Abraham Vandenbemde, Thomas Crompton, and Thomas Collet got a warrant for a Jone Peterson for bewitching to death Lady Powell, who was searched with no findings and examined pleading not guilty, but was still executed and retained her innocence till death.
Joan Peterson was examined for the poisoning and bewitching of Lady Powel, for which she confessed, Giles Fender also confessed to making a blood covenant with the Devil through a Jesuit, and murdering his wife, he was given a ring that could make him disappear, the Devil appeared to him in the jail as a lawyer and gave him the means to escape, after which he was apprehended again when his covenant wore off, was hanged.
This pamphlet deals primarily with the 1652 trial of Giles Fenderlin, a soldier who made a pact of protection with the devil via a Jesuit priest. The pamphlet recounts Fenderlin’s confession, beginning with a cursory mention of his murder of a woman purported to be his wife. Fenderlin, a soldier in the Low Countries (Flanders at the time of the covenant) paid a Jesuit priest 45 shillings for protection provided by the Devil. He and the two other soldiers accompanying him asked for demonstrations on a rooster and a cat, and when they were satisfied with the results, paid the priest 45 shillings. For the next five years Fenderlin was protected in battle. Bullets bounced off of him. When the covenant expired he decided to renew it for the next 14. Fenderlin wrote his name in his own blood, and the Jesuit gave Fenderlin an enchanted ring that could reveal money hoards and transport the wearer miles away from danger.
Spirits visited Fenderlin several times while he was incarcerated. The Devil himself visited Fenderlin, who took the form of a lawyer and told Fenderlin to hang himself. A fellow inmate of Fenderlin’s reported seeing a spirit who took the form of a bishop. Fenderlin renounced it, telling the spirit that it should return if it was from hell. The spirit “spit fire in his face like a flame.” Other fellow inmates reported seeing Fenderlin’s familiar, who appeared at night as a man with no arms or head. An apparition of a dog also appeared, but Fenderlin rejected its affections (“saying ‘Avoid Satan’”).
On the eve of Fenderlin’s execution, he warned some inmates “of good repute” that they might be scared by the apparitions that would haunt him that night. The inmates declared they were afraid only of God. That night they heard rustling in the straw, and Fenderlin yelled at an apparent spirit. The inmates, however, asserted that it was not a spirit but “the guilt of your own Conscience, and nothing else; for we are all rational men, and cannot discern any thing.” Fenderlin then assured them that he was in his right mind. Fenderlin was hanged in
This section of the pamphlet brings up several interesting issues that I would like to explore: the treatment of male witches in the late 17th century, the allusions to mental illness, the appearance of a specifically Jesuit Catholic priest, the possible interactions between the representation of Fenderlin’s crime and his term as a soldier in the Low Countries, and the treatment (or lack thereof) of Fenderlin’s crime against his wife.
There is what seems to be a short addendum (or preview of an upcoming pamphlet) about Joan Peterson, who was a “practitioner of physick” accused of witchcraft because a woman she had given a potion died. However, Peterson denied any wrongdoing, as the patient was 80 years old, and insisted that she did not administer any potion and only provided the woman with “comfortable and nourishing” care. The author indicates that a pamphlet directly dealing with the trial is forthcoming.
Margaret Muschamp had been falling into trances for months, seemingly fighting a creature that would change shapes into a dragon, bear, etc, they then suspected a Dorothy Svvinovv, both her and a Rogue Hutton were apprehended and examined, Hutton died in prison, and Dorothy was examined for multiple other murders and offenses, includes a transcription of Maragaret’s last vision.
A dog and a woman called Jezabell appeared to John Palmer, the devil drew his blood and made him draw his mark on the ground, Palmer seduced his kin Elizabeth Knott into the same, together they bewitched to death several people and were executed for it.
Mostly a theoretical discussion asserting the existence of witchcraft, uses specific cases for the argument, discusses Elizabeth Deekes of Ratlesden in Suffolk and her confession of having imps, Ioane Wallis of Keyston who confessed to knowing the Devil as a black man, Elizabeth Clarke of Maningtree in Essex confessed to knowing the Devil sexually, discusses the confessions of many other witches but does not go into the details of the case, rather uses them for examples and evidence, mostly cases of Imps and sexual relations with the Devil.
Sterne, an English witch finder, wrote this pamphlet shortly after the death of his witch finding partner Matthew Hopkins. Sterne’s goal in this pamphlet is to prove the existence of witches, and detail the procedure for detecting them. He also reviews how to discern whether accused witches are guilty or innocent. Sterne begins by denouncing witchcraft as the foulest possible crime, as it represents the renunciation of the Christian God. He states that those witches who are perceived as good are still in league with the devil, and criminals on the same level as those witches who deal in curses.
Sterne starts the body of his pamphlet by suggesting that humans, by nature, are easily corruptible by Satan, but that the preaching of the Christian Gospel weakens the power of witchcraft. He then begins to address the arguments of those who state that witches do not exist. The first evidence Sterne presents is in the form of passages from the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible, all of which mention witches in some form, and provide an argument for their reality. He then provides evidence for witches still existing in his time in Christian countries, rather than having died out prior to the coming of Christianity.
After Sterne has set down his general arguments for the existence of witches, he states again that all witches are bad, once more using evidence from the Bible. He makes special note that more women than men are cursing witches, while more men are those who claim to be good, using both biblical and experiential evidence to back up his claim. The bulk of the pamphlet is made up of short examples, a paragraph or two in length each, from among those whom he had accused or seen accused. Each of these providing evidence for certain types of people being witches, certain activities of witches, and certain methods of determining which people are witches. These examples generally involve confessions from the supposed witches. The conclusion reached is that a variety of faults can lead a person to become a witch, chief among these being ignorance. Following the examples meant to provide information on the nature of witches, Sterne provides more examples that give insight on how to find witches, and what methods to use in determining the truth of an accusation. In particular, he goes into depth regarding marks that can appear on the witch’s skin, and how to differentiate them from natural marks.
Multiple themes run throughout A Confirmation and Discovery of Witchcraft. One is that all witches are allied with Satan, but that their pacts with the devil either are explicit or implicit, explicit in the case of cursing witches, but implicit in the case of most healing witches. Sterne also repeatedly mentions that, by biblical decree, all witches are deserving of death. Another major theme that Sterne brings up frequently is his own virtue and truthfulness. He attempts to make clear that he never falsely accused a witch, never falsified testimony, and never took bribes. He also mentions that he did not use banned torture methods, nor did he use them frequently when they were allowed. He also mentions that he believes his partner, Matthew Hopkins, did none of these things either. It appears that both Sterne and Hopkins had been accused of unsavory practices in their witchfinding careers, and it is likely that this pamphlet was written at least in part to try and clear their names. However, Sterne seems honest in his belief in witches, and may well have genuinely believed that he had done a great service to England and wanted to make it possible for others to follow in his footsteps.
‘The discoverer’ found that in Maningtree several female witches were gathering in the night with their imps to make sacrifices to the Devil, one witch was apprehended and found to have teats, includes a theoretical discussion of how to identify a witch and the Devil’s mark, answer to several queries about how the witches were detected and the witch hunter.
Elizabeth Weed saw three spirits, a young boy and two puppies which told her to renounce God and make a blood covenant with Devil, which she did, her spirits had sex with her and killed livestock for her, a poor John Winnick acquiesced to renouncing Christ in exchange for spirits helping him financially, Weed than offered a white dog to Weed and similarly converted her, contains other examinations and confessions of other witches and related incidents.
The devil appeared to Joan Williford in the form a dog, she sold her soul and gave him blood, pled guilty and was executed, Joan Cariden also saw the devil in the form of a black dog, and he sucked her; Jane Hott reported a hedghog coming into her room at night when she was asleep and sucking her blood, she did not pass the water sinking test and was executed with the rest of them.
Contains theoretical description of the laws and discovery of witchcraft, then discusses the professor of religion Mother Lakeland who was constantly solicited by the devil, who did not push her to deny god but wrote the Covenants in blood in her hand and gave her three imps, with which she bewitched her husband to death along with others, for which she as burnt to death, upon her death marks of flesh in the form of a dog she had apparently given a man disappeared.
Elizabeth Clarke was accused of bewitching a sick woman, she admitted to having sex with the Devil in the night, she was accused of several bewitchings, told the lame and poor Anne West that she could live better through spirits, an associated Anne Leech was responsible for the death of a child, Rebecca West daughter of Anne also confessed to knowing the devil in many shapes, including a young man, the witches would meet at the house of Clarke to send of their spirits, contains many other accusations and examinations of minor cases of witchcraft, mostly dealing with Imps and teats, both men and women, all in 1645 all of which were seemingly executed.