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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

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.

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.

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 tryal of witches at the assizes

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.

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.

An account of the tryal and examination of Joan Buts

Joan Butts was indicted for the bewitching to death of Mary Farmer and Elizabeth Burrige, she plead not guilty, when Mary’s clothes were burnt Butts appeared, clay was pulled from Elizabeth’s back, apparently Butts used to go around begging, she was found not guilty.

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.

Strange and wonderful nevvs from Goswell-street

about three years ago a woman began to have uncontrollable fits, doctors could not do anything and concluded that she was bewitched, one of the rooms of the house filled with smoke and a loud banging like thunder or a canon was heard, her brother-in-law was hit on the head, a spirit ran up through the chimney, after she was freed from her possession