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.
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.
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.
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.
A young girl named Christian Shaw saw her mother’s maid Campbel stealing from the house and told her mom, the maid cursed her, a few days later in her sleep she broke into fits and was flung over the top of a bed in front of her family, she cried that Campbel and an Agnes Nafmith were cutting her side, random things such as hay and dung fell out of her mouth, she saw animals in her bed, Campbel and Nafmith, along with several other men and women, were apprehended for bewitching Christian, when they touched her she broke into fits, they were condemned and executed
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 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.
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.
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.
Mostly theoretical, huge, but seemingly includes some trials, reprinted over and over.
Theoretical discussion of witches, includes other reports, a discovery of thirty-two witches in the cloister of Madam Anthoinette Bourignon at Lisle, told be herself, born deformed in the face, she was told by a man to start a school for poor children instead of a nunnery, had a vision of little black children with wings floating above her children at work, a girl shut up in the prison for punishment was released by a man suspected to be the Devil, many of the children were exercised and examined, they reported to having known the Devil carnally in the appearance of the opposite sex, one especially devious girl was expected in retrospect to be a witch, they all confessed to having given their souls to the devil, didn’t want to dismiss all of them to have them commit evil across the world, she began examining them after exorcisms failed, they continued to get through locked doors and feces was found in their beds, they were sick in the morning from feasting with the Devil at night; includes also: sixteen witches in Yarmouth convicted and executed for signing the Devil’s book and having Familiars in 1644, a single witch convicted and executed at Oxford, a single witch of Lancashire tried at Wrcester in 1649, another from Teuksburry tried at Gloucester, the story of Faith Corbet afflicted by an Alice Huson and Dol. Bilby of Burton in York 1660-4, they confessed.
The pamphlet written by Sir Matthew Hale begins with a reflection by the author on “the great mercy of god, in preserving us from the power and malice of evil angels”. He asserts that “evil spirits” have “likewise a great measure of power and a greater measure of malice” and goes onto explain why. He says that evil spirits are more powerful and humans or animals because they are unencumbered by bodies therefore they have more energy to put towards influencing man. Their malice, he says, is even more extensive than their power because they can move about invisibly in order to “insinuate” himself with the victim.
He later goes into an examination of several trials he attended. The first of which is a man (Dr. John Portage) who confessed to seeing visions; first of a man, second of a giant, and third, of a dragon spitting fire in his bedroom.
The second story her relates is that of Madam Antoinette Bourignon and the 32 young girls found to be witches in her cloister. Mme. Bourignon, with the advice of a “Stranger” decided to open a cloister for poor girls to “educate them for their childhood in religion and virtue”. She claimed at her trial to have always suspected that the children “without the Grace of God” and claimed to have seen “little black children with wings fly about their heads”. She then goes on to tell several stories of odd happenings within the cloister including girls claiming that “the devil” made them commit thievery and other mischievous acts.
She spent 8 months hearing confessions from the girls and trying to convince them to repent to no avail so she called in three pastors to examine the girls and demanded that they be taken from her house so as not to corrupt the other girls. The pastors told her that the girls were witches but that she should not turn them out of her house until she discovered where the misfortune had come from, insisting that there must have been a witch in the house indoctrinating the girls.
The pastors determined that there was no witch in the house but that each girl, individually, had brought this “wickedness” with her. Mme. Bourignon attempted to convert the girls back to god and away from the devil with prayer and exorcism but they told her that the devil “laughed at these performances”. After several more incidents including falling ill herself, Mme. Bourignon came to believe that the girls were trying to kill her. One day the devil in the form of an old women appeared to Mme. Bourignon offering her, her service in the house, which Mme. Bourignon refuses. She then disappears and the girls/witches tell Mme. Bourignon that she was an apparition of the devil. In the end, one of the girls tells Mme. Bourignon of a plot to kill her, and how she stopped the plot because of her love for “Madam B”. She told Madam B that she wished someone would “kill [her] out of charity” because the devil was always with her and she was in misery. Due to her repentance she was put in jail instead of being put to death but it was “never known what became of her since.”
The next trial Hale recounts is that of one of 16 “Yarmouth witches” convicted and executed based upon their own confessions. This particular witch went to a man, Mr. Moulton and his maid in search of work and both refused her. That night in bed she saw a tall black man rising through her window asking her what she would like done. He told her to write her name in blood and left her with some money that night. When he returned he told her he could not get revenge for her against the man because he went to church so she asked him to get revenge against the maid. He returned and told her that the maid was also out of his reach but that there was a sick child in the house whom they could take revenge on. So, he brought her a wax figure of the child, which they buried, in the churchyard. She later confessed to what she had done and the child rose up from the bed seemingly healthy.
The next several accounts follow the same general thread where a person or persons insult or otherwise wrong a woman thought to be a witch and then fall into some sort of illness or other misfortune.
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.
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.