Tag Archives: Murder

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.

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.

A faithful narrative of the wonderful and extraordinary fits

Thomas Spatchet fell down a well, was sick on and off from then on and later fell into fits, had difficulties expressing himself, fell in and out of fits, saw apparitions, an Abre Grinset eventually confessed to E. C. that she had bewitched Thomas, murdered Iohn Collet of Cookly and Hnry Winson of Walpool, made a blood covenant with the devil, he appeared as a man and then a cat and sucked her teat, she had an imp, his fits continued till her death in 1676 when she was similarly tortured by the devil, he misused her

A faithful narrative of the several strange prodigious signs and wonderful appearances & accidents

A book for the prodigious and wondrous times, a thunderstorm in Daventry in Northamptonshire killed four people working in the fields, in Gofsforth near Newcaftle there was a whale, or sea monster, spotted by many, making strange noises, some farmers in Exeter saw an approaching arming riding white horses, in the island of Ely in Cambridgeshire there was a hail and thunderstorm, killing many livestock, a man in Maldon saw a light in the sky, and then two men in the sky as well, but then heard gunshots to see two men fighting with pistols on ground, one was killed.

The full tryals, examination, and condemnation of four notorious witches

Brief summary:
Rebecca West, Margaret Landis, Susan Cock, and Rose Hallybread were brought to court for the bewitching of cattle and children, the devil came to Rebecca in the shape of a young man, promising to revenge her enemies and be her loving husband, killed a man for her, John Hart, the man bewitched to death, was reported by his father to have yelled Rebecca’s name before dying, Margaret bewitch a man’s son to death after he accused her of being a witch, she admitted to having Imps suck teats near her ‘privy parts,’ they all confessed and were executed.

Fuller summary:
Rebecca West, Margaret Landis, Susan Cock and Rose Hallybread were four “notorious and reputed witches”. These women were examined for supposed “diabolical and abominable practices” on children and cattle. The beginning of the examination acknowledges that wise men don’t always believe the extraordinary accounts of witches and some are tried without faithful evidence. However, these four trials of the four witches are just.

The four trials took place on March 5th, beginning with Rebecca West. John Edes testified against her, stating a young man came to her, promising that he would have revenge on all her enemies and have all she desired, if she denied God. Matthew Hopkins told an account of Rebecca claiming the devil would marry her, but then he killed her, but he was still her “loving husband” who would avenge her of her enemies. Rebecca asked him to kill John Hart, which was done accordingly. Thomas Hart (John’s father) testified that his son died by witchcraft and when his son was being tortured to death, he heard him cry out against Rebecca. Unable to defend herself against these accusations, Rebecca claimed her “great poverty” had been the cause for her wrongdoing and pleaded guilty. The jury found her guilty of murder and witchcraft, and denied her the mercy she desired.

The death of a child by witchcraft was blamed on Margaret Landis. Supposedly, one day in December, she was walking by a man and his child. When the child pointed at Margaret and said, “there goes pegg the Witch”, Margaret turned around and clapped her hands “in a threatening manner”, telling the child she would smart it. That night, the child became sick and died three weeks later. A witness said that when the child was sick, she would see “pegg the Witch” by her bedside making strange mouths at her. More evidence that suggested Margaret was a witch included her “Imps” doing misfortunes and sucking on “teats near the privy parts”. Margaret was also overheard planning the child’s ruin in Mr. Bargrrans Orchard, and the child’s doctors claimed she died under the torture of “some diabolical agent”. Margaret’s defense was that all who testified had a grudge against her and they were all malicious people, after which she let a terrifying howl that scared the whole bench. After citing that the Holy Scripture declares witches should not live, they found her guilty.

Susan Cook and Rose Hallybread were arraigned together for the supposed killing of two children, John and Mary Peak. Abraham Chad and Elin Sheacraft both were present during the attempted torture of the children by the witches, but were asked to recall the evidence separately to ensure it was valid. According to Abraham, the two witches made wax figures of the children, and then stuck pins and needles into them while reciting strange words. The next day, the children had marks in the same areas where the wax figures were pricked and were muttering the strange words the witches had said. Elin gave the same account as Abraham, and a midwife and other women claimed they found holes in the children’s bodies. The children claimed the “Devils Imps” had done this horrible act to them. There were many witnesses that testified against the two witches, and after careful consideration by the jury, they were found guilty and sentenced to be burned at the stake.

When the witches got to the place of execution, they cried and howled and confessed to killing an abundance of cattle, which they attributed to “pride, malice, and revenge” that made them enter a league with the devil. They were fooled by the devil and warned all women not to let him fool you, or you will also die a shameful death.

Strange nevvs from Shadwell

Brief summary
An elderly widow named Alice Fowler, thought to be a witch for a long time because she often talked to herself, people thought she talked to spirits, she nursed a girl who reported she was a witch, her son Walter often accused her as well, but was hung in Barbados for murdering his wife, after which Alice fell sick, a neighbor nursing her found her dead, naked, and with clay all over he back, her toes tied together, they found five black teats on her.

Fuller summary
Strange News from Shadwell, Being a True and Just Relation of the Death of Alice Fowler takes place in King Fleet and focuses on the accusation against Alice of being a witch and her eventual death. Alice Fowler was a widowed woman that was viewed as being evil and had been deemed a witch by her peers for years. When she was witnessed speaking to herself, some would say that she was talking to spirits and communicating with those beyond the realm of the living. Although she sold biscuits, it was not enough to keep her from living a life of poverty.

While there was no concrete evidence of the accusations against Alice, a young girl whom she had nursed accused her of being a witch. Even after twenty years had passed, the young girl, now a young woman was still afraid of Alice and her “trickery”. Many people believed the young woman was scared of Alice and her perceived witchcraft until the day she died. The young woman’s accusations were not the only ones that helped other believe that she was a witch; her own son accused her of the same crime. Her son, Walter, left to Barbados and fifteen years after his move he still was being bewitched by his mother. Walter believed that he could still see his mother in his room, though no one else would be able to do so. Walter continued to accuse his mother of bewitchment until the day of his death which he caused by murdering his wife and being hung as a punishment.

Over the years, Alice had become ill and had to resort to having a neighbor help with her care in her own furnished room. One day her neighbor had left to retrieve something for her and had left her alone and locked in her room, he returned and found Alice dead. Alice’s body had been found lying naked on the floor and with her two great toes tied together. Other neighbors were called in to see Alice and they all were shocked when they saw her dead body and said it smelled terrible. Some neighbors were curious enough to want to search her body and they found five black teats on her private area. Because of the previous accusations made against Alice and the condition of her dead body, everyone refused to attend her burial. At the end of the pamphlet we are told that this was a true story and the people of King-Street all affirmed this. All of the statements are believed to come from a credible source, who investigated the story from people who had been neighbors of Alice.

A full and true account of the proceedings at the sessions

Includes accounts of robberies and other crimes, in addition to the trial of Iane Kent, who bewitched to death a five-year old after first bewitching her father’s swine, tried to make a business transaction with him but wouldn’t pay, after which his daughter’s body started swelling, he was advised by a doctor to boil his wife’s hair and other things, which caused the witch pain and made her swell the next day, one women found a teat on her back and holes behind her ears but she was found not 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.