Tag Archives: BlackMan

A relation of the diabolical practices

Brief summary:
A group of men and women being examined for witchcraft reported having needles stuck in them without any blood being drawn, one who didn’t have visible marks was stripped naked and examined, a man who confessed was choked to death by the devil in prison, an Elizabeth Anderson admitted to inviting her father and friends to a meeting with the Devil, they were subsequently arrested, they often saw him in the shape of a black man, the group of witches would make pictures and poke them with pins, a young boy James Lindsay was begging and called a woman a witch, later a Black Grim Man came to him and promised him to be his servant and to clothe him, he said yes, includes other crimes the group committed, several were executed.

Fuller summary:
February 5th 1697
On touching Iames Lindsay, Christian Shaw’s body stiffened and she collapsed, appearing dead. When she recovered she recalled being confronted by Catherine Campbell, an old servant of her father’s, who had cursed her. Catherine was then interrogated. She adamantly insisted that she was innocent but refused to answer the question to why she wouldn’t pray. She offered to touch the child to prove her innocence, but Christian refused. The bystanders forced Christian to let Catherine touch her and she immediately fell to the ground in a fit. However, this seemed to have loosened Catherine’s tongue and she could now utter prayers. Christian stated that after the fit and hearing Catherine’s prayer she felt free of the fear of Catherine’s touch or that of any of her other tormentors. The Commissioners then asked Catherine why she would not or could not pray prior to touching the child but she could not give a satisfactory answer.

The next person called by the Commissioners was Elizabeth Anderson who had been invited by her father and other people to their rendezvouses with the Devil. The individuals who had been accused by Christian were confirmed by Elizabeth as witches and were sent to prison. Elizabeth however recalled another name however she could only recall the first name (Margaret) and not the last. She was encouraged to write it down but all she could manage was Margaret and the letter L of the surname. Following this she fell into a violent fit and collapsed, appearing dead. When she awoke the ministers presented her with a bible and asked her to read a passage from it. Instead of reading she began singing a melodious tune, she then had a fit and fell to the ground appearing dead. However, the singing continued even when her lips and tongue weren’t moving.

Elizabeth Anderson declared that 20 days prior to this meeting she had accompanied him to Bargarrin’s Yeard at noon. On their way back they met a Black Man whom her father and Agnes Nasmith who was with them at the time told her was the devil. She heard them along with a few hours discussing Christian Shaw who health was unwell and whose life they’d promised to take. Her father told her that she was not meant to tell anybody what she heard or she would be torn to pieces. She declared that both the devil and her father had invited her several times to the devil’s service but she refused them.

February 18th 1697
Elizabeth Anderson was with her grandmother when she saw the man whom she believed to be the devils, enter her house to converse with her grandmother. Her grandmother called her in and asked her to take the man’s hand and in return gave her a new black coat. About a month later when she was with her grandmother in her house, the man returned and spoke to her grandmother in words, which she did not understand. Her grandmother then told her to take the man’s hand but she refused saying that it was the devil. The grandmother tried to convince her but she stuck to her beliefs.
Her father then forced her to accompany him to get meat but instead took her to a meeting where they tried to convince her to do the devil’s work. They offered her better meat and clothes if she did but she refused.

She claims to have been present at many discussions relating to matters of witchcraft. She was present when they called for the destruction of Christian Shaw where some individuals, namely Agnes Nasmith, wanted to stab her with a touck. They told her that if she were to confess, they would tear her to pieces. She also declared to have flown with her father.

James Lindsay confessed to joining ranks with the devil. When he was begging one day he came across his grandmother when a man (fitting the description of Elizabeth’s devil) appeared before him. His grandmother asked him to take his hand and he did, he noted that it was exceedingly cold. The devil asked him to serve him and that he would provide him with many clothes, so he agreed. He claims to have attended many meetings, and in particular being at the putting down of a child in Parklands. It seems that the main group who did this act included Agnes Nasmith and Alexander Anderson.

Thomas Lindsay declared that he too met the devil (in circumstances similar to the other two). He was given a red coat in exchange for him agreeing to give himself to the devil’s services. Awhile later he saw and spoke to his dead grandmother. Late one night, he was awoken and flown to Parkland for the murder of the child. He also recalls being at the meeting where the planning of the murder of Christian Shaw was present.

The Letter
Christian saw the devil in the likeness of a man. She was told to rebuke him but she could not speak. She recovered but was then seized by a fit and she went deaf and blind. The devil then appeared in her bed where she conversed with him, as she returned she was bitten with teeth on her hands and had nail impressions on them. This occurred 24 times, each time she cried. She said in her fit that Margaret Lang had cursed her. Her fit ceased at five that night.

The detection of a popish cheat

A young boy named James Day was an apprentice to a smith his Father in Dublin, he declared that he was in league with the Devil and was visited by Minister Mr. Travers, another smith told him to write a prayer in blood to get money, he summoned the devil in this way, a black man appeared and offered him many things including money, the boy’s uncle Patrick Dayson a Papist brought him to his house, he was told to wear a crucifix, they tried to get him to convert, the boy later confessed it was all a plot with his Uncle’s family, they were apprehended and tried at the next Quarter Sessions.

Dreadful news from Wapping

Descriptions of the sky as proof for witchcraft, Sarah Brower was struck down with an invisible hand, numbed in half her body, and then taken over by fits the next day, a black gentleman appeared to her promising her gold if she gave him her blood, she was speechless for a while but then related her visions of heaven and hell, a good angel saved her and she called afterwards for England to repent, then she fell again into fits, includes a relation of several cures that worked on other cases of possession.

The life and conversation of Temperance Floyd

Does not discuss Susanna and Mary, Temperance sees the devil in the shape of a black man, and an ox, bewitched Madam Thomas, the devil struck Temperance on the face and left his mark, she was arrested and put into prison and did not confess for a month, she destroyed many ships, all three pleaded guilty.

A true and impartial relation of the informations

Brief summary:
A woman testified to feeling intense pains, and seeing Susanna Edwards in her bedroom, she bewitched another woman who also had pains and swelled in her stomach, once Temperance was apprehended one testified to her pains subsiding, another woman testified to having pricks all over her legs, Temperance admitted to knowing the devil in the form of black man, she and the devil tormented a Grace Thomas to death, she confessed to many other murders, includes many examinations and a dialogue between Temperance and the judges, they were executed.

Fuller summary:
The pamphlet “A True and Impartial Relation of the Informations against Three Witches” by Temperance Lloyd, Mary Trembles, and Susanna Edwards gives several accounts of witchcraft through testimonies of the accused witches as well as victim’s family and friends. These testimonies take place during a 1682 trial, which ends in the executions of the three authors as witches. The pamphlet begins with Dorcas Coleman as a victim of Susanna Edwards’ bewitchment. Dorcas reports that in August of 1680, she felt painful pricks in her arms, abdomen, and heart. A doctor, Beare, visits Dorcas only to declare her, at first glance, bewitched. Other testimonies, including that of her husband, and Thomas Bremin confirm these events, and add that while sitting in a chair at home, Dorcas is visited by Susanna. Dorcas becomes paralyzed and struggles to stand up. The help of her husband is not enough to release Dorcas from the chair, until Susanna leaves the room and Dorcas is released.

Another victim by the name of Grace Barnes reports similar symptoms of painful pricks in her breasts, arms, and heart. Grace suffers periodically from these pains. Prior to the pains, the Barnes family is visited by Susanna Edwards and Mary Trembles, who begged for bread but were refused because the Barnes family lacked bread. It is thought by the family that the two women bewitched Grace because they were refused bread. Other testimonies also confirm the sighting of Mary and Susanna outside the Barnes home. Later, Mary and Susanna confess to bewitching Grace, Dorcas, and murdering several other victims. Mary claims to have been converted to witchcraft by Susanna. Both women state that they confronted the devil in a form of a lion or black man, which then proceeded to persuade them to hurt victims, even though he did not promise the women anything. The devil did not allow neither women to pray, although both claim to wanting to ask God for help. The devil is also said, by the women, to have partaken in sexual acts with them. The women also confess to refusing to kill the victims, but were tormented by the devil at this refusal.

The third witch is named Temperance Lloyd. The victim of the accused is Grace Thomas, who, similarly to the previous cases, experiences pricks in her knee, and her abdomen swells. Temperance also confesses to using witchcraft after being persuaded by the devil in the form of a black man. The devil promises to cloak her in invisibility, so when Temperance enters the Thomas home, she reports continually pricking Grace without being seen. Several testimonies, including Temperance’s, confirm the story. The end of the pamphlet includes the dialogue between the three witches and an interrogator. The speech consists of their confessions and eventually the execution.

A confirmation and discovery of witchcraft

Brief summary:
Mostly a theoretical discussion asserting the existence of witchcraft, uses specific cases for the argument, discusses Elizabeth Deekes of Ratlesden in Suffolk and her confession of having imps, Ioane Wallis of Keyston who confessed to knowing the Devil as a black man, Elizabeth Clarke of Maningtree in Essex confessed to knowing the Devil sexually, discusses the confessions of many other witches but does not go into the details of the case, rather uses them for examples and evidence, mostly cases of Imps and sexual relations with the Devil.

Fuller summary:
Sterne, an English witch finder, wrote this pamphlet shortly after the death of his witch finding partner Matthew Hopkins. Sterne’s goal in this pamphlet is to prove the existence of witches, and detail the procedure for detecting them. He also reviews how to discern whether accused witches are guilty or innocent. Sterne begins by denouncing witchcraft as the foulest possible crime, as it represents the renunciation of the Christian God. He states that those witches who are perceived as good are still in league with the devil, and criminals on the same level as those witches who deal in curses.

Sterne starts the body of his pamphlet by suggesting that humans, by nature, are easily corruptible by Satan, but that the preaching of the Christian Gospel weakens the power of witchcraft. He then begins to address the arguments of those who state that witches do not exist. The first evidence Sterne presents is in the form of passages from the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible, all of which mention witches in some form, and provide an argument for their reality. He then provides evidence for witches still existing in his time in Christian countries, rather than having died out prior to the coming of Christianity.

After Sterne has set down his general arguments for the existence of witches, he states again that all witches are bad, once more using evidence from the Bible. He makes special note that more women than men are cursing witches, while more men are those who claim to be good, using both biblical and experiential evidence to back up his claim. The bulk of the pamphlet is made up of short examples, a paragraph or two in length each, from among those whom he had accused or seen accused. Each of these providing evidence for certain types of people being witches, certain activities of witches, and certain methods of determining which people are witches. These examples generally involve confessions from the supposed witches. The conclusion reached is that a variety of faults can lead a person to become a witch, chief among these being ignorance. Following the examples meant to provide information on the nature of witches, Sterne provides more examples that give insight on how to find witches, and what methods to use in determining the truth of an accusation. In particular, he goes into depth regarding marks that can appear on the witch’s skin, and how to differentiate them from natural marks.

Multiple themes run throughout A Confirmation and Discovery of Witchcraft. One is that all witches are allied with Satan, but that their pacts with the devil either are explicit or implicit, explicit in the case of cursing witches, but implicit in the case of most healing witches. Sterne also repeatedly mentions that, by biblical decree, all witches are deserving of death. Another major theme that Sterne brings up frequently is his own virtue and truthfulness. He attempts to make clear that he never falsely accused a witch, never falsified testimony, and never took bribes. He also mentions that he did not use banned torture methods, nor did he use them frequently when they were allowed. He also mentions that he believes his partner, Matthew Hopkins, did none of these things either. It appears that both Sterne and Hopkins had been accused of unsavory practices in their witchfinding careers, and it is likely that this pamphlet was written at least in part to try and clear their names. However, Sterne seems honest in his belief in witches, and may well have genuinely believed that he had done a great service to England and wanted to make it possible for others to follow in his footsteps.

A treatise of witchcraft VVherein sundry propositions are laid downe

mostly a theoretical discussion of witchcraft, Marie Smith became jealous of her neighbors for selling cheese better than she, cursed them, the Devil appeared to her in the shape of a black man, she cursed a sailor who struck her son, he became sick and his fingers rotted off, she bewitched several other men and women, and confessed publicly before execution