Author Archives: cjmorrison

A full and true account of the discovering, apprehending

A Sarah Griffith was long expected to be a bad woman, but the town became especially suspicious when the children started vomiting pins, experiencing fits, and seeing apparitions of cats, Mother Griffith went to buy something when the man accused her of bewitching his scales, she said she would get revenge, after his shop was in disorder and he had a strange disease, later a group of young men spotted Sarah and threw her in the water to find that she floats, she cursed on of the man’s arms and his fingers went black, and died of pain, Mother Griffith was apprehended, she pleaded innocent but was committed to Bridewel.

A full and true account of the apprehending and taking

A Sarah Moordike was apprehended and examined for bewitching a Richard Hetheway, Richard went to Sarah to help repair one of her locks, after he fell sick and could not eat or drink, when she was brought he scratched her to draw blood, he was able to eat again but his excrement had pins in it, she was committed for further examination.

The wonderfull and true relation of the bewitching a young girle in Ireland

Brief summary:
A young girl answer the door to begging witch, gave her food, and ate a leaf she was given then becoming extremely sick, she was transformed by a demon into ghastly shapes, vomited several unpleasant items, the witch was apprehended but said it was useless to kill her because she was under the control of two other witches, the author made a medicine which cured her and included the recipe.

Fuller summary:
It is said that God keeps us from knowing about the unseen world of spirits. However, those who don’t know God would be cured by seeing these spirits and apparitions. In this text written by Daniel Higgs, spirits and devilish forces cannot do anything to us without the power of God, yet a witness presents a case of these satanic forces influencing the power of a bewitchment of a young Irish girl.

As a key character in this detailed account, the little nine year girl goes through a series of torment and unrelenting afflictions at the hands of an evil witch. With no concrete evidence as to why the witch desired to torture her in the first place (the begging hag was presented bread and beer from the girl-was this not good enough?), the innocent child placed the witch’s “gift” of a sorrel leaf in her mouth and from there her horrific battle with countless diseases began. With no relief and for weeks, the girl battled with vomiting horse dung, needles, pins, hairs, feathers, and the occasional shape shifting into demonic animals. To make matters worse, the so-called witch would show up cleverly distanced from her house, yet still placed near enough as to torment the girl even more with her bewitching eye rolls and scorns.

Strangled, burned, and at the verge of being hanged, the accused witch would not free the child from her horrors. Noting that too many weeks had passed, and the bewitching from two other witches onto the girl, there seemed to be no hope. The parents decided it was time to call for a witch physician, and even he couldn’t do much for the girl. After countless sessions with ministers and their exorcisms on the child, her troubles just seemed to proliferate. There was even one point when the minister stopped reading his Bible and the girl became quiet and seemed cured, however, not for long. Her condition shifted from bad to worse and she started throwing up pins and needles from inside her body. These series of unrelenting spectacles inflicted upon the girl were clearly defined as the act of a witch, for it was not even a question that some crafty demonic being was involved. In no way could it ever be normal for these strange, abnormal events to occur without a logical, rational explanation.

The end of this pamphlet describes a final attempt to cure the girl from her wretched dilemma. By carrying her daughter to a special witch doctor in Dublin, the mother was able to get comfort and peace at last. A special ointment made from a mixture of dog grease, bear grease, leaves, and berries all exposed under the sun for nine weeks, cured the girl, leaving her in a transient state of melancholy. These simple human made/available ingredients show that we do have some kind of attack/barrier against the cursing of these witches. From this testimonial we can see the malicious nature of witches and their unrational inflictions which cannot be explained by any reason other than witchcraft. I don’t believe any form of science or morality can explain why a young girl would bloodlessly vomit up needles, knifes and shape shift into strange animals. The forces of a witch and her demonic counterpart are out of the nature of God’s divine power, and this pamphlet shows the degree of how powerful the force of this satanic entity actually is. Also, this account helps to establish the notion that although there is no absolute link for witchcraft, there are common activities involved with their nature, one of which is this narrative of the beggar. This eyewitness account is important because although there were fraud possessions and testimonials against witches, the doctor’s narrative shows a true bewitching of a little girl and her cure.

A true narrative of the sufferings and relief of a young girle

A young girl named Christian Shaw saw her mother’s maid Campbel stealing from the house and told her mom, the maid cursed her, a few days later in her sleep she broke into fits and was flung over the top of a bed in front of her family, she cried that Campbel and an Agnes Nafmith were cutting her side, random things such as hay and dung fell out of her mouth, she saw animals in her bed, Campbel and Nafmith, along with several other men and women, were apprehended for bewitching Christian, when they touched her she broke into fits, they were condemned and executed

The trial of Susannah Fowles of Hammersmith, that was try’d at London for blaspheming

Susannah was indicted for using blasphemous words against Jesus Christ, her husband said she was possessed by the Devil, she said unlawful things and was then visited by an apparition of a man and afterwards went into fits, some ministers thought her to be a cheat, Jordan a papist gave her a spell, a hot iron was put on her, and someone tricked her by dressing up as the devil, and she was therefore found to be a cheat, she confessed and was found guilty, and then jailed

The trial of Susannah Fowles of Hammersmith, for blaspheming Jesus Christ

Susannah’s husband reported her being bewitched, and seeing the Devil in the shape of man, going into fits, a spell had been put on her neck by Jordan a Papist, when touched with a hot iron she reacted, and was found to be counterfeiting, she was found guilty and sentenced to jail

Lithobolia, or, The stone-throwing devil

An elderly woman had some of her land taken away unjustly, so she perpetrated lithobolia, or stone-throwing, against George Walton’s house, a black cat was spotted at the scene of the crime but often disappeared from place to place, the author’s house was also attacked, they tried to boil pins and urine as a counter spell but rocks came in an obstructed their efforts, a fence dividing the property was broken down, and when they tried to repair it they were pelted, there was peace until Walton was struck in the head and died, the witch was examined but no other details are given.

The second part of the boy of Bilson

Summary of the Boy of Bilson, then relates the story of Susanna Fowles for comparison, she married John but wasn’t in as comfortable of a situation as she hoped, and then seemed to fall into fits as if possessed by the devil, a Dr. Jourdan gave her a ‘spell’ around her neck, that was found to be an ‘Exorcism,’ during one of her fits they put a hot iron on her, she cried out, and they found her to be an imposter, she confessed to impersonating the devil to get money, she was informed and encouraged by Roman Catholics, she now resides in Bridewell beating hemp until she is put on for her next trial

A full and true account of the life

Brief summary:

Susannah Fowles, wife of a laborer, was persuaded by Jesuits to feign possession, Jordan a Papist seemed to be the main person responsible, she saw the devil in the form of man, when examined by Protestants she was thought to be a cheat because she didn’t go into fits when hearing the Lords prayer in Latin, they confirmed this by burning her with a hot iron, she eventually confessed, she was found guilty and jailed.

Fuller summary:
The author begins with a condemnation of Catholicism and an expression of joy that it is no longer England’s religion. However, there remain sneaky, deceptive Papists who attempt to prove the supremacy of their faith, and impugn that of the Protestants, through schemes intended to prove that they have the power to cast out devils. He cites as an example Susannah Fowles, who claimed to have seen the devil, to have been possessed by it, and to have fallen into fits as a result of such possession.

Her fits and actions took the form of blasphemy: she claimed, upon hearing God’s name, to be herself the Lord, and she would respond to the Lord’s Prayer and to the name of Jesus with curses. However, some Protestants, suspecting her to be pretending, observed her and noted that her expression remained the same during her seizures, and that she responded not only to actual prayers, but to the appearance of them–a sign that human, not demonic, forces controlled her behavior.

It became still more clear that Fowles’ possession was a sham, and to what end she was manifesting these behaviors, when she claimed to have been given a spell by Jordan, a Catholic, which would cure her from her fits when emissaries came from the Portugal embassy. Clearly, she was to be an example of the power the Catholics claimed to have, that of performing exorcisms, which Protestants held to be blasphemy.

A series of tests were then administered to Fowles to determine whether she was lying. Although she responded with curses to the Lord’s Prayer in English, she had no reaction when it was recited in Latin, implying that she, not some supernatural force, was in control of her behaviors. Furthermore, when she was in fits during prayers, she responded to a hot iron by drawing her hand away from it, revealing her sensibility to external stimuli. And she ran away from a man in ugly clothing, claiming he was the Devil, when in fact he was one of those testing her claims.

When confronted with this evidence of her falsehoods, and threatened with bodily harm if she did not confess them, she admitted to having faked the fits to get money. She was tried at the Old Baily for blasphemy, and offered the defense of believing herself to be either possessed or bewitched, and redacted her confession; the jury declared her guilty, and she was ordered to pay a fine and to stand at the pillory three times, as well as to behave well for a year.