Tag Archives: Cures

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.

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.

A strange and wonderful relation of Margaret Gurr

Brief summary:
A first person account of the Devil coming to Margaret Gurr in her sleep, giving her extreme pains, entering her and speaking through her with ugly sounds, a witch came and also entered her, Doctor Skinner told her to pray when they came but they overpowered her, she was tempted to kill herself, later she was able to read the Bible again, another young man was possessed by the devil in the shape of a greyhound.

Brief summary:
This pamphlet was purportedly written by Margaret Gurr and is, therefore, a first hand account of her possession. It begins in July 1681 when she is visited by two devils, one dressed in gray and the other dressed in black. The devils try to convince her to kill herself, first by hanging and in the case that she would not do that, by putting knitting needles in her ears. She does not kill herself. A week later the gray devil returns to her and holds her down on her bed so that she cannot move. The devil holds her so tight that her hands consequentially swell. The gray devil leaves her as soon as Margaret thinks about God. After the gray devil leaves her she feels a pain in her neck. The black devil then came, stared at her for a few moments, and then disappeared. When he disappeared the pain left her as well. On the fourth of August the devils return to Margaret. The black devil enters inside her and speaks through her, saying that if she does as he wants her to do she will be well. Then, on the fifth day of August a witch enters inside her as well and tells her the same thing, saying that if she follows the witch’s lead and acts the way she does she will be very healthy. Margaret was forced to do as the witch wanted her to do and if she tried to pray she was unable to speak. The next day she was once again visited by the devils. They took her flying through the air. She remembers the words of Doctor Skinner and prays. The witch threatens her for going to Doctor Skinner for help. After this, Doctor Skinner casts the devils and the witch out of Margaret’s body. He also cures her of the scurvy and gout so she is healthier than she has ever been before. She notes that before this possession took place she was unable to read and therefore could not read the word of God but after the possession she was blessed with the ability to read.

There is another shorter story included in this pamphlet about a 17 year old servant boy. A spirit in the form of a greyhound appears to him, telling him to go to Virginia. The boy starts getting seemingly unhealthy, his speech fails and all those around him notice and look for help. The author is the person that they found to help the boy. The author found that the boy was possessed by the devil and the author gave the boy medicines and the boy was cured as the devil was cast out of him.

The final story from this pamphlet is one of three miraculous cures. One girl had “evil in her eyes”, one had “evil in her throat” and the other had pain in her head, near her eyes. The author was able to cure all of them. As soon as they found the author they were cured.

A medicine for the times

Fuller Summary:
“A Medicine for the time or an antidote against faction” details seven cures for common ailments during the 1600s in London. Thomas Jordan, claiming to be an “honest physician” (Jordan, A4), offers cures based on his medical opinions. In each section, Jordan points to his medical authority while attempting to institute remedies for causes of societal disorder.

The first two sections outline cures for one who is possessed by evil spirits. Jordan splits the treatments into two sections, one for a possessed male and the other for a possessed female. This separation, as well as the cures itself, highlight the differences between men and women as well as their respective status in society. A central component in a woman’s cure is recognizing that they are the “weaker vessel” (Jordan, A3). For this reason, Jordan clarifies that, “when he hath taken his cure” (Jordan, A3), then she, his wife, can be treated for her possession. Therefore, ridding a bewitched woman of evils rests on curing her husband. Jordan attributes a male’s possession to his mental status, or “malady of the mind” (Jordan, A1). A man’s remedy revolves around the ability to clear his head of those evils. On the other hand, a woman must refrain from certain physical activities such as sitting “crosse-leg’d” (Jordan, A3). Jordan’s final statement for curing a male, in which he states that bleeding, a common medical treatment, is unnecessary, begs the question of whether he saw possession as a real illness for males.

Jordan’s next section explains curing the King’s Evil. He suggests that “obedience” (Jordan, A3), can “purge the brain” (Jordan, A3). By complying with all of his suggestions, one is prevented from being troubled by the King’s Evil. He does not call on the physical symptoms but instead stresses the mental components of these afflictions. The next section, Jordan recognizes the significance of the crosse and peoples’ predisposition to worship it. The cure for one “troubled with Crosses” (Jordan, A4) is to simply avoid it. In other cases when one’s name is Crosse, Jordan suggests changing the name to “Overthwart” (Jordan, A4), but exceptions do exist. Jordan continuously refers to his status as an “honest Physician” (Jordan, A5), to bring authority and validity to his pamphlet and cures.

The fifth section handles one being “troubled with an Ovall-pate, a Round-head” (Jordan, A5). The term roundhead arose during the debates at Parliament regarding the Bishops Exclusion Bill, which proposed to oust Bishops from the House of Lords. Jordan’s suggestion is to change one’s appearance so as not to be associated with this group of people. This debate was central to the turmoil in society during the mid 1600’s.

The final two sections are a general advising to maintain an even-tempered state of mind. Jordan first classifies “Obstinacie” (Jordan, A5) as a disease. The advice Jordan offers is to monitor one’s worshipping habits and make conscious religious decisions. Lastly, Jordan offers “A Cure for his Impatience that is angry with me, for the expression of my Art” (Jordan, A6) to combat skepticism surrounding his work. He, once again, assures the reader of his status as a physician to avoid blame for possibly ineffective cures. Jordan explains that he is able to “take the oath of Supremacie” (Jordan, A6) thereby establishing his “love for the King, and all those that love him [the King]” (Jordan, A6). This inclusion of Jordan’s personal religious beliefs, along with his section on Roundheads, suggests that possession and religion were intertwined at the time and causing a societal upheaval. Jordan, using his seemingly self-appointed authority, teaches 17th century London how to “dispose of Offenders” (Jordan, A7) in his pamphlet in order to keep society in a calm state.