of these

    ‘HECCAT. Goe feed the vessell for the second houre.
     STADLIN. Where be the magical herbes?
     HEC. They’re downe his throate.
  His mouth cramb’d full; his eares, and nosthrills stufft.
  I thrust in Eleoselinum--lately
  Aconitum, frondes populeus, and soote,
  Then Sium, Acharum, Volgaro too,
  Dentaphillon, the blood of a flitter-mouse,[30]
  Solanum somnificum, et oleum.’


We all know the Witches scene in ‘Macbeth,’ but few are probably aware to
what extent Shakespeare was indebted to this play of Middleton’s for its
telling effect and language.

    ‘HECCAT. Give me some lizard’s braine: quickly, _Firestone_.
  Where’s grannam Stadlin, and all the rest o’ th’ sisters?
     FIRESTONE. All at hand, forsooth.
     HEC. Give me Marmaritin; some Bear-Breech; when?
     FIRE. Heer’s Bear-breech, and lizard’s braine, forsooth.
     HEC. Into the vessell;
  And fetch three ounces of the red-haired girle
  I kill’d last midnight.
     FIRE. Whereabouts, sweet Mother?
     HEC. Hip; hip or flanck. Where is the Acopus?
     FIRE. You shall have Acopus, forsooth.
     HEC. Stir, stir about; whilst I begin to charme.

                  A CHARME SONG, ABOUT A VESSEL.

          Black spiritts, and white; Red spiritts and gray;
          Mingle, mingle, mingle, you that mingle may.
                Titty, Tiffin, keepe it stiff in;
                Fire-drake, Puckey, make it luckey;
                Liard, Robin, you must bob in.
          Round, around, around, about, about.
          All ill come running in, all good keepe out!

     1 WITCH. Heer’s the blood of a bat.
     HEC. Put in that; oh put in that.
     2 WITCH. Heer’s libbard’s bane.
     HEC. Put in againe.
     1 WITCH. The juice of toad; the oile of adder.
     2 WITCH. Those will make the yonker madder.


     HEC. Put in; there’s all, and rid the stench.
     FIRE. Nay, heer’s three ounces of the red-haired wench.
     ALL. Round, around, around, about, about.
  All ill come running in, all good keepe out!
     HEC. So, soe, enough: into the vessell with it.
  There, ’t hath the true perfection: I am so light
  At any mischief; there’s no villany
  But is a tune methinkes.
     FIRE. A Tune! ’tis to the tune of dampnation then, I warrant
  You that that song hath a villainous burthen.
     HEC. Come my sweet sisters; let the aire strike our tune,
  Whilst we show reverence to yond peeping moone.

  _Here they daunce. The Witches daunce and Ex{t}._’

After this introduction to and instruction from the Devil, the novice has
to do homage to her master. Still quoting Reginald Scot:

‘Sometimes their homage, with their oth and bargaine is receiued for a
certeine number of yeares; sometimes for euer. Sometimes it consisteth in
the deniall of the whole faith, sometimes in part. The first is, when the
soule is absolutelie yeelded to the Diuell and hell fier; the other is,
when they have but bargained to obserue certeine ceremonies and statutes
of the Church; as to conceale faults at shrift, to fast on sundaies, &c.
And this is doone, either by oth, protestation of words, or by obligation
in writing, sometimes sealed with wax, sometimes signed with bloud,
sometimes by kissing the Diuell’s bare buttocks; as did a Doctor called
_Edlin_, who (as _Bodin_ saith) was burned for witchcraft.


‘You must also understand, that after they have delicatlie banketted with
the Diuell and the ladie of the fairies; and have eaten up a fat oxe, and
emptied a butt of malmesie, and a binne of bread, at some nobleman’s
house, in the dead of night, nothing is missed of all this in the morning.
For the ladie _Sibylla_, _Minerua_, or _Diana_, with a golden rod striketh
the vessell and the binne, and they are fullie replenished againe. Yea,
she causeth the bullock’s bones to be brought and laid togither upon the
hide, and lappeth the foure ends thereof togither, laieing her golden rod
thereon; and then riseth up the bullocke againe, in his former estate and
condition: and yet, at their returne home, they are like to starve for
hunger; as _Spineus_ saith. And this must be an infallible rule, that
euerie fortnight, or at the least, euerie moneth, each witch must kill one
child, at the least, for hir part.

       *       *       *       *       *

‘And this is to be noted, that the inquisitors affirme, that during the
whole time of the witch’s excourse, the Diuell occupieth the roome and
place of the witch, in so perfect a similitude, as hir husband in his bed,
neither by feeling, speech, nor countenance can discerne hir from his
wife. Yea, the wife departeth out of hir husbands armes insensiblie, and
leaueth the Diuell in her roome visiblie.’

The novice is now a full-fledged witch, and according to the best
authorities may, and must, commit certain crimes, of which the following
are some:

‘They denie God, and all religion.

‘They cursse, blaspheme, and provoke God with all despite.

‘They give their faith to the diuell, and they worship and offer sacrifice
to him.

‘They doo solemnelie vow and promise all their progenie unto the diuell.

‘They sacrifice their owne children to the diuell before baptisme, holding
them up in the aire unto him, and then thrust a needle into their

‘They burne their children when they have sacrificed them.

‘They sweare to the diuell to bring as manie into that societie, as they

‘They sweare by the name of the diuell.

‘They boile infants (after they have murthered them unbaptized) untill
their flesh be made potable.

‘They eate the flesh and drinke the bloud of men and children openlie.

‘They kill men with poison.

‘They kill men’s Cattell.

‘They bewitch men’s corne, and bring hunger and barrennes into the
countrie; they ride and flie in the aire, bring stormes, make tempests,

Scot, quoting Sprenger, gives yet a wider range to the wickedness of
witches.[31] ‘Although it be quite against the haire, and contrarie to the
diuel’s will, contrarie to the witch’s oth, promise, and homage, and
contrarie to all reason that witches should helpe anie thing that is
bewitched; but rather set forward their Maister’s businesse; yet we read
_In Malleo Maleficarum_, of three sorts of witches; and the same is
affirmed by all the writers hereupon, new and old. One sort, they say, can
hurt and not helpe, the second can helpe and not hurt, the third can both
helpe and hurt. And, among the hurtful witches, he saith there is one sort
more beastlie than any kind of beasts, saving woolues: for these usuallie
deuoure and eate yong children and infants of their owne kind. These be
they (saith he) that raise haile, tempests, and hurtfull weather; as
lightening, thunder, &c. These be they that procure barrennesse in man,
woman and beast. These can throwe children into waters, as they walke with
their mothers, and not be seene. These can make horses kicke, till they
cast their riders. These can so alter the mind of iudges, that they can
haue no power to hurt them. These can procure to themselves and to others,
taciturnitie and insensibilitie in their torments. These can bring
trembling to the hands, and strike terror into the minds of them that
apprehend them. These can manifest unto others, things hidden and lost,
and foreshow things to come; and see them as though they were present.
These can alter men’s minds to inordinate love or hate. These can kill
whom they list, with lightening and thunder. These can take awaie man’s
courage, and the power of generation. These can make a woman miscarrie in
childbirth, and destroie the child in the mother’s wombe, without any
sensible meanes either inwardlie or outwardlie applied. These can, with
their looks, kill either man or beast.’


    Familiar Spirits--Matthew Hopkins, the ‘Witch-finder’--Prince Rupert’s
    dog Boy--Unguents used for transporting Witches from Place to
    Place--Their Festivities at the Sabbat.

In order to enable the witch to carry out her benevolent intentions, the
Devil supplied her with one or more familiar spirits, of which we shall
hear much in the accounts of cases of witchcraft, and in this old English
illustration we see the Devil presenting one to a young witch. They were
of all kinds of shapes--perhaps the commonest was a cat or dog; but
sometimes they took strange forms.


These familiars could talk and hold conversations with their mistresses,
as witness the following story told by Giffard. A witch had confessed she
had killed a man. ‘And upon the ladder she seemed very penitent, desiring
all the world to forgive her. She sayd she had a spirit in the likeness of
a yellow dun Cat. This Cat came unto her, as she sayd, as she sat by her
fire, when she was fallen out with a neighbour of hers, and wished that
the vengeance of God might light upon him and his. The Cat bad her not be
afraid, she would do her no harme, she had served a dame five yeares in
Kent, that was now dead, and if she would, she would be her servant. And
whereas, sayd the Cat, such a man hath misused thee, if thou wilt I will
plague him in his cattell. She sent the Cat, she killed three hogs and one
Cow. The man, suspecting, burnt a pig alive, and, as she sayd, her Cat
would never go thither any more. Afterward, she fell out with that Man;
she sent her Cat, who told her, that she had given him that, which he
should never recover; and, indeed, the man died.’[32]



In ‘The Lawes against Witches and Coniuration,’ etc., the attention of
justices of the peace is thus directed to these familiar spirits:

‘1. These Witches have ordinarily a familiar, or spirit, which appeareth
to them; sometimes in one shape, sometimes in another, as in the shape of
a Man, Woman, Boy, Dogge, Cat, Foale, Fowle, Hare, Rat, Toad, etc. And to
these their spirits they give names, and they meet together to christen

‘2. Their said Familiar hath some big or little teat upon their body,
where he sucketh them; and besides their sucking, the Devil leaveth other
marks upon their bodies, sometimes like a Blew-spot, or Red-spot, like a
flea-biting, sometimes the flesh sunk in and hollow, all which, for a
time, may be covered, yea, taken away, but will come againe to their old
forme; and these the Devil’s markes be insensible, and being pricked will
not bleed; and be often in their secret parts, and therefore require
diligent and carefull search....

‘So likewise, if the suspected be proved to have been heard to call upon
their Spirit, or to talk to them, or of them, or have offered them to

‘So, if they have been seen with their Spirits, or seen to feed something
secretly, these are proofes that they have a familiar, &c.’

Matthew Hopkins (of whom more anon) was a past master in the matter of
familiars, and thus relates his experience of some of them.[33] He is
supposed to be asked where he had gained his experience.



‘The Discoverer never travelled far for it, but in _March 1644_, he had
some seven or eight of that horrible sect of Witches living in the Towne
where he lived, a Towne in _Essex_ called _Maningtree_, with divers other
adjacent Witches of other towns, who every six weeks, in the night (being
alwayes on the Friday night) had their meeting close by his house, and had
their severall solemne sacrifices there offered to the _Devill_, one of
which this discoverer heard speaking to her _Imps_ one night, and bid them
goe to another Witch, who was thereupon apprehended, and searched by
women, who for many yeares had knowne the Devill’s marks, and found to
have three teats about her, which honest women have not; so upon command
from the _Justice_, they were to keep her from sleep, two or three nights,
expecting in that time to see her familiars, which the fourth night she
called in by their severall names, and told them what shapes, a quarter of
an houre before they came in, there being ten of us in the roome; the
first she called was:


‘1. _Holt_, who came like a white kitling.

‘2. _Jarmara_, who came in like a fat Spaniel, without any legs at all;
she said she kept him fat, for she clapt her hand on her belly, and said
he suckt good blood from her body.

‘3. _Vinegar Tom_, who was like a long-legg’d Greyhound, with an head like
an Oxe, with a long taile and broad eyes, who, when the discoverer spoke
to, and bade him goe to the place provided for him and his Angels,
immediately transformed himselfe into the shape of a child of foure yeeres
old, without a head, and gave halfe a dozen turnes about the house, and
vanished at the doore.

‘4. _Sack and Sugar_, like a black Rabbet.

‘5. _Newes_, like a Polcat. All these vanished away in a little time.
Immediately after, this Witch confessed several other Witches, from whom
she had her _Imps_, and named to divers women where their markes were, the
number of their _Marks_, and _Imps_, and _Imps’_ names, as _Elemanzer_,
_Pyewacket_, _Peck in the Crown_, _Grizzel Greedigut_, &c., which no
mortall could invent.’

Witches, however, were not the sole proprietors of familiar spirits, for
the Roundheads declared that Prince Rupert had one, in the shape of a
large white poodle dog, a present from Lord Arundel, whose name was Boy.
Boy accompanied his master in many an engagement, but seemed to bear a
charmed life, even having the credit given him of catching bullets and
bringing them to his master. This evidently must be a dog of no common
breed, and it was not thought so, as we read in one of the Commonwealth
tracts, which was a reputed dialogue between Tobie’s and Prince Rupert’s

    ‘TOBIE’S DOG. ... I heare you are Prince _Rupert’s_ White Boy.

    P. RUP. DOG. I am none of his White Boy, my name is _Puddle_.

    TOB. DOG. A dirty name, indeed, you are not pure enough for my
    company; besides, I hear on both sides of my eares that you are a
    Laplander, or Fin Land Dog, or, truly, no better than a Witch in the
    shape of a white Dogge.

           *       *       *       *       *

    P. RUP. DOG. No, Sirrah, I am of high Germain breed.

    TOB. DOG. Thou art a Reprobate and a lying Curre; you were either
    whelpt in Lapland, or in Finland; where there is none but divells and
    Sorcerers live.’

Poor Boy met his fate at Marston Moor, by a silver bullet fired ‘by a
valliant Souldier, who had skill in Necromancy.’ Judging by the hail of
bullets by which he is surrounded, he must indeed have borne a charmed
life, the loss of which an old witch deplores.


One of the duties of the familiar was to acquaint the witch with the next
meeting between the witches and the Devil. This always (although
authorities differ) took place on Fridays, after midnight, and was called
the Sabbath or Sabbat. But Scot, quoting Danæus, says: ‘The Divell
oftentimes, in the likenes of a sumner, meeteth them at markets and
Faires, and warneth them to appeare in their assemblies, at a certaine
houre in the night, that he may understand whom they have slaine, and how
they have profited.’


But these meetings might be many miles distant, and, consequently, the
witches had to be provided with means of conveyance; which was effected
with the aid of an unguent, as to the composition of which authorities
vary. This was rubbed over the body, or upon a broomstick or dungfork, and
hey, presto! they were in mid-air. But they must not make their exit by
the door, only by such illegitimate ways as the chimney or the keyhole.
Or, as we see, a wizard might mount his cat, or a witch a sheep; or, if a
great favourite, the Devil himself would carry her, taking the form of a
he-goat, in which shape he frequently presided at the Sabbat.

The broomstick was the orthodox old English style of aërial courses; but,
as I have before said, an unguent was necessary. In ‘The Witch,’ before
quoted, Heccat says:

  ‘Here take this unbaptized brat:
   Boile it well; preserve the fat;
   You know ’tis pretious to transfer
   Our ’noynted flesh into the ayre,
   In moonelyght nights, on steeple topps,
   Mountains, and pine trees, that like pricks or stopps,
   Seeme to our height, high towres, and roofes of princes
   Like wrinckles in the earth.’


Scot, on the authority of John Bapt. Neap, gives the following recipes for
ointments, which are singularly like those in ‘The Witch’:

‘℞. The fat of yoong children, and seeth it with water in a brasen
vessell, reseruing the thickest of that which remaineth boiled in the
bottome, which they laie up and keepe, untill occasion serueth to use it.
They put hereunto _Eleoselinum_, _Aconitum_, _Frondes populeas_, and

Another receipt to the same purpose.

‘℞. _Sium_, _acarum vulgare_, _pentaphyllon_, the blood of a flitter
mouse, _solanum somniferum_ and _oleum_. They stampe all these togither,
and then they rubbe all parts of their bodies exceedinglie, till they
looke red, and be verie hot, so as the pores may be opened, and their
flesh soluble and loose. They ioine herewithall either fat, or oil in
steed thereof, that the force of the ointment maie the rather pearse
inwardly, and so be more effectuall. By this means (saith he) in a
moonlight night they seeme to be carried in the aire.’


Thus, then, their means of conveyance being assured, they all meet
together, at some appointed place, it may be hundreds of miles away--in a
social congress of a very mixed character, Continental writers giving a
fuller and more detailed report of their transactions than do the English.
One Henri Boguet, a French _Grand Juge_, in his ‘Discours des Sorciers,’
Lyons, 1608, is particularly lucid on this subject.



He says that at this assembly the first thing the witches do is to adore
Satan, who appears in the form, either of a huge black man or as a
he-goat, and by way of doing homage to him they offer him candles which
burn with a blue flame, and kiss his back, some kissing his shoulders.
Sometimes he holds a black image which the witches kiss, at the same time
offering a candle or burning brand which they light at a candle, which the
Devil carries between his horns. They next proceed to dance a curious
circular dance, in which they are placed back to back, whilst the lame
witches incite them to leap and dance. The music of the hautboy is not
wanting, someone always being found who will thus oblige the company,
besides which Satan himself sometimes plays the flute; but if no orchestra
is forthcoming, the witches and devils sing each their own song, making a
sort of ‘Dutch medley.’ Sometimes they dance two and two, at other times
they perform _pas seuls_, but always in confusion, and they dance back to
back, so that they may not be recognised; indeed, it is for that reason
that they hold their assemblies at night.


After the dance they break into couples, and indescribable orgies take

The next part of the programme is a banquet, composed of different kinds
of viands, according to the place of meeting and the quality of the
guests; but, according to the illustrations, the _pièce de résistance_ was
a dead child. The table was covered with butter, cheese, and meat, and
according to some authorities a large copper was provided, from which each
witch could take her meat. They drank wine out of wooden goblets, but the
chief drink was water. But at these feasts there was never any salt,
because it is an emblem of immortality, which the Devil hates more than
anything. Besides, it is put in holy-water, and the Apostles were called
the ‘salt of the earth’--sufficient reasons to disgust any Devil.


Before commencing the meal, and on finishing it, the witches say
grace--not exactly as we do, but paraphrasing the benediction, filling it
with blasphemies, and making Satan author and preserver of all things. And
it is a curious thing that all authorities agree that the viands served at
these feasts have no flavour or taste, and the meat is only horseflesh;
also when the witches rise from table they are as hungry as when they sat

This highly unsatisfactory repast being finished, the witches tell Satan
what they have done since their last meeting, and those are most welcome
who have caused the greatest number of deaths among human beings and
cattle, or the most illness, or spoilt most corn; in short, those who have
committed the most wickednesses and abominations. The others, who have
behaved rather more humanely, are hissed at and mocked by all; they are
set on one side, and are often beaten and ill-treated by their master.

They then renew their renunciation of God and the Sacraments of the
Church, as also their oath never to speak of God, of the Virgin Mary, or
the Saints, unless in mockery and derision; they give up all hope of
heaven, and swear that they will always hold him to be their master, and
be faithful to him. He then exhorts them to all evil deeds, such as
harming their neighbours, making them ill, killing their cattle, and
revenging themselves on their enemies, and even uses these words, _Revenge
yourselves, or you shall die_. Moreover, he promises them to lay waste and
spoil the fruits of the earth, and gives them powders and ointments for
that purpose; at least, he makes them believe so. He also makes them swear
solemnly that they should accuse each other, and never reveal anything
which had passed between them.

The witches then cause a hailstorm, in order to spoil the crops and the

But they also celebrate a parody of the Mass, the celebrant being vested
in a black chasuble, without a cross on it; and after having put water in
the chalice, he turns his back on the altar, and then elevates a slice of
black radish instead of the Host, and all the witches cry with a loud
voice, ‘_Master, help us!_’ The Devil at the same time makes sham
holy-water, with which he who celebrates the Mass sprinkles the
congregation, using a black _asperge_.

Finally, the Devil, after having taken the form of a he-goat, is consumed
by fire, and reduced to ashes, which the witches collect and hide, in
order that they may assist them in their diabolical designs.

Of the English _Sabbat_ we shall hear enough when we come to the various
cases of witchcraft. Scot quotes Bodin, the great French exponent of
witchcraft, ‘who saith, at these magical assemblies the witches never fail
to danse, and in their danse they sing these words: _Har, har, diuell,
diuell, danse here, danse here, plaie here, plaie here, Sabbath, Sabbath_.
And whiles they sing and danse, euerie one hath a broome in hir hand, and
holdeth it up aloft. Item he saith that these night-walking, or rather,
night-dansing witches, brought out of _Italie_ into _France_ that danse
which is called _La Volta_.’

He also says that, according to Danæus, if the witches ‘be lame, the
diuell deliuereth them a staffe, to conueie them thither inuisiblie
through the aire; and that then they fall a dansing and singing of foule
songs, wherein he leadeth the danse himselfe; which danse, and other
conferences being ended, he supplieth their wants of powders and roots to
intoxicate withall; and giueth to euerie nouice a marke, either with his
teeth, or with his clawes, and so they kisse the diuell’s bare buttocks,
and depart; not forgetting euery daie afterwards to offer to him, dogs,
cats, hens, or bloud of their owne.’


In ‘A Pleasant Treatise of Witches,’ London, 1673, we have the following
account of the _Sabbat_: ‘They [witches] are likewise reported to have
each of them a Spirit or Imp attending on, and assigned to them, which
never leave those to whom they are subject, but assist and render them all
the service they command. These give the witches notice to be ready on all
solemn appointments and meetings, which are ordinarily on _Tuesday_ or
_Wednesday_ night, and then they strive to separate themselves from the
company of all other creatures, not to be seen by any; and, night being
come, they strip themselves naked, and anoint themselves with their
Oyntments. Then they are carryed out of the house, either by the Window,
Door, or Chimney, mounted on their Imps in the form of a Goat, Sheep, or
Dragon, till they arrive at their meeting-place, whither all the other
Wizards and Witches, each one upon his Imp, are also brought. Thus brought
to the designed place, which is sometimes many hundred miles from their
dwellings, they find a great number of others arrived there by the same
means; who, before _Lucifer_ takes his place on his Throne, as King, do
make their accustomed homage, adoring and proclaiming him their Lord, and
rendring him all Honour.


‘This solemnity being finished they sit to Table, where no delicate meats
are wanting to gratifie their appetites, all dainties being brought in the
twinkling of an eye, by those spirits that attend the assembly. This done,
at the sound of many pleasant instruments (for we must expect no Grace in
the company of Devils,) the table is taken away, and the pleasing consort
invites them to a _Ball_; but the dance is strange and wonderful, as well
as diabolical, for, turning themselves back to back, they take one
another by the arms and raise each other from the ground, then shake their
heads to and fro like Anticks, and turn themselves as if they were mad.
Then, at last, after this Banquet, Musick, and Ball, the lights were put

‘At last, before _Aurora_ brings back the day, each one mounts on his
Spirit, and so returns to his respective dwelling place, with that
lightness and quickness, that, in little space, they find themselves to be
carryed many hundred miles; but are charged by their spirit on the way,
not to call in any wise on the name of God, or to bless themselves with
the sign of the Cross, upon pain of falling, with peril of their lives,
and being grievously punished by their Demon.

‘Sometimes, at their solemn assemblies, the Devil commands that each tell
what wickedness he hath committed, and, according to the hainousness and
detestableness of it he is honoured and respected with a general applause.
Those, on the contrary, who have done no evill, are beaten and punished.
At last, when the assembly is ready to break up, and the Devil to despatch
them, he publisheth this law with a loud voice, _Revenge yourselves, or
else you shall dye_: then each one, kissing the posteriors of the Devil,
returns upon their aiery Vehicles to their habitations.’


    Waxen Figures--Witches change into Animals--Witch Marks--Testimony
    against Witches--Tests for, and Examination of, Witches.

Among other things done at the Sabbat, the Devil instructed witches in the
art of making waxen images, the use of which is to torment those against
whom they have a spite. King James I. (‘Demonologie,’ lib. ii., cap. v.)


‘To some others, at these times, he teacheth how to make pictures of waxe
or clay: That by the roasting thereof, the persons that they beare the
name of, may be continually melted or dried away by continuall
sickenesse.... They can bewitch and take the life of men or women, by
roasting of the pictures, which, likewise, is verie possible to their
Maister to performe, for, although that instrument of waxe haue no vertue
in that turne doing, yet may hee not very well, euen by the same measure
that his coniured slaves melts that waxe at the fire, may hee not, I say,
at these same times, subtily, as a spirite, so weaken and scatter the
spirites of life of the patient, as may make him, on the one part, for
faintnesse, to sweate out the humour of his bodie. And on the other part,
for the not concurrence of these spirites which cause his digestion, so
debilitate his stomache, that this humour radicall, continually sweating
out on the one part, and no good sucke being put in the place thereof, for
lacke of digestion, on the other, he, at last, shall vanish away, euen as
his picture will doe at the fire? And that knauish and cunning workeman,
by troubling him, onely at sometimes, makes a proportion, so neere betwixt
the working of the one and the other, that both shall end, as it were, at
one time.’

In ‘The Witch’ we find the following:

    ‘HECCAT. Is the hart of Wax
  Stuck full of magique needles?
     STADLIN. ’Tis done, Heccat.
     HEC. And is the Farmer’s picture, and his wives,
  Lay’d downe to th’ fire yet?
     STAD. They are a roasting both too.
     HEC. Good:
  Then their marrowes are a melting subtelly,
  And three monethes sicknes sucks up life in ’em.
  They denide me often floure, barme and milke,
  Goose-greaze and tar, when I nere hurt their churnings,
  Their brew-locks, nor their batches, nor fore spoake
  Any of their breedings. Now I’ll be meete with ’em.
  Seaven of their yong piggs I have bewitch’d already,
  Of the last litter; nine ducklyngs, thirteene goselings, and a hog,
  Fell lame last Sonday after evensong too.
  And mark how their sheepe prosper; or what soupe
  Each milch-kine gives to th’ paile: I’le send these snakes
  Shall milke ’em all before hand; the dew’d skirted dayrie wenches
  Shall stroak dry duggs for this, and goe home cursing:
  I’ll mar their sillabubs, and swathie feastings
  Under cowes bellies with the parish-youthes.’

Some witches had the power of transforming themselves into divers animals,
and Boguet gives a long list of witches who confessed to so doing, having
become, for the nonce, wolves, pigs, asses, cats, horses, frogs or toads,
and hares. Indeed, in France and Germany, the belief in _loup-garou_ and
_währwolf_ has hardly yet died out. But not only could they change
themselves into beasts, but others also, quite after the fashion of the
enchantments in the ‘Arabian Nights.’ Reginald Scot tells a story (lib.
v., cap. iii.) too good to be omitted:

‘It happened in the citie of _Salamin_ in the kingdome of _Cyprus_
(wherein is a good hauen) that a ship loaden with merchandize staied there
for a short space. In the meane time many of the souldiers and mariners
went to shoare, to prouide fresh victuals. Among which number, a certaine
English man, being a sturdie young fellowe, went to a woman’s house, a
little waie out of the citie, and not farre from the sea side, to see
whether she had anie eggs to sell. Who, perceiuing him to be a lustie
yoong fellowe, a stranger, and farre from his countrie, so as upon the
losse of him there would be the lesse misse or inquirie, she considered
with hirselfe how to destroie him; and willed him to staie there awhile,
whilest she went to fetch a few eggs for him. But she tarried long, so as
the yoong man called unto hir, desiring hir to make hast: for he told hir
that the tide would be spent, and by that meanes his ship would be gone
and leaue him behind. Howbeit, after some detracting of time, she brought
him a few eggs, willing him to returne to hir, if his ship were gone when
he came.

‘The yoong fellowe returned towards his ship; but before he, went aboord,
hee would needs eat an egg or twaine to satisfie his hunger, and, within
short space, he became dumb and out of his wits, (as he afterwards said.)
When he would haue entred into the ship, the marriners beat him backe with
a cudgell, saieing: What a murren lacks the asse? Whither the Diuell will
this asse? The asse, or yoong man, (I cannot tell by which name I should
terme him,) being many times repelled, and understanding their words that
called him asse, considering that he could speake neuer a word, and yet
could understand euerie bodie; he thought that he was bewitched by the
woman, at whose house he was. And, therefore, when by no means he could
get into the boate, but was driuen to tarrie and see hir departure; being
also beaten from place to place, as an asse; he remembered the witches
words, and the words of his owne fellowes that called him asse, and
returned to the witches house, in whose seruice he remained by the space
of three yeares, dooing nothing with his hands all that while, but carried
such burthens as she laied on his backe; haueing onely this comfort, that,
although he were reputed an asse among strangers and beasts, yet that
both this witch, and all other witches knew him to be a man.

‘After three yeares were passed ouer, in a morning betimes he went to
towne before his dame; who, upon some occasion, staied a little behind. In
the meane time, being neere to a church, he heard a little saccaring bell
ring to the eleuation of a morrowe masse, and, not daring to go into the
churche, least he should have beene beaten and driuen out with cudgells,
in great deuotion he fell downe in the churchyard, upon the knees of his
hinder legs, and did lift his forefeet ouer his head, as the preest doth
hold the sacrament at the eleuation. Which prodigious sight, when certeine
merchants of _Genua_ espied, and with woonder beheld; anon commeth the
witch with a cudgell in hir hand, beating foorth the asse. And bicause (as
it hath beene said) such kinds of witchcrafts are verie usuall in those
parts; the merchants aforesaid made such meanes, as both the asse and the
witch were attached by the iudge. And she, being examined and set upon the
racke, confessed the whole matter, and promised that, if she might have
libertie to go home, she would restore him to his old shape: and, being
dismissed, she did, accordinglie. So, as notwithstanding, they apprehended
hir againe, and burned hir: and the yoong man returned into his countrie
with a ioifull and merrie hart.’

Credulous as James I. was, yet he could not swallow lycanthropy:

‘But to tell you simply my opinion in this, if any such thing hath beene,
I take it to haue proceeded but of a naturall super-aboundance of
Melancholie, which, as we reade, that it hath made some thinke themselues
Pitchers, and some, horses, and some, one kinde of beast or other. So
suppose I, that it hath so viciat the imagination and memory of some, as
_per lucida interualla_, it hath so highly occupied them, that they haue
thought themselues very Woolfes indeed, at these times: and so haue
counterfeited their actiones in going on their hands and feete, preassing
to deuoure women and barnes,[34] fighting and snatching with all the towne
dogges, and in using such like other bruitish actiones, and so to become
beastes by a strong apprehension as _Nabucad-netzar_ was seuen yeares.’

But popular opinion still inclined to the belief in the ability of witches
to change their form: and we will take only one instance, which occurs in
the play of ‘The Late Lancashire Witches,’ by Heywood and Broome (London,

    ‘MEG. Then list yee well, the hunters are
  This day, by vow, to kill a hare,
  Or else the sport they will forsweare;
  And hang their dogs up.
     MAWD. Stay, but where
  Must the long threatened hare be found?
     GIL. They’l search in yonder meadow ground.
     MEG. There will I be, and like a wily wat,
  Untill they put me up, ile squat.’

And this belief has descended to quite modern times, for Mr. E. J. Wood,
writing in _Notes and Queries_, October 25, 1862, says:

‘In a certain hollow, or “bottom,” not many miles from Sevenoaks, lived an
old woman (now deceased) who had the local reputation of being a witch,
and who could, according to the vulgar belief, convert herself into a hare
at will. Her cottage had a drain-hole, or aperture, through which hole the
so-called witch used to pass when she had metamorphosed herself into a

To the outside world, a witch, be she young or old, looked like another
woman, but to the _cognoscenti_ there were certain marks about her which
proclaimed her as a servant to the devil. All authorities agree that a
witch had certain marks upon her which no one could mistake, and Scot sums
it up very tersely:

‘Item, if she haue anie priuie mark under hir arme pokes, under hir haire,
under hir lip, or in hir buttocke, &c., it is a presumption for the iudge
to proceed and giue sentence of death upon hir.’

But perhaps we find the fullest details of these marks in the abominable
book ‘The Discovery of Witches,’ by the wretch Matthew Hopkins, the
professional ‘witch-finder.’

‘_Query 5._ Many poore People are condemned for having a Pap or Teat about
them, whereas many People, (especially antient People) are, and have been,
a long time, troubled with naturall wretts[35] on severall parts of their
bodies, and other natural excresscencies, and these shall be judged only
by one man alone, and a woman, and so accused or acquitted?

‘_Answer._ The parties so judging can justifie their skill to any, and
shew good reasons why such markes are not meerly naturall, neither that
they can happen by any such naturall cause as is before expressed, and for
further answer for their private judgements alone, it is most false and
untrue, for never was any man tryed by search of his body, but commonly a
dozen of the ablest men in the parish or else where were present, and most
commonly as many ancient skilfull matrons and midwives present when the
women are tryed, which marks, not only he and his company attest to be
very suspitious, but all beholders, the skilfulest of them, doe not
approve of them, but likewise assent that such tokens cannot, in their
judgements proceed from any of the above-mentioned Causes.

‘_Query 6._ It is a thing impossible for any man or woman to judge rightly
on such marks, they are so neare to naturall excressencies, and they that
finde them, durst not presently give Oath they were drawne by evill
spirits, till they have used unlawfull courses of torture to make them say
anything for ease and quiet, as who would not do? but I would know the
reasons he speakes of, and whereby to discover the one from the other, and
so be satisfied in that.

‘_Answer._ The reasons, in breefe, are three, which, for the present, he
judgeth to differ from naturall marks; which are

‘1. He judgeth by the unusualnes of the place where he findeth the teats
in or on their bodies, being farre distant from any usuall place, from
whence such naturall markes proceed; as, if a witch plead the markes found
are Emerods, if I finde them on the back bone, shall I assent with him?
Knowing they are not neere that veine, and so, others, by child-bearing,
when it may be, they are in the contrary part?

‘2. They are most commonly insensible, and feele neither pin, needle,
aule, &c, thrust through them.

‘3. The often variations and mutations of these marks into severall
formes, confirmes this matter; as, if a Witch hear a month or two before
that the _Witch-finder_, (as they call him) is comming, they will, and
have, put out their Imps to others to suckle them, even to their owne
young and tender children; these upon search are found to have dry skinnes
and filmes only, and be close to the flesh. Keepe her 24 houres with a
diligent eye, that none of her Spirits come in any visible shape to suck
her; the women have seen, the next day after, her Teats extended to their
former filling strength, full of corruption, ready to burst; and, leaving
her alone then one quarter of an houre, and let the women go up againe,
and shee will have them drawn, by her Imps, close againe: _Probatum est_.’

This seems hard enough upon the poor friendless witch, but it is nothing
to what Scot writes on the subject, giving his authorities, which, at the
time he wrote, on behalf of the witch, was good law. As it is a very
curious bit of history, and one, as far as I know, that has never been
reproduced, I make a long extract bearing thereon:

‘Excommunicat persons, partakers of the salt, infants, wicked servants,
and runawaies are to be admitted to beare witness against their dames in
the mater of witchcraft, bicause, (saith _Bodin_, the champion of witch
mongers) none that be honest are able to detect them. Heretikes, also, and
witches shall be received to accuse, but not to excuse a witch. And,
finallie, the testimonie of all infamous persons in this case is good and
allowed. Yea, one lewd person, (saith _Bodin_) may be received to accuse
and condemne a thousand suspected witches. And although by lawe, a
capitall enimie may be challenged; yet _James Sprenger_ and _Henry
Justitor_ (from whom _Bodin_, and all the writers that euer I haue read,
doo receiue their light, authorities and arguments) saie, (upon this point
of lawe) that The poore frendlesse old woman must proue that hir capitall
enemie would haue killed hir, and that hee hath both assalted and wounded
hir; otherwise she pleadeth all in vaine. If the iudge aske hir, whether
she haue anie capitall enemies; and she rehearse other, and forget her
accuser, or else answer that he was hir capitall enemie, but now she
hopeth that he is not so; such a one is neuertheles admitted for a witnes.
And though by law, single witnesses are not admittable; yet, if one depose
she hath witched hir cow, another hir sow; and the third hir butter; these
saith, are no single Witnesses bicause they agree that she is a witch.

‘Women suspected to be witches, after their apprehension may not be
suffered to go home, or to other places, to seek suerties; for feare least
at their returne home, they worke reuenge upon them. In which respect
_Bodin_ commendeth much the _Scottish_ custome and order in this behalfe;
where, (he saith) a hollowe piece of wood, or a chest is placed in the
church, into the which anie bodie may freelie cast a little scroll of
paper, wherein may be conteined the name of the witch, the time, place and
fact &c. And the same chest being locked by three inquisitors or officers
appointed for that purpose; which keepe three seuerall kaies. And then the
accuser need not be knowne, nor shamed with the reproch of slander or
malice to his poore neighbour.

‘Item. there must be great persuasions used to all men, women and
children, to accuse old women of witchcraft.

‘Item. there may alwaies be promised impunitie and fauour to witches that
confesse and detect others; and for the contrairie, there may be
threatnings and violence practised and used.

‘Item. the little children of witches, which will not confesse, must be
attached; who (if they be craftilie handled saith _Bodin_) will confesse
against their owne mothers.

‘Item. witches must be examined as suddenlie, and as unawares as is
possible; the which will so amaze them, that they will confesse anything,
supposing the diuell hath forsaken them; whereas, if they should first be
committed to prison, the diuell would tamper with them, and informe them
what to doo.

‘Item. the inquisitor, iudge, or examiner, must begin with small matters

‘Item. they must be examined whether their parents were witches or no; for
witches (as these Doctors suppose) came by propagation. And _Bodin_
setteth downe this principle in witchcraft, to wit, _Si saga sit mater,
sic etiam est filia_: howbeit the lawe forbiddeth it _Ob sanguinis

‘Item. the examiner must looke stedfastlie upon their eies: for they
cannot looke directlie upon a man’s face, (as _Bodin_ affirmeth in one
place, although in another he saith, that they kill and destroie both men
and beasts by their lookes).

‘Item. she must be examined of all accusations, presumptions and faults,
at one instant: least sathan should afterwards dissuade hir from

‘Item. a witch may not be put in prison alone, least the diuell dissuade
her from confession, through promises of her indemnitie. For (saith
_Bodin_) some that haue been in the gaole haue proued to flie awaie, as
they were woont to doo when they met with _Diana_ and _Minerua_ &c, and so
brake their owne necks against the stone walles.

‘Item. if anie denie hir owne confession made without torture, she is
neuerthelesse by that confession to be condemned, as in anie other crime.

‘Item, the iudges must seeme to put on a pittifull countenance and to moue
them; saieing that It was not they, but the diuell that committed the
murther, and that he compelled them to doo it; and must make them beleeue
that they think them to be innocents.

‘Item. if they will not confesse nothing upon the racke or torture; their
apparell must be changed, and euerie haire in their bodie must be shauen
off with a sharpe razor.

‘Item, if they have charmes for taciturnitie, so as they feele not the
common tortures, and therefore confesse nothing; then some sharpe
instrument must be thrust betwixt euerie naile of their fingers and toes;
which (as _Bodin_ saith) was King _Childebert’s_ devise, and is, to this
daie, of all others the most effectuall. For by meanes of that extreme
paine, they will (saith he) confesse anie thing.

‘Item. _Paulus Grillandus_, being an old doer in these matters, wisheth
that when witches sleepe, and feele no paine upon the torture, _Domine
labia mea aperies_ should be said, and so, (saith he) both the tormentt
will be felt, and the truth will be uttered.

‘Item. _Bodin_ saith, that at the time of examination there should be a
semblance of a great a doo, to the terrifieing of the witch; and that a
number of instruments, gieues,[36] manacles, ropes, halters, fetters &c be
prepared, brought foorth, and laid before the examinate; and, also, that
some be procured to make a most horrible and lamentable crie, in the place
of torture, as though he or she were upon the racke, or in the tormentor’s
hands: so as the examinate may heare it whiles she is examined, before she
hir selfe be brought into the prison; and perhaps (saith he) she will by
this meanes, confesse the matter.

‘Item. there must be subborned some craftie spie, that may seeme to be a
prisoner with hir in the like case; who, perhaps, may, in Conference,
undermine hir, and so bewraie and discouer hir.

‘Item. if she will not yet confesse, she must be told that she is
detected, and accused by other of hir companions; although in truth there
be no such matter; and so, perhaps, she will confesse, the rather to be
reuenged upon hir aduersaries and accusers.

‘If an old woman threaten or touch one, being in health, who dieth shortly
after; or else is infected with the leprosie, apoplexie, or anie strange
disease; it is (saith _Bodin_) a permanent fact, and such an euidence, as
condemnation or death must insue, without further proofe; if anie bodie
haue mistrusted hir, or said before that she was a witch.

‘Item. if anie come in, or depart out, of the chamber or house, the doores
being shut; it is an apparent and sufficient euidence to a Witches
Condemnation, without further triall:

‘Item, if a woman bewitch anie bodies eies, she is to be executed without
further proofe.

‘Item. if anie inchant or bewitch men’s beasts, or come, or flie in the
aire, or make a dog speake, or cut off anie man’s members, and unite them
againe to men or children’s bodies; it is sufficient proofe to

‘Item. presumptions and coniectures are sufficient proofes against

‘Item. if three witnesses doo but saie, Such a woman is a witch: then it
is a cleere case that she is to be executed with death. Which matter
_Bodin_ saith is not onelie certeine by the canon and civill lawes, but by
the opinion of pope _Innocent_, the wisest pope, (as he saith) that ever

‘Item. the complaint of anie one man of credit is sufficient to bring a
poore woman to the racke or pullie.

‘Item. a condemned or infamous person’s testimonie is good and allowable
in matters of witchcraft.

‘Item a witch is not to be deliuered, though she endure all the tortures,
and confesse nothing; as all other are in anie criminall cases.

‘Item, though the depositions of manie women at one instant are disabled,
as insufficient in lawe; bicause of the imbecillitie and frailtie of their
nature or sex: yet, in this matter, one woman, though she be a partie,
either accuser or accused, and be also infamous and impudent (for such are
Bodin’s words) yea, and alreadie condemned; she may, neverthelesse serue
to accuse and condemne a witch.

‘Item, a witness uncited, and offering himselfe in this case, is to be
heard, and in none other.

‘Item, a Capitall enimie (if the enimitie be pretended to grow by meanes
of witchcraft) may obiect against a witch; and none exception is to be had
or made against him.

‘Item, although the proofe of periurie may put back a witnesse in other
causes; yet in this, a periured person is a good and a lawfull witnesse.

‘Item, the proctors and advocates in this case are compelled to be
witnesses against their clients, as in none other case they are to be
constrained thereunto.

‘Item, none can giue euidence against witches, touching their assemblies,
but witches onelie; bicause, (as _Bodin_ saith) none other can do it.’

Thus we see that the poor witch had everything against her, which will
account in a great way for those marvellous confessions we read of, when
the poor, weary, baited and tortured woman would confess to anything to
get a few hours’ respite from pain, well knowing that execution would
follow, whether she confessed or no. In fact, no other hypothesis is
possible, when we read of the extraordinary matters to which these poor
women confessed.


    Legislation against Witches--Punishment--Last Executions for
    Witchcraft--Inability to weep and sink--Modern Cases of Witchcraft.

There has not been much legislation against witches in England, the Acts
simply keeping in force. It is said that Athelstane in 928 made witchcraft
a capital crime, but our ‘statutes at large’ give 33 Henry VIII., cap. 8
(1541), as the first Act really touching witchcraft, as coming within the
ken of this book. Next comes 5 Elizabeth, cap. 16 (1562), and then 1 James
I., cap. 12 (1604), previously substantially quoted. This was the law of
the land until it was abolished in 1736, 9 George II., cap. 5, which did
away with capital punishment for witchcraft, and the present law on the
subject dates from 1822, 3 George IV., where the word ‘witchcraft’
certainly disappears, and only ‘All Persons pretending to be Gipsies: all
Persons pretending to tell Fortunes, or using any subtle Craft, Means, or
Device, by Palmistry, or other wise, to deceive or impose upon any of His
Majestys subjects,’ shall be adjudged ‘Common Rogues and Vagabonds,’ and
sentenced as such.

Formerly the poor wretches were burned, a fearful fate, as Scot says,
quoting Bodin. ‘Item, if a woman confesse freelie herein, before
question[37] be made; and yet afterward denie it; she is neuerthelesse to
be burned.’ Possibly the last case of burning for witchcraft is one I
shall record later on, at Bury St. Edmunds, in 1644; but the same year one
Alice Hudson was burned at York for receiving small sums of money from the


The last case of burning in Scotland was in Sutherland, in 1722, and the
last in Ireland at Glarus, a servant being burnt as a witch in 1786.
Probably the last burning for witchcraft, in any so-called civilized
country, is the following, taken from the Steamer Edition of the _Panama
Star and Herald_ of June 5, 1871: ‘According to the _Porvenir_ of Callao
(Peru), 29th ult., a woman has been burnt in the public square of a town
in the province of Guavina, about thirty-four leagues from the port of
Iquique, for being a witch. This punishment, worthy of the flourishing
days of the Spanish Inquisition, was ordered by the Lieutenant-Governor
and Judge of the Province.’

Hutchinson, a very careful writer, whose ‘Historical Essay concerning
Witchcraft,’ etc., was first published in 1718, and the second edition in
1720, says, referring to a case we shall hear of anon: ‘_Susan Edwards_,
_Mary Trembles_, and _Temperance Lloyd_, hanged at _Exeter_, confess’d
themselves Witches, but died with good Prayers in their Mouths. I suppose
these are the last Three that have been hanged in _England_. 1682.’

James I. was ruthless against witches, _vide_ the following:

    ‘PHILOMATHES. Then to make an ende of our conference, since I see it
    drawes late, what forme of punishment thinke yee merites these
    _Magicians_ and _Witches_? For I see that yee account them to be al
    alike guiltie.

    EPISTEMON. They ought to be put to death according to the Law of God,
    the civill and imperiall Law, and municipall Law of all Christian

    PHI. But what kinde of death, I pray you?

    EPI. It is commonly used by fire, but that is an indifferent thing to
    be used in every countrey, according to the Law or custome thereof.

    PHI. But ought no sexe, age, nor ranke to bee exempted?

    EPI. None at al (being so used by the lawful magistrate) for it is the
    highest point of Idolatry, wherein no exception is admitted by the Law
    of God.

    PHI. Then bairnes may not be spared?

    EPI. Yea, not a haire the lesse of my conclusion. For they are not
    that capable of reason as to practise such things.’

Before quitting the subject of witches for cases of witchcraft, it occurs
to me that I have omitted one or two peculiarities relating to them. First
of all, one personal peculiarity they had, according to the infallible
authority Bodin--an inability to weep, or, at all events, they could only
screw out three tears. And this was a great test, so much so that a form
of conjuration is given in the ‘Malleus Maleficarum,’ and translated by
Scot, which bears strongly upon this point: ‘I coniure thee by the amorous
teares, which Jesus Christ our Saviour shed upon the crosse for the
saluation of the world; and by the most earnest and burning teares of his
mother the most glorious virgine _Marie_, sprinkled upon his wounds late
in the euening; and by all the teares which euerie saint and elect vessell
of God hath poured out heere in the world, and from whose eies he hath
wiped away all teares; that, if thou be without fault, thou maist poure
downe teares abundantlie; and, if thou be guiltie, that thou weepe in no
wise: In the name of the father, of the sonne, and of the holie ghost:
Amen. And note (saith he) that the more you coniure, the lesse she

But the same authority says: ‘She must be well looked unto, otherwise she
will put spettle priuilie upon hir cheeks, and seeme to weepe.’ King James
says, ‘Not so much as their eies are able to shead teares, (threaten and
torture them as yee please) ... albeit the women kinde especially, be able
otherwaies to shead teares at every light occasion when they will, yea,
although it were dissemblingly like the _Crocodiles_.’

He also says, with reference to their inability to sink in water: ‘It
appeares that God hath appointed (for a supernatural signe of the
monstrous impiety of Witches) that the water shall refuse to receive them
in her bosome, that have shaken off them the sacred Water of Baptisme, and
wilfully refused the benefite thereof.’

This ordeal by water has been practised to a very late date, and ‘swimming
her for a witch’ has been often heard in this century. The scientific and
proper method of preparing the witch is by tying her right thumb to her
left great toe, and _vice versâ_, and this ordeal had this simplicity: If
the putative witch sank well, she was innocent; and if she swam, she could
either be ducked and ill treated till she died, as too often was the case,
or she was _ipso facto_ a confessed witch.

Another ordeal was, to take a piece of the thatch from off the reputed
witch’s cottage, and set fire to it; if she came to the person so burning
the thatch, her witchcraft was incontestable.

Another was, to weigh the witch against the church Bible, and this test,
too, has come down to modern times. One instance will suffice. ‘One
_Susana Hannokes_, an elderly woman of _Wingrove_, near _Aylesbury_, was
accused by a neighbour for bewitching her spinning wheel, so that she
could not make it go round, and offered to make oath of it before a
magistrate; on which, the husband, in order to justify his wife, insisted
upon her being tried by the church Bible, and that the accuser should be
present: accordingly, she was conducted to the parish church, where she
was stript of all her cloathes to her shift and under-coat, and weighed
against the Bible; when, to the no small mortification of her accuser,
she out-weighed it, and was honourably acquitted of the charge.’[39]

But in this nineteenth century of ours, with all its boasted civilization,
witchcraft is still believed in in England, as the following two or three
instances will testify:

S. A. S., writing in _Notes and Queries_, June 25, 1853, says, ‘A
cottager, who does not live five minutes’ walk from my house, found his
pig seized with a strange and unaccountable disorder. He, being a sensible
man, instead of asking the advice of a veterinary surgeon, immediately
went to the white witch (a gentleman who drives a flourishing trade in
this neighbourhood). He received his directions, and went home, and
implicitly followed them. In perfect silence, he went to the pigsty; and,
lancing each foot and both ears of the pig, he allowed the blood to run
into a piece of common dowlas. Then, taking two large pins, he pierced the
dowlas in opposite directions; and, still keeping silence, entered his
cottage, locked the door, placed the bloody rag upon the fire, heaped up
some turf over it, and, reading a few verses of the Bible, waited till the
dowlas was burned. As soon as this was done, he returned to the pigsty;
found his pig perfectly restored to health, and, _mirabile dictu!_ as the
white witch had predicted, the old woman, who it was supposed had
bewitched the pig, came to inquire after the pig’s health. The animal
never suffered a day’s illness afterwards. My informant was the owner of
the pig himself.

‘Perhaps, when I heard this story, there may have been a lurking
expression of doubt upon my face, so that my friend thought it necessary
to give me farther proof. Some time ago, a lane in this town began to be
looked upon with a mysterious awe, for every evening a strange white
rabbit would appear in it, and, running up and down, would mysteriously
disappear. Dogs were frequently put on the scent, but all to no purpose,
the white rabbit could not be caught; and rumours began to assert pretty
confidently that the white rabbit was nothing more nor less than a witch.
The man whose pig had been bewitched was all the more confident, as, every
evening when the rabbit appeared, he had noticed the bedroom window of his
old enemy’s window open! At last, a large party of bold-hearted men, one
evening, were successful enough to find the white rabbit in a garden, the
only egress from which is through a narrow passage between two cottages,
all the rest of the garden being securely surrounded by brick walls.

‘They placed a strong guard in this entry, to let nothing pass, while the
remainder advanced as skirmishers among the cabbages: one of these was
successful, and caught the white rabbit by the ears, and, not without some
trepidation, carried it towards the reserve in the entry. But, as he came
nearer to his friends, his courage grew, and gradually, all the wrongs his
poor pig had suffered took form and vigour in a powerful kick at the poor
little rabbit. No sooner had he done this than, he cannot tell how, the
rabbit was out of his grasp; the people in the entry saw it come, but
could not stop it; through them all it went, and has never been seen

‘But now to the proof of the witchcraft. The old woman, whom all
suspected, was laid up in her bed for three days afterwards, unable to
walk about, all the consequence of the kick she had received in the shape
of a white rabbit!’


    Commencement of Witchcraft in England--Dame Eleanor Cobham--Jane
    Shore--Lord Huntingford--Cases from the Calendars of State
    Papers--Earliest Printed Case, that of John Walsh--Elizabeth
    Stile--Three Witches tried at Chelmsford--Witches of St.
    Osyth--Witches of Warboys--Witches of Northamptonshire.

At what date the higher cult of sorcery or magic became the drivel known
as witchcraft is uncertain. I am almost inclined to place it (in England)
at 1441; but then the charge was purely political, and I think that the
Calendars of State Papers for nearly a century afterwards bear the
statement out, that for some time afterwards they were so. The case of
Dame Eleanor Cobham is very tersely told in ‘Baker’s Chronicle.’[40]

‘Whilst these Alterations passed in _France_, a more unnatural (_sic_)
passed in _England_; the Uncle riseth against the Nephew, the Nephew
against the Uncle; the Duke of _Gloucester_ brings Articles against the
Cardinal, charging him with affecting Preheminence, to the Derogation of
the King’s Prerogative, and Contempt of his Laws; which Articles are
delivered to the King, and by him to his Council, who, being most of the
Clergy, durst not meddle in them, for fear of offending the Cardinal. On
the other Side, the Cardinal, finding nothing whereof directly to accuse
the Duke of _Gloucester_ himself, accuseth his other self, the Lady
_Eleanor Cobham_, the Duke’s Wife, of Treason for attempting, by Sorcery
and Witchcraft, the Death of the King, and Advancement of her Husband to
the Crown: For which, tho’ acquitted of the Treason, she is adjudged to
open Penance, namely, to go with a Wax Taper in her hand, Hoodless (save
through a Kerchief) through _London_, divers Days together, and after, to
remain in perpetual imprisonment in the _Isle of Man_. The Crime objected
against her was, procuring _Thomas Southwel_, _John Hunne_, Priests,
_Roger Bolingbroke_, a supposed Necromancer, and _Margery Jordan_, called
the Witch of _Eye_, in _Suffolk_, to devise a Picture of Wax in Proportion
of the King, in such sort by Sorcery, that, as the Picture consumed, so
the King’s body should consume: For which they were all condemned. The
Witch was burnt at _Smithfield_, _Bolingbroke_ was hanged, constantly
affirming upon his Death, That neither the Duchess, nor any other from
her, did ever require more of him, than only to know, by his Art, how long
the King should live. _John Hunne_ had his Pardon, and _Southwel_ died the
Night before he should have been executed.’

Shakespeare takes up the common tale about the bewitchment of Richard III.
(Act III., scene 4):

    ‘GLOUCESTER. Then be your eyes the witness of their evil;
  Look how I am bewitch’d; behold my arm
  Is, like a blasted sapling, wither’d up:
  And this is Edward’s wife, that monstrous witch,
  Consorted with that harlot-strumpet Shore,
  That, by their witchcraft, thus have markèd me.’

Monarchs in the sixteenth century were especially jealous (for their own
sakes) of this trafficking with the foul fiend. According to Hutchinson,
in 1541, ‘The Lord _Hungerford_ beheaded for procuring certain Persons to
conjure, that they might know how long _Henry_ VIII. would live.’ Another
authority, however, states that ‘Lord Hungerford was attainted and
executed, for keeping an heretical chaplain.’

Queen Elizabeth in 1562 being suspicious of the Countess of Lenox, had her
imprisoned on a trumped-up case of sorcery and witchcraft. But the Devil
evidently had a spite against this Protestant Princess, for in the
Calendar of State Papers for 1584 we read, ‘The Names of the Confederates
against Her Majesty, who have diverse and sundry times conspired her life,
and do daily confederate against her.’ Among others we find Lord Paget,
Sir Geo. Hastings, Sir Thos. Hamner, ‘Ould Birtles the great devel,
Darnally the sorcerer, Maude Twogood enchantresse, the ould witch of
Ramsbury, several other olde witches, Gregson the north tale teller, who
was one of them 3 that stole awaye the Earle of Northumberlande’s head
frome one of the turrettes of York &c.’

We can scarcely wonder at the hatred of James I. of England to witches,
seeing how he had been pestered with them in his realm of Scotland, two
instances of which are recorded in the Calendars of State Papers. ‘1591.
21 May. Witches have been discovered in Scotland, who practised the King’s
death, with the privity of Bothwell.’ ‘1600 16/20 Ap. The Queen of
Scotland is said to be a zealous Catholic, and the King inclined thereto,
because an _Agnus Dei_ given him by the Queen had miraculously saved him
in a tempest at sea, stirred up by witches, as the Witches themselves

It is a curious fact, well worthy the thinking over, that England and
Europe had a comparative immunity from the assaults of the Devil, until
after the Reformation, when for a time he became rampagious, troubling
even the arch-Reformer Luther himself.

The earliest English printed book on witchcraft, pure and simple, that I
can find is ‘The Examination of John Walsh,’ London, 1566. He confessed to
having trafficked with ‘Feries’ and learned much from them respecting
stolen goods and bewitched people; but in replying to his eighth
interrogatory, ‘He being demaunded whether he had euer any Familiar or no;
he sayth that he had one of his sayde mayster. Which Familiar (after his
booke of Circles was taken from him by one Robert Baber of Crokehorne,
then being Constable, in the yeare 1565) he could neuer do anything
touching his Familiar, nor the use thereof, but hys Familiar dyd then
depart from him, and wyll neuer come to him agayne, as he sayth. And
further, he sayth upon his oth, that his familiar would sometyme come unto
hym lyke a gray blackish Culuer,[41] and somtyme lyke a brended Dog, and
sometimes lyke a man in all proportions, sauinge that he had clouen feete.

‘Ninthly, he being demaunded howe long he had the use of the Familiar; he
sayd one yeare by his sayd masters life, and iiii yeres after his death.
And when he would call him for a horse stollen, or for any other matter
wherein he would use him; he sayth hee must geue hym some lyuing thing, as
a Chicken, a Cat, or a Dog. And further he sayth he must geue hym twoo
lyuing thynges once a yeare. And at the first time when he had the
Spirite, hys sayd maister did cause him to deliuer him one drop of his
blud, whych bloud the Spirite did take away upon hys paw.

‘Tenthly, he sayth that when the Familiar should doo anything at his
commaundment, in going any arrant; he would not go, except fyrst two wax
candels of Virgin Waxe should first haue bene layd a crosse upon the
Circle, wyth a little Frankensence, and saynt John’s woorte, and once
lighted, and so put out agayne: which Frankensence must be layd then at
euery end of the Candel, as he sayth a crosse, and also a litle
Frankensence with saynt John’s woort burned upon the grounde, or euen the
Familiar would go the message, and returne agayne at the houre

‘... He being further demaunded to what end y{e} Spirits, in the likenes
of Todes and the pictures of man or woman made in wax or clay, doo serue?
He sayde, that Pictures made in wax wyll cause the partye (for whom it is
made) to continue sycke twoo whole yeares ere the wax will be consumed.
And, as for the Pictures of Claye, their confection is after this maner.
They use to take the earth of a new made graue, the rib bone of a man or
woman burned to ashes: if it be for a woman, they take the bone of a
woman, if for a man, the bone of a man, and a blacke Spider, with an inner
pith of an elder, tempered all in water, in which water the sayd Todes (?
Images) must fyrst be washed. And after all ceremonies ended, they put a
pricke, that is a pyn or a thorne in any member wher they wold haue the
party greued. And if the sayde prycke be put to the harte, the party dieth
within nine daies. Which Image they burne in the moste moystest place they
can finde. And, as touching the using of the Todes, the which he sayth
haue seueral names; soon they cal great Brownyng, or little Brownyng, or
Boune, great Tom Twite, or litle Tom Twite, with other like names; Which
Todes being called, the Witches strike with II withie sperres on both
sydes of y{e} head, and saieth to the Spirit, their Pater noster backward,
beginning at the ende of the Pater noster, but they wyll neuer say their
Creede. And when he is stricken, they commaunde the Tode, to hurt such a
man or woman as he would haue hurted. Whereto, if he swell, he will goo
wher he is apointed, either to the deiry, brewhouse, or to the dry kill of
malt, or to the Cattell in the field, to the stable, to the shepefold, or
to any other like places, and so returne agayne to his place.

‘The bodies of men or women bee hurt by the Images before named, and mens
goods and cattels be hurt by the Todes, in commaunding and using them, as
aforesaid as he sayth. And if the Tode Called forth, as afore said, do not
swell, then will the Witch that useth them call forth an other to do the
act, which, if he do not, then will they spy another tyme when they may
cause the partye to be found lacking fayth, or els to bee more voide of
grace, whereby he or they may be hurt. Furthermore he saith, that whoso
doth, once a day saye the Lorde’s prayer and his Creede in perfite
charitie, the Witch shall haue no power on his body or goodes for that

The witchcrafts of Elizabeth Stile[42] and her four companions were
decidedly malicious according to her printed confession, but according to
her own account they did not prosper, and her state before their trial and
execution seems to have been most pitiable.

‘Also this is not to be forgotten, that the said Mother Stile, beeyng at
the tyme of her apprehension, so well in healthe of bodie and limmes, that
she was able, and did goe on foote from Windsor unto Readyng unto the
Gaile, which are twelue miles distant. Shortly after that she had made the
aforesaid confession, the other Witches were apprehended, and were brought
to the said Gaile, the said Mother Deuell did so bewitche her and others,
(as she confessed unto the Iailer) with her Enchantments, that the use of
all her limmes and senses were taken quite from her, and her Toes did
rotte offe her feete, and she was laied uppon a Barrowe, as a moste uglie
creature to beholde, and so brought before the Iudges, at such tyme as
she was arraigned.’

In the next little book of the same year ‘A Detection of damnable driftes,
practized by three Witches arraigned at Chelmissforde in Essex, at the
late Assizes there holden, whiche were executed in Aprill 1579.’ In
reality there were four witches, but one was not convicted, as no
manslaughter could be found about her. I propose to give one little
anecdote of each, whereby we shall find out something of the Devil’s
appearance to witches, their families, and their extreme malice in petty

‘Imprimis, the saied Elizabeth Fraunces confessed that about Lent last,
(as she now remembreth) she came to one Poole’s wife, her neighbour, and
required some old yest of her, but beyng denied the same, she departed
towardes one good wife Osborne’s house, a neighbour dwelling thereby, of
whome she had yest; and, in her waie, going towards the saied good wife
Osborne’s house, she cursed Poole’s wife, and badde a mischief to light
uppon her, for that she would giue her no yest. Whereuppon, sodenly, in
the waie, she heard a greate noise; and, presently there appered unto her
a Spirite of a white colour, in seemyng like to a little rugged Dogge,
standyng neere her uppon the grounde, who asked her whether she went? shee
aunswered for such thinges as she wanted, and she tolde him therewith that
she could gette no yeest of Poole’s wife, and therefore wished the same
Spirite to goe to her and plague her, whiche the Spirite promised to doe;
but, first he bad her giue him somewhat; then, she, hauing in her hand a
crust of white bread, did bite a peece thereof, and threwe it uppon the
grounde, whiche she thinketh he tooke up, and so went his waie: but,
before he departed from her, she willed hym to plague Poole’s wife in the
head, and since that she neuer sawe him, but she hath hearde by her
neighbours that the same Poole’s wife was greuously pained in her head not
longe after, and remayneth very sore payned still, for on saterdaie last
past this Examinate Talked with her.’

In ‘The euidence giuen against Elleine Smithe of Maldon’ we find:
‘Besides, the sonne of this Mother Smith confessed that his mother did
keepe three Spirites, whereof the one called by her great Dicke, was
enclosed in a Wicker Bottle; the seconde named little Dicke, was putte
into a Leather Bottle; And the third, termed Willet, she kept in a
Wollepacke. And thereupon the house was commaunded to be searched. The
Bottles and packe were found, but the Spirites were vanished awaie.’
Nevertheless this charming Master Smith had done his little utmost to
hasten his mother’s immortality.

Mother Staunton, of Wimbishe, was the one who was not convicted, but
things must have looked rather black against her. ‘Item, she came on a
tyme to the house of one Richard Saunder of Brokewalden; and, beeyng
denied Yeest, which she required of his wife, she went hir waie murmuryng,
as offended with her answere, and, after her departure, the yonge child in
the Cradle was taken vehemently sicke, in a merveilous strange maner,
whereuppon the mother of the Childe tooke it up in her armes to comforte
it, whiche beynge done, the Cradle rocked of it self, five or seuen tymes,
in presence of one of the Earle of Surreis gentilmen; who, seying it,
stabbed his dagger three or fower tymes into the Cradle ere it staied;
merily jesting and saiyng, that he would kill the Deuill, if he would be
rocked there.’

The worst I know about Mother Nokes, the last of this quatrain of witches,
is as follows: ‘A Certaine Seruant to Thomas Spycer of Lamberd Ende, in
Essex, yoman, sporting and passing away the time in play with a great
number of youth, chaunced to snatche a paire of Gloues out of the pockette
of this Mother Nokes’ Daughter, being a yong woman of the age of xxviij
yeres, which he protesteth to haue done in iest. Her mother perceiuyng it,
demaunded the Gloues of him, but he, geuing no greate eare to her wordes,
departed towardes the feeldes to fetch home certeine Cattell. Immediately
upon his departure, quoth the same Mother Nokes, to her Daughter, lette
him alone, I will bounce him well enough; at which time he, being
sodainely taken, and losing the use of his limmes, fell downe. There was a
boye then in his Companie, by whome he sent the Gloues to Mother Nokes.
Notwithstanding, his Maister was faine to cause him to be sent home in a
Wheele Barrowe, and to bee laide into a bedde, wherewith his legges a
crosse he lay bedred eight daies, and as yet hath not attayned to the
right use of his lymmes.’

In 1582 were the witches of St. Osyth, in Essex,[43] but, as they are too
many to particularize, a summary, which appears at the end of the book,
may best be given:


‘The Names of those persons that haue been bewitched and thereof haue
dyed, and by whome, and of them that haue receiued bodyly harme &c. As
appeareth upon sundrye Enformations, Examinations and Confessions, taken
by the worshipfull Bryan Darcy, Esq{re}: And by him certified at large
unto the Queene’s Maiesties Justices of Assise of the Countie of Essex,
the xxix of March, 1582.

‘1. Ursley Kempe, alias Grey, bewitched to death Kempes Wife, Thorlowes
Childe, Strattons Wife.

‘The said Ursley Kemp had foure spyrites, viz. their names, _Tetty_ a hee,
like a gray Cat; _Jack_, a hee, like a black Cat: _Pygin_, a she, like a
black Toad, and _Tyffyn_, a she, like a white Lambe. The hees were to
plague to death, and the shees to punish with bodily harme and to destroy
cattell. _Tyffyn_, Ursley’s white spirit did tell her alwayes (when she
asked) what the other witches had done: And by her, the most part were
appelled, which spirit telled her alwayes true. As is well approued by the
other Witches Confession.

‘2. Ales Newman and Ursley Kempe bewitched to death Letherdailes Childe
and Strattons Wife.

‘The sayd Ales Newman had the said Ursley Kemps spirits to use at her

‘The sayd Ales and Ursley Kempe bewitched Strattons Childe and Grace
Thorlowe, whereof they did languish.

‘3. Elizabeth Bennet bewitched to death William Byet and Joan his wife,
and iii of his beasts. The Wife of William Willes and William Willingalle.

‘Elizabeth Bennet bewitched William Bonners Wife, John Batler, Fortunes
Childe, whereof they did languish.

‘Elizabeth Bennet had two Spirits, viz. their name Suckyn, a hee, like a
blacke Dog: and Lyard, red lyke a Lyon or Hare.

‘Ales Newman bewitched to death John Johnson and his Wife, and her owne
husband, as it is thought.

‘4. Ales Hunt bewitched to death Rebecca Durrant and vi beasts of one

‘Ales Hunt had two spirits lyke Coltes, the one blacke, the other white.

‘5. Cysley Celles bewitched to death Thomas Deaths Child. And bewitched
Rosses mayde, Mary Death, whereof they did languish.

‘6. Cysley Celles and Ales Manfielde bewitched Richard Rosses horse and
beasts, and caused their Impes to burne a barne with much corne.

‘Cysley Celles had two Spirits by severall names, viz. Sothrons, Herculus,
Jack, or Mercury.

‘7. Ales Manfielde and Margaret Greuell bewitched to death Robert Cheston
and Greuell Husband to Margaret.

‘Ales Manfielde and Margaret Greuell bewitched the widdow Cheston and her
husband’s v beasts, and one bullocke, and seuerall brewinges of beere and
batches of bread.

‘Ales Manfield and Margaret Greuell had in common, by agreement, iiii
spirits, viz. their names, Robin, Jack, Will, Puppet, alias Magnet,
whereof two were hees, and two shees, lyke unto black Cats.

‘8. Elizabeth Eustace bewitched to death Robert Stanneuette’s Childe and
Thomas Crosse. And bewitched Robert Stannevette’s vii milch beasts, which
gaue blood insteede of milke, and seuerall of his Swine dyed.

‘Elizabeth Eustace had iii Impes or Spirits, of coulour white, grey and

‘9. Annys Herde bewitched to death Richard Harrison’s wife and two wives
of William Dowsing, as it is supposed. And bewitched Cartwright two
beasts. Wade, sheep and lambs, &c. West, swine and pigs. Osborne, a
brewing of beere, and seuerall other losses of milke and creame.

‘10. Annis Herd had vi Impes or spirites like auises and black byrdes, And
vi other like Kine, of the bygnes of Rats, with short hornes: the Auises
shee fed with wheat, barly, Otes and bread, the Kine with straw and hey.

‘11. Margery Sammon had two spirits like Toads, their names Tom and Robyn.

‘12. Annis Glascoke bewitched to death Mychell Steuens Childe, The base
Childe at Pages, William Pages Childe.

‘13. Annis Glascocke, Joan Pechey, Joan Robinson. These haue not confessed
any thing touching the hauing of spirits.’

So we see that eleven out of fourteen women confessed not only all that
was alleged against them; but many of them went out of their way to oblige
Queen Elizabeth’s judges, by confessing more. It seems incredible,
nevertheless it is true.

Not half so interesting is ‘The most strange and admirable discouerie of
the three Witches of Worboys,’ etc., London, 1593. And, besides, it is
such a hackneyed case that it is not worth mentioning, save for the fact
that three people were done to death for it, and that money was left for a
sermon to be preached in Huntingdon, annually, in commemoration of the
fact--a bequest that has now lapsed, the money, of course, disappearing
into someone’s pocket.

Far rarer is the story of ‘The Witches of Northamptonshire, Agnes Browne,
Joane Vaughan, Arthur Bill, Hellen Ienkenson, and Mary Barber, Witches,
who were all executed at Northampton, the 22 of Iuly last, 1612.’
Unfortunately, it is too long for reproduction here in its entirety, which
is a pity, as the story is told by one who would have shone as a
police-court reporter to a certain section of modern journals; but a
portion of it I may give:

‘This _Agnes Browne_ led her life at _Gilsborough_ in the county of
_Northampton_, of poore parentage, and poorer education, one that, as shee
was borne to no good, was, for want of grace neuer in the way to receiue
any; euer noted to bee of an ill nature and wicked disposition, spightful
and malitious, and many yeares before she died, both hated and feared
among her neighbours: Being long suspected in the Towne where she dwelt,
of that crime, which afterwards proved true. This _Agnes Browne_ had a
daughter whose name was _Ioane Vaughan_ or _Varnham_, a maide (or at least
unmarried) as gratious as the mother, and both of them as farre from grace
as Heauen from Hell.

‘This _Ioane_ was so well brought up under her mother’s elbow, that shee
hangd with her for company under her mother’s nose. But to the purpose.
This _Ioane_ one day happening into the company of one Mistris _Belcher_,
a vertuous and godly Gentlewoman of the same towne of _Gilsborough_, this
_Ioane Vaughan_, whether of purpose to giue occasion of anger to the said
Mistris _Belcher_, or but continue her vile and ordinary custome of
behauiour, committed something either in speech or gesture, so unfitting
and unseeming the nature of womanhood, that it displeased the most that
were there present: But especially it touched the modesty of this
Gentlewoman, who was much mooued with her bold and impudent demeanor, that
she could not contain herselfe, but sodainely rose up and strooke her;
howbeit hurt her not, but forced her to auoid the Company: which this
Chicken of the Damme’s hatching, taking disdainfully, and beeing also
enraged (as they that in this kind having power to harme, have neuer
patience to beare) at her going out, told the Gentlewoman that shee would
remember this iniury, and revenge it: To whom Mistris _Belcher_ answered,
that shee neither feared her, nor her mother; but bad her doe her worst.

‘This trull holding herselfe much disgraced, hies home in all hast to her
mother; and telles her the wrong which shee suggested Mistris _Belcher_
had done unto her: Now was the fire and the tow all enflamed: Nothing but
rage and destruction: Had they had an hundred Spirits at command, the
worst and the most hurtfull had been called to this counsell, and imployed
about this businesse. Howbeit upon advise (if such a sinne may take or
give aduise) they staied three or foure daies before they practised
anything, to aduoid suspition, whether the mother aduised the daughter, or
the daughter the mother, I know not, but I am sure the deuill neuer giues
advise to any man or any woman in any act to be wary.

‘The matter thus sleeping (but rage and reuenge doe neuer rest) within a
while was awaked, which Mistris _Belcher_, to her intollerable paine too
soone felt: For being alone in her house, she was sodainely taken with
such a griping and gnawing in her body, that shee cried out, and could
scarce bee held by such as came unto her. And being carried to her bed,
her face was many times so disfigured by beeing drawn awrie, that it both
bred feare, and astonishment to all the beholders; and euer as shee had
breath she cried, _Here comes Ioane Vaughan, away with Ioane Vaughan_.

‘This Gentlewoman being a long time thus strangely handled, to the great
griefe of her friends, it happened that her brother, one Master _Auery_,
hearing of his Sisters sicknesse and extremity, came to see her, and,
being a sorrowfull beholder of that which before hee had heard, was much
moued in his minde at his Sisters pitifull condition, and the rather, for
that as hee knew not the nature of her disease, so hee was utterly
ignorant of any direct way to minister cure or helpe to the same. Hee
often heard her cry out against _Ioane Vaughan_ alias _Varnham_, and her
mother, and heard by report of the neighbours that which before had
happened betwixt his Sister and the said _Ioane_. In so much as having
confirmed his suspition that it was nothing else but Witch-craft, that
tormented his Sister, following Rage rather than Reason, ran sodainly
towards the house of the said _Agnes Browne_ with purpose to draw both the
mother and the daughter to his Sister for her to draw blood on; But, still
as he came neere the house, hee was sodainely stopped, and could not
enter, whether it was an astonishment thorough his feare, or that the
Spirits had that power to stay him, I cannot iudge, but he reported at his
comming backe that hee was forcibly stayed, and could not, for his life,
goe any further forward; and they report, in the Country, that hee is a
Gentleman of a stoute courage. Hee tried twice or thrice afterwards to goe
to the house, but in the same place where he was staied at first, he was
still staied: Belike, the Deuill stood there Centinell, kept his station

‘Upon this Master _Auery_ beeing sory and much agrieued, that he could
not helpe his Sister in this tormenting distresse; and, finding also that
no physicke could doe her any good or easement, tooke a sorrowfull leaue
and heauily departed home to his owne house.

‘The Impe of this Damme, and both Impes of the Deuill, being glad that
they were both out of his reach, shewed presently that they had longer
armes than he, for he felt, within a short time after his comming home,
that hee was not out of their reach, beeing, by the deuilish practises of
these two hel-houndes sodenly and grieuously tormented in the like kinde
and with the like fits of his sister, which continued untill these two
witches either by the procurement of Maister _Auery_ and his friends (or
for some other Deuilish practise they had committed in the Countrey) were
apprehended and brought to _Northampton_ Gaole by Sir _William Saunders_
of _Codesbrooke_, Knight.

‘To which place the Brother and the Sister were brought, still desirous to
scratch the Witches. Which Act, whether it be but superstitiously obserued
by some; or, that experience hath found any power for helpe in this kind
of Action by others, I list not to enquire, onely this I understand that
many haue attempted the practising thereof, how successfully, I know not.
But this Gentleman and his Sister beeing brought to the gaole where these
Witches were detained, hauing once gotten sight of them, in their fits the
Witches being held, by scratching, they drew blood of them, and were
sodainely deliuered of their paine. Howbeit, they were no sooner out of
sight, but they felle againe into their old traunces, and were more
violently tormented than before: for when Mischiefe is once a foote, she
growes in short time so headstrong, that she is hardly curbed.

‘Not long after, Maister _Auery_ and his Sister hauing beene both in
_Northampton_, and hauing drawne blood of the Witches, ryding both
homewards in one Coach, there appeared to their view a man and a woman
ryding both upon a blacke horse. M. _Auery_ hauing spyed them a farre off,
and noting many strange gestures from them, sodainely spake to them that
were by, and (as it were Prophetically) cryed out in these words, That
either they, or their Horses should presently miscarry. And, immediately,
the horses fell downe dead. Whereupon Maister _Auery_ rose up praysing
y{e} grace and mercies of God, that he had so powerfully deliuered them,
and had not suffered the foule spirits to worke the uttermost of their
mischiefe upon men made after his image, but had turned their fury against
Beasts. Upon this, they both hyed them home, still praysing God for their
escape, and were neuer troubled after.

‘I had almost forgotten to tell you before, that M. _Auery_ was by the
Judges themselves in y{e} Castle Yard of _Northampton_, seene in the
middest of his fits, and that he strangely continued in them untill this
_Ioane Vaughan_ was brought to him.

‘But now to draw neere unto their ends, this _Agnes Browne_ and her
daughter _Ioane Vaughan_, being brought to their Arraignment, were there
indicted for that they had bewitched the bodies of Maister _Auery_ and his
sister Mistris _Belcher_ in manner and forme aforesayd. Together with the
body of a young Child to the death; (the true relation whereof came not to
my hands). To all which they pleaded not guilty, and, putting themselues
uppon the countrey, were found guilty. And when they were asked what they
could say for themselves, why y{e} sentence of death should not be
pronounced against them, they stood stiffely upon their Innocence.
Whereupon, Judgement beeing giuen, they were carried backe unto the Gaole,
where they were neuer heard to pray, or to call uppon God, but with bitter
Curses and execrations, spent that little time they had to liue, untill
the day of their Execution, when neuer asking pardon for their offences,
either of God, or the world, in this their daungerous and desperate
resolution, dyed.


‘It was credibly reported that some fortnight before their apprehension,
this _Agnes Browne_, one _Katherine Gardiner_, and one _Ioane Lucas_, all
birdes of a winge, and all abyding in the Towne of _Gilsborough_ did ride
one night to a place (not aboue a mile off) called _Rauenstrop_ all upon a
Sowes back, to see one mother _Rhoades_, an old Witch that dwelt there;
but, before they came to the house the old Witch died; and, in her last
cast cried out, that there were three of her old friends comming to see
her, but they came too late. Howbeit, shee would meete with them in
another place within a month after.’


    The Lancashire Witches--Janet Preston--Margaret and Philip
    Flower--Anne Baker, Joane Willimot, and Ellen Greene--Elizabeth
    Sawyer--Mary Smith--Joan Williford, Joan Cariden, and Jane Hott.

The foregoing sample must serve for the witches of Northamptonshire, nor
will I touch on the Lancashire witches, whose story appears in nearly
every modern work on witchcraft, and has been vulgarized by Harrison
Ainsworth, except to give a portion of the evidence of one James Device,
of the forest of Pendle, labourer, in the case of Janet or Jennet Preston,
who was condemned as a witch, and executed at York in 1612.

‘And he also further saith, That the said _Prestons_ wife had a Spirit
with her like unto a white Foale, with a blacke spot in the forehead. And
further this Examinate saith, That since the said meeting, as aforesaid,
that he hath been brought to the house of one _Preston_ in _Gisburne_
Parish aforesaid, by _Henry Hargreiues_ of _Goldshey_, to see whether shee
was the woman that came amongst the said Witches, on the said last Good
Friday, to crave their aide and assistance for the killing of the said
Master _Lister_; and hauing had full view of her, hee, this Examinate
confesseth, That she was the selfe-same woman which came amongst the said
Witches on the said last Good Friday for their aide for the killing of the
said Master _Lister_; and that brought the Spirit with her, in the shape
of a White Foale, as aforesaid.

‘And this Examinate further saith, that all the said Witches went out of
the said house in their owne shapes and likenesses, and they all, by that
they were forth of the doores, were gotten on horse-backe like unto
Foales, some of one colour, some of another, and _Preston’s_ wife was the
last; and when she got on horse-backe, they all presently vanished out of
this Examinate’s sight; and before their said parting away, they all
appointed to meete at the said _Preston’s_ wife’s house that day twelve
month; at which time the said _Preston’s_ wife promised to make them a
great feast; and, if they had occasion to meet in the meane time, then
should warning be giuen that they should all meet upon _Romles Moore_. And
this Examinate further saith, That at the said feast at _Malkin Tower_,
this Examinate heard them all giue their consents to put the said Master
_Thomas Lister_ of _Westby_ to death; and after Master Lister should haue
been made away by Witchcraft, then al the said Witches gaue their consents
to ioyne altogether to hancke Master _Leonard Lister_, when he should come
to liue at the Sowgill, and so put him to death.’

Then we have ‘The Wonderful Discouerie of the Witchcrafts of Margaret and
Philip Flower daughters of Ioan Flower, neere Beuer Castle: Executed at
Lincoln March 11, 1618. Who were specially arraigned and condemned before
Sir Henry Hobart, and Sir Edward Bromley, Iudges of Assise, for confessing
themselues actors in the destruction of Henry, Lord Rosse, with their
damnable practices against others the Children of the Right Honourable
Francis Earle of Rutland. Together with the seuerall Examinations and
Confessions of Anne Baker, Ioan Willimot, and Ellen Greene, Witches in
Leicestershire.’ London, 1611.


The first case is a very ordinary one. The Flowers were discharged
servants, and the children, after their leaving, sickened and died. The
only remarkable part about it is, that ‘_Ioane Flower_, the Mother, before
conviction (as they say) called for Bread and Butter, and wished it might
neuer goe through her, if she were guilty of that, whereupon she was
examined; so, mumbling it in her mouth, neuer spake more wordes after, but
fell downe and died as she was carried to _Lincolne_ Gaole, with a
horrible excruciation of soule and body, and was buried at _Ancaster_.’

The portraits of the three witches do not prepossess us in their favour,
and their confessions, on examination, fully bear out the feeling. Of the
first: ‘Further, she saith that shee saw a hand appeare unto her, and that
shee heard a voyce in the ayre say unto her: _Anne Baker_, saue thyselfe,
for to-morrow, thou and thy maister must be slaine; and the next day her
maister and shee were in a Cart together; and suddainely shee saw a flash
of fire, and said her prayers, and the fire went away; and shortly after,
a Crow came and picked upon her cloathes, and she said her prayers againe,
and bad the Crow go to whom he was sent, and the Crow went unto her
Maister, and did beat him to death, and shee, with her prayers recouered
him to life; but hee was sicke for a fortnight after, and saith, that if
shee had not had more knowledge than her maister, both he and shee, and
all the Cattell had been slaine.’

Joan Willimot tells the following extraordinary story: ‘That shee hath a
Spirit which shee calleth _Pretty_, which was given unto her by _William
Berry_ of _Langholme_, in _Rutlandshire_, whom she serued three yeares:
and that her Master, when hee gaue it unto her, willed her to open her
mouth, and hee would blow into her a Fairy which should do her good; and
that shee opened her mouth, and hee did blow into her mouth; and that,
presently, after his blowing, there came out of her mouth a Spirit, which
stood upon the ground in the shape and forme of a Woman, which Spirit did
aske of her her Soule, which shee then promised unto it, being willed
thereunto by her Master.’

The third, Ellen Green, said ‘that one _Ioan Willimot_ of _Goadby_ came
about sixe yeares since to her in the Wowlds, and purswaded this Examinate
to forsake God, and betake her to the diuel, and she would give her two
spirits; to which she gave her consent, and thereupon, the said _Ioan
Willimot_ called two spirits, one in the likenesse of a Kitlin, and the
other of a Moldiwarp:[44] the first the said _Willimot_ called _pusse_,
the other _hisse, hisse_, and they presently came to her, and she,
departing, left them with this Examinate, and they leapt on her shoulder,
and the Kitlin suckt under her right eare on her neck, and the Moldiwarp
on the left side, in the like place. After they had suckt her, shee sent
the Kitlin to a Baker of that Towne, whose name shee remembers not, who
had called her Witch and stricken her; and bad her said spirit goe and
bewitch him to death: The Moldiwarpe shee then bad go to _Anne Dawse_, of
the same towne, and bewitch her to death, because she had called this
examinate witch, jade, &c., and within one fortnight after, they both

The case of Elizabeth Sawyer, known as the Witch of Edmonton, executed at
Tyburn, April 19, 1621, is so extraordinary that I give a large portion of
the tract _in extenso_:[45]

‘A true relation of the confession of _Elizabeth Sawyer_, spinster, after
her conviction of Witchery, taken on Tuesday the 17 day of _Aprill, Anno
1621, in the Gaole of Newgate_, where she was prisoner, then in the
presence and hearing of diuers persons whose names to verifie the same are
here subscribed to this ensuyng confession, made unto me, _Henry
Goodcole_, Minister of the word of God, _Ordinary and Visiter for the
Gaole of Newgate_. In dialogue manner are here expressed the persons that
she murthered, and the Cattell that she destroyed by the helpe of the


‘In this manner was I inforced to speake unto her, because she might
understand me, and giue unto me answere, according to my demands, for she
was a very ignorant woman.

‘_Question._ By what meanes came you to have acquaintance with the Diuell,
and when was the first time that you saw him, and how did you know that it
was the Diuell?

‘_Answere._ The first time that the Diuell came unto me was when I was
cursing, swearing, and blaspheming: he then rushed in upon me, and never
before that time did I see him, or he me: and when he, namely the Diuell,
came to me, the first words that he spake unto me were these: _Oh! have I
now found you cursing, swearing, and blaspheming? now you are mine_.

       *       *       *       *       *

‘_Question._ What sayd you to the Diuell, when he came unto you and spake
unto you, were you not afraide of him? If you did feare him, what sayd the
Diuell then unto you?

‘_Answere._ I was in a very greate feare when I saw the Diuell, but hee
did bid me not to feare him at all, for hee would do me no hurt at all,
but would do for mee whatsoeuer I would require of him; and as he promised
unto me, he alwayes did such mischiefes as I did bid him to do, both on
the bodies of Christians and beastes: if I did bid him vexe them to death,
as oftentimes I did so bid him, it was presently by him done.

‘_Question._ Whether would the Diuell bring unto you word or no, what he
had done for you, at your command; and if he did bring you word, how long
would it bee, before he would come unto you againe, to tell you?

‘_Answere._ He would alwayes bring unto me word what he had done for me
within the space of a weeke; he neuer failed me at that time; and would
likewise do it to Creatures and beastes two manners of wayes, which was by
scratching or pinching of them.

‘_Question._ Of what Christians and Beastes, and how many were the number
that you were the cause of their death, and what moued you to prosecute
them to the death?

‘_Answere._ I have been by the helpe of the Diuell the meanes of many
Christians’ and beasts’ death; the cause that moued mee to do it was
malice and enuy; for, if anybody had angred me in any manner, I would be
so revenged of them, and of their Cattell. And do now further confesse
that I was the cause of those two nurse children’s death, for the which I
was now indicted, and acquited by the Iury.

       *       *       *       *       *

‘_Question._ How long is it since the Diuell and you had acquaintance
together, and how oftentimes in the weeke would hee come and see you, and
you Company with him?

‘_Answere._ It is eight yeares since our first acquaintance; and three
times in the weeke the Diuell would come and see me, after such his
acquaintance gotten of me; he would come sometimes in the morning, and
sometimes in the evening.

‘_Question._ In what shape would the Diuell come unto you?

‘_Answere._ Alwayes in the shape of a dogge, and of two collors, sometimes
of blacke, and sometimes of white.

‘_Question._ What talke had the Diuel and you together, when that he
appeared to you, and what did he aske of you--and what did you desire of

‘_Answere._ He asked of me when he came unto me, how I did, and what he
should doe for mee, and demanded of mee my soule and body; threatning then
to tear me in pieces if I did not grant unto him my soule and my body,
which he asked of me.

‘_Question._ What did you after such the Diuel’s asking of you, to have
your Soule and Body, and after this his threatning of you, did you for
feare grant unto the Diuell his desire?

‘_Answere._ Yes; I granted for feare unto the Diuell his request of my
soule and body; and, to seale this my promise made unto him, I then gave
him leave to sucke of my bloud, the which hee asked of me.

‘_Question._ In what place of your body did the Diuell sucke of your
bloude and whether did hee himselfe chuse the place, or did you yourselfe
appoint him the place?

‘_Answere._ The place where the Diuell suckt my bloud was chosen by
himselfe, and in that place, by continuall drawing, there is a thing in
the forme of a Teate, at which the Diuell would sucke mee. And I asked the
Diuell why he should sucke my bloud, and he sayd, it was to nourish him.

‘_Question._ Whether did you pull up your Coates or no, when the Diuell
came to sucke you?

‘_Answere._ No. I did not, but the Diuell would put his head under my
coates, and I did willingly suffer him to doe what he would.

‘_Question._ How long would the time bee, that the Diuell would continue
sucking of you, and whether did you endure any paine, the time that hee
was sucking of you?

‘_Answere._ He would be suckinge of me the continuance of a quarter of an
houre, and when he suckt me I then felt no paine at all.

‘_Question._ What was the meaning that the Diuell, when he came unto you,
would sometimes speake, and sometimes barke?

‘_Answere._ It is thus: when the Diuell spake to me, then hee was ready to
doe for me what I bid him to doe; and when he came barking to mee, he then
had done the mischiefe that I did bid him to doe for me. I did call the
Diuell by the name of Tom.

       *       *       *       *       *

‘_Question._ Did you euer handle the Diuell when he came unto you?

‘_Answere._ Yes, I did stroake him on the backe, and then he would becke
unto me, and wagge his tayle as being therewith contented.

‘_Question._ Would the Diuell come unto you all in one bignesse?

‘_Answere._ No; when hee came unto mee in the blacke shape, he then was
biggest, and in the white the least; and when that I was praying, hee then
would come unto me in the white colour.’

In another narrative[46] we have a different description of the devil, and
of his protean powers:

‘_Marie_ wife of _Henrie Smith_, Glouer, possessed with a wrathfull
indignation against some of her neighbours, in regard that they made gaine
of their buying and selling Cheese, which shee (using the same trade)
could not doe, or they better, (at the least in her opinion than she
did,) often times cursed them, and became incensed with unruly passions,
armed with a setled resolution to effect some mischieuous proiects and
designs against them. The diuell, who is skilfull, and reioyceth of such
an occasion offered, and knoweth how to stirre up the euill affected
humours of corrupt mindes, appeared unto her amiddes these
discontentments, in the shape of a blacke man, and willed that she should
continue in her malice, enuy, hatred, banning and cursing, and then he
would be reuenged for her upon all those to whom she wished euill: and
this promise was uttered in a lowe murmuring and hissing voyce: and, at
that present, they entred tearmes of a compact, he requiring that she
should forsake God, and depend upon him; to which she condescended in
expresse tearmes, renouncing God, and betaking herselfe unto him.

‘After this, hee presented himselfe againe at sundrie times, and in other
formes, as of a mist, and of a ball of fire, with some dispersed spangles
of blacke, and at the last in prison (after the doome of iudgement, and
sentence of condemnation was passed against her) two seuerall times, in
that figure as at the first: only at the last he seemed to haue a pair of
horns upon his head.’

Mary Smith, if what is written about her be true, was a very powerful
witch. Many instances of her bewitching are given; but I think her spells
on one John Orkton, a sailor, were the worst. She cursed him, ‘Whereupon,
presently, hee grew weake, distempered in stomacke, and could digest no
meate, nor other nourishment receiued, and this discrasie, or feeblenesse
continued for the space of three quarters of a yeare; which time expired,
the fore mentioned griefe fel downe from the stomacke into his hands and
feete, so that his fingers did corrupt and were cut off; as also his toes
putrified and consumed in a very strange and admirable manner.
Neverthelesse, notwithstanding these calamities, so long as he was able,
went still to Sea, in the goods and shippes of sundry Merchants (for it
was his onely meanes of living) but neuer could make any prosperous
voyage, eyther beneficiall to the Owners, or profitable to himselfe.

‘Whereupon, not willing to bee hindrance to others, and procure no good
for his owne maintenance by his labours, left that trade of life, and kept
home, where his former griefe encreasing, sought to obtaine help and
remedie by Chirurgerie; and, for this end, went to Yarmouth, hoping to be
cured by one there, who was accompted very skilfull: but no medicines
applyed by the Rules of Arte and Experience, wrought any expected or hoped
for effect; for both his hands and feete, which seemed in some measure,
euery euening, to be healing, in the morning were found to have gone
backeward, and growne far worse than before. So that the Chirurgian,
perceiuing his labour to bee wholly frustrate, gaue ouer the cure, and the
diseased patient still continueth in a most miserable and distressed
estate, unto the which hee was brought by the hellish practises of this
malitious woman, who, long before, openly in the streetes, (when, as yet,
the neighbours knew of no such thing,) reioycing at the Calamity, said,
_Orkton_ now lyeth a rotting.’ She was executed January 12, 1616.

‘The Examination, Confession, Triall and Execution of Joane Williford,
Joan Cariden, and Jane Hott, who were executed at Faversham in Kent, for
being Witches, on Munday, the 29 of September, 1645,’ furnish us with
other particulars, especially as they all confessed their crimes.

Joan Williford confessed ‘That the divell, about seven yeeres ago, did
appeare to her in the shape of a little dog, and bid her to forsake God,
and leane to him; who replied that she was loath to forsake him. Shee
confessed also that shee had a desire to be revenged upon _Thomas
Letherland_ and _Mary Woodrufe_, now his wife. She further said that the
divell promised her that she should not lacke, and that she had money
sometimes brought her, she knew not whence, sometimes one shilling,
sometimes eightpence, never more at once: shee called her Divell by the
name of _Bunne_. She further saith, that her retainer _Bunne_ carried
_Thomas Gardler_ out of a window, who fell into a back side. She further
saith, that neere twenty years since, she promised her soule to the
Divell. She further saith that she gave some of her blood to the Divell,
who wrote the covenant betwixt them. She further saith that the Divell
promised to be her servant about twenty yeeres, and that the time is now
almost expired. She further saith that the Divell promised her that she
should not sinke, being throwne into the water, and that the Divell
sucked twice since she came into the prison; he came to her in the forme
of a Muce.’

Joan Cariden’s confession was commonplace, but Jane Hott said that ‘a
thing like a hedge hog had usually visited her, and came to her a great
while agoe, about twenty yeares agoe, and that if it sucked her, it was in
her sleep, and the paine thereof awaked her, and it came to her once or
twice in the moneth, and sucked her, and when it lay upon her breast, she
strucke it off with her hand, and that it was as soft as a Cat.

‘At her first coming into the Gaole, she spake very much to the other that
were apprehended before her, to confesse if they were guilty; and stood to
it very perversely that she was cleare of any such thing, and that, if
they put her into the Water to try her, she should certainly sinke. But
when she was put into the Water it was apparent that she did flote upon
the Water. Being taken forth, a Gentleman to whom, before, she had so
confidently spake, and with whom she offered to lay twenty shillings to
one that she could not swim, asked her how it was possible she could be so
impudent as not to confesse herselfe? To whom she answered, That the
Divell went with her all the way, and told her that she should sinke; but
when she was in the Water, he sate upon a Crosse beame and laughed at


    Confessions of Witches executed in Essex--The Witches of
    Huntingdon--‘Wonderfull News from the North’--Trial of Six Witches at
    Maidstone--Trial of Four Witches at Worcester--A Lancashire Witch
    tried at Worcester--A Tewkesbury Witch.

A sickening story is told in ‘A true and exact Relation of the seuerall
Informations, Examinations, and Confessions of the late Witches, arraigned
and executed in the County of Essex. Who were arraigned and condemned at
the late Sessions, holden at Chelmesford before the Right Honorable Robert
Earle of Warwicke and severall of his Majesties Iustices of Peace, the 29
of July 1645,’ etc., London, 1645. In this veritable ‘bloody assize,’ the
rascally Matthew Hopkins appears, and it would almost seem as if the poor
women confessed anything in order to have the luxury of dying. The charges
against them were so frivolous, and the confessions so silly, that they
must have either been imbecile or reckless. The following is a list of

  Elizabeth Clarke      confessed       executed.
  Elizabeth Gooding     denied          do.
  Anne Leech            confessed       do.
  Helen Clark           confessed       executed.
  Rebecca West          do.             acquitted.
  Mary Greenleife       denied          fate unknown.
  Mary Johnson          do.             do.
  Anne Cooper           confessed       executed.
  Elizabeth Hare        denied          condemned, but reprieved.
  Margaret Moon         do.             died on the way to execution.
  Marian Hocket         do.             executed.
  Sarah Hating          do.             do.
  Rose Hallybread                       died in gaol.
  Elizabeth Harvie      confessed       executed.
  Joyce Boanes          do.             do.
  Susan Cock            do.             do.
  Margaret Landishe     do.             do.
  Rebecca Jones         do.             do.
  Joan Cooper           do.             died in gaol.
  Anne Cate             do.             executed.

The confession (!) of this latter will serve as an example of the
puerility of them all.

‘This Examinant saith, that she hath four Familiars, which shee had from
her mother, about two and twenty yeeres since; and that the names of the
said Imps are _James_, _Pricke eare_, _Robyn_, and _Sparrow_; and three of
these Imps are like Mouses, and the fourth like a Sparrow. And this
Examinant saith, that to whomsoever shee sent the said Imp called
_Sparrow_, it killed them presently; and that, first of all, she sent one
of her three Imps like Mouses, to nip the Knee of one _Robert Freeman_,
of _Little Clacton_, in the County of _Essex_, aforesaid, whom the said
Imp did so lame, that the said _Robert_ dyed on that lamenesse within half
a yeere after: And this Examinant saith, that she sent her said Imp,
_Prickeare_ to kill the daughter of _John Rawlins_ of _Much-Holland_
aforesaid, which died accordingly within a short time after; and that she
sent her said Imp _Prickeare_ to the house of one John Tillet; which did
suddenly kill the said Tillet.

‘And this Examinant saith that shee sent her said Imp _Sparrow_, to kill
the childe of one _George Parby_ of _Much-Holland_ aforesaid, which child
the said Imp did presently kill; and that the offence this Examinant took
against the said _George Parby_ to kill his said childe, was, because the
wife of the said _Parby_ denyed to give this Examinant a pint of Milke;
and this Examinant further saith that shee sent her said Imp _Sparrow_ to
the house of _Samuel Ray_, which, in a very short time did kill the wife
of the said _Samuel_; and that the cause of this Examinant’s malice
against the said woman was, because shee refused to pay to this Examinant
two pence which she challenged to be due to her; And that, afterwards, her
said Imp _Sparrow_ killed the said Childe of the said _Samuel Ray_: and
this Examinant confesseth, that as soon as shee had received the said four
Imps from her said mother, the said Imps spake to this Examinant, and told
her, shee must deny God and Christ, which this Examinant did then assent

In ‘The Witches of Huntingdon, their Examinations and Confessions,’ etc.,
London, 1646, we have eight cases of witchcraft which were tried at
different times early in 1646. Among these eight, two were men; but there
is no record of the fate of any of them. They are the same old story, the
one with the most originality being that of Jane Willis, of Keiston, in
the county of Huntingdon.

‘This Examinate saith, as she was making of her bedde in her Chamber,
there appeared in the shape of a man in blacke cloaths, and blackish
cloaths about six weeks past, and bid her good morrow, and shee asked what
his name was, and he said his name was _Blackeman_, and asked her if she
were poore, and she said I:[47] then he told her he would send one
_Grissell_ and _Greedigut_ to her, that shall do anything for her: Shee
looking upon him, saw hee had ugly feete, and then she was very fearfull
of him, for that sometimes he would seem to be tall, and sometimes lesse,
and suddenly vanished away.

‘And being demanded whether he lay with her, shee said hee would have lain
with her, but shee would not suffer him: and after _Blackeman_ was
departed from her, within three or 4 dayes, _Grissell_ and _Greedigut_
came to her, in the shape of dogges, with great brisles of hogges haire
upon their backs, and said to her they were come from _Blackeman_ to do
what she would command them, and did aske her if shee did want any thing,
and they would fetch it: and shee said she lacked nothing. Then they
prayed her to give them some victuals, and she said she was poore and had
none to give them; and so they departed: Yet she confessed that
_Blackeman_, _Grissel_ and _Greedigut_ divers times came to her
afterwards, and brought her two or three shillings at a time, and more
saith not.’

Another type of witchcraft is to be found in ‘Wonderfull News from the
North; or, a true relation of the sad and grievous torments inflicted upon
the Bodies of three Children of Mr. George Muschamp, late of the County of
Northumberland, by Witchcraft,’ etc. London, 1650. It begins thus:

‘First in harvest, some two Months before _Michaelmas_, about four or five
of the Clock in the afternoone, Mistris _Margaret Muschamp_ suddainly fell
into a great Trance; her Mother being frighted, called Company, and with
much adoe recovered her; as soone as the childe looked up, cryed out,
deare Mother, weepe not for me; for I have seene a happy Sight, and heard
a blessed sound, for the Lord hath loved my poore Soule, that he hath
caused his blessed Trumpet to sound in my eares, and hath sent two blessed
Angels to receive my sinfull soule. O weepe not for me, but rejoyce, that
the Lord should have such respect to so sinfull a wretch as I am, as to
send his heavenly Angels to receive my sinfull soule: with many other
divine expressions.’

After this she continued pretty well till Candlemas Eve, when she was
taken very bad indeed, losing the use of her limbs and speech, ‘and such
torments, that no eyes could looke on her without compassion.’ For 16
weeks she refused all food, saying ‘that God fed her with Angel’s food:
for truely all the 16 weekes fast she did not appeare to diminish her
fatness or favour anything at all.

‘On Whitsun Eve in the morning, she had eight hours bitter torment. In the
afternoone, her mother being abroad, left her Husband’s Brother’s
Daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Muschamp with her, who made signes to her to
carry her into the Garden, in her mother’s absence; her Cozen, casting a
mantle about her, gave her her desire, and sate in the Garden with her on
her knee; who, in the bringing down, had so little strength in her neck,
that her head hung wagging downe; but was not set a quarter of an houre,
till showing some signes to her Cozen, bolted off her knee, ran thrice
about the Garden, expressing a shrill voyce, but did not speake presently:
she that was brought down in this sad condition came up stairs on her owne

However, this improvement did not last long; she had more illnesses, and
in one of them she made signs that she wished to write; so ‘they layd
paper on her brest, and put a pen with inke in her hand, and she, not
moving her eyes, writ, _Jo. Hu. Do. Swo. have been the death of one deare
friend, consume another, and torment mee_.’ The wiseacres puzzled over
this, and at last came to the conclusion that Mistress Dorothy Swinnow,
then wife to Col. Swinnow, who subsequently died, had bewitched her. At
another time this Margaret Muschamp wrote the same words with the
addition, ‘_two drops of his or her bloud would save my life; if I have it
not, I am undone; for seven yeares to be tormented before death come_.’

On this they sent to one John Hutton, a reputed wizard, who told them that
it was Mistress Swinnow who was the culprit, and he gave them two drops
of his own blood, which he wiped off his arm, with the paper on which the
girl had written. Returning home, they applied this remedy, in some way
unstated, and ‘On Munday night she fell into a heavenly rapture, rejoycing
that ever she was borne, for these two drops of blood had saved her life.’
The girl was afterwards very ill, and Dorothy Swinnow, now a widow, was
arrested, and committed to prison, where the narrative leaves off, with
the addition of the confession of one Margaret White, who ‘Confesseth and
saith, That she hath beene the Divells servant these five yeares past, and
that the Divell came to her in the likenes of a man in blew cloaths, in
her owne house, and griped her fast by the hand, and told her she should
never want, and gave her a nip on the shoulder, and another on her back;
and confesseth her Familiar came to her in the likenesse of a black
Gray-hound. She also Confesseth upon Oath that Mrs. _Swinnow_ and her
sister _Jane_, and herselfe were in the Divels company in her sister
_Jane’s_ house, where they did eate and drinke together, and made merry.

‘And Mrs. _Swinnow_, and her the sayd _Margaret’s_ sister, with her selfe,
came purposely to the house of Mr. _Edward Moore_ of _Spittle_, to take
away the life of _Margaret Muschamp_ and _Mary_, and they were the cause
of the Children’s tormenting, and that they were three several times to
have taken away their lives, and especially upon St. John’s day at night
gone twelve moneths: and sayth that God was above the Divell, for they
could not get their desires perfected; and saith that Mrs. _Swinnow_
would have consumed the childe that Mrs. _Moore_ had last in her wombe,
but the Lord would not permit her; and that after the childe was borne,
Mrs. _Swinnow_ was the occasion of its death; and that she and her sister
were also the occasion, and had a hand in the death of the sayd child; and
further confesseth that she and her sayd sister were the death of _Thomas
Yong_ of _Chatton_ (by reason) a kill full of Oates watched against her
sister’s minde; And further saith that the Divell called her sister _Jane_
(Besse); She confesseth that her sister _Jane_ had much troubled _Richard
Stanley_ of _Chatton_, and that she was the occasion of his sore leg.’

In ‘A Prodigious and Tragicall History of the Arraignment, Tryall,
Confession and Condemnation of six Witches at Maidstone in Kent, at the
Assizes there held in July, Fryday 30, this present year 1652,’ a new
feature is introduced.

‘The said _Anne Ashby_ further confessed, that the Divell had given them a
piece of flesh, which whensoever they should touch, they should thereby
effect their desires.

‘That this flesh lay hid amongst grasse, in a certain place which she
named, where, upon search, it was found accordingly.

‘The flesh was of a sinnewy substance, and scorched, and was seen and felt
by this Observator, and reserved for publique view at the sign of the Swan
in _Maidstone_.’

They were duly hanged, but ‘Some there were that wished rather they might
be burnt to Ashes; alledging, that it was a received opinion amongst
many, that the body of a witch being burnt, her bloud is prevented thereby
from becomming hereditary to her Progeny in the same evill, which by
hanging is not.’

However, in the case of four witches tried at Worcester on March 4,
1647,[48] they ‘received Sentance to be Burnt at the Stak all Four

‘When being come to the Place of Execution, they made a strange and
lamentable Yeling and Howling, after which they Confessed the Crimes for
which they Suffered, and also declared how they had kill’d abundance of
Cattle for several years past, and that it was extream Pride, Malice, and
Revenge, that caused them to enter into such a curssed and Hellish League
with the Devil, who told them to the last, that he would secure them from
Public Punishment, but now, too late, they found him a Lyer, as he was
from the beginning of the World. _Cock_ and _Landish_ seemed penitent,
desiring all young Women to take Warning by their Devilish Lives, and
Shameful Deaths, assuring the Spectators, that as Satan in the first
Infancy of the World, prevail’d on the Woman to bring his Hellish attempts
to pass, so he still strives with that Sex, as the weaker Vessels, to Work
their Distructions; they both said the Lord’s Prayer very distinctly, but
_Rebecca West_ and _Rose Hallybread_ dyed very Stuburn and Refractory,
without any remorss, or seeming Terror of Conscience for their abominable


‘At _Droitwich_ in the County of _Worcester_, a poor Woman’s Boy in the
Month of _May_, looking for his Mother’s Cow, espied some Bushes in a
Brake to shake; and, supposing the Cow to be Brousing there, went to the
Place, where he found no Cow, but an Old Woman, who, upon his approach,
said _Boh_ to him: whereupon he presently lost his speech, and could only
make a Noise, but could not speak any thing articulately, so as could be
understood. In this condition he came home to his Mother, made a great
Noise, but no body could understand what ailed him, or what he meant. A
while after, he ran out, and, at Sir _Edward Barret’s_ door, found, about
One a Clock, amongst other poor People, the same old Woman supping up a
Mess of hot Pottage, and ran furiously upon her, and threw her Pottage in
her Face, and offered some other Violence to her. Whereupon the Neighbours
wondering at the condition of the Boy, and his rage against the old Woman,
and suspecting that she had done him some hurt, Apprehended her, and she
was committed to the Prison, which they call the _Checker_. At Night the
Boy’s Mother Lodged him in a Garret over her own Lodging; and, in the
Morning, hearing a great Bussle over her, ran up, and found the Boy gotten
out of his Bed, with the Leg of a Form in his hand, striking furiously at
something in the Window; but saw nothing there that he should strike at.
The Boy presently put on his Cloaths, and ran downe into the Street
towards the Prison; and, as he was going, endeavouring to speak, found his
Speech restored.

‘When he came to the Prison, he asked for the old Woman, and told the
Gaoler how she had served him, and how his Speech came to him again in the
Way. The Gaoler, in the mean time, suspecting that she had Bewitched the
Boy, would not let her have either Meat or Drink, unless she would first
say the Lord’s Prayer, and bid God bless the Boy: which, at last, her
Hunger forced her to do; and it appeared to be at the same instant, as
near as can be guessed, that the Boy had his Speech restored to him. The
Boy asked the Gaoler, why he did not keep her faster, but let her come
out, and trouble him? The Gaoler answered, he had kept her very safe. The
Boy replied No, he had not; for she came and sat in his Chamber Window,
and grinned at him; and that, thereupon, he took up a Form Leg, and
therewith gave her two good bangs upon the Back, as she would have scutled
from him, before she could get away. Whereupon the Gaoler caused some
Women to search her, who found the Marks of two such Strokes upon her, as
the Boy said he had given her. All this was Sworn upon her Tryal by the
Boy, his Mother, the Gaoler, and the Women. Upon Examination she was found
to be a _Lancashire_ Woman; who, upon the Scarcity in those Parts, after
the Defeat of Duke _Hamilton_, wandred abroad to get Victuals.’


‘At _Teuksbury_, about the same time, a Man, who had a Sow and Pigs,
observing his Sow to have great store of Milk, and yet the Pigs to be
almost Famished, and consulting with his Neighbours about it, they all
concluded that she must needs be Sucked by something else, and so the Pigs
be robbed of their milk. Whereupon he resolved to watch till he found out
the Matter: and, having placed himself conveniently for that purpose, at
last he saw a black Four footed Creature, like a Pole Cat, come and beat
away the pigs, and having a pitchfork in his Hand, he ran the Prongs into
the Thigh of it, and ran it to the ground. Yet it struggled so as to get
off from him at last. There were some Neighbours not far off, but they saw
no such creature, but saw a Wench go away, and that Blood fell from her as
she went: whereupon they searched her, and found her so Wounded, as the
Man said he had wounded the thing which he found Sucking: And, thereupon,
she was Apprehended and Tryed at _Gloucester_ Assizes, where this Matter
was given in Evidence against her.’


    A Case of Vomiting Stones, etc., at Evesham--Anne Bodenham--Julian
    Cox--Elizabeth Styles--Rose Cullender and Amy Duny.

Baxter, in his ‘Certainty of the Worlds of Spirits,’ etc. (London, 1691),
gives what he considers an indisputably authentic case of witchcraft, as

‘But the certaintest and fullest Instance of Witchcraft that ever I knew,
I shall here give you in the words of others: Only adding that about
twenty years ago, at the time it was doing, my worthy and dear Friend, Mr.
_George Hopkins_, the then Faithful Minister of the Gospel at _Evesham_,
told it me himself, and told me of their Care and Watchfulness, to see
that there were no Fraud committed in it. And the Witch was hanged at
_Worcester_, and the Woman herself is yet living in _Evesham_, and the
thing never there doubted of: But, having occasion lately to instance the
fact against some Unbelievers, I sent to _Evesham_, to a Godly, Credible
Friend to send me word, whether any doubt had, in these years past, risen
concerning it, and to send me some of the Flint Stones which were voided
by the Girl; who sent me word, that there were no doubt of the thing, and
procured the now Minister of the Place to write me the Narrative which I
here subjoin. And he sent me _One stone_, about the breadth of a small
Groat, and the thickness of a Half-crown, which, he said, was all that is
there kept of them, taken by the Major’s Wife her self, and kept by her,
and, therefore, I must send it back again: Many had sent for the Stones,
and so many troubled the House about them, that they threw away, or buried
the rest: And Mr. _Boyle_ told me that the Earl of _South Hampton_, Lord
Treasurer, for his Satisfaction, had got a great number of them. I carried
this about me, a quarter of a year, and then sent it home. But that which
I chiefly inform the Reader of, is, that the thing was so long in doing,
and so Famous, and so many Pious, Understanding Persons minded it, that
suspition of Fraud was by their Diligence avoided.

‘_The Narrative as lately sent me from most Credible Persons in_ Evesham,
_is as followeth_:

‘About the Month of _April_ 1652 _Mary_, the daughter of _Edward Ellins_,
of the Burrough of _Evesham_, in the County of _Worcester_, Gardner, then
about nine or ten years old, went in the fields on a _Saturday_, with some
other Children, to gather Cowslips, and, finding in a Ditch by the
way-side, at the said Town’s end, one _Catherine Huxley_, a single Woman,
aged then about forty years, the Children called her Witch, and took up
stones to throw at her, the said _Mary_ also called her Witch, and took up
a stone, but was so affrighted that she could not throw it at her; then
they all run away from her, and the said _Mary_ being hindmost, this
_Huxley_ said to her (_Ellins_ you Shall have enough stones in you.)
Whereupon _Mary_ fell that day very ill, and continued so weak and
Languishing that her Friends feared she would not recover; but, about a
Month after, she began to void stones by the urinary passages, and some
little urine came away from her; also, when she voided any stone, the
stone she voided was heard by those that were by her, to drop into the Pot
or Basin; and she had most grievous pains in her Back and Reins, like the
pricking of Pins. The number of the stones she voided was about eighty,
some plain pebbles, some plain flints, some very small, and some about an
ounce weight. This she did for some space, (a month or two, or there
abouts) until, upon some strong suspitions of Witchcraft, the forenamed
_Huxley_ was Apprehended, Examined and Searched, (at whose Bed’s Head
there was found several Stones such as the said _Mary_ Voided) and was
sent to _Worcester_, where, at the Summer _Assizes_ in the said year 1652
(then at hand) she was, at the Prosecution of the Friends of the said
_Mary_, Condemned and Executed: upon whose Apprehension and Commitment,
_Mary_ ceased to void any more stones; but, for a while, voided much
blackish and muddy Sand, and also, in short time, perfectly recovered, and
is yet living in the Town, in good and honest Repute, and hath been many
years Marryed, and hath had seven Children; but never voided any stones
since, nor been troubled with the pain fore mentioned. Abundance of people
yet living, know the Substance of this to be true, and her Mother in Law
(since dead) kept the stones till she was tired with the frequent Resort
of people to see them, and the said _Mary_, and to hear the Relation of
the matter, and beg the stones; (for though many offered Money for them,
yet she always refused it, nor did they ever take any, but it cost them
much upon the Girl, and the Prosecution of the said _Huxley_) and then she
buried them in her Garden. _Edward Ellins_, the Father of the said _Mary_,
is also yet living, and a Man of honest Repute, and utterly free (as is
also the said _Mary_, and all the rest of her _Friends_) from the least
Suspition of any Fraud or Cheat in the whole business: This was known to
hundreds of People in the said Town, and parts Adjacent, and many of them,
yet living, are ready to attest to the truth of it.’

In the case of Anne Bodenham,[50] which is too long and intricate to give
even a résumé of, we have some entirely new features, partaking more of
the magician than the witch. She lived at Fisherton-Auger, Wilts, was a
married woman, and at the time of her malpractices kept a small elementary
school. She was considered a ‘cunning,’ or ‘wise,’ woman, and was resorted
to by the people round about, for consultation as to the recovery of lost
or stolen property, and, according to this pamphlet, her doings were
marvellous. The first case records a woman going to consult her as to the
loss of some gold money.

‘The Witch put on her Spectacles, and, demanding seven shillings of the
Maid, which she received, she opened three Books, in which there seemed
to be severall pictures, and amongst the rest, the picture of the Devill,
to the Maid’s appearance, _with his Cloven feet and Claws_; after the
Witch had looked over the book, she brought a round green glass, which
glass she layd down on one of the books, upon some picture therein, and
rubbed the glass, and then took up the book with the glass upon it, and
held it up against the Sun, and bid the Maid come and see who they were
that she could shew in that glass, and the Maid, looking in the glass, saw
the shape of many persons, and what they were doing of in her Master’s
house, in particular, shewed Mistriss _Elizabeth Rosewel_ standing in her
Mistriss Chamber, looking out of the Window with her hands in her sleeves,
and another walking alone in her Master’s Garden, one other standing in a
room within the kitchen, one other standing in a matted room of her
Masters, against the window, with her Apron in her hand, and shewed others
drinking, with glasses of Beer in their hands. After the Witches shewing
this to the Maid, she then bad her go home; which, when she came home, she
asked the people (she so saw in the Witches glass) what they had been
doing while she had been wanting, and by their answers to her, she found
that they had been doing what she saw they were in the glass: and the Maid
relating this to _Elizabeth Rousewel_, she replyed, that Mistriss
_Boddenham_ (meaning the said Witch) was either a Witch, or a woman of

She was also able to raise devils, and had several at her command,
_Beelzebub_, _Tormentor_, _Satan_, and _Lucifer_, and one scene with them
is thus described: ‘And, presently, the back Door of the house flying
open, there came five spirits, as the Maid supposed, in the likeness of
ragged Boys, some bigger than others, and ran about the house, where she
had drawn the Staff, and the Witch threw down upon the ground Crumbs of
Bread, which the Spirits picked up, and leapt over the Pan of Coals
oftentimes, which she set in the middest of the circle, and a Dog and a
Cat of the Witches danced with them; and, after some time, the Witch
looked again in her book, and threw some great white seeds on the ground,
which the said Spirits picked up, and so, in a short time, the wind was
layd, and the Witch, going forth at her back Door, the Spirits vanished.’

But she also dabbled in poisoning: ‘And in a short time after, Mistress
_Rosewel_ sent her again to the Witch, to know of her when the day should
be, that Mistris _Goddard_ should be poysoned, and delivered her eight
shillings to give the Witch; so the Maid went again to the Witch
accordingly, and gave her the eight shillings, and the Witch replyed she
could not tell her then, but gave the Maid one shilling, and bid her go to
an Apothecary, and buy some white _Arsenick_, and bring it to her to
prevent it, which the Maid did, and carried it to the Witch, who said to
her she would take it and burn it, to prevent the poysoning, but she burnt
it not, as the Maid could see, at all....

‘The next day following, the Maid was sent again to the Witch, to get some
example shewen upon the Gentlewoman that should procure the poyson, upon
which the Maid went again to the Witch, and told her for what she was
sent. Then the Witch made a Circle, as formerly, and set her pan of Coles,
as formerly, and burnt something that stank extremely, and took her book
and Glass, as before is related, and said _Beelzebub_, _Tormentor_,
_Lucifer_, and _Satan_, appear! And then appeared five Spirits as she
conceived, in the shapes of little ragged Boyes, which the Witch commanded
to appear, and go along with the Maid to a meadow at _Wilton_, which the
Witch shewed in the Glass, and there to gather Vervine and Dill, and,
forthwith, the ragged Boys ran away before the Maid, and she followed them
to the said meadow; and, when they came thither the ragged Boys looked
about for the Herbs, and removed the Snow in two or three places, before
they could find any; and, at last, they found some, and brought it away
with them, and then the Maid and the Boys returned back to the Witch, and
found her in the Circle paring her Nayls, and then she took the said
Herbs, and dryed the same, and made powder of some, and dried the leaves
of other, and threw Bread to the Boys, and they eat and danced as
formerly; and then the Witch, reading in a book, they vanished away. And
the Witch gave the Maid in one paper the powder, in another the leaves,
and in the third, the paring of the Nayls; all which the Maid was to give
to her Mistress. The powder was to put in the young Gentlewomens Mistriss
_Sarah_ and Mistriss _Ann Goddard’s_ drink or broth, to rot their Guts in
their Bellies; the leaves to rub about the rims of the Pot, to make their
Teeth fall out of their Heads; and the parings of the Nayls to make them
mad and drunk. And the Witch likewise told the Maid, that she must tell
her Mistriss, and the rest, that, when they did give it to them, they must
cross their Breasts, and then say, _In the name of our Lord Jesu Christ,
grant that this may be_, and that they must say the Creed backward and

The death of this wicked woman was worthy of her life: ‘Afterwards, she
fell into a rage, and wished for a Knife: she said she would run it into
her heart-blood. Being replyed unto by some, _Oh M{ris} Boddenham, you
would not offer to doe such wickednesse? would you?_ She swore by the Name
of God, but she would, had she but a Knife. She then went forth to the
place of her Execution, where a numerous company were spectators; and, as
she went along towards the gallows, by every house she went by, she went
with a small piece of silver in her hand, calling for Beer, and was very
passionate when denyed. One of the men that guarded her on the way, told
her that Mr. Sheriff would not let her be buryed under the gallows, upon
which she railed at the man extremely that told her so, and said she would
be buryed there. When she came to the place of execution, she went
immediately to goe up the Ladder, but she was pulled back again and
restrained: I then pressed her to confesse what she promised me she would,
now before she dyed, but she refused to say anything. Being asked whether
she desired the prayers of any of the people, she answered, she had as
many prayers already, as she intended or desired to have, but cursed
those that detained her from her death, and was importunate to goe up the
Ladder, but was restrained for a while, to see whether she would confesse
any thing, but she would not. They then let her goe up the Ladder, and
when the rope was about her neck, she went to turn herself off, but the
Executioner stayed her, and desired her to forgive him: she replyed.
Forgive thee? a pox on thee, turn me off: which were the last words she
spake. She was never heard, all the while she was at the place of
Execution, to pray one word, or desire any others to pray for her, but the

‘_Julian Cox_, aged 70 years, was indicted at _Taunton_ in
_Somersetshire_, about summer assizes, 1663, before Judge _Archer_, then
judge of assize there, for witchcraft.[51]

‘For the proof of the first particular. The first witness was a huntsman,
who swore that he went out with a pack of hounds to hunt a hare, and not
far off from Julian Cox’s house, he, at last, started a hare. The Dogs
hunted her very close, and the third ring hunted her in view, till, at
last, the huntsman, perceiving the hare almost spent, and making towards a
great bush, he ran on the other side of the bush to take her up, and
preserve her from the dogs; but, as soon as he laid hands on her, it
proved to be Julian Cox, who had her head grovelling on the ground. He,
knowing her, was affrighted, so that the hair on his head stood on end,
and he spake to her, and asked her what brought her there? But she was so
far out of breath that she could not make him any answer: his dogs also
came up, with full cry, to recover the game, and smelt at her, and so left
off hunting any farther. And the huntsman, with the dogs, went home
presently, sadly affrighted.

       *       *       *       *       *

‘Thirdly, Another swore that Julian passed by his yard while his beasts
were in milking, and stooping down, scored upon the ground for some small
time. During which time his cattle ran mad, and some ran their heads
against trees, and some of them died speedily: Whereupon, concluding they
were bewitched, he was, after, advised to this experiment, to find out the
Witch, _viz._ to cut off the ears of the bewitched beasts, and burn them;
and that the witch would be in misery, and could not rest till they were
plucked out. Which he tried; and while they were burning, Julian Cox came
into the house, raging and scolding, that they had abused her without a
cause; but she went presently to the fire, and took the ears which were
burning and then she was quiet.

       *       *       *       *       *

‘The prisoner was called for up to the next bar in the court, and demanded
if she could say the _Lord’s Prayer_? She said, she could, and went over
the prayer readily till she came to that petition. Then she said _And lead
us into temptation_, or, _And lead us not into no temptation_, but could
not say, _And lead us not into temptation_, though she was directed to say
it after one that repeated it to her, distinctly, but she could not
repeat it otherwise than is expressed already; though tried to do it near
half a score times in the open Court. After all which the Jury found her
guilty, and, judgement having been given, within three or four days, she
was executed without any confession of the fact.’

‘Elizabeth Styles, her confession of her Witchcraft _January_ 26 and 30
and _Feb._ 7, 1664. before _Robert Hunt_ Esqre.[52] She then confessed,
That the Devil, about ten years since, appeared to her in the shape of a
handsome man, and after, of a black dog. That he promised her money, and
that she should live gallantly, and have the pleasure of the world for 12
Years, if she would with her own blood, sign his paper, which was to give
her soul to him, and observe his laws, and that he might suck her blood.
This, after four solicitations, the examinant promised him to do. Upon
which, he pricked the fourth finger of her right Hand, between the middle
and upper joint (where the sign, at the Examination, remained) with a drop
or two of blood, she signed the paper with an O. Upon this, the Devil gave
her Sixpence, and vanished with the paper.

‘That, since, he hath appeared to her in the shape of a man, and did so on
_Wednesday_ seven night past: but more usually, he appears in the likeness
of a dog, or cat, or a Fly like a Miller; in which last (_shape_) he
usually sucks her on the Poll, about four of the Clock in the morning; and
did so Jan. 27, and that it usually is pain to her to be so sucked.

‘That when she hath a desire to do harm, she calls the Spirit by the name
of _Robin_; to whom, when he appeareth, she useth these words, _O Satan,
give me my purpose_. She then tells him that he should so appear to her,
was part of her contract with him.

‘That about a Month ago, he appearing, she desired him to torment one
_Elizabeth Hill_, and to thrust thorns unto her Flesh, which he promised
to do, and the next Time he appeared, he told her he had done it.

‘That a little above a month since, this Examinant, _Alice Duke_, _Ann
Bishop_, and _Mary Penny_, met about nine of the clock, in the night, in
the common near _Trister Gate_, where they met a man in black Cloaths,
with a little band, to whom they did courtesie and due observance; and the
examinant verily believes that this was the Devil. At that time _Alice
Duke_ brought a picture in Wax, which was for _Elizabeth Hill_: The man in
black took it in his Arms, anointed it’s Forehead, and said, _I baptize
thee with this oyl_, and used some other words. He was God father, and the
examinant and _Anne Bishop_, God mothers; they called it _Elizabeth_ or
_Bess_. Then the man in black, this examinant, _Anne Bishop_, and _Alice
Duke_, stuck thorns into several places of the Neck, Hand wrist, Fingers,
and other parts of the said picture. After which they had wine, cakes and
roast meat, (all brought by the man in black,) which they did eat and
drink; they danced and were merry, were bodily there, and their cloaths.

‘... She saith, before they are carried to their meetings, they anoint
their foreheads and hand wrists with Oyl the Spirit brings them, (which
smells raw) and then they are carried in a very short time; using these
words as they pass, _Thout, tout a tout, tout, throughout and about_; and
when they go off from their meetings, they say, _Rentum Tormentum_.

‘That, at their first meeting the man in black bids them welcome, and they
all make low obeysance to him, and he delivers some wax candles, like
little torches, which they give back again at parting. When they anoint
themselves, they use a long form of words, and when they stick thorns in
the picture of any they would torment, they say, _A pox on thee, I’ll
spite thee_.

‘That, at every meeting, before the Spirit vanishes away, he appoints the
next meeting, place and time; and at his departure there is a foul smell.
At their meeting, they have usually Wine or good beer, cakes, meat or the
like; they eat and drink really; when they meet in their bodies, dance
also, and have musick. The man in black sits at the hither End, and _Anne
Bishop_ usually sat next to him: He useth some words before meat, and none
after; his voice is audible, but very low.

‘That they are sometimes carried in their bodies and their clothes,
sometimes without, and, as the examinant thinks, only their spirits are
present; yet they know one another.... The man in black sometimes plays on
a pipe or cittern, and the company dances: at last the Devil vanisheth,
and all are carried to their several homes, in a short space. At their
parting, they say, _Hey boy, merry meet, merry part_.’

The story of the trial of Rose Cullender and Amy Duny at Bury St.
Edmund’s, before Sir Matthew Hale in 1664, has been often told, but in one
particular it differs from other cases of witchcraft.

‘_Diana Bocking_ Sworn and Examined, Deposed. That she lived in the same
Town of _Leystoff_, and that her said Daughter having been formerly
Afflicted with swooning fits, recovered well of them, and so continued for
a certain time; and, upon the First of _February_ last, she was taken,
also, with great pain in her Stomach, like pricking with Pins; and,
afterwards, fell into swooning fitts, and so continued till the Deponents
coming to the Assizes, having during the same time taken little or no
food, but daily vomiting crooked Pins; and, upon Sunday last, raised Seven
Pins. And, whilst her fits were upon her, she would spread both her Arms,
with her hands open, and use postures as if she catched at something, and
would instantly close her hands again; which being immediately forced
open, they found several Pins diversely crooked, but could neither see nor
perceive how, or in what manner they were conveyed thither. At another
time, the same _Jane_ being in another of her fitts, talked as if she were
discoursing with some persons in the Room (though she would give no
answer, nor seem to take notice of any person then present) and would in
like manner cast abroad her Arms, saying, _I will not have it, I will not
have it_; and at last, she said, _Then I will have it_, and so waving her
Arm with her hand open, she would presently close the same; which,
instantly forced open, they found in it a _Lath-Nail_.’

The two witches were executed, neither confessing.


    The Case of Mary Hill of Beckington--The Confession of Alice
    Huson--Florence Newton of Youghal--Temperance Lloyd (or Floyd), Mary
    Trembles, and Susannah Edwards.

But this case of vomiting pins is as nothing compared with the following,
which is taken from Baxter’s ‘Certainty of the World of Spirits,’ etc.:

‘Mr. _John Humphreys_ brought Mr. _May Hill_ to me, with a Bag of Irons,
Nails and Brass, vomited by the Girl. I keep some of them to shew: Nails
about three or four inches long, double crooked at the end, and pieces of
old Brass doubled, about an Inch broad, and two or three Inches long, with
crooked edges. I desired him to give me the Case in Writing, which he hath
done as followeth. Any one that is incredulous, may now, at _Beckington_,
receive Satisfaction from him, and from the Maid her self.


‘In the Town of _Beckington_, by _Froome_ in _Somersetshire_, liveth _Mary
Hill_, a Maid of about Eighteen years of Age, who, having lived very much
in the Neglect of her Duty to God, was some time before _Michaelmas_ last
past, was Twelve-Month, taken very ill, and, being seized with violent
Fits, began to Vomit up about two hundred crooked Pins. This so Stupendous
an Accident, drew a numerous Concourse of People to see her: To whom, when
in her Fits, she did constantly affirm, that she saw against the Wall of
the Room wherein she lay, an old Woman, named _Elizabeth Currier_, who,
thereupon, being Apprehended by a Warrant from a Justice of Peace, and
Convicted by the Oaths of two Persons, was committed to the County Goal.

‘About a Fortnight after, she began to Vomit up Nails, Pieces of Nails,
Pieces of Brass, Handles of Spoons, and so continued to do for the space
of six Months and upwards. And, in her fits, she said there did appear to
her an old Woman, Named _Margaret Coombes_, and one _Ann Moore_; who,
also, by a Warrant from two Justices of the Peace, were Apprehended and
brought to the Sessions, held at _Brewton_, for the County; and, by the
Bench, committed to the County Gaol. The former of these dyed as soon as
she came into Prison: the other two were tryed at _Taunton Assizes_, by my
Lord Chief Justice _Holt_, and for want of Evidence, were acquitted by the
Jury. The Persons bound over to give Evidence, were _Susanna Belton_, and
_Ann Holland_, who, upon their Oaths, Deposed, that they hookt out of the
Navel of the said _Mary Hill_, as she lay in a dead fit, crooked Pins,
small Nails, and small pieces of Brass, which were produced in Court
before the Judge; and, from him, handed to the Jury to look upon them.
Whereupon Mr. _Francis Jesse_, and Mr. _Christopher Brewer_ declared, that
they had seen the said _Mary Hill_, to Vomit up, at several times, Crooked
Pins, Nails, and Pieces of Brass, which they, also, produced in open
Court; and to the end, they might be ascertained it was no Imposture, they
declared they searched her Mouth with their Fingers before she did Vomit.

‘Upon which, the Court thought fit to call for me, who am the Minister of
the Parish, to testifie the knowledge of the Matter, which I did to this
Effect, That I had seen her, at several times, after having given her a
little small Beer, Vomit up Crooked Pins, Nails, and Pieces of Brass.
That, to prevent the Supposition of a Cheat, I had caused her to be
brought to a Window; and, having lookt into her Mouth, I searcht it with
my Finger, as I did the Beer before she drank it. This I did, that I might
not be wanting in Circumstantial Answers to what my Lord and Court might

‘I well remember a Gentleman, on a _Saturday_, came to my House
(_Incognito_) to know of me the truth of the Country Report about this
Maid, having seen some of the Nails &c she had Vomited up. I told him it
was very true; and, if he would stay in Town till the Morning, he might
see it himself, for his own Satisfaction. Which he did; and, early in the
Morning, was called to see her. But, because Beer was not given her when
she wanted it, she lay in a very Deplorable Condition, till past two in
the Afternoon; when, with much Difficulty, she brought up a piece of
Brass, which the said Gentleman took away with him. Though, before the
said Piece of Brass came up, he told me he was satisfied of the Truth of
the thing, because it was impossible for any Mortal to Counterfeit her
miserable Condition. She, sometimes, lying in a dead Fit, with her Tongue
swelled out of her Head, and then reviving, she would fall to Vomiting,
but nothing came up till about two a Clock in the Afternoon.

‘Nay, so curious was he to Anticipate any Cheat, that he searcht her Mouth
himself, gave her the Beer, held her up in his hand, and likewise the
Bason into which she Vomited, and continued with her all this time,
without eating and drinking, which was about eight hours, that he might be
an Eye-Witness of the Truth of it. Nay, further, he found the maid living
only with a Brother, and three poor Sisters, all young Persons, and very
honest, and the Maid kept at the Charge of the Parish, were sufficient
testimonies that they were incapable of making a Cheat of it. The
Gentleman I now mentioned, was (as I afterwards learnt) Esquire _Player_
of _Castle-Cary_.

       *       *       *       *       *

‘After the Assizes afore mentioned was ended, and she was turned home, she
grew worse than ever, by Vomiting of Nails, pieces of Glass, &c. And,
falling, one day, into a Violent Fit, she was swelled to an extraordinary
bigness; some Beer being given her, she throws up several Pieces of Bread
and Butter, besmeared with a Poysonous matter, which I judged to be white
Mercury. This so affrighted the Neighbours, that they would come no more
near her, and Compassionating the Deplorableness of her Condition; I, at
last, resolved to take her into my own House; where, in some short time,
the Vomiting ceased; though, for some space, her Distorting Fits followed
her. But, blessed be God, is now, and has been, for a considerable time
last past, in very good health, and fit for Service.

    ‘Minister of Beckington in the county of Somerset.

‘_April 4, 1691._’

Here is one of those extraordinary confessions, for which, nowadays, no
one can account, except upon the supposition that the poor woman was


‘Three Years I have had to do with, and for the Devil: He appeared to me
like a _Black Man_ on a Horse upon the Moor; He told me I should never
want, if I would follow his ways: He bid me give myself to him, and
forsake the Lord; and I promised him I would. He did, upon that, give me
five Shillings; and another time he gave me seven Shillings: And for six
several times he did so; and _Thom. Ratle_ had 20s. of the Mony I had of
him. He appeared like a _Black Man_ upon a Black Horse, with Cloven Feet:
and then I fell down, and did Worship upon my Knees, because I promised
him I would do so. I have hurt Mrs. _Faith Corbet_ by my Evil Spirit: I
did, in my Apprehension, ride her: And, when I was Examined by Mr.
_Wellset_, our Minister, the Devil stood by, and gave me my Answer. I was
under the Window like a Cat, when Mrs. _Corbet_ said I was; and _Doll
Bilby_ had a hand in this tormenting Mrs. _Corbet_. _Doll Bilby_ said, Let
us make an end of her; and I said it was pity to take away her Life, for
we had done her overmuch hurt already. The Devil did appear to me and
_Doll Bilby_ both together: _Doll Bilby_ had of the Devil on _Thursday_ or
_Friday_, some Mony: I had, about a Fortnight ago, ten shillings of the
Devil at _Ratle’s_ door, about Twi-light, or Day-gate: and I gave two
Shillings of this Mony for two Pecks of Barly, Pease and Wheat mix’d, to
_Will. Parkly_. He told me, if I would kill Mrs. _Alice Corbet_, I should
never Want: He twitches me at the Heart, as if it were drawn together with
Pincers. I have, I confess, a Witch-pap, which is sucked by the Unclean
Spirit: This Sucking lasteth from Supper time, till after Cock Crowing.
The Devil did bid me deny to Mr. _Wellset_ that he was sent by me. I had a
purpose to practice Witchcraft when I begg’d a piece of Cloth and
Black-hood. I confess that I did, by this Evil Spirit, kill _Dick Warren_;
which was done by my wicked Heart, and wicked Eyes: If I had not employ’d
this wicked Spirit, I had not hurt him. I lent _Lancelot Harrison_ eight
Shillings of the ten Shillings the Devil gave me. I did forsake God,
because I promised the Devil to serve him.’

But most incredible of all were the doings of an Irish witch, one Florence
Newton of Youghal, who was tried at the Cork Assizes, 1661. One extract,
showing her power, must suffice:[54]

‘_John Pyne_ being likewise sworn and examin’d, said, That about _January_
last, _Mary Longdon_, being his Servant, was much troubl’d with little
Stones that were thrown at her, wherever she went, and that he hath seen
them come, as if they were thrown at her, others, as if they dropp’d on
her; and that he hath seen very great quantities of them, and that they
would, after they had hit her, fall on the Ground, and then vanish, so
that none of them could be found. And farther, That the Maid once caught
one of them, and he himself another; and one of them, with a Hole in it,
she ty’d to her Purse, but it vanish’d in a little time, but the Knot of
the Leather that ty’d it, remain’d unalter’d. That, after the Stones had
thus haunted her, she fell into most grievous Fits, wherein she was so
violently distracted, that four Men would have very much to do to hold
her; and that, in the greatest of her Extremities, she would cry out of
Gammer _Newton_ for hunting and tormenting of her. That sometimes the
Maid would be reading in a Bible, and on the sudden he hath seen the Bible
struck out of her Hand into the Middle of the Room, and she, immediately,
was cast into a violent Fit. That, in the Fits he hath seen two Bibles,
laid on her Breasts, and in the Twinkling of an Eye, they would be cast
between the two Beds the Maid lay upon; sometimes thrown into the middle
of the Room; and that _Nicholas Pyne_ held the Bible in the Maid’s Hand so
fast, that it being suddenly snatch’d away, two of the Leaves were torn.
That in many other Fits, the Maid was remov’d strangely, in the Twinkling
of an Eye, out of the Bed, sometimes into the Bottom of a Chest with
Linnen, and the Linnen not at all disorder’d; sometimes betwixt the two
Beds she lay on; sometimes under a Parcell of Wooll, sometimes betwixt his
Bed and the Mat of it in another Room; and, once, she was laid on a small
Deal Board which lay on the top of an House between two solar[55] Beams,
where he was forc’d to rear up Ladders to have her fetch’d down. That, in
her Fits she hath often vomited up Wooll, Pins, Horse nails, Stubs, Straw,
Needles and Moss, with a kind of white Foam or Spittle, and hath had
several Pins stuck into her Arms and Hands, that, sometimes, a Man must
pull three or four times before he could pull one of them out, and some
have stuck between the Flesh and the Skin, where they might be perfectly
seen, but not taken out, nor any Place seen where they were put in.’

The confessions of Temperance Lloyd (or Floyd), Mary Trembles, and
Susannah Edwards, who were executed at Exeter, August 25, 1682, are
curious, as showing how it is possible for three persons to have similar

‘Temperance Lloyd saith, That about the 30th day of _September_ last past,
she met with the Devil in the shape or likeness of a black Man, about the
middle of the Afternoon of that day, in a certain Street or Lane in the
Town of _Biddiford_ aforesaid, called _Higher Gunstone Lane_: And then and
there he did tempt and sollicite her to go with him to the house of the
said _Thomas Eastchurch_ to torment the Body of the said _Grace Thomas_;
which this Examinant, at first, did refuse to do: But, afterwards, by the
temptation and perswasion of the Devil in the likeness of a Black Man, as
aforesaid, she did go to the house of the said _Thomas Eastchurch_, and
that she went up the stairs after the said black Man; and confesseth that
both of them went up into the Chamber where she the said _Grace Thomas_
was, and that there they found one _Anne Wakely_, the wife of _William
Wakely_ of _Biddiford_, rubbing and stroaking one of the Arms of the said
_Grace Thomas_.

‘And the said Examinant doth further confess that she did then and there
pinch with the Nails of her Fingers, the said _Grace Thomas_ in the
Shoulders, Arms, Thighs and Legs; and that, afterwards, they came down
from the said _Grace Thomas_ her Chamber, into the Street together; and
that there this Examinant did see some thing in the form or shape of a
Grey or Braget Cat; and saith that the said Cat went into the said
_Thomas Eastchurch’s_ shop.

‘The said Examinant, being further demanded whether she went any more unto
the said Thomas Eastchurch’s house, saith and confesseth that the day
following she came again to the said _Thomas Eastchurch’s_ house,
invisible, and was not seen by any person; but there this Examinant did
meet with the Braget Cat as aforesaid, and the said Cat did retire and
leap back into the said _Thomas Eastchurch’s_ Shop.

‘The said Examinant, being further demanded when she was at the said
_Thomas Eastchurch’s_ house, the last time, saith, that she was at the
said Mr. _Eastchurch’s_ house upon Friday the 30th day of _June_ last
past; and that the Devil, in the shape of the said black Man was there
with her: And that they went up again into the said Chamber, where she
found the said _Grace Thomas_ lying in her Bed in a very sad condition.
Notwithstanding which, she, this Examinant and the said Black Man did
torment her again: And saith and confesseth that she, this Examinant had
almost drawn her out of her Bed, and that on purpose to put her, the said
_Grace_ out of her Life.

‘And further saith, that the black Man (or rather the Devil) did promise
this Examinant that no one should discover her.

‘And further confesseth that the said black Man (or rather the Devil) as
aforesaid, did suck her Teats, and that she did kneel down to him in the
Street, as she was returning to her own house, and after that they had
tormented the said _Grace Thomas_ in manner as last above mentioned.

‘Being demanded of what stature the said black Man was, saith, that he was
about the length of her Arm: And that his Eyes were very big; and that he
hopt or leapt in the way before her, and, afterwards, did suck her again
as she was lying down; and that his sucking was with a great pain unto
her, and, afterwards vanish’d clear away out of her sight.

‘This Examinant doth further confess, That upon the first day of _June_
last past, whilst the said Mr. _Eastchurch_ and his Wife were absent, that
the said Examinant did pinch and prick the said _Grace Thomas_ (with the
aid and help of the black Man) in her Belly, Stomach and Breast; and that
they continued so tormenting of her, about the Space of two or three
hours, with an intent to have killed her.’

She also confessed to have tortured several others to death.

Mary Trembles said that about three years since Susannah Edwards persuaded
her to become a witch, and that the Devil appeared to her in the shape of
a lion.

‘_Susannah Edwards_ being brought before us, and accused for practising of
Witchcraft upon the Body of _Grace Barnes_, the wife of _John Barnes_ of
_Biddiford_, Yeoman, was demanded by us how long since she had Discourse
or Familiarity with the Devil; saith, That about two years ago she did
meet with a Gentleman in a Field called the _Parsonage Close_ in the Town
of _Biddiford_, and that his Apparel was all of black. Upon which she did
hope to have a Piece of Money of him. Whereupon, the Gentleman drawing
near unto this Examinant, she did make a Curchy, or Courtesie unto him, as
she did use to do to Gentlemen.

‘Being demanded what and who the Gentleman she spake of, was, the said
Examinant answered and said, that it was the Devil.

‘And confessed, that the Devil did ask of her whether she was a Poor
woman? unto whom she answered that she was a Poor woman; and that,
thereupon, the Devil, in the shape of the Gentleman, did say unto her,
that if this Examinant would grant him one request, that she should
neither want for Meat, Drink, nor Clothes: Whereupon this Examinant did
say unto the said Gentleman, In the Name of God, what is it I shall have?
Upon which the said Gentleman vanished clear away from her.

‘And further confesseth, That, afterwards, there was something in the
shape of a little Boy, which she thinks to be the Devil, came into her
house, and did lie with her, and that he did suck at her breast. And
confesseth that she did afterwards meet him in a place call’d
_Stambridge-lane_ in this Parish of _Biddiford_, leading towards
_Abbotisham_, (which is the next Parish on the west of _Biddiford_
aforesaid), where he did suck blood out of her breast.

‘And further confesseth, That on Sunday, which was the 16th day of _July_
instant, she, this Examinant, together with _Mary Trembles_, did go unto
the house of _John Barnes_, and that nobody did see them: and that they
were in the same room where _Grace_, the wife of the said _John Barnes_
was, and that there they did prick and pinch the said _Grace_ with their
fingers, and put her to great pain and torment, insomuch that the said
_Grace Barnes_ was nearly dead.

‘And confesseth that this present day, she did prick and torment the said
_Grace_ again, (intimating with her Fingers how she did it). And also
confesseth that the Devil did intice her to make an end of the said
_Grace_; and that he told her he would come again to her once more before
she should go out of Town. And confesseth that she can go into any place
invisible, and yet her Body shall be lying in her Bed. And further
confesseth that the Devil hath appeared unto her in the shape of a Lyon,
as she supposed.

‘Being demanded whether she had done any bodily hurt unto any other person
besides the said _Grace Barnes_, saith and Confesseth, that she did prick
and torment one _Dorcas Coleman_, the wife of _John Coleman_ of
_Biddiford_ Mariner. And saith that the said _Mary Trembles_ was a Servant
unto her, in like manner as she was a Servant unto the Devil.’


    Elizabeth Horner--Pardons for Witchcraft--A Witch taken in
    London--Sarah Mordike--An Impostor convicted--Case of Jane Wenham--The
    Last Witch hanged in England.

Hutchinson gives an account of a very curious case of witchcraft in 1696:

‘_Elizabeth Horner_ was tried before the Lord Chief Justice _Holt_ at
_Exeter_. Three Children of _William Bovet_ were thought to have been
bewitched by her, whereof one was dead. It was deposed that another had
her Legs twisted, and yet from her Hands and Knees, she would spring five
Foot high. The children vomited Pins, and were bitten (if the Depositions
were true) and pricked, and pinched, the Marks appearing. The Children
said _Bess Horner’s_ Head would come off from her Body, and go into their
Bellies. The Mother of the Children deposed, that one of them walked up a
smooth plaistered Wall, till her Feet were nine Foot high, her Head
standing off from it. This, she said, she did five or six times, and
laughed and said, _Bess Horner_ held her up. This poor Woman had something
like a Nipple on her Shoulder, which the Children said was sucked by a
Toad. Many other odd things were deposed, but the Jury brought her in _Not
Guilty_ and no Inconvenience hath followed from her Acquittal.’

She was lucky, not only inasmuch as the belief in witchcraft was on the
wane, as also to have been tried by so enlightened a judge as Sir John
Holt, of whom the story is told (of which, however, I can find no
authentication) that a witch was once brought before him, and a charm,
written on parchment, was adduced against her. This charm, which consisted
of a line or two of Greek verse, Sir John recognised as having been
written by himself in his student days at Oxford to cure a poor woman’s
daughter of the ague.

But although the majority of so-called witches were executed after trial
and sentence, all were not, for we find in the Calendars of State Papers
several instances of pardons:

    1597. 30 Ap. Pardon for Elizabeth Melton, late of Collingham, co.
    York, condemned for witchcraft.

    1597. 3 May. Pardon to Alice Brerely of Castleton, co. Lanc.,
    spinster, condemned for killing Jas. Kirshaw and Rob. Scolefield by

    1604. 16 Ap. Grant to Christian, wife of Thomas Weech, co. Norfolk, of
    pardon for witchcraft.

    She was one of the extremely fortunate, for she was again accused of
    this crime.

    1610. 3 Ap. Grant to Christian Weech of pardon for the murder of Mary
    Freeston by witchcraft.

    1608. 15 Feb. Grant to Simon Reade of pardon for conjuration and
    invocation of unclean spirits.

    1611. 7 May. Grant of pardon to Wm. Bate, indicted twenty years since,
    for practising invocation of spirits for finding treasure, the
    evidence being found weak, etc.

With the beginning of the eighteenth century, the belief in witchcraft was
dying out rapidly, and very few are the cases narrated. I give the
following from a broadsheet; but to my mind it has not the true ring of
former cases, and I doubt its authenticity; still, I give it as amongst
the few reported cases in this century.


‘_Sarah Griffith_ who Lived in a Garret in _Rosemary lane_, was a long
time suspected for a bad Woman, but nothing could be prov’d against her,
that the Law might take hold of her: Tho’ some of the Neighbors Children
would be strangely affected with unknown Distempers, as Vomiting of Pins,
there Bodies turn’d into strang Postures, and such like; many were
frighted with strange Apperitions of Cats, which, of a sudden, would
vanish away; these, and such like, made those who lived in the
Neighbourhood, both suspicious and fearful of her: Till, at last, the
Devil (who always betrays those that deal with him) thus brought the Truth
to Light. One, Mr. John ---- at the Sugarloaf, had a good jolly fellow for
his Apprentice: This Old Jade came into his shop to buy a quartern of
Sope. The Young fellow happened to Laugh; and the Scales not hanging
right, cryed out he thought that they were be-Witched; The Old Woman
hearing him say so, fell into a great Passion, judging he said so to
ridicule her, ran out of the Shop, and threatened revenge. In the Night
was heard a lumbring noise in the Shop, and the Man, coming down to see,
found a strang confusion; every thing turn’d topsy turvy; all the goods
out of order. But, what was worse, the next day, the poor fellow was
troubled with a strange Disease, but [by] the good prayers of some
Neighboring Divines, the power of the Devil was restrain’d.

‘Two or three days after, it happened that the Young Man, with two or
three more, walking up to the New River Head, who should they see, but
Mother _Griffith_ walking that way. They consulted together to try her;
and one of them said, Let us toss her into the River, for I have heard,
that if she Swims, ’tis a certain sign of a Witch. In short, they put
their design in execution; for, coming up to her, they tossed her in; but,
like a Bladder when forc’d under Water, pops up again, so this Witch was
no sooner in, but Swam like a Corke; they kept her in some time, and, at
last, let her come out again. She was no sooner out, but she smote that
Young man on the Arm, and told him he should pay dear for what he had
done. Immediately, he found a strange pain in his Arm, and, looking on it,
found the exact mark of her hand and Fingers as black as a Cole. He went
home, where he lay much tormented, and wonderfully affrighted with the Old
Woman coming to afflict him; and, at last, died with the pain, and [was]
Buried in St. _Pulchres_ Church Yard.

‘Mr. John ---- fearing some further mischief, takes a Constable, and goes
to her Lodging, where he finds the Old Woman, and charges the Constable
with her. She made many attempts to escape, but the Devil, who owed her a
shame, had now left her, and she was apprehended. As she was conducted
towards the Justice’s house, she tried to leap over the Wall, and had done
it, had not the Constable knocked her down. In this manner she was carried
before the Justice. There was Evidence that was With him in his Sickness
could Witness that he had unaccountable Fits, Vomitted up Old Nails, Pins
and such like, his body being turned into strange postures, and, all the
while, nothing but crying out of Mother _Griffith_, that she was come to
torment him. His Arm rotted almost off, Gangreen’d, and kill’d him. When
she came before the Justice, she pleaded innocence, but the circumstances
appeared so plainly, that she was committed to _Bridewell_, where she now

‘24 July, 1704.’

If we needed any evidence to show the decadence of witchcraft, it can be
found in the case of Sarah Mordike, who was (luckily for her) tried by
Lord Chief Justice Holt in 1701. Hutchinson gives the best report of this
case that I can find.

‘_Richard Hathaway_, Apprentice to _Thomas Wellyn_, a Blacksmith in
_Southwark_, had either real Convulsions, or counterfeit Fits; at the time
when he was bound first to his Master. When he had served about three
Years, he was thought to be so ill, that he was put into the Hospital, and
was judged to be a very miserable Spectacle, lying in strange Fits, and
going double; and, after seven Weeks was turned out as incurable.

‘In September 1690 (?1700) he said he was bewitched, and vomited great
Numbers of Pins, and seemed to be dumb and blind, and was thought to live
without Meat for ten Weeks together, tho’ he was put with Keepers into an
empty House a great part of the Time, and had a bed bought on purpose, and
was watched Day and Night by Persons that were Strangers to him. One of
his Watchers deposed, That a Lump of Hair, loose Pins, a Stump of a Nail,
half a Nutshel, and two or three pieces of Stone came from him. A second
Witness confirmed this, and added, That he stood over him at the Time,
with a drawn Sword in his Hand. His Face would be drawn on one side, He
foamed at the Mouth, and crooked Pins were found in the Foam. His Head was
bent to the Reins of his Back, and he went, sometimes, almost upon his
Ankles. He would lie as if he was dead; and, once, was brought to himself
by Cupping Glasses. Screeking and other Noises were heard in the Bed, and
about the House, and Charms were applied to him, and were said to do him
good. It was also deposed, That he barked like a Dog, and in his Fits
burnt like a Flame of Fire.

‘The Person that he accused of the Witchcraft was one _Sarah Morduck_, of
the same Parish. He intimated by Signs, that, if he might scratch her, he
should be well. He did scratch her, and then he eat and drank, and had his
Sight, and was well for six Weeks together.

‘After that, he seemed to be ill again, and signified that she had
bewitched him again, and he must scratch her again. Upon this, the said
_Sarah Morduck_ was assaulted in her own House, and grievously abused; her
Hair and Face torn; she, was kicked, thrown to the Ground, stamped on, and
threatened to be put into a Horse-Pond, to be tried by Swimming, and very
hardly escaped with her Life. In hopes to avoid these Dangers, she removed
out of _Southwark_, and lodged in _London_; but, still, she was not
suffered to be in safety, but was followed in the Streets, and often
thought herself in danger of being pulled in Pieces.

‘About _Easter_, 1701, she was carried before Sir _Thomas Lane_, and was
stript and searched by his Order, and _Hathaway_ scratched her before him,
and then he eat and drank, and was thought to be well. Sir _Thomas_
committed her, and _Hathaway_ continued free from his Fits. Near the Time
of Tryal, the Prayers of several Churches were desired, and Money was
gathered for him: between six and seven Pounds at one Collection; and
other Sums at other Times, to bear his Charges to the Assizes.

‘In the latter end of _July_, at _Guildford_ Assizes, this _Sarah Morduck_
was tried before the Right Honourable, the Lord Chief Justice _Holt_, and
was acquitted, and _Richard_, himself, was committed as a Cheat and
Impostor: But both Judge, and Jury, and Witnesses were slandered, as if
they had not done fairly.

‘For several Days after his Commitment to the _Marshalsea_, he eat, and
drank, and slept: but, some time after, he was again as if under the Power
of Witchcraft, dumb and fasting.

‘That it might be certain whether he did really live without Meat or not,
my Lord Chief Justice put him into the House of Mr. _Kensy_, a Surgeon, in
_November_ following, that he might make Tryal of him.

‘_March 25, 1702_, this _Hathaway_ was tried before Lord Chief Justice
_Holt_, and Mr. Baron _Hatfell_, in _Southwark_, the Place in which the
Fact was best known, and where any witnesses might appear without Charge.

‘On _Hathaway’s_ side, these things were sworn that I have mentioned

‘To convict him of Imposture, it was deposed, That on purpose for an
Experiment, Dr. _Martin_, Minister of the Parish, had contrived that he
scratch’d another Woman, when he thought he had scratch’d this _Sarah
Morduck_; and upon that, he opened his Eyes; but, being told he had
scratch’d the wrong Woman, he pretended to be blind and dumb again. And
the manner of his doing it was such, as showed him a crafty fellow, taking
care of himself; for he felt her Arm four times over, before he would
scratch her.

‘To prove that his vomiting Pins was by a Trick, it was deposed, That
immediately after he had vomited great Numbers in appearance upon the
Ground, and was going to vomit more, Care being taken that he should vomit
into a Basin, and his Hands being kept down below it, there was not a Pin
in the Basin, but a great many crooked ones in his Pockets, in readiness
to have play’d his Tricks with.

‘Some of the Noises that were said to be made in the Bed, were shewed to
be made by his own Feet scratching the Bed Post.

‘Besides what he got by Gifts and Collections, it was proved that he had
tried to make a Gain, by printing a Narrative of his own Case.

‘With respect to his Fasting, it was said by one of his own Witnesses,
that there came from him five Times more than he took. After two Days
fasting, and refusing to take any thing from Mr. _Kensy_, for fear he
should really starve himself, rather than own his knavery, Mr. _Kensy_
contrived to let him have Meat in a private Way, by this Device. He
pretended to fall out with his Maid in _Hathaway’s_ hearing, and said she
gave him Meat; and therefor he gave her Warning to be gone. She carried on
the Design, and told him she was as ready to be gone as he was to have her
go; and, after this feigned Quarrell, she spake kindly to _Richard_, and
bad him take nothing from her Master; for, while she stay’d she would take
Care of him. After this, he took Meat from her; but a Child being in the
Room, he pointed that it might not see him. He eat and drank any Thing she
gave him, Ale, Brandy, Fish, Pudding, Mutton, &c. Once he was drunk, and
spew’d, and covered his Vomit with Ashes; But if either Mr. _Kensy_, or
anyone else offered him any, he refused to take it; and, when he had eaten
heartily, he would shew them his Belly clung up to his Back, as though
there had been nothing in it. The Maid saw this openly, Mr. _Kensy_ saw it
through a private Hole; and, once, he had four Neighbours with him, that
saw it as well as he. He eat in this manner for eleven Days together, and
yet pretended to continue his Fast. If they asked him how many Weeks he
had fasted before he came to Mr. _Kensy’s_ House? he counted Ten upon his
Fingers. If they asked him how many Weeks he had fasted since his coming
thither? he counted Two, tho’ they had seen him eat eleven Days of the two

‘When they had Proof enough, Mr. _Kensy_ told him he was discover’d, and
said his Friends were in Custody, and had confess’d the whole Matter. Upon
that he cried passionately and said he would tell the Lord Chief Justice
the whole Truth, and asked, If his Mother was safe? But, my Lord not being
at his Chamber, he, in about an Hour after, recanted, and said again that
he was bewitched.

‘These Things were deposed at large by many and substantial Witnesses;
insomuch that the Jury, without going from the Bar, returned him Guilty.

‘Some Months after, my Lord Chief Justice _Holt_ past Sentence upon him,
That he should suffer Imprisonment a Year, and stand in the Pillory three

The last case of witchcraft in England, where a so-called witch was tried
and condemned by judge and jury (although she was not executed), was that
of Jane Wenham in 1712. I am aware that another and later case is cited in
1716 of one Mrs. Hicks and her daughter, said to have been executed at
Huntingdon, for ‘selling their souls to the devil, making their neighbours
vomit pins, and raising a storm by which a certain ship was almost lost’;
but as no one yet has been able to find any record of this case, I beg
leave to doubt its existence.

But Jane Wenham’s was a _cause célèbre_. She lived at Walkern, a village
in Hertfordshire, about four miles from Stevenage. The account of the
proceedings at her trial is very long, so that I shall only give two or
three of the informations laid against her:

‘_Matthew Gilston_, of the Parish of _Walkerne_, says upon Oath, that, on
_New Years Day_ last past, he carrying Straw upon a Fork from Mr.
_Gardiner’s_ Barn, met _Jane Wenham_, who asked him for some Straw, which
he refused to give her; then she said she would take some, and accordingly
took some away from this Informant.

‘And farther, this Informant saith, that on the 29th of _Jan._ last, when
this Informant was threshing in the Barn of his Master, _John Chapman_, an
Old Woman in a Riding-hood, or Cloak, he knows not which, came to the Barn
Door, and asked him for a Penyworth of Straw; he told her he could give
her none, and she went away, Muttering.

‘And this Informant saith, that after the Woman was gone, he was not able
to work, but ran out of the Barn, as far as a place called _Munders-Hill_,
(which is about Three Miles from _Walkerne_) and asked at a House there
for a Penyworth of Straw, and they, refusing to give him any, he went
farther, to some Dung-heaps, and took some Straw from thence, and pull’d
off his Shirt, and brought it Home in his Shirt; he knows not what mov’d
him to this, but says he was forc’d to it, he knows not how.

‘_Susan Aylott_, the Wife of _William Aylott_, of the Parish of
_Walkerne_, saith upon Oath, that about 12 Years ago last _Christmas_,
she, this Informant, was sent for to the Wife of _Richard Harvey_, lying
very Ill in a strange Condition; and, as soon as she came thither, _Jane
Wenham_ followed her, and she, this Informant, wonder’d that _Jane Wenham_
followed her, since _Richard Harvey’s_ Wife had told her that she, the
said _Jane Wenham_ had bewitched her: Then _Jane Wenham_ went under the
Window where the sick Woman lay, and said, Why do they let this Creature
lye there? Why don’t they take her and hang her out of the way? At which
she, this Informant, had some Words with _Jane Wenham_, saying, Take you,
and hang you out of the Way: and then _Jane Wenham_ answer’d, Hold you
your Tongue, I don’t meddle with you, and that Night, the sick Woman,
aforesaid, died.

‘And this Informant farther saith, That, soon after, _Jane Wenham_ came to
this Informant’s House, and look’d upon a Child which was in her Lap, and
stroaked it; and said, _Susan_, you have a curious Child; you and I had
some Words, but I hope we are Friends; and asked this Informant to lend
her a Glass to carry some Vinegar in from the Shop; then this Informant
sent _Jane Wenham_ a Glass, who went away. And this Informant was afraid
of her Child, remembering she was thought to have bewitched _Richard
Harvey’s_ Wife.

‘This Informant further saith, That on _Sunday_ following, she was at her
brother _Jeremy Harvey’s_ House, with her Child, and that her Child was
taken in a grievous Condition, stark Distracted, and so died on the
Thursday following; and this Informant saith, she thinks _Jane Wenham_
bewitched her Child; and saith also, that Jane Wenham has had the
Reputation of a Witch for several Years before.

‘_Thomas Adams_, Junior, of _Walkerne_, maketh Oath, that about Three
Weeks, or a month before _Christmas last_, he met _Jane Wenham_ in his
Turnip Field, with a few of his Turnips, which she was carrying away; and
upon his Threatning her, she threw them down; he, this Informant, told her
she might keep them, for she should pay dear for them; then she was very
submissive, and begg’d Pardon, saying, she had no Victuals all that day,
and had no money to buy any; afterwards, they parted, and he saw her not
after; But, on _Christmas-Day_ Morning, One of his best Sheep died without
any Signs of Illness found upon the Body after it was open’d, and Nine or
Ten Days after, died another Sheep, in an unaccountable Manner; and,
shortly after, Two more Sheep died also, some of them having no Marks of
Disease upon ’em, but being sound in all their Parts, as his Shepherd
informs him. He also saith that his Shepherd tells him that one other
Sheep was taken strangely, skipping and standing upon its Head, but in
half an Hour was well, and continues so; and another Sheep was likewise
Ill, Two or Three Days, but it is now well again: And _Jane Wenham_ having
the Common Fame of a Witch, he does believe that if they were bewitch’d,
she did bewitch them.’

All these charges convinced the jury that she was indeed a witch, and the
judge had no option but to sentence her; but he got her a reprieve, and
she was let out of prison, when she was kindly befriended by Colonel
Plummer, of Gilston, who gave her a cottage in which she harmlessly lived
the remainder of her days.

But although this was the last capital conviction in England, the belief
in witchcraft was far from dead; nay, it is still living in some remote
districts, but cannot long exist, as education makes its way.


    Scotch Witches--Bessie Dunlop--Alesoun Peirson--Dr. John Fian--The
    Devil a Preacher--Examination of Agnes Sampson--Confession of Issobel

But Scotland was the real home of the witch. Comparatively speaking, the
English hardly knew what a witch was, and the reports of trials are so
numerous that space prohibits my making more than a selection of them.
Witches were important personages--at least, in the sixteenth century--for
we read in the trial of Bessie Dunlop, 1576, how many noble ladies
consulted her. ‘And demandit,--To quhom sche applyit the powder in drink?
Declarit,--That the Lady Johnstoune the elder, send to hir ane servand of
the said ladies, &c ... Interrogat--Quhair sche gaif the gentile woman the
drink? Answerit--In hir awin sisteris hous, the young Ladye Blakhallis....
Demandit--Gif ony uther personnes had bene at hir for the lyke caus?
Declarit--That the Lady Kilbowye elder, send for hir &c....
Demandit--Quhat personnes thar wer? Answerit--The Ladye Thridpairt in the
barronye of Renfrew, send to hir, and sperit at her, Quha was it that had
stollin from hir twa hornis of gold, and are croune of the sone, out of
hir pyrse?... The Ladye Blaire sundrie times had spokin with hir, about
sum claise that was stollin fra hir.’

Again, in the trial of Alesoun Peirson, May 28, 1588: ‘And in speciall,
scho said, that he tauld hir that the Bischop of Sanct Androus[56] had
mony seiknessis, as the trimbling fewer,[57] the palp,[58] the
rippilis,[59] and the flexus;[60] and baid hir mak ane faw,[61] and rub it
on his cheikis, his craig, his breist, stommak and sydis.’

A favourite place of meeting, where they held their Sabbat, was at North
Berwick-Kirk. In the trial of Johnne Feane, alias Cwninghame, December 26,
1590, we find: ‘Item. Fylit, ffor being in cumpany with Satan in the Kirk
of North Berwick, quhair he apperit to him in the forme of ane blak maun
within the pulpett thairof; and efter his out-cuminge of the Kirk, poyntit
the graues and stwid aboue thame; quhilkis wer opnit in thre sindrie
pairtis, twa within and ane without; quhilk the wemen demembrit the deid
corps and bodeis being thairin, with thair galleis;[62] and in contment
wes transportit, without wordis.... Item. Fylit. for being in North
Berwick Kirk, at ane conventioune with Sathan and utheris witches; quhair
Sathan maid ane dewelisch sermon, quhair the said Johnne satt uponne the
left syde of the pulppett, narrest him; And the sermon being endit, he
came doune and tuke the said Johnne be the hand; and led him
widderschinnis[63] about.’

In ‘A True Discourse of the apprehension of Sundrie Witches lately taken
in Scotland,’ etc., 1591, is the following ‘Item. The said Agnis Tompson
(Sampson) was after brought againe before the Kinges Majestie and his
Councell, and beeing examined of the meetings and detestable dealings of
those witches, she confessed, that upon the night of Allhollow Even last,
shee was accompanied, as well with the persons aforesaide, as also with a
great many other witches, to the number of two hundreth, and that all they
together went to Sea, each one in a riddle or cive, and went into the same
very substantially, with flaggons of wine, making merrie and drinking by
the way, in the same riddles or cives, to the Kirk of North Barrick in
Lowthian; and that after they had landed, tooke handes on the lande, and
daunced this reill or short daunce, singing all with one voice,

  ‘“Commer goe ye before, commer goe ye,
    Gif ye will not goe before, commer let me.”

‘At which time shee confessed, that this Geillis Duncane did goe before
them, playing this reill or daunce, uppon a small trumpe, called a Jewe’s
trump, untill they entred into the Kirk of North Barrick.’

This Agnes Sampson was tried on January 27, 1591, for conspiring the
King’s death, witchcraft, sorcery, incantation, etc., and her ultimate
fate was ‘to be tane to the Castle (hill) of Edinburgh, and thair bund to
ane staik and werreit (strangled), quhill sche wes deid; and thairefter
her body to be brunt in assis.’

‘Item, fylit and convict, ffor as mekle as sche confest before his
Maiestie, That the Dewill, in mannis liknes, mett hir going out in the
fieldis frome hir awin hous att Keyth, betwix fyve and sax at ewin, being
hir allane; and commandit hir to be at North Bervick Kirk the nixt nycht:
And she passit thair on horsbak, and lychtit at the Kirk yaird. Or a
lytill before sche come to itt, about ellewin houris att ewin, they
danceit alangis the Kirk yaird, Gelie Duncan playit to thame one a trump.’

She then gives the names of many who were present. ‘Quhairof thair wes sax
men, and all the rest wemen. The wemen maid fyrst thair homage, and nixt
the men. The men wer turnit nyne tymes widderschinnes about, and the wemen
sax tymes. Johnne Fien blew up the duris, and blew in the lychtis,
quhilkis wer lyke mekle blak candillis, stiking round about the pulpett.
The Devill start up himselff in the pulpett, lyke are mekle blak man, and
callit ewerie man be his name, and ewerie ane ansuerit: “Heir, Mr.” The
fyrst thing he demandit, was “Gif thay kepit all promeis, and bene guid
servandis?” and “Quhat thay had done since the last tyme thay had
convenit?”--One his command, thay opnit up the graves, twa within and ane
without the kirk, and tuik of the jountis of thair fingaris, tais and
neife,[64] and partit thame amangis thame: and the said Agnes Sampsoune
gatt for hir pairt, ane windene scheit and twa jountis, quhilk sche tint
negligentlie. The Devill commandit thame to keip the jountis upoun thame,
quhill thay wer dry, and thane to mak ane powder of thame, to do ewill
withall. Then he commandit thame to keip his commandmentis, quhilkis war,
to do all the ewill they could.’

Their initiation was similar to their English sisters’, as the aforesaid
Agnes Sampson affirms. ‘The fyrst tyme sche begane to serue the Dewill,
was eftir the death of hir husband; and that he apperit to hir, in liknes
of ane man, quha commandit hir to acknowledge him as hir maister, and to
renunce Chryste; quhairunto sche grant it, being movit be pouertie and his
promesis, that sche and hir bairnis sould be maid ritch, and sould gif hir
power to be revangeit of hir inimeis; and eftir that, he appointit tyme
and place for thair nycht meting; and that tyme, in signe that sche wes
becum his seruand, he markit hir in the rycht kne, quhilk mark sche
belevit to haif bene ane hurt ressavit be hir fra ane of hir bairnies that
wes lyand in the bed with hir; quhilk hurt wes nocht haill for half ane

Before finishing with this lady, I must give another portion of her most
extraordinary confession. ‘Moreover she confessed, that, at the time when
his Majestie was in Denmarke, shee being accompanied by the parties before
speciallie named, took a cat, and christened it, and afterwards bounde to
each part of that cat, the cheefest part of a dead man, and severall
joyntis of his bodie: And that, in the night following, the saide cat was
convayed into the middest of the sea by all these witches, sayling in
their riddles or cives, and so left the saide cat right before the towne
of Leith in Scotland. This doone, there did arise such a tempest in the
sea, as a greater hath not beene seene.’

This was the way they baptized the cat: ‘In the wobstaris[65] hous, in
maner following: Fyrst, twa of thame held ane fingar,[66] in the ane syd
of the chimnay cruik, and ane uther held ane uther fingar in the uther
syd, the twa nebbis[67] of the fingaris meeting togidder; than thay patt
the catt thryis throw the linkis of the cruik, and passit itt thryis under
the chimnay.’

The confession of Issobell Gowdie, May 3, 1662, although it is somewhat
mutilated, gives us a good insight into the manners and customs of Scotch

‘Efter that tym ther vold meit bot sometymes a _Coven_, somtymes mor,
somtymes les; bot a Grand Meitting vold be about the end of ilk Quarter.
Ther is threttein persones in ilk _Coven_; and ilk on of us has a _Spirit_
to wait wpon us, quhan ve pleas to call wpon him. I remember not all the
Spritis names; bot thair is on called _Swein_, quhilk waitis wpon the said
Margaret Wilson in Aulderne; he is still[68] clothed in grass grein; and
the said Margret Wilson hes an niknam called _Pikle neirest the Wind_. The
nixt Sprit is called _Rorie_ who waitis wpon Bessie Wilsone, in Aulderne;
he is still clothed in yallow; and hir nikname is _Throw the Corne yaird_.
The third Sprit is called _The Roring Lyon_, who waitis wpon Issobell
Nicoll in Locklow; and [he is still clothed] in sea grein; her niknam is
_Bessie Rule_. The fowrth Sprit is called _Mak Hector_, qwho waitis wpon
Jean Martein, dawghter to the said Margaret Wilson; he is a yowng-lik
Devill, clothed still in grass [green. Jean Martein is] _Maiden_ to the
Coven that I am of; and hir nikname is _Over the Dyke with it_, becaws the
_Divill_ [alwayis takis the] Maiden in his hand nix him, quhan ve daunce
Gillatrypes, and quhan he vold lowp from ...[69] he and she will say,
“Ower the dyk with it.” The name of the fyft Sprit is _Robert the_ [_Rule_
and he is still clothed in] sadd dun, and seimis to be a Comander of the
rest of the Spiritis; and he waittis wpon Margret Brodie, in Aulderne.
[The name of the saxt Spirit] is called _Thieff of Hell wait upon hir
selfe_, and he waitis also on the said Bessie Wilson. The name of the
sevinth [Sprit is called] _The Read Reiver_, and he is my owin Spirit,
that waittis on my selfe, and is still clothed in blak. The aught Spirit
[is called] _Robert the Jackis_, still clothed in dune, and seimes to be
aiged. He is ane glaiked gowked Spirit! The woman’s [nikname] that he
waitis on, is _Able and Stowt_! The nynth Spirit is called _Laing_, and
the womans nikname that he vaitis wpon is _Bessie Bauld_. The Tenth Spirit
is named _Thomas a Fearie_, &c.--Ther wil be many uther Divellis, waiting
wpon [our] _Maister Divell_; bot he is bigger and mor awfull than the rest
of the Divellis, and they all reverence him. I will ken them all, on by
on, from utheris, quhan they appeir lyk a man.

‘Quhan we rease the wind, we tak a rag of cloth, and weitts[70] it in
water; and we take a beetle[71] and knokis the rage on a stone, and we
say thryse ower:

  ‘“I _knok_ this ragg wpon this stane,
    To raise the wind, in _the Divellis_ name;
    It sall not lye,[72] untill I please againe!”

‘[Whan] we wold lay the wind, we dry the ragg, and say [thryse ower]:

  ‘“We lay the wind in _the Divellis_ name,
    [It sall not] ryse quhill we lyk to rease it again!”

‘And if the wind will not lye instantlie [after we say this] we call wpon
owr Spirit, and say to him:

  ‘“Thieffe! Thieffe! conjure the wind, and caws it to [lye ...]”

‘We haw no power of rain, bot ve will rease the wind quhan ve pleas.--He
maid us beliew [...] that ther wes no _God_ besyd him.

‘As for Elf-arrow-heidis, _the Diuell_ shapes them with his awin hand, and
syne deliueris thame to Elf-boyes, who whyttis and dightis[73] them with a
sharp thing lyk a paking neidle; bot [quhan I was in Elfland?] I saw them
whytting and dighting them. Quhan I wes in the Elfes howssis, they will
haw werie ... them whytting and dighting: and _the Diwell_ giwes them to
ws, each of ws so many, quhen.... Thes that dightis thaim ar litle ones,
holow, and boss baked![74] They speak gowstie[75] lyk. Quhen _the Divell_
giwes them to ws, he sayes:

  ‘“Shoot thes in my name,
    And they sall not goe heall hame!”

‘And quhan we shoot these arrowes we say:

  ‘“I _shoot_ yon man in _the Divellis_ name,
    He sall not win heall hame!
    And this sal be alswa trw;
    Thair sall not be an bit of him on lieiw.”[76]

‘We haw no bow to shoot with, but spang[77] them from the naillis of our
thowmbes. Som tymes we will misse, bot if thay twitch[78] be it beast, or
man, or woman, it will kill, tho’ they haid an jack[79] wpon them. Qwhen
we goe in the shape of an haire, we say thryse owr:

  ‘“I sall goe intill ane haire,
    With sorrow, and sych, and meikle caire;
    And I sall goe in _the Divellis_ nam,
    Ay whill I com hom [againe]!”

‘And instantlie we start in an hair, And when we wold be owt of that
shape, we vill say:

  ‘“Haire [haire, God send the caire!]
    I am in an hairis liknes just now,
    But I sal be in a womanis liknes ewin [now]!”

‘When we vold goe in the liknes of an Cat, we say thryse ower:

  ‘“I sall go [intill ane catt,]
    [With sorrow, and sych, and a blak] shot!
    And I sall goe in _the Divellis_ nam,
    Ay quhill I com hom again!”

‘And if ve [wold goe in ane Craw,[80] then] we say thryse ower:

  ‘“I sall goe intill a craw,
    With sorrow and sych, and a blak [thraw!
    And I sall goe in _the Divellis_ nam,]
    Ay quhill I com hom again!”

‘And quhen ve vold be owt of thes shapes, we say:

  “Catt, catt, (or craw, craw,) [God] send the a blak shott! (or thraw)
        I wes a catt (or craw) just now,
        Bot I sal be [in a woman’s liknes evin now.]
   Catt, catt, (or craw, craw,) God send the a blak shot! (or thraw).”

‘Giff we in the [shape of an catt, an craw, an] haire, or ony uther
liknes, &c., go to any of our neighbouris howssis, being Witches, we will

  “[I (or we) _conjure_] the Goe with ws (or me)!”

‘And presentlie they becom as we ar, either cats, hearis, crowes, &c., and
goe [with ws whither we wold. Quhan] we wold ryd, we tak windlestrawes, or
bean stakes,[81] and put them betwixt owr foot, and say thryse:

  ‘“[Horse] and hattok, horse and goe,
    Horse and pellatis, ho! ho!”

‘And immediatlie we flie away whair [evir we wold]; and least our
husbandis sould miss vs owt of owr beddis, we put in a boosom,[82] or a
thrie [leggit stoole besyde thame] and say thryse ower:

  “I _lay_ down this boosom (or stooll) in _the Devillis_ name
   Let it not steir ... [Quhill I] com again!”

‘And immediatlie it seimis a voman, besyd our husbandis.

‘Ve can not turn in the lik[nes of ...] Quhen my husband sold beeff, I
used to put a swellowes feather in the hyd of the beast, and [say thryse]:

  “[I] _putt_ out this beeff in _the Divellis_ nam,
   That meikle silver and good pryce com hame!”

‘I did ewin so [quhenevir I putt] furth either horse, noat,[83] vebs,[84]
or any uther thing to be sold, and still put in this feather, and said the
[samin wordis thryse] ower, to caws the comodities sell weill.

  “Our Lord to hunting he [is gone]
                 ... marble stone,
   He sent vord to Saint Knitt....”

Quhan we vold heall ony sor or brokin limb, we say thryse ower

  “He pat the blood to the blood, Till all up stood!
   The lith to the lith, Till all look with;
   Owr Ladie charmed her deirlie Sone, with hir tooth and her townge,
   And her ten fingeris----
   In the name of _the Father_, _the Son_, and _the Halie Ghaist_!”

‘And this we say thryse ower, straiking[85] the sor, and it becomes heall.

‘2{dli} For the Bean-straw,[86] or pain in the heaunce,[87] _Wee_ ar heir
thrie _Maidens_ charming for the bean-straw; y{e} man of the Midle-earth,
blew beaver, land-feaver, maneris of stooris, The Lord fleigged[88] the
Feind with his holy candles and yeird foot stone!--Thair she sittis, and
heir she is gon!--Let hir nevir com heir again!

3{dli} For _the Feaveris_, we say thrise ower, I _forbid_ the
qwaking-feavers, the sea-feaveris, the land-feaveris, and all the feaveris
that ewir God ordained, owt of the head, owt of the heart, owt of the bak,
owt of the sydis, owt of the kneyis, owt of the thieghes, fra the pointis
of the fingeris, to the nebes[89] of the toes; owt fall the feaveris goe,
[som] to the hill, som to the hap, som to the stone, som to the stok. In
Saint Peiteris nam, Saint Paullis nam, and all the Saintis of Hevin: In
the nam of _The Father_, _the Sone_, and _The Halie Gost_!

‘And when we took the frwit of the fishes from [the] fisheris, we went to
the shore, before the boat wold com to it; and we wold say, on the shore
syd, thrie seuerall tymes ower,

  ‘“The fisheris ar gon to the sea,
    And they vill bring hom fishe to me;
    They will bring them hom intill the boat,
    Bot they sall get of thaim bot the smaller sort!”

So we either steall a fish, or buy a fish, or get a fish from them [for
nowght] an or ma.[90] And with that we haw all the fruit of the heall
fishes in the boat; and the fishes that the fishermen thamselues will haw,
will be bot froath &c.

‘The first woyag that ewer I went with the rest of owr _Covens_ wes to
Plewghlandis; and thair we shot an man betwixt the plewgh-stiltis, and he
presentlie fell to the ground, wpon his neise and his mowth; and then _the
Divell_ gaw me an arrow, and cawsed me shoot an voman in that fieldis;
quhilk I did, and she fell down dead. In Winter 1660, quhen Mr. Harie
Forbes, Minister at Aulderne, was seik, we maid an bagg of the gallis,
flesh, and guttis of toadis, pickles of bear,[91] pairingis of the nailis
of fingeris and toes, the liewer of ane hair, and bittis of clowtis. We
steipit this all together, all night among watter, all haked[92] throw
uther. And whan we did put it among the water, _Satan_ wes with ws, and
learned ws the wordis following, to say thryse ower. They ar thus.

       ‘“_He_ is lying in his bed,--he is lyeing seik and sair;
         Let him lye intill his bed two monethes and [thrie] dayes mair!
  2{li}. Let him lye intill his bed--let him lye intill it seik and sore;
         Let him lye intill his bed, monthis two and thrie dayes mor!
  3{li}. He sall lye intill his bed, he sall lye in it seik and sore;
         He sall lye intill his bed, two monethis and thrie dayes mor!”

‘Quhan we haid learned all these wordis from _the Devill_, as said is, we
all fell down [wpon owr] kneis, with owr hear down ower owr showlderis and
eyes, and owr handis lifted wp, and owr eyes [stedfastlie fixed wpon] _the
Divell_; and said the forsaidis wordis thryse ower to _the Divell_,
striktlie, against Maister Harie Forbes [his recowering from the said
seiknes]. In the night tym we cam into Mr. Harie Forbes chalmer, quhair he
lay, with owr handis all smeared [... out] of the bagg to swing it upon
Mr. Harie, quhair he wes seik in his bed; and, in the day tyme [... ane of
owr] nwmber, quho wes most familiar and intimat with him, to wring or
swing the bagg wpon the said Mr. Harie, as we could not prevaill in the
night tym against him; quhilk wes accordinglie done.’

‘_Johne Taylor_ and his wyff, _Bessie_, and _Margret Wilsones_, and I,
maid a pictur for the _Laird of Parkis_ maill children. _Johnne Taylor_
brought hom the clay in his plaid newk;[93] his wyff sifted it; we poured
in water in a cowg[94] amongst it, and wrought it sor,[95] and maid a
pictor of it, lyk a child, als big as a pow. It vanted no mark of the imag
of a bairn, eyes, nose, mouth, little lippies, and the hands of it folded
down by its sydis. The vordis, quhan we maid it, ver thes:

  ‘“We put this water among this meall,
    For long divining,[96] and ill heall;
    We put it intill the fyr,
    To burn them up both stik and stour,
    That be burnt with our will,
    As any stikill[97] on a kill!”

_The Divell_ sitton on an blak kist. Ve wer al on owr kneyis, and owr hair
about our eyes, looking on _the Divell_ stedfastlie, and our handis lifted
up to him, saying the vordes ower. And by this the bairnis died.’


    Early Witchcraft in Scotland--Lady Glamys--Bessie Dunlop--Lady
    Foulis--Numerous Cases.

Witchcraft in Scotland began early, for we hear of some dozen or more
people being burnt at Edinburgh in 1479, for attempting to bewitch the
King, James III., to death, by means of a waxen image. In the proclamation
of 1510, for regulating the proceedings at circuit courts the judges are
instructed to ask the question, ‘Gif thair be ony Wichecraift or Soffary
wsit in y{e} realme?’ but it was not until the passing of the Act of 1563
that the regular persecution of these deluded people began.

The first recorded case of witchcraft that I can find in Pitcairn’s
‘Criminal Trials in Scotland,’ is that of Lady Glamys, where we read:

‘31 Jan. 1532. _Jonet, Lady Glammys_ found _John Drummond_ of
_Innerpeffery_ as surety for her appearance at the next Justice-aire of
_Forfar_, to underly the law for art and part of the Intoxication of
_John, Lord Glammys_, her husband.’

That considerable sympathy was felt with her is shown by the number of
gentlemen who preferred being fined to giving evidence in her case. But
this can scarcely be called a case of witchcraft. She was certainly
accused of trying to poison her husband by means of charmed drinks, but
the chief accusation brought against her at her trial in 1537, by the
malice of her husband’s brother, was attempting to poison the King, a
charge which she disposed of easily in her defence. Said she:

‘I am here accus’d for purposing to kill _the King_; and, to make my
pretended crime appear more frightful, it is given out that the way was to
be by poison. With what strange impudence can any accuse me of such
wickedness who never saw any poison, nor know I anything about the
preparation of it? Let them tell where I bought it, or who procur’d it for
me? Or, though I had it, how could I use it, since I never come near _the
King’s_ person, his table, nor Palace? It is well known, that, since my
last marriage with this unfortunate gentleman, I have liv’d in the
country, at a great distance from the Court. What opportunity could I have
to poison _the King_?’

But it was of no avail, she was to die, and this is her sentence:

‘For the quhilkis tressonable crimes, the said Jonet, Lady of Glammys hes
foirfallit to oure souerane lord, hir life, hir landis, gudis movable and
unmovable: And that scho sall be had to Castell hill of Edinburghe, and
their BRYNT in ane fyre to the deid, as ane Traytour. And that I gif for

An historian[98] says: ‘She heard the sentence pronounced without the
least signe of terrour or concern. On the day appointed for her
Execution, she suffered on the _Castle-Hill_ of _Edinburgh_, where she
appear’d with so much beauty and little concern, that all the spectators
were so deeply afflicted for her, that they burst out with tears and loud
lamentations for her untimely end, and were so confident of her Innocence,
that they design’d to rescue her. But _the King’s_ Officers and Guards
being present, hinder’d their attempting anything that way.’

The foregoing is evidently more a political case than one of witchcraft,
the earliest of which existing in the records of the High Court of
Justiciary in Scotland is June 26, 1563: ‘_Agnes Mullikine_, alias _Bessie
Boswell_, in Dunfermeling, wes _Banist_ and _exilit_ for Witchcraft.’ The
next is December 29, 1572: ‘_Jonet Boyman_, spous to _Williame Steill_,
Delatit of diuerse crymes of Witchcraft. _Convict and Brint._’

The next is most interesting, although it savours more of Elfland than of
_diablerie_, and is dated November 8, 1576:

‘_Elizabeth_, or _Bessie Dunlop_, spous to _Andro Jak_ in _Lyne_.[99]
Dilatit of the using of Sorcerie, Witchcraft, and Incantatione of spretis
of the devill; continewand in familiaritie with thame, at all sic tymes as
sche thocht expedient: deling with charmes, and abusing the peple with
devillisch craft of sorcerie foresaid, be the meanis after specefeit; usit
thir diuerse geiris bypast; specialie, at the tymes and in the maner

‘In the first, That fforsamekle as the said Elizabeth being demandit, be
quhat art and knaulege sche could tell diuerse personnes of thingis thai
tynt, or was stollin away, or help seik personnes? Ansuerit and declarit,
that sche hirself had na kynd of art nor science swa to do; but diuerse
tymes, quhen onye sic personnes come ather to hir, sche wald inquire at
ane Thome Reid, quha deit at Pinkye,[100] as he himselff affirmit; wha
wald tell hir, quhen euer sche askit.--

‘(2) Item. Sche being inquirit, quhat kynd of man this Thom Reid was?
Declarit, he was ane honest wele elderlie man, gray beardit, and had ane
gray coitt with Lumbart slevis of the auld fassoun; ane pair of gray
brekis, and quhyte schankis, gartanit aboue the kne: ane blak bonet on his
heid, cloise behind and plane befoir, with silkin laissis drawin throw the
lippis thairof; and ane quhyte wand in his hand.

‘(3) Item. Being interrogat, how and in quhat maner of place the said
Thome Reid came to hir? Ansuerit, as sche was gangand betwix hir awin
hous, and the yard of Monk castell, dryvand hir ky to the pasture; and
makand hevye sair dule[101] with hir self, gretand[102] verrie fast for
hir kow that was deid, hir husband and chyld, that wer lyand seik in the
land, and sche new rissine out of gissane.[103] The forsaid Thom mett her
by the way, healsit[104] hir, and said, “Gude day, Bessie;” and sche said,
“God speid yow, gude man.” “_Sancta Marie_” saide he, “Bessie quhy makis
thow sa grit dule and sair greting for ony warldlie thing?” Sche ansuerit,
“Allace! haif I nocht grit caus to mak grit dule? ffor our geir is
trakit;[105] and my husband is on the point of deid, and ane babie of my
awin will nocht leve; and myself at ane waik point; haif I nocht gude caus
thane to haif ane sair hart?” But Thom said, “Bessie, thow hes crabit[106]
God, and askit sum thing you suld nocht haif done; and, thairfor, I
counsell thee to mend to him: for I tell thee thy barne sall die, and the
seik kow, or you cum hame; thy twa scheip sall de to; bot thy husband sall
mend, and be als haill and feir as euir he was.” And, than, I was sum
thing blyther, fra he tauld me that my gudeman wald mend. Than Thome Reid
went away fra me, in throw the yard of Monk castell; and I thocht he gait
in at ane naroware hoill of the dyke, nor ony erdlie man culd haif gane
throw, and swa I was sum thing fleit.[107]

‘(4) Item. The thrid [? second] tyme, he apperit to hir, as sche was
gangand betwix hir awin hous and the Thome of Damwstarnok, quhair he
tareit ane gude quhyle with hir, and sperit at hir, “Gif sche wald nocht
trow[108] in him?” Sche said, “Sche wald trow in ony bodye did her gude.”
And Thom promeist hir baith geir, horsis, and ky, and uther graith, gif
scho wald denye hir Christindome, and the faith sche tuke at the funt
stane?[109] Quhairunto sche ansuerit, “That gif sche suld be revin[110] at
horsis-taillis sche suld neuir do that:” bot promeist to be leill and
trew to him in onye thing sche culd do. And, forder, he was sumthing
angrie with hir that sche wald nocht grant to him that quhilk he spak.

‘(5) Item. The ferd tyme he apperit in hir awin hous to hir, about the XII
hour of the day, quhair thair was sittand thre tailyeouris, and hir awin
gudeman; and he tuke hir apperoun and led hir to the dure with him, and
sche followit, and geid[111] up with him to the kill end, quhair he
forbaid hir to speik or feir for ony thing sche hard or saw; and quhene
thai had gane ane lytle pece fordwerd, sche saw twelf personnes, aucht
wemene and four men: The men wer clad in gentlemennis clething, and the
wemene had all plaiddis round about thame, and wer verrie semelie lyke to
se; and Thome was with theme: And demandit, “Gif sche knew ony of thame?”
Ansuerit, “Nane, except Thom.” Demandit, “What said thai to hir?”
Ansuerit, “Thai baid hir sit doun, and said, Welcome Bessie, will thow go
with ws?” Bot sche ansuerit nocht; because Thom had forbidden hir. And,
forder, declarit, That sche knew nocht quhat purpois thai had amangis
thaime, onlie sche saw thair lippis move; and within a schort space thai
pairtit all away; and ane hiddeous uglie sowche of wind followit thame;
and sche lay seik quhill Thom came agane bak fra thame.

‘(6) Item. Sche being demandit, Gif sche sperit at Thom quhat personnes
thai war? Ansuerit, That thai war the gude wychtis that wynnit in the
Court of Elfame,[112] quha come thair to desyre hir to go with thame;
and, forder, Thom desyrit hir to do the sam; quha ansuerit, “Sche saw na
proffeit to gang thai kynd of gaittis, unles sche kend quhairfor!” Thom
said, “Seis thow nocht me, baith meit-worth, claith-worth, and gude eneugh
lyke in personn; and he suld make hir far better nor euer sche was?” Sche
ansuerit, “That sche duelt with hir awin husband and bairnis, and culd
nocht leif thame.” And swa Thom began to be verrie crabit with hir, and
said, “Gif swo sche thocht, sche wald get lytill gude of him.”

‘(7) Interrogat. Gif sche had socht ony thing at Thom, to help hir self,
or ony uther with? Ansuerit, That quhen sundrie personnes cam to hir to
seik help for thair beist, their kow, or yow,[113] or for ane barne that
was tane away with ane evill blast of wind, or elf-grippit, she gait[114]
and sperit at Thom, Quhat mycht help thame? And Thom wald pull ane herb,
and gif hir out of his awin hand; and baid hir scheir[115] the samin with
onye uthir kynd of herbis, and oppin the beistis mouth, and put thame in,
and the beist wald mend.’

Altogether, she seems to have been a kindly-disposed and beneficent witch;
but that did not save her from the sentence--‘Convict and Brynt.’

The annals of Scotch witchcraft are tame until we come to the case of
Katherine Ross, Lady Foulis, July 22, 1590, who had enough to answer for,
as she was accused of witchcraft, incantation, sorcery, and poisoning, her
object being to poison her stepson, Robert Munro, then Lord Foulis, and
Margery Campbell, wife to George Ross, Lord of Balnagowan. Several of her
confederates had been tried and burnt, confessing the plot, before Lady
Foulis’s trial; but she had great interest, and both she and her stepson
Hector Munro were acquitted. Her accusation is very long, so that I must
leave all mention of the poisoning, and only take a portion of that
relating to the witchcraft:

‘Thou art now accusit, for the making of twa pictouris of clay, in cumpany
with the said Cristiane Roiss and Marionne Neyne M{c}Allester, alias
_Loskie Loucart_, in the said Cristian Roissis westir chalmer in Canorth;
the ane, maid for the distructioune and consumptioune of the young Laird
of Fowlis, and the uthir for the young Ladie Balnagoune; to the effect
that the are thairof sould be putt at the Brigend of Fowles, and the uther
at Ardmoir, for distructioun of the saidis young Laird and Lady: And this
sould haif bene performit at Allhallow-mes, in the year of God
I{m}V{c}lxxvij yeiris: Quhilkis twa pictouris, being sett on the north syd
of the Chalmer, the said Loskie Loucart tuik twa elf arrow heides, and
delyuerit ane to you Katherene, and the uther, the said Cristian Rois
Malcumsone held in her awin hand; and thow schott twa schottis with the
said arrow held, att the said Lady Balnagowne, and Loskie Loucart schott
thrie schottis at the said young Laird of Fowlis. In the meanetyme, baith
the pictouris brak, and thou commandit Loskie Loucart to mak of new uthir
twa pictouris thereaftir, for the said personnes: quhilk the said Loskie
Loucart tuik upon hand to do.... Thou art now accusit, for assisting the
said Thomas, Cristaine Malcomsone and Marionne Nieyn M{c}Allaster, upoun
the secund day of Julij, anno threscoir sevintene yeiris, for making of
ane pictur of butter to the said young Robert Munro, Laird of Fowlis, in
the said house of Caynort, be the devyse and consultatioune of the said
Donald and Williame M{c}Gilleuerie, and the said pictur of buttir, aftir
it wes maid, wes set at the wall-syd, in the vester chalmer of the said
hous of Coynard, and wes schot at with ane elf-arrow-heid be the said
Marionne Neyuen M{c}Alester, alias _Loske Loucart_, aucht tymes; quhilk
pictur scho mist, and haid hit no pairt thairof: And thow and Cristane
Malcomsoune being present in the said chalmer, att the schotting of the
said pictur, thinkand gane[116] the pictur were hit, it wald be for the
distructioune of the young Laird of Fowlis: Lykas,[117] said Thomas was
convict for the samin, and sufferit the deid.

‘Als. thow art accusit, for being in cumpanie with Cristaine Malcomsonne
and Marionne Neyn M{c}Allester, _alias Loske Loucart_, with the deuyse and
consultatioune of Donald and William M{c}Gilliourois, made ane uther
pictur of clay to the said Robert Munro, young Laird of Fowlis, in the
said hous of Conord; and so it was maid upoune the morne, the vj day of
Julij anno lxxvij yeiris; They sat the pictur at the wall-syd of the
chalmer of the said hous, and wes schott be the said Loske Loucart, with
the said elf-arrow, tuelf tymes, and mist the said pictur: And persauing
that ye mist the samin efter euerie schott, and maid the said pictur
diuerse and sindrie tymes, yit the samin tuk nocht effect to thair
purpoise; thow and the said tua womene, thy collegis, being present for
the tyme, and uising[118] ane takin of the samin; the said Cristaine Ross
Malcomsoune haid provydeit thre quarteris of fine linning claithe for the
picturis, gif thay haid bene hit with the elf-arrow-heid, and the linning
to be bound about the said picturis, and the picturis to haue bene
erdit[119] under the Brig end of the Stauk of Fowlis, fornent the
get,’[120] etc.

The Scotch stories of witchcraft are quite as many as the English, and the
so-called witches executed are far more numerous; the last one being
burnt, as I have said, in 1727. In June, 1736, the Acts anent witchcraft
were repealed; but I much fear that there is still a hankering after
belief in it in many parts of Scotland.


    Witchcraft in America--In Illinois: Moreau and Emmanuel--In Virginia:
    Case of Grace Sherwood--In Pennsylvania: Two Swedish Women--In South
    Carolina--In Connecticut: Many Cases--In Massachusetts: Margaret
    Jones; Mary Parsons; Ann Hibbins; Other Cases.

North America has been colonized by the British long enough to have
enjoyed the visitations of the Devil. And the present Americans, judging
by the amount of literature written thereon,[121] seem rather proud of his
having dwelt among them; it gives an air of antiquity, and an old-world
tone, to the favoured States, which is sadly lacking, and not otherwise
procurable, in those unvisited by his Satanic Majesty. As far as I know,
there have been but six or seven States troubled with witchcraft:
Virginia, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and

The latter is somewhat remarkable, as it was only received into the Union,
as a State, in 1818; yet I read, in ‘The Pioneer History of Illinois,’ by
ex-Governor John Reynolds (Bellville, Ill., 1852), pp. 142, 143, the

‘In early times the inhabitants of Illinois were in a small degree
tinctured with the absurdity and nonsense of witchcraft and
fortune-telling; but in after-days this ignorant superstition has entirely
disappeared.... It was the belief of some people, and families, that an
old woman living on Silver Creek, Illinois, had the power of witchcraft,
to take milk from her neighbours’ cows, without seeing or touching

‘In Cahokia, about the year 1790, this superstition [witchcraft] got the
upper hand of reason, and several poor African slaves were immolated at
the shrine of ignorance for this imaginary offence. An African negro,
named Moreau, was hung for this crime on a tree not far south-east of
Cahokia. It is stated that he had said, “he poisoned his master, but his
mistress was too strong for his necromancy.” Another slave, Emmanuel, was
shot, in Cahokia, for this crime, and an old woman, Janette, was supposed
to have the power to destroy persons and property by her incantations.
Many grown people, and all the children, were terrified at her approach.’

These two cases are verified by extracts from the ‘Record Book’ of Colonel
John Todd, Lieutenant-Commandant of the County of Illinois, under Governor
Patrick Henry, of the Commonwealth of Virginia:

‘Illinois to wit.

‘_To Richard Winston, Esq{re}, Sheriff in chief of the District of

‘Negro Manuel, a Slave, in your custody, is condemned by the Court of
Kaskaskia, after having made honorable fine at the door of the church, to
be chained to a post at the water side, and then to be burnt alive, and
his ashes scattered, as appears to me by record. This sentence you are
hereby required to put in execution, on tuesday next at 9 o’clock in the
morning, and this shall be your warrant.

    ‘Given under my hand and seal at Kaskaskia, the 13{th} day of June, in
    the 3{rd} year of the Commonwealth.’

    ‘_To Cap{t}. Nicolas Janis._

    ‘You are hereby required to call upon a party of your militia to guard
    Moreau, a slave condemned to execution, up to the town of Kohos. Put
    them under an officer. They shall be entitled to pay, rashions and
    refreshment during the time they shall be upon duty, to be certifyed
    hereafter by you.

      ‘I am, Sir, your hble servant,
        ‘JOHN TODD.

    ‘15{th} June 1779.’

Virginia, I believe, can only boast of one witch, and her case is not very
widely known. Princess Anne is the southernmost county of Virginia,
bounded on the north by Chesapeake Bay, and on the east by the Atlantic.
Lynhaven Bay is on the Chesapeake River; and there lived, in the days of
‘good Queen Anne,’ a young woman named Grace Sherwood, who was somewhat
shy in her dealings with her neighbours, probably because they invested
her with uncanny powers, and even said that she had voyaged across the
Atlantic, as far as the Mediterranean, in an eggshell; that on her
arrival, at the end of her journey, she had been so pleased with the smell
of the rosemary she had found growing there, that she brought back some of
the plants with her, and set them about her cottage. These evil rumours
were brought to the ears of the authorities, and Grace Sherwood was haled
before the justices assembled at Princess Anne Court House; and the entry
of her examination, etc., in the court record is as follows:

    ‘Princess Annes.

    ‘At a Court held y{e} 10th July 1706.

            { Col{o} Moseley     Capt. Moseley    }
    Present { Cap{t} Woodhouse   Jno. Cormick     } Justices.
            { Capt. Chapman      Capt. W{m} Smyth }
                     Richason--come late.

    [Sidenote: Grace Sherwood to be Ducked.]

    ‘Whereas Grace Sherwood being Suspected of Witchcraft--have a long
    time waited for a fit opportunity for a further Examination--and by
    her Consent, & Approbation of y{e} Court, it is ordered y{t} y{e}
    Sherr take all such Convenient assistance of boats and men, as shall
    be by him thought fit to meet & at John Harper’s plantation, in order
    to take y{e} said Grace Sherwood forthwith, & put her into water above
    man’s Debth & try her how she swims. Therein always having Care of her
    life to preserve her from Drowning & as soon as she comes Out y{t} he
    request as many Ancient and Knowing women as possible to come to Serch
    her Carefully for teat spotts and marks about her body not usual on
    Others & y{t} as they find y{e} same to make report on Oath To y{e}
    truth ther of to the Court; and, further, it is ordered y{t} Four
    women be requested to Shift and Serch her before she goo into y{e}
    water y{t} she carry nothing about her to cause any further Suspicion.

    [Sidenote: Order XX.]

    [Sidenote: Grace Sherwood Ducked, etc.]

    ‘Whereas on Complaint of Luke Hill in behalf of her Majesty y{t} now
    is ag{t} Grace Sherwood for a person Suspected of Witch craft & having
    had Sundry Evidences sworn ag{t} her, proving many Circumstances to
    which She could not make any Excuse, Little or Nothing to say in her
    own behalf, only Seamed to Rely on w{t} y{e} Court should doo, and
    there upon Consented to be tryed in y{e} Water, & Like-wise to be
    Serched again Bodily. Experiment being tried, She swiming w{en}
    therein, and bound Contrary to Custom & y{e} judg{t} of all y{e}
    Spectators, & afterward, being Serched, & five Ancient weomen who have
    all Declared on Oath y{t} she is not like y{em} nor noo Other women
    y{t} they know of ... all w{ch} Circumstances y{e} Court weighing in
    their Consideration, Doo there fore ord{r} y{t} y{e} Sherr take y{e}
    s{d} Grace Into his custody, and to comm{t} her body to ye Common Gaol
    of this County, there to secure her by irons or other Wise, there to
    Remain till Such time as shall be otherwise Directed in order for her
    comming to y{e} Common Gaol of y{e} County, to be brought to a future
    tryall there.

    ‘Edw{d} Moseley &
    ‘Jno Richason.’

As nothing more can be found respecting her, she was probably let go.

As a justice of the peace, William Penn had to sit in judgment upon two
Swedish women who were indicted as witches, and true bills were found
against them; but they got off, owing to some flaw in the indictment. And
this, as far as I know, is the sole instance of a trial for witchcraft in

Drake, in ‘Annals of Witchcraft,’ p. 215, says: ‘About this period [1712],
in the Colony of South Carolina, some suspected of witchcraft were seized
upon by a sort of ruffianly Vigilance Committee, and condemned to be
burnt, and were actually roasted by fire, although we do not learn that
the injuries thus inflicted proved fatal. The parties so tortured, or
their friends, brought action in the regular courts, for the recovery of
damages; but the jury gave them nothing.’

In the early days of Connecticut there were twelve crimes punishable by
death, according to the ‘Capitall Lawes, established by the General Court
the First of December 1642,’ the second of which is: ‘Yf any man or woman
be a witch (that is) hath, or consulteth w{th} a familliar spirit, they
shall be put to death. Ex. xxii. 18. Lev. xx. 27. Deu. xxvij. 10,
11.’[122] And they had not to wait long for a victim, for the last entry
in John Winthrop’s Journal for 1646 is, ‘One ... of Windsor arraigned and
executed at Hartford for a witch,’ Nothing more is _certainly_ known of
this case, which is memorable as being the first execution for witchcraft
in New England.

The Connecticut Legislature also applied the same law, somewhat modified,
to the Pequot Indians, on May 31, 1675:[123] ‘(2) That whosoever shall
_powau_, or use witchcraft, or any worship to the divill, or any fals god,
shall be convented and punished.’

The following are the known cases of witchcraft in Connecticut; but, as
far as I can see, none present any particular features of interest for the

  1646. Winthrop’s ‘One ... of Windsor’                  executed.

  1648. Mary Jonson, of Hartford or Wethersfield         do.

  1651. Mr. and Mrs. Carrington, of Wethersfield         do.

   "    Goody Bassett, of Stratford                      do.

  1653. Goody Knapp, of Fairfield                        do.

  1658. Goody Garlick, of Easthampton, L.I.              acquitted.

  1661. Mr. and Mrs. Jennings, of Laybrook               freed by
                                                         of jury.

  1662. Mr. and Mrs. Greensmith, of Hartford             executed.

  1663. Mary Barnes, of Farmington                       do.

   "    Mrs. Elizabeth Seager, of Hartford (?)           acquitted.

   "    Mrs. Elizabeth Seager, of Hartford (2nd trial)   do.

  1665. Mrs. Elizabeth Seager, of Hartford (3rd trial)   convicted, but
                                                         freed by the

  1670. Katharine Harrison, of Wethersfield              convicted; the
                                                         court refused to
                                                         sentence, and
                                                         dismissed the

  1692. Mrs. Staples, of Fairfield                       acquitted.

   "    Goody Miller, of Fairfield                       do.

   "    Elizabeth Clawson, of Fairfield                  do.

   "    Mercy Disborough, of Fairfield                   convicted, but
                                                         probably pardoned
                                                         by the general

  1697. Mrs. Denham and daughter                         acquitted, perhaps
                                                         accused only
                                                         before the
                                                         grand jury.

But it was in Massachusetts that witchcraft was rampant. The Pilgrim
Fathers when they landed at Plymouth, on December 22, 1620, brought with
them from England the belief in witchcraft and the personality of the
Devil, which was then the creed of the majority of those living in the
mother country, and therefore they were no worse than their brethren or
parents. So that we must not blame them if we find among their early
records, dated New Plymouth, November 15, 1636, that they considered
witchcraft a capital crime, and enumerated as such directly after treason
and murder; and they defined the crime so punishable as ‘Solemne
compaction, or conversing with the divell, by way of witchcraft,
conjuration, or the like.’

The Devil, however, had got somehow into Massachusetts, for we read in
Governor Winthrop’s Journal that in 1639 ‘The Indians near Aquiday being
pawwawing in this tempest, the Devil came and fetched away five of them.

The first instance of witchcraft in this Colony is recorded in Winthrop’s
Journal in 1648, but he gives no specific date of the court being held,
but most likely it was that of May 13, 1648, of which a record remains:
‘That This Court, being desirous that the same Course which hath been
taken in England for the discovery of witches, by watching, may also be
taken here, with the witch now in question, and therefore do order that a
strict watch be set about her, every night, and that her husband be
confined in a private room, and watched also.’

The entry in the Journal is as follows: ‘At this Court, one Margaret Jones
of Charlestown was indicted and found guilty of witchcraft, and hanged
for it. The evidence against her was: 1. that she was found to have such a
malignant touch, as many persons (men, women and children), whom she
stroaked or touched with any affection or displeasure, or etc., were taken
with deafness, or vomiting, or other violent pains or sickness. 2. The
practising physic, and her medicines being such things as (by her own
confession) were harmless, as aniseed, liquors, &c., yet had extraordinary
violent effects. 3. She would use to tell such as would not make use of
her physic, that they would never be healed, and, accordingly, their
diseases and hurts continued, with relapse against the ordinary course,
and beyond the apprehension of all physicians and surgeons. 4. Some things
which she foretold, came to pass accordingly; other things she could tell
of (as secret speeches, etc.) which she had no ordinary means to come to
the knowledge of. 5. She had, upon search, an apparent teat, as fresh as
if it had been newly sucked, and, after it had been scanned; upon a forced
search, that was withered, and another began on the opposite side. 6. In
the prison, in the clear daylight, there was seen, in her arms, she,
sitting on the floor, and her clothes up, etc., a little child, which ran
from her into another room, and the officer following it, it was vanished.
The like child was seen in two other places, to which she had relation;
and one maid that saw it, fell sick upon it, and was cured by the said
Margaret, who used means to be employed to that end. Her behaviour at her
trial was very intemperate, lying notoriously, and railing upon the jury
and witnesses, etc., and in the like distemper she died. The same day and
hour she was executed, there was a very great tempest in Connecticut,
which blew down many trees, etc.’

The next authentic instance is that of Mary Parsons, whose case seems to
have been somewhat urgent, as on May 8, 1651, there is a minute on the
court records:[125] ‘The Court, understanding that Mary Parsons, now in
prison, accused for a witch, is likely, through weakness to die before
trial, if it be deferred, do order, that on the morrow, by eight o’clock
in the morning, she be brought before and tried by the General Court, the
rather that Mr. Pynchon may be present to give his testimony in the Case.’

This ‘Mr. Pynchon’ came from England with Governor Winthrop in 1630, and
was named in the charter granted by Charles II. to Massachusetts, as one
of the Governor’s eighteen assistants. He returned to England in 1652,
settled at Wraysbury, Bucks, where he died October 29, 1662. Hutchinson
says of him: ‘Mr. Pynchon was a gentleman of learning, as well as
religion. He laid the foundation of Roxbury, but soon removed to
Connecticut River; was the father of the town of Springfield, where his
family hath flourished ever since.’

For some reason, she was not brought before the court till May 13, when
the following is recorded: ‘Mary Parsons, wife of Hugh Parsons of
Springfield, being committed to prison for suspicion of witchcraft, as
also for murdering her own child, was, this day, called forth, and
indicted for Witchcraft. “By the name of Mary Parsons, you are here,
before the General Court, charged, in the name of this Commonwealth, that,
not having the fear of God before your eyes, nor in your heart, being
seduced by the Devil, and yielding to his malicious motion, about the end
of February last at Springfield, to have familiarity, or consulted with, a
familiar spirit, making a covenant with him; and have used divers devilish
practices by witchcraft, to the hurt of the persons of Martha and Rebecca
Moxon, against the Word of God, and the laws of this jurisdiction, long
since made and published.” To which indictment she pleaded “Not guilty.”
All evidences brought in against her being heard and examined, the Court
found the evidences were not sufficient to prove her a witch, and
therefore she was cleared in that respect.’

But she was indicted for the murder of her child, found guilty, and
sentenced to be hanged; it is doubtful, however, whether the sentence was
ever carried out. Her husband, ‘One Hugh Parsons of Springfield, was tried
in 1652 for witchcraft, and found guilty by the jury. The Magistrate
refused to consent to the verdict, and the case, as the law provided, came
to the General Court, who determined that he was not legally guilty of

‘The most remarkable occurrence in the Colony in the year 1655 was the
trial and condemnation of Mrs. Ann Hibbins for witchcraft. Her husband,
who died in the year 1654, was an agent for the Colony in England, several
years one of the assistants, and a merchant of note in the town of Boston;
but losses in the latter part of his life had reduced his estate and
increased the natural crabbedness of his wife’s temper, which made her
turbulent and quarrelsome, and brought her under church censures; and, at
length, rendered her so odious to her neighbours, as to cause some of them
to accuse her of witchcraft. The Jury brought her in guilty, but the
magistrates refused to accept the verdict, so the cause came to the
General Court, where the popular clamour prevailed against her, and the
miserable old woman was condemned and executed. Search was made upon her
body for tetts, and in her chests for puppets, images, etc., but there is
no record of anything of that sort being found. Mr. Beach, a minister in
Jamaica, in a letter to Doctor Increase Mather in the year 1684, says,
“You may remember what I have sometimes told you your famous Mr. Norton
once said at his own table, before Mr. Wilson the pastor, elder Penn and
myself and wife, etc., who had the honour to be his guests. That one of
your magistrate’s wives, as I remember, was hanged for a witch, only for
having more wit than her neighbours. It was his very expression, she
having, as he explained it, unhappily guessed that two of her persecutors,
whom she saw talking in the street, were talking of her; which, proving
true, cost her her life, notwithstanding all he could do to the contrary,
as he, himself, told us.”[127]

‘It fared with her as it did with Joan of Arc in France; some counted her
a saint, and some a witch, and some observed solemn marks of Providence
set upon those who were very forward to condemn her, and to brand others
upon the like ground, with the like reproach. This was the second instance
upon record of any persons being executed for witchcraft in New England.
She was not executed until June, 1656. She disposed of her estate by will
executed May 27, 1656, and a codicil June 16. She appointed several of the
principal gentlemen overseers, and hoped they would show her so much
respect, as to see her decently interred. There was no forfeiture of goods
for felony.’

There was a case of witchcraft in Hartford in 1662, when three women were
condemned, and one, at least, executed. In 1669 Susanna Martin, of
Salisbury, was tried on this charge, ‘but escaped at that time.’ Another
case at Groton in 1671, and yet another at Hampton in 1673. In 1658, in
Essex County, an attempt was made to convict one John Godfrey, of Andover,
as a witch, and at the County Court of Salem, June 29, 1659, he was bound
in one hundred pounds to appear when called upon. But he turned the tables
against his accusers, bringing actions against them for slander. In one
case he got twopence damages and twenty-nine shillings costs, in another
ten shillings damages and costs fifty shillings.

In November, 1669, Goody Burt, a widow, was prosecuted, but acquitted. In
1673 Eunice Cole, of Hampton, was tried, but her sentence was ‘to depart
from, and abide out of, this jurisdiction.’ On November 24, 1674, at
Salem, which even then was coming to the fore with its witches,
Christopher Browne was had up before the County Court, for ‘having
reported that he had been treating or discoursing with one whom he
apprehended to be the Devil, which came like a gentleman, in order to his
binding himself to be a servant to him. Upon his examination, his
discourse seeming inconsistent with truth, etc., the Court giving him good
counsel and caution, for the present dismiss him.’

On March 30, 1680, Caleb Powell was brought before the court at Ipswich,
under an indictment of witchcraft, in molesting one William Morse, of
Newbury, stones being thrown, furniture behaving abnormally, bedclothes
snatched off, and many other inconveniences; but it could not be proved,
and the wind-up of the affair was: ‘Though this court cannot find any
evident ground of proceeding against the said Caleb Powell, yet we
determine that he hath given such ground of suspicion of his so dealing,
that we cannot so acquit him, but that he justly deserves to bear his own
share, and the costs of the prosecution of the complaint.’ Elizabeth
Morse, wife of the above, was next, on May 20, 1680, tried and convicted
of witchcraft. On May 27 she was sentenced to death, was twice reprieved,
and ultimately allowed to return home.


    Cotton and Increase Mather--The Case of Goodwin’s Daughter--That of
    Mr. Philip Smith--The Story of the Salem Witchcrafts--List of
    Victims--Release of Suspects--Reversal of Attainder, and Compensation.

We now come to the time of Cotton Mather, whose name is a ‘household word’
in connection with witchcraft in Massachusetts. He was the son of Increase
Mather, D.D., one of the early presidents of Harvard College, was born in
1633, studied at Harvard, and at the age of twenty was appointed co-pastor
with his father at Boston. He begins his first witch story thus: ‘There
dwells at this time, in the _south_ part of _Boston_, a sober and pious
man, whose name is _John Goodwin_, whose _Trade_ is that of a _Mason_, and
whose _Wife_ (to which a _Good Report_ gives a share with him in all the
Characters of _Virtue_) has made him the Father of _six_ (now living)
_Children_. Of these Children, all but the _Eldest_, who works with his
Father at his Calling, and the _Youngest_, who lives yet upon the Breast
of its mother, have laboured under the direful effects of a no less
_palpable_ than stupendous WITCHCRAFT.’[128]

As the reader will see that it is impossible to quote Cotton Mather very
much at length, on account of his excessively rotund style, I must tell
the story as briefly as possible. Sometimes these unhappy children would
be by turns either deaf, dumb, or blind, or all three at once, their jaws
be dislocated, and then close sharply with a loud snap. ‘They would bark
at one another like _Dogs_, and again purr like so many _Cats_.... Yea
they would _fly_ like _Geese_; and be carried with an incredible
_Swiftness_ thro’ the _air_, having but just their _Toes_ now and then
upon the ground, and their _Arms_ waved like the Wings of a _Bird_. One of
them, in the House of a Kind Neighbour, _flew_ the length of the Room,
about 20 foot, and flew into an Infant’s high armed Chair; none seeing her
feet all the way touch the floor.’

Cotton Mather took the eldest daughter home to live with them, in order
that he ‘might be furnished with _Evidence_ and _Argument_ as a Critical
Eye Witness, to confute the Saducism of this debauched Age.’ For some days
all went well, but on November 20 she was once more possessed. She tried
to fly, to dive, her eyes sunk into her head, so that they thought they
would never return to their normal position, and she complained that Goody
Glover, a poor crazy Irish woman, had put an invisible but very potent
chain round her leg. She could not read the Bible, but a Quaker book she
was able to read, with the exception of the names of God and Christ. Queer
books, like the ‘Oxford Jests’ and ‘Cambridge Jests,’ she could read well
enough, but could only pronounce the words ‘Devils’ or ‘Witches’ with
extreme difficulty.

‘Every now and then an _Invisible Horse_ would be brought unto her by
those whom she only called _them_, and, _Her Company_: upon the Approach
of Which, her eyes would be still closed up; for, (said she) _They say I
am a_ Tell-Tale, _and, therefore, they will not let me see them_. Upon
this would she give a Spring as one mounting an _Horse_, and Settling her
self in a _Riding Posture_, she would, in her Chair be agitated as one
sometimes _Amble-ing_ sometimes _Trotting_, and sometimes _Galloping_ very

This state of things would not do, so divers ministers and devout friends
fell to a-praying, but all to no purpose, her invisible adversaries on one
occasion dragging her to an oven which was heating, and another time
choking her, till she was black in the face, with an invisible rope and
noose; she even began to torment good Mr. Mather. ‘When I had begun to
study my Sermon, her _Tormentors_ again seized upon her; and all _Fryday_
and _Saturday_ did _they_ manage her with a special Design, as was plain,
to disturb me in what I was about. In the worst of her extravagancies,
formerly, she was more dutiful to myself than I had reason to Expect, but,
_now_, her _whole_ carriage to me, was with a Sauciness that I had not
been us’d to be treated with. She would knock at my Study _Door_,
affirming _That some below would be glad to see me_; when there was none
that ask’t for me. She would call to me with multiplyed Impertinences, and
throw small things at me, wherewith she could not give me any hurt.
Shee’d Hector me at a strange rate for the _work_ I was at, and threaten
me with _I know not what_ mischief for it.’

By dint of energetic prayer she began to amend, but she had one more very
bad breakout. ‘Moreover, Both she at my house, and her Sister _at home_,
at the time which they call _Christmas_, were by the _Dæmons_, made very
_drunk_, though they had no _strong_ Drink (as we are fully sure) to make
them so. When she began to feel herself thus _drunk_, she complain’d, _O,
they say they will have me to keep Christmas with them! They will disgrace
me when they can do nothing else!_ And, immediately the Ridiculous
Behaviour of one _drunk_, were with a wonderful exactness represented in
her Speaking, and Reeling, and Spewing, and anon Sleeping, till she was
well again.’

The next example Cotton Mather gives us is that of ‘_Mr. Philip Smith_,
aged about Fifty years, a Son of eminently vertuous Parents, a _Deacon_ of
the Church at _Hadley_, a _Member_ of our General Court, an _Associate_ in
their County Court, a _Select-man_ for the affairs of the Town, a
_Lieutenant_ in the Troop; and, which crowns all, a man for _Devotion_ and
_Gravity_, and all that was _Honest_, exceeding exemplary. _Such_ a man,
in the Winter of the year 1684 was murdered with an hideous _Witchcraft_,
which filled all those parts with a just astonishment.

‘He was concerned about Relieving the Indigencies of a wretched woman in
the Town; who, being dissatisfied at some of his _just cares_ about her,
expressed her self unto him in such a manner, that he declared himself
apprehensive of receiving _mischief_ at her hands; he said he doubted she
would attempt his Hurt.’

In the beginning of the following January he fell sick, and took to his
bed; but he could not rest, he was delirious and spoke in sundry voices
and languages, and felt hundreds of pins pricking him all over. Sometimes
there was a strange smell of musk about the place. As, in his agony, he
called upon the supposed witch, his kind friends ‘did three or four times
in one Night go and give _Disturbance_ to the Woman that we have spoken
of: all the while they were doing of it, the good man was at ease, and
slept as a weary man; and these were all the times they perceived him to
take any sleep at all.’

Sometimes fire was seen on the bed, but when attention was called to it,
it vanished. Something as big as a cat moved in the bed, but no one could
catch it; and ‘a discreet and sober Woman, resting on the Bed’s Feet, felt
as it were, a _Hand_, the _Thumb_ and the _Finger_ of it, taking her by
the side and giving her a Pinch; but turning to see What it might be,
nothing was to be seen.’ Many more marvels occurred, and at last the poor
man died, yet even then his bed moved of itself more than once, and at
night, when they were preparing for his funeral, noises were heard in the
room ‘as though there had been a great _Removing_ and _Clattering_ of
_stools_ and chairs.’ I cannot find that the witch was punished.

He next gives an instance of a boy at Tocutt, who held a great deal of
communication with the Devil without absolutely resigning his soul to
him, and who must have lived a very uncomfortable existence. ‘He speaks of
men coming to him before they come in Sight; and, once, _two_ being with
him, their _Backs_ turned, the Devil carried him away, they knew not how,
and after _search_, they found him in a _Cellar_, as _dead_, but, after a
little space, he came to Life again. And another time, threw him up into a
_Chamber_, stopped him up into a _Hole_ where they after found him.
Another time, he carried him about a _Bowshot_, and threw him into a
_Hog-Stye_ amongst _Swine_, which ran away with a terrible noise.’

He gives two more instances of possession by the Devil; but they are mild
cases which yielded to prayer. There are other minor cases of witchcraft
which I have omitted, because I would fain have space to tell of the works
of the Devil at Salem in 1692.

Salem was then a small village, about sixteen miles north-east of Boston,
and its minister was the Rev. Samuel Parris, born in London in 1653. He
entered Harvard College, but could not take a degree, went to Barbados,
where he engaged in mercantile pursuits, and finally turned religious, and
was ordained minister of Salem congregation in 1689, naturally taking a
leading part in the little community.

At his house, during the winter of 1691-92, a society of girls met,
curiously enough, for the purpose of practising palmistry,
fortune-telling, necromancy, magic, and spiritualism; and they soon became
so far advanced in these arts as to be seized with unnatural spasms,
falling insensible on the floor, writhing in agony, and uttering piercing
cries. As this conduct was decidedly abnormal, as was their amusement, it
was settled that they were bewitched, and they were sympathized with as
being ‘afflicted Children.’ Fasting and prayer were tried, but with no
good result. On being questioned as to who had bewitched them, they
answered ‘Good,’ ‘Osborn,’ and ‘Tituba.’ Sarah Good was a woman generally
disliked, Sarah Osborn was a bed-ridden woman who did not bear a very good
character, and Tituba was an Indian woman in Mr. Parris’ service.

On March 1, 1692, they were brought before the court charged with
bewitching the children. One indictment must serve as a specimen for all:

‘The Jurors for our Sovereigne Lord & Lady King William & Queen Mary Doe
present: That Sarah Good, ye wife of William Good of Salem Village, In the
County of Essex, husbandman, upon y{e} first day of March in y{e} fourth
year of y{e} Reigne of our Sovereigne Lord & Lady W{m} & Mary, by y{e}
Grace of God, of England, Scotland, ffrance & Ireland King & Queen,
defend{rs} of y{e} faith etc & Divers other days & times as well before as
after, Certaine Detestable Arts, Called Witchcrafts & Sorceries, wickedly
& ffeloniously hath used, practised & Exercised at & within y{e} Township
of Salem aforesaid, In, upon & against An Puttman, Single woman of Salem
Village, by which said Wicked arts, the said An Puttman y{e} said first
day of March, in y{e} fourth year abovesaid & divers other other days &
times, as well before as after, was & is hurt, Tortured, afflicted, Pined,
Consumed, wasted & Tormented, & also for Sundry acts of Witchcraft by said
Good Committed & done before & since that time against y{e} peace of our
Soveraigne Lord & Lady y{e} King & Queen Their Crowne & dignity & against
y{e} forme of Statues In that Case made & provided.

‘Witness. Ann Putman. Jurat. Eliz. Hubbard. Abigail Williams. Jurat.’

On examination, Good and Osborn denied the accusation _in toto_, but
Tituba, the Indian woman, gave damning evidence against them, and it is
worthy of being given _in extenso_:


‘Titibe what evil Spirit have you familiarity with?--None.

‘Why do you hurt these children?--I do not hurt them.

‘Who is it then?--The Devil for ought I know.

‘Did you never see the Devil?--The Devil came to me and bid me serve him.

‘Who have you seen?--Four women sometimes hurt the children.

‘Who were they?--Goode Osburn and Sarah Good, and I doe not know who the
other were. Sarah Good and Osburne would have me hurt the children, but I
would not. She further saith there was a tall man of Boston that she did

‘When did you see them?--Last night at Boston.

‘What did they say to you?--They said, hurt the children.

‘And did you hurt them?--No, there is 4 women and one man. They hurt the
children, and they lay all upon me, and they tell me if I will not hurt
the children, they will hurt me.

‘But you did not hurt them?--Yes, but I will hurt them no more.

‘Are you not sorry you did hurt them?--Yes.

‘And why then doe you hurt them?--They say hurt children or wee will doe
worse to you.

‘What have you seen?--An man come to me and say serve me.

‘What service?--Hurt the children; and, last night, there was an
appearance that said kill the children; and if I would not go on hurting
the children, they would do worse to me.

‘What is this appearance you see?--Sometimes it is like a hog, and
sometimes like a great dog; this appearance shee saith shee did see 4

‘What did it say to you?--It, the black dog said, serve me, but I said, I
am afraid. He said, if I did not, he would doe worse to me.

‘What did you say to it?--I will serve you no longer; then he said he
would hurt me; and then he looked like a man, and threatened to hurt me.
Shee said that this man had a yellow bird that kept with him, and he told
me he had more pretty things that he would give me if I would serve him.

‘What were those pretty things?--He did not show me them.

‘What, also, have you seen?--Two rats--a red rat and a black rat.

‘What did they say to you?--They said, serve me.

‘When did you see them?--Last night, and they said, serve me, but I would

‘What service?--Shee said, hurt the children.

‘Why did you goe to Thomas Putnams last night, and hurt his child?--They
pull and hall me, and make me goe.

‘And what would they have you doe?--Kill her with a knife.

‘Left. Fuller and others said at this time when the child saw these
persons, and was tormented by them, that she did complayn of a knife, that
they would have her cut her head off with a knife.

‘How did you go?--We ride upon stickes, and are there presently.

‘Do you goe through the trees, or over them?--We see nothing, but are
there presently.

‘Why did you not tell your Master?--I was afraid they would cut off my
head if I told.

‘Would you have hurt others if you could?--They said they would hurt
others, but they could not.

‘What attendants hath Sarah Good?--A yellow bird, and she would have given
me one.

‘What meate did she give it?--It did suck between her fingers.

‘Did you not hurt Mr. Currin’s child?--Goode Good and Goode Osborn told
[me] that they did hurt Mr. Curren’s child, and would have me hurt him
too, but I did not.

‘What hath Sarah Osburn?--Yellow dog. Shee had a thing with a head like a
woman, with 2 legges, and wings. Abigail Williams that lives with her
Uncle Parris said that she did see the same creature, and it turned into
the shape of Goode Osburn.

‘What else have you seen with Osburn?--Another thing, hairy; it goes
upright like a man; it hath only 2 legges.

‘Did you not see Sarah Good upon Elizabeth Hubbard, last Satterday?--I did
see her set a wolfe upon her to afflict her. The persons with this maid
did say that she did complain of a wolfe. Shee further saith that she saw
a cat with Good, at another time.

‘What cloathes doth the man go in?--He goes in black cloathes, a tal man
with white hair, I think.

‘How doth the woman go?--In a white whood, and a black whood with a top

‘Doe you see who it is that torments these children now?--Yes, it is Goode
Good, shee hurts them in her own shape.

‘And who is it that hurts them now?--I am blind now, I cannot see.’

In the end, all three were sent to gaol. Mrs. Osburn died in gaol on May
16. Sarah Good was hanged, and Tituba lay in prison for thirteen months,
and was then sold to pay her gaol fees.

Evidently the taste for notoriety in the ‘afflicted children’ was
developing. One of them, Ann Putnam, denounced one Martha Corey for
pricking and tormenting her. Mrs. Corey seems to have been a harmless
church-member, and denied all the imputations of witchcraft cast on her;
but even her husband bore testimony against her anent an ox which he
thought had been bewitched. She was hanged. Her husband was afterward
arrested on a similar charge, and his was a most singular case. By law, if
found guilty, his goods, etc., were forfeited. He had the singular courage
to defeat the law by the law itself. He caused a deed to be drawn up, duly
witnessed, etc., by which he left his property to two out of his four
sons-in-law, who befriended his wife (the other two gave witness against
her). He then refused to plead either guilty or not guilty. He was had up
the legal three times before the judge, but as he continued dumb he was
sentenced to the _Peine forte et dure_, that of ‘pressing’ until he
pleaded or died. If he died under the punishment his goods were not

The punishment was that he was stretched out upon his back, his arms and
legs drawn out by cords and fastened to the four corners of his dungeon. A
board, or plate of iron, was laid upon his stomach, and upon this was
placed a certain weight. Next day he was given, at three different times,
three little morsels of barley bread, and nothing to drink. The next day,
three little glasses of water, and nothing to eat, and if he continued
obstinate and dumb, he was left uncared for till he died. Corey begged
them to add weights until they killed him, and they mercifully did so.
Verily, he expiated his testimony against his wife.

It would be impossible to give, within the limits of this volume, an
account of all the trials of the Salem witches. Suffice it to say that the
little clique who met at the house of the Rev. S. Parris continued to
accuse their neighbours all round. The following is a list taken from the
‘Records of Salem Witchcraft, copied from the original Documents.
Privately printed for W. Elliot Woodward, Roxbury;’ Massachusetts, 1864.
Those in italics were hanged; the fate of the others except in two or
three instances I know not:

_Sarah Good_,* Sarah Osburn (died in gaol), Tituba, Indian (sold), _Martha
Corey_,* _John Procter_,* Dorcas Good, _Rebecca Nurse_,* Elizabeth
Procter,* (pleaded she was _enceinte_), Mary Warren, Bridget Bishop,
_Abigail Hobbs_,* _Sarah Wilds_,* Philip English, _Susannah Martin_,
Elizabeth Hart, _Dorcas Hoar_,* _George Jacobs_,* _John Willard_,* _Ann
Pudeater_, Rebecca Jacobs, Roger Toothaker, _Mary Eastey_,* Sarah Procter,
Susannah Roots, Benjamin Procter, _Martha Carrier_,* _Elizabeth How_,*
William Procter, _Wilmott Reed_, Elizabeth Fosdick, Elizabeth Paine, Mary
Ireson, _George Burroughs_,* _Abigail Faulkner_,* _Ann Foster_,* _Mary
Lacey_,* _Rebecca Eames_,* _Samuel Wardwell_,* _Mary Parker_,* _Mary
Bradbury_,* Giles Corey,* (pressed to death), _Alice Parker_, _Margaret

Who can say, after reading the above list, that, if the Devil were in
anyone at Salem, he was not in that precious lot of ‘afflicted children’?
In fact, people began to fight shy of them; they even accused a member of
Increase Mather’s family, and made charges against Mrs. Hale, wife of the
Minister of the First Church in Beverley, so that their testimony at last
received no credence. After the Sessions of September 22, no one was
hanged, even if convicted; and in April, 1693, the Governor-General, by
proclamation, gave freedom to all suspects that were in confinement, and
in 1711 a reversal of attainder was granted in those cases marked with an
asterisk, and compensation made to their representatives to the amount of
£578 12s.



Harl. MSS., 1766, f. Dan John Lydgate’s Translation (or Paraphrase) of
John Boccace de Casu Principum, in English Verse: done by the command of
Duke Humfrey, about the beginning of the Reign of Henry the Sixth.

Tboeck van den leuen ons heeren ihesu christi. Gheraert de leeu.
Tantwerpen, 1487, 4to.

Von den unholden oder hexen. Molitor (Ulrich). Rütlingen, 1489, 4to.

Registrum hujus operis libri cronicarum in figuris et ijmagibus ab inicio
mūdi. Schedel (Hartmannus), A. Koberger. Nuremberge, 1493, fol.

Introductio in Chaldaicam Linguā, Syriacā, atq Armenicā, & decē alias
linguas. Characterum Differentiū Alpha beta, circiter quadraginta, &
eorūdem innicem cōformatio. Mystica et Cabalistica quā plurima scitu
digna. Et descriptio ac simulachrū Phagoti Afranij. Theseo Ambrosio ex
Comitibus Albonesii IV. Doct. Papieñ. Canonico Regulari Lateranensi, ac
Sancti Petri in Cælo Aureo. Papiæ Præposito Authore. 1539.

Hexen Meysterey. Dess ... Fürsten ... Sigmunds von Ostereich mit U.
(Ulrich) M. (Molitor) und C. Schatz, wielandt Burgermeister zu Costentz
... ein schön Gesprech von den Onholden ... Weitleuffiger mit mer Exempeln
der Alten, dann vor nie kains aussgangen, &c. Costentz, 1545.

Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus, earum que diversis statibus,
conditionibus, moribus, ritibus, superstitionibus, disciplinis,
exercitiis, regimine, victu, bellis, structuris, instrumentis, ac mineris
metallicis, & rebus mirabilibus, nec non universis penè animalibus in
Septentrione de gentibus eorumque natura ... Autore Olao Magno Gotho
Archiepiscopo Upsalensi. Suetiæ & Gothiæ Primate. Romæ, 1555.

The Examination of John Walsh before Master Thomas Williams, Commissary to
the Reverend father in God, William, bishop of Excester, upon certayne
Interrogatories touchyng Wytchcrafte and Sorcerye, in the presence of
diuers gētlemen and others. ¶ The xx of August, 1566. ¶ Imprynted at
London by John Awdely, dwelling in litle Britain streete without
Aldersgate 1566. The xxiij of December.

The disclosing of a late counterfeyted possession by the deuyl in two
maydens within the Citie of London. Printed at London by Richard Watkins.

A Dialogue of Witches, in foretime named Lottellers, and now commonly
called Sorcerers. Wherein is declared breefely and effectually, what
soeuer may be required, touching that argument. A treatise very
profitable, by reason of the diuerse and sundry opinions of men in this
question, and right necessary for Judges to understande, which sit upon
lyfe and death. Written in Latin by Lambertus Danæus, And now translated
into English. Printed by R. W. 1575.

A most strange and rare example of the iust iudgement of God executed upon
a lewde and wicked Coniurer the xvij day of Januarie 1577. In the parish
church of S. Mary Overis in Southwark, in the presence of divers credible
and honest persons. ¶ Imprinted at London by Henrie Bennyman.

A Rehearsall both straung and true, of hainous and horrible actes
committed by Elizabeth Stile, Alias Rockingham, Mother Dutten, Mother
Deuell, Mother Margaret. Fower notorious Witches apprehended at Winsore in
the Countie of Barks, and at Abbington arraigned, condemned and executed,
on the 26 daye of Februarie last, Anno 1579. Imprinted at London for
Edward White at the little North-doore of Paules, at the signe of the Gun,
and are there to be sold.

A Detection of damnable driftes practized by three Witches arraigned at
Chelmissforde in Essex, at the laste Assizes there holden, whiche were
executed in Aprill 1579. Set forthe to discouer the Ambushementes of
Sathan, whereby he would surprise us, lulled in securitie, and hardened
with contempte of God’s vengeance threatened for our offences. Imprinted
at London for Edward White at the little North-doore of Paules.

De la Demonomanie des Sorciers ... par J. Bodin. Angevin. A Paris, Chez
Jacques du Puys Libraire Juré, à la Samaritaine. 1580.

¶ A true and iust Recorde of the Information, Examination and Confession
of all the Witches, taken at S. Oses, in the countie of Essex: whereof
some were executed, and other some entreated according to the
determination of lawe. Wherein all men may see what a pestilent people
Witches are, and how unworthy to lyue in a Christian Commonwealth. Written
orderly, as the cases were tryed by evidence. By W. W. ¶ Imprinted in
London at the three Cranes in the Vinetree by Thomas Dawson. 1582.

The Discouerie of witchcraft. Wherein the lewde dealing of witches and
witchmongers is notablie detected, the knauerie of coniurors, the impietie
of inchantors, the folie of soothsaiers, the impudent falshood of
cousenors, the infidelitie of atheists, the pestilent practises of
Pythonists, the curiositie of figure casters, the varietie of dreamers,
the beggerlie art of Alcumystrie, the abhomination of idolatrie, the
horrible art of poisoning, the vertue and power of naturall magicke, and
all the conueiances of Legierdemaine and iuggling are deciphered: and many
other things opened, which haue long lien hidden, howbeit verie necessarie
to be knowne. Hereunto is added a treatise upon the nature and substance
of spirits and diuels, &c.: all latelie written by Reginald Scot Esquire,
1 John 4. 1. ‘Beleeue not euerie spirit, but trie the spirits, whether
they are of God; for manie false prophets are gone out into the world,’
&c. 1584.

A true and most Dreadfull discourse of a woman possessed with the Deuill:
who in the likeness of a headlesse Beare fetched her out of her Bedd, and
in the presence of seuen persons, most straungely roulled her thorow three
Chambers, and downe a high paire of staiers, on the fower and twentie of
May last, 1584. At Dichet in Sommersetshire. A matter as miraculous as
euer was seen in our time. Imprinted at London for Thomas Nelson.

IIII Livres des Spectres ou Apparitions et Visions d’Esprits, Anges et
Demons se monstrans sensiblement aux hommes. Par Pierre le Loyer Cōseiller
au Siege presidial d’Angers. A Angers, pour Georges Nepuen, Libraire
demeurant à la Chauss{e} Sainct Pierre. 1586.

A Discourse of the subtill Practises of Deuilles by Witches and Sorcerers.
By which men are and haue bin greatly deluded: the antiquitie of them:
their diuers sorts and Names. With an Aunswer unto diuers friuolous
Reasons which some doe make to prooue that the Deuils did not make those
Aperations in any bodily shape. By G. Gyfford. Imprinted at London for
Toby Cooke. 1587.

A true Discourse, Declaring the damnable life and death of one Stubbe
Peeter, a most wicked Sorcerer, who, in the likenes of a Woolfe, committed
many murders, continuing this diuelish practise 25 yeeres, killing and
deuouring Men, Women and Children. Who for the same fact was taken and
executed the 31 of October last past in the Towne of Bedbur neer the
Cittie of Collin in Germany. Trulye translated out of the high Duch
according to the Copie printed in Collin, brought ouer into England by
George Bore’s ordinary Poste, the xj daye of this present Moneth of June
1590, who did both see and heare the same. At London: Printed for Edward
Venge, and are to be sold in Fleet-street, at the signe of the Vine.

The most strange and admirable discouerie of the three Witches of Warboys,
arraigned, conuicted and executed at the last Assizes at Huntington for
the bewitching of the fine daughters of Robert Throckmorton Esqre., and
diuers other persons, with sundrie Diuellish and grieuous torments. And
also for bewitching to death of the Lady Crumwell, the like hath not been
heard of in this age. London: Printed by the Widdowe Owin, for Thomas Man,
and Iohn Winnington, and are to be solde in Paternoster Rowe, at the signe
of the Talbot. 1593.

A True Discourse, upon the matter of Martha Brossier of Romorantin,
pretended to be possessed by a Deuill. Translated out of French into
English by Abraham Hartwell. Ecclesiastie 19. ‘He that is hastie to giue
credite, is light minded; and shall be held as one that sinneth against
his owne Soule.’ London: Imprinted by Iohn Wolfe, 1599.

Malleus Maleficarum: De lamiis et strigibus, et sagis aliisque Magis &
Demoniacis, eorumque arte, potestate, & pœna ... Tractatus aliquot tam
veterum quam recentiorum auctorum, &c. 2 tom. Francofurti, 1600, 8vo.

A true Narration of the strange and grevous vexation by the Devil of 7
persons in Lancashire, and William Somers of Nottingham. Wherein the
doctrine of Possession and Dispossession of Demoniakes out of the word of
God, is particularly applyed unto Somers and the rest of the persons
controuerted: together with the use we are to make of these workes of God.
By Iohn Darrell, Minister of the word of God. ‘He that is not with me, is
against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.’ Matth. xii.
30. Printed 1600.

A Dialogue concerning Witches and Witchcrafts. In which is layed open how
craftily the Diuell deceiueth not onely the Witches, but many other, and
so leadeth them awrie into manie great errours. By George Giffard,
Minister of God’s word in Maldon. London: Printed by R. F. and F. K. and
are to be sold by Arthur Iohnson, at the signe of the Flower-de-Luce and
Crowne in Paules Church-Yard. 1603.

Demonologie. In forme of a Dialogue. Diuided into three books. Written by
the High and mightie Prince, Iames, by the grace of God, King of England,
Scotland, France and Ireland. Defender of the Faith, &c. London: Printed
by Arnold Hatfield for Robert Wald-graue. 1603.

A Treatise of Specters or Straunge Sights, Visions and Apparitions
appearing sensibly unto men. Wherein is deliuered the Nature of Spirites,
Angels and Divels: their power and properties: as also of Witches,
Sorcerers, Enchanters and such like.... Newly done out of French into
English. London: Printed by Val. S. for Mathew Lownes. 1605.

Discours, et Histoires des Spectres, Visions et Apparitions des Esprits,
Anges, Demons et Ames, se monstrans visibles aux hommes. Divisez en huict
livres. Esquels par les Visions Merveilleuses, et prodigieuses Apparitions
avenuës en tous siecles, tirees et recuillies des plus celebres autheurs
tant Sacrez que Prophanes ... Aussi est traicté des Extases et
rauissements &c. Par Pierre le Loyer, Conseiller du Roy au siege Presidial
d’Angers. A Paris, Chez Nicolas Buon, demeurant au mont Sainct Hilaire a
l’enseigne Sainct Claude. 1605.

A Full and True Account Both of the Life; and also of the Manner and
Method of carrying on the Delusions, Blasphemies and Notorious Cheats of
Susan Fowls, as the same was Contrived, Plotted, Invented, and Managed by
wicked Popish Priests, and other Papists, with a Design to scandalize our
Church and Ministers, by insinuating that the Virtue of Casting out
Devils, and Easing Persons Possess’d was only in the Power of their
Church. As also, Of her Tryal and Sentence at the Old Baily, the 7th of
this instant May, for blaspheming Jesus Christ, and cursing the Lord’s
Prayer. London: Printed for J. Read in Fleet Street. 1608.

Strange and Wonderful News. Being a True, tho’ Sad Relation of Six Sea Men
(Belonging to the _Margaret_ of Boston) who Sold Themselves to the Devil,
And were Invisibly Carry’d away. With an Account of the said Ship being
Sunk under Water, where She continued full Eleuen Weeks: All which Time,
to Admiration, the rest of the Ship’s Crew Liv’d, and Fed upon Raw Meat,
and Live Fish that Swam over their Heads. The Names of the Three Persons
that were, (thro’ Mercy) Preserv’d so long under water, were William
Davies (a Man very well known to the Merchants in London) Mr. William
Kadner, and Mr. William Bywater. There was only One Boy Drowned. ☞ The
Truth of which Strange and Miraculous Relation will be Attested at Mr.
Loyd’s Coffee House, near the General Post Office in Lombard-Street: where
the original Letter, at large, will be shewn to any Person that desires to
be further satisfy’d in the Truth hereof; and by several Eminent Merchants
upon the Exchange. London: Printed for H. Marston in Cornhill. No date.

A Discourse of the damned Art of Witchcraft, so farre forth as it is
revealed in the Scriptures and manifest by true experience. By William
Perkins. O. Legge, Cambridge, 1608, 8vo.

Discours des Sorciers, avec six Advis en faict de Sorcelerie. Et une
Instruction pour un Juge en semblable matiere: Par Henry Boguet Dolanois,
grand Juge en la terre S. Oyan de Ioux, ditte de S. Claude, au Comte de
Bourgongne.... Seconde Edition. A Lyon, Chez Pierre Rigaud en ruë
Merciere, au coing de ruë Ferrandiere, a l’Horloge. 1608.

The wonderful discouerie of Elizabeth Sawyer, a Witch, late of Edmonton,
her conuiction and condemnation and Death. Together with the relation of
the Diuels accesse to her, and their conference together. Written by Henry
Goodcole, Minister of the Word of God, and her continuall Visiter in the
Gaole of Newgate. London: Printed for William Butler, and are to be sold
at his Shop in Saint Dunstons Church Yard Fleet Street. 1611.

The Witches of Northamptonshire. Agnes Browne, Joane Vaughan, Arthur Bill,
Hellen Ienkenson, Mary Barber, Witches. Who were all executed at
Northampton the 22 of Iuly last 1612. London: Printed by Tho: Purfoot, for
Arthur Iohnson. 1612.

The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster. With the
Arraignement and Triall of Nineteene notorious Witches, at the Assizes and
generall Gaole deliuerie, holden at the Castle of Lancaster, upon Munday,
the seuenteenth of August last 1612. Before Sir Iames Altham, and Sir
Edward Bromley, Knights; Barons of his Maiesties Court of Exchequer: And
Justices of Assize, Oyer and Terminor, and generall Gaole deliuerie in the
Circuit of the North Parts. Together with the Arraignement and Triall of
Iennet Preston, at the Assizes holden at the Castle of Yorke, the seuen
and twentieth day of Iulie last past, with her Execution for the murther
of Master Lister, by Witchcraft. Published and set forth by the
Commandement of his Maiesties Iustices of Assize in the North Parts. By
Thomas Potts, Esquier. London: Printed by W. Stansby for Iohn Barnes,
dwelling neare Holborne Conduit. 1613.

Tableau de l’Inconstance des Mauvais Anges et Demons. Ou il est amplement
traicté des Sorciers, et de la Sorcellerie. Livre tres-utile et
necessaire, non seulement aux Iuges, mais à tous ceux qui viuent sous les
loix Chrestiennes. Avec un Discours contenant la Procedure faite par les
Inquisiteurs d’Espagne et de Nauarre, à 53 Magiciens, Apostats, Iuifs et
Sorciers, en la ville de Logrogne en Castille, le 9 Novembre 1610. En
laquelle on voit combien l’exercice de la Iustice en France, est plus
iuridiquement traicté, et auec de plus belles formes qu’en tous autres
Empires, Royaumes, Republiques et Estats. Par Pierre de Lancre, Conseiller
du Roy au Parlement de Bordeaux ... A Paris, Chez Nicolas Buon, ruë sainct
Iacques, à l’enseigne de sainct Claude, et de l’Homme Sauuage. 1613.

A True and Feareful Vexation of one Alexander Nyndge: being most horribly
tormented with the Deuill, from the 20 day of Ianuary to the 23 of Iuly.
At Lyeringswell in Suffocke; with his Prayer after his Deliuerance.
Written by his owne brother, Edward Nyndge Master of Arts, with the Names
of the Witnesses that were at his Vexature. ¶ Imprinted at London for W.
B. and are to bee sold by Edward Wright at Christ Church Gate. 1615.

Le Fleau des Demons et Sorciers par J. B. (Bodin). Angevin. Derniere
Edition, à Nyort, par Dauid du Terroir. 1616.

The Triall of Witch-craft, shewing the true and right methode of the
Discouerie: with A Confutation of Erroneous wayes. By Iohn Cotta, Doctor
in Physicke. London: Printed by George Purslowe for Samuel Rand, and are
to be solde at his shop neere Holburne-Bridge. 1616.

A Treatise of Witchcraft. Wherein sundry Propositions are laid downe,
plainely discouering the wickednesse of that damnable Art, with diuerse
other speciall points annexed, not impertinent to the same, such as ought
diligently of euery Christian to be considered. With a true Narration of
the Witchcrafts which Mary Smith, wife of Henry Smith, Glouer, did
practise: Of her contract vocally made between the Deuill and her, in
solemn termes, by whose meanes she hurt sundry persons whom she enuied:
Which is confirmed by her owne confession, and also from the publique
Records of the Examination of diuerse upon their oathes: And, lastly, of
her death and execution, for the same, which was on the twelfth day of
Ianuarie last past. By Alexander Roberts, B.D. and Preacher of Gods Word
at Kings-Linne in Norffolke.... London: Printed by N. O. for Samuel Man,
and are to be sold at his Shop in Pauls Church-Yard, at the signe of the
Ball. 1616.

The Merry Devil of Edmonton. As it hath beene sundry times Acted by his
Maiesties Seruants, at the Globe on the Bankside. At London. Printed by G.
Eld, for Arthur Iohnson, dwelling at the signe of the white-Horse in
Paules Church-yard, ouer against the great North Doore of Paules. 1617.

The Mystery of Witchcraft. Discouering the Truth, Nature, Occasions,
Growth and Power thereof. Together with the Detection and Punishments of
the same. As Also, the seuerall Stratagems of Sathan, ensnaring the poore
Soule by this desperate practize of annoying the bodie: with the seuerall
Uses thereof to the Church of Christ. Very necessary for the redeeming of
these Atheisticall and secure (_sic_) times. By Thomas Cooper. London:
Printed by Nicholas Okes. 1617.

The Wonderful Discoverie of the Witchcrafts of Margaret and Philip Flower,
daughters of Ioan Flower, neere Beuer Castle, Executed at Lincolne March
11, 1618. Who were specially arraigned and condemned before Sir Henry
Hobart, and Sir Edward Bromley, Iudges of Assise, for confessing
themselues actors in the destruction of Henry, Lord Rosse, with their
damnable practises against others the Children of the Right Honourable
Francis, Earle of Rutland. Together with the seuerall Examinations and
Confessions of Anne Baker, Ioan Willimot, and Ellen Greene, Witches in
Leicestershire. Printed at London by G. Eld for I. Barnes, dwelling in
the long Walke, neere Christ-Church. 1619.

The Boy of Bilson: or a true Discovery of the late notorious Impostures of
certaine Romish Priests in their pretended Exorcisme, or expulsion of the
Diuell out of a young Boy, named William Perry, sonne of Thomas Perry of
Bilson in the County of Stafford, Yeoman. Upon which occasion, hereunto is
premitted A briefe Theologicall Discourse, by way of Caution, for the more
easie discerning of such Romish Spirits; and iudging of their false
pretences, both in this, and the late Practises ... at London. Imprinted
by F. K. for William Barret. 1622.

The Infallible and Assured Witch: or the Second Edition of the Tryall of
Witch craft. Shewing the right and true methode of the discouerie; with a
confutation of erroneous waies carefully reviewed and more fully cleared
and Augmented. By Iohn Cotta, Doctor in Physicke. London: Printed by I. L.
for R. H. and are to be sold at the signe of the Grey hound in Pauls
Church Yard. 1625.

The late Lancashire Witches. A well received Comedy, lately Acted at the
Globe on the Banke-side, by the King’s Majesties Actors. Written by Thom
Heywood, and Richard Broome Aut prodesse solent, aut delectare. London:
Printed by Thomas Harper for Benjamin Fisher, and are to be Sold at his
Shop at the Signe of the Talbot, without Aldersgate. 1634.

A Relation of the Devill Balams departure out of the body of the Mother
Prioresse of the Ursuline Nuns of Loudun. Her fearefull motions and
contorsions during the Exorcisme, with the Extract of the Proces verball,
touching the Exorcismes wrought at Loudun, by order of the Bishop of
Poictiers, under the authority of the King. Printed at Orleans 1635. Or
the first part of the Play acted at Loudun by two Divels, a Frier, and a
Nun. Faithfully translated out of the French Copie, with some Observations
for the better illustration of the Pageant. London: Printed by R. B. and
are to be sold in S. Pauls Church-yard, and in S. Dunstans Church Yard in
Fleet Street, at the Shop turning up to Clifford’s Inn. 1636.

A Dog’s Elegy, or Rupert’s Tears, for the late Defeat given him at Marston
moore, neer York by the Three Renowned Generalls: Alexander, Earl of
Leven, Generall of the Scottish Forces. Fardinando Lord Fairfax, and the
Earle of Manchester, Generalls of the English Forces in the North. Where
his beloved Dog, named Boy, was killed by a Valiant Souldier, who had
skill in Necromancy. Likewise the strange breed of this Shagg’d Cavalier,
whelp’d of a Malignant Water Witch; With all his Tricks and Feats.

  ‘Sad Cavaliers, _Rupert_ invites you all
   That doe survive, to his Dogs Funerall.
   Close mourners are the Witch, Pope, & Devill,
   That much lament yo’r late befallen evill.’

Printed at London, for G. B. July 27, 1644.

A true and exact Relation of the severall Informations, Examinations, and
Confessions of the late Witches, arraigned and executed in the County of
Essex. Who were arraigned and condemned at the late Sessions, holden at
Chelmesford before the Right Honorable Robert Earle of Warwicke, and
severall of his Majesties Justices of Peace, the 29 of July 1645. Wherein
the severall murthers, and devillish Witchcrafts committed on the bodies
of men, women and children, and divers cattell, are fully discovered....
London: Printed by M. S. for Henry Overton and Benj. Allen, and are to be
sold at their Shops in Popes head Alley. 1645.

The Lawes against Witches and Coniuration, and Some brief Notes and
Observations for the Discovery of Witches. Being very usefull for these
Times, wherein the Devil reignes and prevailes over the soules of poor
Creatures, in drawing them to that crying Sin of Witchcraft. Also the
Confession of Mother Lakeland, who was arraigned and condemned for a
Witch, at Ipswich in Suffolke.... London: Printed for R. W. 1645.

The Examination, Confession, Triall and Execution of Joane Williford, Joan
Cariden, and Jane Hott: Who were executed at Feversham in Kent, for being
Witches, on Munday the 29 of September 1645. Being a true Copy of their
evill lives and wicked deeds, taken by the Maior of Feversham and Jurors
for the said Inquest. With the Examination and Confession of Elizabeth
Harris, not yet executed. All attested under the hand of Robert
Greenstreet, Maior of Feversham. London: Printed for J. G., October 2,

The Discovery of Witches in answer to severall Queries, lately delivered
to the Judges of Assize for the County of Norfolk, and now published M.
[Matthew] H. [Hopkins] Witch finder, for the benefit of the whole Kingdom.
London, 1647, 4to.

The full Tryals, Examination and Condemnation of Four Notorious Witches,
At the Assizes held at Worcester, on Tuseday the 4th of March. With the
manner, how they were found guilty of Bewitching several Children to
Death. As also, Their Confessions, and last Dying Speeches at the Place of
Execution; with other Amazing Particulars concerning the said
Witchcraft.... London: Printed by I. W., near Fleet-street. No date.

The Woodstock Scuffle, or, Most Dreadfull Apparitions that were lately
seene in the Mannor-House of Woodstock, neere Oxford, to the great Terror
and wonderfull Amazement of all there that did Behold them. Printed in the
yeere 1649.

Wonderfull News from the North, or a true Relation of the sad and grievous
Torments Inflicted upon the Bodies of three Children of Mr. George
Muschamp, late of the County of Northumberland, by Witchcraft; and how
miraculously it pleased God to strengthen them, and to deliver them. As
also the prosecution of the sayd Witches, as by Oaths, and their own
Confessions will appear, and by the indictment found by the Jury against
one of them, at the Sessions of the Peace held at Alnwick, the 24 day of
April, 1650.... London: Printed by T. H., and are to be sold by Richard
Harper, at his shop in Smithfield. 1650.

Doctor Lamb Revived, or Witchcraft condemn’d in Anne Bodenham, a Servant
of his, who was Arraigned and Executed the Lent Assizes last at Salisbury,
before the Right Honourable the Lord Chief Baron Wild, Judge of the
Assise. Wherein is set forth her strange and wonderful Diabolical usage of
a Maid, Servant to Mr. Goddard, as also, hir attempt against his
Daughters, but by Providence delivered. Being necessary for all good
Christians to Read, as a Caveat to look to themselves that they be not
seduced by such Inticements. By Edmond Bower, an eye and ear Witness of
her Examination and Confession. London: Printed by T. W. for Richard Best
and John Place, and are to be Sold at their Shops at Grays Inn Gate and
Furnival’s Inn Gate in Holburn. 1653.

An Advertisement to the Jury-men of England touching Witches. Together
with a Difference between an English and Hebrew Witch. London: Printed by
I. G. for Richard Royston. At the Angel in Ivie-lane. 1653.

A Compendious History of the Goths, Swedes and Vandals and Other Northern
Nations. Written by Olaus Magnus, Arch-Bishop of Upsall, and Metropolitan
of Sweden. London: Printed by I. Streeter, and are to be sold by Humphrey
Mosely, &c. 1658.

Strange and Terrible Newes from Cambridge, being A true Relation of the
Quakers bewitching of Mary Philips out of the Bed from her Husband in the
Night, and transformed her into the shape of a Bay Mare, riding her from
Dinton towards the University. With the manner how she became visible
again to the People in her own Likeness and Shape, with her sides all rent
and torn, as if they had been spur-gal’d, her hands and feet worn as black
as a Coal, and her mouth slit with the Bridle Bit. Likewise, her Speech to
the Scholars and Country-men, upon this great and wonderful Change, her
Oath before the Judges and Justices, and the Names of the Quakers brought
to tryal on Friday last at the Assises held at Cambridge. With the
Judgment of the Court. As also, the Devil’s snatching of one from his
Company, and hoisting of him up into the Air, with what hapned thereupon.
London: Printed for C. Brooks, and are to be sold at the Royal Exchange in
Cornhill. 1659.

The Just Devil of Woodstock, Or, A True Narrative of the Several
Apparitions, the Frights and Punishments inflicted upon the Rumpish
Commissioners Sent thither, to Survey the Mannors and Houses belonging to
his Majestie. London: Printed in the Year 1660.

A Philosophical Endeavour towards the Defence of the Being of Witches and
Apparitions. In a letter to ... R. Hunt. Esq. By a Member of the Royal
Society. J. G. [Glanvill] London, 1666.

Some Philosophical Considerations Touching the Being of Witches and
Witchcraft written in a Letter to the much Honour’d Robert Hunt Esq: By J.
G. a Member of the Royal Society. London: Printed by E. C. for James
Collins at the King’s Head in Westminster Hall. 1667.

A Blow at Modern Sadducism. In some Philosophical Considerations about
Witchcraft. And the Relation of the Famed Disturbance at the House of M.
Mompesson, with Reflections on Drollery, and Atheisme. The Fourth Edition
Corrected and Inlarged. By Jos Glanvill. Fellow of the Royal Society.
London: Printed by E. Cotes for James Collins at the King’s Head in
Westminster Hall. 1668.

The Question of Witchcraft Debated; Or, a discourse against their Opinion
that affirm Witches.... London: Printed in the Year 1669.

The Opinion of Witchcraft Vindicated. In an Answer to a Book Intituled the
Question of Witchcraft Debated. Being a letter to a Friend by R. T.
London: Printed by E. O. for Francis Haley, and are to be sold at his Shop
at the corner of Chancery Lane in Holborn. 1670.

The Witch of the Woodlands, Or, The Coblers New Translation. Written by L.

  ‘Here Robin the Cobler for his former evils
   Was punisht worse than Faustus with his devils.’

Printed by A. P. for W. Thackeray at the Angel in Duck Lane neer West
Smithfield. 1670?

The Question of Witchcraft debated. Or a Discourse against their Opinion
that affirm Witches, considered and enlarged. The Second Edition. By the
Author John Wagstaffe.... London: Printed for Edw. Millington, at the
Pelican in Duck Lane. 1671.

The Dæmon of Burton. Or a true Relation of Strange Witchcrafts or
Incantations lately practised at Burton in the Parish of Weobley in
Herefordshire. Certified in a Letter from a Person of Credit in Hereford.
London: Printed for C. W. in the year 1671.

A Treatise proving Spirits, Witches and Supernatural Operations, by
Pregnant Instances and Evidences: Together with other Things worthy of
Note. By Meric Casaubon D.D. London: Printed for Brabazon Aylmer, at the
Tree Pigeons in Cornhill. 1672.

A Pleasant Treatise of Witches, Their Imps, and Meetings, Persons
bewitched, Magicians, Necromancers, Incubus, and Succubus’s, Familiar
Spirits, Goblings, Pharys, Specters, Phantasms, Places Haunted, and
Devillish Impostures. With the difference between Good and Bad Angels, and
a true Relation of a good Genius. By a Pen near the Covent of Eluthery.
London: Printed by H. B. for C. Wilkinson at the Black Boy in Fleet
street, and Tho. Archer and Tho. Burrell under St. Dunstan’s Church. 1673.

The Wonder of Wonders, or Strange News from Newton in York-shire. Being a
True and Perfect Relation of a Gentleman turn’d into a statue of Stone,
which Statue stands now in the Garden of Goodman Wilford, a sufficient
Farmer living in the same Town. Together With the occasion of the Fright
upon Himself, Wife, and Maid, by four Persons, upon the 12th of May 1675.
Set forth to prevent Surreptitious Reports. Printed in the Year 1675.

The Displaying of supposed Witchcraft, Wherein is affirmed that there are
many sorts of Deceivers and Impostors, and Divers persons under a passive
Delusion of Melancholy and Fancy. But that there is a Corporeal League
made betwixt the Devil and the Witch, Or that he sucks on the Witches
Body, has Carnal Copulation, or that Witches are turned into Cats, Dogs,
raise Tempests, or the like, is utterly denied and disproved. Wherein also
is handled, The Existence of Angels and Spirits, the truth of Apparitions,
the Nature of Astral and Sydereal Spirits, the force of Charms and
Philters; with other abstruse matters. By John Webster, Practitioner in
Physick.... London: Printed by J. M. and are to be sold by the Booksellers
in London. 1677.

Wonderful News from Buckinghamshire, or a perfect Relation How a young
Maid hath been for Twelve years and upwards, possest with the Devil; And
continues so to this very day in a Lamentable Condition. With an Account
of several Discourses with the said Evil Spirit, and his Answers: attested
by Ear-witnesses; and other strange Circumstances from time to time
relating there unto. Published for the Awaking and Convincing of Atheists
and modern Sadducees, who dream that there is neither Angel nor Spirit.
Licensed according to Order. London: Printed for D. M. 1677.

A Discovery of the Impostures of Witches and Astrologers.... By John
Brinly, Gent. London: Printed for John Wright, at the Crown on Ludgate
Hill, and sold by Edward Milward, Book Seller in Leitchfield. 1680.

Melampronœa: or a Discourse of the Polity and Kingdom of Darkness.
Together With a Solution of the chiefest Objections brought against the
Being of Witches. By Henry Hallywell, Master of Arts, and sometime Fellow
of Christs Colledge in Cambridge.... London: Printed for Walter Kettilby,
at the Bishops Head in S. Paul’s Church Yard. 1681.

Strange and wonderful News from Yowel in Surry; Giving a True and Just
Account of One Elizabeth Burgiss, Who was most strangely Bewitched and
Tortured at a sad rate, having several great lumps of Clay pulled forth
from her Back, full of Pins and Thorns, which pricked so extreamly, that
she cry’d and roar’d in a vehement and outragious manner, to the great
amazement of all the Beholders. As also. How great Stones, as big as a
Man’s Fist, were thrown at her in the Dwelling House of Mr. Tuers, which
came flying into the House, and that none of the Family was any ways hurt,
but this Maid; Also how the Bellows was thrown at her. Mr. Tuers. her
Master, finding his House thus troubled, after some time, sent her home to
her Mothers House at Asteed, about three Miles off from Yowel, where by
the way She was most strangely assaulted with Stones as before; and after
She came to her Fathers House, the throwing of the Pewter Dishes,
Candlesticks, and other clattering of Household-Goods at her, besides the
displacing of a Musical Instrument, hanging up her Grand Fathers Breeches
on the top of the Sealing. With many more strange and miraculous things,
filling the Spectators with Wonder and amazement. Printed for J. Clarke,
Seignor; at the Bible and Harp in West Smithfield. 1681.

The Tryal, Condemnation and Execution of three Witches, viz: Temperance
Floyd, Mary Floyd, and Susanna Edwards. Who were Arraigned at Exeter on
the 18th of August 1682. And, being prov’d Guilty of Witch Craft, were
Condemned to be Hang’d, which was accordingly Executed in the view of many
Spectators, whose strange and much to be lamented Impudence, is never to
be forgotten. Also, how they Confessed what Mischiefs they had done, by
the assistance of the Devil, who lay with the above named Temperance
Floyd, nine nights together. Also, how they Squeezed one Hannah Thomas to
death in their Arms; How they also caused several Ships to be cast away,
causing a Boy to fall from the top of a Main Mast into the Sea. With many
Wonderful Things, worth your Reading. Printed for J. Deacon at the sign of
the Rainbow, a little beyond St. Andrews Church in Holborn. 1682.

A Tryal of Witches at the Assizes held at Bury St. Edmonds for the County
of Suffolk; on the Tenth day of March, 1664. Before Sir Matthew Hale, Kt.
then Lord Chief Baron of his Majesties Court of Exchequer. Taken by a
Person then Attending the Court. London: Printed for William Shrewsbery
at the Bible in Duck Lane. 1682.

A Strange, True, and Dreadful Relation of the Devil’s appearing to Thomas
Cox, a Hackney Coach-Man; Who lives in Cradle Alley in Baldwin’s Garden,
First in the habit of a Gentleman with a Roll of Parchment in his hand,
and then in the shape of a Bear, which afterwards vanish’d away in a flash
of Fire, at Eight of the Clock on Friday Night. October the 31st, 1684.
London: Printed by E. Mallet. 1684.

Pandemonium, or the Devil’s Cloyster, Being a further Blow to Modern
Sadduceism, Proving the Existence of Witches and Spirits, in A Discourse
deduced from the Fall of the Angels, the Propagation of Satan’s Kingdom
before the Flood; The Idolatry of the Ages after, greatly advancing
Diabolical Confederacies. With an Account of the Lives and Transactions of
several Notorious Witches. Also A Collection of several Authentick
Relations of Strange Apparitions of Dæmons and Spectres, and Fascinations
of Witches, never before Printed. By Richard Bovet, Gent., London. Printed
for J. Walthoe, at the Black Lion, Chancery Lane, over against Lincoln’s
Inn. 1684.

Satan’s Invisible World discovered; or A choice Collection of Modern
Relations, proving evidently against the Saducees and Atheists of this
present Age, that there are Devils, Spirits, Witches, and Apparitions,
from Authentick Records, Attestations of Famous Witnesses, and undoubted
Verity. To all which is added, The Marvellous History of Major Weir, and
his Sister; with two Relations of Apparitions at Edinburgh. By Mr. George
Sinclar, late Professor of Philosophy in the Colledge of Glasgow....
Edinburgh: Printed by John Reid. 1685.

A Discourse, proving by Scripture and Reason, And the Best Authours,
Ancient and Modern, that there are Witches: and How far their Power
extends to the doing of Mischief both to Man and Beast: And likewise the
Use and Abuse of Astrology laid open.... London: Printed by J. M. and sold
by John Weld, at the Crown in Fleet Street, between the Two Temple Gates.

News from Pannier Alley: or, a True Relation of Some Pranks the Devil hath
lately play’d with a Plaster-Pot there. London: Printed and Publish’d by
Randal Taylor. 1687.

Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions. A Faithful
Account of many Wonderful and Surprising Things, that have befallen
several Bewitched and Possessed Persons in New-England. Particularly, A
Narrative of the marvellous Trouble and Releef Experienced by a pious
Family in Boston, very lately and sadly molested with Evil Spirits.
Whereunto is added A Discourse delivered unto a Congregation in Boston, on
the Occasion of that Illustrious Providence. As also A Discourse
delivered unto the same Congregation, on the occasion of an horrible
Self-Murder Committed in the Town. With an Appendix in vindication of a
Chapter in a late Book of Remarkable Providences, from the Calumnies of a
Quaker at Pen-silvania. Written by Cotton Mather, Minister of the Gospel,
And Recommended by the Ministers of Boston and Charleston. Printed at
Boston in N. England by R. P. 1689. Sold by Joseph Brunning, at his Shop
at the Corner of the Prison Lane next the Exchange.

The Certainty of the World of Spirits, fully evinced by unquestionable
Histories of Apparitions and Witchcrafts, Operations, Voices, &c. Proving
the Immortality of Souls, the Malice and Misteries of the Devils and the
Damned, and the Blessedness of the Justified. Written for the Conviction
of Sadduces and Infidels by Richard Baxter.... London: Printed for T.
Parkhurst at the Bible and Three Crowns in Cheapside; and J. Salusbury at
the Rising Sun over against the Royal Exchange. 1691.

The Wonders of the Invisible World. Observations As well Historical as
Theological, upon the Nature, the Number, and the Operations of the
Devils. Accompany’d with (I.) Some Accounts of the Grevious Molestations,
by Dæmons and Witchcrafts, which have lately annoy’d the Countrey: and the
Trials of some eminent Malefactors Executed upon occasion thereof: with
several Remarkable Curiosities therein occurring. (II.) Some Counsils,
Directing a due Improvement of the terrible things, lately done, by the
Unusual and Amazing Range of Evil Spirits, in Our Neighbourhood: and the
methods to prevent the Wrongs which those Evil Angels may intend against
all sorts of people among us; especially in Accusations of the Innocent.
(III.) Some Conjectures upon the great Events likely to befall the World
in General, and New England in Particular; as also upon the Advances of
the Time when we shall see Better Dayes. (IV.) A short Narrative of a late
Outrage committed by a knot of Witches in Swedeland, very much Resembling,
and so far Explaining, That under which our parts of America have
laboured! (V.) The Devil discovered: In a Brief Discourse upon those
Temptations, which are the more Ordinary Devices of the Wicked One. By
Cotton Mather. Boston: Printed by Benj. Harris for Sam Phillips. 1693.

A further Account of the Tryals of the New-England Witches. (Collected by
D. [Deodat] L. [Lawson]) ... To which is added Cases of Conscience
concerning Witchcrafts, and Evil Spirits personating Men. Written ... by
I. [Increase] Mather. 2 parts, London. 1693.

A Collection of Modern Relations of Matter of Fact, concerning Witches and
Witchcraft Upon the Persons of People. To Which is prefixed a Meditation
concerning the Mercy of God, in preserving us from the Malice and Power
of Evil Angels. Written by the late Lord Chief Justice Hale upon Occasion
of a Tryal of several Witches before him, Part 1. London: Printed for John
Harris, at the Harrow in the Poultry. 1693.

A Faithful Narrative of the Wonderful and Extraordinary Fits which Mr.
Tho. Spatchet (Late of Dunwich and Cookly) was under by Witchcraft: or A
Mysterious Providence in his even Unparalleled Fits. With an Account of
his first Falling into, Behaviour under, and (in part) deliverance out of
them. Wherein are several Remarkable Instances of the Gracious Effects of
Fervent Prayer. The whole drawn up and written by Samuel Petto, Minister
of the Gospel at Sudbury in Suffolk, who was an Eye-witness of a great
part. With a Necessary Preface.... London: Printed for John Harris at the
Harrow in the Poultrey. 1693.

Miscellanies. Collected by J. Aubrey, Esqre. London: Printed for Edward
Castle next Scotland Yard Gate, by Whitehall. 1696.

A Sad, Amazing, and Dreadful Relation of a Farmer’s Wife, near Wallingford
in Barkshire, who Abusing her Husband for selling Corn cheap to the Poor,
and wishing the Devil might Thrash, the next Day found him Thrashing in
the Barn, and was, by him, thrown on the Mow, remaining there in a pitious
manner, not to be removed, feeding on the Ears of Corn, and refusing all
other Food. With her Description of the Devil; how he vanished from her,
and a great Quantity of Corn he had Thrashed was found black and burned.
London: Printed and Sold by J. W. 1697.

A Relation of the Diabolical Practices of above Twenty Wizards and Witches
of the Sheriffdom of Renfrew in the Kingdom of Scotland, contain’d in
their Tryalls, Examinations, and Confessions; And for which several of
them have been Executed this present Year, 1697. London: Printed for Hugh
Newman, at the Grasshopper in the Poultry.

Sadducismus Debellatus: Or a True Narrative of the Sorceries and
Witchcrafts exercis’d by the Devil and his Instruments upon Mrs. Christian
Shaw, Daughter of Mr. John Shaw of Bargarran in the County of Renfrew in
the West of Scotland, from Aug. 1696 to Apr. 1697. Containing the Journal
of her Sufferings, as it was Exhibited and Prov’d by the Voluntary
Confession of some of the Witches, and other Unexceptionable Evidence,
before the Commissioners Appointed by the Privy Council of Scotland to
Enquire into the same. Collected from the Records. Together with
Reflexions upon Witchcraft in General, and the Learned Arguments of the
Lawyers on both Sides, at the Trial of Seven of those Witches, who were
Condemned; And some Passages which happened at their Execution.... London:
Printed for H. Newman, and A. Bell, at the Grasshopper in the Poultry,
and at the Cross Keys and Bible in Cornhill near Stocks Market. 1698.

The Second Part of the Boy of Bilson; or, a True and Particular Relation
of the Impostor Susanna Fowles, Wife of John Fowles of Hammersmith, in the
County of Middlesex, who pretended her self Possess’d with the Devil.
Giving an Exact Account of the Beginning, Progress, Conferences,
Discovery, Commitment, Confession, &c., of the said Impostor.... London:
Printed, and are to be sold by E. Whitlock, near Stationers Hall. 1698.

A Strange and True Relation of One Mr. John Leech, Who lived in
Huntington-Shire, at a place called Ravely, not farre distant from
Huntington Town, who was (about ten dayes agoe) Carried twelve miles in
the Ayre, by two Finnes, and also of his sad and lamentable death....
London. 1700?

The History of Witches and Wizards: Giving a True Account of all their
Tryals in England, Scotland, Sweedland, France, and New England; with
their Confession and Condemnation.... By W. P. London. 1700?

More Wonders of the Invisible World. Display’d in Five Parts. Part I. An
Account of the Sufferings of Margaret Rule, Written by the Reverend Mr. C.
[Cotton] M. [Mather]. P. II. Several Letters to the Author, &c. And his
Reply relating to Witchcraft. P. III. The Differences between the
Inhabitants of Salem Village and Mr. Parris their Minister, in New
England. P. IV. Letters of a Gentleman uninterested, Endeavouring to prove
the received Opinions about Witchcraft to be Orthodox. With short Essays
to their Answers. P. V. A short Historical Account of Matters of Fact in
that Affair. To which is added A Postscript relating to a Book intitled
The Life of Sir William Phips. Collected by Robert Calef, Merchant, of
Boston in New England.... London: Printed for Nath. Hillar, at the Princes
Arms, in Leaden-Hall Street, over against St. Mary Ax, and Joseph Collyer
at the Golden Bible on London Bridge. 1700.

Magnalia Christi Americana: or, the Ecclesiastical History of New England
from its First Planting in the Year 1620 unto the Year of our Lord 1698.
In Seven Books.... By the Reverend and Learned Cotton Mather, M.A. And
Pastor of the North Church in Boston, New-England. London: Printed for
Thomas Parkhurst at the Bible and Three Crowns in Cheapside. 1702.

A True and Full Relation of the Witches at Pittenweem. To which is added
by way of Preface, An Essay for proving the Existence of Good and Evil
Spirits, relating to the Witches at Pittenween, now in Custody, with
Arguments against the Sadducism of the Present Age. Edinburgh: Printed by
John Reid Junior, and are to be Sold at his Printing House in Libertouns
Wynd. 1704.

A Full and True Relation of the Discovering, Apprehending and taking of a
Notorious Witch, who was carried before Justice Bateman in Well-Close, on
Sunday July the 23d. Together with her Examination and Commitment to
Bridewell, Clerkenwel. London: Printed by H. Hills in Blackfryars near the
Waterside. 1704.

Christ’s Fidelity the only Shield against Satan’s Malignity. Asserted in a
Sermon Delivered at Salem-Village the 24th of March, 1692. Being
Lecture-day there, and a time of Publick Examination, of some Suspected
for Witchcraft. By Deodat Lawson, Minister of the Gospel. The Second
Edition.... Printed at Boston in New England, and Reprinted in London by
R. Jockey for the Author; and are to be sold by T. Parkhurst, at the Bible
and Three Crowns in Cheapside; and F. Lawrince at the Angel in the
Poultry. 1704.

An Exact Narrative and many Surprizing Matters of Fact Uncontestably
wrought by an Evil Spirit or Spirits in the House of Master Jan Smagge,
Farmer in Canvy-Island near Leigh in Essex, upon the 10th, 13th, 14th,
15th and 16th of September last, in the Day-time: In the Presence of The
Reverend Mr. Lord Curate to the said Island, Jan Smagge, Master of the
House, and of several Neighbours, Servants and Strangers, who came at
different times, as Mr. Lord’s particular Care to discharge his Duty, and
their Curiosity led them to this place of Wonders. Together with a Short
Account of some of the Extraordinary Things credibly said to have formerly
disturb’d the House, both before and since Mr. Smagge came into it: The
utmost Caution being used not to exceed the Truth in the minutest
Circumstance. In a Letter from Maiden in Essex to a Gentleman in London
London: Printed and Sold by John Morphew near Stationer’s Hall. 1709.

A Terrible and seasonable Warning to young Men; Being a very particular
and True Relation of one Abraham Joiner, a young Man about 17 or 18 Years
of Age.... London, 1710?

A Full and Impartial Account of the Discovery of Sorcery and Witchcraft
Practised by Jane Wenham of Walkerne, in Hertfordshire, upon the Bodies of
Anne Thorn, Anne Street, &c. The Proceedings against Her from Her being
first Apprehended, till she was Committed to Gaol by Sir Henry Chauncy.
Also Her Tryal at the Assizes at Hertford before Mr. Justice Powell, where
she was found Guilty of Felony and Witchcraft, and receiv’d Sentence of
Death for the same. March 4, 1711-12.... London: Printed for E. Curll at
the Dial and Bible against St. Dunstan’s Church in Fleet street. 1712.

Witchcraft Farther Display’d. Containing I. An Account of the Witchcraft
practis’d by Jane Wenham of Walkerne in Hertfordshire, since her
Condemnation, upon the Bodies of Anne Thom, and Anne Street, and the
deplorable Condition in which they still remain. II. An Answer to the most
general Objections against the Being and Power of Witches: With some
remarks upon the Case of Jane Wenham in particular, and on Mr. Justice
Powel’s Procedure therein. To which are added The Tryals of Florence
Newton, a famous Irish Witch, at the Assizes held at Cork, Anno 1661: as
also of two Witches at the Assizes held at Bury St. Edmunds, in Suffolk,
in 1664, before Sir Matthew Hale (then Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer)
who were found guilty and executed.... London: Printed for E. Curll, at
the Dial and Bible against St. Dunstans Church in Fleet street. 1712.

A full Confutation of Witchcraft: More particularly of the Depositions
Against Jane Wenham, Lately Condemned for a Witch, at Hertford. In which
the Modern Notion of Witches are overthrown, and the Ill Consequences of
such Doctrines are exposed by Arguments; proving that Witchcraft is
Priestcraft.... In a Letter from a Physician in Hertfordshire, to his
Friend in London. London: Printed for J. Baker, at the Black-Boy in
Pater-Noster Row. 1712.

The Case of the Hertfordshire Witchcraft consider’d. Being an Examination
of a Book entitled A Full and Impartial Account of the Discovery of
Sorcery and Witchcraft, Practis’d by Jane Wenham of Walkern, upon the
Bodies of Anne Thom, Anne Street, &c. London: Printed for John Pemberton,
at the Buck and Sun against St. Dunstan’s Church in Fleet-street. 1712.

The Impossibility of Witchcraft. Plainly proving from Scripture and Reason
That there never was a Witch, and that it is both Irrational and Impious
to believe there ever was. In which the Depositions against Jane Wenham,
Lately Try’d and Condemned for a Witch at Hertford, are Confuted and
Expos’d.... London: Printed and Sold by J. Baker at the Black-Boy in
Pater-Noster-Row. 1712.

The Belief of Witchcraft Vindicated: proving from Scripture, there have
been Witches; and from Reason that there may be Such still. In Answer to a
late Pamphlet, Intituled, The Impossibility of Witchcraft: Plainly proving
that there never was a Witch, &c. By G. R., A.M. London: Printed for J.
Baker, at the Black-Boy in Pater-Noster-Row. 1712.

A Compleat History of Magick, Sorcery and Witchcraft: Containing I. The
most Authentick and best attested Relations of Magicians, Sorcerers,
Witches, Apparitions, Spectres, Ghosts, Dæmons, and other preternatural
Appearances. II. A Collection of several very scarce and valuable Tryals
of Witches, particularly that famous one, of the Witches of Warboyse. III.
An Account of the first Rise of Magicians and Witches; shewing the
Contracts they make with the Devil, and what Methods they take to
accomplish their Infernal Designs. IV. A full Confutation of all the
Arguments that have ever been produced against the Belief of Apparitions,
Witches, &c, with a Judgment concerning Spirits, by the late Learned Mr.
John Locke. 2 vols. London: Printed for E. Curll at the Dial and Bible, J.
Pemberton at the Buck and Sun, both against St. Dunstan’s Church in Fleet
Street and W. Taylor at the Ship in Pater-Noster-Row. 1715.

An historical essay concerning Witchcraft with observations ... tending to
Confute the Vulgar errors about that point. As also two sermons: one [on
John xv. 24] in proof of the Christian Religion: the other [on Ps.
cxlviii. 2] concerning ... good and evil angels by Francis Hutchinson
Bishop of Down and Connor. London, 1718.

_British Magazine_ for 1747.

The History of the Colony of Massachusets-Bay, from the first settlement
thereof in 1628. Until its Incorporation with the Colony of Plimouth,
Province of Main, &c, by the Charter of King William and Queen Mary in
1691.... By Mr. Hutchinson Lieutenant Governor of the Massachusets
Province. Boston, New England: Printed by Thomas and John Fleet at the
Heart and Crown in Cornhill. 1749.

An Authentic, Candid, and Circumstantial Narrative of the Astonishing
Transactions at Stockwell in the County of Surry. On Monday and Tuesday,
the 6th and 7th Days of January 1772. Containing A Series of the most
surprising and unaccountable Events that ever happened, which continued
from first to last, upwards of Twenty Hours, and at different Places....
The Second Edition. London: Printed for J. Marks, Bookseller, in St.
Martin’s Lane. 1772.

A Narrative of the Sufferings and relief of a Young Girl; Strangely
Molested by Evil Spirits and their Instruments, in the West: Collected
from Authentic Testimonies, with a Preface and Postscript. Containing
Reflections on what is most Material or Curious, either in the History or
Trial of the Seven Witches who were Condemned and Burnt in the Gallow
Green of Paisley.... Paisley: Printed and Sold by Alexander Weir. 1775.

A Tragi-Coomodie called The Witch, Long since acted by His Ma{ties}
Servants at the Black-Friers. Written by Tho Middleton. 1778. [The
following note in pen and ink will explain how a play by a contemporary of
Massinger, Ben Jonson, etc., bears this date; for until this copy the play
was never printed: ‘This play was given me by Mr. Reid, who printed 100
Copies for the use of his friends, from a M.S. in Mr. Pearsons[129]

A Collection and Abridgement of Celebrated Criminal Trials in Scotland,
from A.D. 1536 to 1784, with Historical and Critical Remarks. By Hugo
Arnot, Esq., Advocate.... Edinburgh: Printed for the Author by William
Smellie. 1785.

A Journal of the Transactions and Occurrences in the Settlement of
Massachusetts and other New-England Colonies, from the year 1630 to 1644.
Written by John Winthrop, Esq., First Governor of Massachusetts; and now
first published from a correct copy of the original Manuscript. Hartford:
Printed by Elisha Babcock. 1790.

A Narrative of some extraordinary things that happened to Mr. Richard
Giles’s Children, at the Lamb, without Lawford’s Gate, Bristol; supposed
to be the effect of Witchcraft. By the late Mr. Henry Durbin, Chymist, Who
was an Eye and Ear Witness of the principal Facts herein related. To which
is added A Letter from the Rev. Mr. Bedford, late Vicar of Temple, to the
Bishop of Gloucester, Relative to one Thomas Perks of Mangotsfield, who
had Dealings with Familiar Spirits. Bristol: Printed and Sold by R.
Edwards, Broad Street; Sold also by T. Hurst and W. Baynes, Paternoster
Row, London; and by Hazard and Browne, Bath. 1800.

The Magus, or Celestial Intelligencer, being a complete system of Occult
Philosophy.... By Francis Barrett, F.R.C.... London: Printed for
Lackington, Allen and Co., Temple of the Muses, Finsbury Square. 1801.

A Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts, on the most Interesting and
Entertaining Subjects: but chiefly such as relate to the History and
Constitution of these Kingdoms. Selected from an infinite number in print
and manuscript, in the Royal, Cotton, Sion, and other public, as well as
private, Libraries; particularly that of the late Lord Somers. The Second
Edition, revised, augmented, and arranged by Walter Scott, Esqre....
London: Printed for T. Cadell and W. Davies, Strand; W. Miller, Albemarle
Street; R. H. Evans, Pall Mall; J. White and J. Murray, Fleet Street; and
J. Harding, St James’s Street. 1809.

Newes from Scotland, Declaring the damnable life of Doctor Fian, a notable
Sorcerer, who was burned at Edenborough in Ianuarie last 1591. Which
Doctor was register to the deuill, that sundrie times preached at North
Baricke Kirke, to a number of notorious Witches. With the true
examinations of the said Doctor and witches, as they uttered them in the
presence of the Scottish king. Discouering how they pretended to bewitch
and drowne his Maiestie in the sea comming from Denmarke, with such other
wonderfull matters as the like hath not bin heard at anie time. Published
according to the Scottish copie. Printed for William Wright. [This is a
reprint of a rare tract by H. Freeling, for the members of the Roxburghe
Club, 1816.]

Memorialls, or The Memorable Things that fell out within this island of
Brittain from 1638 to 1684. By the Rev. Mr. Robert Law. Edited from the
MS. by Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, Esqre.... Edinburgh: Printed for
Archibald Constable and Co. 1818.

The History and Antiquities of the Parish of Edmonton in the County of
Middlesex.... By William Robinson Gent, F.S.A.... London: Printed for the
Author.... 1819.

A Collection of Rare and Curious Tracts on Witchcraft and the Second
Sight; with an Original Essay on Witchcraft. Edinburgh: Printed for D.
Webster, 35, West College Street. 1820.

Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, addressed to J. G. Lockhart, Esqre.,
by Sir Walter Scott, Bart. London: John Murray, Albemarle Street. 1830.

Lectures on Witchcraft. Comprising a History of the Delusion in Salem in
1692. By Charles W. Upham, Junior Pastor of the First Church in Salem.
Boston: Carter, Hender and Babcock. 1831.

Criminal Trials in Scotland, from A.D. 1488 to 1624. Embracing the entire
Reigns of James IV. and V., Mary, Queen of Scots, and James VI. Compiled
from the Original Records and MSS., with Historical Notes and
Illustrations, by Robert Pitcairn, Esq., Writer to his Majesty’s Signet,
F.S.A. Scot, and Hon. F.S.A. Perth, etc. Edinburgh: William Tait, Princes
Street; and Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longman, London. 1833.

The Darker Superstitions of Scotland, illustrated from History and
Practice. By John Graham Dalyell, F.A.S.E. Edinburgh: Waugh and Innes; W.
Curry Junior and Co., Dublin; and Whittaker and Co., London. 1834.

A Collection of Rare and Curious Tracts relating to Witchcraft in the
Counties of Kent, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Lincoln, between the years
1618 and 1664. Reprinted verbatim from the Original Editions.... London:
John Russell Smith, 4, Old Compton Street, Soho. 1838.

Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions. By Charles Mackay.... London:
Richard Bentley, New Burlington Street.... 1841.

The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut.... By J. Hammond
Trumbull.... Hartford: Brown and Parsons. 1850.

The Pioneer History of Illinois, containing the Discovery, in 1673, and
the History of the Country to the Year 1818, when the State Government was
organized. By John Reynolds. Belleville, Ill.: Published by N. A. Randall.

The History of New England, from 1630 to 1649. By John Winthrop, Esq.,
First Governor of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, from his Original
Manuscripts, with Notes.... By James Savage, President of the
Massachusetts Historical Society. Boston: Little, Brown and Co. 1853.

Domestic Annals of Scotland, from the Reformation to the Revolution. By
Robert Chambers.... W. and R. Chambers, Edinburgh and London. 1858.

Witch Stories. Collected by E. Lynn Linton.... London: Chapman and Hall,
193, Piccadilly. 1861.

La Sorcière. J. Michelet. Deuxième Édition, revue et augmentée. Bruxelles
et Leipzig: A. Lacroix, Verboeckhoven et Cie, Éditeurs, Rue Royale, 3,
Impasse du Parc. 1863.

La Sorcière: The Witch of the Middle Ages. From the French of J. Michelet,
by L. J. Trotter.... London: Simpkin, Marshall and Co., Stationer’s Hall
Court. 1863.

Records of Salem Witchcraft. Copied from the Original Documents. Privately
printed for W. Elliot Woodward. Roxbury, Mass. 1864.

Salem Witchcraft; with an Account of Salem Village, and a History of
Opinions on Witchcraft and Kindred Subjects. By Charles W. Upham. Boston:
Wiggin and Lunt. 1867.

Some Miscellany Observations on our present Debates respecting
Witchcrafts, in a Dialogue between S. and B. By P. E. and J. A.
Philadelphia: Printed by William Bradford for Hezekiah Usher. 1692. Boston
_Congregational Quarterly_ reprints, No 1. 1869. [This tract is by the
Rev. Samuel Willard, of the Old South Church, Boston. S. and B. probably
stand for Salem and Boston. S. takes the part of the magistrates, B. that
of the clergy. This tract is mentioned by Calef in his ‘More Wonders of
the Invisible World.’]

Cotton Mather and Witchcraft. Two Notices of Mr. Upham his Reply. [By
Charles Wentworth]. Boston: T. R. Marvin and Son, 131, Congress Street;
London, Henry Stevens, 4, Trafalgar Square. May, 1870.

Demonology and Devil Lore. By Moncure Daniel Conway, M.A.... London:
Chatto and Windus, Piccadilly. 1879.

The Mysteries of All Nations: Rise and Progress of Superstition, Laws
against, and Trials of, Witches, Ancient and Modern Delusions, together
with Strange Customs, Fables, and Tales relating to Mythology, Days and
Weeks, Miracles, Poets and Superstition, Monarchs, Priests and
Philosophers, Druids, Demonology, Magic and Astrology, Divination, Signs,
Omens and Warnings, Amulets and Charms, Trials by Ordeal, Curses and Evil
Wishes, Dreams and Visions, Superstition in the Nineteenth Century. By
James Grant. Leith: Reid and Son, 35, Shore; Edinburgh: W. Paterson;
London: Simpkin, Marshall and Co. 1880.

Bibliographical Notes on Witchcraft in Massachusetts. By George H. Moore,
LL.D., Superintendent of the Lenox Library. Read before the American
Antiquarian Society, April 25th, 1888. Worcester: Printed for the Author.

_Scottish Review_, October, 1891, Edinburgh.

_Boston Monthly Magazine_, vol. i., p. 251.

_Congregational Quarterly_, vol. x., p. 154.

_Putnam’s Monthly Magazine_, vol. ii., p. 249; vol. vii., p. 505; vol.
xiv., p. 207.

_The Galaxy_, vol. xix., p. 358.

_Christian Examiner_, vol. xi., p. 240.

_American Monthly Review_, vol. i., p. 140.

_American Whig Review_, vol. iii., p. 60.

_North American Review_, vol. cvi., p. 176.

_New England Historical and Genealogical Register_, vol. xiii., p. 193.

_Southern Review_, N.S., vol. iii., p. 306.

_The Hesperian_, vol. i., p. 191.

_Congregational Review_, vol. ix., p. 201.

_Harper’s Magazine_, vol. lxix., p. 99.

_Magazine of American History_, vol. xiv., p. 458.

_New Englander_, vol. xliv., p. 788.




[1] The old writers and the old maps probably meant mosquitoes when they
said ‘Here be Divells.’

[2] ‘A Discourse of the Subtill Practises of Deuilles by Witches and
Sorcerers,’ etc. By G. Gyfford. Lond., 1587.

[3] Chap. iv.

[4] ‘The Discouerie of Witchcraft, etc., by Reginald Scot, Esq{re},’ 1584,
p. 377.

[5] ‘The Just Devil of Woodstock; or, a True Narrative of the Several
Apparitions, the Frights and Punishments, inflicted upon the Rumpish
Commissioners Sent thither, to Survey the Mannors and Houses belonging to
His Majestie.’ London; printed in the year 1660.

[6] ‘The Woodstock Scuffle; or Most Dreadfull Apparitions that were lately
seene in the Mannor-House of Woodstock, neere Oxford, to the great Terror
and Wonderful Amazement of all there, that did Behold them.’ 1649.

[7] ‘Palpable Evidence of Spirits and Witchcraft, in an Account of the
Fam’d Disturbance by the Drummer, in the House of M. Mompesson, etc.’
London, 1668.

[8] The writer was the Rev. Joseph Glanville, M.A., F.R.S., Chaplain in
Ordinary to King Charles II., Rector of the Abbey Church, Bath, and a
Prebendary of Worcester.

[9] ‘The Dæmon of Burton; or, A True Relation of Strange Witchcrafts, or
Incantations, lately practised at Burton, in the Parish of Weobley, in
Herefordshire. Certified in a Letter from a Person of Credit in Hereford.’
London, 1671.

[10] Herefordshire.

[11] Ewell.

[12] ‘Strange and Wonderful News from Yowel in Surry, giving a True and
Just Account of One Elizabeth Burgiss, who was most strangely Bewitched,’
etc. London, 1681.

[13] ‘Discours des Sorciers,’ by Henry Boguet (Lyon, 1608), p. 417.

[14] Whooping.

[15] Shriek.

[16] A sheaf or bundle.

[17] Table.

[18] Hiccoughing.

[19] Or bannocks, oat cakes.

[20] A hump.

[21] A hedgehog.

[22] Sleight, cunning.

[23] These extracts are from an English translation of Olaus Magnus, 1658.

[24] A Finn is even now reckoned to be a very uncanny person on board
ship, and to be able to control the weather.

[25] The same selling of winds used to be done both in the Isle of Man and
the Orkneys.

[26] ‘Demonologie,’ lib. ii., cap. v.

[27] ‘The Discouerie of Witchcraft,’ lib. i., cap. iii.

[28] _The Spectator_, No. cxvii.

[29] Lib. iii., cap. i.

[30] A bat.

[31] Lib. i., cap. iv.

[32] ‘A Dialogue concerning Witches and Witchcrafts,’ by George Giffard.
London, 1603.

[33] ‘The Discovery of Witches,’ etc., by Matthew Hopkins, Witch-finder.
London, 1647.

[34] Bairns, or children.

[35] Warts.

[36] Gyves or fetters.

[37] Torture.

[38] _Notes and Queries_, Series IV., vol. viii., p. 44.

[39] _Gentleman’s Magazine_, 1759, p. 93.

[40] Ed. 1730, p. 187.

[41] A dove or wood-pigeon.

[42] ‘A Rehearsall both Straung and true, of hainous and horrible acts
committed by Elizabeth Stile, alias Rockingham, Mother Dutten, Mother
Deuell, Mother Margaret, Fower notorious Witches, apprehended at Winsore
in the Countie of Barks, and at Abbington arraigned, condemned and
executed on the 26 daye of Februarie last, Anno 1579.’

[43] ‘A true and iust Recorde of the Information, Examination and
confession of all the Witches, taken at S. Oses in the Countie of Essex:
whereof some were executed, and other some entreated according to the
determination of lawe,’ etc. London, 1582.

[44] A mole.

[45] ‘The Wonderful Discouerie of Elizabeth Sawyer, a Witch, late of
Edmonton,’ etc. London, 1621.

[46] ‘A Treatise of Witchcraft,’ etc., by Alex. Roberts, B.D. London,

[47] Ay.

[48] ‘The full Tryals, Examination, and Condemnation of four Notorious
Witches at the Assizes held at Worcester on Tuseday the 4th day of March,’
etc. London, 1647.

[49] ‘A Collection of Modern Relations of Matter of Fact concerning
Witches and Witchcraft upon the Persons of People,’ etc. London, 1693.

[50] ‘Doctor Lamb revived; or, Witchcraft condemned in Anne Bodenham.’
London, 1653.

[51] ‘The History of Witches and Wizards,’ etc., by W. P. London, 1700

[52] ‘The History of Witches and Wizards,’ etc., by W. P. London, 1700

[53] ‘A Collection of Modern Relations of Matter of Fact concerning
Witches and Witchcraft upon the Persons of People,’ etc. London, 1693.

[54] ‘Witchcraft Farther Display’d.’ London, 1712.

[55] A solar was an upper chamber.

[56] Patrick Adamsone, Archbishop of St. Andrew’s.

[57] Fever and ague.

[58] Palpitation of the heart.

[59] Weakness of the back and loins.

[60] Flux.

[61] A salve.

[62] Large clasp-knives.

[63] Contrary to the course of the sun.

[64] Hand.

[65] Weaver’s.

[66] Paw.

[67] Tips.

[68] Always.

[69] Mutilated.

[70] Wet.

[71] A piece of flat wood, somewhat like a cricket bat, with which, in
washing, the clothes are beaten.

[72] Be allayed.

[73] Shapes and trims.

[74] Hollow-backed.

[75] Gruffly.

[76] Alive.

[77] Jerk.

[78] Touch.

[79] A coat of mail.

[80] Crow.

[81] Bean-straws.

[82] Besom.

[83] Cattle.

[84] Webs of cloth.

[85] Stroking or rubbing.

[86] Sciatica.

[87] Haunch.

[88] Frightened.

[89] Ends.

[90] One or more.

[91] Grains of barley.

[92] Chopped up together.

[93] In a fold of his plaid.

[94] A _quaigh_, or cup.

[95] Hard.

[96] Lingering sickness.

[97] Stubble.

[98] ‘History of Scotland,’ by David Scott. London, 1727.

[99] Lyne, or Linne, in Ayrshire.

[100] Battle of Pinkie, September 10, 1547.

[101] Grieving much.

[102] Weeping.

[103] Child-bed; in old French, _gisante_, a woman that lies in.

[104] Hailed.

[105] Dwindled away.

[106] Provoked.

[107] Frightened.

[108] Trust.

[109] In baptism.

[110] Riven, drawn asunder.

[111] Went.

[112] Fairyland.

[113] Ewe.

[114] Went.

[115] Sift or strain.

[116] Thinking if.

[117] Likewise.

[118] Wishing.

[119] Buried.

[120] Gate.

[121] I have before me at this present writing seventeen volumes of
American magazines containing articles on witchcraft in America, and that
is not an exhaustive list.

[122] ‘The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, prior to the Union
with New Haven Colony, May, 1665,’ by J. Hammond Trumbull (Hartford,
1850), vol. i. p. 77.

[123] ‘Records,’ vol. ii., p. 575.

[124] The _New Englander_, November, 1885, p. 817.

[125] For this and much else relating to witchcraft in Massachusetts, I am
indebted to that most exhaustive book, ‘Salem Witchcraft,’ etc., by
Charles W. Upham (Boston, 1867).

[126] Hutchinson, ‘History of Massachusetts Bay,’ 1767, vol. i., p. 179.

[127] Hutchinson, ‘History of Massachusetts Bay,’ 1767, vol. i., p. 187.

[128] ‘Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcrafts and Possession,’
etc., by Cotton Mather (Boston, 1689), p. 1.

[129] Major Pearson, at the sale of whose library the British Museum
acquired the ‘Roxburghe Ballads.’

Transcriber’s Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

Superscripted characters are indicated by {superscript}.

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