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.
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
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.
Summary of the Boy of Bilson, then relates the story of Susanna Fowles for comparison, she married John but wasn’t in as comfortable of a situation as she hoped, and then seemed to fall into fits as if possessed by the devil, a Dr. Jourdan gave her a ‘spell’ around her neck, that was found to be an ‘Exorcism,’ during one of her fits they put a hot iron on her, she cried out, and they found her to be an imposter, she confessed to impersonating the devil to get money, she was informed and encouraged by Roman Catholics, she now resides in Bridewell beating hemp until she is put on for her next trial
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.
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.
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.
The author was visiting a house when a Mary Walcut, the daughter of a Captain, found bite marks on her wrist, when visiting the minister Mr. P his kin Abigail Williams went into fits, refused to have the book and said she only need the Devil’s now, ran into the fire and threw flames about, while he was trying to lead prayer one evening multiple people went into violent fits, one of which, Goodwife C., was tried for being a witch, women reported seeing a yellow bird sucking on her during the sermon, she was examined and denied having Familiars, if she pinched herself under examination those afflicted felt the same, a child named Sarah G. was apprehended and examined for causing fits in those she stared at, during a public fasting Abigail Williams reported that a congregation of witches ate red bread and wine, contains other minor reports an theoretical discussion and proposals for dealing with witches.
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.