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.
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.
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
Bridget Bishop was tried for bewitching persons and cattle, she would pinch and bite persons and force them to write their names in her book, her ghost haunted and beat people, she was known to be at a congregation of witches that took bread and wine as a Devilish sacrament, she haunted and attacked many others as her ghost or through imps, a Susanna Martin asked a man to have her ox help her carry some of her things, when he refused his ox ran into the sea and drowned, she came through a man’s window and lay on top of him for a few hours, he was able to cut her finger and she left her blood on his stairs, she left no prints in the snow besides the threshold, she sent dogs and cats to attack men, a Martha Carrier was accused of bewitching people, those testifying often fell into fits upon seeing her, she bewitch cattle and men, causing sores to appear on people, an unnamed man was also condemned, although weak he could lift heavy objects and was thought to be given strength by the devil, made others sign the Devil’s book in blood, bit many and left marks in their flesh, they were all convicted and sentenced to death, some tempted children were instead given time to repent.
A woman or something that took the shape of this woman is said to have been tormenting and hurting people and that this thing attempted to get people to sign their name in a book. One woman who refused was then threatened by the witch, the witch said she would drown her in a river if she did not but the woman still refused, “overcame the temptation” as the pamphlet put it. When this witch looked at a person they were tormented, if they were swooning she could touch them and revive them, and she could perform various other supernatural actions as well.
There were various testaments against her by others in the community, one of which included a man whose home was broken into by some strange creature who offered him a deal where if the man submitted to him he would want for nothing. The man did not consent to the deal and instead fought against the creature but each action he took against it caused a supernatural negative effect to befall him. This woman was also said to always appear with a strange light beside her. Another charge brought against her was that of having caused several cattle to drown and the only survivor of which to go mad, the cattle belonging to a man whom she quite probably felt wrong by and then would have had the motivation to perform this deed.
Several other occurrences likes these were brought as charges against her and she was accused of going to witch meetings and consorting with the devil. From this case and the others who were accused of witchcraft along with her, there was a man who was similarly accused of witchcraft but more specifically of enticing and recruiting people to sign the “Devil’s Book” in blood. All were convicted and quickly executed but children and a few others who had been taken in by these practices received lighter sentences and given time to repent.
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.
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.
William Spicer went to the house of an old woman and accused her of being a witch, infuriated she called a Justice of the Peace and he felt bad, later that night he went into mad fits, he often saw the woman in the night and would vomit up pins, a Mary Hill asking for her ring back from the woman later went into fits and similarly threw up pins, upon bringing Mary in spasms to the woman’s house they found that she floated into the air, but was pulled down by men who grabbed her feet, a Jury of Women searched her body finding teats and pricking her with a needle without eliciting any pain, she was apprehended until the next Assizes, she also floated in water.
Rose and Amy were arranged for bewitching several men and women, to which they pled not guilty, several witnesses were unable to testify after going into fits, Amy suckled her mistress’s baby against demands, he later broke out in fits and was taken to a doctor, a toad appeared in their house which they threw in the fire, they found Amy to be scorched the next day, Amy was found guilty, and Elizabeth Pacy, giving her testimony, was mute until she was put near Amy when she scratched her face, the daughter of Elizabeth also fell into fits, they would cry out the names of Rose and Amy, they were sent to their Aunts where the accused also arrived, throwing up pins, they sent several imps to torment them, they were found guilty, they were hanged but did not confess.
Temperance Floyd, Mary Floyd, and Susannah Edwards were arranged in Exeter for witchcraft, Temperance admitted to being in league with the devil for twenty years, and teaching the others tricks for five years, they bewitched the cattle of a minister Mr. Hann, she admitted to cause the crashing of several ships, and that the devil had been with her carnally, sucking from her teats, they squeezed to death several people, they were unable to say the Lord’s prayer in court unless backwards, the devil came to them as a hound, they were all executed.
In the woods lived a cobbler called Robin the Devill, forced to marry a woman’s daughter, got into trouble with the town and left, he got lost but found a house with an old lady in it who he then realized was a witch, he went into fits and she seduced him into bed, the next morning three witches came in seeking revenge against him, promised to marry one of them, they turned into spirits, bit, and drew blood from his throat, ‘bum’ and ‘members,’ he turned into a fox and they followed him as dogs, turned him into other animals, he broke free from their spell and headed back to London, then he became a beggar.
This pamphlet reads more as an episode of folklore than a “true and genuine” account of witchcraft—in fact it never alleges itself to be true, is accompanied with rhyming couplets, and attributes itself to an author, “L.P.” Nonetheless, it provides a vivid portrait of what constitutes a witch and magic acts. This illustrated pamphlet is twelve pages long and would have looked eye-catching on the table displays. Most of its illustrations, with the exception of the cover page, are of the male protagonist rather than the witches.
The Witch of the Woodlands begins by detailing the exploits of a cobbler named Robin especially eager to please his attractive female customers. He appreciates his “wenches” so much that he impregnates three of them—as the reader later discovers, in one evening. He misses his bachelorhood and feels overwhelmed by his fatherhood responsibilities, so he takes to London to work until his children reach adulthood. On his way, however, he gets lost in “the Woodlands” (emphasis already in place).
“Robin the Cobler” in search of refuge meets an elderly woman, one of whom the reader can immediately tell is a witch by the descriptions of a “staffe in her hand,” and her physical traits: “long nos’d,” “wry mouth’d” and “bow-legg’d.” She offers for them to sleep together “as the Devill hugg’d the Witch” and out of starvation, Robin falls to his knees and agrees.
When Robin wakes up, he finds that the old woman has found three witch friends, who expose his “whoring” habits. The old woman had imps, one of whom took the form of a black cat, and informed her of the women Robin had exploited.
The three witches seek revenge and turn into animal form: a black cat, a bear, and a wolf. They bite his entire body, including his “members.” Three days of torture ensue, all emasculating and with maleficent properties. On the first day, Robin turns into a fox who must run from angry dogs. The second day, as a nag, he must literally permit the witches to ride him all day, tearing his flesh. The witches transform robin into an owl on the last day, plucking at his body parts. When the witches withdraw their spells, they perform one last act of subordination, forcing him to knell and kiss their entire bodies.
Robin is restored as a full human being but now he is witchlike in completion; his eyes are sunken, his skin pale, his nose lengthened. He returns to London in poverty, but finds the mercy of a fellow beggar. He “lay[s] lovingly” with this beggar and they become relatively successful beggars together. When his beggar partner dies, Robin inherits his money and gives it to his former wives, wenches and children.
A farmer was bargaining with a mower about cutting down some of his oats, when the price wasn’t right they fought and the farmer swore about preferring the Devil to mow his oats, that night his oats appeared as if on fire but the next day were perfectly mowed.
The pamphlet details a phenomenal instance that occurred in Hartfordshire in August 1678 (pamphlet published August 22, 1678). A farmer wanted his field mowed, and so he went to a poor neighbor who usually worked in harvest labor and proposed a small compensation for his field to be mowed. The poor man asked for a higher price for his labor, and let it be known that the farmer “bid him much more under the usual Rate than the poor Man askt above it” (2). In other words, the farmer was proposing an unreasonably low price and the poor man was within his rights to ask for a higher compensation. The farmer however, was not happy with this and some harsh words were exchanged. The farmer decided he would discuss the matter no further, but the poor man, afraid of losing future business, then proposed to the farmer “a lower price than he had Mowed for any time this Year before,” (3). The farmer said in response, “That the Devil himself should Mow his Oats before he should have anything to do with them,” (3).
In the night, several “Passengers” beheld the farmer’s field of oats “to be all on a Flame” and this strange news reached the farmer in the morning (4). He went out to see his oats, imagining them to be completely devoured by the flames (reflecting on the statement he uttered the day before “That the Devil himself should Mow his Oats before he should have anything to do with them”). The farmer was amazed to find his crops cut down, not in the usual manner but in round circles, with every straw placed so exactly, no man could possibly have performed this task in one night. And the farmer is still afraid to remove the mowed crops from their devilish design.
The pamphlet is told as a dramatic narrative, relaying the story after the matter, and being careful to place the blame of the quarrel on the farmer for being unreasonable. Demonic/devilish intervention is pointed to as the cause of this occurrence, and the opening of the pamphlet provides a dramatic statement that devils certainly exist and they come from hell, as certainly as there is a heaven and consequently a God.