THE LIBRARY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES
IN

MEMORY OF

EDWIN CORLE
PRESENTED BY JEAN CORLE

WILLIAM

TEGG-.

DEMONOLOGY
AND

WITCHCRAFT
BY

SIR

WALTER

SCOTT, BART.

IN A SERIES OF LETTERS

ADDRESSED TO
J.
(T.

LOCK HART.

ILLUSTRATED.

LONDON: WILLIAM TEGG
PANCRAS LANE, CHEAPSIDE.

& CO.

and from the Works of Patrick Walker Evidence of Intercourse with the Supernatural World is sometimes owing to a depraved State of the bodily Organs Difference between this Disorder and Insanity. those upon the Ear next considered Delusions of the touch Delusions of the Taste chiefly experienced in Sleep and of the Smell Sum of the Argument. Gregory -Of an Eminent Of the same fallacious Disorder are other instances. though that of the Mind is lost Rebellion of the Senses of a Lunatic against the current of his Reveries Narratives of a contrary Nature. . in which the Evidence of the Eyes London overbore the Conviction of the Understanding Example of a Man of Pleasure Of Nicolai. LETTER Page I. Origin of the general Opinions respecting Demonology Mankind The Belief in the Immortality of the Soul among is the main Inducement re-appeaiance The Philosophical Objections to the Apparition of an Abstract The Spirit little understood by the Vulgar and Ignorant to credit its occasional situations of excited Passion incident to Humanity. . the German Bookseller deceased and Philosopher Scottish Lawyer Of a Patient of Dr. which teach men to wish or apprehend Supernatural Apparitions They are often presented by the Sleeping Sense Story of Somnambulism Individuals The Influence of Credulity contagious. which have but sudden and momentary Endurance Apparition of Maupertuis Of a late illustrious modern Poet The Cases quoted chiefly relating to false Impressions on the Visual Nerve. . in which the Organs retain their tone. . i 2043129 .CONTENTS. so that will trust the Evidence of others in despite of their own Senses Examples from the Historia Verdadera of Bernal Dias del The apparent Castillo.

nor do they appear to have Articles of Faith possessed the power ascribed to Magicians which we may gather from Scripture on this point That there might be certain Powers permitted by the Almighty to inferior. for the deception which the Witch intended to produce Resumption of the Argument. as in the case of Balak. evil Spirits. than what is now called a Example of the Witch of Endor Account of her meeting with Saul Supposed by some a mere Impostor By others Witch by her own a Sorceress powerful enough to raise the Spirit of the Prophet art Difficulties attending both positions middle A course adopted. showing that the Witch of Endor signified something very different from the modern ideas of Witchcraft the The Witches mentioned in New Testament are not less different from modern ideas than those of the Books of Moses. Chasapk.vi CONTENTS. refer to something corresponding Other texts of Scripture. without and even their worship founded on imOpinion that the Oracles were silenced at the Nativity. have been a character mean merely Poisoner Or very different to be identified with it The original. in some sense. more with a Woman. adopted by Milton Cases of Demoniacs The incarnate Posses- sense or power of any kind. Page LETTER II. substituted Samuel. she must. supposing that. often a traffic of those who dealt with Familiar Spirits But different from the European Witch of the Middle Ages accessary to the temptation of Job probably did not rank higher than a Divining Woman Yet it was a crime deserving the doom of death. said to mean a person who dealt in Poisons. at any rate. or a good spirit in his character. by exertion of his will. Consequences of the Fall on the communication between men and the Spiritual World Effects of the Flood Wizards of Pharaoh Text said to in Exodus against Witches The word Witch if in is by some the Holy Text it also means a Divineress. since it inferred the Thus a Witch is not The Witch of the Hebrews disowning of Jehovah's Supremacy Fortune-teller or Divining in like manner. is possible . they were but logs of wood. and. the Almighty had. and posture . and in a general sense. the gods of the Heathen might be accounted Demons More frequently.

Classical Fairy Superstition is derived from different sources The Worship of the Silvans. or Dwarfs. proved by Roman Altars Discovered The Gothic Duergar. as the word interpreted in the Middle Ages. or Rural Deities. persecuted Opinion of Mather Gibb. received partially into most Heathen Nations Beltane Feast among the Celtic Tribes of Scotland Gudeman's Croft after the earlier Such abuses admitted into Christianity against Witchcraft Instances religion Ages of the Church Law of the Romans Roman Customs survive the fall of their Demonology of the Northern Barbarians Nicksas Bhar-geist and Roman Witches Correspondence between the Northern The Power of Fascination ascribed to the Sorceresses esses of the Example from the Eyrbiggia Saga The ProphetGermans The gods of Valhalla not highly regarded by their Worshippers Often defied by the Champions Demons of the North Story of Assueit and Asmund Action of Ejectment against Spectres Adventure of a Champion with the goddess Freya tianity Conversion of the Pagans of Iceland to ChrisNorthern Superstitions mixed with those of the Celts Satyrs of the North Highland Ourisk Meming the Satyr. a supposed War. . . by the other Dissenters Conclusion. neither occurs under the Mosaic or Gospel Dispensation It arose in the ignorant Mahomperiod. supposed to be derived from the Northern Laps or Fins The Niebelungen-Lied King Laurin's Adventures Celtic Fairies .49 LETTER Creed of Zoroaster Instances III.CONTENTS. sions probably ceased at the vii Page same time as the intervention of Miracles Opinion of the Catholics is Result that Witchcraft. and among the Northern Europeans yet unconverted The gods of Mexico and Peru explained on the same system Also the Powahs of North America lock. 87 LETTER The IV. when the Christians considered the gods of the medan or Heathen Nations as Fiends. and their Priests as Conjurers or Wizards Instance as to the Saiacens.

and of Hector Munro. of his intercourse with the Fairies Trial and Confession of Isobel Elf-arrow Heads Parish of Aberfoyle Gowdie Use of Mr. Immediate Effect of Christianity on Articles of Popular SuperstiChaucer's Account of the Roman Catholic Priests banishtion ing the Fairies Bishop Corbett imputes the same Effect to the Reformation his verses on that Subject his Iter Septentrionale Robin Goodfellow. Thome Reid Trial of Alison Pearson Account of her Familiar. Highlanders. Page of a gayer character. V. a Juggler. held the same belief the Northern Traditions Fairies was rather rendered more gloomy by Merlin and Arthur carried off by the Also Thomas of Erceldoune His Amour with the Queen of Elfland His re-appearance in latter times Another Account from Reginald Scot Conjectures on the derivation of the word Fairy. both Infants and Adults Adventures of a Butler in Ireland Tax to Hell The Irish. yet their pleasures empty and illusory Addicted to carry off Human Beings. Grahame's Interesting to Fairy Land He is himself taken his In- Work. Kirke. It The Elves supposed to pay a Welsh. 117 LETTER Those who the like. and formation on Fairy Superstitions Story of a Female in East Lothian carried off by the Fairies Another instance from Pennant. mystical cures by charms. dealt in fortune-telling. her Stepson Extraordinary species of Charm used by the latter Confession of John Stewart. 141 LETTER VI. and other Superstitions mentioned by Reginald Scot Character of the English Fairies The Tradition had become obsolete in that Author's Time That of .viii CONTENTS. William Sympson Trial of the Lady Fowlis. and often claimed an intercourse with Fairy Land Hudhart or Hudikin Pitcairn's Scottish Criminal Trials Story of Bessie Dunlop and her Adviser Her Practice of Medicine and of Discovery of Theft Account of her Familiar. and Manxmen. the Minister of Aberfoyle's Work on Fairy Superstitions Dr.

and the predominance of Mysticism in that Department. second.CONTENTS. and also by some Puritanic Clergymen Statute of 1562. . and Lutherans Impostures unwarily countenanced by Individual Catholic Priests. Capital Trials of Persons of Rank connected with State Crimes Statutes of Henry VIII. and others Demonology defended by Bodinus. as Wierus. Witches remained in vigour after the ix Page but impugned by various Authors Reformation. under pretext of Witchcraft Florimond's testimony concerning the Bull of Pope Innocent Increase of Witches in his own time VIII. Their mutual Abuse of each other Imperfection of Physical Science at this Period. The Effects of the Witch Superstition are to be traced in the Laws of a Kingdom Usually punished in England as a crime connected with Politics not in itself Attempt at Murder for Witchcraft for Witchcraft. &c. third. by the . Scot. . How Witchcraft was regarded by the three leading sects of Religion in the Sixteenth Century . by the Church of England. and some Cases upon it Case of Dugdale Case of the Witches of Calvinists . 174 LETTER Penal laws unpopular VII. ad inquirendum elder Period of the Prosecution for Witchcraft not frequent in the Roman Empire nor in the Middle Ages Some Duchess of Gloucester Relations of the Sorcerers Cases took place. Naudzus. however The Maid of Orleans The Richard the Third's Charge against the Queen Dowager But Prosecutions against became more common in the end of the Fourteenth Century let's Usually united with the Charge of Heresy MonstreAccount of the Persecution against the Waldenses. exercised when rigidly Prosecution of Witches placed in the hand of Special Commissioners. by the Catholics . Remigius. Various Prosecutions in Foreign Countries under this Prosecutions in Labourt by the Inquisitor De Lancre and his Colleague Lycanthropy Witches in Spain in Sweden and particularly those apprehended at Mohra. first. 193 severe law LETTER VIII.

.. 's time. i Opinion of Witchcraft Jac. like their encourage Witch Prosecutions Case of Bessie Graham Voyage to Supposed Conspiracy to Shipwreck James in his Denmark Meetings of the Witches.. The Penitence of those concerned zzi Scottish Trials Earl of Mar Lady Glammis William BartonTheir Trans- Witches of Auldearn formation into Hares Their Rites and Charms Satan's Severity towards them Their Crimes George Mackenzie's Opinion of Witchcraft Instances of Confessions made by the Accused. in despair. I. and Nature of the Evidence admissible. the pretended Witchfinder. &c. the cause of these Cruelties His Brutal Practices His Letter -Execution of Mr. and Rites perTrial of Margaret Barclay foimed to accomplish their purpose .. Lewis Hopkins Punished Restoration of Charles Trial of Coxe of Dunny and Cillender before Royal Society and Progress of Knowledge A Woman Somersetshire Witches Opinions of the Populace Lord Hales swum for Witchcraft at Oakley gotten tions Murder at Tring Act against Witchcraft abolished. Page Warbois. Suddenly put a stop to in them. Fairfax's Children Lancashire Witches in 1613 Another Discoveiy in 1634 Webster's account of the manner in which the Imposture was managed Superiority of the Calvinists is followed by a severe Prosecution of Witches Executions in Suffolk. First's in on the Prosecution which some Church of England Clergymen insisted Hutchison's Rebuke to them James the His celebrated Statute. LETTER IX.. avoid and left the Accused no chance of escape The Superstition of the Scottish Clergy in Sovereign. to a dreadful extent Hopkins.x CONTENTS. and execution of the family of Samuel That of Jane Wenham. led them. to King James VI.. Canon passed by the Convocation against Possession Case of Mr.. opened a door to Accusers. .. and the belief in the Crime becomes for- Witch Trials in New England Dame Glover's Trial and frightful increase of the Prosecu- Affliction of the Parvises.. and to Sir Examination by future annoyance and Persecution Pricking The Mode of Judicial Procedure against Witches.

LETTER X. 281 which took place so late as 1800.CONTENTS. Forman EstablishPartridge Connexion of Astrolo- gers with Elementary Spirits Banshie Ghosts Irish Superstition of the Superstition in the Highlands Brownie Belief of Ancient Philosophers on that Subject En- Dr. anno 1649. in 1618 xi Pago Case of Major Weir Sir John Clerk among the first who declined acting as Commissioner on the Trial of a Witch Prosecution in Caithness Paisley and Pittenweem Witches A prevented by the Interference of the King's Advocate in 1718 The last Sentence of Death for Witchcraft pronounced in Remains of the Witch Superstition Case of Scotland in 1721 supposed Witchcraft related from the Author's own knowledge. discovered by a Ghost Disturbances at Woodstock.Imposture called the StockGhost appearing to an well Ghost Similar case in Scotland for the Exciseman ness of the Proprietor Story of a Disturbed House discovered by the firmClub of Apparition at Plymouth A Philosophers the Authors Ghost Adventure of a. Other Mystic Arts independent of Witchcraft influence during the i6th and I7th Centuries of those who practised it Astrologers' Society ment of the Royal Society Astrology Its Base Ignorance Lilly's History of his Life and Times Dr. Lamb Dr. Glammis Castle about 1791 Visit to Dunvegan in 341 . Veal's Ghost Dunton's Effect of appropriate Scenery to encourage differs at distant Periods of Life Apparition Evidence at a tendency to Superstition Night 1814. Dun Similar quiry into the respect due to such tales in Modern Times Evidence of a Ghost against a Murderer Ghost of Sir George Story of Earl St. Vincent of a British General Officer of an Apparition in France of the second Lord Lyttelton of Bill Jones of Jarvis Matcham Trial of Two Highlanders Villiers Murder of Sergeant Davis. Farmer Trick upon a Veteran Soldier who compose them Ghost Stories recommended by the Skill of Mrs.

ESQ. LOCKHART.LETTERS ON DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. G. . TO J.

.

. : .

and from the Works of Patrick Walker The apparent Evidence of Intercourse with the Supernatural World is sometimes owing to a depraved State of the bodily Organs Difference between this Disorder and Insanity. so that Indibulism viduals will trust the Evidence of others in despite of their own Senses Examples from the Historia Verdadera of Bernal Dias del Castillo. in vhich lost the Organs retain their tone.Origin of the general Opinions respecting Demonology among Mankind The Belief in the Immortality of the Soul is the main inducement to credit its occasional reappearance The Philosophical Objections to the Apparition of an Abstract The Spirit little understood by the Vulgar and Ignorant situations of excited Passion incident to Humanity. which teach men to wish or apprehend Supernatural Apparitions They are often presented by the Sleeping Sense Story of SomnamThe Influence of Credulity contagious. in which . though that of the Mind is Rebellion of the Senses of of his Reveries a Lunatic against the current Narratives of a contrary Nature.

Mr. and even in looking into some of the criminal trials so frequent in early days. that. next considered Delusions of the Touch chiefly experienced in Sleep the. besides their historical value. I have been . Delusions of the Taste and of Smell Sum of the Argument. civilisation of all well-instructed almost blotted out. from the Criminal Records of Scotland.LETTERS ON the standing tient Evidence of the Eyes overbore the Conviction of the UnderExample of a London Man of Pleasure Of Nicolai. jjOU have asked of me. with the which the increasing countries has history of a dark chapter in human nature. that I should assist the Family Library. by perusing them. which and momentary endurance Apparition of Maupertuis Of a late illustrious Modern Poet The Cases Of have but sudden quoted chiefly relating those upon the Ear to false Impressions on the Visual Nerve. my dear friend. Pitcairn. reading of my early days. as well as more recent narratives of this character. now Among much of lost. it is Many ! no doubt true that I travelled a superstitious good deal in the twilight regions disquisitions. Gregory this and Philosopher Of a PaOf an Eminent Scottish Lawyer deceased same fallacious Disorder are other instances. upon a subject which our fathers I " " late considered as matter of the last importance. though the subject attracted no ordinary degree of consideration in the older times of their history. are. hours have I in examining would their debt were less old. And. the German Bookseller of Dr. of a nature so much calculated to illustrate the credulity of our ancestors on such subjects. of the very curious extracts published by years.

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Witchcraft. into an abridgement. to confine myself to narratives of remarkable and to the observations which naturally and easily arise out of them . it may be termed. than an attempt to reduce the contents of many hundred tomes. the universal of the inhabitants of the earth. 3 induced more recently to recall what I had read and thought upon the subject at a former period. grounded on the consciousness of the divinity that speaks in our bosoms. intro- belief general. more likely to suit the pages of a popular miscellany. which. my information is only miscellaneous. after a general account of Demonology and cases. and I make no pretensions. from the largest to the smallest size. my purpose is. A and the original cause of the almost universal belief in communication betwixt mortals and beings of a power superior to themselves. that there is substance. but which. in the existence of spirits separated from the encumbrance and incapacities is The of the body. few general remarks on the nature of Demonology. which . however compressed. either to combat the systems of those by whom I am anticipated in the consideration of the subject. however. at the present time of day. and of a nature not to be comprehended by human organs. in the confidence that such a plan is. except the few who are hardened to the celesis within us a portion of the divine not subject to the law of death and dissolution. or to erect any new one of my own. As. must remain greatly too large for the reader's powers of patience. and demonstrates to all men. when the body is no longer fit tial voice. or. are a necessary duction to the subject.

as a sentinel dismissed from his post.4 for its LETTERS ON abode. who have not been though they have become invisible to morstill see. it may be supposed. indifferent to the affairs of mortality. and perceive. that. directly wrought by . leads to farther conclusions. being a suspension of the laws of nature. but the conviction that such an indestructible different sense. some ideas of the existence of a Deity. being admitted to exist. in a state of separate existence. in a more advanced influencing them. nary means. essence exists. have been able to form. and of the distinction between the soul and body a circumstance which proves how naturally these truths arise in the that human mind. Unaided by revelation. state of society. out of their own unassisted conjectures. the belief expressed by the poet in a Non omnis mortar. it cannot be hoped that mere earthly reason should be able to form any rational or precise conjecture concerning the destination of the soul when parted from the body . must infer the exist- ence of many annihilated. to which. The principle they do so arise. tals. being taught or communicated. These spirits. only by means of the imperfect organs of humanity. find that their even while cut off from all instruction by ordipupils. sibility of a separate appearance unless in the case of a direct miracle. the philosopher may challenge the pos- of a disembodied spirit. as those experienced and dumb. shall seek its own place.of spirits. hear. are not. Probability may lead some of the most reflecting to anticipate a state of future rewards and punishments in the education of the deaf . perhaps not incapable of It is true. who millions.

and do not push their researches beyond this point. do not arise until a certain degree of information has dawned upon a tion country. To the multitude. which seem to add ocular testimony to an intercourse betwixt earth and the world beyond it. feels a sudden crisis approach. when the soul is divorced from the body. Enthusiastic feelings of an impressive and solemn nature occur both in private and public life. support the belief that they are. able to communicate with the world of humanity. that exist so many spirits around and even amongst us. For example. in which he is anxious to have recourse . in by some means or other. The more numerous part of mankind cannot form in their mind the idea of the spirit of the deceased existing. the son who has been lately deprived of his father. the 5 Maker of these laws. and even then only reach a very small proporof reflecting and better informed members of society. voice. bound or this restraint can possibly But under necessary limitation and exception. no be assigned. philosophers might plausibly argue. when organs of clothed with a mortal shape. the indubitable fact. or any thing which can render its presence visible or sensible to human faculties. But these scep- certainly implies that tic doubts of philosophers on the possibility of the appearance of such separated spirits. that. without possessing or having the power to assume the appearance which their acquaintance bore during his life. for some express purpose.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. form. chape. seems sufficient to certain instances at least. The abstract idea of a spirit it has neither substance. it loses all those qualities which made it. obvious to the its fellow-men.

except in respect to the single subject of we one strong impression. such as the death of the dreamt of. favoured by circumstances. it becomes almost in vain to argue with the visionary against the reality purely fanciful. chances to take place. a state of slumber which often occurs ample. has power to summon up to the organ of sight. is haunted by the apprehension that the phantom of the In all. in which the patient. becomes in a manner a warrant for the reality of the appearance to which doubt would have been otherwise or question. yet very common instance. at the time when the supposed apparition is manifested. as to If he is is so far conscious.6 LETTERS ON or a bereaved husband earnestly form of which the grave to his sagacious advice desires again to behold the has deprived him for ever or. And if any event. that such a vision may take place in the course of one of those lively dreams. so as to corperson respond with the nature and the time of the apparition . or seems. of his dream. for exlying on his know that he own bed. attached. sensible of the real particulars of the scene around him. since the spectre. or slain stands by the bedside of the murderer. spectres which only exist in the mind of those by witnessed If ? whom their apparition seems to be add. any of these cases. who shall doubt that imagination. the wretched man who has dipped his hand in his fellow-creature's blood. is. to use a darker. and surrounded by his own familiar furniture. though itself is inserted amidst so many circumstances feels which he must be true beyond the reach of doubt That which is undeniably certain.

the number of coincidences between the vision and real event are fewer and less remarkable than a fair calculation of chances in countries would where such warrant us to expect. 7 the coincidence. and often presage the most probable events. of the sea. though one which must be frequent. how readily our sleeping imagination rushes to the very point of alarm. Such a concatenation. shuddered to anticipate.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. when a sailor is when a beloved wife incurring the dangers or relative is attacked by disease. which when waking it had The number of instances in which such lively dreams have been quoted. and confused with an idea of mysticism. since our dreams usually refer to the accomplishment of which haunts our minds when awake. and that the chain of circumstances touching the evidence may not unreasonably be considered as complete. Yet perhaps. and both asserted and received as spiritual communications. pass through the imagination of individuals. is very great at all periods . in ignorant times. But presaging dreams are subjects of attention. must frequently take place. which must. when a soldier is exposed to how death in battle. night after night. when it is we repeat. considered of what stuff dreams are made naturally they turn upon those who occupy our mind while awake. where the natural cause of dreaming is misapprehended. considering the many thousands of dreams. . and. it is much greater. the number of those which seemed to be coupled with the corresponding issue is large enough to spread a general belief of a positive communication betwixt the living and the dead. seems perfect.

whom Captain S had no reason would wilfully deceive him. these communications with a degree of horreality which intimated the of his distress and . To prevent so great a calamity. his tendency to but in other respects a veracious. took him from his place in the vessel. betwixt sleeping life and waking. though all pretended to have seen He lights. He affirmed to Captain S with the deepest obtestations. A most respectable person. to that examine the story to the bottom. soon found. rather ship than return to England with the ghost for a passenger. the weight of the evidence lay upon the statement of one of his own mates. according to his He made ror. to suspect . and. own expression. when he was and alarm. whose active had been spent as master and part owner of a large merchant vessel in the Lisbon trade. honest. assassin. He was put to great anxiety dent and its lying in the Tagus. the captain determined . that the spectre of the murdered man appeared to him almost nightly. an Irishman and a Catholic. superstition. worried his life out. which might increase and sensible person. by the following inciOne of his crew was consequences. gave the writer an account of such an instance which came under his observation. murdered by a Portuguese Sailors and a report arose the vessel. and those of my friend's vessel became unwilling to remain on board the and it was probable they might desert. that the ghost of the slain man haunted are generally superstitious. and heard noises and so forth.8 LETTERS ON Somnambulism and other nocturnal deceptions fre- quently lend their aid to the formation of such phantasmata as are formed in this middle state.

but not sufficiently so to judge truly of acting the objects before him. As galley or cook-room of the vessel. He his eyes open. next morning. proceeded to the sate down with on some terrible object which he beheld with horror. 9 The captain. with the additional circumhad led him to the galley. the sleeper started up. and the dream. with a ghastly and disturbed countenance. took up a tin sighed deeply. Finally. but he had fortunately. he acquiesced in his commander's reasoning. and sprinkled it about the galley. or with a wit- the ship-bell struck twelve. like one relieved from a heavy burden. yet from which he could not withhold his eyes. The visionary was then informed of the real transactions of the night.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. privately resolved to watch the motions of the ghost-seer in the night ness. returned no more after its imposture had been detected. In this case. obtained possession of some holy water. and. whether alone. without any argument at apprehensions. he arose. the time. I . After a short space he have forgotten. we find the excited imagination upon the half-waking senses. staring before him as can or decanter. he knew not how. returning to his hammock. . and succeeded in getting that unwelcome visitor. as often happens in these cases. filled it with water. the haunted man told the usual precise story stances. that the ghost of his apparition. with so many particulars as to satisfy him he had been the dupe rid of his of his imagination . which were intelligent enough for the purpose of making him sensible where he was. lighting a candle. slept soundly. muttering to himself all the while mixed salt in the water. In the and.

there is nothing else which might not be fashioned in a vivid dream or a waking . were powerful enough to conjure up to the anxious eye of Brutus the spectre of his murdered friend Caesar. or that tenor of thought which has been depressed into melancholy by gloomy anticipations respecting the future. Brutus's own intentions. had probably long since assured him that the decision of the civil war must take place at or near that place . and promised again to meet him at Philippi. and the conviction that it must involve his own fate. though by the slaughter of his at length place own friend. and the issue might appear most likely to conclude in the total subjection of liberty. surrounded by darkness and solitude. It is not miraculous. allowing that his own imagination supplied that part of the dialogue with the spectre. respecting whose death he perhaps thought himself less justified than at the Ides of March. or excited exertion. the doubt and uncertainty of its event. The anticipation of a dubious battle. should before his eyes in person the appearance which termed itself his Evil Genius. the event had only been the renewal of civil wars. which disposes the mind to midday fantasies. instead of having achieved the freedom of Rome.10 LETTERS ON But it is not private life alone. is equally favourable to the indulgence of such supernatural com- munications. that the masculine spirit of Marcus Brutus. since. or to nightly apparitions a state of eager anxiety. and. and his knowledge of the military art. and that with all of his country. distracted probably by recollection of the kindness and favour of the great individual whom he had put to death to avenge the wrongs of his country.

have in times been supported . easily led to recognise the warlike Saint George or Saint James in the very front of the strife. and the likely to scrutinize very minutely was not supposed vision. and it is also natural to saw the figure but himself. and confusion of ideas incident to the situation. and a dignified occasion. their national In such mythology associated with such moments of undecided battle. amid the violence. Even in the field of death. or employed despatching others to these gloomy regions. approaching. well acquainted with the opinions of the Platonists. which we have hitherto mentioned as occurring in solitude and amid darkness and those who were . Castor and Pollux. should be disposed to receive without doubt the idea that he had seen a real apparition. may be think. showing them the way to conquest.DEUONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. themselves on the verge of the world of spirits. the ancients supposed that they saw their deities. fighting in the van for their . that no one naturally conceived . and less of combat itself. his con- temporaries were little disposed to examine the testimony of a man so eminent. Such apparitions. encouragement the heathen Scandinavian beheld the Choosers of the Slain and the Catholics were no less . being generally all visible to a multitude. conceived they beheld the apparitions of those beings in whom scenes. which dreams That Brutus. which they might have thought applicable to another person. reverie. the usual matter of \\ and engrossing chaconsist. by the strict rules of crossexamination and conflicting evidence. hurry. strong belief has amid the mortal tug wrought the same wonder. in absorbing racter.

in his Mexican conquest. by others around. one of the companions of the celebrated Cortez. claims. and the animating burst of en- thusiasm. of which. he mentions the report inserted in the contemChronicle of Gomara. as produced. that Saint lago had appeared on a white horse in van of the combat. we may take the liberty to quote two remarkable instances. to as is seen see as much of the supernatural words. the chords of the other vibrate in unison with the tones other. their minds hold a natural correspondence with each is the case with stringed instruments tuned to the same pitch. rather than allow that they did not witness all the same favourable emblem. in If an artful or enthusiastic individual ex- the heat of action. his companions catch at the idea with emulation-. that he perceives an apparition of the romantic kind which has been intimated. the becomes the means of strengthening it. In such cases.12 LETTERS ON greatest strength of testimony. act on the feelings of many men at once. in other The first is from the Historia Verdadera of Don Bernal Dias del Castillo. and most are willing to sacrifice the conviction of their own senses. or. from which draw con- One warrior catches the idea from fidence and hope. which would otherwise lead to detection of the fallacy. Of this disposition. number of persons present. all are alike eager to acknowledge the present miracle. and the battle is won before the mistake is dis- covered. by the When the com- mon feeling of danger. to trust to the eyes of others rather than to our own. when one is played. and porary . another . After having given an account of a great victory over extreme odds.

what am I that I should have beheld the blessed apostle The other instance of the infectious character of ! " and there can be superstition occurs in a Scottish book. that he him. carried away into enthusiasm. for the narrator. and fighting strenuously in the named Francisco de Morla. at the same time.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. self did not see this animating vision nay. was a man of credit. The honest conquestador owns. and curious. Peter Walker. to whose eyes he trusted rather than to his own. that he beheld an individual cavalier. " Sinner that I am. until the begin- passage is striking ning of the eighteenth century. and does not even affect to have seen the wonders. and at once shows the imperfection of . It very curious to observe the Castilian cavalier's internal conviction. or the northern lights. though an enthusiast. he does not venture to disown the miracle. which do not appear to have been seen in Scotland so frequently as to be accounted a common and familiar atmospherical phenomenon. by the evidence of those around. or into imposture. very place where Saint James is said to have But instead of proceeding to draw the necessary inference. little doubt that it refers. that the rumour arose out of a mistake. the cause . The conversion of the sceptical gentleman of whom he speaks is highly illustrative of popular credulity. appeared. in its first origin. to some uncommon appearance of the aurora borealis. the devout conquestador exclaims. The the reality of which he unscrupulously adopts on the testimony of others. mounted on a chestnut horse. of which he explains from his own observation whilst. led 13 is on his beloved Spaniards to victory.

on the water of Clyde. which covered the trees and the ground . especially at the Mains. I went there three afternoons together. " many yet alive can witness. and as I observed there were two-thirds of the people that were together saw. where there were showers of bonnets. 1 686. of the majority." the honest chronicler. . of damned witches and warlocks that have the second A sight ! the devil ha't do I see . from the first. With as much and trembling as any woman I saw there. other companies immediately appeared. and then all falling to the ground and . there was such a that was fright and trembling on those that did see. says that about the Crossford Boat. and echo the exclamations. There was a gentleman standing next to me. many people gathered together for several afternoons. marching the same way. companies of men in arms marching in order upon the water side companies meeting companies. hats. guns.U LETTERS ON such a general testimony. since the general excitement of the moment impels even the more cold-blooded and judicious persons present to catch up the ideas. and a third that saw and though I could see nothing. and the ease with which it is procured. who spoke as too ' pack many gentlemen and others speak. discernible to all from those that saw not. had considered the heavenly phenomenon as a supernatural weapon-schaw. disappearing . two miles beneath Lan- " In the year ark. and swords. who said. going all through other.' and immediately there was a discernible change fear in his countenance. held for the purpose of a sign and warning of civil wars to come. not. in the months of June and July. who.

in which a multitude believed. Edinburgh. with the exploit of a humorist. and and the closing knots of the bonnets. in whom they may have been obscured by temporary slumber. p. e."* abroad. i. and their length and wideness.wags ^muttering. and the possibility of * Walker's Lives. although only two-thirds of if real. locks] the guns had. who planted compared himself in an attitude of astonishment. black or blue . on the of Partridge's terror for the ghost of Hamlet not that he was principle afraid himself. it wags ! it. This singular phenomenon. and having attracted the attention of those who looked at him by again !" By Heaven. and what handles the swords had. All you that do not see. ' 15 . with his eyes ri vetted on the well-known bronze lion that graces the front of Northumberland house in the Strand. he called out. some conceiving " whole street that they had absolutely seen the lion of Percy wag his tail. whether small or three-barr'd. those did see them there. others expecting to witness the same phenomenon. On such occasions as we have hitherto mentioned. 1827. and discernible And those who did see to all that is not stone-blind !' told what works [i. may be must.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. xxxvi. contrived in a few minutes to blockade the with an immense crowd. we have supposed that the ghost-seer has been in full possession of his ordinary powers of perception. vol. but because Garrick showed such evident marka ot terror. It is evident that honest Peter believed in the apparition of this martial gear. say nothing for I persuade you it is matter of fact. whenever they went saw a bonnet and a sword drop in the way. unless in the case of dreamers. who them saw what have been equally obvious to all. . or Highland guards.

the mind of the patient is principally affected. as is now universally known and important admitted. in many constitutions. and he contrived to account for all that seemed inconsistent with his imaginary right of property . and although such hallucinations are proper to both. however. was his own. and may. somewhat allied to that most horrible of is maladies. while the senses. The house. had taken a gay turn. offer in vain to the lunatic their decided testimony against the fantasy of a deranged imagination. is not properly insanity. they possessed the ordinary capacity of ascertaining the truth. Unfortunately. be the means of bringing it on.16 LETTERS ON correcting vagaries of the imagination rendered more difficult by want of the ordinary appeal to the evidence of the bodily senses. Perhaps the between a disturbed imaginanature of this collision tion and organs of sense possessed of their usual cannot be better described than in the emaccuracy barrassment expressed by an insane patient confined in The poor man's malady the Infirmary of Edinburgh. of external appearances. in his idea. there certainly exists more than one disorder known to professional men. of which one symptom it This frightful disorder although is a disposition to see apparitions. but that was owing to the benevolence of his nature. their blood beat temperately. in cases of insanity. The difference I conceive to be. which see the relief of distress. or organic system. abroad but then his habits were of a domestic . there were many patients in it. that. by an appeal to the organ of sight. love to He went or rather never. or discerning the falsehood. In other respects. made him little.

instead of such a banquet as Ude would have displayed when peers were to partake of it. deluded in other instances. which present to the patient a set of spectres or appearances. the disease lay in the extreme vivacity of the patient's imagination. which. and yet. " in his table. who knew but this simple aliment at any of his meals. choice in his selection of cooks. many visions of wealth curious.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. visits from the renowned medical school of the city and he could not therefore be much in want of society. and rather sedentary character. With so many supposed comforts around him with so and splendour. c ." he said. It is a disease of the same nature. is But the disorder to which I previously alluded and consists principally in a disease of the visual organs. somehow or other. like Lord Peter's brethren in the Tale of a Tub. therefore. company but he daily received characters in the 17 He did not see much first . Here. actual existence. nothing " The case was obvious . and would " He was indeed have confounded most bons vivans. This dilemma every thing he ate tasted of porridge could be no great wonder to the friend to whom the the lunatic ate poor patient communicated it. were indignant at the attempt to impose boiled oatmeal upon them. had every day a dinner of three regular courses and a dessert . is one instance of actual insanity. which have no entirely of a bodily character. one thing alone disturbed the peace of the poor optimist. yet not absolutely powerful enough to con- tend with the honest evidence of his stomach and palate. in which the sense of taste controlled and attempted to restrain the ideal hypothesis adopted by a deranged imagination.

therefore. source of the malady is in the dissipated and intemperate habits of those who. but the sense of seeing (or hearing) which betrays false ideas to a sane intellect. by an alteration of habits. it is not the mind. In their case. Apparitions of the most unpleasant appearance are his companions in solitude. to that of the maniac. the . or contrary rather the imagination. the external forms of objects. which tranquillity of the unhappy debauchee. to most who have lived for any period of their lives in society where hard drinking was a common when joyous visions suggested by intoxication the habit is first acquired. and overpowers. and intrude even upon his hours of society and when. by a continued series of intoxicabecome subject to what is popularly called the tion. have agreed that it actually occurs. instances of which mental disorder may be known vice. and pervert . Blue Devils. the evidence of the senses. and The are supplied destroy the by frightful impressions and scenes. and conveys More than one learned physician. young man of fortune. it requires but the slightest renewal of the association to bring back the full tide of misery upon the repentant libertine. mind cleared of these frightful ideas. who have given distress- their attestations to the existence of this most ing complaint. its duty. in time disappear. who had led what is called so gay a life A .18 LETTERS ON which renders many men incapable of distinguishing colours only the patients go a step farther. is Of this the following story was told to the author by a gentleman connected with the sufferer. and The most frequent is occasioned by different causes. which imposes upon.

and assured him that by doing so he might bid adieu to black spirits and white. One would have supposed this a well-devised scheme for health. where he was determined in future to spend his life. but earnestly recommended to his patient to retire to his own house in the country. observe a temperate diet and early hours. dance. and prospered. The green goblins had disappeared. His phyinformed him that he had lived upon immediately town too long and too fast not to require an exchange sician to a more healthy and natural course of life. that the whole to corps deballet existed only in his who own imagination. green. without exposing himself to the temptations of town.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. was at length obliged to consult the physician at least the upon the his means of restoring former. though he knew. as considerably to injure both his health 19 and fortune. One of principal complaints was the frequent presence of a set of apparitions. alas no sooner had the furniture of the London draw! . and the patient had ordered his town-house to be disfurnished and sold. The patient observed the advice. resembling a band of figures dressed in green. with all their trumpery. and with them the unpleasant train of emotions to which their visits had given rise. blue. performed in his drawing-room a singular which he was compelled to bear witness. and grey. But. while the furniture was to be sent down to his residence in the country. after the interval of a month. His physician. on the same principle avoiding fatigue. practising regular exercise. received a grateful letter from him. acknowledging the success of his regimen. He there- fore prescribed a gentle course of medicine. to his great annoyance.

But there are many other causes which medical men find attended with the same else. exclaimwith great glee. that visionary. symptom. There is reason to believe that such cases are numerous. easy to be supposed that habitual excitement by means of any other intoxicating drug.20 LETTEES ON ing-room been placed in order in the gallery of the old manor-house. and thus. the is consequence of frequent intoxication . of embodying before the eyes of a patient imaginary illusions which are visible to no one . if I recollect right. like a dislocated joint. or its various substitutes. would probably be found to occasion of disorder. Very frequent use of the nitrous oxide which affects the senses so strongly. must expose those who practise the dangerous custom to the same inconvenience. and produces a short but singular state this species of ecstasy. whom the patient's depraved imagination had so long associated with these moveables. and that they may perhaps arise not only from the of stomach brought on by excess in wine or debility which derangement often sensibly affects the sense of sight. as if the sufferer should have been ing " Here we all are here we all rejoiced to see them. in despair that any part of Britain could shelter him from the daily persecution of this domestic ballet. than the former delusion returned in full the green Jigurantes. as opium. even when It is a different cause occasions the derangement. visions. was so much he retired abroad. apt again to go wrong. are !" The shocked at their appearance. force ! came capering and frisking to accompany them. but also because the mind becomes habitually predominated over by a train of fantastic spirits.

DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. These phantoms afforded nothing unpleasant to the imagination of the visionary either in sight or expression. in this depart- ment. owing. by disease. and the patient was possessed of . the apartments of the learned bookseller. of Manchester. Nicolai. Hibbert. and others who have assumed Demonology as a subject. even spoke to and addressed him. Ferriar. as brought before the English public it may be called. The depression of spirits which was occasioned by these unpleasant occurrences. presenting crowds of persons who moved and acted before him. Nicolai traces his illness remotely to a series of disagreeable incidents which had happened to him in the beginning of the year 1791. and had the moral Society courage to before the Philosophical of own sufferings. but of lay Berlin an account of his letters. Dr. was the first who the leading case. to a deranged state of the blood. The learned and acute Dr. 21 This persecution of spectral deceptions is also found to exist where no excesses of the patient can be alleged as the cause. doubtless. and is insisted on by Dr. or it may be more properly said frequented. from having been. subjected to a series of spectral illuThe leading circumstances of this case may be sions. This state of health brought on the dis- position to see phantasmata. namely. Ferriar. merely of books. or nervous system. stated very shortly. as it has been repeatedly before the public. which visited. the celebrated This gentleman was not a man bookseller of Berlin. that of Mons. nay. was aided by the consequences of neglecting a course of periodical bleeding which he had been accustomed to observe.

has treated it also in a medical point of view. and did not in any other respect regard them as a subject of apprehension. there can be no experienced. as in the case of the learned Prussian we have just mentioned. faded. been produced from the same identical cause. in particular. who has most ingeniously. from the beginning to the end of the disorder. and some use of medicine. as he remained convinced. less distinct in their outline. The visitation of spectral phenomena is described by this learned gentleman as incidental to sundry complaints . that symptom of importance to our present discussion has. but is . on the eye of the and at length totally disappeared. less vivid it in their colouring. that these singular effects were merely symptoms of the state of his health. with science to which we make no pretence. and he mentions. as were. The case of Nicolai has unquestionably been that of many whose love of science has not been able to overcome their natural reluctance to communicate to the public the particulars attending the visitation of a That such illnesses have been disease so peculiar. the phantoms became patient. After a certain time. Hibbert. and a precision of detail to which our superficial investigation affords us no room for extending ourselves. and have ended fatally. as well as philosophically. Dr. handled this subject. that the symptom occurs not only in plethora. doubt the . on all occasions.22 too LETTERS ON much firmness to be otherwise affected by their presence than with a species of curiosity. though it is by no means to be inferred.

of some rank. dining at five. enters with a frowning and incensed countenance. A when The door of the room. which I have sometimes done. the late learned was frequently by and accomplished Dr. though inaccurate as a medical definition. flies wide open an old hag. In all these cases there seems nervous irritability and to be a morbid degree of is sensibility. in his lectures.DEM ONOLOG Y AND a frequent hectic WITCHCRAFT. one of those haunted the heath of Forres. and in others with the effects of excitation produced by several gases. Gregory." he said. comes who . and which. was as follows : patient of Dr. with which this ready to ally itself. quoted by him The narrative. a person. and sometimes. A and that of a dangerous kind. hypochondria gout. 23 symptom often an associate of febrile and inflammatory disorders inflammation of the brain excited frequently accompanying a concomitant also of highly equally connected with united in some cases with finally. Hibbert has recorded of the spectral illusion with an actual disorder. Gregory of I believe. may be held sufficiently symptom descriptive of one character of the various kinds of disorder with which this painful symptom may be found allied. related in society Edinburgh. like I . very singular and interesting illustration of such combinations as Dr. to the author's best recollection. having requested the Doctor's advice. it is understood. even have been weak enough to bolt it. " of in the habit. made the follow" I am ing extraordinary statement of his complaint. I am subjected to the following painful visitation. and exactly as the hour of six arrives.

Gregory. The hour of six came almost unnoticed. whether his patient had invited any one to sit with him when he expected such a visitation ? He was answered in the negative. " with I will dine with you to-day. exerted his powers of conversation. and then strikes me a severe blow with her staff. it was so likely to be imputed to fancy. was so singular. and it was hoped. for he had expected ridicule rather than sympathy. to which he was accustomed to look forward with so better than He succeeded in his purpose terror. or even to mental derangement." The doctor immediately asked. and we will see if your malignant old woman will venture to join our company. to keep the attention of his host engaged. but so hastily that I cannot discover the purport. spite indignation which could characterise her haunted the merchant Abudah in the Oriental tale and who she rushes upon me . might pass away but it was scarce a without any evil consequence much . Then." said the doctor. that he had shrunk from communicating " the circumstance to any one. . which is of longer or shorter endurance. I fall from my chair in a swoon. says something. well known to be of the most varied and brilliant met at dinner. character. he said." The patient ac- cepted the proposal with hope and gratitude. and Dr. They who suspected some nervous disorder. and prevent him from thinking on the approach of the fated hour. he had hoped. To the recurrence of this apparition I am daily subjected.24 straight LETTERS ON up to me with every demonstration of . The nature of the complaint. And such is my new and singular complaint. your permission tete-a-tete.

or indeed any other external impression upon our organs in sleep. the external sound becomes. struck. according to the previous train of ideas expressed in the dream. in his chair in a swoon.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. nightmare an oppression and suffocation is felt. in 25 an owner of the house ex" The alarmed voice hag comes the : when again !" and dropped back in the way he had himself described. moment claimed. such as that with which fancy is found to supply the disorder called Ephialtes. for example. that any sudden noise which the slumberer hears. of a duel. with which imagination supplies a complete rapidity explanation of the interruption. the discharge of the combatants' pistols . and our fancy instantly conjures up a spectre to lie on our bosom. . physician caused him to be let blood. or nightmare. and accommodated to the tenor adopted of the current train of thought. The phantom with the crutch was only a species of machinery. In dreaming. is an orator haranguing in scarce a his sleep. arose from a tendency to apoplexy. the posed audience sound becomes the applause of his supis the dreamer wandering among . in the twinkling of an eye. whatever that may happen to be and nothing is more remarkable than the . even when moment of time is allowed for that purpose. without being any casual touch of his peractually awakened by it son occurring in the same manner in his becomes instantly dream. In like manner it may be remarked. and satisfied himself that The the periodical shocks of which his patient complained. which the patient's morbid imagination may In the introduce into the dream preceding the swoon.

26 LETTERS ON supposed ruins. A communicated second. as to remind us of the vision of the prophet Mahommed. as I understand. of some person to awaken the slumberer. to the usually formed and perfect before the second effort of the speaker has restored the dreamer waking world and is intuitive its realities. were attested. in which he saw the whole wonders of heaven and hell. the rank which he holds to in his profession. that supposing the intruding alarm to have been the first call planation. being open to public . of course. as well as his attainments in science and the philosophy. desirous to keep private the name of the hero of so Of the friend by whom the facts singular a history. who lifetime stood. had not spilled contents when he ecstacy comreturned to ordinary existence. particular department of the law. though the jar of water which fell its when his menced. and equally remarkable existence. and whose conduct. So rapid and the succession of ideas in sleep. an explanatory system is part of the mass. form an undisputed claim implicit credit. but who was. the noise is that of the fall of some In short. It most was the fortune of in his this gentleman to be called in to attend the illness of a person now long deceased. I can only say. the exthough requiring some process of argument is or deduction. therefore. adopted during sleep with such extreme rapidity. that if I found myself at liberty to name him. was to the author by the medical man under it whose observation fell. high in a which often placed the property of others at his discretion and control.

to the conduct of important affairs intrusted to him . sucking the life blood of the unfortunate patient. He was. if possible. good sense. while so engaged. sometimes to bed. to business. seemed to draw their origin and constant depression from some hidden cause. no family loss had occurred which could be followed with such perno entanglements of affection could severing distress -. of his medical adviser. that could argue vacillation of intellect. confined principally to his sick-room. to. he 27 of a man of unusual had for many years borne the character steadiness. to a superficial observer. which the patient was determined to The deep gloom of the unfortunate gentleconceal. of spirits. and inat the tegrity. time of my friend's visits. . man which he could not conceal from his friendly physician the briefness and obvious constraint with which he answered the interrogations the embarrassment. after The persons applied conversing together previously. absence of appetite. apparently with all its usual strength and energy. and exerting his yet occasionally attending mind.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. to learn. the source of that secret grief which was gnawing the heart and methods for prosecuting his inquiries. appear any thing in his conduct. observation. and they thought they could hardly be deceived his worldly affairs were prosperous . But slowness of pulse. induced my friend to take other He applied to the sufferer's family. nor did there. denied all knowledge of any cause for the burden which So far as they knew obviously affected their relative. difficulty of digestion. or depression of mind. His outward symptoms of malady argued no acute or alarming disease.

medical science has many resources. I fear. But until you plainly tell me your symptoms of . could your zeal and skill avail me of it. my may not equal my wish of serving you . be more conscious. which the to his manner had died without confessing. more moved by this species of appeal than by any which had yet been urged. and the door of the sick-room made secure. of which those yet unacquainted with its powers never can form an esti"that skill mate. He specially pressed character. expressed his desire to speak out frankly to Dr.28 LETTERS ON be supposed to apply to his age. : than I. was something too scandalous or flagitious to be in this made known. bequeathing family a suspected and dishonoured name. my dear friend." " It is possible. and leaving a memory with which might be associated the idea of guilt. The medical gentleman had finally recourse to serious argument with the invalid himself. The patient. when he began his confession in the following manner " You cannot. and no sensation of severe remorse could be consistent with his character. but neither can you understand the nature of my nor. criminal . upon him the injury which he was doing to his own by suffering it to be inferred that the secret cause of his dejection and its consequences. you did. Every one else was removed. and urged to him the folly of devoting himself to a lingering and melancholy death." said the physician. and manner in which it acts upon me. rather than tell the subject of affliction which was thus wasting him. if to rid complaint. that I am in the course of dying under the oppression of the fatal disease which consumes my vital powers .

that its advances were gradual. by strong powers of the understanding. because he was overcome and heart-broken by its imaginary presence. as it seemed. that my reason is totally in- adequate to combat the effects of my morbid imagination. and I am sensible I am dying. nevertheless. " commenced two or three ." answered " that he was haunted the medical gentleman. To illustrate this." " am in that " I.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. since we read of my You remember. The sick person replied by stating. very case ." replied the patient. and into the history of the mode by which so singular a disease had made itself master of his imagination. credit. my dearest doctor. by an to the actual existence of which he gave no apparition. " My visions." " I may answer you. or within that of medicine. he gave the following account of the progress of his disease." The medical gentleman listened with anxiety to his patient's statement. and at first not of a terrible or even disagreeable character. case is is which the Duke D'Olivarez " Of the idea. secured. " it that not a singular one. it is impossible for either of us to say what may or may not be in my power. contented himself with more minute inquiry into the nature of the apparition with which he conceived himself haunted. in the famous novel of Le Sage. 29 complaint. and." he said. against an attack so irregular." said the sick man. for the present judiciously avoiding any contradiction of the sick man's preconceived fancy. the disease of there stated to have died ?" but died. doubtless. a wasted victim to an imaginary disease. and so painful and abhorrent is the presence of the persecuting vision.

" This personage. dressed as if to wait upon a Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. save truth finally forced it was to as in my I deranged visual organs. which came and disappeared I could not exactly tell how. stairs before me. ascended the . and that I alone was and at room . it had become almost indifferent to me when . that within the course of a few months it gave place to. with bag and sword. which had no existence. arrayed in a court dress. till the upon me. who has by been seen to change to all the colours of his own plaid. Still had not that entertained if a cat by accident happened to be in the room with On the contrary. tamboured waistcoat. a Lord High Commissioner of the Kirk. positive objection to the animal a late gallant Highland chieftain.30 LETTERS ON years since. a spectre of a more important sort. even though he did not see it. and endured with so much equanimity the presence of my imaginary attendant. I am rather a friend to cats. him. but as a regard bubble of the elements. or was succeeded by. as . and I was compelled no domestic household cat. and chapeaubras. or depraved imagination.on his brow the rank and stamp of delegated sovereignty. when I found myself from time to time embarrassed by the presence of a large cat. This was no other than the apparition of a gentlemanusher. or any other who bears. though it was sufficiently evident that they were not aware of his presence. or which at least had a more imposing appearance. if to announce me in the drawing- some times appeared to mingle with the company. and glided beside me like the ghost of Beau Nash whether in my own house or in another.

philosophy. physician was places before me. and while I feel myself. have no belief whatever in the reality of the it phantom which The details. die the victim I although to so melancholy a disease." distressed to perceive. But that modification my After a few appointed duration. who was . myself a phantom never quits hundred times over that it excited imagination. has and I feel too surely that . and alarm for the effect it might produce of upon my intellects. while the emblem at once and presage of mortality is before my eyes. 31 sensible of the visionary honours which this imaginary This freak ot being seemed desirous to render me. though it led me to entertain doubts on the nature of my disorder. but was succeeded by one horrible to the sight. than the image of death itself the apparition of a Alone or in company. He ingeniously urged then in bed. even religion. and distressing to the imagination. But what avail such reflections. being no other skeleton. the companion of a phantom representing a ghastly inhabitant of the grave. and no but merely an image summoned up by the morbid acuteness of my own deranged organs of sight. is I in vain tell reality. though in fancy only. the phantom of the gentleman-usher was seen months. even while I yet breathe on the earth I ? no cure for such a disorder shall Science.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. disease also had its no more. the fancy did not produce much impression on me." said the unfortunate invalid. with questions concerning the circumstances of the phantom's appearthe sick man. " the presence of this last me. how strongly this visionary apparition from these was fixed in the imagination of his patient.

which seemed to be unimpaired. . yourself of the truth of this to rise ? Can you take courage and place yourself in the spot so seeming enough to be occupied." It is alleged the man of science started on the instant. as might combat successfully the fantastic disorder fatal effects." lusion. "always " Then. which produced such "It " This skeleton." said the doctor. and convince yourself of the illusion?" The " poor man sighed. and shook his head negatively." replied the patient. " because but I is betwixt him and me . " Immediately at the foot of my bed ." Accordingly. and placing himself between the two halfdrawn curtains at the foot of the bed." to see unhappily. and fills the little vacant space. "answered the invalid. he rose from his chair by the bedside. your person observe his skull peering above your shoulder. "it is now it my imagination certainly "To present to your imagination?" is so. then. is placed between them." said his " You say you are sensible of the defriend "have you firmness to convince ." replied the sick man. "the skeleton. I understand. " we will Well. try the experiment otherwise." continued the phy- sician. trusting he might lead him. indicated as the place occupied by the apparition. in what part of the chamber do you now conceive the apparition to appear?" the physician inquired. asked if the spectre was still visible ? " Not entirely so. " seems is to you to be always present to your eyes ?" my fate." answered the invalid. it. and inconsistencies as might bring his common sense. thinking. as a sensible man. so strongly into the field.32 LETTERS ON into such contradictions ance. when the curtains " And are left a to my open." said the doctor.

really see hear the ideal mind and that. in the the empty and false forms. must engage himself in the difficult and deli- D . lose any of the well-merited reputation for prudence and sagacity. and other writers. we think. become so much deranged as to make false representations to the literal sense. there can. sunk under malady and the circum- stances of his singular disorder remaining concealed. and died in the same distress of mind in which he had spent the his case remains a latter months of his life . which had attended him during the whole course of his life. despite philosophy. be little doubt of the proposition. the patient is intellectually in the condition of a general whose and who spies have been bribed by the enemy. in a more primitive state . of society. in such cases. He resorted to other means of investigation and cure. but with equally indifferent The patient sunk into deeper and deeper success. patient in the present case. Having added these two remarkable instances to the general train of similar facts quoted by Ferriar. by his death and last illness.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Hibbert. In such unhappy cases. that the ideal spectre was close to his own person. on receiving with such minuteness. dejection. even when its fantastic terrors cannot overcome the intellect of the unfortunate persons who suffer under them. his The . men. 33 an answer ascertaining. are naturally enough referred to the action of demons or disembodied spirits. which. and melancholy instance of the power of imagination to kill the body. from various causes. that the external organs may. and sounds. he did not. who have more recently considered the subject.

But there is a corollary to this proposition. that one of the greatest poets of the present time answered a lady who asked him if he believed in ghosts. whether through the action of the senses. "No. their character being once investigated. Transitory deceptions are thus when they occur to to men of strength of mind and education. own powers of argument. species of organic dewhich. or of the imagination. But in ignorant times. as a continued habit of his deranged rangement vision. may occupy. for a brief or almost momentary space. give way scrutiny . the vision of men who are otherwise perfectly clear-sighted. those instances in which any object is misrepresented. if the phantom has been personally witnessed by a man of sense and "estimation. the probability of the reports which are too inconsistent to be trusted to. or the combined influence of both. who. his gentleman-usher. madam. species of deception is I two have seen too many myself. perhaps. the true takes the place of the unreal representation." I may mention one or instances of the kind. to which no doubt can be attached. satisfied in the general as to the actual existence of apparitions. This so frequent. may be admitted as direct evidence of a supernatural apparition . and the fatal skeleton. . for however short a space of time. has not taken time or trouble to correct his first impressions. and. presented the subject of our last tale with the The same successive apparitions of his cat.34 LETTERS ON by his cate task of examining and correcting. which. which is worthy of notice. presented to the organs. a proof the more difficult to be disputed.

and tranquil character. on entering the hall. The professor of natural philosophy was too well acquainted with science to suppose that his late president. retired. to whom necessary to prethe circumstance happened. without stophis way back to Berlin in person. having some arrangements make in the cabinet of natural history. to his native country and died there shortly afterwards. which was under his charge. Gleditsch. in the family who had physical died of Messrs. de Maupertuis. . the apparition of M. in the first angle on his left hand. Thiebault. he perceived. at Bale. Bernoullie. and being willing to complete them on the Thursday before the meeting. was a botanist of eminence. This extraordinary circumstance appeared in the Transactions of the Society. Gleditsch went to his own business. having his eyes fixed on him. and much favoured by Frederick II. in his Recollections of Frederick the Great and the Court of Berlin. and respected as a man of an habitually serious. three This was about o'clock afternoon. He of Switzerland. in a species of disgrace.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. mise that It is M. " Long the president of the Berlin Academy. till he was overwhelmed by the ridicule of Voltaire. M.* A M. upright and stationary. to a brother professor in the Royal Society of Berlin. simple. could have found He regarded than as a phantom prothe apparition in no other light duced by some derangement of his own proper organs. Gleditsch being obliged to traverse the hall in the to which Academy held its sittings. but it is thus stated by M. holding the professorship of natural philosophy at Berlin.. 35 The first shall be the apparition of Maupertuis. short time after the death of Maupertuis.

36 LETTERS ON But he related the vision it ping longer than to ascertain exactly the appearance of that object. Captain C was a Catholic. in his hour of adversity at least. On riding over one morning to see gentleman. Captain C was a Brigade. push his investigation to the point to which it was carried by a gallant soldier. sincerely attached to the duties of his religion. When it is recollected that Maupertuis died at a distance from Berlin. with whom to be ridiculous was to be worthless we can hardly wonder at the imagination even of a man of physical science calling up his eidolon in the hall of his former greatness. After the king's death. His confessor was a clergyman who was residing as chaplain to a man of rank in the west of England. being repeatedly employed by the royal family in very dangerous commissions. and it was then the following circumstance took place. his penitent had the misfortune to find . native of Britain. and assured them that was as defined and perfect as the actual person of Maupertuis could have presented. from whose mouth a particular friend of the author received the following circumstances of a similar story. and out of favour with Frederick. once the scene of his triumphs over- whelmed by the petulant ridicule of Voltaire. about four miles from the place where Captain C this lived. he came over to England . but bred in the Irish He was a man of in the most dauntless courage. which he displayed some un- commonly desperate adventures during the first years of the French Revolution. to his brethren. The sober-minded professor did not. however. and.

before him. but received no answer ance. and remain there in a To ascertain positively the nature of the apparition. an elbow-chair. somewhat fanatical in his religion. as showing that men of the strongest nerves are not exempted from such delusions. him very ill 37 from a dangerous complaint. Johnson's phrase. in Dr. the he undressed himself. but a learned theologian. With this. the soldier himself sate down on the same beyond question. in . he would not well have known what name to give to his vision. . the ghost standing ghost retreated. had his friend died about the same time.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.* * The friend on whose information I rested the story in the text. he saw in the room the figure of the till him absent confessor. when. He addressed it. favoured the author with the follow- ing remarks : not quite done justice to my story of Captain Clifford. and the feeling brought back upon him many other These occupied painful and disagreeable recollections. when it seemed Captain to sink C down on sitting posture. Clifford was a singular man. On Mr. he was a good-natured philosopher. Having.' "You have now by sitting down in his lap." the incident was only remarkable. ' Proved what was the courage of a ghost. an expert chemist. to his great astonishment. in the words of your Glorious John. the eyes alone were impressed by the appearDetermined to push the matter to the end. that the whole was illusion yet he owned that. advanced on the phantom. a passionate pursuer of all sorts of knowledge . "nothing came of it. manner he followed it round the bed. and finally passed behind the curtains into bed. which In this appeared to retreat gradually before him. ascertaining thus. But as the chair. Clifford's rising. when Clifford turned in to him. has. in great distress the hour of retiring to bed. confessor recovered. He retired and apprehension of his friend's life. since its publication in this shape. and.

though. skins of wild animals. however. the reader had enjoyed the intimacy of the deceased to a considerable degree. It was when laying down his the who was also book. Sensible. through which the moon was beginning to shine. while living. and passing into I this hall. a literary friend. that the individual of speak saw. was engaged. he once attended Judge Buller in a circuit as judges' marshal. a great station in the eye of the public. whose recollection had been so strongly brought to his imagination. to whom the deceased had been well known. He stopped for a single notice the wonderful accuracy with whom moment.. Not long after the death of a late illustrious poet. engaged reading.. made of yron mould. he was deeply interested in the publication. .. right before him. so as to which fancy had impressed upon the bodily eye the peculiarities of dress and posture of the illustrious poet. Their sitting-room opened into an entrance hall. during the darkening twilight of an autumn evening.'" Fairy Queen. which contained some particulars relating to himself and other friends. He was a sort of Talu& ' . we do not give the names of the parties. search of which.38 LETTERS ON Another illusion of the same nature we have the best reason for vouching as a fact. for certain reasons. As to nerves. who had filled. and the like. it was this man. if ever there was a man without fear or weakness (saving his fanaticism). An yron man. rather fantastically fitted up with articles of armour. in perusing one of the publications which professed to detail the habits and opinions of the As distinguished individual who was now no more. A visitor was in sitting in apartment. and in a standing posture. the exact representation of his departed friend.

They differ from those of and when such occur Nicolai. and endeavoured. with to recall the image all his power. every reason to believe that instances of this among persons of a certain temperain an early period of society. which resolved itself. and tell the young friend he what a striking hallucination had left. of the delusion. as he approached. he felt 39 no sentiment save that of won- der at the extraordinary accuracy of the resemblance. The spectator returned to the spot from which he had which it was composed. and temporary fever-fit has to a serious feverish it But. plaids. and such other articles as usually are found in a country entrance-hall.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. seen the illusion. that of a late poet to his friend. they are almost certain to be considered as real supernatural appearances. into the various materials of These were merely a screen occupied by great-coats. had only . which had been so singularly vivid. are of the latter character. to return. that of the Catholic clergyman to Captain C . The apparition of Maupertuis to Monsieur Gleditsch. and constituting no habitual or constitutional derangement of the system. or more properly. There ment is kind are frequent . shawls. under he had for a moment laboured. is more difficult to bring such momentary impressions back to their real . and stepped onward towards the figure. even for this very reason. as being of short duration. whose excited state had been the means of raising it. They bear to the former the analogy. and others formerly noticed. which a sudden illness. as we may say. But this was beyond his capacity and the person who had witnessed the apparition.

A whole class of superstitious observations and are grounded upon inaccurate and imperfect To the excited and imperfect state of the ear. Yet the other senses or organs. and to the extent of their power. shores. from this organ. and that wherthe visual organ becomes depraved for a greater or less time.40 LETTERS ON much sphere of optical illusions. and to a farther or more limited extent. hearing. we must remark. we owe the existence of what Milton sublimely calls " The On airy tongues that syllable men's names. in their turn. the party to whom they are addressed. we are repeatedly deceived by such sounds as are imperfectly gathered up and erroneously From the false impressions received apprehended. and months. from other circumstances. as the sight itself. in their various departments. since they accord better with our idea of glimpses of the future world than those in which the vision is continued or repeated for hours. to retain false or doubtful impressions. that the eye is the organ most essential to the purpose of realizing to our mind the appearance of external objects. affording opportunities of discovering. in regard to the ear. tions Before concluding these observations upon the decepof the senses. that the symptom originates in deranged health. arise. the next organ in importance to the eye." . are as ready. instead of informing. which mislead. its misrepresentation of the objects of sight is peculiarly apt to terminate in such hallucinations as those we have been detailing. also arise consequences similar to those derived from erroneous reports made by the organs of sight. and wildernesses. days. in desert sands. Thus.

whose name is put into the famous cursing well. was. the same reason that the negro pines to death who is laid under the ban of an Obi woman. call him by his name appears he was rather disappointed that no event of consequence followed a summons sounding so . It may be remarked also. aerial it summoner intimated his own death. some deceased relative. was no uncommon circumstance that the person who for fancied himself so called. Amidst the train of superstitions deduced from the imperfections of the ear. as one doomed to do so. in such cases. that we do not sympathize more readily with Robinson Crusoe's apprehensions when he sleep witnesses the print of the savage's foot in the sand. sign of approaching fate. the natives of the Hebrides acknowledged as one sure The voice of some absent. with the usual ceremonies. he heard the voice of his mother. 41 These also appear such natural causes of alarm. we may quote that visionary summons which from his his being waked from name in the solitary island. heard as repeating the party's name. and it decidedly supernatural. The following may be stated as one serving to show by what slender acci- . then at many miles' distance. than in those which arise by some one calling where there existed no man but the shipwrecked mariner himself. or the CambroBritain. that Dr. It is unnecessary to dwell on this sort of auricular deception. and at others. probably. Sometimes the or. died in consequence .DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. while he was opening the door of his college chambers. of which most men's recollection will supply instances. Johnson retained a deep impression that. wastes him to the away and dies. devoting infernal gods.

and. had never occurred to his elder friend as likely to produce the sounds he had heard. satisfied the hearer that it could not be the clamour of an actual chase. The sup- posed distant sound was in fact a nigh one. the cause of the phenomenon became apparent. sounding intermittedly. operating the auricular deceptions. respecting the numerous its sounds likely to occur in the dark recesses of pathless The same clew may be found to the kindred forests. He called upon his own dogs. in doing so." As the young gentleman used a hearing tube. so that he could not help saying to his companion. The author was walking. summer. when he heard what he conceived to be the cry of a distant pack of As the season was hounds. in a wild and solitary scene with a young friend. this. about two years since. but which. who laboured under the infirmity of a severe deafness. and obviously had no accession to the sounds which had caught the author's attention. from various gentleman circumstances. and yet his ears repeatedly brought back the supposed cry. " I am in doubly sorry for your infirmity at this moment. . on a moment's reflection. that the highly imagin- ative superstition of the Wild Huntsman in Germany seems to have had upon origin in strong fancy. of which two or three were with the walking party.42 dents the LETTERS ON human ear may be imposed upon. for I could otherwise have let you hear the cry of the Wild Huntsman. he turned when spoken to. They came quietly. It is scarce necessary to add. being the the young singing of the wind in the instrument which was obliged to use.

and the herdsman's ears Tingle with inward dread. Aghast he eyes But not one trace and every mountain round. nor are there many cases in which it can become accessary to such false intelligence. Beittie. the shouts of men. of living The upland To ghost. Scottish belief. with clans and ready vassals throng'd. printed in the earlier part of It was reprinted by my late friend Dr. since of old the haughty Thanes of Boss Were wont. And louder. 43 so finely embodied by the nameless : author of Albania 1 There. of But wonders. so extremely scarce. To what or whom he owes his idle fear ridge. midnight or at noon. And horns hoarse-winded. as the eye and ear. Leyden. and many other poetical passages of the highest merit. Nor knows. the broken cry of deer Mangled by throttling dogs. : And hoofs. * The poem of Albania in its original folio edition. or to fiend. o'erawed and trembling as he stands. Forthwith the hubbub multiplies. There oft is heard. blowing far and keen. voice of hunters. collecting their objects is. must also be The sense of touch seems less liable to perversion than either that of sight or smell. that to the auricular deceptions practised by the means of ventriloquism or otherwise. To wake the bounding stag. to witch. still Beginning but rising more loud. in a small last century.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. thick-beating on the hollow hill Sudden the grazing heifer in the vale Starts at the tumult. Albania contains the above. to fairy. volume. at faint. entitled Scottish Descriptive Poems. or guilty wolf . besides the one which I myself possess. and of hounds. wight discerns. the air Labours with louder shouts and rifer din Of close pursuit. ."* remembered. that I have only seen a copy belonging to the amiable and ingenious Dr. and no end It wondering finds. may be traced many of the most successful impostures which credulity has received as supernatural communications.

and from their reciprocal false impressions are thus received. substance. peculiarity of the organ of touch. but is diffused over the whole person of the man. the hand is both toucher of the limb on which from at it . tion of sensations arising being action disturbed by the complicafrom two parts of his person once acted upon. is noticed by Lucretius : " Ut si fortfe Tute tibi manu. are but too ready to convey. aeque experiare. accurately enquired would afford a clew to many This con- puzzling phenomena in the theory of dreams. both the proprietor of the member touch.44 LETTERS ON from a greater distance. The case occurs during sleep. as. in respect to the circumstances which it impresses on its owner. and the same and receives an impression of touch is the case with the limb. while. and the like. patient. and conveys to the mind a report respecting the size. of the member touching. into. and by less accurate enquiry. when the own and dreamer touches with his hand some other part of his He is clearly. to increase ing. during sleep. Now mind at . it rests. and of that which is touched the complication. the patient is uncon- scious that both limbs are his his is own identical property. which one and the same time receives an impression from the hand. both the actor person. Yet there is one circumstance in is which the sense of touch as well as others very apt to betray its possessor into inaccuracy. apt to be much and which." A remarkable instance of such an illusion was told . in this case. as also that it fined to is no particular organ. quam vis jam corporis ipse partem ferias.

dead grasp of It was a minute left before he discovered that his state own it hand was in a of numbness. and with encircled his right arm. that the phantom of a dead man held the sleeper by the He wrist. with some uneasy feelings arising indigestion. in reality. ears. They At operated in their usual course of visionary terrors. and are less The taste and the smell. enter The best and most acute Ion vivant loses his power of if discriminating betwixt different kinds of wine. direct intelligence than the eye and the likely than those senses to aid in misleading the imagination. awaked in horror. and touch. is subject to imposition as well as the other senses. We have seen the palate. The delusions of the stomach can seldom bear upon our present subject. and endeavoured to drag him out of bed. and are not otherwise connected with supernatural appearances. than as a . we are authorized to believe. in the gay visions escence which gilded the patient's confinement. the cold. Nay. if the glasses of each are administered indiscriminately while he is blindfolded. he had accidentally convey more ear. 45 He had from fallen asleep. that individuals have died in consequence of having supposed themselves to have taken poison. was of an innoxious or restorative quality. its in the case of the protest against the acquiof eyes. that prevented assisting his palate by the aid of his is. The palate. length they were all summed up in the apprehension. like the touch. me by a late nobleman. porridge-fed lunatic.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. however. the draught they had swallowed as such. and still felt a corpse's hand on his right wrist. he is eyes. when.

are usually united with other infernal materials for assures us. Fair play. and the use of suffumigations From of strong and deleterious herbs. by the inhalation of certain gases or poisonous herbs. therefore. when the poet's observation is not unlikely to apply " Inspiring bauld John Barleycorn. in its ordinary state. What dangers thou canst make us scorn I Wi' tippenny we fear nae evil. give receipts for calling up phantoms. Aubrey indeed. which If. . are made have it is likely that the nostrils to inhale such sufFumigation. a strong relish of the sulphureous element of which they are inhabitants. p. he caredna deils a boddle !" : Neither has the sense of smell. sulphur. Alderson of Hull. are the means recommended. perhaps. that he could compose a preparation of antimony. at the con- * Most ancient authors who pretend to treat of the wonders of natural magic. encounter them. of an apparition. a professor of legerdemain assured Dr. necromancers can dispose a person to believe he sees phantoms. as a general opinion imposture. See Hibbert on Apparitions. The lighting lamps fed by peculiar kinds of medicated oil. Such accompaniments. which disappeared a curious perfume as well as a most melodious with twang . Wi' usquebae well face the devil The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's noddle. which. * I now arrived. and popular belief ascribes to the presence of spirits. and other drugs. Hibbert. much connexion with our present tells us. subject.46 LETTERS ON its good dinner and accompaniments are essential in who is fittest to fitting out a daring Tarn o' Shanter. by a devious path. Mr. is not positively discountenanced by Dr. when burnt in a confined room. would have the effect of causing the patient to suppose he saw phantoms. these authorities. 120. as well as the mouth.

that each man. while the eye deranged. and the time. convey false impressions to the patient. Very often both the mental delusion and the physical deception exist at the same corporeal organs impose ear. Sometimes our violent and inordinate passions. the bility of which cannot be denied. originating in sorrow for our friends. from the monarch to the beggar. that their mankind. with our eyes and ears. conclusive. or our deep sense of devotion these or other violent excitements of a moral character. in the visions of night. or misled. continues to exist. arises that predisposition to believe in super- occurrences. and men's belief of the phenomena presented to . from a very early period. have prepared for such events minds by the consciousness of the existence of a spiritual world. The abstract possibility of apparitions must be admitted by every one who believes in a Deity. even in a disembodied state. and his superintending omnipotence. remorse for our crimes.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. But imagination is apt to intrirde its explanations and inferences founded on inadequate evidence. whether mental or It is. elusion of this letter. or the rapt ecstasy of the day. corporeal. an actual instance of that supernatural communication. for aught that we know to the contrary. that upon the mind. persuade us we witness. be permitted or ordained to mingle amongst those who yet remain in the body. the object of 47 to which is show from what natural attributes of our nature. who has once acted his part on the stage. our eagerness of patriotism. if such is the pleasure of Heaven. and may again. inferring in the general proposition the undeniable truth. diseased. I think. the possiAt other times.

like they the seed of the husbandman. So many causes acting thus upon each other in various degrees. that the physical impression corresponded with the mental excitement. soul.48 LETTERS ON is them. it must happen early in the infancy of every society. however erroneously. and are usually followed by a plentiful crop of superstitious figments. This be the subject of my . satisfactory enough to authenticate many peculiar examples of the general proposition which is impressed upon us by belief of the immortality of the These examples of undeniable apparitions. hastily adopted. or sometimes separately. that there should occur apparently well-authenticated instances of supernatural intercourse. next letter. the firmer and more readily granted. by the senses. and shall perverted from their genuine reading.) fall. which derive their sources from circumstances and enactments in sacred and profane history. (for are apprehended to be incontrovertible. into fertile and prepared soil.

said to mean a person who dealt in Poisons. refer to something corresponding more with a Fortune-teller or Divining Woman. since it inferred the disowning of Jehovah's Supremacy Other texts of Scripture. at any rate. Chasaph. than what is now called a Witch Example of the Witch of Endor Ac- count of her Meeting with Saul Supposed by some. a mere . in like manner. often a but different traffic of those who dealt with Familiar Spirits from the European Witch of the Middle Ages Thus a Witch is not accessary to the temptation of Job The Witch of the Hetreics probably did not rank higher than a Divining Woman Tet it was a crime deserving the doom of death. 49 Consequences of ike Fall on the communication "between Men and the Spiritual World Effects of the Flood Wizards of Pharaoh Text in Exodus against Witches The word Witch is by some said to mean merely Poisoner Or if in the holy text it also means a Divineress. she must. have been a character very different to be identified with it The original.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.

first had our parents kept the commands of the Creator. a supposed Warlock. than those of the Books of Moses. as the word is interpreted in the Middle Ages. neither occurs under the Mosaic or Gospel the Catholics Dispensation It arose in the ignorant period. can . and among the Northern Europeans yet unconverted The Gods of Mexico and Peru explained on the same system Also the Powahs of North America Opinion of Mather Gibb. j|H AT degree of communication existed between the might have race and the human inhabitants of the other world. as in A the case of Balak. is possible / be accounted and in some sense. adopted by Milton The incarnate Possessions probably ceased Cases of Demoniacs at the same time as the intervention of Miracles Opinion of Result that Witchcraft. persecuted by the other Dissenters Conclusion. his character. do they appear to have possessed the power ascribed to Magicians Articles of Faith which we may gather from That there might be certain Powers Scripture on this point permitted by the Almighty to inferior. the Gods of the Heathens might Demons More frequently. supposing that. when the Christians considered the Gods of the Mahommedan or Heathen Nations as Fiends.50 Impostor LETTERS ON by others. or a Good Spirit in deception which the Witch intended to produce Resumption of the Argument. the A Imighty had. a Sorceress powerful enough to raise the Difficulties attending Spirit of the Prophet by her own art both positions middle course adopted. without sense or power of any kind. and in a general sense. by exertion of his will. for the substituted Samuel. and even Evil Spirits. showing that the Witch of Endor signified something very different from the modern ideas of Witchcraft The Witches mentioned in the New Testament are not less different tun- from modern ideas. and their Priests as Conjurors or Wizards Instance as to the Saracens. Opinion that the they were but logs of wood. and their worship founded on imposture Oracles were silenced at the Nativity.

that one necessary consequence of eating the We " fruit of that forbidden tree " was removing the to a wider distance from celestial essences little beings. and imitated several of the plagues denounced against Those powers of the Magi. . contended with Moses. while the Deity was pleased to continue his manifestations to those to be the fathers of his elect people. whose life was avenging gradually shortened. as of course. the angel of death. lower than the angels. 51 do not. But the date of the Flood gave birth to a race. own crime. the devoted kingdom. although originally but a had. by their tality. and attempt to match. and who. understand that wicked men. the prophets of the God of Israel. longevity of the antediluvian mortals prevented their feeling sufficiently that they had brought themselves under the banner of Azrael. King of Egypt. who. assumed. it may be who were destined we are made to by the assistance of fallen angels. In the meantime. The matter must remain uncertain. whether it was by sorcery or legerdemain that the wizards of Pharaoh. changed their rods into serpents. in the face of prince and people.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. were enabled to assert rank with. however. with perhaps. that the extreme creation. presume Milton. and removed to too great a distance the period between and its punishment. forfeited the gift of immor- and degraded themselves into an inferior rank of It is probable. only be subject of unavailing speculation. too much when we suppose. being admitted to slighter and rarer intimacy with beings who possessed their crime a higher rank in creation. a lower position in the scale.

" Many learned men have affirmed. like the word veneficus. by the more benign and clement dispensation of the Gospel. being exclusively calculated for the Israelites. But in the himself. made part of the judicial Mosaic dispensation. bearing. both respecting the extent of their and the source from which it was drawn. has occasioned much cruelty and bloodshed. either existed after the Flood. or was visited with any open marks of Divine displeasure. other learned men contend . literally. witch to live. and its kindred accomplishments. though we may be left in some darkness. whether obtained by supernatural comor arising from knowledge of legerdemain munications. that in this remarkable passage the Hebrew word CHASAPH means nothing more than poisoner. and who can doubt that. as interpreted having been inserted into the criminal code of Christian nations. dictated by the Divinity was announced a text. when course between the beings. we are all which it can be important for us to know ? arrive here at the period skill told We the Almighty chose to take upon himself directly to legislate for his chosen people. all law of Moses. although. by which it is rendered in the Latin version of the Septuagint. or that. which. or the interspiritual world and embodied for evil purposes.52 LETTERS ON however. were openly exhibited. like the greater part of that law. either from its tenor being misunderstood. whether the crime of witchcraft. without having obtained any accurate knowledge. and was abrogated. it The text alluded to is that verse of the twenty-second " men shall not suffer a chapter of Exodus.

so that the epithets of sorceress and poisoner were almost synonymous. the connexion between the conjurer and the demon must have been of a very different character. the arts of Forman and other sorcerers having been found insufficient to touch the victim's life. that it 53 hath the meaning of a witch also. limb. and may be understood as denoting a person who pretended to hurt his or her neighbours in life.DEMONCLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. by and But supposing that the Hebrew witch proceeded only by charms. to constitute witchcraft. were very apt to eke out their capacity of mis- some resemblance although their skill chief by the use of actual poison. save for the assistance of demons or familiars. This is known to have been the case in many of those darker iniquities. practice . to a diabolic power. In this particular the witches of Scripture had probably to those of ancient Europe. his hags. which bear as their characteristic someSuch thing connected with hidden and prohibited arts. was the statement in the indictment of those concerned in the famous murder of Sir Thomas Overbury. as long as they confined themselves to their charms and spells. in latter There was no contract days. invocations. either by noxious potions. or such means as might be innoxious. or similar mystical means. from that which was conceived. no infernal stamp or of subjection sign of such a fatal league. and power might be safely despised. under the Law of Moses. and no good men. by charms. poison was at length successfully resorted to numerous similar instances might be quoted. who. when. or goods. At infliction no revellings of Satan and of disease or misfortune upon a least there is not word in Scripture .

31. spirit it may be concerning future events. But neither is there here the agency of any sorcerer or witch. worship whether idols or evil spirits. would have been introduced. the God of Jacob necessarily showed himself a jealous direct to all who. his faithful servant who granted him liberty to try more in his brilliant with a storm of disasters. sorceries. witchcraft. On the contrary.) that.) the powers of the witch to be limited. that the object of the Mosaic dis- pensation being to preserve the knowledge of the True Deity within the breasts of a selected and separated people. when metaphorically. (Luke. the Devil. to enquiries at some pretended deity or real evil spect. that he might sift him like wheat. had recourse to other deities. far literally. the True Divinity. the Enemy of mankind desired to probe the virtue of Job it is to the bottom. (how how far not for us to determine. straying from the path of of Jehovah. did such a crime deserve the we must severe punishment of death ? To answer this question. in Supposing the time of Moses. xxii. to the extent of praying to senseless . he applied for permission to the Supreme Governor of the world. for the exhibition of the faith which he reposed In all this. as the necessary In like instrument of the Man of Uzz's afflictions. would have employed his servant the witch. the gods of the neighbour- God The swerving from their allegiance to ing Heathen. Satan desired to have Peter.54 LETTERS ON we are told. had the scene occurred after the manner of the like events in latter days. instead of his manner. in what resaid. authorizing us to believe that such a system existed. Maker. and own permitted agency. and charms. reflect.

Old Testament idols. and judgstill ments. with death. an act of rebellion to their own Lord God. examples. the severity of similar enactments sub- sequent to the Christian revelation. (which. nor does the existence of this law against the witches of the Old Testament sanction. against a different class of persons. was the prevailing crime of the Israelites. not on account of any success which they might obtain their intercessions all enhanced with cutting and their and invocations. was justly punished communicate. or be of a nature much less intimate than has been ascribed to the witches of later days . the practices of those persons termed witches in the Holy Scriptures. are again alluded and again it is made manifest that the sorcery or to . proved so utterly as to incur the ridicule of the prophet. or attempted to with an evil spirit. though her communication with the spiritual who world might either not exist at all. or she communicated. though vehemence. In another passage. the false divinity Baal. into idolatry. which. while they worshipped.) but unavailing because they were guilty of apostasy from the real Deity. therefore. and encouraged others to worship. notwithdeities standing repeated prohibitions. and as such most fit to be punished capitally. by the Jewish law. Thus the by prophets of Baal were deservedly put to death. stocks and stones 55 which could return them no answer. The Hebrew witch. resolves itself into a and asking counsel of false in other words. to the extent of wounding themselves.DEMOXOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. was. in any respect. . witchcraft of the trafficking with . accused of a very different species of crime.

lo. xxxviii. but the oracle of Apollo. 2 Chronicles. or an enchanter. by the way. observed times. that he caused his children to pass through the fire. or a consuiter with familiar spirits.. surely a venial sin in an ignorant and deluded pagan. it is In like manner. with the crime of the person who. in order to obtain responses by the superstitious practices of the pagan nations around them. in classing witchcraft among other desertions of the prophets of the Deity. which to be found in the Bible j * The reader will find a note on this text (with which the author has been favoured since these Letters were first published) at the end of the volume. To illustrate the nature of the Hebrew witch and her prohibited criminal traffic. . and These dealt with familiar spirits and with wizards. or a witch. those who have written on this subject have naturally dwelt upon the interview between Saul and the Witch of Endor. or a necromancer. used enchantments and witchcraft. with all its unnatural and improbable outrages on common-sense. consulted a capital offence in a Jew. xviii. passages seem to concur with the former. or an observer of times. " There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire. or a wizard. To understand the texts otherwise.56 LETTERS ON The passage alluded to is in Deuteronomy. seems to confound the modern system of witchcraft. or a charmer. or that useth divination. a charge against Manas ses. 1 1. in classical days."* Similar denunciations occur in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of Leviticus. the only detailed and particular account of such a transaction which is a fact.

that the king directed the witch to call up the Spirit of Samuel. speaking in the character of the prophet. (whom consequently. In this figure the king acknowledges the resemblance of Samuel. more particularly requiring a description of the apparition. 57 proves that the crime of witchcraft (capitally punished as it was when discovered) was not frequent among the chosen people. though all is told which is necessary to convey to us an awful moral lesson. despairing of obtaining an answer from the offended Deity. the melancholy prediction of his own defeat and death. The Scriptures only convey to us the general fact (being edifying) what is chiefly of the interview between the Witch and the King of Israel. and the consciousness of his own unworthy and ungrateful disobedience.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Scripture proceeds to give us the general information. he did not himself see. They inform us. sinking on his face. In this description. that gods had risen out of the earth that Saul. a sentence which had been often executed by Saul himself on similar offenders. that Saul. and.) she described it as the figure of an old man with a mantle. yet we are left ignorant of the minutiae attending the apparition. to go to a divining woman. hears from the apparition. by which course he involved himself in the crime of the person whom he thus consulted. who enjoyed such peculiar manifesta- tions of the Almighty's presence. at length resolved. against whom the law de- nounced death. who had previously communicated with him through his prophets. and that the female exclaimed. . disheartened and discouraged by the general defection of his subjects. in his desperation.

or whether the Pythoness and her assistant meant to practise a mere deception. as it intimated. unpleasing. she could disturb the sleep of the just. admitting that the apparition character. certainty ever saw the appearance which the Pythoness described to him. like the Erichtho of the heathen poet. and . even while he was clothed with frail mortality.58 LETTERS ON which perhaps we ought to accept as a sure sign that there was no utility in our being made acquainted with them. be disquieted in his grave. since he was surrounded by a superior army of Philistines. It is left still more doubtful whether any thing supernatural was actually evoked. at the voice of a vile witch. that. upon whom the Spirit of the Lord was wont to descend. and his character as a soldier rendered it likely that he would not survive a defeat. to know with whether Saul was present when the woman used her conjuration. Was the power of the witch over the invisible world so great. or whether he himself personally It is impossible. and the command of an apostate prince ? Did the True Deity refuse Saul the response of his prophets. taking their chance to prophesy the defeat and death of the broken-spirited king as an event which the circumstances in which he was placed rendered highly probable. and especially that of a prophet so important as and are we to suppose that he. should be subject to Samuel . had On the other was its nature. for instance. which loss of his must involve the natural hand. it really a superremains equally uncertain what it kingdom. since the supposed spirit of Samuel asks wherefore he was disquieted in the grave. or by what power was compelled to an appearance.

It has been supposed upon this remarkable occasion. in those days. is yet liable to others. exchanged the jug- gling farce of sheer deceit or petty sorcery which she had intended to produce. this by the witch. on that poses memorable occasion. the blance or. some good being. which disturbed the preconcerted purpose of the prophet Balaam. Or we may conceive that. we must suppose that the woman really expected or hoped to call up some supernatural appearance. According to this hypothesis. But second solution of the story supthat the will of the Almighty substituted. and compelled him to exsimilar to that that something took place change his premeditated curses for blessings. the divining woman of Endor was preparing to practise upon Saul those tricks of legerdemain or jugglery by which she imposed upon meaner clients who resorted to her oracle. freed from some of the objections which attend the two extreme suppositions. in the likeness of the departed prophet and. in his earthly resemmay think this more likely. for a deep tragedy. the messenger of the divine pleasure. some degree of juggling might be permitted between mortals and the spirits of lesser note in which . another course of explanation has been resorted to. when the laws of nature were fre- quently suspended by manifestations of the Divine Power. could a witch compel the actual spirit 59 of Samuel to make answer notwithstanding ? Embarrassed by such difficulties. which. to the spirit the reader surprise of the Pythoness herself.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. case. capable of . for the phantasmagoria intended in either case. if of Samuel.

according to that interpretation. nor any good angel wearing could be supposed to complain of an apparition which took place in obedience to the direct command of the Deity. and showed the king his end. from the enjoyment and repose of heaven. 20. and furnishing an awful lesson to future times. who . since it is said of this man of God. not as a murmuring against the pleasure of Providence. grief. that. may be observed. for a space. had withdrawn the prophet. This exposition has the advantage of explaining the surprise expressed by the Witch at the unexpected consequences of her own invocation. that his sins and discontents. the opinion of Samuel's actual appearance is adopted. in Ecclesiasticus. the words may. It does not apply so well to the complaint of Samuel that he was disquieted. which were the ultimate cause of Samuel's appearance. that "after death he prophesied. since neither his likeness. the prophet. that the judgment on so obscure a subject. or any he might be represented. but as a reproach to the prophet's former friend Saul. it so Witch of Endor was not a being such as those believed in by our ancestors. wear no stronger sense of complaint than might become the It spirit of a just man made benevolent angel by whom perfect. xlvi. guilt. while it removes the objection of supposing the spirit of Samuel subject to her influence. to re-view this miserable spot of mortality. the phrase is understood. and misfortune. however." Leaving the further discussion of this dark and cult question to diffi- those whose studies have qualified them to give far appears clear.60 LETTERS ON appalling the heart of the hardened tyrant. If.

it cannot be said that. in that time. or were liable to the same capital punishment.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 61 could transform themselves and others into the appearance of the lower animals. for intruding herself upon the task of the real prophets. and by whom. deservedly. Whatever may be thought of other occasional expressions in the Old Testament. But her existence and her crimes can go no length to prove the possibility that another class of witches. frequent the company and join the revels of evil and. for a very different and much more doubtful class of offences. feats of such magnitude as to alter the face of nature. indeed. regularly whom the will of God made known. which. far less till very lately. or perform lives. The Witch of Endor was a mere fortune-teller. are nevertheless to be proved possible before they can be received as a criminal charge. . in any respect similar to that against which the law-books of so many European nations have. to fruits and waste the despair of all aid or answer from the the unfortunate King of Israel had recourse Almighty. in his despair. raise and allay tempests. a text occurs. She was liable. denounced punishment under the Christian dispensation a system . in some way or other. in any part of that sacred volume. indicating the existence of a system of witchcraft. no otherwise resembling her than as called by the same name. however odious. he whom. either existed at a more recent period. by was. in obtained the awful certainty of his own defeat and death. human of the earth. by their counsel and assistance. to the punishment of death. under the Jewish dispensation. destroy spirits.

and put their own mystical and ridiculous . mentions the sin of witchcraft in a cursory manner. This latter crime is supposed to infer a com- pact implying reverence and adoration on the part of the witch who comes under the fatal bond. or similar forbidden arts. and in the offences of the flesh. under any sense. the Magician. indeed. it is ranked immediately after idolatry . as superior in guilt to that of ingratitude . and patronage. which indicate that there was a transgression so called. as excluded from the city of God. support. or Simon. which juxtaposition inclines us to believe that the witchcraft mentioned by the Apostle must have been analogous to that of the Old Testament. called the Sorcerer. the word. on the part of the diabolical Indeed.62 LETTERS ON under which the emancipation of the human race from the Levitical Law was happily and miraculously perfected. Saint Paul. in the Book of Revelations. other criminals. to acquire knowledge of Sorcerers are also joined with futurity. the writers upon witchcraft attempt to wring out of the New Testament proofs of a crime in itself so Neither do the Exploits of disgustingly improbable. in the four Gospels. but leave us ignorant of its exact nature. who assumed a character to which they had no real title. had the possibility of so enormous a sin been admitted. and assistance. Person not likely to escape the warning censure of the Divine who came to take away the sins of the world. And with these occasional notices. entitle them to rank above the class of impostors. does not occur although. patron. and equivalent to resorting to the assistance of soothsayers. it was . called Magus or Elymas.

the Deity. using either good spirits.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. as the word occurs in the and it now only remains to mention the Scripture -. from his presumptuous and profane proposal to acquire by purchase a portion of those powers which were directly derived from inspiration. would have better known his own rank and condition. the permitted agents of such evil as it was his will should be inflicted upon. without believing that. and facilitate its reception by the exhibition of genuine miracles. And. With we may conclude our brief remarks upon 'witchcraft. to confirm the faith of the Jews. no man can read the Bible. than to have made such a fruitless and unavailing proposal. the course of time comprehended by the divine during writers. It is clear that. every Christian believer is bound to receive as a thing declared and proved to be true. Simon Magus displayed a degree of . or fallen angels. in the first place. This proposition compre- . call and to overcome and confound the Heathen. profane and brutal ignorance. or himself a Christian. 63 pretensions to supernatural power in competition with those which had been conferred on purpose to diffuse the gospel. wrought in the pride of the land many great miracles. or suffered by. compared to that of the Apostle. the children of men. inconsistent with his possessing even the intelligence of a skilful impostor and it is plain that a leagued vassal of hell. nature of the demonology. which. by which he could only expose this observation his own impu- dence and ignorance. as gathered from the sacred volumes. should we pronounce him such. the instruments of his pleasure.

the acknowledgment of the truth of miracles during this early period. by their priests or their oracles. with charmers. responses which " palter'd in a double sense " who consulted them.. to Bacchus. and the idols of Egypt are classed. men owned the sway of deities who were. and recognises the existence in the spiritual world of the two grand divisions of angels and devils. chap. therefore. that exercising their the idols of the Heathen were actually fiends. for example. and returning. to a certain extent. severally powers according to the commission or of the Ruler of the universe. as in Isaiah. but personifications of certain evil passions of humanity. verse 3. those who have familiar spirits. in their sacrifices to Venus. . permission Secondly. or rather. and with wizards. But. It corresponds also with the texts of Scripture. undoubtedly. by working seeming miracles. a confirmation of many miracles related in pagan or classical history. whatever licence it may be supposed was permitted to the evil spirits of that period and although. and to give a certain degree of countenance to the faith of the worshippers. by which the ordi- nary laws of nature were occasionally suspended. wise men have thought and argued.64 LETTERS ON hends. to Mars. &c. and. which declare that the gods of the Heathen are all devils and evil spirits . that these enemies of mankind had power to assume the shape and appearance of those feeble deities. xix. which are thus ascribed to the agency of evil spirits. Most of with the deluded persons the Fathers of the This Christian church have intimated such an opinion. in fact. as. doctrine has the advantage of affording. of course.

became the habitation or resting- demons. greater number fell under the description applied to them in another passage of Scripture. might be permitted occasionally to exert. Whatever degree of power the the false gods of Heathendom. we cannot possibility of such permission being granted. in which the part of the tree burnt in the fire for domestic purposes is treated as of the same power and in estimation as that carved into an image. fluence or otherwise. or possessed any manifestation of or power. and the brutish ignorance of the worshipper. forbid us to believe that the images so constructed by common place of artisans. suppose that every one.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. in 65 one sense. and preferred for Gentile homage. which the impotence of the senseless block. it is certain. on the one hand. that . et The precise words of the text. This striking passage. whose object of adoration is the work of his own hands. F . was endowed with supernatural it is clear. savours of mean juggling of impostors. as well as common seq. exhibited Providence and though. occurs in the 44th chapter of the prophecies of Isaiah. might be said. deny the the Scriptures mention no one specific instance of such influence. was unquestionably. on the other. by the oracles. and trick. whether through demoniacal instrength The whole system of doubt. to worship evil spirits we cannot. verse lo. sense. expressly recommended to our belief. or devils in their name. that the . or the among power thousandth part of the innumerable idols worshipped the Heathen. in reason. in cases unknown to us. under the general restraint and limitation of delusion. rather than the audacious intervention of demons.

or the flight of birds. by observation of augury. by Teraphim. in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. so they also resorted to the use of charms ly fell and enchantments. of which St. so that. founded on a superstitious perversion of their own Levitical ritual. to find as it were a by- road to the secrets of futurity. that the pronounce what We promise of the Deity to his chosen people. Peter. in which they endeavoured by sortilege. he their sons his spirit upon all flesh. would pour out were the promises delivered to the Israelites by Joel. it is no less evident that the Almighty. Ezekiel. it is impossible effect for us conclusively to might be permitted by supreme Providence. these sinful enquiries among the Jews themselves. when and daughters should prophesy. in the fulness of his time. the other hand. are indeed assured from the sacred writings.6G LETTERS ON Thirdly. to punish the disobedience of the Jews. directed. and their young men dream dreams. that the communication with the invisible world would be enlarged. hails And on the fulfilment in the mission of our Saviour. abandoned . their old men Such see visions. and. was. to the ministry of such evil spirits as presided over. which they called Nahas. and other holy seers. if they conducted themselves agreeably to the law which he had given. But for the same reason that withholds us from delivering any opinion upon the degree to which the devil and his angels might be allowed to countenance the impositions of the Heathen priesthood. so far as they had liberty. by the means of Urim and Thummim. as the backsliders among the Jews repeatedoff to the worship of the idols of the neighbouring Heathens.

a crime. seems little more than the art by of a medicator of poisons.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. a passage resembling more an incident in an Arabian tale. combined with that of a translated Pythoness or it false prophetess . Fourthly. than a part of inspired writing. The book of Tobit contains. since. and who has strangled seven bridegrooms in succession. as they approached the nuptial couch. to which. of a first capital nature. they had recourse. are described as having power to drive away an evil genius who guards the nuptial chamber of an Assyrian princess. In this. that it was not his pleasure to employ in the execution of any such species of league or compact betwixt devils and deluded mortals. indeed. as that denounced in the laws of our own anceshis judgments. the fumes produced by broiling the liver of a certain fish. we may safely conclude. in flagrant Of this violation of his commands. and on the other hand. the consequences of tors under the name of that 'witchcraft. abstaining with reverence from accounting ourselves judges of the actions of Omnipotence. to his the punishment arising from the Deity abandoning Ahab own devices. by the Levitical law. the implied great enmity to mankind. in the capacity. and suffered them to be deceived by the lying oracles. them to their 67 own fallacious desires. a lying forms a striking instance. however. But the romantic and fabulous strain of this legend has all Protestant churches to deny it induced the fathers of a place amongst the writings sanctioned by divine . and in second. direct treason to the divine Legislator. or Gothic romance. What has been word. and suffering him to be deceived by spirit.

" The oracles are dumb. be excused from enter- ing into discussion on such imperfect evidence. according to many wise and learned men. Apollo from his shrine Can no more With hollow shriek the divine. Lastly. nightly trance or breathed spell Inspires the pale-eyed priests from the prophetic cell No " The lonely mountains o'er. From haunted The With flower-inwoven The nymphs spring and dale. In considering the incalculable change which took place upon the Advent of our Saviour and the announcement of his law. Edged with poplar pale. LETTERS ON and we may. in a tone of poetry almost uneven in his own splendid writings. steep of Delphos leaving . in the Paradise Lost. and ape some degree the attributes it Milton has. in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn. its may be upon conviction of truth. we may observe. that. describes. he thus equalled. No voice or hideous hum Euns through the arch'd roof in words deceiving . his mere appearance upon earth. embraced the theory which identifies the followers . operated as an act of banishment of such heathen of the Deity. A the resounding shore. therefore. of Satan with the gods and. in one of his earlier pieces. without awaiting the fulfilment of his mission. deities as had hitherto been suffered in to deliver oracles.68 origin. tresses torn. parting genius is with sighing sent . the departure of of the heathen these pretended deities on the eve of the blessed Nativity. . voice of weeping heard and loud lament And .

so nobly expressed in the poetry of Milton. In vain with cymbals' ring Moloch fled. the horrible shapes worshipped by mere barbarians. his . While each peculiar Power foregoes wonted seat. Isis and Orus. and concluding that the descent of our Saviour struck them with silence. " In consecrated earth. haste. " Peor and Baalim Forsake their temples dim. The idea of the pagan deities. holy shine . 69 The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight In urns and altars round. And mooned Ashtaroth. In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz mourn. In dismal dance about the furnace blue brutish gods of Nile as fast.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Heaven's queen and mother both. with the manifestation of demoniac power. . And on the holy hearth . whether in the is what classic personifications of Greece. or the hieroglyphical enormities of the Egyptian Mythology. . A drear and dying sound plaint j And Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint the chill marble seems to sweat. but it is scarcely possiis so beautiful and interesting a of the heathen deities. The Lybic Hammon shrinks his horn . shadows dread of darkest hue They call the grisly king. and the Dog Anubis." The The quotation ble to shorten description a long one. is not certainly to be lightly rejected. With that twice batter'd god of Palestine . especially the most disidentifying tinguished of them. Now sits not girt with tapers' "And Ilis sullen Hath left in burning idol all .

that witchcraft. were driven from their abode on earth. believing that.) that it ities was a dreadful disorder. because the miracles effected his apostles. Gospels. and may be pretty well assured that it was suffered to continue after the incarnation. most direct proofs of his divine mission. honoured as was by a guest so awful. it impossible to doubt. was unknown at that period although cases of possession are repeatedly mentioned in the . may enlarged degree also give credit to the proposition. (notwithstanding learned authorto the contrary. the oracles silenced. fiends and Advent. however. and those demons who had aped the Divinity of the place. and Acts of the Apostles. in its ordinary and popular sense. and the abuse of fheir persons. that this great event had not the same effect on that peculiar class of fiends who were permitted to vex mortals by the alienation it It of their minds.70 It LETTERS ON has been asserted. the most malignant enemies of a power to which they And here is dared not refuse homage and obedience. in the cases of what is called Demoniacal possession. by authorities of nor does there appear any thing inconsistent in the faith of those who. demons were permitted an of power in uttering predictions. yet in no one in- . an additional proof. . in curing those by our Saviour and tormented in this way. must be noticed. in no mean weight . that power was restrained. In what exact sense we should understand this word we do not pretend to discover but we feel possession. afforded the even out of the very mouths of those ejected fiends. of a kind not merely natural. that at the Divine the elder time. in simple prose.

to leave the of deluding men by imaginary miracles calculated for . or the demon within him. lapse of the period during which it pleased the Almighty to establish his own Church by Enemy miraculous displays of of the privilege power. from his presence. that in order that Jesus might have his share in every species of delusion and persecution which the heir to. the stress of the evidence rested on the declaration old of the possessed. it could not consist with his kindness and wisin possession dom. silenced. and was It is evident. in conIt is sequence of the Saviour coming upon earth. whereas. the power of the enemy of mankind was rather enlarged than bridled or restrained. and shamed. he personally suffered the temptation in the wilderness at the hand of fallen race of Adam is whom. But it appears that. the permission his time was given expressly because was short.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. in a cases of witchgreat proportion of those melancholy craft with which the records of is latter times abound. without resorting to his divine power. indisputable. that after the utterly restrained. It must also be admitted. great power. that in another most re- markable respect. The indulgence which was then granted to him in a case so unique and peculiar. or plead the commands of such a person as the cause of occupying or tormenting the victim . he drove confuted. soon passed over. that some man or woman in the neighbourhood had compelled the fiend to be the instrument of evil. although Satan was allowed this memorable occasion to come on earth with upon Satan. 71 stance do the devils ejected mention a witch or sorcerer.

13. be a shocking inconsistency in supposing. The Fathers of the Faith are not strictly agreed x. the Such a permission on the part ot Supreme Being. though they dare not deny a fundamental tenet of their church. that "God will not suffer his people to be tempted above what they are able to bear. in the time of its Founder and his immediate disciples. indeed. abusing their minds. attested and celebrated their inapperverting their faith. which real miracles were no longer present to support. while the true religion its preciable mission.72 LETTERS ON the perversion of that faith. will hardly assent to any particular case. to the snares of an enemy. which. down beneath the accession of Constantine. when the Christian religion was fully established in supremacy. It is alike inconsistent . without nearly the same evi- dence which might conquer the incredulity of their neighbours the Protestants. it consist with the remarkable promise in holy writ. from whom Nor would the worst evils were to be apprehended. we presume to say. There would. boldly affirm. deceiving men's bodily organs. interference with the course of nature but the enlight- ened even of this faith. at ransomed such a price. and was left Author devoid of every supernatural sign great by and token." (i Cor. that false and deceitful prophecies and portents should be freely circulated by any demoniacal influence. that the power of miraculous in being . The Roman is still Catholics. would be (to speak under the deepest reverence) an abandonment of his chosen people.) at from the Church bring it what period the miraculous power was withdrawn but few Protestants are disposed to .

or in behalf of religion. or down to what to decide tion. or similar displays ot miraculous power. It will be observed that we have not been anxious this quesnot necessary for us to ascertain in what degree the power of Satan was at liberty to display itself during the Jewish dispensation. and the for what we know. any to prove the early existence of that branch of demonology which has been the object. the demon and the witch or We have already alluded to this as the wizard combined their various powers of doing harm.DEMOXOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. of criminal prosecution and capital punishment. the . in comparatively real evidence could modern times. may have occurred. conquest and dispersion. in which. that fiends should be permitted to work marvels which are no longer exhibited on the part of Heaven. But all these things are extraneous to our endsy. It upon the limits of probability on is precise period in the history of the Christian church cures of demoniacal possession. quiry. avoided controversy on that head. as the term was under stood in the middle ages. with the 73 common sense of either. may continue to linger among the benighted wanderers of their race at the present Nlike. they were remarked among the Romans for such superstitious practices . because We it have comprehends questions not more doubtful than unedifying Little benefit could arise from attaining the exact knowledge of the manner in which the apostate Jews After their practised unlawful charms or auguries. the purpose of which was to discover whether be derived from sacred history. contract of witchcraft. to inflict calamities upon the person and property.

as marks of their slightest ill-will . by means If it far beyond mere human power to accomplish. own persons and those of others pleasure raising tempests to ravage the crops of their enemies. spreading pestilence among produce of herds infecting and blight-. of that mass of errors which appeared among the to adopt the opinion. merely for the gratification of malignant spite. therefore. most just and equit- would be those laws which cut them off from the midst of every Christian commonwealth. or carrying them home to their own garners annihilating or . at their transferring to their own dairies the cattle. or the enjoyment of some beastly revelry. ing children . that she did not hold the character ascribed to a modern sorceress. and are left at full liberty more modern system ot witchcraft was a part. could be supposed that such unnatural leagues existed. that. and death itself. advanced an important step in our enquiry. in a word. doing more evil than the heart of man might be supposed capable of conceiving. and. We have thus removed out of the argument the startling objection. or the practising of paltry imposture . when we have ascertained that the witch of the Old Testament was not capable of anything beyond the administration of baleful drugs. in denying the existence of witchcraft. and that there were wretches wicked enough. of innocent human beings . imposing the most horrible diseases. to become the wretched slaves of infernal able spirits.74 LETTERS ON fortune and the fame. in other words. that the . and by no means the least gross. we deny the possibility of a crime which was declared capital in the Mosaic law . transforming their . We have.

endeavour many of the particular articles of the belief respecting magic and witchcraft were popular that show derived from the opinions which the ancient Heathens To recommend entertained as part of their religion. showed a light. the invaluconviction of the certainty of a future state. the tendency to belief in supernatural agencies is natural. by the excited temperaspectators. becoming gradually corrupted by the devices of men. and deduced from. were accounted worshippers of evil spirits. them. them though our better instructed period can explain in a satisfactory manner. to extend their own authority over the human mind. . universal faith and credit either or imperfect They . able seems connected with. obtained. when 75 their religion. and the barbarism of those nations among whom it was spread. ever. in a most gress powerful manner. and. they had principles lying deep in the human mind and heart at all times . members of the Christian Church. from craft or from ignorance. indeed. but one deeply tinged with the remains of that very pagan ignoranc'e which its Divine Founder came to dispel. ment of duced by derangement of the reports of the external senses. how- and the churchmen. pass from the pagans of antiquity their profession of faith To the is Mahom- medans.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. We will. to in a future part of this enquiry. favoured the proof a belief which certainly contributed. or the influence of delusions prointellect. though exclusively Unitarian. this is class may have seemed very possible that particular stories of undeniable in the dark ages. however. indeed. it Moreover.

combined in representing all who were out of the pale of the Church as the personal vassals much scandal and offence to the devout. so that the legend of what the age esteemed credible. and were. To show the extreme grossness of these legends. had dispatched an . The most enormous spread abroad and believed through Christendom.76 LETTERS ON supposed to aid them in their continual warand defend who were them fare against the Christians. only so many in the opinion of the "Western Crusaders. The renowned Saladin. but already anticipating the privileges proper to a state of beatitude and glory. them . angels. and to fictitious reports were not less liberal in assigning the Christians extraordinary means of defence through the direct protection of blessed saints and angels. or of holy men. who and played his deceptions openly amongst Apollo. that there were open displays of supernatural aid afforded by the evil spirits to the Turks and Saracens . as much as if it had been extracted but a real narrative of from a graver chronicle. like was written in what the author designed addressed to fiction. and were is a proof disposed to believe. of Satan. and was hearers and readers. where their abode gave so Romance. or to protect in the Holy Land. Mahound. not as a tale of facts. that. and even history. Termagaunt. yet in the flesh. names of the arch-fiend and his principal fictions. it is said. to be the style of true history. other romances. we may Cceur de Lion. and possessing the power to work miracles. it give an example from the romance of Richard at the same time. premising. attested the fact.

But the English king was warned by an angel in a dream of the intended stratagem. object of adoration by the subjects of both monarchs. under seemingly chivalrous defiance was concealed a most unknightly stratagem.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. previously to the combat. and the theological question. submission by drooping his head . by the celestial mandate. and his with various marks of his religious faith displayed on weapons. the Soldan. should kneel down to suck his dam. and which we may. armed at all points. jured two struction devils into a mare and her with the infoal. 77 embassy to King Richard. The enchanted foal was sent to King Richard signal in the belief that. and the Soldan. at the same time. Now. with the present of a colt. conjured in the holy name to be obedient to his rider durThe fiend-horse intimated his ing the encounter. His ears were stopped with wax. and the colt was. confident of his stratagem. A Saracen clerk had concolt. recommended as a gallant warhorse. for the purpose of deciding at once their pretensions to the land of Palestine. Richard. challenging Coeur de Lion to meet him in single combat between the armies. who mounted the mare. In this condition. or Jupithe deity of the Saracens. should be the future ter. but his word was not entirely credited. encountered him . the which was a brute of uncommon size. that whenever the mare neighed. call a very clumsy trick for the this devil to be concerned in. whether the God of the Christians. the foal obeying the of its dam as usual. rode forth to meet Saladin. might get an easy advantage over him.

Lithuania. or." One of appeared the earliest maps ever published. for miles around. it may be supposed. pourtrayed in the fiends are painted all the modern horrors of the cloven-foot. as assisting them. and tail like a dragon. exhibits rude cuts of the fur-clad natives paying homage at the shrines of demons. serpents. horse's-foot. till their belief respecting the demons of the Holy Land seems " The Devil is to have been not very far different in the title from that expressed of Ben Jonson's play. pagans. of an accurate account of the country. intimates a the connexion of the heathen nations similar belief in at Rome in of the north of Europe with the demons of the spiIn Esthonia. whom the wax prevented from hearing the summons. them while pulsion of the heathens in these parts. Amid the and dressed in caftans. Courland. such districts. bat-wings. But the sucking devil. These . or other formed tor the conversion or exmilitary associations sent to .78 LETTERS ON The mare neighed till she shook the ground boldly. for want. and narhis rowly escaped death. the chart. but by such legends our ancestors were amused and interested. and ritual world. an Ass. saucer-eyes. as the Germans term locks like it. who make at themselves visibly pre- other places they are displayed as doing battle with the Teutonic knights. while army were cut to pieces tale by the Christians. Saladin was dismounted. where a demon is worsted by a trick which could hardly have cheated a common horse-jockey . armed with scimitars. which the 1 6th century. It is but an awkward of wonder. could not obey the signal.

were nevertheless so soon as Europeans became acquainted with involved. may be cursorily noticed. The sculptor had been with his art. . to The cloven foot is the at- whose talents for inspiring terror we owe the snaky tresses are borrowed from the shield of Minerva. (called those of St. Cardinal Stephen Borgia.* Other heathen nations. from its possessor. because their manners and even their very existence were unknown when it was adopted. tribute of Pan.) whom the discoverers found in India there. whose creeds could not have directly contributed to the system of demonology. engraved in bronze. against the heathens of northern Europe and the Mahommedans of the East. "We learn from the information of a Portuguese voyager. brought by the Christians of the middle ages. like his * The chart alluded to is one of the foe-similes of an ancient planisphere. and called the Borgian Table. it 79 attributes. and the dragon train alone the word panic seems to be connected with the scriptural history. fell when they first arrived under suspicion of diabolical practices. Thomas. that one of the European officers. It was almost in vain that the priests of one of their chapels produced to the Portuguese officers and soldiers a holy image. so little and called on them. to adore the blessed Virgin. about the end of the 15th century. in the same charge of witchcraft and worship of demons. and preserved in his Museum at Yeletri.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. and the hideous form acquainted which he had produced resembled an inhabitant of the infernal regions so much more than Our Lady of Grace. while. that even the native Christians. as good Christians. them. themselves intimate the connexion of modern demonology with the mythology of the ancients.

if the images probability to this accusation themselves were not actually tenanted by evil spirits. possessed as they were professionally of some skill in jugglery. the understanding of the colonists was unable to trace to their real source . the first settlers in New England. he companions. among the inhabitants. that the Indians. as might easily be believed to have been breathed into mortals by the agency of hell. traces of an intimate connexion with Satan. which. in all their accounts paid his to the of the countries which they discovered and conquered. scarce necessary to remark. much founded upon such deadly cruelty and dark superstition. In South America the Spaniards justified the unrelenting cruelties exercised on the unhappy natives. worshipped with human sacrifices. and to raise themselves to to obtain esteem with the people. in their idol worship. and the knowledge of some medical herbs and secrets. The great Snake-god of Mexico and other idols. or cunning men. the worship which the Mexicans paid to them was . added the loup protest. he dropped on his knees. uniformly agreed that they detected.80 LETTERS ON image represented the Devil. Even in North America. among the chiefs. were favoured by the demons with a direct intercourse. and that their priests inculcated doctrines and rites the foulest and most abhorrent to Christian ears. by reiterating. that this opinion was founded exclusively upon the tricks practised by the It is native influence Powahs. that if the homage Holy Virgin. and bathed in the gore of their prisoners. and other parts of that immense continent. gave but too and.

yet could not all that desired that dignity. : yet of the many designed. debarring sleep. themselves in difficult cases . however. that parents. and therefore highly esteemed and reverenced their who were esteemed as priests. often dedicated their children to the gods. who never pretended to astrological knowledge. fortune-teller. know. . Supposing that where the practice of witch- craft has been highly esteemed. left as conducing to In so much.. obtain familiarity with the infernal Nor were .* he does not ascribe to these Indian conjurers any skill greatly superior to a maker of almanacks. they esteemed spirits. and whither carried. acknowledged and worshipped many gods. there must be given the plainest demonstration of mortals having familiarity with infernal spirits. and educated them accordingly. gone. observing a certain diet. with many things of the On Bemarkable Mercies of Divine Providence. as it.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. either by immediate revelation. or in the use of certain rites and their addresses ceremonies. in his Magnalia. or wizards. could precisely inform such who desired his from whence goods stolen from them were assistance." says the doctor. but few obtained their desire. not many willing to let my reader years since. book vi. of the Reverend Cotton Mather. yet that. therefore. By the account. all the powahs alike successful in but they became such. 81 legerdemain and imposture. &c. here died one of the I am powahs. they addressed To all them. common " " universally having immediate converse with the gods. which tradition had that end. out of zeal. or They. powahs.

) desired to advise him who had taken certain goods which had been stolen. I must little digress. ability. believe that my god may help you. a which diverted the man from further enquiry. not only by the approbation. since himself served another God ? that therefore he could not help him but added. LETTERS ON nor was he ever known to endeavour to conceal his subservient to knowledge him that to be immediately from a god the English worship. an honest and devout. and tell my reader. by an Englishman worthy of credit. for that she . * Ifyou can . he might well conceive. (who lately of the same. The latter only desired to elude the necessity of his practices being brought under the observant eye of an European. demanded why he requested that from him. that this powah's wife was accounted a godly woman. his god's continued kindness obliged his service. having informed me formerly been an eye-witness of his after a little pausing. as might reasonably as own infer in a . that Dr. He declared that he could not blame her. Cotton Mather. I will try what I can ' do.82 like nature . but sufficiently credulous man. and attended the public worship on the Lord's days. served a God that was It above his but that as to himself. but encouragement of her husband. had mistaken the purpose of the tolerant powah. while he found an ingenious apology in the admitted superiority which he naturally conceded to the Deity of a people. advanced. from the above and similar passages. so far above his power and attainments. She constantly prayed in the family. the powah. and lived in the practice and profession of the Christian religion." him not to forsake appears. This powah being..

used to disturb worship in jail by his maniac howling. and one or two other men. now canonized in a lump by those who view them Gibb. their worship. besides twenty or thirty females who adhered to them. Meikle John This man. As Meikle John Gibb. were nevertheless much offended that these poor mad their people were not brought to capital punishment for blasphemous extravagances and imputed it as a . and committed to prison Dissenters. when it applied to themselves. a person called Jamie. their comrade in captivity. two of them . he considered the discipline of the house of correction as more likely to bring the unfortunate Gibbites to their senses. called. The Cameronians. went the wildest lengths of enthusiasm. however. of enemies to Prelacy. who followed him into the moorthe Ford Moss. in con- sequence. was a from his size. and at a party. we are entitled to infer that the European wizard was held superior to the native sorcerer of North America. as an act of solemn adherence to their new faith. between Airth and Stirling. though he could not be often accused of toleration.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. did their best who was their to correct this scandalous lenity. fresh crime to the Duke of York. They were apprehended . and the rest of the however differently they were affected by the persecution of government. burnt their Bibles. that. 83 corresponding superiority in the nature and objects of From another narrative. Among the numberless extravagances of the Scottish Dissenters of the lyth century. Gibb headed lands. than the more dignified severities of a public trial and the gallows. in the general light certain shipmaster.

were to avoid the repetition of the discipline. that the pretensions of the natives to supernatural communication could not be of a high class. . vol. though sufficiently emquieting phatic. " He died there. was not of a nature to be much apprehended by the British colonists. and Wodrow's History. the lunatic. upon the article spirits whom they themselves professed to John Gibb. dashed the maniac with his feet and hands against the wall. ran behind the door. and beat him so severely. a Cameronian. and there. * See Patrick Walker's Biograpliia Presbyteriana. This mode of the unlucky heretic. in general. that the magic. since we find . we are assured.84 LETTERS ON down by force. or powahing. and offering sacrifices to him."* We must necessarily infer. them honouring this poor madman as their superior and. since the natives themselves gave honour and precedence to those Europeans who came among them with the character of possessing intercourse with the worship. with his own napkin crammed into his mouth. After which specimen of fraternal chastisement. was much admired by the heathen for his familiar converse with the devil bodily. and silence took turn about to hold him him by a napkin thrust into his mouth. iL p. of the North American Indians. But on being finally trans- ported to America. that the rest afraid that he had killed him outright." says Walker. whenever the prisoners began worship. who afterwards suffered at the gallows. John Gibb. "about the year 1720. 23 . being deemed ineffectual or inconvenient. also God's Judgment upon Persecutors. sat howling like a chastised cur. George Jackson.

although seemingly not enabled effectually to support it. town of Gloucester. that these found corroboration of their faith in demonology in was the practice of every pagan nation whose destiny it to encounter them as enemies. never killed or scalped any one. that the ideas of superstition which more ignorant converts to the Christian faith borrowed from the wreck of the classic mythology. Thus. were It so rooted in the minds of their successors. plagued more than a fortnight. by whom they were settlement. it occurred to the settlers that the heathen Indians and the demons. to the great colonists of the Essex. in the year 1692. ly favoured by their appearance. and the dispatch- New ing a strong reinforcement to the assistance of the But as these visitants. for the molestation of the colony. Roman Catholic Frenchmen were particularwho sometimes adopted and showed themselves in their like- annoyance of the colonists. as in every other part of * Magnalia. then. and caused the raising of two regiments. 85 Notwithstanding this inferiority on the part of the powahs. the English became convinced that they were not real Indians and Frenchmen.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. article xviiL Life of Sir William Phipps. in the county of England.* the appears. alarmed the country around very greatly. a party of real or imaginary French and Indians exhibited themselves occasionally to the ness. and that as well within the limits of Europe. though they exchanged fire with the settlers. skirmished repeatedly with the English. but that the devil and his agents had assumed such an appearance. book vii. The fact ia also alleged in the .

may be safely laid down. . and endeavour trace from what especial sources the people of the middle ages derived those notions.86 LETTERS ON it the globe to which their arms were carried. classic superstitions survived the ruins and to have received new contributions opinions collected enter to from the among the barbarous nations. to have been largely augmented by what of paganism. though varied according to the fancy of parIt seems ticular nations. In a word. or diseases to which the human frame liable. which gradually assumed the shape of a regular system of demonology. whether It is of the east or of the west. the is to have been founded originally on feelings incident to human heart. that the commonly received doctrine of demonology. presenting the same general outlines. now necessary to more minutely into the question. existed through all Europe.

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. . 87 Creed of Zoroaster Instances received partially into most Heathen Nations the Celtic among the Feast Gudeman's Croft earlier Tribes of Scotland Beltane Such abuses admitted into Christhe tianity after Ages of Church Law of the against Witchcraft Roman Customs survive the fall of their Religion Instances Demonology of the Northern Nicksas Bhar-geist Barbarians Correspondence between Romans the Northern and Roman Witches ascribed to the Sorceresses The Prophetesses of the not highly regarded by their Worshippers Champions The power of Fascination Example from the Eyrbiggia Saga Germans The Gods of Valhalla North Often defied by the Story of Assueit and Demons of the Asmund Action of Ejectment against Spectres Adventure of a Champion with the Goddess Freya Conversion qf the Pagans of Iceland to Christianity Northern Superstitions mixed with those of the Celts Satyrs of the North Highland Ourisk Meming the Satyr.

good in one modification or another. rather than that of Arimanes. Europe seems to have been originally peopled. as to that of his great opponent. perhaps. or consider the maligant divinities as sufficiently power- ful to undertake a direct struggle with the more bene- volent gods yet they thought it worth while to propitiate them by various expiatory rites and prayers. supposes the co-existence of a benevolent and malevolent principle. a natural possessed. that they. by whom. conceived to be under their direct command. They did not. which naturally occurs to unassisted reason as a mode of accounting for the mingled existence of and evil in the visible world that belief which. which they . that the worshippers will neglect the altars of the Author of good. trust- ing with indifference to the well-known mercy of the one. adore Arimanes under one sole name.LETTERS ON HE creed of Zoroaster. under various denominations. and the elementary tempests. in common with tendency to the worship of the Evil principle. might be . while they shrink from the idea of irritating the vengeful jealousy of the awful Father of evil. The Celtic tribes. such is the timid servility of human nature. leads the fear and awe deeply impressed on the human mind to the worship a? well of the Author of evil. which contend together without either being able decisively to prevail over his antagonist. other savages. who is loved and adored as the Father of all that is good and bountiful. Nay. so tremendous in all th effects of which credulity accounts him the primary cause.

could not. which was then baken with scrupulous attention to certain rites and forms.DEM ONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. no one doubted that the goodman's croft was set apart for some evil being . i. in fact. or rather the being whose agents they were. but suffered to remain waste. of similar origin lingered late among many parishes of Scotland there was exist a certain portion of land. merciful to suppliants 89 who had acknowledged their and deprecated their vengeance. the ceremony of the Baaltein. 111. called the suffered to In Gudemans Croft. and the cake. whom our ancestors distinguished by a name which. Though it was not expressly avowed. power.* Another custom us. Remains of these superstitions might be traced till fast becompast the middle of the last century. Beltane. without About 1769. be offensive to the stern inhabitant of the regions of despair. vol. which was never ploughed or culti- vated. thinking of their origin. when Mr. observed in tions that Gloucestershire. though obsolete. was divided into fragments. or passing into mere popular customs of ing the country. Pennant made his tour. was yet in strict observance . p.festival of the same kind was. that they. while it was generally understood. might spare the flocks and herds. which the peasantry observe. that it was the portion of the arch-fiend himself. or First of May. which were formally dedicated to birds or beasts of prey. in his time. like the TEMENOS of a pagan temple. it was supposed. The traveller mensome . . though varying in different districts of the Highlands. This was so general a custom that the Church published an See Pennant's Scottish Tour.

is But this will not appear so wonderful Christians when it recollected that the original under the heathen emperors were called to conversion by the voice of apostles and saints. both in Wales and Ireland. EOBEET KIEKB. the high price of agricultural produce during the late war renders it doubtful if a veneration for greybearded superstition has suffered any one of them to remain unFor the same reason. as well of language.* and Now. for communicating their doctrines to the Gentiles. the mounts called desecrated. invested for the purpose with miraculous powers.90 ordinance against usage. as well as in Scotland but . it LETTERS ON as an impious and blasphemous efforts This singular custom sunk before the in the of the lyth century-. whenever a ploughshare entered the soil. existed. Minister of Aberfoyle. stones. . own memory. Sith Bhruaith were respected. sanctified to barren- by some favourite popular superstition. many ness such places. and it was deemed undig earth lawful and dangerous to cut wood. but there must still be clergy alive who in childhood have been taught to look many with wonder on knolls and patches of ground left un- cultivated. by Mr. as of cures. or otherwise disturb them. it may at first sight seem strange that the Christian religion should have permitted the existence of such gross and impious relics of heathenism in a land where its doctrines had obtained universal credence. * See Essay on the Subterranean Commonwealth. because. the elementary spirits were supposed to testify Within our their displeasure by storm and thunder.

who had. tions On the contrary. sign the worship of pagan which they inconsistently laboured to more simple and majestic faith that disdained such impure union. they were liable. at the Divine pleasure. the cross became triumphant. where the converts to the Chrisobservances. even in the Roman empire. like Ananias and Sapphira. though content to re- divinities. the members of which rose most readily to promotion many. conviction. and when hypocrites ventured. to be detected and punished. who. the readiest and the soundest instruction. at clear their minds of heathen ritual and heathen once. entered because Christianity was the prevailing faith many because it was the church. to compel reluctant belief. converts must have been in general such elect persons as were effectually called to make part of the infant church . to intrude themselves into so select an association. 91 These for the purpose of authenticating their mission. and at the When same time exposing them to persecution. If this was the case. the na- who were converted after Christianity had become the religion of the empire. unite with the tian faith must have found. among the earlier members of the church. many of them. were not brought within the pale upon such a principle of selection as when the church consisted of a few individuals.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. finally. and its cause no longer required the direction of inspired men. . it is evident that the converts who thronged into the fold must have. exchanged the errors of the pagan religion for the dangers and duties incurred by those who upon embraced a faith inferring the self-denial of its votaries. or the evidence of miracles. could not.

when. " Let the unlawful curiosity of prying into futurity. sumed they followed in mere love and loyalty. who bestowed unusual thought on the matter.92 LETTERS ON imperfectly could those foreign and how much more barbarous tribes receive the necessary religious information from some zealous and enthusiastic preacher. in adopting the God of the Christians they had not renounced the service of every inferior power. If. had denounced death against any used these unlawful enquiries into futurity. entered the sanctuary without laying aside been imbued the superstitions with which their young minds had and accustomed to a plurality of deities. attaching more consequence to a change of reli- Such hasty congion than to a change of garments. but neither weaned from their old belief nor instructed in their new one. verts. indeed. who christened could we them by hundreds in one day ? Still less imagine them to have acquired a knowledge of Christianity. taking the offence of alleged magicians in the same light in which it was viewed law of Moses." says the who . professing themselves Christians. in the genuine and perfect sense of the as was frequently the case. . without. they only asthe profession of the religion that had become the choice of some favoured chief. perhaps.. some of them. fore who them as a spoil. they conceived that the empire itself lay bemight have been told that and sorcerers in the Constantine. the laws of the empire could have been supposed to have had any influence over these fierce barbarians. might be of opinion that. whose example word.

6. law. (for the most mystic and uncertain of at that all sciences." If. in the history of the empire. 18. and declares that the practitioners therein should die by fire. moved by the danger arising to the person of the prince and the quiet of the state. The Roman legislators were. however. 2. real or pretended. tit. on the other hand. 1. 3. were desirous to place a chiefly check upon the mathematics. the Jews was placed on the blasphemy of the and their treason against the theocracy instituted by Jehovah. ix.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. The weight of the crime among diviners. he be punished capitally who disobeys our commands in this matter. so apt to be unsettled by every pretence or encouragement to innovation. divination. therefore.) (as they termed the art of much more cause. 93 " be silent in For. 5.* sword of the law. 8 . we look more closely into this enact- civil law ment. time held the title which now distinguishes the most exact) as a damnable art. The reigning emperors. as enemies of the human race yet the reason of this severe treatment seems to be different from that acted upon in the Mosaical institutions. the prohibitions and penalties in does not found upon although it condemns the ars mathematica Scripture we shall be led to conclude that the . subjected to the avenging shall every one henceforth and for ever. lib. and utterly interdicted. how often the dethronement or death of the sovereign was produced by conspiracies or mutinies which took their rise from pretended prophecies. Codex. since we for a political than a religious observe. In this mode of cap. 7.

and. When such belief in a hostile principle and in the imaginations was become general " Roman empire. Cresinus appeared.* The mistaken and rural misplaced devotion which Horace recommends to the nymph. or brought over to their barns and garners the fruits of the earth but. by supposing. was dismissed . He was brought neighbours before the judge. . words. that though he must not worship Pan or Ceres as gods. into his own possession. their when the church no longer consisted excluof saints. awakened storms. he was at liberty to fear them in of paganism new capacity of fiends. martyrs. if not as an act of worship. upon a charge averring that he conjured the fruits of the earth. Some compromise between the fear and the conscience of the new converts. and ritual. as . the disciples sively of inspired apostles. subject like themselves to human passions and errors. the punishment of death was indeed denounced against those who destroyed crops.94 LETTERS ON acted viewing the crime. that one Caius Furius Cresinus. Phidyle. having proved the return of his farm to be the produce of his own hard and unremitting labour as well as superior with the highest honours. and confessors. a Kornan of mean estate. led them. and even their priestly at a time guides. skill. but he might indulge his superstition. by good fortune. raised -larger crops from a small field. by which the heathen. it left the agriculturists of the period at liberty to use the means they thought most proper to render their fields fertile and plentiful. to resort as a charm. the lawyers of the lower empire upon the example of those who had compiled the laws of the Twelve Tables. would have been a crime of a in a Christian convert. pretended to its arrest evil. deep dye jected rites and must have subone relapsed to the him to excommunication. to those sacrifices. or procure benefits. than his could obtain from more ample possessions. Pliny informs us. whom they had succeeded. produced by his neighbours' farms. By this more ancient code.

is reckoned a bad omen. or retained numbers of those which had made part of their own national forms of heathenism. those wild nations. and belong to this class she enters the house of her husband. made them prone to an error which were few judicious preachers to warn them and we ought rather to wonder and admire against there . nay. borrowed from the pagans. though the thrones of rior deities of the heathen and the supetotally over- Pantheon. which remain as examples that the manners of the Romans once gave the tone to the greater part of the island of Britain. Franks. although those by whom they are practised have not preserved the least memory of their original purpose. Jupiter.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Goths. Vandals. in addition to the Beltane and those already noticed. and disposed them to receive a religion so repugnant to their warlike habits. and similar classes of unrefined humanity. survived the conversion to Christianity. Thus. are in existence even at this late and enlightened period. Huns. which imparted to so rude nations the light of the gospel. when Scotland. and at least to the whole which was to the south of the wall of Severus. The following customs still linger in the south of The bride. at the same time. were thrown and broken to pieces. and many of their rites. the ignorance of 95 its conquerors. the Divine clemency. This custom was universal in . We may hastily mention one or two customs of classical origin. have adopted many gross superstitions. voluntarily. fragments of their worship. or over it. is lifted over the : threshold . and to step on it. than that they should.

which genial season of flowers and breezes might. . popish relics. proposed to renounce it. and that it was by a show of violence towards the females that the object of peopling the city was attained. not forgetting the profane names of the days of the week." when a company sneezes. is. among a long list of stated festivals. a set of enthusiasts.96 LETTERS ON it Rome. that the this interdicted union was formed within month. as a crisis of the . have given us as a maxim. and all sorts of idle and silly practices which their tender This objection to consciences took an exception to. in 1684. is also borrowed from Roman it. avoid contracting marriage in the month of May. which. names of the months. a sweet of the bride cake. that. In like manner. however the fit a season for courtship. called Gibbites. derived from sternutation being considered * Hala3 nubeiit Maia. aware of their pagans. On the same occasion.* The custom person in of saying " God bless you. in like manner. in other respects. This was so rooted among the Scots. baked for the purpose. the Scottish. that it is only bad women who marry in that month. fast days. where was observed as keeping in memory the rape of the Sabines. had these fanatics been would have been an additional reason for The ancients anathema against the practice. It was specially objected to the marriage of Mary with prejudice the profligate Earl of Bothwell. even of the better rank. is broken above the head which is also a rite of classic antiquity. solemnize marriage in the merry month of May. appear so peculiarly favourable for that purpose.

a river or ocean god. or Bhar-geist. by an inconstant lover. and possesses a larger portion of his powers and terrors. The Nixa of the Germans and lovely fays whom is one of those fascinating the ancients termed Naiads . thern sea god. and unless her pride is insulted. and many other customs which the various nations of Europe received from the classical times. the patient had a chance of recovery. fosgate. The Bhar-guest. and the supernatural character with which he was invested has descended to our time under two different aspects. when attained. The British sailor. by which name it is H . confesses his terror for this terrible being. and believes him the author of almost all the various calamities to which the precarious life of a seaman is so continually exposed. who fears nothing else. plague at Athens. and which it is not our object to investi- from thence a shoal of superstitious beliefs. known in an equally genuine descendant of the norEngland. he had been not unnaturally chosen as the power most adverse to man. Amid the twilight winters and overpowering tempests of those gloomy regions. her temper is generally mild. blended and mingled with those which they brought with them out of their own country. or Nicksa. and the hope that. worshipped on the shores of the Baltic. seems to have taken uncontested possession of the attributes of Neptune. formed the materials of a demonological down almost to our own Nixas. which.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. it 97 was But besides these. they derived tered and creed which has descended times. or her jealousy awakened. and her actions beneficent. is The Old Nick.

98 LETTERS ON generally acknowledged through various country parts of England. A similar bearing has been ascribed. and Northmen of a later period. Canidia. and other sorceresses. call down the moon from her appointed sphere. by those who practise the art of blazonry. The which Danes. as the author has been informed. by the name for the same reason. mythology presented numerous points in readily coalesced with that of the Germans. that. in their armorial the its bearings. to those of Fantome. also called a local spectre which haunts a particular spot a Dobie under various forms of Teutonic descent . and it was believed. as his name implies. in a sable passant. of the . intercept the influence of the sun. and the power of the evil spirits whom they evoked. Both bearings are founded on shroud what is called canting heraldry. They recognised the power of Erictho. and prevent his beneficial operation upon the fruits of the earth . and disturb the original and destined course of nature by their words and charms. and particularly in Yorkshire. whose dispositions were supposed as dark and wayward as their realms were gloomy and dismal. that some families bearing the name of Dobie carry a phantom. had not then been forgotten. however word may have been original derivation classic it selected for a proper name. a species of art disowned by the writers on the science. tion * Such hags were frequent agents in the violaof unburied bodies.* it plainly implies. is and a deity. whose spells could perplex the course of the elements. on a field azure. or phantom. who carried of old a goblin. yet universally made use of. or spectre passant. if it be true. They were also profession- ally implicated in all such mystic and secret rites and ceremonies as were used to conciliate the favour of the infernal powers.

to seduce the affections of the young and beautiful and such were the characteris.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. which they had brought with them from their original settlements in the North. In the northern ideas of witches. and of making magical philtres. animals. it must not be posing their charms. to enable the reader to recognise in the Galdrakinna of the Scalds. in with authors of ascribe all fiction. there was no irreligion concerned on the contrary. the Stryga. feature in their Sagas and their It requires but a slight acquaintance with these compositions. the people of the middle ages ascribed to the witches of their day. tics which. who took from them the most choice ingredients comAbove all. they forgotten that these frightful sorceresses possessed the power of transforming themselves and others into which are used in their degree of quadrupeds. such as Lucian and Apuleius. and with their lore . combining them with the art of poisoning. compel him to instruct them in what they desired to . was dangerous to leave corpses should be mangled by the witches. But in thus adopting the superstitions of the ancients. these powers to the witches of the pagan world. and to intrude themselves upon a deity. vulgar at least. the possession ot magical knowledge was an especial attribute of Odin himself. the conquerors of the Roman empire combined them articles of belief. where the existence of hags of the same character with similar formed a great Chronicles. the transformed state. in greater or less extent. that lest it 99 unguarded. or witch- woman of more classical climates. whatever other laborioas occupation belongs to or The poets of the heathens.

whom was A " Fools. Their matrons possessed a high reputation for magic. but of gallantry and high courage." Geirada. was the man you sought. against spells Accordingly. spinning flax from a large distaff. " it is the sorceress not. the hostile party. and burnt it.100 LETTERS ON act know. augmented. and. among those sons of the sword and the spear. returned deceived by the skill of his mother. a remarkable story in the Eyrbiggia Saga. " Alas " ! said Katla." said Geirada. and put whom avail him to death. for creating illusions . party detached to avenge this wrong. "that They this returned." seized the distaff. (Historia Eyranorum. for prophetic powers.) giving the result of such a controversy between two of these gifted women. was accounted not an of impiety. . which grovelled among the ashes. in Northern Antiquities. they said. The party a hog. returned yet again . named Katla.* * This species of witchcraft is well known Eyrbiggia Saga. the witch disguised her son under A third time he was the appearance of a tame kid. as one of Katla's maidens who kept watch informed her mistress. by putting Oddo to death. if not capable of transformations of the they were at least able to impose such on the sight of their enemies as to conceal for a period the objects of which they were in search. But distaff second time. seized on the object of their animosity. by one in a blue mantle. who in a brawl had cut off the hand of the daughter-in-law of Geirada. entering for the fourth time. fascination human body. one of is There determined on discovering and putting to death the son of the other. They had found only Katla.

a word of in Scotland in Here an derivation. which Mr. leading to a small glen. as we by Tacitus. or chief priestess. that the word Haxa is still used its sense of a druidess. They were. called the Haxellchuch. both which words are probably derived from the llaxa. that it was no unusual thing to see females. which slopes inward. the German tribes that. but for that very reason they became odious so soon as the tribe * It was converted may to Christianity. or deceptio vtsus. says was denominated Bourj'o. in Scotland as the glamour. or chief priestess of the pagans. an appropriate word for distinguishing those females who had intercourse with the spiritual world. from respect to their supposed views into futurity. arise to the degree of HAXA. With this place of sacrifice communicated a path.* It is undeniable that these Pythonesses were held in high respect while the pagan religion lasted . to 101 and was be a special attribute of the race of Gipsies. in his account of the parish of Melrose. still discernible. This peculiarity in the habits of the their armies. Milne. of be -worth while to notice. or chief priestess. from which comes the word Hexe. There is a of small intrenchment on the western descent of the Eildon species hills. to distinguish the places where such females exercised their ritual. and the degree of divine inspiration which was vouchsafed to them. that human sacrifices were of yore offered. supposed Neither are those prophetesses to be forgotten. now universally used for a witch . while the people assisting could behold the ceremony from the elevation of the glacis. that the mythological system ancient natives of the North had given to the of the modern language. they rose to the highest rank by their supposed supernatural knowand even obtained a share in the direction of ledge. so much honoured among are assured in their councils. universal and subsisting tradition bore. called the Haxellgate. drawn up about eighty years ago. a circumstance which plainly shows. by which the place is still known. or narrow valley. unknown . north was so general.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.

as we have already hinted. and the in- source from which it was derived. was the idea of the Germans concerning the Suevi or Swabians. 6. but with the demigods of the system. in particular instances. with the more difference. either despised as impostors. lib. they became dreaded for their power.102 course. . and with like success." " i. believe De Causis Contempt Necis. proposed by Drawcansir in the Rehearsal. or feared as sorceresses and the more that. when their mythology was most generally established. if they LETTERS ON pretended to retain their influence. and come off unharmed. * " Know I this." warriors of the North received this new impres- make sion concerning the influence of their deities. we learn from Caesar. they would not give way in fight even to the immortal gods themselves. if not victorious. . as their worship. as Diomede in the Iliad. for example. and many individual stories are told in the Sagas concerning bold champions. Mars. own merely human prowess was so high. Such. engages with Bartholine* gives us re- peated examples of the same kind. the more they were detested. who threat- " to The a god subscribe himself a devil. Hother. underwent a ens The deities of the northern heathens resembling that similar metamorphosis. encountered the god Thor in battle. a tribe to whom the others yielded the palm of valour . said Kiartan to Olaus Trigguasen. who had fought. in the contest. that cap. that the champions made it their boast. under the conviction that they derived it from the Enemy of man. was never of a very reverTheir ideas of their ential or devotional character. not only with the sorcerers.

the change from life to death altered the temper of the human spirit from benignant to the soul left malevolent . My comrades and I profess no other strength of religion than a perfect confidence in our own strength and invincibility in battle. i. et telum. giants and monsters. the more prone to these superwas a favourite fancy of theirs that. . "* Nunc adsint ! And we cannot wonder that champions of such a character. I 103 have travelled through and have encountered many various strange countries. readily regarded them as acknowledged demons after their conversion to Christianity. careless of their gods while yet as such. or champions.ffineid. lib. by Gaukater. whom the Kiempe. quod missile libro. I therefore put my sole trust in my own body and courage of soul." Such chieftains were of the sect of Mezentius " Dextra mihi Deus. compelled to submit to their mere mortal strength. furies." Another yet more broad answer was made to St. line 773. King of " I am neither Pagan nor Norway. witches. and fiends.DEMOXOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. neither in idols nor demons. Christian. and their anna's afford numerous instances of encounters with ghosts. or perhaps. and yield to their service the weapons or other treasures which they guarded in their tombs. because it in many instances. Olaus. To incur the highest extremity of danger became accounted a proof of that insuperable valour for which every Northman desired to be famed . The Norsemen were stitions. that when the * . and have never been conquered by them .

while his faithful brother in arms entered and pions. over which the sepulchral heap was to be piled. With this purpose a deep narrow vault was constructed. extravagant as is. the survivor should descend alive into the sepulchre of his brother in arms. that is. fiction that follows it probably grounded which. his companion Assueit having been after the ancient The tomb was formed northern custom in what was called the age of hills. and sat down by the corpse. when it was usual to bury persons of distinguished merit or rank on some conspicuous spot. the blood of victims. introduced into the tomb the war-horses of the cham- when these rites had been duly paid. its LETTERS ON departure was occasionally supplied by a wicked took the opportunity to enter and occupy demon. Here they deposited arms. who its late habitation.104 body. perhaps. trophies. who had formed what was all called a brother- hood in arms. slain in battle. Upon is such a supposition the wild . but binding them by a solemn compact that. which was crowned with a mound. without a word or look which testified regret or unwillingness to fulfil his fearful en- . the of Assueit was placed in the dark and narrow body house. and consent to be buried along with him. after the death of either. Grammaticus tells us of the fame of two Norse princes or chiefs. poured forth. Saxo possesses something striking to the imagination. implying not only the firmest friendship and constant support during the adventures which they should undertake in life. The task of fulfilling this dreadful compact fell upon Asmund. to be the apartment of the future tomb.

and took his place in the noose. some one threw him from the When the rope cord. He set his deceased had done their great actions. and all the noise of a mortal combat between two furious champions. gagement. A was pulled up. in hopes of news from beneath. and then. and soon removed the earth and stones from one side of the mound. the clash of swords. which was drawn up shortly profound But when the after. adventurer descended. and piled so much earth and stones above the spot as made a mound visible from a great distance. young warrior was let down into the tomb by a cord. when. whose in arms. rolled a huge singular interment of the dead stone to the mouth of the tomb. was reckoned a heroic action to brave the anger of departed heroes by violating their tombs partly to attain the arms and swords of proof with which the . instead of their companion. soldiers to work. The story leader determined on opening the sepulchre. ere a noble Swedish rover. they dispersed themselves like a flock which has lost its shepherd. . the clang of armour. and supported by a gallant band of followers. the survivor of the brethren in arms. with loud lamentation for the loss of such undaunted leaders.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. partly because. instead of the silence of a tomb. the soldiers. Years passed away after years. they heard within horrid cries. and a century had elapsed. But the stoutest of the rovers started back. 105 this The soldiers who had witnessed and living. as already hinted. beheld Asmund. and laid bare the entrance. bound upon some high adventure. arrived in the valley which took its name from the tomb of the brethren was it told to the strangers.

prostrated enemy. inspired by some ravenous goule. no way discountenanced by the horrors of his situation. he poured forth a string of verses containing the history of his hundred years' conflict within the tomb. the left side of his face almost scratched off. his armour half torn from his body. The hero. than. his at last obtaining the victory.106 LETTERS ON rushed into the open air. and having first torn to pieces and devoured the horses which the had been entombed with them. In this manner the living brother waged a preternatural evil combat. Having chanted the triumphant account of his contest and The body victor. this now lifeless. as he boasted. or rather against the demon who tenanted that champion's body. in order to treat him in the same manner. took to his arms. whilst that of the victory. and the ashes dispersed to heaven . which had endured during a whole century. of Assueit was taken out of the tomb. had finally reduced him to the state of quiet becoming a tenant of the tomb. with the improvisatory poetic talent. and defended himself manfully against Assueit. a stake through his body. It seems that no sooner was the sepulchre closed than the corpse of the slain Assueit arose from ground. light which these champions often united with heroic strength some wild and bravery. and by driving. of day. as by the talons of He had no sooner appeared in the beast. threw himself upon the companion who had just given him such a sign of devoted friendship. was deit posited there. his He sword drawn in his hand. mangled conqueror fell dead before them. so that was hoped his slumbers might . and without a companion. when Asmund. burnt.

of a building. the death of these persons that their spectres gular consequence wander in the neighbourhood of the mansion-house. terrifying. soon after the settlement of that island. exposed to a persecution of The molestation was produced by the conthis kind. Hist. Dan. or the right of haunting it. lib. when a was driven through the body. when people also acknowledged a kind of they had obtained possession. of the ancient English law stake it It affords also a derivation in case of suicide. The Eyrbiggia Saga acquaints us that the mansion of a tractable respectable landholder in Iceland was. a contagious disease arose in a family of consequence.* 107 The precautions taken against Assueit's reviving a second time. About the commencement of winter. The Northern ghosts. v. nor were amenable to the prayers of the priest or the spells of the sorcerer. currence of certain mystical and spectral phenomena. but became when properly convened in a legal process. sweeping off several members of the family at different But times. against the Vampire. originally to keep secure in the tomb. seemed to threaten them all with death. who. with that slight exchange of darkness and twilight which constitutes night and day in these latitudes. remain undisturbed. remind us of those adopted in the Greek islands. like Assueit.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. those of the living Saio Grammaticus. calculated to introduce such persecution. * See was attended with the sinwere seen to and even assaulting. and in the Turkish provinces. did not defend themselves against mortals on the knightly principle of duel. which. and in the neighbourhood. .

and which.108 family crease LETTERS ON who in ventured abroad. as if to judge an ordinary civil matter. The by name. departed. named Snorro. of his neighbours. or inquest. terrified rather to But the remaining inhabitants of the by the intrusion of these spectres. than to endure the neighbourhood of the phantoms. the proportion took it upon them to enter the house and proghosts duce their aerial forms and wasted physiognomy even in the stove where the fire was maintained for the general use of the inhabitants. who By exercised considerable influence in the his counsel. As the number of the in- dead members of the devoted household seemed to to that of the survivors. chose withdraw to the other extremity of the house. island. in phantoms and resemblances of the deceased members of the family to their presence. . and muttering some regrets at being obliged to abandon their dwelling. Judgment then went against the ghosts by default and the trial by jury. place. spectres of the dead. appeared on their being called. their and abandon warm seats. interfering with and what defence they could plead for thus and incommoding the living. . of which we here can trace the origin. to cite individually the various show by what warrant they disputed with his servants the quiet possession of his pro- him and perty. or vanished. Complaints were at length made to a pontiff of the god Thor. from the astonished inquest. and proceeded. and in order as summoned. constituted in the usual judicial form. the young proprietor of the haunted mansion assembled a jury. in an Iceland winter. is the only comfortable place of assembling the family.

or sanctuary of the idol. like a modern caravan travelling with a show. as his discourse with the priestess. tears in her eyes. It that the presence of the champion. See Northern Antiquities. as she walked on foot.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. was. was travelling from one dis- of the country to another. The shrine. and successfully entered into suits of ejectment.* It was not only with the spirits of the dead that the warlike people of the North made war without timidity. was less satisfac- tory to the goddess than to the parties principally concerned. good- The traveller naturally looking. e. obtained a writers 109 who have made triumph unknown to any of the great it the subject of eulogy. chanced. and attractive woman. rather than allow that there existed any being before whom their boldness could quail. (/. * who presently returned with and terror in her countenance. and the equipage was under the immediate guidance of the priestess of Freya. met with a huge waggon.) offerings attached to trict it. a young. By a certain signal the divinity summoned the priestess to the sanctuary. who. how a young man of high courage. and the wealthy her. to in- Eyrbiggia Saga. the goddess Freya. in crossing a desolate in which ridge of mountains. These daring champions often braved the indignation even of the superior deities of their mythology. . Such is the singular story. associated himself with the priestess. apparently was in no degree displeased with the company of a powerful and handsome young man and a guide and companion on the journey. screened by boards and curtains from the public gaze. however. a gigantic idol formed to represent together with her shrine.

which leads me journey. with which he bestirred himself with so much strength and activity." " may It will be at her own peril if personally assault she should be so " for I will audacious. but unable to compel him to obey the goddess's manbeing date. had some qualities in common with the classical Vesta. armed with a double-edged Danish axe. which adboards. such tremendous blows as were equally But the champion was difficult to parry or to endure. to choose precipitous paths I " Neverneck. perhaps." " the theless. and no longer travel in their company." said the priestess." " You must have mistaken " said the the meaning of the abandon the directly straight on my and good road. with its wooden hands and arms. intito the travellers that Freya. who. Freya cannot have formed a wish so unreasonable as to desire I should goddess. goddess will be highly offended if you disobey her commands. and to be deferred no longer." vanced to such a point that a clattering noise within mated the tabernacle. who. they again relapsed into familiarity. leapt lumbering from the carriage. as of machinery put in motion. we may suppose.110 LETTERS ON form her companion that it was the will of Freya that he should depart. . thought a personal interruption of this tete-a-tete ought The curtains flew open. champion . and. try the of this axe against the strength of beams and power The priestess chid him for his impiety . awkward idol. rushing on the the massive and intrusive traveller. resembled in form the giant created by Frankenstein." said the champion. nor can and byroads. where may break my I conceal from you that she you. dealt him.

DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.
that at length he split the head of the image, a severe blow hewed off its left leg. The

\\\

and with
image of

Freya then

which

motionless to the ground, and the demon had animated it fled yelling from the battered
fell

tenement.
ing to the

The champion was now victor and, accordlaw of arms, took possession of the female
;

and the baggage. The priestess, the divinity of whose patroness had been, by the event of the combat, sorely
lessened in her eyes, was now easily induced to become the associate and concubine of the conqueror. She

accompanied him to the district whither he was travelling, and there displayed the shrine of Freya, taking
care to hide the injuries
in the brawl.

which the goddess had received
in for a share of a

The champion came

gainful trade driven by the priestess, besides appropriating to himself most of the treasures which the

sanctuary

had formerly contained.

Neither does

it

appear that Freya, having, perhaps, a sensible recollection of the power of the axe, ever again ventured to

appear in person for the purpose of calling her false stewards to account.

The
such

stories

national estimation of deities, concerning whom could be told and believed, was, of course,

of no deep or respectful character.

The

Icelanders

abandoned Odin, Freya, Thor, and

their

whole pagan

mythology, in consideration of a single disputation between the heathen priests and the Christian missionaries.

The

priests threatened the island

with a desola-

ting eruption of the volcano called Hecla, as the necessary consequence of the vengeance of their deities.

Snorro, the same

who

advised the inquest against the

112
ghosts, had

LETTERS ON
become a convert
to the Christian religion,

and was present on the occasion, and as the conference was held on the surface of what had been a stream of
lava,

now

covered
priests

with
with

vegetable

substances,

he

answered the

much

readiness,

"

To what

was

stance on

the indignation of the gods owing, when the subwhich we stand was fluid and scorching ?

Believe me,

men

of Iceland, the eruption of the volcano

depends on natural circumstances now, as it did then, and is not the engine of vengeance intrusted to Thor

and Odin."
so

It is

evident, that

men who reasoned with
their

much

accuracy concerning the imbecility of Odin

and Thor, were well prepared, on abandoning
worship, to consider their former deities, of
believed so

whom they

much

that

was impious,

in the light of evil

demons.

But there were some particulars of the northern creed,
in
classics, as leaves

corresponded so exactly with that of the room to doubt whether the original Asae, or Asiatics, the founders of the Scandinavian
it

which

system, had, before their migration from Asia, derived them from some common source with those of the

Greeks and Romans

;

or whether, on the other hand,

the same proneness of the human mind to superstition, has caused that similar ideas are adopted in different
regions, as the
tries,

same plants are found

in distant

coun-

without the one, as far as can be discovered,

having obtained the seed from the others. The classical fiction, for example, of the satyrs, and other subordinate deities of wood and wild, whose

power

is

rather delusive than formidable, and

whose

DEMONOLOG Y AND WITCHCRAFT.

H3

supernatural pranks intimate rather a wish to inflict terror than to do hurt, was received among the northern
people, and perhaps transferred by them to the Celtic It is an idea which seems common to many tribes.
nations.
is

existence of a satyr, in the silvan form, even pretended to be proved by the evidence of

The

Saint Anthony, to

whom

one

the desert.

The

Scottish

is said to have appeared in Gael have an idea of the

same kind, respecting a goblin called Ourisk, whose is like that of Pan, and his attendants something between a man and a goat, the nether extremities being
form
in

the latter form.

A

species of cavern,

or rather

hole, in the rock, affords to the wildest retreat in the

from

romantic neighbourhood of Loch Katrine, a name taken It is not the least curious classical superstition.
circumstance, that from this silvan deity the modern borrowed the degrading and
unsuitable

nations of Europe have

emblems of the

goat's visage

and form, the

horns, hoofs, and tail, with which they have depicted the Author of Evil, when it pleased him to show himself

on

earth.

So

that the alteration of a single

word

would render Pope's well-known line more truly adapted to the fact, should we venture to read,
"

And Pan

to Satan lends his heathen horn."

We cannot attribute the transference of the attributes
of the northern satyr, or Celtic ourisk, to the arch-fiend, to any particular resemblance between the character of

On the contrary, the ourisk of the Celts was a creature by no means peculiarly malevolent, or formidably powerful ; but rather
these deities and that of Satan.

114
a melancholy spirit,

LETTERS ON
which dwelt
If

in wildernesses far

removed from men.
the

Brown Dwarf

are to identify him with of the Border moors, the ourisk has

we

a mortal term of

life,

and a hope of salvation,

as indeed

satyr who apMoreover, the Highland peared to St. Anthony. ourisk was a species of lubber fiend, and capable of being overreached by those who understood philology.

the same high claim

was made by the

It is related

of one of these goblins, which frequented

a mill near the foot of

Loch Lomond,

that the miller,

desiring to get rid of this meddling spirit, who injured the machinery by setting the water on the wheel when

there

was no grain

to be grinded, contrived to

have a

meeting with the goblin by watching in his mill till The ourisk then entered, and demanded the night.

name, and was informed that he was called Myself; on which is founded a story almost exactly like that of OUTIS in the Odyssey, a tale which, though classic, is by no means an elegant or ingenious fiction,
miller's

but which
trict,

we

are astonished to find in an obscure dis-

and

in the Celtic tongue,

connexion or communication

seeming to argue some between these remote

Highlands of Scotland and the readers of former days, which we cannot account for.

Homer
After

in
all,

perhaps, some churchman more learned than his brethren, may have transferred the legend from Sicily to Duncrune, from the shores of the Mediterranean to
those of Loch Lomond.
I

have heard

it

also told, that

the celebrated freebooter,

once gained a a part of his men with goat-skins, victory by disguising so as to resemble the ourisk, or Highland satyr.

Rob Roy,

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.
There was an individual
different

H5

satyr called, I think,

Meming,

belonging to the Scandinavian

mythology, of a character

from the ourisk, though similar in shape, was the boast of the highest champions to seek out in the solitudes which he inhabited. He was an armourer of extreme dexterity, and the weapons which he forged were of the highest value. But as club-law

whom

it

pervaded the ancient system of Scandinavia, Meming had the humour of refusing to work for any customer
save such as compelled

him

to

it

with force of arms.

He may be, perhaps, identified with the recusant smith who fled before Fingal from Ireland to the Orkneys,
and being there overtaken, was compelled to forge the

sword which Fingal afterwards wore in all his battles, and which was called the Son of the dark-brown Luno, from the name of the armourer who forged it.* From this it will appear that there were originals
enough
Celts,
in

to

furnish the

the mythology of the Goths, as well as modern attributes ascribed to

Satan in later times,

when

the object of painter or poet

was

to display

him

in his true form,

and with

all

his

Even the genius of Guido and of Tasso have been unable to surmount this prejudice, the more rooted, perhaps, that the wicked are described as goats in Scripterrors.

ture,

and that the devil

is

called the old dragon.

In

famous painting, the Archangel Michael binding Satan, the dignity, power, and angelic character expressed by the seraph, form an extraordinary contrast
RafFael's
* The weapon is often mentioned in Mr. MacPherson's paraphrases ; but in .the Irish ballad, which gives a spirited account of the debate between the champion and the armourer, it is nowhere introduced.

116

LETTERS ON
who ought not, even have seemed so unworthy

to the poor conception of a being
in that lowest degradation, to

an antagonist. Neither has Tasso been more happy, where he represents the divan of darkness, in the enchanted forest, as presided over by a monarch having a huge tail, hoofs, and all the usual accompaniments of popular diablerie.
discard
all

The genius of Milton alone could these vulgar puerilities, and assign to the Author of Evil the terrible dignity of one who should seem not " less than archangel ruined." This species
is

of degradation
sideration the

yet grosser

when we

take into con-

changes which popular opinions have wrought respecting the taste, habits, powers, modes of tempting, and habits of tormenting, which are such as

might rather be ascribed to some stupid superannuated and doting ogre of a fairy tale, than to the powerfulminded demon, who fell through pride and rebellion,
not through folly or incapacity.

Having, however, adopted our present ideas of the

by his nearest acquaintthe accounts of satyrs, which ances, the witches, from seem to have been articles of faith both among the
Celtic

devil as they are expressed

and Gothic
fountain

tribes,

we must

next notice another

demonological fancies. But as this source of the mythology of the middle ages must
fruitful

of

comprehend some account of the fairy folk, of it must be referred, it is necessary to make a pause before we enter upon the mystic and marvellous connexion supposed to exist between the impenitent kingdom of Satan and those merry dancers
necessarily
to

whom much

by moonlight.

DEMON OLOGY AS D WITCHCRAFT.

H7

The Fairy Superstition

is

derived

from

different Sources

The

Classical Worship of the Silvans, or Rural Deities, proved by Roman Altars discovered The Gothic Duergar, or Dwarfs

supposed

to be derived from the

Northern Laps, or Fins

The

Niebelungen-Lied

King

Lauriri's Adventures

Celtic Fairies

of a gayer character, yet their pleasures empty and illusory Addicted to carry off Human Beings, both Infants and Adults
Adventures of a Butler in Ireland

pay a Tax to Hell

The

Irish, Welsh, Highlanders,

The Elves supposed to and Manx-

men, held the same belief It was rather rendered more gloomy by the Northern Traditions Merlin and Arthur carried off

by the Fairies also Thomas of Erceldoune His Amour with the Queen of Elfland His reappearance in latter times another Account from Reginald Scot Conjectures on the derivation

of the word Fairy.

118

LETTERS ON

E may
sics

premise by observing that the clasin their

had not forgotten to enrol

mythology a
deities,

certain species of subordinate

Good
all

old

resembling the modern elves in their habits. Mr. Gibb, of the Advocates' Library (whom

lawyers whose youth he assisted in their studies by his knowledge of that noble collection, are bound to name with gratitude), used to point out amongst the
ancient altars under his charge, one which is consecrated Diis campestribus , and usually added, with a

wink,

" The

Fairies,

ye ken."*

This

relic

of antiquity

was discovered near Roxburgh Castle, and a vicinity more delightfully appropriate to the abode of the silvan
deities

siderable size,

can hardly be found. Two rivers of conmade yet more remarkable by the fame
in

which has rendered them
their

some

sort classical, unite

beneath the vestiges of an extensive castle, renowned in the wars with England, and for the valiant, noble, and even royal blood, which has
streams

been shed around and before

it

;

a landscape, orna-

and huge abbey tower of Kelso, arising out of groves of aged trees the modern mansion of Fleurs, with its terrace, its woods, and its extensive lawn, form altogether a kingdom for

mented with the

distant village

;

Oberon and Titania to reign in, or any spirit who, before their time, might love scenery of which the majesty,
Another altar of elegant form, and perfectly preserved, was, within these few weeks, dug np near the junction of the Leader and the Tweed, in the neighbourhood of the village of Newstead, to the east of Melrose. It was inscribed by Carrius Domitianus, the prefect of the twentieth legion, to the god STLVANUS ; forming another instance how much the wild and silvan character of the country disposed the feelings of the Romans to acknowledge the presence of the rural The altar is preserved at Drygrange, the seat of Mr. Tod. deities.
*

who. it must be owned. through its various classes and modifications. although more immediately allied to the barbarian conquerors .DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. a profusion of learning. In fact. we allude to the fairies. with the love of music and poetry. in the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. who exhausted on this subject. which. of which many of the materials were contributed by Dr. or dwarfs.* These were. These silvans. and in respects less propitious to humanity. with whom superstition peopled the lofty banks this and tangled copses of romantic country. impress the mind with a sense of awe mingled with pleasure. as received into the popular creed. and Finnish nations. and the whole brought into its present form by the author . however. and as described by the poets who have made use of them as machinery. and displayed that superiority of taste and fancy which. satyrs. who probably derive some of their attributes from their classic predecessors. found the first idea of the Elfin people in the northern opinions concerning the Duergar. Dr. than the fairies. are certainly among the most pleasing legacies of fancy. as on most others. were obliged to give place to deities very nearly resembling themselves in character. which were the invention of the Celtic people. Leyden. Lettish. H9 and even the beauty. and all spirits of a coarser sort. has been generally ascribed to their race. Leyden. flying before the conquering weapons of See the Essay on the Fairy Superstition. more more malignant temper. and fauns. properly so called. there seems reason to conclude that these duergar were originally nothing else than the diminutive natives of the Lappish. laborious vocation.

of ore. and so enjoy another title At any rate. supposed that these poor people. were some respects compensated for inferiority in and stature by the art and power with which strength in the superstition of the enemy invested them. They were a little.120 LETTERS ON the Asae. and rendering their toil unfruit- Sometimes they were malignant. sought the most retired regions of the north. and sometimes took pleasure in frustrating their objects. naturally enough. yet dreaded. are evidently derived. the inference commonly was. be judges of weather. who sought caverns and hiding-places from the persecution of the Asae. ful. These oppressed. but possessed of some skill probably in mining or smelting minerals. where they seemed to imitate the labours of the miners. and were often seen in the mines. not that he pos- sessed more skill. especially if negbut sometimes also they were indullected or insulted . it has been plausibly to supernatural skill. low workmen. fugitives obtained. from which the English Goblin and the Scottish Bogle. who haunted the dark and solitary places. or even luck. industry. or meteorological pheno- mena. The Kobolds were a species of gnomes. hit upon a rich veir tion. diminutive race. than his felbut that the spirits of the mine had . the character of the German spirits called Kobold. perhaps also they might. and there endeavoured to hide themselves from their eastern invaders. with which the country abounds . their protecgent to individuals whom they took under When a miner. from their acquaintance with the changes of the clouds. therefore. by some inversion and alteration of pronunciation.

Edinburgh. by the late learned Henry Weber. . Antiquities. he is. over whom he Charlemagne of France. figures it would seem. these dwarfs form the current machinery of the northern Sagas. Neither can we be surprised that the Duergar. According to the old Norse inferiority in size is skill belief. a sort of persons seldom supposed to be themselves conjurers. condemned to fill the dishonourable yet appropriate Theodorick and office of buffoon and juggler at the court of Verona. He becomes a formidable opponent to his chivalry . or Arthur of him is the Elf whose dwelling was in an Laurin.* * See an abstract. In the Niebelungen-Lied. or Dwarf of giants. or fiends.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Theodorick of Bern. compiled by Henry of Osterdingen. of a Lay on this subject of King Laurin. The employment and apparent occupation of these subterranean gnomes. with the Kobold . and compiled. but it was a bolder stretch of the imagination which confounded this reserved and sullen race with the livelier and gayer spirit which bears correspondence with the British fairy. when overcome. Northern 1814. directed 121 him to the treasure. but as he attempted by treachery to attain the victory. or of Verona. and their represented as compensated by and wisdom superior to those of ordinary mortals. like the a cycle of champions. enchanted garden of roses. one of the oldest romances of Germany. and who had a body-guard England. should exhibit a darker and more malignant character than the elves that revel by moonlight in more southern climates. Among others vanquished by King. among presides. not long after the time of Attila. ascribed by many persons to this source. led very naturally to identify the Fin or Laplander.

by the natives of the Orkney and Zetland islands. in Thorshaven. were deeply blended with the attributes which the Celtic tribes had. from the remotest ages. or divarfs. be identified with the Caledonian fairies. e. or Btergen-Trold. and leads to an enthusiasm concerning national music and dancing. the spirits of the woods and mountains. or Trows. they appeared in deep caverns and among horrid rocks . ascribed to their deities of rocks. sometimes called subterranean people. Lucas Jacobson Debes. or other deeds of mortal sin. indeed makes a great feature of their national character. and sometimes carried off The actors in these disturbances he states his hearers. another pronunciation of Trollds. that they haunted the places where murders. among herself. had been acted. to the people called Dro-ws. and forests. what valleys. and adds.122 LETTERS ON Such possession of supernatural wisdom is still imputed. being a corruption of Duergar. the departments in which fancy most readily indulges The Irish. and are considered by the reverend author as something very little better than actual fiends. who dates his description of Feroe from his Pathmos. and who may. dedicates a long chapter to the spectres who disturbed his congregation. as also. to be the Skow. these. We have already observed. the Welsh. or even chiefly. in most other respects. They appear to have been the genuine northern dwarfs. national poetry and song. i. But it is not only. 1670. 1 2th March. the Gael or Scottish . that the power of the imagination is peculiarly active the Celts. to the Gothic race that we must trace the opinions concerning the elves of the middle ages . as already hinted.

the benefits. which rendered who it associated with them them dangerous and although their gifts were sometimes valuable. to displease The employment. 123 Highlander. At their processions they paraded more beautiful steeds than those of mere earthly parentage hawks and hounds which they employed in their At their daily banquets chase were of the first race. they were usually wantonly given. and unexpectedly resumed. though they behaved to those with caprice.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. more frequently a Queen. of Fairies ical. Good Neighbours. accounted gallant and splendid. and sometimes both held their Their pageants and court entertain- ments comprehended all that the imagination could conceive of what was. resembled the aerial people themselves. more and a course of existence far more gay. The young as ladies showed themselves their knights and beautiful wrinkled carles and odious into slate-stones their hags wealth turned splendid plate into pieces of clay fantastically twisted . Their elves did not avoid the society of men. than the sullen and heavy toils of the more saturnine Duergar. by that age. the amusements of the Fairy court. . all tribes of Celtic descent. was acknowledged court together. . Their government was always represented as monarchA King. assigned to the Men of Peace. the board was set forth with a splendour which the the proudest kings of the earth dared not aspire to . names they called these silvan pigmies. and the hall of their dancers echoed to the most exquisite music. But when viewed by the eye of a seer the illusion vanished. or by whatever other social habits.

because an emblem of be- came Elfin tasteless and insipid into miserable damp the stately halls were turned caverns all the delights of the Elysium vanished at once. and them. condemnation appears to have consisted in the necessity of maintaining the appearance of constant intheir toil was fruitless. notwithstanding was their natural sphere. we are told. considering their constant round of idle occupation. adults were also liable to be abstracted it it from earthly commerce. was supposed " the and breeding them as beings of their race." that of carrying off their children. they had propensities unfavour- able and distressing to mortals. unsavoured by salt (prohibited to eternity). but totally unsubstantial but fruitless and unavailing and activity unceasing.124 LETTERS ON their victuals. had nevertheless. obnoxious to the power of those creatures. shadowy and unsubstantial. little right to rank themselves among good spirits. if not to be in all respects considered as fiends. In a word. One to injury of a very serious nature fairies be constantly practised by the human against mortals. their their pleasures were showy. ing to a very different class. on the other . With into that the may be easily conceived want of the sacred ceremony of introduction the Christian church rendered them the more respect to the first. though their their pleasures and spirits seemed to live. and were accounted by most divines as belongAn adult. who. Unchristened infants were chiefly exposed to this calamity but . Hence " the crew that never rest" poets have designed them as Besides the unceasing and useless bustle in which these dustry or enjoyment.

Others.DE110NOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. They rose to salute him to join in their revel but a . a neighbour of the Earl of Orrery. to mark the direct line of his course. who was sent to purchase cards. 125 hand. They then . exposed themselves also to become inmates of Fairy land. on such occasions. play on musical instruments take part in and the company began to dance and but the butler would not . from the party whispered in his ear. " Do nothing which this company invite you to. perhaps. or in the act of giving way some headlong and sinful passion. in two bishops who were . " taken in the manner. to Glanville. when he refused to join in feasting. as the legal phrase went. the individual if the irate elves It was well for were contented. within which the Fairy court happened to be held for the time. the table vanished. and leaving. and betook themselves to work but neither in this would the mortal join them. was a very ready mode on a of obtaining a passport for Elfland. when engaged in some unlawful action. tells us of the butler of a gentleman. in his Eighteenth Relation." Accordingly. In crossing the fields he saw a table surrounded by people apparently feasting and him." Sleeping fairy mount. He was then left alone for the present . these recreations. but in spite of the exertions of spite of my Lord Orrery. his hat or bonnet on some steeple between. must have been engaged in some action which exposed him to the power of the spirits. The same belief on these points obtained in Ireland. with transporting him through the air to a city at some forty miles' distance. left off dancing. and so. and invited friendly voice making merry.

" " You know. and ever since have I been hurried up and down in a restless condition. I lived a loose life. by the invisible beings who strove to carry him Only he did not bear witness to the passage which seems to call the purchase of cards an unlawful the air off. who him They tals. 131." He . p. and at length discovered himself to be the ghost of an acquaintance who had been dead for seven years. and shall be till the day of judgment. by Joseph Glanville. in spite of the celebrated Greatrix. his guests at the time.126 LETTERS ON Mr. the sorceress * 1700. it was all they could do to prevent the butler from being carried off bodily from amongst them by the fairies. and. with the company you saw. added. . .* Individuals trigues of whose lives have been engaged in in- politics or stratagems of war. continued to haunt him." added he. in the air above the heads of the morfall who could only run beneath to break his when for- they pleased to let him go. even to having seen the butler raised into in the field. that if the butler had acknowledged God fered so in all his much by their means ways he had not sufhe reminded him that morning before he he had not prayed to met with this company God in the moreover. It is pretended that Lord Orrery confirmed the whole of this story. that he was then going on an unlawful business. The spectre which merly advised the poor man. raised considered him as their lawful prey. son Pearson. errand. who cured Archbishop Edinburgh Sadducismus Triumphatus. were sometimes surreptitiously carried off to Fairy land as Ali.

that they were under a necessity of paying to The reason human the infernal regions a yearly tribute out of their population. The opinions on the . subject to the universal lot of mortality however. Upon the whole. as it is said by some authorities. were doomed to conclude their lives with them. and unless redeemed from power. and the other one of the most unwearied partisans of Queen Mary. We must not omit to state that those who their had an intimate communication with these spirits. that they have offspring among themselves. were most apt to be seized upon and carried off to Elfland before their death. during the reign of that unfortunate queen. which it was not always safe to attempt. the minister of Aberfoyle. to be. while they were yet inhabitants of middle earth. and particularly by Mr. that after a certain He indeed adds. which they were willing to defray by delivering up to the prince of these regions the children of the race. persons carried off by sudden death were usually suspected of having fallen into the hands of the fairies. length of life. fire which not infers existence as eternal as the which is quenched. is said race. the one of whom had been the most busy politician. which has been controverted. these spirits are a position. rather than their human own. Kirke. 127 Adamson. averred that she had recognised in the Fairy court the celebrated Secretary Lethington and the old Knight of Buccleuch. assigned for this kidnapping of the so peculiar to the Elfin people. From this it must be inferred. and is scarcely reconcilable to that which holds them amenable to pay a tax to hell.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.

that the Isle of Man. since we find. and some remote quarters of the Lowlands of Scotland. of a gigantic and malignant female. the Hecate of this mythology. agree in the with those of Ireland and Britain. that legends were obtained. it to the account seems to be by their disposition to divide into factions. same general We must not omit the creed of the Manxmen. are such as the Highlands. was a peculiar depository of the fairy traditions. though in most cases told with the wit of the editor and the humour of his lively country. Crofton Croker which. contain points of curious antiquarian information that the opinions of the Irish are comformable we have given of the general creed of the Celtic nations respecting elves. attributes barrister at law. chequered with those of Scandinavia. all Such as it received the northern admixture of was. which gave the perhaps. and fight among themselves Isle. from the same source also. the popular system of the Celts easily Drows and Duercfar. beyond other places in Britain. from the and entertaining legends published by Mr. on the island being conquered by the Norse. If the Irish elves are anywise distinguished from those of Britain. which. who additional . in all probability. of the Green The a pugnacity characteristic "Welsh fairies. "Waldron. from a source peculiar and more direct than that by which they reached Scotland or Ireland. a darker colouring than It was originally belonged to the British Fairy land. became. according to John Lewis. "We know.* O belief.128 LETTERS ON are entertained in subject of the fairy people here expressed. in probability. from the ingenious researches of Mr.

Of these early times we can know little . who were Celts the joint leaders of their choir. but it is singular to remark what light the traditions of Scotland throw upon the poetry of the Britons of Cumberland. The great Scottish poet Dunbar has made a this Hecate riding at the head spirited description of of witches and good neighbours. then called Reged. namely. the . is mentioned by both and that renowned wizard. indifferently. sorceresses and elves. without having suffered death. (fairies. doubtless) and (in her triple eve of All-Hallow Mass. and to have vanished. 129 rode on the storm. or fairy. the dubious champion of Britain at that early period. K . Merlin Wyllt.JDEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. could no longer avert the impending ruin. which had done so much to preserve British independIt ence. This hag (in all respects the reverse of the Mab or Titania of the Celtic system which blended the faith of the Celts and of the Goths on this creed) was call Nicneven in that later subject.) upon the ghostly In Italy we hear of the hags arraying themselves under the orders of Diana character of Hecate. with King Arthur.* Herodias. just at the time when it was supposed that the magic of the wizard. as enterbefore they were conquered by the Saxons. be conjectured that there was a desire on the part may * See Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy. or the wild. son of an elf. and marshalled the rambling host of wanderers under her grim banner. But we return to the tained by the more simple fairy belief. and the celebrated sword of the monarch. were both said by tradition to have been abstracted by the fairies.

in which. in token the monarch sends his attendant. and heard shrieks of females in agony " And whether the king was there or He never knew. originally said to be the son of the Demon himself. flourished it thrice. the esquire at last complied. . sole survivor of the incident so finely versified field. but a copy as old as the * See Percy's Eeliciues of Ancient English Poetry.* The astonished messenger returned to his master to seen. and surely one of scarce inferior was supposed name. Excalibar. to conceal his having received a mortal wound in the fatal battle of Camlan . For never since that doleful not day Was British Arthur seen on molde. into the lake hard the request. The legend to be only preserved among the inhabi- tants of his native valleys. what transferred to a later poet. and then sank into the lake. but they cannot be recovered . Twice eluding A caught Excalibar by the hilt. but he only tell him the marvels he had saw a boat at a distance push from : the land. by. he never colde." The circumstances attending the disappearance of Merlin would probably be found as imaginative as those of Arthur's removal. or his surviving champions. and to that we owe the wild and beautiful by Bishop Percy. and threw the far-famed weapon into the hand and arm arose from the water and lonely mere. of his renouncing in future the use of arms. have been and. is singular enough. Thomas of Erceldoune. circumstances which belonged to the history of this famous bard. to throw his sword.130 LETTERS ON of Arthur.

reign as 131 story is Henry VII. her dress. and her arrows in a leash. Thomas . The fair huntress had her bow all in hand. crfeverie. the homage which Thomas desired to pay to her so . to Thomas have the was suspected of magic. passing from one extremity to the other. however. e. which raise their triple by anticipation) lay crest above the celebrated monastery of Melrose. or hounds of greyhounds followed her closely. called the Rhymer. flourished in the reign of Alexander III. oldest fairy legends. She rejected and disclaimed scent. (ivory. on account of his producing a poetical romance on the subject of Tristrem and Yseult. Her appointments. he saw a lady so extremely beautiful that he imagined it must be the Virgin Mary herself. were those rather of an Amazon. that. which is curious as the earliest specimen of English verse known to exist. She led three and three raches.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. referring entirely to the Elfin As True Thomas (we give him the epithet on Huntly Bank. : : corresponded with her extreme beauty and the magnificence of her array. Like other men of talent of the period. told. which was accounted for superstition. which made music to the wind as she paced along Her saddle was of royal bone. The interesting and beautifully and. at her belt. in the fol- lowing peculiar manner. and at his mane hung thirty silver bells and nine. Her steed was of the highest beauty and spirit. may well be quoted in Thomas of Erceldoune. of Scot- land.) laid over with i. has been recovered. a place on the descent of the Eildon hills. goldsmith's work Her stirrups. or goddess of the woods. in Lauderdale. as one of the this place. He was said also gift of prophecy.

this mysterious ground. Hideous as she was. had placed him under the control of and when she bade him take leave of the sun. stretches out his hand towards the goodly is fruit which hangs around him. At which. which crossed their subterranean path. he for three days sometimes hearing the booming of a distant ocean. Thomas's irregular desires this hag. She then com mands him to to lay his head to upon her knee. Thomas. who the cause of the his guide informs him these are the fatal apples which were fall of man. equipage. as if by palsy .132 LETTERS ON as bold as he had at first been humble. length they emerged into daylight. one side is blighted and wasted. almost fainting for want of food. The warns him that he must become her slave. as clear as the virgin witch from the silver. Before their interview terminates. but forbidden by his conductress. and proceeds character explain him the of the country. . in A cavern received them. is now A spital or alms- house would have been a goddess in comparison to the late beautiful huntress. as fair or fairer than he had first seen her on the mountain. sometimes walking through rivers of blood. and splendour. the became appearance of the beautiful lady is changed into that of the most hideous hag in existence . her colour. in a most beautiful orchard. if he lady should prosecute his suit towards her in the manner he proposes. and of the leaf that grew on tree. one eye drops from her head . than she was revived in beauty. travelled in darkness. he felt himself under the necessity of obeying her. following his frightful guide. of a dun leaden hue. He perceives also that had no sooner entered its and breathed magic air.

under the hands of numerous cooks. and Thomas. conveys the of the blest to paradise . The lord of the castle is king of the country. sweeping along splendid castle ? yonder is the road to Elfland. occupied the floor of the hall. and enjoying the sight of the slain game. while the gigantic greyhounds which had taken the spoil lay lapping the blood. entering selves in the midst of by the kitchen. conducts to the milder place of pain. Knights and ladies. the fatigues of his journey from the Eildon went forward and joined in the revelry. hills forgotten. Thirty carcasses of deer were lying on the massive kitchen board. . them up and dress them. from which But see you prayer and mass may release offenders. But. enter yonder castle. They came next to the royal hall. when we silence. and. the third road. and I am his queen. dancing by threes (reels perhaps). where the toiled to cut who king received his loving consort without censure or suspicion. observe strict is asked at you. they journeyed on and answer no question that and I will to the castle. I would rather be drawn with wild horses. found them- such a festive scene as might become the mansion of a great feudal lord or prince. to which we are now bound. account for your silence by saying I took your speech when I brought you from middle earth. by yonder dark brake.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. the plain to yonder yet a fourth road. Therepassed between you and me." Having thus instructed her lover. than he should know what hath fore. " Yonder right-hand " 133 path. Thomas." she says. yon downward and spirits well-worn way leads sinful souls to the place of everlasting punishment .

and so handsome a all man as I you will attract his eye. that the fiend of hell will come For to this castle to-morrow to demand his tribute. to ensure his reputation. and enjoyed the fame of his predic- Thomas remained . this castle . and the queen was not long in placing him upon Huntly bank. for he could say nothing but what was sure to been a story of It is plain that. would not suffer you to be betrayed to such a fate These terrible therefore. up. and. monstrances were disregarded by the lady. the queen spoke with him apart. " you have been seven years in and it is full time you were gone." answered Thomas. which seemed to him a very short one. " Now. we have here the legislator come to pass. Numa and Egeria. But all his refor king's court or for lady's bower. several years in his own tower near Erceldoune. him prepare to return to his "not above these seven days." news reconciled Thomas to his departure from Elfland. and Thomas the Rhymer. whenever the discourse turned on the future. whether he would or not . however.134 LETTERS ON After a period. which would make him. Thomas. bestowed on him the tongue which could not lie." answered the queen." "You are deceived. She took a tender leave of him." " how said the queen. fair lady. as he thought. Know. Thomas in vain objected to this inconvenient and involuntary adhesion to veracity. long think you that you have been here ?" " Certes. had Thomas instead of a poet. where the birds were singing. unfit for church or for market. and bade own country. gained the credit of a prophet. and let us be going. the world .

. during his retirement." said the wizard in a whisper. was invited by his customer to view trader in horses followed his guide in the deepest astonishment through several long ranges The of stalls. p. contrary came quietly onwards. men. of Merlin. The story has often been told. and he his residence. Thomas of Erceldoune." At the * This last circumstance seems imitated from a passage in the Life See Ellis's Ancient Romances. of a daring horse-jockey having sold a black horse to a man of venerable and appearance. traversing The the village. at twelve o'clock at night.* which left the forest. and though occasionally seen by individuals has chosen to to whom he show himself. has been supposed. has never again mixed familiarly with mankind. as the place where. ancient coin. several 135 of which are current among the country At length. ledging the prodigy as the summons of his fate. and. his money was paid in receive the price. a cry of tertaining the astonishment arose in the village on the appearance of people to this day. acknowto their shy nature. tions. hillock upon Eildon antique who hills. appointed the remarkable called the Lucken-hare. as the prophet was enEarl of March in his dwelling. 73.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. prophet instantly rose from the board and. towards the dwelling of Thomas. " will awaken at the battle of SherirFmoor. he should He came. from time to time. he accompanied the hart and hind into the forest. while an armed warrior lay equally still at the charger's " All these feet. . in each of which a horse stood motionless. by Jeffrey of Monmouth. voL i. a hart and hind. to be levying forces to take the field in some crisis of his country's fate.

and shook their bridles. . and act as tutelary and guardian towns. A A moral might be perhaps extracted from the legend. stamped.136 LETTERS ON extremity of this extraordinary depot hung a sword and a horn. dropped the horn from his hand. that it is best to be armed against danger before bidding it defiance. and countries. by the very mention of the SherifFmoor. which was one of the virtues professed Caius when he hired himself to King Lear. which is given by Reginald tale in telling Scot. and the mortal. But it is a circumstance worth notice. The of the narrative is peculiarly illustrative mode of marring edifying. as a curious it. after particular habitations near cities. louder even than the tumult A around. voice like that of a giant. death. pronounced these words " . That did not draw the sword before he blew the horn to the Woe " ! whirlwind expelled the horse-dealer from the cavern. Regiby nald Scott. that although this edition of the tale is limited to the year 1715. take up some spirits to the places which they loved while in the flesh. namely. which the prophet pointed out to the horsedealer as containing the means of dissolving the spell. yet a similar story appears to have been current during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. coward that ever he was born. seems to have given some weight to the belief of those who thought that the spirits of famous men do. incredulous on the subject of witchcraft. The tumult he had excited. the men arose and clashed their armour. and attempted to horses instantly started in their stalls. the entrance to which he could never again find. terrified at the in confusion took the horn. The man wind it.

the name of Thomas the Ehymer was always averred to be Learmonth. but not this my price. and how affairs moved through the country. By the information of the person that had communication with him. The Learmonths of Doireie in Fife. After much asked him where he dwelt. at his appearance. On our way we went. at a place called Farran. and told me that if I would go along with him. and now. did also give strange predictions respecting famine and plenty. by the way I man. f In popular tradition. though he neither uses it himself. the last of his appearances was in the following manner. as I returned home.f * In this the author is in the same ignorance as his namesake Eegithough having at least as many opportunities of information. nor is described by his son other than Le Kymour. . claimed descent from the nald. So he as I . I milk-white beast.* He also told me. and proceeded with so far that the price was agreed upon. war and bloodshed. though I knew all the country round about.DEMVNOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. and the end of the world. that he himself was that person of the family of Learmonths. at least some ghostly being or other that calls itself by the name of such a person who was dead above a hundred years ago. was in his life time accounted as a by the assistance of sublunary spirits . attaining met I answered horse. and he on another travel. of which place I had never heard. I upon my horse. 'to sell a horse at the next market town. He told me that his dwelling was a mile off. I should receive my money. asking what news. " But more says he. and prophet or predicter. I told him of my he began to cheapen. * I had been/ said he. who began to be familiar with me. 137 particularly to illustrate this conjecture." "I could name a person who hath lately appeared thrice since his decease. prophet. whom turned back with me. me thought fit withal. and what his name was.

of a quality more permanent than usual. 19. " pennies. to learn that Thomas's payment was parts edifying. in armour last I laid prostrate saw above six on the ground.138 so LETTERS ON of as a prophet. seems yet to have borne a faithful and firm character. just But the money I I it had received was double of what esteemed when the woman paid me. sec. . where I hundred men as if asleep. I knew through a large and long entry. as as faithful as his prophecies. The beautiful lady who bore the purse must have been undoubtedly the Fairy Queen. I have several pieces show. He conducted me out again. like that of his own heroine Yseult. open field. which increased my fear and amazement more. of which. of a beautiful woman. book ii. though. I have dwelt at some length on the story of Thomas "Discourse of Devils and Spirits appended to the Discovery of by Reginald Scot. having specimens of the fairy coin. whose affection. Witchcraft. 3. consisting of ninepennies. It is not the less we are deprived of the more picturesque of the story.* to It is thir teen-pence-half- a great pity that this horse-dealer. Well on we went till he to be ! much spoken brought me under not how. At which I began somewhat fearful. and made a shift to get home by three in the morning.' &c. had not favoured us with an account of an impress so valuable to medalists. into the ground. who paid the money presence without a word speaking. perceiving we were on a road which I never had been on before. At found myself in the by the help of the moonlight. in the very place where I first met him. chap. at this instant. Esq. we cannot term it altogether laudable.

instead of Peri. Still there is something uncertain in this etymology. therefore. and as pretending to show the Scottish poet whose existence. in whose alphabet the letter P does not exist. . if we consider him as writing in the Anglo-Nor- man its versifiers. its language. "We hesitate to ascribe either to the Persians or the Arabians the distinguishing name of an ideal commonwealth. was certainly one among the earliest of But the legend is still more curious from of a being the man ledge by their first and most distinguished instance alleged to have obtained supernatural knowmeans of the fairies. a fair or comely people. and its date." good neighthey called the fays . a quality which they affected on all occasions j while the super- may have stition of the Scots was likely enough to give them a name which might propitiate the vanity for which they deemed the race remarkable just as. if we suppose it to have reached Europe through the medium of the Arabians. are established both by history and records j and who. par excellence. " men of " peace. the 139 Rhymer as the oldest tradition of the kind which has reached us in fate of the first detail. expressing an unearthly being of a species very similar will afford the best derivation. in other instances. tempted to suppose that the elves obtained their most frequent name from their being. It is the opinion of the learned that the Persian word Peri.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. so that they pronounce the word Feri. Some are. Whence as yet or how this singular community derived more common popular name we may say has not been very clearly established. the notion of which they certainly did not contribute to us.

have reference to a class of spirits corresponding." LETTERS ON and by other titles of the like import. on the other side of the Channel.140 hours. But this is a question which we willingly leave for the decision of better etymologists than ourselves. . It must be owned at the same time that the words fay and been mere adoptions of the French fee fairy may have and f'eerie. but with the far different Fata of the Italians. not to our fairies. though these terms.

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. William Sympson Trial of the Lady Fowlis. Thome Reid Trial of Alison Pearson Account of her Familiar. and his Information on Fairy Superstitions Story of a Female in East Lothian carried off fy the Fairies Another instance from Pennant. Kirke. of his Intercourse with the Fairies Trial and Confession of Isabel her Stepson the latter Gowdie Use of Elf-arrow-heads Parish of Aberfoyle Mr. and the like. and of Hector Munro Extraordinary Species of Charm used by Confession of John Stewart. mystical cures by charms. a Juggler. 141 Those who dealt in fortune-telling. often claimed an intercourse with Fairy Land Hudhart or Hudikin Pitcairn's Scottish Criminal Trials Story of Bessie Dunlop and her adviser Her Practice of Medicine and of Discovery of Theft Account of her Familiar. the Minister of Aberfoyle's Work on Fairy Superstitions He is himself taken to Fairy Land Dr. Grahames InWork. teresting .

to revenge or to engage in traffic with the invisible world. be considered as any criminal alliance that they held communion with a race not pro. once ensuring condemnation in gether with the like doom in the next. nor the souls of deceased men nor would it. devils. the power necessary to effect the displays of art which confession of direct they pretended to exhibit. curi- would seem that the attempted to cure diseases. became the tell fortunes. they might flatter themselves. injuries. and other supernatural powers. at this world. the petty arts of deception in such mystic practised cases being naturally desirous to screen their own imosity. being neither angels. might. to be supposed to derive from postures. to- . or from mortals transported to fairy land. for the purpose of satisfying their own wishes.142 j|O LETTERS ON return to Thomas the Rhymer. a race which might be described by negatives. and willing. by means of the fairy common apology of those who people. though the A accused were too frequently compelled by torture to admit and avow such horrors. be avoided by the avowal of a less disgusting intercourse with sublunary spirits. or those of others. perly hostile to man. Such an intercourse to be useful and friendly to him. delivering herself personally to the devil. it concluded last example which it afforded of obtaining the gift of prescience. were willing the fairies. on certain conditions. to Those who or revenge. the poor wretches hoped. communication and league with Satan. with an I account of whose legend letter. was and certainly far short of the witch's renouncing her salvation.

as healing diseases. in opposition to that black art exclusively and Some directly derived from intercourse with Satan. a looking-glass. our investigation but the species of evasion now under is that of the fanatics or impostors who pretended to draw information from the equivocal spirits called fairies . as well it in view to dupe such will- ing clients. or moved by any of the numberless causes for which men seek to look into futurity. or at least to alleviate the charges brought against them of practising sorcery. or at least innocent. others pretended to possess spells by which they could reduce and compel an elementary spirit to enter within a stone. greatness. was the manner in which the persons accused of witchcraft most frequently endeavoured to excuse themselves. objects.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. in short. as it was called. and the like . and the number of instances before us is so great as induces us to believe that the pretence of communicating with Elfland. alike anxious to establish the possibility of a harmless process of research into futurity for laudable. 143 Accordingly the credulous. Of these we shall afterwards say something . endeavoured to predict a man's fortune in marriage or his success in life by the aspect of the stars . of the existence of white magic. who. But the Scottish law did not acquit those who accomplished . became both cheated and cheaters. and not with the actual demon. or some other local place of abode. la search of health. knowledge. were anxious to obtain as the numbers who had superhuman assistance. and confine her there by the power of an especial charm. conjuring her to abide and answer the questions of her master.

sometimes visibly. soared to act on to higher matters than the practice of physic. ." Discourse concerning Devils annexed to The Discovery of Witchcraft. Being asked her source of knowledge. book L chap. xxi. which might either be the same with Hudikin. such as remarkable cures by mysterious remedies . might perhaps have forfeited his life before he established the reputation of his drop. it might have been disconcerted. He talketh with men friendly.144 LETTERS ON even praiseworthy actions. There go as many tales upon this Hudkin in some parts of Germany as there did in England on Robin Goodfellow. had she been listened to. but he cannot abide that. so powerful in the case of Lord Soulis. by REGINALD SCOT. occurs in the early part of a work to which I have been exceedingly obliged * " in the present and Hudkin is a very familiar devil. sometimes invisibly. she answered Hudhart had told her. special account The most which I have found of the intercourse between fairyland and a female professing to have some influence in that court. and the proprietor of a patent medicine who should in those days have attested his having wrought such miracles as we see sometimes advertised. a Dutch spirit somewhat similar to Robin Goodfellow. and other wizards to whom the Scots assigned rather more serious influence.* or with the RedFriar Rush or capped demon. in 1437* a Highland woman prophesied the course and purpose of the conspiracy and. who pretended from sublunary spirits. who will do nobody hurt except he receive injury. elixir. "When James the First was mur- dered at Perth. combined with a strong desire to be useful to the distressed of both sexes. and interfered in the fate of nations. . this information Sometimes the soothsayers. or pill. nor yet be mocked.

or prophesy the event of illness ? she replied. It being required of her. and white stockings gartered above the knee. was accused of sorcery and witchthe 8th craft. and the poet. close behind and plain before. while yet a semi-barbarous people. in Lyne. which consist chiefly of the unfortunate confession. Her answers to the interrogatories of the judges or prosecutors ran thus. grey-bearded. who died at the battle of when Pinkie Cloth September. To spare technical repeti- select the principal facts in evidence in detail. from the Criminal Records of Scotland. a black bonnet on his head. had no knowledge or science of such matters. This person she described as a respectable elderly-looking man. and a white wand in his hand. by Kobert Pitcairn. Elizabeth or Bessie Dunlop. On and abuse of the people. spouse to Andrew Jak. Esq. with silken laces drawn through the * lips thereof. 1576. pair of grey breeches. L . so far as they bear upon the present November. and who resolved her any questions which she asked of him.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. other publications. she was in the habit of applying to one Thome Reid. and comprehend some curious particulars. but that questions were asked at her concerning such matters. tions.* 145 The full details of the evidence. the philosopher. now in the course of publication. are more woman's own than usual. 1547) as he himself affirmed. I must endeavour to subject.. affords so singular a picture of the manners and habits of our ancestors. Ayrshire. the antiquary. The curious collection of Trials. by what art she could tell ot lost that of herself she goods. and wearing a grey A coat with Lombard sleeves. in the Barony of Dairy. of the auld fashion. that it is equally worth the attention of the historian.

but was rather alarmed to see her ghostly counsellor pass from her." The good woman was somewas to thing comforted to hear that her husband be spared in such her general calamity. having lately borne a child. between afflicted. while she herself was in a very infirm state. property my husband and is on the point of my point baby ? will not live. "Bessie. She was walking jure up her own house and the yard of Monkcastle. who which she returned. husband shall recover.146 LETTERS ON completed the description of what we may suppose a respectable-looking man of the province and period." going to destruction. death. I tell thee thy home thy two sheep shall . perhaps. first On this occasion she met Thome Reid for the time. Sancta Maria. I I am myself at a weak Have not cause to have a sore heart ?" spirit." answered the God in asking something that to " thou hast displeased thou shouldest not. and I counsel you child shall die ere thou get also die. heavy moan with pasture and making weeping bitterly for her cow that was dead. aided to conthe imaginary counsellor. " " the apparition why must thou make such dole and " Have I not reason for any earthly thing ?" weeping " since our for said is . Bessie !" said great sorrow. . her husband and child that were sick of herself. driving her cows to the common the land-ill (some contagious sickness of the time). Being demanded concerning her first interview with this mysterious Thome Reid. and be as well and feir as ever he was. but thy amend your fault. she. she gave rather an affecting account of the disasters with which she was then and a sense of which. saluted her courteously.

without attracting their obser. both meat-worth. The strangers wilt thou saluted her. that rather than do that she stone. go thither with them. " Welcome. would be torn at horses' heels. some But neither Andrew Jak nor the three sible tailors were sen- of the presence of the phantom warrior who was slain at Pinkie so that. seemingly too narrow to admit of any living person passing through it. and very seemly. vation. as Thome Reid go After this she saw had previously recommended. Another time he met her at the Thorn of Dawmstarnik. Bessie with us ?" But Bessie was silent. but that she would be with her He parted afterwards he displeasure. clothes-worth. and said. and showed his ultimate purpose by her plenty of everything if she would but offering deny Christendom and the faith she took at the font- She answered. . Bessie it answered. he led out the goodwife to the end of the house Here he showed her a company ot The women were busked eight women and four men. hideous ugly howling sound. Thome Reid then acquainted her that these were the good wights who came to quire some (fairies) invite her to dwelling in the court of Elfland. their lips move. like that of a hurricane. but did not understand what they said and in a short time they removed from thence with a near the kiln. arid well Thome would re" Seest .DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. in their plaids. which was at the time occupied by her husband and three tailors. 147 and disappear through a hole in the garden wall. . that before she went that road consideration. conformable to his advice in in less matters. thou not me answered. Shortly appeared in her own house about noon.

She also was waiting-woman of the young Lady Stanlie. of the Lady Johnstone. and to presage from them the recovery or death of the patient. which Thome Reid replied.148 LETTERS ON in person ?" and engaged she should be easier But she replied. to be drunk For these prescripevery morning before taking food. conitself. she was. of with his counsel continued to come to her frequently. a remedy as generous as the Balm of Gilead mixed It was composed of the most potent ale. Bessie Dunlop affirmed he of him. in very ill-humour. adviser. cocted with spices and a little white sugar. The young woman . own hand. She said Thome gave her herbs querists. accorddaughter ing to the opinion of the infallible Thome Reid. whose disease. enough her husband and children. or the recovery of things lost and stolen. beings or of cattle. tions Bessie Dunlop's fee was a peck of meal and some recovered. by the advice of Thome Reid." and fre- For this Thome quently caused her to swoon away. that such were her sentiments she would get little good Although they thus disagreed on the principal object Thome Reid's visits. But the poor old Lady Kilbowie could get no help for her leg. with which she cured John Jack's and Wilson's of the Townhead. always able to answer the about the ailments of human She was also taught by her (literally ghostly) to watch the operation of the ointments he gave her. which cheese. how with his bairn. and assist her and that if any one consulted her . and would not leave them to if . was helpful to a " a cauld blood that came about her heart. she dwelt with than ever she was.

the culprit in the case whom he of stolen goods were for though they seldom led to recovering the property. 149 marrow of for Thome Reid said the was perished and the blood benumbed. More minutely among actually been known in middle earth as Thome Reid. had been crooked for years . or with The judgments given also well chosen . but was aware that the person so calling himself was one who had. Thome Reid. had of fate that William Dougal. . the living. it not been the will sheriff's officer. by her advice. and who died at Pinkie. pressed upon the subject of her she said she had never known him while familiar. which. in his lifetime. Thus. the evil eye of the law upon her. as effectually to cover the credit of the prophetess. one of the parties searching for them. tied round women had the power of helping their Bessie Dunlop's profession of a wise woman delivery. have recovered their plough-irons which had been stolen. James Jamieson and James Baird would. In short. whether we consider them as originating with the umquhile patronised. although she lost a lace which Thome Reid gave her out of his own hand. because the thieves had gained time to make it into a kirtle. they generally alleged such satisfactory reasons for its not being found.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. should accept a bribe of three pounds not to find them. so that she would never recover. and if she sought farther assistance. Hugh Scott's cloak could not be returned. seems to have flourished indifferently well till it drew in childbirth. it would be the worse for her- the limb These opinions indicate common sense and prudence at least. officer to the Laird of Blair.

she had seen him in public places. that Thome Reid and he had set out together to go to the battle which took place on the Black Saturday . Of Thome's other habits. Saturday. because he sent her on in his office. his command . furnishing which they should know that her with sure tokens by it was he who had sent One of these errands was somewhat remarkable. Reid appeared to lean to the . but that Thome him Reid heartened him to pursue his journey. where he bought a parcel of and made a present of them to his companion. both in the churchat Dairy and on the street of Edinburgh. . she said that he always company till behaved with the strictest propriety. she said. She was to remind a neighbour of some particular which she was to recall to his memory by the token. where he walked about among other people. that the person to whom the message was sent. and commanded them to amend certain trespasses which he had and to others his relatives. who had succeeded he named. In his theological opinions Mr. without attracting any yard notice. was inclined rather to move in a different direction. Again. and brought to the Kirk of Dairy. and took hold of her apron as if to pull her along. whom done while her. errands to his son. only that he pressed her to go to Elfland with him.150 LETTERS ON this Of she was made certain. alive. they came to the field upon the fatal Black as the battle of Pinkie was long called. was She herself did not then speak to him for it that upon such occasions she should never address him unless he spoke first to her. and handled goods that were exposed to sale. tying them in his handkerchief after which they kept figs.

e. He often requested her to go with him on his return to fairyland. that she demanded a drink. his queen and mistress. drinking what Christopher Sly would have called very sufficient small-beer with a peasant's wife. i. and that he had attended her by the express command of that This reminds us of the lady. and when she refused. and sate down on a bench by her bed. Reformation. who was then ailing. and that the old faith should return again. he shook his head and said she would repent it. This visit seems to have been previous to her meeting castle garden. like a mere earthly gossip . and thereafter told the invalid that the child should die. on being summoned and appeared to her very often within four years. and was accommo- dated accordingly . extreme doting attachment which the Queen of the Fairies is represented to have taken for Dapper in the Alchymist. indeed. the following description of the fairy host may come more near . a heavy burden for a clumsy bench. that when she was confined in childbirth of one of her boys. was most indulgent He said that the new law. the to the fairy folk. should recover. Being questioned why this visionary sage attached himself to her more than to others. a stout woman came into her hut. for that Thome Reid near Monk- stout visitant since worthy explained to her that her was Queen of Fairies. her. the accused person replied. which. If the delicacy of the reader's imagination be a little hurt at imagining the elegant Titania in the disguise of a stout woman.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. but that her husband. it would seem. Thome Reid attended thrice. 151 Church of Rome. was not good. but not exactly as it had been before.

of a curious tried for invocation of the spirits Alison Pearson. she affirmed. dealing with charms. her cousin. was. Neither did it avail her that the petty sorcery which she practised was directed The sad words to venial or even beneficial purposes. and seemed to rush All this into the lake with a hideous rumbling noise. while she saw nothing . in Byrehill. near the eastern port of Edinburgh). but Thome Reid showed her that the noise was occasioned by the wights. was a great scholar. and doctor of medicine. William Sympson. was the principal evidence. 1588." sufficiently express the tragic conclusion tale. The intervention of Thome Reid as a partner in her trade of petty sorcery did not avail poor Bessie Dunlop. who. who were performing one of their cavalcades upon earth.152 LETTERS ON invisible the idea he has formed of that Bessie company. with such a noise as if heaven and earth That the sound swept would come together. Against this poor woman. As Bessie Dunlop had Thome Reid. specially in the vision of one Mr. as in the case of Bessie Dunlop. " Convict and burnt. her own confession. on the margin of the record. 28th May. and abusing the ignorant people. Dunlop declared that as she went to tether her nag by the side of Restalrig Loch (Xochend. past her. and her mother's brother's son. Alison Pearson . although his affection to her was apparently enthe greatest familiarity on which he tirely Platonic ventured was taking hold of her gown as he pressed her to go with him to Elfland. she heard a tremendous sound of a body of riders rushing past her. of the devil.

and looking upon it. to tell his errand. their salves before sunrise. she charged him. in a fit of sickness. she said. so soon as he returned. In reply. where she saw puncheons of wine. whose father was king's William had been taken away. mirth. William Sympson aforesaid. with piping. the Good Neighbours make with pans and fires. She also confessed that she had seen. and promised her that other she should never want. they came in such fearful forms as frightened her very much. But he afterwards appeared to her. she was sorely tor- mented. as she passed through Grange Muir. had also a familiar in the court of Elfland. she Egypt* ( a gipsy him. 153 This was her relative. ling. that she ac- companied them into Lothian. but if she told of .DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. and left on it an ugly mark. She declared. for opening a priest's book. this the green man departed. and that said. She declared that she had renewed her acquaintance with her kinsman. and received a blow that took away the power of her left side. if faithful . she lay down. in the name of God. also. w ho carried him to his father died in the meantime. that when she told of these things. if she would be faithful. he might do her good. or drinking cups. born in Stirsmith in that town. with many men and women with him and. that one day. by a man of Egypt along with That he remained there twelve years. At times they spoke her fair. Sometimes. and that a green man came to her and said. and by the law he lived upon. She further confessed. against her will. she was obliged to pass with him farther than she could tell. and good cheer . with tasses. if he came for her soul's good. On . which had no feeling.

and accomplished scholar. . with good faith and will. 321. severe libel on him for this and other things unbecom- ing his order. Sympson. edited by John G. p. by James VI. Dalzell. medicated with the drugs she recommended. and the notwithstanding that she there. eating a stewed fowl. and from learn that Lethington and Buccleuch were This poor seen by Dame Pearson in the fairyland. apply them. " Convicta et combusta" choly The two poor women last mentioned are the more to * See Scottish Poems. Adamson. and that her blew. The celebrated Patrick cousin. She said William Sympson was with the fairies. this Alison Pearson transferred the bishop's indisposition from himself to a white palThere is a very frey. in Elfland. did not give better shelter to her than Thome Reid had done to her predecessor. The margin of the court-book again bears the melanand brief record. which died in consequence.154 LETTERS ON their doings. confessed that every year the tithe of them were taken away to hell. and that he let her know when they were coming and . According to the belief of the time. Queen of that court. Andrews. swallowed the prescriptions of this poor hypochondriac. an created excellent divine. which we with which he was charged.* woman's kinsman. and how to She declared that when a whirlwind the fairies were commonly there. and drinking out at two draughts a quart of claret. Sympson. Archbishop of St. they threatened to them and She also boasted of her favour with the martyr her. good friends she had at was sometimes disgrace and had not seen the queen for seven years. that he taught her what remedies to use.

Lady Fowlis. by which they hoped to Munro and Lady Balnagowan. marry with her brother George Ross of Balnagowan and for this purpose. if the indictment had a syllable of truth. both by her own family and that of her husband. pictures. with her it own nurse. which she gratified by forming a scheme for compassing his death by unlawful arts. upon page tasting of it immediately took sickness. and chief of the warlike clan of Munro. broke the jar. was prepared by the Lady Fowlis. when he was thus removed. who was the fifteenth to familiars for Baron of Fowlis. should . tage involves persons of far higher quality. and who sought practised their more baneful purposes.) of the same deleterious and sent liquor. eldest son of her husband. (ScOttice. widow Her proposed advantage in this was. which sheep and cattle abhorred to Robert Munro. by birth Katherine Ross of Balnagowan. her sister-in-law. The messenger . that the of Robert. or models in clay. be pitied. they one occasion. for the purpose of administering having stumbled in the dark. that a brewed. Another bewitch Robert earthen jar. of high rank. poison so strong. pig. Katherine Munro. Lady Fowlis. carried on her She assempractices with the least possible disguise. 155 whether enthusiasts or impostors. was also to be removed. bled persons of the lowest order. the present Lady Balnagowan. and a rank grass grew on the spot where it fell. as.DEMOXOLOGY AXD WITCHCRAFT. had a stepmother's quarrel with Robert Munro. stamped with an and besides making infamous celebrity as witches . they supposed art exclusively for the advanThe following extraordinary detail of mankind.

that he must unless the principal man of his blood should suffer It death in his stead. being. was. and Lady Fowlis. an assistant hag. and unusual nature. Laskie Loncart. pictures of the intended victims were then set up north fairies The at the end of the apartment. and Christian Ross Malcolmson. Lady Fowlis made use of the artillery of Elfland. and tasting of the liquor which had been spilled. in fact. to partial. Hector being taken ill. brother to him by the half blood. Her son-in-law. but accounted by the superstitious the weapons by which the were wont to destroy both man and beast. barbarous. one of his stepmother's prosecutors. substitute for Hector was agreed that the must mean George vicarious Munro. were alleged against Lady Fowlis. Many similar acts of witchcraft. presently died. and of preparing poisons. (the son of the . Hector Munro. The rites that he practised were of an uncouth. produced two of what the common people call elf-arrow heads. in order to destroy her stepson and sister-in-law. having less sense than the brute beasts. consulted on his case some of the witches or soothsayers. one of the assistant hags. the points of flint used for arming the ends of arrow shafts in the most ancient times. active in a similar conspiracy against the life of his own brother. by which shots they were broken.156 . whom this family appears to have been die The answer was unanimous. for reasons of his own. commanded new figures to be modelled. LETTERS ON to touch but the nurse. What is more to our present purpose. and three against the picture of Robert Munro. shot two shafts at the image of Lady Balnagowan.

which formed the boundary The grave was made as nearly as possible to their patient Hector Munro. it seems. the chief priestess. of the company. impressive. before commemorated." and relapsed into silence. upon a piece of land betwixt two proprietors. till he saw refusing to receive any of his the substitute whom he destined to take his place in When George at length arrived. I believe. " That he was the better George had his brother come to visit him. After ascertaining that the operation of the charm on George Munro. the Marion Maclngarach. the earth dug out of the grave being laid aside foi the time. to avoid suspicion. Hector. or Nicneven.) Hector sent at least seven messengers for this young man. Lady Fowlis. called Marion Maclnby garach. other friends. sorceress After midnight. the destined victim. and. Hector Munro. carrying spades with them. was borne forth in a pair of blankets. the conspirators proceeded to work their spell in a singular. and asked " How he did?" Hector replied. 157 Katherine. received him with peculiar coldness and He did not speak for the space of an hour. a necessary part of the spell. . which seemed singular when compared with the anxiety he had displayed to see his brother but it was. The time being January 1588. proceeded to dig a grave. accompanied with all who were intrusted with the secret. the grave. Christian Niel Dalyell. the patient. should be suspended for a period.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. and of his own foster mother. not far from the sea side. advice of a notorious witch. till broke silence. who were warned . unique manner. restraint. went forth with her They then accomplices.

being composed of subordinate person?. and carried home. the foster mother. said. coming again to the grave where Hector Munro was interred alive. Hector.158 to be strictly silent. George Munro. that Hector Munro recovered. and on him. Marion Maclngarach. and. Hector to live. and her stepson. The consequence of a process. that the jury. high favour. the Hecate of the night. persons suffered when charged at AberThough one or two inferior on account of the sorceries death practised in the house of Fowlis. all remaining mute as before. however. in some interval of . after the intervention of twelve months. Pitcairn remarks. and the grave secured with stakes. to present her to trial. had both the unusual good Mr. then sat down laid therein. who replied. might also. that she chose to die in his stead. LETTERS ON till the chief sorceress should have received her information from the angel whom they served. not suitable to the rank or family of the person tried. and. died. demanded of the witch which victim she would choose. and evaded. Hector was removed from his chilling bed in a January grave. the Lady Katherine. has all the appearance of having been packed on purIt pose for acquittal. leading a boy in her hand. and George This form of incantation was thrice repeated ere Mr. which effect. ran the breadth of about nine ridges distant. deen to produce her. as at a real funeral. fortune to be found not guilty. the earth being filled in by the grave. was. his ill seems adapted to produce the expected brother. Hector Munro was carried to his grave. while Christian Niel Dalyell. it is made her keeper of Hector took the principal witch into his sheep.

to sink or cast brother. and the deceased been only taken ill of his ary. i. and that the King of the Fairies gave him a stroke with a white rod over the forehead. on a Hallowe'en night. between the towns of Monygoif spelled) and Clary. in Galway. the distance between the events might seem too great to admit the former being regarded as the cause of the latter. good sense.* Another instance of the skill of a sorcerer being is traced to the instructions of the elves found in the confession of John Stewart. in Ireland. * Pitcairn's Trials. fatal disease in April. he met with the King of the Fairies and his company.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. that they met every Hallowtide. and accused of having assisted Margaret Barclay. and that since that time he had joined these people every Saturday at seven o'clock. . pp. vol. sometimes on Lanark -. creep into the heads of assize. or Dein.) sometimes on Kilmaurs Hill. and remained with them all the night also. that the 159 Hector Munro's enchantment being performed in Janu1588. he being travelling on All-Hallow-Even (so night. away It a vessel belonging to her own good- being demanded of him by what' means he professed himself to have knowledge of things to come. but professing skill in palmistry and jugglery. 191. which took from him the power of speech and the use of one eye. 1590. perhaps. Hill (Tintock. 201. at the town of Dublin. the said John confessed that the space of twenty six years ago. called a vagabond. He declared that the use of speech and eyesight was restored to him by the King ot Fairies and his company. which he wanted for the space of three years.

and got meat there from the Queen of Fairies more than she could eat. called Isobel as At Auldearn. of date April 1662. Court of Fairy whose names he rehearsed particularly. He pointed out the spot of his forehead on which. the King of the Fairies struck him with a white rod. to the execrable proceedings though we may revert which then took place against this miserable juggler and the poor women who it were accused of the same crime. had the immediate agency in the abominations which she narrates. have at present no more to do. she said.160 LETTERS ON and that he was then taught by them. and not the elves. usual. . whereof he expressed no sense or He made the usual declaration that he had feeling. and in white and brown cloth that the were elf-bulls roaring King of Fairy is a brave man and there and shilling at the entrance of . he said. in the Dounie Hills. in the of Nairn. the Court of Fairy. She added. the epidemic terror of witches seems county The confession of a woman to have gone very far. they pricked the spot with a large pin. the prisoner being blindfolded. Yet less insisted she had been. that the queen is bravely clothed in white linen. whereupon. and blends the operations facilities of witchcraft with the afforded by the fairies. Gowdie. and declared that all such seen many persons at the persons as are taken away by sudden death go with With this man's evidence we the King of Elfland. These need be the upon in this place as the arch-fiend. quoted At present is as another instance of a fortune-teller referring to Elfland as the source of his knowledge. a parish and burgh of barony. implicates.

161 which frightened her much. Lammas 1659. and the like eating. fairy and they entered a At big room. and calling name !" which is flew wherever they listed. the elfin signal for mounting. as bright the entrance ramped and roared the large which always alarmed Isobel Gowdie. or " Horse and Hattock. the elves forming and sharpening the dart from the rough flint. where the mountain opened fair to re- ceive them. The witches bestrode either corn straws. Then came the sport of the meeting. On another occasion this frank penitent confesses her presence at a rendezvous of witches. In their caverns the fairies manufactured those elf-arrow-heads with which the witches and they wrought so much evil. famous both in Scottish and Irish tradition. after they had rambled through the country in different of cats. as it is called. and they acquired the right of shooting at him. where. they If the little whirlwind their which accompanies mortal transportation who neglected to bless himself. hares. posed to be themselves altogether canny. dighting it. These animals are probably the water bulls. M . drinking. as day. into whose houses they could penetrate. or. which are not supbulls. The penitent prisoner gives the names of many whom she and her sisters had so slain. all passed any such fell under the witches' power. they at length came to Dounie Hills. in the Devil's rushes. their palace. The elves and the arch-fiend laboured jointly at this task. bean stalks. and the fiend perfecting and finishing. or safe to have concern with. shapes and wasting the goods of the their neighbours.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.

successively minister of the Highland parishes of Balquidder and Aberfoyle. Fawnes. ticular confession we shall have occasion to recur when more immediate subject. and . a who was present at the examination of Isobel. To proceed to more modern instances of persons witchcraft is the supposed to have race. What is above narrated marks the manner in which the belief in that crime was blended with the fairy superstition. and for the most part Invisible People. translator of the psalms He was. Robert Kirke. Indeed. and dim copse woods. at that of William Brown. sequestered valleys. fallen we must not under the power of the fairy forget the Rev. but her master forbade her. the into Gaelic verse. that Mr. comprehending so many rocks. The arrow fell short. while in his latter charge of Aberfoyle. are not even yet quite abandoned by the fairies. witch would have taken aim again. These beautiful and wild lakes. so much was this the case formerly. who have resolutely maintained secure footing in a region so well suited for their residence. first minister of the Gospel. district of Perthshire. lying in the most romantic line.162 the death for LETTERS ON which she was most sorry being in the Milntown of Mains. was also aimed minister A shaft the Reverend Harrie Forbes. in the end of the seven- teenth century. heretofore going under the name of Elves. and within the Highland regions. saying the reverend gentleman's life was not To this strange and very parsubject to their power. and the the confessing party. found materials for collecting and compiling his Essay on the " Subterranean. Kirke.

by informing us. which have something of the subtility of thunderbolts. Kirke accounts for this. that the great north- ern mines of iron. collected and compared by a circumspect enquirer residing among the Scottish-Irish (i. for Longman and Co. Mr. and new-born children from their The remedy stolen. and now. deaths. or works of devotion. . to occasion farther enquiry."* 163 In this discourse.) others on Rosycrucian subjects. e. These to mention the elf arrow-heads. or the like. and of carrying away what is more material. and of an abstruse mystical character but they have no Bibles. and burials. Mr. Edinburgh. and can mortally wound the vital parts. 1815. Fairies. (novels and plays. corresponding with mortals existing on earth. without breaking the skin. describes the fairy race as a " with undoubting mind." It was printed with the author's name in 1691. if a piece of cold iron is put into the bed. very easily come by . they represent mortal men.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. cows. and the woman in travail is safe. . Kirke accuses them of stealing the milk from the women nurses. the author. and that individual apparitions. the in pregnancy. of a kind betwixt humanity and have children. doubtless. says the reverend author. marriages. The milk is cannot be the mouth of the calf. nurses. as they are described by those who have the second sight. or Double-men. if is easy in both cases. The essayist fails not . be rubbed with a certain balsam. the Gael. before he permitted to suck. like mortals in appearance that." angels says. that they sort of astral spirits. Among the Low Country Scots. in respect. what one would not expect. and reprinted. * The title " continues. many light toyish books. lying adjacent to the place of eternal " fascinating punishment. are found among some them." They have. have a savour odious to these creatures. or Highlanders) iu Scotland.

fatal lacerations which he could not was by no means iealous and irritable be supposed that the elves. while the more understanding knew it to be a swoon produced by the supernatural influence of the After the people whose precincts he had violated. and commanded him to go to Grahame of Duchray. is to be seen at the east end of the churchyard at Aberfoyle. or fairy mount. that I am not and only one chance dead. when. as well as your . behold he sunk down in what seemed to be a fit of apoplexy. When the posthumous child. appear Duchray shall throw over my to baptism. so a race as to be incensed against to those who should be less spoke of them under their proper names. Grahame. own. Mr. which the unenlightened took for death. he and felt the It he has himself observed in beasts. shall in the be brought if room. the form of the Reverend Robert Kirke appeared to a relation. Dr. for the purpose of giving them to the public. Say Duchray. with his name duly inscribed. Kirke was walking one evening in his nightgown upon a Dun-shi. the learned divine's monument. Although. I will . in the vicinity of the manse or parsonage. of which my wife has been delivered since my disappearance. than mortally offended at the temerity of the reverend author. wounds.164 LETTERS ON says. has informed us of the general belief. but a captive in Fairy Land remains for my liberation. who is my cousin. the Rev. see. therefore. ancestor of the " General Graham to that as ! present Stirling. ceremony of a seeming funeral. who had pried so deeply into their mysteries. yet those acquainted with his real history do not believe that he enjoys the His successor. natural repose of the tomb.

called Sketches of Perthshire. head the knife or dirk which he holds 165 in his hand. his weird in Fairy Land. but if this opportunity is am lost for ever. . as the day of crucifixion. Kirke was visibly seen while they were seated at table but Grahame of Duchray. Dr. The ceremony took place. The terrible Upon this subject the reader little visitation of fairy vengeance which has lighted upon Mr. " Thou hast proclaimed our power be thou our prey !" may consult a very envolume. a colour fatal to several families in Scotland." the Elfin state declaring to in his astonishment. Kirke has not intimidated his successor. moreover. sea. Grahame of Aberfoyle. evil spirits have most power. I may be restored to society neglected. to the gallant whole race of the Grahames in particular .* tertaining by the Rev. 1812. when. and the apparition of Mr. failed him. and mentions their displeasure at any one who assumes their accustomed livery of green." Duchray was apprized of what was to be done. after who having written his popular poem perished at of the Ship- wreck. as the Ocean to poor Falconer. I . that these capricious elves are chiefly dangerous on a Friday. inis somuch that we have heard that in battle a Grahame generally shot through the green check of his plaid . to perform the ceremony and it is to be feared that Mr. that a veteran sportsman of the name. from affording us some He tells us curious information on fairy superstition. an excellent man and good antiquary. havEdinburgh. Kirke still " drees enjoined. .DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.

he thought it sufficient to account for it that he had a piece of green whip-cord to complete the lash of his hunting whip. I remember. The life of the excellent person who told To return from the Perthshire fairies. a weaver in the little town. when the place and its port vicinity were alarmed by the following story An industrious man. may quote a of a nature somewhat similar to that of Mas. also. story Robert Kirke. and. paid little who The widower attention to these rumours.166 LETTERS ON Ing come by a bad fall. this adventure. and this must ghastly corpse substituted in the place of the body. near the small seatown of North Berwick. an opinion among her gossips that. author of Sabbath. might happen before the middle of last century. it became. but the mother had expired in convulsions and as she was much disfigured after death. which took place in her childhood. after bitterly lamenting his wife for a year of mourning. from some neglect of residing with : . those ought to have watched the sick woman. was so unfortunate as to die during The infant was saved. the birth of a fourth child. James Grahame. I was. was married to a beautiful woman. she have been carried off by the elves. for the benefit of her friends and the poor. so I conceive that protracted to an unusual duration it . but had his library table fated colour covered with blue or black cloth. who. She was some relations. would not break through this ancient prejudice of his clan. after bearing two or three children. began to think on the prudence of forming . rather than use the commonly employed on such occasions. that my The late amiable friend.

had for her was not entirely gone. captive of the Good Neighbours. able housekeepers in the town. on a certain day of the ensuing week. found a neighbour with whose good looks he was satisfied. and was accepted. and with these recalled the extraordinary rumours which were dream. Kirke. and appeared to likeness of his late wife. afloat at the time of her decease. which. and without the assistance of a houseHe readily wife. it is likely that this proposed decisive alteration of his condition brought back many reflections concerning the period of their union. she told him that. the figure of a female dressed in white. he beheld. As the man had really loved his late partner. He proposed himself. Matthew Reid) for the due proclamation of bans. an opportunity still remained of recovering her.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. at the ghostly hour of midnight. He of Aberfoyle. stood him the very conjured her to speak. and with astonishment heard her say. whilst her character for temper seemed to warrant her good usage of his children. or 'winning her back. so that the whole forced upon As he lay in his him the following lively bed. I believe. with the clergyman at their head. that she was not dead. as it was usually termed. from the comfortless realms of She charged him. that he should convene the most respectElfland. awake as he thought. but the unwilling Like Mr. was almost a matter of necessity. who entered his hut. Mr. and should disinter the coffin in which she . if all the love which he once too. and carried the names of the parties to the clergyman (called. like the minister by the side of his bed. a 167 new marriage. to a poor artisan with so young a family.

ashamed and puzzled. re- for his strength. In order him there was no delusion. and such a one. for the last time.168 LETTERS ON to was supposed is have been buried." from the coffin. besides being an excellent divine in other respects. the smith. she would never have power to visit earth or to convince his communicate with him again. as took no measures in consequence. he " saw in that she took dream" had up the nursling. a man of sagacity. at it whose birth she died." In the morning. the visitation was again repeated. the poor widower was distressed with the recollection of his dream. she spilled also a drop or two of her milk on the poor man's bed-clothes. and conjured him. and with great speed round the church. second night. A is not very surprising. and you must have the fleetest " runner of the parish (naming a man famed for swift- " ness) to pursue me. by the prayers of nowned the church and the efforts of my loving husband and neighbours. " I will start upon which. was the at the same time passions. as if to assure him of the reality of the vision. upbraided him with want of love and affection. to attend to her instructions. On the third night she appeared with a sorrowful and displeased countenance. the clergyman. and in that case I shall. and gave suck . This reverend person. Matthew Reid. but. The next morning the terrified widower carried a statement of his perplexity to Mr. again recover my station in human society. rition. which. who understood human He did not attempt to combat the reality of the vision . if he now neglected. to hold me fast after I am overtaken . " The clergyman said the appafly to recite certain prayers.

as a clergyman of the Church of Scotland. visitations from his former f An instance. and the perplexed widower had no more spouse. asked his pastor what he should do. or Men of came under PenPeace." said bride's consent to be married to-morrow. I will take it on me to dispense with the rest of the bans. the clergyman. confounded and perplexed by various feelings. rites neither could nor dared authorize opening graves. perhaps the latest which has been made (a public.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. or to-day. of communication with the Restless People more proper epithet than that of Daoine Shi. which had thrown but he contended devil." wife. but as a saint in heaven. could be only an illusion of the explained to the widower. or using the intervention of prayer to sanction suspicious character. it will be only as of one from whom death has separated you. and not as a prisoner in Elfland. and for whom you may have thoughts of affection and sorrow. of a The poor man. it 169 his parishioner into this tribulation. as they are called in Gaelic^) nant's notice. and if The advice was taken. that no created being could have the right or power to imprison or detain the soul of a Christian conjured him not to believe that his He according to God's pleasure dle state in the wife was otherwise disposed of than assured him that Pro- testant doctrine utterly denies the existence world to come of any midand explained to him that he. or proclaim them three times in one day. " I will give you " Get your new my best advice. if you can . You will have a new you think of the former. so late as during that observant traveller's .

the almost extinct belief of pany in the the old idle tales began to gain ground. invisible LETTERS ON Being perhaps the latest news from the tourist's commonwealth. him to and fro.) imagined that he was raised suddenly up into the air. that he kept his word with the spectre. and conveyed over a wall into an adjacent cornfield that he found himself surrounded by a crowd of men and women. and the good . and no harm should befall him. and mingling together like bees going that they spoke an unknown language. whom the old dreamer had named. and so the it is affair rested when I left the country. we give the own in his words. obliged that very him to promise an assignation at . hour that day seven-night hair tied that he then found was all known by the name of his double knots. who. but she told him she was at that time in too much haste to attend to him. but on his uttering the name of GOD. seizing him by the shoulder. were in the utmost anxiety at finding them in such bad comother world . and . many of . whom he soon saw floating through the air towards him that he spoke to her. with a hollow sound that they very roughly pushed . But incredible the mischief these agri somnia did in the The friends and neighbours of the neighbourhood.170 tour in 1769. . whom who he knew to have been dead for some years. " A poor visionary who had been working cabbage garden.) and that he had in almost lost his speech . and appeared to him skimming over the tops of the to a hive unbending corn. but bid him go away. (wellelf-locks. all vanished but a female sprite. deceased. (in Breadalbane.

was much the older of the two. in its general sense of worshipping the Dii Campestres."* It is scarcely necessary to add. that horrid belief in witchcraft which cost so many innocent persons and crazy impostors their lives. which afforded pretext for such cruel practical consequences. Alison Pearson. which. vol. and who endeavoured to protect a fellow-mortal against their less philanthropic companions. p. i. In the next chapter. who attached themselves to the child of humanity.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. I propose to trace how the general disbelief in the fairy creed began to take place. and of the Irish butler. . and gradually brought into discredit the supposed feat's of witchcraft. that this comparatively recent tale is just the counterpart of the story of Bessie Dunlop. minister will have 171 many a weary discourse and exhort- ation before he can eradicate the absurd ideas this idle story has revived. for the supposed commission of impossible crimes. Pennant's Tour in Scotland. came to bear upon. and have connexion with. all of whom found in Elfland some friend formerly of middle earth. who was so nearly carried off. 110. These instances may tend to show how the fairy superstition.

and other Superstitions menCharacter of the English Fairies tioned by Reginald Scot The Tradition had become obsolete in that Author's Time tentrionale That of Witches remained in vigour but impugned by various Authors after the Reformation. that Department. and others Demonology defended by Bodinus. Naudceus. as Wierus. &c.172 LETTERS ON Immediate Effect of Christianity on Articles of Popular Superstition Chaucer's Account of the Roman Catholic Priests banishing the Fairies Bishop Corbett imputes the same Effect his Verses on tliat Subject his Iter Septo the Reformation Robin Goodfellow. Their mutual abuse of each other Imperfection of Physical Science at this Period. Remigius. and the predominance of Mysticism in 1LTHOUGH religion the influence of the Christian to the nations was not introduced of Europe with such radiance as to dispel at once those clouds of superstition which continued . Scot.

chambers. and bourcs. will be observed. at an early period. and may go of an inferior and less some length to establish the existence of doubts con- cerning the general belief in fairies instructed in the time of Edward III. All was this land fulfilled of faerie . monks and preaching friars. the compliment of all having. Danced full oft in many a grene mead. As thick as motes in the sunne-beam. That searchen every land and every stream. Cities and burghes. verses are curious as well as picturesque. " In old time of the King Artour. Of which that Bretons speken great honour. and which gave way before it. to obscure the understanding 173 of hasty and its ill-instructed converts. This was the old opinion. castles high and towers. Thropes and barnes. which lingered behind the old Pagan faith. sheep-pens and dairies. But now can no man see no elves mo. The with its poet Chaucer. a genuine Celtic colony.* and other holy freres. there can be tion went to no doubt that immediate opera- modify the erroneous and extravagant articles of credulity. This maketh that there ben no fairies. indeed. as I rede I speake of many hundred years ago. the ancient Celtic breed. expelled from the land spirits The holy character. in proportion as its light became more pure and refined from the devices of men. it fairies of whom the bard of Woodstock talks. or Armorica. The Elf queen. and he seems to refer for the authorities of his tale to Bre- tagne. Blessing halls. kitchenes. among the well- The are. For now the great charity and prayers Of limitours. pays the Church of Rome. with her joly company.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. * Friars limited to beg within a certain district .

And saith his matins and his holy things. There is no other incubus than he. till the reign of Queen Elizabeth. we are tempted to suspect some mix- When we ture of irony in the compliment which ascribes the exile of the fairies." * see the opinion which Chaucer has expressed of the regular clergy of his time. Two be informed that the author." * Wife of Bath's Tale. And he ne will don them no dishonour. Corbett. In under nichtes and in morwenings. entitled the Fairies' Farewell. As he goeth in his limitation. to the warmth and zeal of the devotion of the limitary friars. Dr. has with greater probability delayed the final banishment of the fairies from England. with a vein of humour not unworthy of Geoffrey himself. In every bush. Individual instances of scepticism there might exist among scholars. in some of his other tales. " The poem is A proper new Ballad. .174 LETTERS ON For there as wont to walken was an elf. and has represented their expulsion as a consequence of the change of religion. was nothing less than the Bishop of Oxford and Norwich in the beginning of the seventeenth century. and under every tree. by the learned . by the unlearned. There walketh now the limitour himself. that is. with which the land was " fulfilled. Women may now go safely up and doun . who must." in King Arthur's time. named. at the same time. to be sung or whistled to the tune of the Meadow Brow. to the tune of Fortune. but a more modern poet. or three verses of this lively satire may be very well worth the reader's notice. from popular faith.

merrily went their tabor. They never danced on any heath As when the time hath bin. Their songs were Ave Maries. Or gone beyond the seas Or farther for religion fled. " and roundelays which yet remain. . old abbies.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. " 175 Farewell. ' By which we Were note. Their dances were procession. And later. You merry were and glad. of late Elizabeth. Or Cis to milking rose. Are now grown Puritans. So little care of sleep and sloth Those pretty ladies had. The fairies lost command They did but change priests' . those rings Of theirs. And merrily went their toes. the fairies of the old profession. When Tom came home from labour. Or else they take their ease. Were footed. Yet who of late for cleanliness Finds sixpence in her shoe ? " Lament. But some have changed your land And all your children sprung from hence since. say. "Who live as changelings ever For love of your domains. James came in. in Queen Mary's days. Good housewives now may For now foul sluts in dairies . Do fare as well as they And though they sweep their hearths no less Than maids were wont to do. ' At morning and at evening both. On many But since a grassy plain . But now. . lament. alas they all are dead. "Witness. rewards and fairies." ! . Then merrily. babies.

still of little faith. In strokes will prove the better conjurer. an inexhaustible record of their pranks and feats. this witchcraft was perform'd. and their route becomes so confused that they return on their steps. for this is fairy ground. "two of which were. we meet A very man who had no cloven feet. doctors . Though William. much it would seem to the amusement of the witty bishop. for Puck is busy in these oaks . ' ' If ever you at Bosworth would be found. and labour " As in a conjurer's circle "\Villiam found A mean for our deliverance. friend. Corbett's party on the Iter Septentrionale.' ' Strike that dare.176 LETTERS ON remaining part of the The praise shire. of Staffordwho remained a true and stanch evidence in be- half of the departed elves. and kept.' ' Thought I. Then turn your But ere cloaks. 'Tis Robin. has doubt. whence the concluding verse " : To William all give audience. p.' * Corbett's Poems. and two desired to be. And pray ye for his noddle. or domestic.' quoth he. for sure this massy forester. poem is dedicated to the and glory of old "William Chourne. seems The travellers lose themselves in the mazes uncertain. of Chorley Forest.' Quoth he. or some sprite that walks about. ' Strike him. 'and it will turn to air Cross yourselves thrice and strike it. ."* This William Chourne appears to have attended Dr." but whether William was guide. 213. on their way to Bos worth. For all the fairies' evidence if "Were lost that were addle. Turn your cloaks. edited by Octavius Gilchrist.

or Robin Goodfellow. who declaimed against the " " splendid miracles of the Church of Rome. therefore. But 'twas a gentle keeper. as a means of obtaining a certainty concerning the being which is before imperfectly seenf) delusions.DEMONOLOG? AND WITCHCRAFT. one that knew Humanity and manners. edited by Octarius Gilchrist. spirit with a cudgel . f A common instance is. or double-ganger. If he turn his cloak. the unceasing labour of many and popular preachers. the Bishop plainly shows the fairies their influence in William's imagination.'"* 177 maintained since In this passage. since they were found current three centuries afterwards. yonder Bosworth stands. associate The courteous keeper was mistaken by their champion. whose face he cannot see. or plaid. or similar illusions. which the exorcist is the Chaucer. And rode along so far. are alternatively that (recommended. the superstitious fancies of the people sunk gradually in esteem and influence . and in the time of Queen Elizabeth. Ml. till he could say. tions It is not the less certain religion that. could not be serious in averring that the fairy supersti- were obsolete in his day. unless under an absolute conviction that and that of exorcising the last. N . produced * Corbett's Poems. and this your way. ' See. spells resorted to to get rid of his supposed the in visions of turning the cloak of the second-sight. for Puck. stronger party. that of a person haunted with a resemblance. as knowledge and became more widely and brightly displayed over any country. and may probably find it to be his own fetch or wraith. Corbett prudently thinks ought not to be resorted to. p. he will obtain the full sight which he desires. where they grew.

dwarfs. claws like a bear. thanks be to hardy man God. conjurers. Hobgoblin. hags. witches. giants. sylvans. the nymphs. and a voice roaring like a lion. incubus." said especially when Robin Goodfellow kept such a coil in In our childhood. be detected. the puckle. and such other bugbears. spoorn. Reginald Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft. urchins. Kitt-with-the-candlestick.178 also its LETTERS ON natural effect upon the other stock of supersti- Reginald Scot. talking of " some one knave in a white times before his own. Tom Tumbler. a skin like a negro. Well. this wretched and cowardly infidelity. where a right heretofore durst not to have passed by night but his hair would stand upright. fire in his mouth. centaurs. elves. Tom Thumb. book viL chap. our mothers' maids the country. Pans." * * 15. insomuch -. and vanish away. " Certainly. . by God's grace. have so terrified us with an ugly devil having horns on his head. fangs like a dog. the hellwain. spirits. the man-in-the-oak. Robin Goodfellow. is in part forgotten. that we are afraid fear of our own shadows. the fire-drake. especially in a churchyard. Boneless. imps. sheet hath cozened and abused many thousands. satyrs. changelings. faunes. fairies. and many times is taken for our father's soul. eyes like a basin. tritons. calcars. since the preaching of the Gospel. and a tail at his breech . and doubtless the rest of these illusions will in a short time. that some never the devil but on a dark night and then a polled sheep is a perilous beast. whereby we start and are afraid when we hear one cry Boh ! and they have so frayd us with bull-beggars. tions.

less wild and necromantic character.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Before leaving the subject of fairy superstition in England. Boneless. that the man-in-the-oak was the same with the Erl-K6nig of the Germans . from which the word or Puckle. Kitt with-the-candlestick. and that the hellwain the descendants of a are introduced into were a kind of wandering spirits. that it was of a more playful and gentle. in forgetting the very names of objects which had been the sources of terror to their ancestors of the Elizabethan age. champion named Hellequin. the infernals. cleanliness rewarded the housewives with the shoe . who the romance of Richard sans Peur. the a Celtic superstition. Phuca is conjecture. It 179 would require a better demonologist than I am. and catalogue. Th* show what progress the English have made in two centuries. The amusements . I might indeed say. and I might Pook. serves to some others. than that received among the sister people. into the preceding passage. we may remark. as there is too much reason to believe was the case . or in close alliance with. to explain the various obsolete superstitions which Reginald Scot has introduced. of the southern fairies were light and sportive their resentments were satisfied with pinching or scratching the objects of their displeasure their peculiar sense of . however. silver was extreme concerning coarseness or negligence which could offend their any and I cannot discern. token in the their nicety . was doubtless derived . But most anti- quarians will be at fault concerning the spoorn. except perhaps from delicacy the insinuations of some scrupulous divines. as articles of the old English faith. that they were vassals to.

in scorn of her churlish hospitality. or to the elves. 178. for the bodily harmes or good turnes supposed to be in his power. resembled the Pierrot of the pantomime. and pulled her down Incensed at the wooden stairs by the heels." JACKSON on Unbeliej. or (a character then to clown of the company. and at the same time the broadest comic character to mislead a clown on his path homeward. and a basin of sweet cream.) or. whom the widower had filled his deserted arms. "Brown bread and herring cobb Thy fat sides shall have many a b:>b!" ! But beyond such playful malice. p. opinion. acted in upon the English fairy court Robin Goodfellow. such a coarse regale. opines for the severer " Thus are the Fayries. duly placed for their refreshment by the loaf and deceased. repeating. who. . from difference of events ascribed to them. seeking sometimes to be feared. in his Treatise on Unbelief. to disguise himself like a * Dr. His jests were of the most simple. instead of the nicely arranged little loaf of the whitest bread. the elves dragged the peccant housewife out of bed.180 LETTERS ON The common with their North British sisterhood. to The constant attendant was the celebrated Puck. to use a more modern comparison. shortly after the death of what is called a nice tidy housewife. how. when as it is but one and the same malignant fiend that meddles in both . Jackson. 1625. otherwhiles to be loued as God. divided into good and bad. be found in the establishment of every person of quality. at the same time. some measure as the jester.* nursery story cannot be forgotten. they had no desire extend their resentment. had substituted a brown a cobb of herrings. edit. the Elfin band were shocked with to see that a person of different character.

as Milton informs us. told round the cottage hearth. affirms more positively that Robin's date was over. in which he had some resemblance to the Scottish household spirit called a Brownie. who. quality. . . which for a moment deceives us by its appearance of reality. And it is to be noticed. in the poem of L' Allegro. and not seldom of a disgusting. on the contrary. in order to induce an old gossip to 181 commit the egre- gious mistake of sitting down on the floor. Poor Robin. We have already seen. that he represents these tales of the fairies. in a passage was fallen into abeyance that which follows from the same author.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. were his special enjoyments. and for his use. If he condescended to do some work for the sleeping family. however. Robin Gooddispleasure. his rest. that the belief . notwithstanding his turn for wit and even in humour. when she expected to repose on a chair. stool. had been obscured by oblivion the days of Queen Bess. fellow. between whom and King Oberon Shakspeare contrives to keep a degree of distinct subordination. quoted from Reginald Scot. as of a cheer- ful rather than a serious cast I which illustrates what have said concerning the milder character of the southern superstitions as compared with those of the same class in Scotland the stories of which are for the most part of a frightful. must have both his food and amid his other notices of country superstitions. if raiment or food was left in his departed from the family in way. the selfish Puck was far from practising this labour on the dis- interested principle of the northern goblin.

nevertheless witches' charms and conjurers' cozenage are yet effectual. kept its ground against argument " to shed more blood. in time to come. and with upon my book. having in so much book vii. and survived and We are then to take leave of this fascinating article it of the popular creed. treated your predecessors to believe that Robin Good- fellow. were labour lost and time ill employed for I should no more prevail herein. upon whom there have gone as many and as credible tales as witchcraft.182 LETTERS ON Know you this by the way. to take in indifferent eyes to look good part my writings. than if a hundred years since I should have en. soothsayers. had been but a cozening merchant. as hags and witches be now ." controversy. that great and ancient bull-beggar. and no devil indeed. In the same tone Reginald Scot addresses the reader in the preface " To make a solemn suit to you that are partial readers to set aside partiality. saving that to call hath not pleased the translators of the Bible spirits by the name of Robin Goodfellow. . fellow and his fairy companions while that as to witchcraft. a witch will be as " mnch derided and condemned. poisoners. and also as credible to the people. and Popery is sufficiently discovered." seems clearly to prove. But Robin Goodfellow ceaseth now to be much feared. ii. that the belief in This passage Robin Goodwas now out of date. as the illusion and knavery of Robin Goodfellow. as was afterwards but too well shown. of interest chap. Eeginald Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft. that heretofore Robin Goodfellow and Hobgoblin were as terrible. and cozeners." they have diviners. as it * by the name of witches. and. and as clearly perceived.

like shadows at the advance of morn. the inference that the same species of witches were meant as those against whom modern legislation had. however engaging. as well as of writers only Of Spencer we must say inferior to those great names. It was rooted in the minds of the common people. could fancy their sportive ring. because in his Faery Queen. doubtless. means nothing more than an Utopia. the title is the only circumstance which connects his splendid allegory with the popular superstition and. . which the word witch being used in several places. in most European nations. must of necessity yield their place before the increase of knowledge. 183 to the imagination. as in in reverence to the Holy Scriptures. nothing. These superstitions have already served their best and most useful purpose. But it they saw the fairies tracing in is in vain to regret illusions which. as well by the easy solution it afforded of much which they found otherwise hard to explain. amid the tangled glades of a deep forest. or the turfy swell of her romantic commons. or nameless country. directed the punishment of death. in the gentle moonlight of a summer night England. many subordinate articles of credulity in England . as he uses it. but the belief in witches kept its ground. that we almost envy the credulity of those who. These two circumstances furnished the nu- merous believers in witchcraft with arguments in and law which they conceived irrefragable divinity . With the fairy popular creed fell. conveyed to those who did not trouble themselves about the nicety of the translation from the Eastern tongues. having been embalmed in the poetry of Milton and of Shakspeare.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.

Notwithstanding these specious reasons. against which our own statute-book. of human legislature. by their judicial confessions. and In short. and the code of almost all civilized countries. Learned writers arose in different countries to challenge the very existence of this imaginary crime. and defenceless. little bulls of popes. Will you dispute the existence of a crime. however sanctioned by length of time and universal acquiescence. on subjects which had occupied the decrees of councils. by laws upon which hundreds and thousands have been convicted. the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were periods when the revival of learning. the jurisconsult. they might add. and to put a stop to the horrid superstition whose vic- tims were the aged. many. ignorant. less investigations disregard of authority.184 LETTERS ON ? They might in witches say to the theologist. the fearof the reformers into subjects thought too sacred for consideration of any save the formerly clergy. superior to that ot their age. have attested. the spirit of the age was disposed to spare error. however venerable. the invention of printing. and unhesitating exercise of the private judgment. or even most of whom have. acknowledged ? their guilt and the justice of their punishment It is a strange scepticism. which rejects the evidence of Scripture. had caused them to be suspected of magic. or countenance imposture. and of the accused persons themselves. enquiry. when unsupported by argument. Will you not believe the Scriptures aver their existence to . to rescue the reputation of the great men whose knowledge. and . had introduced a system of doubt.

on the other hand. phenomena and cannot in nature are regulated by rationally be referred to supernatural agency. and perhaps no little ill-will. Each advance in natural knowledge teaches us that the pleasure of the Creator to govern the world by the laws which He has imposed. Wierus. claim for them much some distinction in a work on Demonology. incurred misrepresentation. from the persecution of the inquisitors of the church. which sent which could only be compared tims of old through the fire to Moloch. and studied under the celebrated Cornelius Agrippa. with . This learned thirty years.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. after taking his degrees as a doctor of medicine. became physician to the Duke of Cleves. The purits suers of exact science to coy that retreats. the most remarkable certain fixed laws. a charge very inconsistent with that of sorcery. that he denied the existence of spirits. it is The learned Wier. to that 185 vic- The courageous interposition of those philosophers who opposed science and experience to the prejudices of superstition and ignorance. or Wierus. were sure to be the first to discover. the sufficing cause to which superstition attributes all that is beyond her own narrow power of explanation. in the cause of truth and humanity. and other authors. and in doing so. and which are not in our times interrupted or suspended. while he suffered. which consists in corresponding with them. against whom the charge of sorcery was repeatedly alleged by Paulus Jovius. at whose court he practised for the highest reputation. was a man of great research in physical science. whose accusation against this celebrated man was.

both by serious arguments and by ridicule. Harsnet. incautious when justice could only accuse him of an eagerness to make good his argument.16 was LETTERS ON man. which Grands Hommes . Gabriel Naude. as he termed himself. the superstitions of Rome herself. teresting whom it is He wrote les found an in- work. upon this subject. purged their eyes with rue and euphrasie. and so temperate as never to taste any liquor stronger than water which is yet did he not escape usually flung by their prejudiced . besides the Rev. Apologie pour and as he exhibited a Accuses de Magie deal of vivacity of talent. Webster Reginald Scot ought to be distinguished. his contemporaries as guilty of heresy he was charged by and scepticism. and . Among persons who. and an earnestness in good did not always spare some of pleading his cause. contemporaries upon those disputants more easy to defame than to answer. pious. amongst others to Queen Christina of Sweden. busied during with assembling books together. and many others (who wrote rather on special cases of Demonology than on the general question)." He seems to have ing. a beneficed clergyman. he was one of the first likely to bring upon himself. leading a most life. " assures us that he was a person of competent learnof a good family. Dr. or Naudaeus. disregarding the scandal which. the vulgar credulity on the subject of wizards and witches. man of letters. who attacked the vulgar belief. and enjoying the office of librarian to several persons of high rank. by so doing. entitled. unblemished the scandal besides. was his a perfect scholar and life whole He was. and boldly assailed.

considering that his subject is incapable of being reduced into a regular form. fortune-tellers. as is designed to throw upon the those tricks in which. and well as that of Harsnet. or Philomaths. the popular ideas concerning witchcraft. been a zealous Protestant. by confedePapists in particular racy and imposture. fancies. were maintained and kept in exercise but he also writes on the general question with some force and talent. and other supernatural . of whom Bodin. who was reigning monarch during the hottest part of the controversy. neverperformed without the intervention of is supernatural assistance. possession. and some others. even when it is impossible to persuade the vulgar that the devil has not been conScot also had intercourse with sulted on the occasion. To defend the popular belief of witchcraft there arose a number of advocates. which the law had denounced a capital punishAs that law was understood to emanate from James himself. 187 much of his book. neither wanted knowledge nor powers of They pressed the incredulous party with reasoning.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. to have studied legerdemain for the purpose of showing how much theless. the charge that they denied the existence of a crime against ment. that be apparently unaccountable can. some of the celebrated of the time . and is of a nature partiHe appears cularly seductive to an excursive genius. one of whom clare the vanity of the science he brings forward to dewhich he himself had once professed. the English authors who defended the opposite side were obliged to in- trench themselves under an evasion to avoid maintain- .

&c. and which might. Scot. the debating parties grew warm. as were impossible for any to hold the opinion of Naudaeus. Wierus. without patronising the devil and the witches Assailed by such against their brethren of mortality. those who impugned the popular might exist.188 LETTERS ON ing an argument unpalatable to a degree to those in safe to those power. Bodin. their nature. that the question in respect to witches was not de existentia.. belief inconsistency. and juries had hitherto considered the sta- tute as designed to repress. In the meantime (the rather that the debate was on a of comprehension). to grant that witchcraft were obliged. With a certain degree of but only demurred to what is they came to be such according sophistry. knew not what. and how to the scholastic jargon. they answered that they did not doubt the possibility of witches. have proved unwho used it. Hence they threw on their antagonists the offensive if it names of witch- patrons and witch-advocates. and began to call names. and it only insisting that was a species of witchcraft consisting of they tainly of tors. perchance. the philosophers themselves lost patience. heavy charges. with some had existed. a lively Frenchman of an irritable habit. but only de modo existendi. exsubject particularly difficult plained the zeal of Wierus to protect the tribe of sorcerers from punishment by stating that he himself was a conjurer and the scholar of Cornelius Agrippa. but cer- something different from that which legislajudges. By resorting to so subtle an argument. . and might therefore well desire to save the lives of those accused of the same league with Satan.

and which. witch-advocates. which the progress of reasoning experimentally. it was an unknown. had introduced into his work against witchcraft the whole Stenographia of Trithemius. certainly. and observe the causes we may gave their for a period greater influence than those of opinions their opponents on the public mind. obscure. and from the long catalogue of fiends which it contained. and others. Paracelsus. Delrio. for what reabriefly which son cannot well be conjectured. with the charms for raising and for binding them to the service of mortals. except to show the extent of his cabalistical knowledge. and ill-defined region. the preponderance of the argu- ment lay on the side of the Demonologists. the whole secrets which formed his stock in trade. Secondly. used their arguments. and did not permit those who laboured in it to give that precise and accurate account of their discoveries. as the affirming and defending the exist- ence of the crime seemed to increase the number of witches. and others who and the like. was considered by Bodin as containing proof that Wierus himself was a sorcerer not one of the wisest. began to penetrate into its recesses. which he had copied from the original in the library of Cornelius Agrippa . and assuredly augmented the list of executions. and retorted abuse 189 in their turn. calling Bodin. It is first to be observed. since he thus unnecessarily placed at the disposal of any who might buy the book. for a certain time. from the state of physical science at the period when Van Helmont.I DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. that. . . we may notice. that Wierus. But. suspicious from the place where he found it.

for instance. had so much in it that was apparently uncombined and uncertain. the circumstance was imputed to some antipathy between these vegetables nor . If. some time resolved by the natural rule. in a word. were traced to their sources." This substitution of mystical fancies for experimental reasoning gave. and other remarkable and misconceived phenomena. that has its nourishment in marshy ground. in the sixteenth and seventeenth centu- . it was observed that a flag and a fern never grew near each other. could not be traced through their various combinations. Until such phenomena imaginary. even by those fanciful who in- knew the effects themselves. a phrase used to ex- phenomena which could be produced by a knowledge of the properties of matter. in the wilds of a partially discovered country. for the same mystical reason that. has enabled the late discoverers to and from do with success.190 LETTERS ON analysis. chiefly of a mystical character. a Physical science. was it for the flag the fern loves a deep dryish soil. press those Natural magic. divining-rod were fully credited philosopher's stone city. attributes of the the discovery of the for . that the results now known to be the consequence of laws of matter. whereas The . and an opinion prevailed. and often causes were assigned to them. was cumbered by number of and correct opinions. according to the satirist. that the art of chemistry was accounted mystical. were appealed to as proof of the reasonableness of their expectations. was daily hoped and electri- magnetism. " Geographers on pathless downs Place elephants for want of towns.

since it is there- It followed while the opposers of the ordinary theory might have struck the deepest blows at the witch-hypothesis by an appeal to common sense. and fore in vain to seek to account for them. that hidden treasures could be discovered by the mathematics who salved the weapon instead of the wound. " the effects of healing by the weapon-salve. contained nearly as deep draughts upon human credulity as were made by the Demonologists." all of which undoubted wonders he accuses the age of desiring to throw on the devil's back an unnecessary load. the curing of various diseases by apprehen- by transplantation . This error had a doubly bad effect. they were themselves that. that warts could be cured by sympathy who thought. assumes. Webster. opinions which our more experienced age would reject as frivolous fancies . a doubtful and twilight appearance to the various branches of physical philosophy. writing in detection of supposed witchcraft. or such things do not exist. and as affording a protection for falsehood in other branches of science. 191 ries. for instance. both as degrading the immediate department in which it occurred. The learned and sensible Dr. with Bacon. cersions. in their own pro- were obliged. hampered by articles of philosophical belief which. the sympathetic powder. with Napier. against whose doctrine they protested. The champions who. for example. as a string of unde- niable facts. vince. they must have been sensible.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. by the imperfect knowledge of the times. to admit much that was mystical and inexplicable those who opined. tainly. amulets. by and detected murders as well as springs of water .

which was carried on with much anger and . cannot doubt that they suffered considerably in the contest. to confute the believers in witches. view of the causes which helped to remove these imin addition. an argument turning on the impossible or the incredible. which suspended the strength of their appeal to reason and common sense against the condemning of witches to a cruel death. malevolence remained uncorrupted but the good seed which they had sown in the soil. could not consistently use. arising from the vanity of philosophers and the imperfection of their science.192 LETTERS ON the divining-rod. Such were the obstacles. it must always be remembered pediments to the general increase of knowledge and improvement of experimental philosophy. on account of crimes which the nature We of things rendered in modern times totally impossible. . to bear fruit so soon as the circumstances should be altered which at first In the next Letter I shall take a impeded its growth.

severe Law Various Prosecutions in Foreign Countries under this Prosecutions in Labourt by the Inquisitor De Lancre and his Colleague in Lycanthropy those Sweden and particularly Witches in Spain apprehended at Mohra. . ad inquirendum Prosecution for Witchcraft not frequent in the elder Period of the Roman Empire nor in the Middle Ages Some Cases took place. 193 Penal Laws unpopular when rigidly exercised Prosecution of Witches placed in the hand of Special Commissioners. under pretext of Witchcraft the Increase of Witches in his own Florimond's testimony concerning time Bull of Pope Innocent VIII.'* Charge against the Relations of the Queen Dowager But Prosecutions against Sorcerers became more common in the end of the Fourteenth Century strelefs Account of Usually united with the Charge of Heresy Monthe Persecution against the Waldenses. however The Maid of Orleans The Duchess of Gloucester Richard ///.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.

review of foreign countries before we come to notice the British Islands and their colonies. which denounces sorcerers and witches as rebels to God. inflicted. and are relentThose against treason are no exception. become frequent. but are uniformly found to disgust more sensible part of the public. and But being considered authors of sedition in the empire. as Mecaenas to Augustus. or policy. In Catholic countries on the continent. in order that their posterity might neither have the will nor the means to enter into similar excesses. there occurred an epidemic terror of witches. as fear is always cruel and credulous. the various kingdoms adopted readily that part of the civil law already mentioned. how often. may be at first hailed with unanimous acquiescence and approbation. to wait They ought till not.194 LETTERS ON ENAL laws. carnifex! It is accordingly remarkable. like those of the middle ages denounced against witchcraft. at some particular period of their history. will A short prove the truth of this statement. "Surge tandem. which. glutted the public with seas of innocent blood and how uniformly men loathed the gore after having swallowed it. either in humanity " the voice of the nation calls to them. or the defeat and offend at least the when the punishments of an insurrection. and by a reaction natural to the human mind. lessly Each reflecting government will do well to shorten that melancholy reign of terror which perhaps must necessarily follow on the discovery of a plot. desired in prudence to take away or restrict those laws which had been the source of carnage. . in different countries.

proud of the trust reposed in them. a desert from which the inhabitants fled. as well as the heretics who promulgated or adhered to false doctrine. witchis frequently alluded to. . and inflicted. Man. or Italy.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. It to the extent of this delusion. the severity of the tortures all they might wring the truth out of suspected persons. under pretext of consulting with the spiritual world. authorizing them to visit those provinces of Germany. or in any other respect fell under the ban of the church. thought it becoming to use the utmost exertions on their part. to make innovation in the state. inquisitors would be impossible to give credit had not some of the themselves been : judicial exploits reporters of their own the same hand which subscribed the sentence has recorded the execution. France. that the subtilty of the examinations. obnoxious equally to the canon and civil Commissions of Inquisition were especially empowered to weed out of the land the witches and those who had intercourse with familiar spirits. and a crime sui generis. where any report concerning witches or sorcery had alarmed the public mind . or desertion of the Deity. and those commissioners. and a capital punishment assigned to those who were supposed to have accom- plished by sorcery the death of others. by false prophecies or otherwise. But no general denunciation as a league with the Enemy of against witchcraft itself. or to have attempted. until they rendered the province in which they exercised their jurisdiction. Special warrants were thus granted from time to time in behalf of such inquisitors. as 195 law. craft In the earlier period of the Church of Rome.

to prolong the blind veneration of the people. The influence of early times. of the celebrated Jeanne d'Arc. the Church secured possession of many beautiful pieces of scenery. the higher and members of the clerical order put as Did there faith at that time as they do now. as Mr. preserves the memory of such a cusIt is true. when the Papal system had attained its highest pitch of power and of corruption. remain a mineral fountain. by assign- ing the virtues of the spring. that this policy . in which. called the story Maid of Orleans. The was not uniformly observed. the churchmen was. secure. a huge oak-tree. they acquired. or venerated mount. than to vex others and weary themselves by secret investigations into dubious and better instructed little mystical trespasses. the fathers of the Roman Church were in policy reluctant to abandon such impressive spots. or of evil spirits.196 LETTERS ON appears to have been so acted upon. until the latter period of the sixteenth century. On the contrary. as it fortress were. in and they rather endeavoured. Whitefield is said to have grudged to the devil the monopoly of all the fine tunes. which beauty of situation had recommended to tradi- tional respect. Thus. a frontier which they wrested from the enemy. by the fabrication of false miracles. to the guardianship of some saint. respected for the cures which it had wrought . or the beauty of the tree. or to represent them as exclusively the rendezvous or witches. and which it was at least needless to dismantle. probably. for the defence of their own doctrine. if it could be conveniently garrisoned and defended.

The Duke of Bedford. were. after having by her courage and enthusiasm. in ancient times. both by the Parliament of Bourdeaux and the UniverHer indictment accused her of having sity of Paris. of Bourlestated to have repaired. but a tool used by the celebrated Dunois. which he assigned her. and a fountain arising under it. The mean recurrence to such a charge against such a person. torn. had no more success than it deserved. reviving. manifested on many important occasions. which she had represented as signs of her celestial mission. and mont. The wise on both sides considered her as neither the one to play the part nor the other. revived the drooping courage of the French. 197 of which was in that case turned to the prejudice the poor woman who observed it. and the hours making gestures around the tree and fountain. the obsolete idolatry which. dancing. and inspired them with the hope of once more freeing their country. during of divine service. when the ill-starred Jeanne fell into his hands. or Fairy Oak. frequented an ancient oak-tree. gathered for the purpose. Here she was hanging on the branches chaplets and garlands of flowers. had been rendered on the same spot to the Genius Loci. skipping. ceress English vulgar regarded her as a sorthe French as an inspired heroine while the -. and to destroy the reputation she had acquired among the French. took away her life. The charmed sword and blessed banner. It is well known that this unfortunate female fell into the hands of the English. in order to stigmatize her memory with sorcery. called the Fated.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. although Jeanne was condemned. in . doubtless.

directed against Morton. afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. was only to be chosen as a charge easily made. in both cases. or were executed. while several of her accomplices died in prison. to accomplish her temporary success. by that unscrupulous prince. The death of the innocent. and thereafter banished Man. and the queen's kinsmen and yet again was. difficult But in the meanwhile. and eluded or repelled. Henry VI. and perhaps amiable enthusiast. we may impute the trial of the Duchess of Gloucester. described as enchanted implements. But in this instance also. mingled with national and hatred. high-minded. we are sorry to say. the alleged witchcraft was only the ostensible cause of a procedure which had its real source in the deep hatred between the Duke of Gloucester and Cardinal Beaufort. accused of consulting witches concerning the mode of compassing the death of her husband's nephew. wife instance of the good Duke Humphrey. as the accusation of witchcraft thus afforded to tyranny. but a cruel of wicked policy. the ready means of been possible assailing persons whom it might not have . designed by the fiends and fairies whom she worshipped. about the same period. and other adherents of the Earl of -. Richmond. The accusation. or policy. The Duchess was condemned to the Isle of to do penance. his half-brother. a sacrifice to superstitious fear of witchcraft. Jane Shore. by Richard against the The same pretext was used when he brought the charge of sorcery III.. jealousy To the same cause. Queen Dowager.198 this hostile LETTERS ON charge against her. was not.

as spread- So early as ing wider and becoming more contagious. The Romanists became . arising from different The causes. The more severe enquiries and frequent punishments. wealth and ease had caused to neglect that course of In morality which best recommends religious doctrine. in the crowded sects cities. The Waldenses and Albigenses were parties existing in great numbers through the south ot extremely desirous to France. such views being rendered all more tion of credible to the poorer classes through the corrupmanners among the clergy. and their desire to cast off her domination. is In the same century. the University of Paris. by which the judges endeavoured to check the progress of this impious practice. taking a different direction in different countries. in proportion as public attention fastened on stories connected with their display. schisms. the year 1398. almost every nation in Europe.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. stirred up a sceptical dissatisfaction with the dogmas of the church. who or the wild solitude of the country. too many of whom. had. the aspersion itself was gradually considered with increase of terror. as. that those morbid affections of mind which depend on the imagination are sure to be- come more common. seem to have increased the disease . in almost of them. indeed. express their regret that the crime was growing more frequent than in any former age. in laying down rules for the judicial prosecuting of witches. universal spirit of enquiry which was now afloat. 199 to convict of any other crime. agreed chiefly in their animosity to the supremacy of Rome. greatly alarmed the Church of Rome. it has been always remarked. there lurked.

who. I know not why.* kingdom of Satan remarkable passage in Monstrelet puts in a clear view the point aimed at by the Catholics. which he considers and the sorcerer . . all who oppose his own opinion concern(as he calls ing witchcraft. This sect consisted. and other defenders of the devil. de Magia.200 LETTERS ON combine the doctrine of the heretics with witchcraft. and how a meeting of inoffen- A be cunningly identified with a Sabbath of hags and fiends. under cloud of night. in thus confusing and blending the doctrines of heresy and the practice of witchcraft. it is said. repaired to some solitary spot. informing them he would be obeyed distributed a very little * Delrio. as a matter of course. the assembly a how never perfectly visible to them read to book of his ordinances. upon those dissented from the Catholic standard of Faith. the . and sive Protestants could county of Artois. arose. where the save that devil appeared before his visage is them in a human form.) thus fortifying the against that of the church. an opinion called. by the power of the devil. See the Preface. according to their account. abounded especially where the Protestants were most numerous and. through a terrible and melancholy chance. of certain persons. the Religion of Vaudoisie. Jesuit Delrio alleges several reasons for the affinity as existing between the Protestant he accuses the former of embracing the opinion of Wierus. bitterness increasing. both men and women. they scrupled not to throw the who The charge of sorcery. which. " In this year [1450]. in the town of Arras. amid woods and deserts.

to avoid the punishment and the shame attending it. and would confess nothing imputed to their charge but they. had to give sums to the judges. and tortured for so who had long a time. which was concluded by a after which each one of the scene of general profligacy party was conveyed home to her or his own habitation. These were so horribly tortured that some of them admitted the truth of the whole accusations. lates. that they also were obliged to confess what was charged against them." " several creditable continues Monstrelet. seigneurs. Several of those been thus informed against were arrested. Many even of those also confessed being persuaded to take that course by the interrogators. who exacted that such of large them as.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. . accusations of access to such acts of madness. and said. that they had seen and recognised in many persons of rank. were still . of a truth. who promised them indemnity for life and fortune. too. preand governors of bailliages and cities. besides. who suffered with marvellous patience and constancy the torments inflicted on them. while the richer and more powerful of the accused ransomed themselves by sums of money. those of mean condition were executed and inhumanly burnt. persons of " On the town of Arras were seized and imprisoned. notwithstanding their mishandling. along with some foolish women and persons of little consequence. while they constrained them by their nocturnal assembly torture to impeach the persons to whom they belonged. thrown into prison. being such names as the examinators had suggested to the persons examined. Some there were. 201 money and a plentiful meal. After this.

The Jesuit heres with lingering reluctance to the truth of the " The Waldenses accusation. but real persecution. covetous purposes. and to make an impression the very reverse. dated 2oth May. by these false accusations life. of which the writer would have desired. should banish themselves from that part of the country. (of whom the Albi- " never free from genses are a species) were. probably. as strongly illustrative of the condition calculated to which the country was reduced." Monstrelet winds up this shocking narrative by informing us. with horrors which should hardly have been found proved even upon the most distinct evidence. Delrio quotes the passage.202 LETTERS ON able to move. quoted. by an arret. and the judges iniquitous. had declared the sentence illegal." Delrio himself confesses that Franciscus Balduinus gives an account of the pretended punishment. and in and forced confessions. that it ought not to be concealed that the whole accusation was a stratagem of their " wicked men for order. of these Waldenses. he cannot prevail on himself to acquit the parties charged. that ." he says. He appeals on this occasion to Florimond's work on AntiThe introduction of that work deserves to be christ. though he allows the conduct of the judges to have been most odious. the affair whose suspicions are distinctly spoken out. but ad1491. that the Parliament of Paris. the most wretched excess of fascination . in similar terms with Monstrelet. having heard by appeal. destroy the and fortune of wealthy persons. to own fame. by such interested accusers. and adds. " and finally.

No we do not render our tribunals day passes bloody by the dooms which we pronounce. corresponds with the historical notices of repeated persecutions bull of this dreadful charge of sorcery. and was ever age so afflicted The seats destined for criminals our judicatories are blackened with persons accused of this guilt. while it stimulated the inquisitors to the unsparing discharge of their duty in searching out " It is come to our and punishing the guilty. agree that the increase of sorcery and witchcraft is to distinguish the melancholy period of his advent with them as ours ? before . Our dungeons that are gorged with them. p. " quoted by Del- de Magia. . ears. and that by their sorceries they afflict both man and beast . says the bull. rio. or in which we do not return to our homes discountenanced and terrified at the horrible contents of the confessions And the devil is has been our duty to hear. There are not judges enough to try them. accounted so good a master that we cannot commit so which it what great a number of his slaves to the flames but there shall arise from their ashes a number sufficient to supply their place. Innocent the VIII. n. by which it appears that the most active and unsparing inquisition was taking place. 7. rang the tocsin against Pope this formidable crime. cap. and set forth in the most dismal upon A colours the guilt. " All those 203 who have afforded us some signs of the approach of Antichrist. 820." numbers of both sexes do not avoid to have intercourse with the infernal fiends.DEMOXOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 5. that * Florimond concerning the Antichrist."* This last statement.

* women About 1485. in the County of Burlia. the grapes of the vineyard. just then obtained his doctor's degree in civil law. That prelate consulted Alciatus him- self. the grass and herbs of the field. in spite of bolts and bars . . and France." reasons the inquisitors were armed with the Apostolic " convict. and the people arose and drove him out of the country. about the same period. 105. for Some were a course of hellebore than for the stake. punish. Institor. and the increase of cattle . Hutchison quotes H. accused of having dishonoured the crucifix and denied their salvation . imprison. they blast the corn on the ground. others of having absconded to keep the Devil's Sabbath. Cumanus burnt as witches forty-one poor In the in one year.204 LETTERS ON that they blight the marriage-bed. fitter. number of unfortunate wretches were brought for who had A judgment. Several of their husin bands and relatives swore that they were bed and * Dr." Dreadful were the consequences of the continent. to which he was afterwards an honour. and power. Alciatus states that an inquisitor. the fruits of For which the trees. according to the civilian's opinion. others of having merely joined in the choral dances around the witches' tree of rendezvous. after which the jurisdiction was deferred to the archbishop. burnt an ensuing years he continued the prosecution with such hundred sorcerers till in persevered in his enquiries human Piedmont. unremitting zeal that many fled from the country. destroy the births of women. and called upon to and so forth. especially in Italy. and patience was ex- hausted. 161. this bull all over Germany.

and multitudes were burnt amid Some notion of the exthat gay and lively people. and about one hundred every year for several years.* In 1488. the author of the Malleus Maleficarum. boasts that to death nine hundred people in fifteen years." from which we may suppose many suffered for heresy. About 1515. commended gentle and temperate measures and the minds of the country became at length composed. made themselves guilty as the cause of the devastation. in Italy. 205 Alciatus re. Juris. Parerg. asleep during these pretended excursions.f In the beginning of the next century.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. year at Como. Remigius. f Bart. Forty-eight witches were burnt at Ravensburgh within four years. lib. by fair means or foul. a thousand persons were put to death in one . and two to confess women being. de Strigilibua. the learned inquisitor. suffered death. As many were banished from that country so that whole towns were on the point of becoming desolate. treme prejudice of their judges may be drawn from the words of one of the inquisitors themselves. on the authority of Mengho. as Hutchison reports. cap. In he put Lorraine. . the persecution of witches broke out in France with a fury which was hardly conceivable. royal councillor in the Parliament of Bourdeaux. viii. de Spina. five hundred persons were executed at " Protestant witches Geneva. Pierre de Lancre. the country four leagues around Constance was laid waste by lightning and tempest . 22. In 1524. with whom the President Espaignel was joined in a * Alciat. under the character of .

at the foot of the Pyrenees.'' At first. in the way of direct defiance. Satan then proceeded. about the month of May. as a commission with such plenary powers. 1619. so that if. and the previous agony of acute torture. in spite of him. by refusing their victims. it rather derived its charms from the . some of the accused found means. His story assumes the form of a narrative of a direct war between Satan on the one " Commissioners on the other. natural The judges took care that the Fiend seldom obtained any advantage in the matter." judge. dominions. " the immediate presence of the devil though. in all probability. with throat. and the Royal because. a visible obstruction in their Notwithstanding this. they declared. any interval of rest or sleep. by intermission of the torture. the wretches should fall into a doze. " had profound stupor something of " with said the comparison between the insensibility of exhaustion. to stop the mouth of the accused openly. Paradise in when they were recalled from it to the question. with self-complaisance. and by mere something like force." says Coun" is side. being gilded. to confess . reported to have been committed in Labourt and its neighbourhood. cillor nothing so calculated to strike terror into the fiend and his de Lancre. Satan endeavoured to supply his vassals who were brought before the judges with strength to support the examinations. in most cases. to put the devil to shame.206 LETTERS ON commission to enquire into certain acts of sorcery. A few extracts from the preface will best evince the state of mind in which he proceeded to the discharge of his commission. that the it.

he stoutly affirmed that their parents. ! " Out upon you your promise was." how you this ! They have mutiny. To appease He produced and encouraged the mutinous to walk them. they would receive an answer. whereas he was now insulted publicly by his own vassals. and Satan answered each of them in a tone which resembled the call would voice of the lamented parent. almost as successfully as Monsieur Alexandre could have done. or rather burnt. the Commissioners. taking his refuge in lies. 207 and be hanged. They made the invocation accordingly. have kept your word with us been burnt. not sticking to say to him. who had suffered. were if their safe in a foreign country. and in the midst of his festival of the Sabbath. Satan had two evasions. of which he to be the father. that . midable commissioners arrived.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. and are a heap of ashes. is well known Again. assuring them that the judicial pile was through as frigid and inoffensive as those which he exhibited illusory fires. placed the gibbet on which they executed their victims on the spot where Satan's gilded chair was usually The devil was much offended at such an stationed. who seemed to have suffered. Proceeding to a yet more close attack. The Fiend lost much Before the forcredit by his failure on this occasion. on the eve of one of the Fiend's Sabbaths. and in the pleniere before square of the palace of Galienne. that our mothers who were prisoners should not die and look . affront. he had held his cour the gates of Bourdeaux. to them. the children and relations of the witches. and that children on them. just and yet had so little power in the matter.

After this grand fiction. which he had gained with costs. and that sixscore of infant children were to be delivered up to him in name of damages. that it is a mountainous. fishers. full of spirit. and would also burn the commissioners themselves in their own fire. The chief reason seems to be.208 LETTERS ON he could only express his resentment by threats. and the and a border country. and in whom no one reposed confidence. and wear short petticoats. where the men are all women smoke tobacco. abandoned for three or four sittings his attendance on the Sabbaths. sending as his representative an imp of subordinate account. the greatest absurdities and grossest obscenities ever To a person who. the Archfiend by assuring them. regret to We say that Satan was unable to execute either of these Ashamed of his excuses. as few of them could speak the Basque language. in this presumptuous. he laudable resolutions. When he took courage again to face covered his defection his parliament. and has composed a quarto volume. he confined himself to the petty vengeance of impeding the access of confessors to the condemned. which was the more easy. I have no time to detail the ingenious method by which the learned Councillor de Lancre explains why the district of Labourt should be particularly exposed to the pest of sorcery. and the witches were directed to procure such victims accordingly. a sterile. that he had been engaged in a lawsuit with the Deity. gentlemen who had solicited and promoted the issuing of the commission. trifling. conceited . that he would hang Messieurs D'Amon and D'Urtubbe.

impressed on paper.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT." and the discrepancy of evidence. with better taste. and De Lancre writes with much complacency. and could only hear the evidence and the defence through the medium of an interpreter. contradicted each other at every turn respecting the description of the Domdaniel in which they pretended to have assembled. Monarch he might with as much prudence have turned a ravenous wolf upon an undefended flock. All spoke to a sort of gilded throne . and the fiend who presided there. what their judges called confessions. beheld a huge indistinct form. as suffering torture some. in favour of the Instances occur in De Lancre's book of the trial and . that the accused were brought to trial to the number of forty in one with what chance of escape. of whom the animal was the natural enemy. Christian it 209 was the pleasure of the most most absolute power which could be exercised on these poor people and to consign the . fell prey. made no impression sorcerers of Labourt. as well as the ignorant peasant. resembling one of those mutilated trunks of trees found in ancient forests. as they were his natural The priest. the understanding of the reader anticipate. But De Lancre was no " Daniel come to judgment. may be remarked. that the accused. but some saw a hideous wild he-goat seated there some a man disfigured and twisted. were blinded with prejudice. may the easily Among in other it gross transgressions of most ordinary rules. which saved the life and fame of Susannah. when the judges day. under the suspicion of this fell commission .

idea. whom he represented. and was attended in his course by one larger. If either had not seen the other. and is the subject of great debate between Wier. of transforming himself into the shape of a wolf . that a the power. by his master's power. on the one hand. said the The human being had being seized with a species of fury. at Such a person. disease. He his superior. who was. slaying and wasting. but was known in other countries. transformed into the likeand performed the usual functions. These wolves. after the manner of the animal. Besangon. Scot. or of the Lord of the Forest so he called yeoman pricker. he rushed out. who was judged to be the devil. in which the patient to aid was supposed imagined that he committed the ravages of which he was accused. he said. was. of a wolf. ravaged the flocks. broken with occasional fits of insanity. a melancholy state of mind. and in that capacity. Naude. ness. by sorcery. the other. which he supposed to be the Lord of the Forest himself. was tried gave himself out for a servant. The more incredulous reasoners would not allow of a real transformation. and their demonological adversaries on one party. to call his comrade to his share of the prey . France. and contended that lycanthropy only subsisted as a woful species of. and throttled the dogs which stood in their defence. he howled. which cases in some the metamorphosis.210 condemnation of LETTERS ON persons accused of the crime of a superstition which was chiefly current in lycantbropy. like the animal and made havoc among the flocks. a mere youth. if . whether with or without the enchanted hide of a wolf. far more than he could devour.

and their labours cost as much blood on accusations of witchcraft and magic. which. 211 he proceeded to bury Such was the general persecution under Messrs. were supposed to be allied to necromancy. and imperfectly understood even by those who studied them. to be kept open in Toboso. of magic.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. the sober and rational horrors in the Causes Celebres. the residence of the Moors. as well as heretics. of course. during the subsistence of the Moorish kingdoms in Spain. after which the itself was heard of no more. signal. good and evil genii. In Spain. it was not. for the study. and other sciences. till the edict of Louis XIV. or at least to natural magic. we may believe. discharging all future prosecutions for witchcraft. Even the colder nations of Europe were subject to the same epidemic terror for witchcraft men of * it was exhibited full in vrild and 'a speci. a people putting deep long faith in all the day-dreams of witchcraft. Espaignel and De Lancre. altogether mistaken it was supposed is said. but more likely of chemistry. by the ignorant and vulgar. Many similar scenes occurred in France. as for heresy and relapse. It was. he did not come upon this it the best way he could. more crime Europe. the ardent and devotional temper of the old Christians dictated a severe research after sorcerers. particularly. The reader may sup on such . spells. algebra. or and relapsed Jews In former times.* While the spirit of superstition was working such horrors in France. idle in other countries of and talismans. the business of the Inquisition to purify whateversuch pursuits had left of suspicious Catholicism. a school Mahommedans.

Both the gentlemen and the mass of the people." But these are acquired habits of thinking. other. the charged first words they stammer forth are a falsehood to exleast " The temptation of attracting is this all. the pleasure of enjoying importance. being translated into English by a respectable clergyman.212 LETTERS ON country of Sweden about the middle of last century. or accomplish a cuse it. " the human heart is demelancholy truth. Nor holiday. learn to despise and avoid false- hood the former out of pride. from some general reflection upon the necessity of preserving a character for integrity in the course of life. and com- mitting great cruelty and injustice. sire to escape from an unpleasing task. and a sense of the truth of the common adage. in this case. as is experienced by all who have the If they are acquaintance with early youth. and desperately wicked. that honesty is the best policy." is by nothing proved so strongly as by the imperfect sense displayed by children of the sanctity of moral truth. on account of the idle falsehoods propagated by a crew of lying children. . and from a remaining feeling derived from the days of chivalry. the deattention. an account of which. The child has no natural love of truth. that the character of a liar is a deadly stain on their honour the : . that above all things. Doctor Horneck. The ceitful were both actors and witnesses. excited general surprise how a whole people could be imposed upon to the degree of shedding much blood. will at any time overcome the sentiment of Hence thieves and truth. so weak is it within them. with a fault while they can hardly speak. who. as they advance in years.

have. from a surprisingly early period. with ears open to receive the incredibilities with which they were to be crammed. under the usual age of their being admitted to give evidence. of the common people. supported exclusively by the evidence of children (the confessions under torture excepted). nor are such acolytes found to evade justice with less Where a dexterity than the more advanced rogues. which district had probably its The The name from some remnant of ancient superstition. has been attended with such serious consequences. scene was the Swedish village of Mohra. 213 housebreakers. when. delusion had come to a great height ere it reached the ears of government. and it is terrible to see how often the little im- postors. men well fitted for the duty intrusted to them . trials . were necessarily often examined in witch preserved. that is. as was the general procedure. re- . royal commissioners were sent down. and hearts hardened against every de- The complaints gree of compassion to the accused. or in mere gaiety of by their arts men's lives. find means of rendering children useful in their mystery . and obviously existing only in the young witnesses' own imagination. from spite. shipwreck of which. number of them there is are concerned in the same mischief. made it would be hard to discover a case spirit. backed by some persons of better condition. or given cause to so extensive and fatal a delusion as that which occurred in Sweden.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. with something resembling virtue secret is in the fidelity which the common Children. that a number of persons. were. But and perseverance. in the province of Elfland.

so many as occasion. classes under the They de- punishment of these agents of hell. were found more or less perfect in a tale as full of impossible absurdities as ever was told around a nursery fire. and hearing the extrayear. besides. to the number of three hundred. also led to death. in the Hartz forest. and to which as Goethe represents the peared at the call spirit Mephistopheles con- ducting his pupil Faustus. where most of were Fifteen of the children Six-and-thirty of those who were were forced to run the gauntlet. and with certain ceremonies to invoke the devil by the name of Antecessor. a mountain infamous for being the common seat of witches' meetings. in various forms.214 LETTERS ON as witches. therefore. whole Twenty of to the same ordinary story which the former insisted upon maintaining. Their confession ran thus : They were taught by the witches to go to a cross way. The devil courteously ap- of the children. lashed weekly at the church-doors for a the youngest were condemned discipline for three days only. manded. the Brockenberg. the threescore and ten witches and sorcerers being seized in the village of Mohra . and were them were executed. young and were. reminding the judges that the province had been clear of witches since the burning of some on a former The accused were numerous. three-and-twenty confessed their crimes. sent to Faluna. as it is called. The process seems to have consisted in confronting the children with the witches. meaning. nowned of all had drawn several hundred children devil's authority. perhaps. . begging him to carry them off to Blockula. The children.

Most of the children considered their journey to be corporeal and actual. a high-crowned hat. that a sensible clergyman. of evidence which. condemned. Some supposed. " out of so great a multitude as were accused. though they shook them for the purpose of arousing them.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. would have pancy cast the whole. and anointed them with a certain unguent composed of the scrapings of altars and There is here a discrethe filings of church-clocks. red and blue stockings. The and owed their death more to the malice of their skill enemies than to their readily admit. with a grey coat. the belief of nurses and mothers in their actual transportation. there might be some who suffered unjustly. that their strength or spirit only travelled with the fiend. however. beast of his providing. not- withstanding. in the black art. had the utmost difficulty. and could not be awakened out of a deep sleep. in another court. a red beard. Very few adopted this last hypothesis. and see what hag or fiend would take him from his arms. learned translator candidly allows. nevertheless. and executed." he continues. with linen of various colours wrapt round it. in convincing his mother that the child had not been transported to Blockula during the very night he held him in his embrace. though the parents unanimously bore witness that the bodies of the children remained in bed. " but . and He set each child on some garters of peculiar length. who had resolved he would watch his son the whole night. 215 but chiefly as a mad Merry-Andrew. So strong was. and that their body remained behind. mentioned in the preface. I will Nor will I deny.

If which they turned the which had brought them to such scenes human beings had been employed. with a paddock. The same acts of wickedness and profli- gacy were committed * Translator's Preface to at Blockula which are usually the Kingdom of Sweden. and milk and cheese. as truth. which. . if they saw their children any way disordered. Their food was homely enough. being broth made of coleworts and bacon. would have deprived the world For if it was possiof the benefit of his translation. or ready to be carried away by imps. ble that some of these unfortunate persons fell a sacri- fice to the malice of their neighbours. followed out. as he seems ready to grant.216 that LETTERS ON when the news of these transactions. and several withdrawing-rooms. might think they were bewitched. is it not more reasonable to believe. or the prejudices of witnesses. fell into fits and accounts and strange how the children bewitched unusual postures spread abroad in the kingdom some fearful and credulous people. in beasts to graze of revelry. the slightest part of the gross and vulgar impossibilities upon which alone their execution can be justified ? The was Blockula. they left slumbering against the wall of the house. which was the object of their journey. that the whole of the accused were convicted on similar grounds."* The learned gentleman here stops short in a train of reasoning. a house having a fine gate painted with divers colours. The of the devil's palace consisted of one large banplan were queting apartment. Homeck's Account of what happened in See Appendix to Glanville'a work. than to allow. with bread and butter.

on which we care not to be particular. They said. They could not be persuaded to exhibit any of their tricks before the commissioners. desirous of enjoying reputation among his subjects. excusing themselves by alleging that their witchcraft had left them. but as the skull was of unusual solidity. pretended at one time ula to be dead. the practice of carrying off children had been enlarged very lately.DEMON'OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. his own that the devil. who were married together. where 217 supposed to take place upon the devil's Sabbath elsebut there was this particular. as the mode of elongating a goat's back by means of a spit. hand thrust . imputed to them. that the witches . It is worth mentioning. and produced an offspring of toads and serpents. indeed. having a out of it. given her by the devil for that purpose. (which shows the whole rumours to have arisen recently-.) and the despairing wretches confirmed what the children said. attempted to strike a nail. the reverend gentleman only felt a headache from her efforts. into the head of the minister of Elfland . with many other extravagant circumstances. had sons and daughters by the fiends. These confessions being delivered before the accused at last some witches. and that the devil had amused them with the vision of a burning pit. Some attempts these witches had made to harm indilittle viduals on middle earth. and was much lamented at Block- but he soon revived again. and acquiesced in the horrors . but with success. One old sorceress. they at first stoutly denied them of them burst into tears.

acute of his companions to the like falsehoods whilst those of weaker minds assented. as it was considered. we should probably If the true explanation of this night . and those who denied. and at this expense of blood was exfifteen children The . by alleging he had been at Blockula on the preceding find that the cry we could ever learn story. that Heaven would be pleased to restrain the powers of the devil. It is worth while also to observe. received praise and encouragement . as any portent of the fiercely. were sure to bear the harder share of the punishment which was addressed to all. in their confessions. burnt as as rapidly. either from fear of punishment. as their comrade. that the smarter children . who wished to apologize to his parents for lying an hour longer in the morning. or were silent. or the force of dreaming over at night the horrors which were dinned into their ears all day. and. impenitent. and decayed kind within the annals of superstition. as well as the innocent children. including occasion. The commissioners returned to court with the high approbation of all concerned prayers were ordered through the churches weekly. tinguished a flame that arose as suddenly. Those who were ingenuous. who were by hundreds was led by some clever mischievous boy. and that the desire to be as much distinguished had stimulated the bolder and more .218 LETTERS ON total number who lost their lives on this singular was fourscore and four persons. at once. as it was termed. and deliver the poor creatures who hitherto had groaned under carried off it.

But whether the actions confessed and proved against them were real. and when they came to Blockula he pulled the children back. began to improve their evidence. was not as yet able to determine and children to be burnt nant evidence as . talked much of a white angel. both of whom attest the confession the court of and execution of the witches. Sweden to the court of England. and told them that And. he " a sufficient reason. and afterwards translated out of High Dutch upon. and shows the whole tale to be the fiction of the children's imagination. which some of them wished reader to improve may consult. The into English. they added. them do. in 1672 and that of Baron Lyonberg. .DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. attached to Sadducismus Triumphatus. 219 and add touches to the " Some of the children general picture of Blockula. ambassador from . which used to forbid them what the this better devil bid these doings should not last long." and executed on such pregwas brought before them." This additional evidence speaks for itself. The translator the evidence of Baron Sparr. An Account of what happened in the Kingdom of Sweden in the years 1669 and 1670. judges and comhe said. or only the effects of strong imagination. " had caused divers men. women. envoy extraordinary of the same power. being would place himself sometimes at the door betwixt the witches and the children. missioners. The King of Sweden himself answered the express enquiries of the Duke of " His Holstein with marked reserve. but the witches went in. by Glanville's refers to Dr Antony Horneck.

and where it is in a high degree more interesting to our present purpose. We must now turn our eyes to Britain. ferred LETTERS ON why punishment should have been at least de- by the interposition of the royal authority. in which our knowledge as to such events is necessarily more extensive. .220 perhaps.

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. and some Cases upon it Case of Dugdale Case of the Witches of Warbois. second. third. . 1 Jac. by the Calvinists . and also by some Puritanic Clergymen Statute of 1562. connected with State Crimes VIII. and Execution of That of Jane Wenham. by the Church of Eng- land. first. by the Catholics . in which some the Family of Samuel Church of England Clergymen insisted on the Prosecution Hutchison's Rebuke to them James the First's Opinion of Canon passed Witchcraft His celebrated Statute. and Lutherans Impostures unwarily countenanced by individual Catholic Priests. I. How Witchcraft was regarded by the three Leading Sects of Religion in the Sixteenth Century . 221 The Effects of the Witch Superstition are to be traced in the Laws of a Kingdom Usually punished in England as a Crime connected with Politics Attempt at Murder for WitchTrials of Persons of JRank for Statutes of Henry craft not in itself Capital Witchcraft.

while the reports of ghosts and fairies But when the alarm of witch- craft arises. were dreaded or despised. is Respecting other fantastic allegations. the pretended Witch-finder. and the belief in the Crime be- Lord Hales comes forgotten ver's Trial Witch Trials in New England Dame Glo- Affliction of the Parvises. the proof ful. j|UR account of Demonology in England must naturally.. than that cowards and children go out more seldom at night are peculiarly current. the His Brutal Practices His Letter Execution of Mr. as in every other country. in the provinces in which they have a temporary currency. &c. witchcraft. of the Prosecutions and frightful increase Suddenly put a stop to The Penitence of those concerned in them. depend chiefly on the instances which history contains of the laws and prosecutions against Other superstitions arose and decayed. Superstition dips her hands in the blood of the persons accused. Fairfax's Another Discovery in by the Convocation against Possession Children Lancashire Witches in 1613 1634 Webster's Account of the manner in which the Imposwas managed Superiority of the Calvinists is followed by a severe Prosecution of Witches Executions in Suffolk.222 LETTERS ON Case of Mr. and the causes alleged in vindication of their execution. Lewis Trial of Coxe Charles Hopkins punished of Restoration of ore lief Dunny and Callender Royal Society and Progress of Knowledge Somersetshire Witches Opinions of the Populace A Woman swum for Witchcraft at Oakly Murder at Tring Act against Witchcraft abolished. depending upon necessarily transient and doubtthe inaccurate testimony of vague . and records in the annals of jurisprudence their trials. ture to a dreadful extent cause of these Cruelties Hopkins. without greater embarrassment.

that we have the best chance of obtaining an accurate view of our subject. be punishable. by the black art. and the obtain- ing and circulating pretended prophecies. no doubt. supposing the charge proved. real or It is.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. to the unsettlement of the state and the endangering of the king's . after the fourteenth century. by whatever means it had been either essayed or accomplished. through means of evil spirits. between a witch and the in itself to Thus. therefore. The de- struction or abstraction of goods by the like instru- ments. was actionable at comlaw. fortiori. and originally punished accordingly. in a mon word. craft. on which they acquitted or condemned. in like the consulting manner. familiar spirits. the supposed paction demon was perhaps deemed have terrors enough to prevent its becoman ordinary crime. 223 But in cases of witchreport and of doting tradition. A soothsayers. therefore. or. fanciful. we have before us the recorded evidence upon which judge and jury acted. would. and can form an opinion with some degree of certainty of the grounds. or the like. visited ing with any statutory penalty. as in the countries on the But continent. in tracing this part of Demonology. But to attempt or execute bodily harm to others. and was not. as much as if the party accused had done the same harm with an arrow or pistol-shot. received in and credited England. the practices which fell under such a description were thought unworthy of any peculiar animadversion unless they were connected with something which would have been of itself a capital crime. The existence of witchcraft was. with its accompanying circumstances.

But a false prophecy of the king's death is not to be dealt with exactly on the usual principle . were pronounced. and condemnations justice. place in Upon such charges. indeed. and that of the Queen Dowager's kinsmen. is LETTERS ON And it may be yet a higher degree of guilt. fixed opinion. and some of great celebrity. life of another by waving and crying. Buzz and should. in the Sixth's reign. afterwards the Third. In 1521. that the enquiry into the date of the king's life bears a close affinity with the desiring or compassing the death of the sovereign. suffered for the charge of trafficking with witches. Maid of Kent. who pronounces (in his Table-talk}. be disposed to go the length of so high an authority as Selden. remarked. Buzz ! ! under this accordingly. because. the strong tendency to work its completion. however promulgation of such a prediction has. resort to sorcerers and the design to perpetrate a felony could be clearly proved. We would not. wave his hat and cry. that if a man heartily believed that he could take the his hat three times. with sufficient where the connexion between the no doubt. who had been esteemed In the same reign. the Duke of Buckingham We Henry was beheaded owing much the to his having listened to the predictions of one Friar Hopkins. a idle in itself. a pro- . Many persons. he ought to be executed as a murderer. in times such as we are speaking of. tioned the instance of the Duchess of Gloucester. to the prejuhave already mendice of those in authority. which is the essence of high treason.224 title. in the Protectorate of Richard. repeated trials took the courts of the English.

as the penal in itself. and. the other against 1541 the act of conjuration. who. The prohibition against witchcraft might be also dictated by the king's jealous doubts of hazard to the succession. and sorcery. and confessed her About seven years after this. which the sorcery was employed than to the fact ot fraud upon the scaffold. desired to sweep away Popery with the besom of deThis latter statute was abrogated in the struction.DEMOXOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. but. a formal statute against sorcery. at the same time. the legislature probably regarded those who might be brought to trial as impostors rather than wizards. 225 She suffered phetess. was actually passed penalty was limited to the pillory for the first transas . The enactment against breaking crosses was obviously designed to check the ravages of the reformers. remarkable statutes were passed in the year false prophecies. with seven persons who had managed her fits for the support of the Catholic religion. Two . using it. against breaking and destroying one against crosses. was beheaded for consulting certain Lord Hungerford soothsayers concerning the length of Henry the Eighth's But these cases rather relate to the purpose for life. perhaps as placing an undue of good Protestants against idolatry. in England as well as elsewhere. length. There are instances of individuals tried and Q .. was put to death as a cheat. withchcraft. At gression. year of first Edward restraint on the zeal VI. The ease the suspicious and former enactment was certainly made to wayward fears of the tetchy King Henry. in 1562.

or any like craft. in their articles of visitation. in a word. prevent. influenced the proceedings of the rival sects in relation Demonology." and this rendered it impos- sible to her own comply with the more wise and moderate of party. the prelates directed enquiry to be made after those who should use en- chantments. all affecting. and who acknowledged themselves such before the court and people. The sacred motto of the Vatican was. a formidable schism in the Christian world. " Vestigia nulla retrorsum . To the system of Rome the Calvinists offered the most determined occasion. who would otherwise have desired to and thus make liberal concessions to the Protestants. But. expressly .226 LETTERS ON convicted as impostors and cheats. by a garriwould have required to abandon prudence positions which had been taken in times of darkness. But it is here proper to make a pause for the purpose of enquiring in what manner the religious disputes. to observe an order of in the teeth of its enactments church-government. Papal Church had long reigned by the proud and absolute humour which she had assumed of maintaining every doctrine which her rulers had adopted in dark ages but this pertinacity at length made her cita- to The . which occupied all Europe about this time. as well as of worship. witchcraft. in its commencement. sorcery. invented by the devil. upon every points. and were unsuited to the warfare of a more enlightson del too large to be defended at every point whom ened age. and on opposition. to be a good .

they held it 227 all almost essential to be. are not the less often carried severity. and effect with unhesitating harshness and Betwixt these extremes the Churchmen of England endeavoured to steer a middle course. diametrically opposite to the Catholic form and As the foundation of this sect was laid in refaith. having lost the rank and opulence enjoyed by the Roman Church. into adopted with credulity and precipitation. as in themselves admirable. the connexion of their system with the state. witchcraft and persecution of. publican states .DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. in things. Their comparatively undilapidated revenue. and at any rate too greatly venerated by the people to be changed merely for opposition's sake. as its clerical discipline was settled on a democratic basis . made for their education afforded them learning to con- fute ignorance and enlighten prejudice. and as the countries which adopted that form of government were chiefly poor. if they have usually the merit of being honestly conceived and boldly expressed. which. the preachers. were gradually thrown on the support of the people. rendered them independent of the neces- of courting their flocks by any means save regular discharge of their duty and the excellent provisions sity . crimes as their the general character of the three belief in. Such being Churches. retaining a portion of the ritual and forms of Rome. such and sorcery were necessarily . with views of ambition as ample as the station of a churchman ought to command. Insensibly they became occupied with the ideas and tenets natural to the common people. Protestant.

severally received. and gave rise to various results in the countries where they were of The Church ling. that a wholesome faith in the absurdities of the vulgar creed. they might be unwilling to make laws by which their own enquiries in the mathematics. because every convent had the antidote. even if they were of a more credulous disposition. was unwilcall in the her period of undisputed power. They friar suffered spells to be re- manufactured. in the end of the fifteenth century.. to secular arm fell to punish men for witchcraft. in Rome. chemistry. that the bull of Pope Innocent and VIII. as we have seen. called to convict. was necessary to maintain the influ- ence of Diana of Ephesus. and other pursuits vulgarly supposed to approach the confines of magic art. and could. The learned men be subdued by the at the head of the establishment might safely despise the attempt at those hidden arts as impossible . algebra. in short.228 LETTERS ON modelled upon the peculiar tenets which each system professed. as to supernatural influences. or. according spiritual to her belief. . already quoted. which was disposed of to all who chose to demand it. might be inconveniently restricted. It was not till the universal progress of heresy. as a source both of power and of revenue fish part that if there orcism-fees all were no possessions there could be no exand. since every versing them had the power of they permitted poison to be distilled. The more sel- of the priesthood might think that a general belief in the existence of witches should be permitted to remain. imprison. arm alone. a crime which especially under ecclesiastical cognizance.

and rites by which good Catholics believed that in the opposite sense incarnate fiends could be expelled. chiefly because it 229 was the obto the ject to transfer the odium of these crimes Wal- denses. in whose numbers must be included the greater part of the English Puritans. though they had not finally severed from the communion of the Anglican Church. forms. They assumed whatever Rome pretended to as a proof of her omnipotent authority. who. with a new one. by confounding their doctrines with the influences of the Devil and his Fiends. yet disapproved of her ritual and ceremonies as retaining too much of the Papal stamp. regarded the success of the exorcising priest. and evil spirits of these. in accordance with their usual policy. like the holy water. the every kind rebuked robes of the priest. and excite and direct the public hatred against the new sect. in diametrical opposition to the doctrine of the Mother Church. sorcerers and While Rome thus positively declared herself against witches and sorcerers. ranked themselves. the Calvinists considered either with scorn and contempt as the tools of deliberate quackery and imposture. The exorcisms. condemn the sorcerers. or with horror and loathing as fit emblems and instruments of an idolatrous system. in the year 1523.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. enforced by Adrian VI. Such of them as did not absolutely deny the supernatural powers of which the Romanists made boast.. to what- . The bull of Pope Innocent was afterwards. the Calvinists. and the sign of the cross. in which excommunication was directed against heretics.

suspicious of sorcery. without doubt. inspired with a darker zeal. fundamentally as doctrines of much opposed to the Rome. the most speaking. and the most eager to follow it up with what they conceived to be the due punishment of the most fearful of crimes. and. while the divines of the Church of England possessed the upper hand in the kingdom. the King of the Devils. would have styled the same event an operation of the devil. altogether disclaimed and ceremonies merely because she had enteropinions But their position in society tended tained them. and resented bitterly. The leading divines of the as those Church of England were. above all. the attempt to confound any dissent from the doctrines of Rome with the proneness to an encouragement of rites of sorcery. of all the contending sects. They saw also. the Calvinists. as at best a casting out of devils by the power of Beelzebub. On the whole. while the Calvinist.230 LETTERS ON ever extent they admitted it. either the eager credulity of who the vulgar mind or the fanatic ferocity of their Calvinhave no purpose to discuss the matter istic rivals. the most undoubting believers in its existence. strongly to keep them from adopting. though trials and even condemnations for . witchcraft. with the unceasing desire of open controversy with the Catholics. We in detail enough has probably been said to show generally why the Romanist should have cried out a miracle respecting an incident which the Anglican would have contemptuously termed an imposture . on such subjects as we are now discussing. It followed that. generally were.

and . a principle already expiation of the fagot. wherever the Calvinist interest became predominant in Britain. Fearing and hating sor- cery more than other Protestants. and. which had led to the belief of witchcraft or Nor did prosecutions on account sorcery in general. Francis Hutchison. referred to by Dr. did not create that epidemic terror which the very suspicion of the offence carried with it elsewhere . as they might suppose. and their supposed dealings with Satan. and pursuing it to the In a word. the Calvinists were more eager than other sects in searching after the traces of this crime. of course. and entertained a strong and growing suspicion that legitimate grounds for such trials seldom actually existed. The numbers of witches. will be found to rule the tide and the reflux of such cases in the differ- ent churches. while learned judges were jealous of the imperof the evidence to support the charge. 231 that offence occasionally occurred. will increase or decrease according as such doings are accounted probable or impossible. connecting its cere- monies and usages with those of the detested Catholic Church. in making discoveries of guilt. charges and convictions will be found augmented in a terrific degree. When the accusations are disbelieved. Under the former supposition. a general persecution of sorcerers and witches seemed to take place of consequence. it usually happened that.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. so that Reginald Scot and others alleged it was the vain pretences and empty forms of the Church of Rome. fection On the other hand. unusually successful. of such charges frequently involve a capital punishment. by the faith reposed in them.

and publicly postors. were nothing else than marks of imposture by some idle vagabond. produced as evidence of the Demon's influence on the possessed person. were nevertheless often tempted to admit them The as real. . Two children were tried in 1574 for coun- terfeiting possession. trials. period was one when the Catholic Church had much occasion to rally around her all the respect that re- mained to her in a schismatic and heretical kingdom . while they were too sagacious not to be aware that the pretended fits. and take the credit of curing them. who. and trouble to the judges. it or cases of conviction at and did neither the one nor the other. called the Maid of Westwell. does not seem to have been intended to inaffords little The crease the least . which both juries and judges. strange sounds. contortions. The strong influence already possessed by the Puritans may probably be sufficient to account for the darker issue of certain cases in beth's time. and other extravagances. ceases to occupy the public mind. the crime becomes unfrequent. passing of Elizabeth's statute against witchcraft. furnished another instance of possession but she also confessed her imposture. in Elizamust be admitted to have shown fearful seventy. number of the fact is. showed her fits and tricks of mimicry. and stood in the pillory for im- Mildred Norrington. These cases of possession were in some respects sore snares to the priests of the Church of Rome. and when her fathers and doctors announced the exist- . in 1562.232 LETTERS ON dismissed as not worthy of attention.

or to abstain from conniving at the imposture.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. tected. to avoid it such a tempting opportunity as a supposed case of possession offered for displaying the high privileges in which his profession made him a partaker. and ceremonies to cure it. . relics. supposing him more tender of the interest of his order than that of truth. in which Roman selves. was a very gross fraud. he wanted no farther instruction how Such combinations were sometimes deto play it. reader may turn to Dr. in order to obtain for It was his church the credit of expelling the demon. instructed by a Catholic priest to impeach her grandmother of witchcraft. and brought more discredit on the Church of Rome than was counterbalanced by any which might On this subject. the be more cunningly managed. ecclesiastics had not hesitated to mingle them- That of Grace Sowerbutts. Harsnett's celebrated book on Popish Impostures. since a hint or two. wherein he gives the history of several notorious cases of detected fraud. to be wondered at if the ecclesiastic was somehardly times induced to aid the fraud of forbade him to be the detector. dropped in the supposed sufferer's presence. hesitate the less as which such motives At this he might he was not obliged to adopt the suspected and degrading course of holding an immediate communication in limine with the impostor. might give him the necessary information what was the most exact mode of performing his part. 233 ence of such a dreadful disease. and of the power of the church's prayers. and if the patient was possessed by a devil of any acuteness or dexterity. was difficult for a priest.

pretended to exercise by ceremonies. that power of expelling devils which the Church rites. and during his possession played a number of fantastic tricks. who. of Rome relics. This and The memorable youth was supposed to have sold his soul to the devil on condition of being made the best dancer in Lancashire. called the Surrey Impostor. however. the Dissenters. caught at an opportunity to relieve an afflicted person whose case the They fixed regular clergy appeared to have neglected. who weekly attended the and exercised themselves in apof humiliation and fasting during the pointed days All respect for the demon course of a whole year. a committee of their number. supposed sufferer. case of Richard Dugdale. not bited much different from those exhiby expert posture-masters of the present day. limited to the ecclesiWe have already stated that. and we have now to add. in their violent opposition to the Papists.234 LETTERS ON cases Such astics of Rome. following specimen " worth commemoration What. as ex- tremes usually approach each other. was one of the most remarkable which the Dissenters brought forward. by the vehemence of prayer and the authority of their own sacred commission. Satan : ! The . and they got so regardless of Satan as to taunt him with the mode of raillery is in which he executed his promise to teach his vassal dancing. adopted some of their ideas respecting demoniacs . seems to have abandoned the reverend gentlemen after they had relieved guard in this manner for some little time. were not. This person threw himself into the hands of the Dissenters. that they also claimed. in their eagerness.

to achieve a complete cure on Dugdale by an amicable understanding . Hutchison on Witchcraft. this occasion. is this 235 for ? &c. or the bouncings of a goat. and twitch up thy houghs just like a springhault tit?"* One might almost conceive the demon replying to this raillery in the words of Dr. Dugdale. attended a regular physician. par crdonnance du medecin. would have been They said that the effect of their public p. and to trip like a doe. which now attracted little notice.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. in a regular way. The they relinquished their task by degrees. or gesticulations of a monkey ? And cannot a palsy shake such a loose leg as that ? Dost thou not twirl like a calf that hath the turn. after their year of vigil. the dancing that Richard gave himself to thee Canst thou dance no better ? &c. and skip like a squirrel And wherein differ thy leapings from ? the hoppings of a frog." Dissenters were probably too honest. weary of his illness. . to shuffle feet and brandish knees thus. or friskings of a dog. 162. But the reverend gen- tlemen who had taken his case in hand if still assumed the credit of curing him. Johnson is : " This merri- ment of parsons extremely offensive. and was cured of that part of his disease which was not affected. Ransack all past times and places in thy canst thou not there find out some better ? the old records of memory way of trampling : Pump thine invention dry : can- not the universal seed-plot of subtile wiles and stratagems spring up one new method of cutting capers ? Is this the top of skill and pride. so. and anything could have it induced them to sing Te Deum. however simple.

A singular called the . the vulgar thought it possible to ascertain the existence of the afflictions by witchcraft. Throgmor- . he is under the necessity of acknowledging that some regular country clergymen so far shared the rooted prejudices of con- gregations. and their daughter. Cambridge. having received the sum of forty pounds. to be preached by a doctor or bachelor of divinity of Queen's College. the Church of England has the chison pleads that least to answer for in that matter. and even in countenancing the superstitious signs by which. and very poor persons. Indeed. as lord of the manor. out of the estate of the poor persons who suffered. The daughter of a Mr. from education. were old. a young woman. Witches of Warbois. as to be active in the persecution of the suspected. are yet far from being entirely free of the charge of encouraging in particular in- Even while Dr. in that period. and other advantages.236 LETTERS ON prayers had been for a time suspended until seconded by the continued earnestness of their private devotions ! ! ministers of the Church of England. though. one Samuel and his wife. The accused. intercourse with the world. their story is for Sir Samuel a matter of solemn enough record trator. and obtain the knowledge of the perpecase is mentioned of three women. Cromwell. Hutstances the witch superstition. they were less prone to prejudice than The those of other sects. turned it into a rent charge of forty shillings yearly for the endowment of an annual lecture on the subject of witchcraft. and of the government which established laws against it.

or make-believe stories. and whose fancy ran apparently on love and gallantry. to the who them . The names of the spirits were Pluck. that purpose. Hardname. dispatched by the wicked Mother Samuel for The sapient parents heard one part of the dialogue. mised to protect her against Mother Samuel herself and the following curious extract will show on what a footing of familiarity the damsel stood with her spiritual " gallant : From whence come you. . who were cousins. did about battle for her with the less friendly spirits. fifteen. and when the patients from time to time reco- vered. Blue. they furnished the counterpart by telling what the spirits had said to them. morton had a horrible conclusion. and was ever after exclaim- ing against her. Joan Throgmorton. (who. This young lady and her sisters were supposed to be haunted by nine spirits. Mrs.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. The other children of this fanciful and the eldest of them family caught up the same cry. as was supposed. the eldest. Catch. in which she herself furnished all the scenes and played all the parts. and three Smacks. . when the children in their spirits fits returned afflicted answers. Such imaginary scenes. at last got up a vastly pretty drama. Mr. and pro. like other young women of her age. are and most the common amusement of lively children remember of having had some Utopia of readers may But the nursery drama of Miss Throgtheir own. took a whim that she had bewitched her. 237 ton seeing the poor old woman in a black knitted cap at a time when she was not very well. had some disease on her nerves.) supposed that one of the Smacks was her lover.

threatened However. " ' I wonder. and Joan. in. he vengeance upon soon afterwards appeared with his laurels. sisters railed against Dame Samuel Miss Throgmorton and her and when Mr. I would you were all hanged up against each other.' ' he had broken your neck also. he replied . I pray you ?' said the damsel. ' * hand ? said the distressed maiden. answered he had broken Pluck's head.' said Mrs.' little.' * He cared not for that. or Jane. scratch her.238 LETTERS ON ?' Smack says the afflicted news do you bring ?' formed her he came from ' and what young lady Smack. He told her of his various conflicts.' exit Smack. he would beat the best two of them. for you are all naught. after having the conquering Smack. and Catch. as the witch-creed of that period re- commended . with his head broken.' it " This most pitiful mirth. yet the poor woman incurred deeper sus- . and all trophies of Smack's They disappeared. a ruinous bakehouse in Dame Samuel's yard. * And who got the Smack mastery. the little fiends longed to draw blood of her. are that you are able to beat them you and they very big. Blue. the other limping. was mixed with tragedy enough. ' I would. the weapons.' said the damsel. Throgmorton brought her to his house by force. with your dame " On this refor company. fighting with Pluck . and enter Pluck. . and torture her. for such certainly is. pulse. the first the third with his arm in a sling. his cousins Smack would beat the other two. ' ' . victory. great cowl-staves the scene. Is ' that the thanks I am to have for ' my labour ?' said the Look you for your thanks at my disappointed Smack. nothing abashed.

subdued and crushed by terror and tyranny. woman and Mr. and gave it to Mrs. where she was so coarsely odious suspicions. Mother Samuel's complaisance It in the latter case only led to a new charge. was accounted a proof that the poor woman. abusing her with the worst epithets. who had carried on the farce so long that they could not well escape from their own Dame Samuel. the worst usage at the hand of in vain that this was Lady Cromwell. and a causer of Lady Cromwell's death. was induced to say to the supposed spirit. in vain that she unusage they derwent. clipped out some of her hair. was a witch. Throgmorton web tures. on her return home." The girl lay still . to avert their resentment It and lay under such unhappy creature endeavoured by submitting to all the illchose to put upon her . her landlady. Throgmorton to burn it for a counter charm. I charge thee to come out of the maiden. happened Lady Cromwell. picion 239 when she expressed a wish to leave a house treated. the prisoner. it was sagaciously concluded that she must have fallen a victim to the witcheries of the terrible also compelled the old her daughter to use expressions which put their lives in the power of these malignant children. tore her cap from her head. and as her ladyship died in a year and quarter from that very day.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Dame Samuel. One is ashamed did as she was bidden. and especially of the old that dame and her cat . only. who. dreamed of her day's work. of deceit but by the death of these helpless creaFor example. "As I am a witch. of an English judge and jury when it must be repeated and this who . Nay. unresistingly.

and !" pet innocence. Justice Fenner. -. as she was termed. in which the poor old victim Some there were who joined loudly and heartily. the much-disputed case of Jane Wenham. was at length worried into a confession of her guilt by the various vexations which were practised on her.240 LETTERS ON was deemed sufficient that the evidence of these enthusiastic girls and giddy-pated to the condemnation of three Goody Samuel. Sir may here mention. as provided by Samuel Cromwell . last The value for her character. her husband and daughter continued to maintain their showed a high spirit and proud She was advised by some. for the purposes of Justice were never so perverted. I will not be both held witch and strumfully. there was a laugh among the unfeeling audience. and were inclined to think they had a Joanna Southcote before them. to show her sanity of mind. and that the These unfortunate Samuels devil must be the father. who pitied her youth. indeed. The mother. which was of a much later date. As her years put such a plea out of the question. It was a singular case to be commemorated by an annual lecture. 1593. caught at the advice recommended to her daughter. the real value of her confession. Some of the country clergy were carried We away by the landflood of superstition in . nor her sword turned to a more flagrant murder. to gain at least a respite by pleading pregnancy to which she answered. the Witch of Walkerne. though mainly for the sake of contrast. no joking matter. thought it were condemned at Huntingdon. But innocent persons. before Mr. disdain" No. 4th April.

Under such proof though of a forced and mutilated character. and she was necessarily condemned to die. should be taken away by a set of barbarous tricks and experiments. than many persons placed in the like circumstances. putting at defiance popucalumny. who could not understand the life of an Englishwoman. and under his immediate protec- A lar B . and out of a perverted examination they drew what they called a confession. woman by desire to be taken in The by it than to detect the imposture. placed the poor old woman in a small house near his own. saved the country from the ultimate disgrace attendant on too many of these unhallowed trials. Jane Wenham was tried before a sensible that and philosophic judge. trast to The rest some we have of the history told and others is equally a conshall we have to recount. humane and high-spirited gentleman. but gave their countenance to some of the ridiculous and indecent tricks resorted to as proofs of witchcraft by the lowest vulgar. the jury brought her in Guilty. Colonel Plummer of Gilston. however. 241 and not only encouraged the charge. the efficacy of which depended on popular He reprieved the witch before he left the credulity. More fortunate.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. But the good sense of the judge. witchfinder practised upon her the most vulgar and ridiculous tricks. this instance also. assize-town. or charms . The poor ing usual sort of evidence was brought against this pretences of bewitched persons vomita trick very easy to those who chose to exhibit such a piece of jugglery amongst such as rather fire . however mean. seconded by that of other reflecting and sensible persons.

she protested her tried to fell upon her knees. LETTERS ON Here she lived and died. and begg'd she might not go to gaol. edifying her visitors by her accuracy and attention in repeating her devotions . and. that you could put into the narrative of her case ? When she was denied them down very when she was called witch and bitch. What single of sorcery did this Jane Wenham do ? What charm did she use. Did she so much as speak an was imprudent word. and at her tryal. would have let you swim her . in her innocent simplicity. herself a clear woman. never after- wards gave the till slightest cause of suspicion or offence last cases her dying day. or what act of witchcraft could you prove upon her single fact that ? Laws are against evil actions that can be proved to be of the person's doing What upon her ? against the statute could you fix I ask. or do an immoral action. This was her behaviour . and . and. removed from her brutal and malignant neighbours. she declar'd innocence. As this was one of the of conviction in England. and you gave way to that barbarous usage that she met with. Hutchison has been led to dilate upon it with some strength of eloquence as well as argument.242 tion. in honest and fair re- putation. and keep herself out of your cruel hands when her door was broken open. she lock'd herself in her own house. submissively she only took the proper means for the vindication of a few turnips. He thus expostulates with some of the better class that fact were eager for the prosecution " : I. 2. Dr. she laid her good name when she saw this storm coming upon her. .

DEM ONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. I ask you. Whether you have not more reason to give God thanks that you met with a wise judge. &c. on some occasions. and a sensible gentleman. 166. and ran pins into her flesh. and reflecting upon the court. When you used the meanest of paganish and popish superstitions when you scratch'd. when the Calvinists obtained. and that the only extensive persecution following that statute occurred during the time of the Civil Wars. Durst you have used her in this manner if she had been rich and doth not her poverty inturn'd . be justly accused of falling into lamentable errors on a subject where error was so general. from selves whom ? your father did you expect your answers ? who was and into whose hands did you put yourif and the true sense of the statute had been upon you. which way would you have defended yourselves ? 4. crease rather than lessen your guilt in what you did ? " And therefore. it character-. 5. instead of closing your book with a Bteravitmu anitnas nostras. excepting in that case where she comply'd with you too much. and offered to let you swim her ? "3. " Hutchison's Essay on "Witchcraft. was not an usual point of their professional and it must be admitted that the most Scottish severe of the laws against witchcraft originated with a King of England. and mangled. p. 243 what could any of us have done better. who kept you from shedding innocent blood and reviving the meanest and cruellest of all superstitions amongst us ?"* But although individuals of the English church might. . and used that ridiculous whom did you consult and tryal of the bottle.

who. a predominating influence in the councils of Parliament. and were naturally. and who conceived he knew them from experi- ence to be his own . Earl . the most absurd and gross of the popular errors on this subject. had. the supposed sorcerers to be the direct enemies of the Deity. in their fullest extent. upon much showed his royal authority into the no hesitation ence at throwing scale to aid his arguments. besides their general satisfaction at coming once more under the rule of a king. (as in the case of Vorstius. besides the more harmless freak of becoming a Prentice in the art of Poetry. whose repeated attempts on his person had long been James's terror. who had proved with his pen sayers. had begun his course of rebellion by a consultation with the weird sisters and soothThus the king. the monarch had composed a deep work upon Demonology. were also proud of his supposed and real knowledge of books and languages. lighter occasions. to extend and enforce . by which words and numbers were the only sufferers. Several had been executed for an attempt to poison him by magical arts and the turbulent Francis Stewart. ally He at considered his crown and life as habitu- aimed by the sworn slaves of Satan. of Bothwell.244 LETTERS ON for a short period. very naturally used his influ- when it was at the highest. him a special Unfortunately. disposed to abilities gratify wherein him by deferring to his judgment in matters his studies were supposed to have rendered proficient. James succeeded to Elizabeth amidst the highest expectations on the part of his new people. embracing. moreover.) who. though imprudently.

according to King . apOne of pear to have led at first to many prosecutions. feared. should in future attempt to expel any devil. brought on their sacred profesforward and presumptuous men. and disgraceful folly statute of James does not. by this fatal enactment. thereby virtually putting a stop to a fertile source of knavery among the people. passed in the year of that reign. if not the mere creature of imposture. or devils. seeing the ridicule sion monly occasioned by natural causes. they passed a canon establishing that no minister. the Convocation of the Church evinced a very different spirit . expressed their own. each James's fancy. is therefore of a most modes and ceremonies special nature.DEMON'OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. when the legislature rather adopted the passions and fears of the king than remarkable that. however. without the licence of his bishop . . without necessary reference to the ulterior objects of the perpetrator. that crime could be perpetrated declared felony without benefit of of which was clergy. in the attempt by to relieve demoniacs from a disease which was comfor. describing witchcraft by all the various in which. or ministers. the most remarkable was (prob pudor /) instigated by a among The new the inferior churchmen. It is in the same year. 245 the laws against a crime which he both hated and The very first English statute against witchcraft. as itself a crime. Men might now be punished for the practice of witchcraft. statute than This gave much wider scope to prosecution on the had existed under the milder acts of Eliza- beth.

being no other than Edward Fairfax. in the Warbois case. by British Fairfax strung. Collins has introduced the following elegant lines " : sate while piped the pensive wind. for it could not. according to the ideas of the demonologists. a scholar of classical taste. hear thy harp. of Fayston. and a beautiful poet. as it was called. be confuted even by the most distinct alibi. Mr. Fairfax accused six of his neighbours of tormenting his children by fits of an extraordinary kind. was to place the life and fame of the accused in the power of any hypo- . and this was ac- counted a sure sign of guilt in those whose forms were so manifested during the fits of the afflicted. but that the evidence of the sufferers related to the appear- ance of their spectre. The admitting this last circumstance to be a legitimate mode of proof gave a most cruel advantage against the accused. it was replied. whose corporeal presence must indeed have been obvious to every one in the room as well as to the afflicted. Throgmorton. whose undoubting mind Believed the magic wonders which he sung !* How have I To Like Mr. and by appearing before the afflicted in their own shape during the crisis of these operations. The obvious tendency of this doctrine.246 LETTERS ON gentleman. by imps. To a defence of that sort. the translator of Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered. that the afflicted person did not see the actual witch. in Knaresborough Forest. In allusion to his credulity on such subjects. Prevailing poet. or apparition . as to visionary or spectral evidence. and who were complained of and cried out upon by the victim.

sentence was to rest. fortunately for Fairfax's memory. that they brought in a verdict of Not Guilty. the spectrum of the accused old man or old urging on the afflictions strange to tell. but there no doubt that it was speedily caught up and fostered for the purpose of The original story ran thus trials : These Lancaster in 1613. when nineteen witches were tried at once at Lancaster." partly (whose name was. The people is drawn up by Thomas correspondent sent report against these Potts. but that of their imagiIt happened. me a sight of a copy of this curious The chief personage in the drama is name Elizabeth Southam. the objects of his prosecution were persons of good character. The celebrated case of " the Lancashire witches. the fatal the truth of the witnesses' eyes. and will be long remembered. An obliging and rare book.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Barons of Exchequer. a witch redoubted under the of Dembdike. the one Altham and Sir Edward James at were name of Preston at York. before Sir Bromley.) followed soon after. or aver she or malignant impostor who might saw. not upon nation. is uncertain . but more from the inge- nious and well-merited compliment to the beauty of the females of that province which it was held to contain. and. that woman as if enjoying and which she complained of . and another of the two periods. and made so wise and skilful a charge to the jury. chondriac patient either 247 seem to see. Whether idle is the first notice of this sorcery sprung from the head of a mischievous boy gain. from Shadwell's play. and that the judge was a man of sense. an account of whom may be seen in .

visible nowhere else. the witches' place of meeting. and some of their spells are given. called Fancy and Tib. the more clearly traced to the most vil- ky ca^ec ^ Edmund Robinson." says the editor. and against the alleged Several of the unhappy women were found Not Guilty. as to lic secure a good brewing of ale.) in one of the glades of the forest. dwelt scene of the alleged witching.248 LETTERS ON Mr. to the great displeasure of the ignoSuch was the first edition rant people of the county. accusation can be lainous conspiracy. It appears that this remote county was full of Popish recusants. against those who made accomplice also. Roby's Antiquities of Lancaster. Pendle Forest. whose in father. a very poor man. a In that which follows. or the like. charms. to speak Mother Dembdike " the truth. travelling priests. About 1634. conspiracies. apparent. mischances. The pubto the accused parties a long train of murimputed ders. in which the holy names and things alluded to form a strange contrast with the purpose to which they were applied. hellish and damnable their own " on practices. had the good luck to die before conviction." and. that while gathering bullees (wild plums. the declared. which he . examinations and confessions . It is remarkable that some of the unfortunate women endeavoured to transfer the guilt from themselves to others with whom they had old quarrels. and so forth . which confessions were held good evidence them. Among other tales. he saw two greyhounds. perhaps. as well as a description of Maul kins' Tower. we have one of two female devils. of the Lancashire witches.

porringers of milk. Dickenson mounted. the dogs refused to run. of the other. " Nay. he proposed to have a course . together them. called Hourstoun. into which Edmund Robinson entered with others. while engaged in the charm. halters. complete a rustic feast." Apparently she was determined he should have full evidence of the truth of what he said. seeing nobody following them. He there saw six or seven persons pulling at from which. and whatever else might. the boy's having seen one of these hags sitting half- way up matter. The boy was reported that. his father's But it chimney. instead of the one up greyhound a neighbour's wife. which he refused. He declared that. they made such ugly faces. in the boy's fancy. or barn. she pulled out of her pocket a bridle. Robinson was about to punish them with a switch. thou art a witch.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. meat ready with lumps of butter. He was directly changed into a horse Mothei . They then rode to a large house. like the Magician Queen in the Arabian Tales. when one Dame Dickenson. that he was There was more to the same purpose as frightened. for. saying. committed to prison and the consequence was. dressed came flying as they pulled in quantities. young started. The witness averred that Mother Dick- enson offered him money to conceal what he had seen. that . started a little boy instead . and shook the boy it over the head of who had so lately represented the other greyhound. imagined to belong to gentlemen in that 249 neighbourhood. and took Robinson before her. and some such goodly ended in near a score of persons being . but though a hare On this. and looked so fiendish.

" says Webster. went along with his son. says he. by his and was heard often to confess that to see the said on the day on which he pretended . as many do report that thou didst relate. and they never asked him such a question. and two very unlikely persons. didst thou hear and see such strange things of the motions of the witches. that he was instructed and suborned to * father and others. or did not some person teach thee to say such things of thyself ?" the But two men did pluck the boy from me. Old Robinson. being none who then curate there. To whom The persons accused had the more wrong. " did conduct him and manage the business . I did desire some discourse with the boy in private. Webster sought and found time. and in earnest. was preaching at the time. " was " This brought into the boy. and said he had been examined by two able justices of peace. who. that he might recognise the faces of any persons he had seen at the rendezvous of witches. and said."' I replied. tell me truly. in his more advanced years. people I took the boy near me. swear these things against the accused persons. which made some little disturbance for the After prayers. to look about him." the boy. how to make his journey the former profitable . doubtless. Mr. In the presence of a great many ' Good boy. who had been an evidence against witches in 1613.250 LETTERS ON carried young Robinson was from church to church in the neighbourhood. The boy afterwards acknowledged. where I. but that they utterly denied. and knew. and his son probably took care to recognise might make a handsome consideration. church of Kildwick. a parish church.

evinced a very of credulity in such cases. But it is not to be denied that the Presbyterian ecclesiastics. it is to be regretted these were still marked by unhesitating belief in the existence of sorcery. witches at 251 the house. the influence With much of the Calvinistical divines increased. and extraordinary degree that the temporary superiority of the same sect in Engmissioners for the trial land was marked by enormous cruelties of this kind. he was gathering plums in a neighbour's orchard. The great Civil Church of England clergy gave way War had been preceded and anti- cipated by the fierce disputes of the ecclesiastical parThe rash and ill-judged attempt to enforce upon ties. had given the Presbyterian system for a season a great degree of popularity in England . and the state of church-government was altered. the Scots a compliance with the government and ceremonies of the High Church divines. . strict morality and pure practice of religion. and as the king's party declined during the Civil War. was to be pushed to more violent extremities than the quiet scepticism of the to. 278.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. "Webster on Witchcraft. and a keen desire it. edition 1677. or barn. in Scotland. sufficiently bloody in itself. were often appointed by the Privy Council com- of witchcraft. to extend and enforce the legal penalties against in this species of persecution Wier has considered the clergy of every sect as being too eager Ad gravetn hanc impteta: tem conni-uent iheologl plerique omnes. p. and the severe prosecutions in the Star Chamber and Prerogative Courts.* There was now approaching a time when the law against witchcraft. who.

learned. it moved him to send it to sink the ship . such as that divine most unquestionably was. and Huntingdon. named Lowis. Calamy went along with the judges on the circuit to hear their confessions and see there was no fraud or wrong done them. the issue of which was the forfeiture of their lives. superintending their examination by the most unheard-of tortures. and compelling forlorn and miserable wretches to admit and confess matters equally absurd and impossible . and that one of them was always putting him upon doing mischief. not far from Framlingham. Among the rest. was one that was hanged. pious. Be- fore examining these cases more minutely. in those unsettled times. an old reading parson. number of witches in Mr. who. I spoke with many understanding. as he saw a ship under sail. and credible persons that lived in the counties. Norfolk. " The hanging of 1645 and 1646 is a great famously known. though borne aside on this occasion by prejudice and credulity. Sussex. and he being near the sea. should have countenanced or defended such proceedings as those of the impudent and cruel wretch called Mat- men the thew Hopkins. such Calamy and Baxter. travelling through the counties of Essex. I will quote Baxter's own words . assumed title of Witchfinder General. for no one can have less desire to wrong a devout and conscientious man. and some that went to them in the prisons and heard their sad confessions. when did what seemed good in their own eyes.252 LETTERS ON this general error To that we must as impute the misfortune good men. who confessed that he had two imps. . and. pretended to discover witches.

and brought them to confessions which that good man It the received as indubitable. and more such stuff as nursery maids tell froward children to keep them quiet. just as a blight on any tree or vegetable calls to life a peculiar insect to feed upon and enjoy the decay which it has produced. in Perhaps the learned divine that the Witchfinder General had cheated the devil out of a certain memo- which Satan. and now published by Matthew Hopkins. had entered all the witches' names in England. Witchflnder. was one of those who believed randum-book. and having a character suited to the seasons which raise them into notice and action . He * This reproach is noticed in a very rare tract. and told her to keep it in a can near the fire. " The Discovery of Witches. Mr. Baxter names Witchfmder General rather slightingly as " one Hopkins. is remarkable that.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. and that Hopkins availed himself of this record. and saw the ship sink before them. for the benefit of his memory certainly. A monster like Hopkins could only have existed during the confusion of civil dissension." and without doing him the justice due to one who had discovered more than one hundred witches. Baxter passes on to another story of a mother who gave her child an imp like a mole. in this passage. at the Angel. Its full title is. Lort's sale by the celebrated collector. 1647 " .* It may be noticed that times of misrule and violence seem to create individuals fitted to take advantage from them. for the Benefit of the whole Kingdom. and is now in the author's possession. Eoyston. which was bought at Mr. 253 and he consented. Printed for E. in Inn Lane. Bindley." Mr. and she would never want . in Answer to several Queries lately delivered to the Judge of Assize for the County of Norfolk .

with an assistant named Sterne. lays down. on the principle of King James. he had made himself busy. as he pretends. from Upon this occasion more zeal and experiment. should . and so dragged through a pond or river. In his defence against an accusation of fleecing the country. it He was afterwards permitted to perform as a legal profession. so it is just that the ele- ment through which the holy rite is enforced. at any rate. a native of Manningtree. who. as a sign of his sovereignty. when an epidemic outcry of witchcraft arose in that town. to discover the witch's mark. in Essex . and thrust pins into various parts of their body. perhaps. to strip the accused persons naked. when the suspected person was wrapt in a sheet. and. defended the trial by swimming. and moved from one place to another. including charges of living. that as witches but if the body occurred ten times for once have renounced their baptism. it was received floated if it in favour of the accused (which must have was placed with care on the surface of the water. He also affirms that he went nowhere unless called and in- His principal mode of discovery was. he resided there in the year 1644. he declares his regular charge was twenty shillings a-town. vited. which was supposed to be inflicted by the devil. in treating of this mode of trial.) the accused was condemned. knowledge than other men. and jour- neying thither and back again with his assistants. affecting learned his trade of a witchfinder. having the great toes and thumbs tied together. and at which she was also He also practised and stoutly said to suckle her imps. If she sank .254 LETTERS ON was. and a female.

Gaul. Many clergymen and gentlemen made head against the practices of this cruel oppressor of the defenceless. in order to prevent them from havthem It . villain had so much in Huntinghad the courage to appear in print on the donshire. and no arguwas Hopkins's custom to keep the poor wretches waking. and forcing them to walk. assurance to write to some functionaries of the place the following letter. reject 255 ment. and. to put infirm. had been originally used by him. overwatched persons in the next state to absolute madness . which will not long permit the licence of tyranny or oppression on the meanest and most obscure sufferers. answer to charges of cruelty and oppression. he affirms that both practices were then disused. in consequence. ing encouragement from the devil. bullying. Mr. doubtless. Hopkins con- fesses these last practices of keeping the accused persons waking. terrified. a clergyman. which is a figure of speech. of Houghton. which is an admirable medley of impudence. and the pain of blistered feet. and it required courage to do so when such an unscrupulous interest. and that they had not of late been resorted to. and cowardice : " My service to your worship presented. for the same tract is a professed But as his purpose.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. might form additional inducements to confession. for the same purpose. The boast of the English nation is a manly independ- ence and common sense. and. weaker side and Hopkins. they were dragged about by their keepers till extreme weariness. had the -. I have .

God against us. I to recant discovery in a pulpit." The tortures sensible and courageous Mr.256 this LETTERS ON day received a letter to come to a town called Great Houghton to search for evil-disposed persons witches. (not as yet be- ginning in any part of it myself. hear your minister is far I intend to come. who should daily speak convince such offenders) stand up to take their parts against such as are complainants for the (much more any of the terror to king. and rest your servant to be " MATTHEW HOPKINS.* in the same by evil much marvel such men should have any clergy. So I humbly take my commanded. us good welcome and entertainment as others where I else I shall waive your shire. through ignorance. have been. but with thanks and recompense. called (though I the behalf of such parties.) the sooner to hear this singular judgment in willing. with their families and I intend to give your town a visit suddenly. Gaul describes the this fellow as employed by tised in the Inquisition. and sufferers themselves. in Suffolk as I have known a minister much against this it and forced place. leave. and it will be ten your town first but I would certainly know before whether your town affords many sticklers for such cattle. " equal to any prac- Having taken the suspected * Of Parliament. or is willing to give and allow come to Kimbolton to one but I will come to . the Committee.) and betake me to such places where I do and may punish (not only) without control. estates. I will this week. .

Baxter. he sunk a vessel without any purpose of gratification to be procured to himself by such iniquity. A for the imps to come in at . she 257 is placed in the middle of a room. they that watch are taught to be ever and anon sweeping the room. and certainly was so at the time he made the admission. we can conceive him. 6th May. and lest they should come in some less discernible shape. upon a or table. a judge would have demanded some proof of the corpus delicti. to which. and if they cannot kill them they may be sure they are their imps. standing the story of his alleged confession. whence tablish that the coming and whither bound in short. she is then with cords . to kill them. and kept bound without meat or sleep for four-and-twenty hours. cross-legged. they say they shall within that time see her imp come little hole is likewise made in the door and suck. if she submits not. near Framlingham. Lowis." If torture of this kind was applied to the Reverend Mr.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. something to eswhole story was not the idle imagina. he des . whose death is too slightly announced by Mr. or any man. tion of a man who might have been entirely deranged. But in another cause. witch. by means of his imps. some evidence of a vessel being lost at the period. to have indeed become so weary of his life as to acknowledge that. for posture. John Lowis was presented to the vicarage of Brandiston. till executed as a Notwithwizard. and if they see any spiders or flies. there she is watched. on such evidence as we have seen. 1596 where he lived about fifty years. or in some other uneasy stool. in Suffolk.

and he began to disavow some of the cruelties he had formerly practised. after being with- out food or rest a sufficient time. Fairclough. the as before. dismissed the witchfinders. a village in Suffolk. preached before the rest on the subject of witchcraft . who quotes a letter of the humane gentleman. About the same time. took the woman out of such inhuman hands. was so indignant that he went to the house. a miserable old this We woman had fallen into the cruel hands of miscreant near Hoxne. have seen that. that some strongly excited against gentlemen seized on him. Hutchison may be referred to. one of whom. she said. Hopkins's tone became lowered. and after this appearance of enquiry. Mr. inquisitions and executions went on But the popular indignation Hopkins. a commission of Parliament was sent down. of Kellar. and had confessed all the usual enormities. in 1647. after due food and rest. fended himself courageously at his probably condemned rather than for any other cause. A gentleman in the neighbourhood. and to secure that the funeral service of the church should be said over his body. comprehending two clergymen in esteem from the relict with the leading party. the poor old woman could recollect nothing of the confession but that she gave a favourite pullet the name of Nan. Her imp. For this Dr.L58 LETTERS ON trial. In the year 1645. and. and put was so . and was He showed as a royalist and malignant at the execution considerable energy. was called Nan. whose widow survived to authenticate the story. he read it aloud for himself while on the road to the gibbet.

Who proved himself And made a rod for bis at length a witch. had at length shaken themselves loose of that connexion." The this alteration understanding reader will easily conceive. he stood convicted of which. pigs that suddenly deceased Of griefs unnatural. * own breech. and so the country was rid of him. for sitting above And some And And some Or ground Whole days and nights upon their breeches.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. who. yet it may sound strangely enough that this spirit of lenity should have been the result of the peculiar principles of those sectarians of all denominations. but he has had the honour to be commemorated by the author of Hudibras " Hath not this present parliament lieger to the devil sent. were hangM for witches. though they had originally courted the Presbyterians as the more numerous and prevailing * party. canto 3. for putting knavish tricks Upon green geese or turkey chicks . as he guess'd. classed in general as Independents. and finally comHudibras. feeling pain. A Fully empower*d to treat about Finding revolted witches out? And has he not within a year Hang'd threescore of them in one shire ? Some only for not being drown'd. . Whewitchcraft. ther he was drowned outright or not does not exactly : appear. that of the current in favour of those who disapproved of witch-prosecutions must have received encouragement from some quarter of weight and influ- ence. part ii. on he happened to float. him to his as 259 own favourite experiment of swimming.

to his crown and king- . the same sentiment induced them to whether the other . and room for all possible variethis of doctrine. regard with horror the prosecutions against witchcraft. under pretence of witchcraft. The very genius of a religion which admitted of the subdivision of sects ad infnitum excluded a legal prosecution of any one of these for heresy or apostasy. who to a certain point had been their allies. inesti- mable recommendation. it had. and Suffolk. were disposed to attained a counteract the violence of such proceedings. for three or four years previous to 1647. when. without recompence.SCO LETTERS ON The Independents bated with and overcome them. on the other hand. If there had even existed a sect of Manichaeans. or who was willing. under Cromwell. mixed with much that was nonsensical and mystical. They disowned even the title of a re- gular clergy. The return of Charles II. Although such laxity of ties discipline afforded scope to the wildest enthusiasm. Thus the Independents. they supremacy over the Presbyterians. in Essex. that it contributed to a degree of general toleration which was at that time unknown to any other Christian establishment. were distinguished by the wildest licence in their religious tenets. who made it their practice to adore the Evil Principle. fortunately. as had been driven forward by the wretched Hopkins. Norfolk. it may be doubted sectaries would have accounted them absolute outcasts from the pale of the church and. to minister to the spiritual necessities of his hearers. and allowed the preaching of any one who could draw together a congregation that would support him.

yet subsisted . nor is it in the least likely. The statute. But no man. accused was laid. The unhappy woman was executed on this evidence. remained in some cases In the year 1663. was held in horror by a great part of generally ad- ministered by wise and skilful judges. never- theless. would have run the odium of encouraging or still sparing a crime his subjects. was convicted chiefly on the evidence of a huntsman. an old dame. to save the lives of a the risk of incurring few old men or women. considering the character of the prince. years afterwards (1664. is too obvious. it predominant. as presiding at a The evidence against the of his nation and age. in such a manner as to convince him that she had been the creature which had afforded him the course. in consequence of which and Rose Callender were hanged at Amy Dunny Saint Edmondsbury. coming up to the spot where he saw them mouth her. that he. Nonsense. however.DEMONOLOGT AND WITCHCRAFT. named Julian Coxe. on the other side of a bush. on the effect of spells used by . 261 dom served in some measure to restrain the general and wholesale manner in which the laws against witchcraft had been administered during the warmth of the Civil War. and. 1st. and the accused had such a chance of escape as the rigour of the absurd law permitted. there he found. can extricate himself from the prejudices Two Hales. who declared on his oath. that he laid his greyhounds on a hare. The statute of the 1st of King James. Julian Coxe lying panting and breathless.) it is with regret we must quote the venerable and devout Sir Matthew trial. unless very peculiarly circumstanced.

where its wheels touched neither of the posts. in No. of good driver will scarcely comprehend) stuck fast in a gate. The two old refused even the privilege of purchasing some herrings. being closely muffled. from * Vulgar Errors ! the author of a treatise on But the torch of science was now fairly lighted. it was found that the person so blindfolded fell into the same rage at the fit touch of an unsuspected person. and yet was moved easily forward on one of the posts (by which it was not impeded) being cut down. upon being touched by one of the supposed But upon another trial. certainly. " that the fits were natural. a child of the consequence. 3dly. the cart witches." opinion. shooting its means which were calculated rays on every side. went suddenly (what a into a and shortly after. She scolded. patience. XIV. but heightened by the power of the devil a strange co-operating with the malice of witches . 60. What perhaps sealed the fate of the accused. of the Family Library (Lives of British Physicians) p. One of the afflicted girls. and catching at all to increase the illumina- * See the account of Sir T. . and gleamed in more than one kingdom of the world. having expressed themselves with angry im- women. the use of which was. under the statute of James I. such counter charms were meant to neutralize. Browne.. 4thly. A cart herring-merchant fell ill in was driven against the Amy Dunny. was the evidence of the celebrated Sir Thomas Browne. as criminal as the act of sorcery which 2dly. miserable cottage of course .262 LETTERS ON ignorant persons to counteract the supposed witchcraft .

commanding all these unfortunate persons to be set at liberty and protected. incorporated by royal charter. which had heretofore been kingdom as in About the year 1672. 2G3 at The Royal Society. however old. the year after the Restoration. a of Sciences was also founded society of learned tion at Leipsic. Germans established a similar institu- Prejudices. in Normandy. where the mere will of the government could accomplish greater changes. or arret. from a private association.. tion. and began to publish its Transactions. But an order. Wilkin's chambers about the year 1652.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. which had taken its rise Oxford. and the Parliament of Rouen prepared to proceed in the investigation with the usual severity. in imitation. arrest of very many shepherds. had the most salutary The French Academy and. and give a new and more rational character to the pursuits of philosophy. . and others. effects all as common in that over the kingdom. from the king. . began to be derided and rejected by men of sense and education. that a decisive stop was put to the witch-prosecutions. the consequence of an enlarged spirit of scientific discovery was. (Louis XIV.) with advice of his council. In France. was. there was a general England. who met in Dr. were over- awed and spiritual controlled natural principles that agency for on had hitherto been imputed to every thing seemed to promise that much was accounted farther access to the secrets of nature might be to those opened should prosecute their studies experiand by analysis and the mass of ancient mentally opinions which overwhelmed the dark subject of which who we treat.

264
In

LETTERS ON
many
cases the prey
j

was now snatched from the

spoiler.

A pragmatical

ustice of peace in Somersetshire,

commenced a course of enquiry after offenders against the
statute of James I., and had he been allowed to proceed, Mr. Hunt might have gained a name as renowned for witch-finding as that of Mr. Hopkins but his researches
;

were stopped from higher authority

the lives of the

poor people arrested (twelve in number) were saved, and the country remained at quiet, though the supposed witches were suffered to live. The examinations
attest in

some curious

particulars,
:

which may be found

For, among the usual Triumpkatus of froward, fanciful, or, as they were called, string afflicted children, brought forward to club their startings,

Sadducismus

and screamings, there appeared also certain remarkable confessions of the accused, from which we
starings,

learn that the Somerset Satan enlisted his witches, like a

wily recruiting sergeant, with one shilling in hand, and twelve in promises ; that when the party of weirdsisters

passed to the witch-meeting, they used
tout,

the

throughout and about; and that when they departed, they exclaimed, Rentum, Tormentum! We are further informed, that his In-

magic words, Thout,

fernal Highness,

on

his departure, leaves a smell,

and

that (in nursery-maid's phrase) not a pretty one, behind him. Concerning this fact we have a curious exposition
:

" This," according to that by Mr. Granville " seems to respectable authority, imply the reality of

the business, those ascititious particles which he held together in his sensible shape being loosened at his
vanishing, and so offending the nostrils

by

their floating

DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.
and diffusing themselves
in

265

the open air."*

How
so

much
clear
tion,

are

we bound
" of

to regret, that

Mr.

Justice Hunt's
itself

discovery

this hellish

kind of witches," in

and

plain, and containing such valuable informashould have been smothered by meeting with

opposition
authority
!

and discouragement

from some then
stifler

in

Lord-keeper Guilford was also a

of the pro-

Indeed, ceedings against witches. generally remark, during the latter part of the seventeenth century, that where the judges were men of education and
courage, sharing in the information of the times, they to check the precipitate ignorance and prejudice of the juries, by giving them a more precise idea

we may

were careful

of the indifferent value of confessions by the accused themselves, and of testimony derived from the pretended
visions of those supposed to

be bewitched.

Where,

on the contrary, judges shared with the vulgar in their ideas of such fascination, or were contented to leave the evidence with the jury, fearful to withstand the
general cry too common on such occasions, a verdict of guilty often followed.
are informed by Roger North, that a case of this kind happened at the assizes in Exeter, where his brother, the Lord Chief- Justice, did not interfere with

We

the
a

and the other judge left for execution woman, condemned, as usual, on her own confession, and on the testimony of a neighbour, who

crown

trials,

poor old

deponed that he saw a
son's cottage

cat

jump

into the accused per-

window

at

twilight,

one evening, and that

* Glanville's Collection of Belations.

266

LETTERS ON
cat to

he verily believed the said

be the devil

;

on which

precious testimony the poor wretch was accordingly hanged. On another occasion, about the same time,
the passions of the great and little vulgar were so much excited by the acquittal of an aged village dame whom

the judge had taken some pains to rescue, that Sir John Long, a man of rank and fortune, came to the judge
in

greatest perplexity, requesting that the hag not be permitted to return to her miserable cotmight

the

tage

on

his

estates, since all his tenants had, in that

case, threatened to leave him. In compassion to a gentleman who apprehended ruin from a cause so whimsi-

the dangerous old woman was appointed to be kept by the town where she was acquitted, at the rate of half-a-crown a-week paid by the parish to which
cal,

she belonged.

But, behold
Sir

!

in the period

betwixt the

two

assizes,

John Long and

his

farmers

had

mustered courage enough to petition that this witch should be sent back to them in all her terrors, because
they could support her among them at a shilling a-week cheaper than they were obliged to pay to the town for

her maintenance.

In a subsequent

trial

before Lord

Chief-Justice North himself, that judge detected one of those practices which, it is to be feared, were too com-

mon

at the time,

when

witnesses found their advantage

in feigning themselves bewitched.

A woman, supposed

to be the victim of the male sorcerer at the bar, vomited

those straight, differing from the pins in quantities, and

crooked pins usually produced at such times, and less The judge, however, in the mouth. easily concealed
discovered, by cross-examining a candid witness, that

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.
in

267

counterfeiting her fits of convulsion, the woman sunk her head on her breast, so as to take up with her lips the pins which she had placed ready in her stomacher.

old hag

The man was acquitted, of course. who was present, distinguished

A frightful
herself so

much by

her benedictions on the judge, that he asked the cause of the peculiar interest which she took in the

Twenty years ago," said the poor woman, they would have hanged me for a witch, but could not ; and now, but for your lordship, they would have murdered my innocent son." *
acquittal.

"

"

Such scenes happened frequently on the

assizes

while country gentlemen, like the excellent Sir Roger de Coverley, retained a private share in the terror with

which

their tenants, servants,

and

retainers

regarded

some old Moll White, who put the hounds at fault, and ravaged the fields with hail and hurricanes. Sir
John Reresby,
for a witch at
after

an account of a poor
in
1

woman

tried

York,

686, and acquitted as he
tell

thought very properly, proceeds to
withstanding, the sentinel confined avowed that he

us that, not-

upon saw a scroll of paper creep from under the prison-door, and then change itself first into a monkey and then into a turkey, which ^he under" " I have confirmed. Sir
This," says keeper heard from the mouth of both, and

the jail

where she was

John,

now

leave

it

to be

believed, or disbelieved, as the reader may be inclined."! may see that Reresby, a statesman and a soldier,

We
* f

had not

as yet

"

plucked the old

woman

out of his

Roger North's Life of Lord-Keeper Guilford. Memoirs of Sir John Beresby, p. 237.

263
heart."

LETTERS ON
Even Addison himself ventured no
farther, in

his incredulity respecting this crime, than to contend
that,

was no such thing
proved.

although witchcraft might and did exist, there as a modern instance competently

As late as 1682, three unhappy women, named Susan Edwards, Mary Trembles, and Temperance Lloyd, were hanged at Exeter for witchcraft and, as usual, on their own confession. This is believed to be the
;

last

judicial sentence.

execution of the kind in England under form of But the ancient superstition, so init-

teresting to vulgar credulity, like sediment clearing
self

from water, sunk down m a deeper shade upon the ignorant and lowest classes of society, in proportion as the higher regions were purified from its influence.

The

populace, including the ignorant of every

class, were more enraged against witches, when their passions were once excited, in proportion to the lenity

exercised towards the objects of their indignation by those who administered the laws. Several cases oc-

curred in which the mob, impressed with a conviction of the guilt of some destitute old creatures, took the

law into their own hands, and, proceeding upon such evidence as Hopkins would have had recourse to, at
once, in their own apprehension, ascertained their criminality, and administered the deserved punishment.

The following instance of such illegal and inhuman proceedings occurred at Oakly, near Bedford, on 1 2th July, 1707. There was one woman, upwards of 60
years of age, who, being under an imputation of witchcraft, was desirous to escape from so foul a suspicion,

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.

269

and to conciliate the good-will of her neighbours, by
allowing them to duck her. The parish officers so far consented to their humane experiment as to promise the poor woman a guinea if she should clear herself

by sinking. The unfortunate object was tied up in a wet sheet, her thumbs and great toes were bound together, her cap torn off, and all her apparel searched for pins ; for there is an idea that a single pin spoils the operation of the charm. She was then dragged

through the river Ouse by a rope tied round her middle. Unhappily for the poor woman, her body

though her head remained under water. experiment was made three times with the same
floated,

The
effect.

The

cry to hang or drown the witch then became and as she lay half dead on the bank, they general loaded the wretch with reproaches, and hardly forbore
;

blows.

A

single

humane bystander took her

part,

and

exposed himself to rough usage for doing so. Luckily one of the mob themselves at length suggested the additional

experiment of weighing the witch against the

Church Bible. The friend of humanity caught at this means of escape, supporting the proposal by the staggering argument that the Scripture, being the

work of

God

himself,

must outweigh necessarily

all

the opera-

The reasoning was received as conclusive the more readily as it promised a
tions or vassals of the devil.

new

species of

amusement.

The woman was

then

weighed against a Church Bible of twelve pounds jockey weight, and, as she was considerably preponBut many of the derant, was dismissed with honour.

mob

counted her acquittal irregular, and would have

270

LETTERS ON

had the poor dame drowned or hanged on the result of her ducking, as the more authentic species of trial. At length a similar piece of inhumanity, which had
a very different conclusion, led to the final abolition of the Statute of James I., as affording countenance for such

An aged pauper, named Osborne, brutal proceedings. and his wife, who resided near Tring, in Staffordshire, fell
under the suspicion of the
witchcraft.

mob on

account of supposed

overseers of the poor, understanding that the rabble entertained a purpose of swimming these

The

which indeed they had expressed in a sort of proclamation, endeavoured to oppose their
infirm creatures,

purpose by securing the unhappy couple

in the vestry-

room, which they barricaded. They were unable, to protect them in the manner they intended. however,

The mob

forced the door, seized the accused, and,

with ineffable brutality, continued dragging the wretches through a pool of water till the woman lost her life.

human form, who had superintended the went among the spectators, and requested murder, The life of money for the sport he had shown them the other victim was with great difficulty saved. Three men were tried for their share in this inhuman action. Only one of them, named Colley, was condemned and When he came to execution, the rabble, hanged. instead of crowding round the gallows as usual, stood at a distance, and abused those who were putting to
brute in
!

A

death, they said, an honest fellow, for ridding the This abominable murder parish of an accursed witch.

was committed 3oth

The

July, 1751. of such horrors, the proneness of the repetition

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.

271

people to so cruel and heart-searing a superstition, was traced by the legislature to its source, namely, the yet unabolished statute of James I. Accordingly, by the pth George II. cap. 5, that odious law, so long the object of horror to all ancient and poverty-stricken females in the kingdom, was abrogated, and all criminal

procedure on the subject of sorcery or witchcraft discharged in future throughout Great Britain ; reserving
for such as should pretend to the skill of fortune-tellers,

discoverers of stolen goods, or the like, the punishment of the correction-house, as due to rogues and vagabonds.

Since that period, witchcraft has been little heard of in England ; and although the belief in its existence has, in

remote places, survived the law that recognised the evidence of the crime and assigned its punishment, yet such faith is gradually becoming forgotten since the
rabble have been deprived of all pretext to awaken it by Some rare instances their own riotous proceedings.

have occurred of attempts similar to that for which Colley suffered ; and I observe one is preserved in that
curious
register of knowledge, Mr. Hone's Popular Amusements, from which it appears, that as late as the

last century this brutality was practised, though happily without loss of life. The Irish statute against witchcraft still exists, as it

end of

would seem. Nothing occurred in that kingdom which recommended its being formally annulled but it is
;

considered as obsolete

;

and, should so wild a thing be
it is

attempted in the present day, no procedure,

certain,

would now be permitted to If anything were wanted

lie

upon

it.

to confirm the general pro-

or members of other sects who were included under the general name of Independents. The Calvinists brought with them the same zeal for morality which religion tinguished them. it was natural that a disposition to superstition should rather gain than . as is by emigrants ment of Charles I. as have endeavoured to show. and was cured. it would be sufficient to prosecutions against quote certain extraordinary occurrences in New England. even by its how suddenly and own excess but it . Anabaptists. their brethren in Europe had. in Church and state. inhabited by numerous tribes of savages. was peopled mainly been disgusted with the govern- number. been peculiarly subject. and less influential from their fortune. from the beginning. Many of the more wealthy settlers were Presbyterians and Calvinists others. fewer in . but entertained a proneness to according believe in supernatural and direct personal intercourse strict and between the devil and his vassals. and where the partially improved spots were embosomed in inaccessible forests. New England. an error to which. everywhere disUnfortunately they were not wise to their zeal. that the epidemic terror of witchcraft increases and becomes general in proportion to the increase of witches. who had well known. previous to the great Civil War. Only a brief account can be here given of the dreadful hallucination under which the colonists of that province were for a time deluded and oppressed by a strange contagious terror. were Quakers.272 LETTERS ON position. In a we country imperfectly cultivated. singularly it is too strong evidence of the imaginary character of this hideous disorder to be altogether suppressed.

who hardly could speak the English language. testy. and shortly after the elder Goodwin. and thus endangering our salvation. and. The miserable Irishwoman. a mason. but as combined with sorcerers and witches to inflict death The first and torture upon children and others. alleging that she was in pre- sence with them. at another time were so flexible and supple that it seemed the bone was dissolved. not merely as the Evil Principle tempting human nature to sin. scolded the accuser . lose ground. torted. They stiffened their necks so hard at one time that the joints could not be their necks moved . The mother of the laundress. to those jaws snapped with the force of a springTheir limbs were curiously con who had a taste for the marvellous. case which I observe was that of four children of a person called John Goodwin. seemed whose name was Glover. Amid these entirely dislocated and displaced. a girl. the colonists should have added fears of the devil. They had violent convulsions. The eldest. and two brothers. were seized with such strange diseases that all their neighbours concluded they were bewitched. distortions they cried out against the poor old woman. adding to their torments. and chole- Irishwoman. They conducted themselves as those supposed to suffer under maladies created by such influence were accustomed to do. in which their trap set for vermin.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. her sister. but there were some words x . repeated her Pater Noster and Ave Maria like a good Catholic. an ignorant. had quarrelled with the laundress of the family about some linen which ric old was amissing. 273 and that to other dangers and horrors with which they were surrounded.

but the arrangement of the page. in particular. therefore. and read the portions of Scripwhich it contains. but the into fits if spirit which possessed her threw her she attempted to read the same Scriptures from the Bible. not on the meaning of the words. and had. and Company. The young woman acting. Smack. by whom she attended. She often imagined that her attendant spirits brought . as was supposed. She could look on a Church of and apparent ture England Prayer-book. Pluck. to have been somewhat of the humour of the inamo- rata of Messrs. and the eldest. as if the fiends entertain for awe which it is supposed the Holy Writ depended. Catch. without difficulty or impedi- ment. supposed whole consistently and and condemned and executed accordingly. . under the influence of the devil. merry as well as melancholy fits. and accordingly bear in their very front the character of studied and voluntary imposture. read a Quaker treatise with ease satisfaction . but a book written against the poor inoffensive Friends the devil would not allow his victim to touch. continued all the external Some of these signs of witchcraft and possession.274 LETTERS ON She was. This singular species of flattery was designed to captivate the clergyman through his professional opinions others were more strictly personal the afflicted damsel seems . like her. were excellently calculated to flatter the self-opinion was and prejudices of the Calvinist ministers. correctly to be unable to pronounce the But the children of Goodwin found the trade they were engaged in to be too profitable to be laid aside. which she had forgotten. and the type in which they were printed.

and stand up as a rational being. trotting. a daughter and niece of Mr. true. and galloping. Their mouths were stopped. their limbs racked. This scene opened by the illness of two girls. and the blood of poor Dame Glover." " that seem more kind than Shortly after this.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Parvis. who fell under an affliction similar to that of the Goodtheir wins. and thus advan- taged. by some spell of their own. endeavouring. she affected inability to enter the clergyman's study. But the example had been given and caught. which had been the introduction to this tale of a hobbyhorse. servants of the family. to discover by An . and then. the tion of his pursuits. fearfully was to be the forerunner of new atrocities and more general follies. used to become quite well. kingdom of Satan by the interrupAt length the Goodwins were. she appears to have treated the poor divine with a species of sweetness and attention which gave him greater embarrassment than her former violence. as if to mount her horse. to She used to break in upon him at his studies importune him to come down stairs. cured. Indian and his wife. 275 her a handsome pony to ride off with them to their On such occasions she made a spring uprendezvous. on her chair. says the simple minister. like a child on the nurse's knee . and when she was pulled into it by force. doubtless." " Reasons were given for this. wards. the minister of Salem. and pins were ejected from their stomachs. or appeared to be. mimicked with dexterity and still seated agility the motions of the animal pacing. but when she cantered in this manner up stairs. thorns were stuck into their flesh. throats choked.

since their evi- dence could not be redargued. as no alibi could be offered. The afflicted persons Titu. enthe discovery of these poor Indians' guilt. Sometimes the devil appeared eloquence to first.276 LETTERS ON the fatal charm had been imposed on their masdrew themselves under suspicion. that the real persons of the accused were not there present . couraged by and hoping they might thus expel from the colony the were hanged. the historian. and added his the afflicted persons to consent. They acted. the afflicted began to see the spectral appearances of persons of higher condition. became generally fatal. the poor and but presently. authors of such practices. and every thing rested upon the assumption that the afflicted cause species of evidence it was admitted. on rally represented signing which they would be freed from their torments. The judges and juries persevered. when . and whom ter's children. while The more that suffered. several were executed. such evidence was admitted as incontrovertible. of the persons by whom they were tormented. and of irreproachable lives. as miserable alone were involved seems natural enough. own At move in person. be- we have persons were telling the truth. the . some of whom were arrested. as they were termed. These spectres were geneas offering their victims a book. and the same evidence being received which had occasioned the condemnation of the Indian woman. says Mather. Against this said elsewhere. but the cases of witchcraft and possession increased as if sort of spectral they were transmitted by contagion. failed not to see the spectres. under a conscientious wish to do justly . some made their escape.

according to the old law. which the Sheriff crammed with his cane back again into his mouth Eight persons were condemned. and was the more readily listened in the Men fiends in the resemblance of blameless . to show how superstition can steel the heart of a man against the misery of his fellow creature. besides a stout-hearted man. These gross insults on common reason occasioned had bitten them.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. and no less than two hundred were and under examination. whether the devil might not artfully deceive the afflicted into the accusation of good and innocent individuals. but not till many lives had been sacrificed. The dying man. A of the afflicted. and was therefore On this pressed to death. which must yet be told. tormenting engaged This argument was by no means inconsistent with the belief in witchcraft. thrust out his tongue. horrible occasion a circumstance took place disgusting named Cory. and appealed to the teeth on their bodies. By this means nineteen men and women were executed. in the mortal agony. as of their diseased countryfolk. greater 277 and the became the number of afflicted persons. as been alleged to be busy in this infernal persecuhaving tion. child of five years old was indicted by some ages. who imagined they saw this juvenile wizard active in mark of it little tormenting them. who refused to humanity. where they stated A poor dog was also hanged. to plead. a revulsion in public feeling. wider and the more numerous were the denunciations The accused were of all against supposed witches. by presenting witches and persons. besides those who had ! actually suffered in prison . began then to ask.

In Mather's own lan- man deeply convinced guage. he admits candidly. But. men found. on Besides. by his wiles. had the times been calm. The zealous author. on the other hand. be a stop put." * * Mather's Magnalia. or the generation of the kingdom of God would fall under condemnation. the temper of the times considered. under the strong suspicion that part of cently and unjustly it at least had been inno- sacrificed. as was evidently seen. the settlers the public. mented by new objects. Influenced by these reflections. if they continued to encourage the \vitnesses in such an unlimited course as had hitherto been granted to them. and the execution of some made way to the apprehension of For still the afflicted complained of being torothers. awoke as from a dream. chap. the matter was ended too abruptly. began now. and feared that Satan. regrets the general jail-delivery on the score of sorcery. had en- wrapped innocent persons under the imputation of that crime and at last. " experience showed that use as that of a the more were apprehended. the more were still afflicted by Satan. that no rank or condition could save them from the danger of this horrible accusation. and the voice of which had so lately demanded vengeance on all who were suspected of sorcery. there must -. so that some of those that were concerned grew amazed at the number and condition of those that were which we accused. and to let the guilty escape than run the risk of destroying the innocent. of the reality of the crime. that it is better to act moderately in matters capital. on the whole. Ixxxii. however. and the number of confessions increasing. did but increase the number of the accused. book vi. and that. to lament the effusion of blood. the case might have required a farther investigation.278 to LETTERS ON that account. and thinks. as the former were removed. .

and who. amongst : others . a man of the most importance in the colony. and for five years there was no such molestation among us. or other circumstances exclusive of their free will. the prisoners dismissed. generally denied and retracted their confessions. Such of the accused craft it was most fiercely driven on in the to leave his settlement amongst them. 279 The prosecutions were. and drew disadvantageous comparisons between them and the French. suddenly stopped. they alleged. during the rest of his life. The accused were generally quiet. the Lord so chained up Satan that the afflicted grew presently well. was the person by whom commencement. among whom. were pardoned. influence of persuasion. as they " the Great sends no witches. wonder at remarked. observed." action. Several of the judges and jurors concerned in the sentence of those who were executed. asserting them to have been made under fear of torture. published their penitence for their rashness in convicting these unfortunate persons . and one of the judges. and even those who had confessed. Spirit . the condemned pardoned. in whose family the disturbance had begun. therefore.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Parvis. that the congregation of Salem compelled Mr. and the author we have just quoted thus records the " When this result prosecution ceased. the number of whom was very extraordinary." To this it must be added. as had confessed the acts of witch- imputed to them. the anniversary of the first execution as a day of solemn fast and humiliation for his own share in the trans- Even the barbarous Indians were struck with the infatuation of the English colonists on this occasion.

. as believed in Scotland.280 LETTERS ON system of witchcraft. attention. and subsisted to a later period. and was prosecuted with much more severity. as it is The must next claim our different in some respects from that of England.

.

.

and left the Accused no cliance of escape perstition of the Scottish Clergy in King James F/. avoid future annoyance and persecution Examination The Mode of Judicial Procedure against H' itches. opened a door to The SuAccusers. Trial of accomplish their purpose Margaret Barclay in 1618 Case of Major Weir Sir John Clerk among the first who declined acting as Commissioner on to . in despair. ty Pricking Instances of Confessions to and Nature of the Evidence admissible.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. to encourage Witch-prosecutions Case of Bessie Graham Supposed Conspiracy to Shipwreck James in his Voyage and Rites performed to Denmark Meetings of the Witches. 281 Scottish Trials Earl of Mar Lady Glammis William BarTheir ton Witches of Auldearn Their Rites and Charms Transformation into Hares Satan's Severity towards them Their Crimes Sir George Mackenzie's^ Opinion of Witchcraft and made by the Accused.'s time led them. like their Sovereign.

and. of Scotland. a agency of another early instance of Demonology in Scottish history. which took place so late as 1800. which. and others in the sister country. which is passing his death. latter character in- though Shakspeare has stamped the delibly upon them. may greatly incline us to doubt whether a king named Duffus ever reigned in still more. who were the original prophetesses. brother of James III. like those of the Duchess of Gloucester. mingled with an accusation of a political nature.282 LETTERS ON the Trial of a Witch Paisley and Pittenvseem Witches Prosecution in Caithness prevented by the interference of the King's Advocate in 1718 The Last Sentence of Death for A Remains of the Case of supposed Witchcraft. The Earl of Mar. or sibyls. Witchcraft pronounced in Scotland in 1722 Witch Superstition |OR many years the Scottish nation had been remarkable for a credulous belief in witchcraft. brought the culprits to their fate. rather than the sorcery. rather than as witches. related from the Author's own knowledge. described as appeared to the usurper in a dream. One of the earliest real cases of importance founded upon witchcraft was. whether he died by the gang of witches who inflicted torments upon an image made in his name for the sake of comIn the tale of Macbeth. and are volte. and repeated examples were supplied by the annals of sanguinary executions on Our acquaintance with the slenthis sad accusation. the weird-sisters. Scotland . der foundation on which Boetius and Buchanan reared the early part of their histories. fell under the king's suspicion for consulting with .

with her son. stood accused of attempting James's by poison. having commonly to do with . On Mar was either such a charge. witches and sorcerers 283 how to shorten the king's days. when such and beginning of the sixcharges grew general over land Europe. twelve women immediately after which of obscure rank. there would appear few prosecuted to death on the score of witchcraft. cases of the kind occurred very often in Scotand.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. her kindred. or warlocks as they were termed. being so obnox- ious to the King. who seem to have thought the pitied by articles against her forged for the purpose of taking her life . There is. were burnt at Edinburgh. Lady Clammis. In the year 1537. to give a colour to the Earl's guilt. of which Lady Glammis's brother. without trial or conviction . as we have already noticed. fell a victim to a This was Janet Douglas. the people. and several others. to have been but Previous to this lady's execution. the unhappy bled to death in his own lodgings. The vassals are usually induced to sell themselves at a small price to the Author of 111. life She died much the Earl of Angus. her second husband. and very name. who. were sometimes . was the head. very inexplicitly stated. and three or four wizards. But in the end of the fifteenth teenth centuries. with a view to the restoration of the Douglas family. a certain monotony in most tales of the kind. a noble matron similar charge. of a peculiar character. although the want of the Justiciary records of that period leaves us in uncertainty. indeed. who. catastrophe.

coin. fessions depart from the monotony of repetition.284 LETTERS ON women. on the contrary. was called the Maiden of the Covine. were so numerous that they were told off into squads. but. On the contrary. and add some more fanciful circumstances than occur in the general case. he brought his gallant. or covines. that it is fortunate the Enemy is but sel- dom 15 Scots). permitted to bribe so high (as were this the case. as there are other passages not may The witches of Auldearn. . to each One of these of which were appointed two officers. In observing in this matter. when he was pleased to enact the female on a similar occasion. he might find few men or women as one of the I look upon this capable of resisting his munificence. and the Sabbath superstition which he there celebrates. was a very liberal endowment compared with his niggardly conduct towards the fair sex on such an Neither did he pass false coin on this occaoccasion. most severe reflections on our forefathers' poverty which is extant. as they were termed. a fortune of no less than fifteen pounds which. is Isobel Gowdie's confession. drives a very hard bargain. for. one William Barton. as to the Domdaniel. In many of the Scottish witches' description of Satan's trials. the northern But some of the conagrees with that of England. already least mentioned. even it to have been the Scottish denomination of supposing . and some part of it at be quoted. to keep the fifteen clair observes. Master George Sinon Satan's conduct sion . extremely minute. this penitent. and was usually. generously gave Barton a merk pounds whole. according to very edifying.

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. devil himself. which was held by the The plough harness and soams were of the sock and coulter were made out of quicken grass. . weird-sisters in countrywomen of the Macbeth. the reader may be desirous to hear some of their spells. like 285 Tarn o' Shanter's Nannie. a riglen's horn. and of the poetry by As these witches were the * This word Covine seems to signify a subdivision. or squad. praying the devil to transfer to on the opera- them the fruit of the ground so traversed. The witches' sports. The tree near the front of an ancient castle was called the Covine tree. who felt themselves insulted by When assembled. These foul drew the plough. " He is Lord of the hunting horn. 162. . with their elfin archery. and feasted on the provisions they found there. and the covine attended tion. (of unchristened infants in particular. they made a pretence of with a yoke of paddocks. and leave the proprietors nothing but thistles and briers. But best of his ain minnie.* members they used in their magic unguents and salves. a girl of personal attrac- tions. they dug up graves. which greatly provoked the spite of the old hags. probably because the Lord received bis company there. And King of the Covine tree He's well loo'd in the western waters. When they desired to secure for their own use the crop of some ploughing creatures it neighbour. and possessed themselves of the carcasses. and treated with a particular attention.) They entered the house of the Earl of Murray himself. (pages 161. and such other mansions as were not fenced against them by vigil and prayer. I have already noticed. whom Satan placed beside himself.) whose joints and the preference.

were on such occasions assumed. but being The hounds hard pressed. very comthem. according to Isobel. Burn'd and scalded may they be ! "We will destroy houses and hald. but had the misfortune to meet Peter Papley of servants going to labour. hares. of those whom With And Of the sheep and nolt into the f auld 5 come to the fore. mixed with that of dogs and sheep. " all the rest of the little little sail store! mon among Metamorphoses were. " and I. and the forms of crows. cats. and place it in the house they devoted to destruction in body or or singing. and there took refuge behind a chest. by getting dis- and gaining time to say the enchanting rhyme " : I Hare. favourite disguise. God send thee care am in a hare's likeness now . the door being open. and took the other side of the chest. was forced to take to my own house. The first hands that handle thee. used to hash the flesh of an unchristened child. " We put this intill this hame. woman even now God send thee care !" .286 LETTERS ON They which they were accompanied and enforced. and other animals. hare. In the hare shape Isobel herself had a bad adventure. I shall be ! But Hare. in that some message to her neigh- Killhill's bours. In our lord the Devil's name. so that Isobel only escaped into another house. "run a very long time. saying." But the hounds came in. with She had been sent by the devil to Auldearn. hare. goods. having his hounds with them." sprung on the disguised witch. says Isobel.

Elder in Earlseat often fell under his lord's displeasure . and en- for neglect of duty treaties for to Isobel mercy but some of the women. and "belled the cat" with the The others chiefly took refuge in crying them with wool "pity! mercy!" and suchlike. saying. irreverently spoke of their sovereign by the name of Black John . with her tongue. upon such occasions. being weak and simple. weird-sisters. cries." Scottish manner. and the witches were sometimes bitten by the dogs. most ceremonious attention from title and the of Lord however." Then might be Alexander tempers of those whom he commanded. she said. Such accidents. . after the old Bessie Wilson could also speak very devil stoutly. with- out attending to their entreaties or complaints. according Gowdie's confession. The strict. Sometimes. and beat and buffeted mercy or discretion. when whispering amongst themselves. the when addressed by them. There were attendant devils and imps. the fiend rushed on them like a schoolmaster who surprises his pupils in delict. had more of the spirit . 287 were not uncommon. which animated the old dame of Kellyburn Braes. of which the marks remained after their restoration to human shape. But none had been killed on such occasions. crustily and make her hands save her head. who served the witches.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. while Satan kept beating cards. " defend herself Margaret Wilson in Auldearn would finely. ceremonial of the Sabbath meetings was very The foul fiend was very rigid in exacting the his votaries. and other sharp scourges. could never defend himself save with tears. " I them without ken weel eneugh what seen the various you are saying of me. and.

and yellow. They were Red Reaver. and Jane Mairten. and Grizell Greedigut. Peck in- the-Crown. The witches were taught to call these imps by names. some of which might belong to humanity. and Eorie. was called Pickle-nearest-the-Wind from . 161. the death of sundry persons shot with elf-arrows. Satan himself. while others had These were Robert the Jakis. he brought to support his who commanded the fair sisterhood. MacKeeler.* * See p. the Maiden of the Covine. The proud-stomached Margaret scorned to take a blow unrepaid. Thomas the Feary. Swein. was Throw-the-Cornyard . being fond of mimicking the forms of the Christian church. which were sad-dun. Bessie Wilson. News. the broad vulgarity of which epithets shows what impudent devil a flat imagination fictions. Sack-and-Sugar. Bessie Hay's nickname was Able-and-Stout . These names. and in The his own great name. herself. grass-green. because they had omitted to bless themselves as the aerial flight of the hags swept past them. as already mentioned. Isobel took upon and imputed to her sisters. a diabolical sound. Saunders the Robert the Rule. who her compeer. are better imagined at least imps which he discovered than those which Hopkins contrived for the such as Pyewacket. odd and uncouth enough. Thief of Hell. an old Scandinavian Duerg probably . . sea-green. Elspet Nishe's was Bessie Bald . used to rebaptize the witches with their blood. Vinegar-Tom.288 LETTERS ON usually distinguished by their liveries. the Roaring Lion. Wait-upon-Herself. was called Ower-the-Dike-with-it. Hendrie Craig. even Wilson.

adhered to after their separate diets. nor can my * Pining. f That they be burned with our will. deserve. For long dwining * and ill heal . that at the time. and without compulsion of any kind. and containing no variety or its details. We put it in into To burn them up the fire. for which she thanks God in her confession . 289 She had herself the temerity to shoot at the Laird of Park as he was riding through a ford. "limb and lire. judicially authenticated by the sub- scription of the notary. and adds. Like any etikkle J in a kiln. . clergymen. but missed him. she received a great cuff from Bessie Hay for her awkwardness. made voluntarily. and gentlemen present . through the influence of the running stream perhaps. etook and stour." t Stubble. to represent the object " We put this water amongst this meal. I presume) to wasting illfamily ness." Such was the singular confession of Isobel Gowdie. placing at the same time male children of in the fire figures composed of clay mixed with : paste. by the following lines. Whatever might be her of mind in other respects." " to be seated here at ease and unharmed. rather to be stretched on an iron rack .DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. it would seem. she seems to have been perfectly conscious of the perilous consequence of her " I do not disclosures to her own person. contradiction in state of examination. but says she. They devoted the this gentleman (of the well-known of Gordon of Park. as they were called. t We should read perhaps.

termed by Dryden. have seen. it required the clearest and most strict probation. a light which we seek in vain elsewhere. who. was of opinion that. were I to be wild horses. had often occasion to conduct witch-trials. on the great improbability of the Fiend. by our ancestors thought the guilty might be brought to confession. without riches to bestow. not doubting the existence of the crime. Other unfortunate persons were betrayed to their own reproof by other means than the derangement of mind. On this the celebrated Sir " that noble wit of Scotland. which Others were subjected to cruel tortures.290 LETTERS ON drawn asunder by crimes be atoned for. by admitting an intercourse with the fairy people . that this wretched crea- was under the dominion of some peculiar species of lunacy. as the result of subject selves." as he the experience of one. on account of its very horror. but which far more frequently compelled the innocent to bear evidence against them- George is Mackenzie. as throwing upon experience. in his capacity of Lord Advocate. we an excuse which was never admitted as relevant." It only remains to suppose. to which a full perusal of her confession ture might perhaps guide a medical person of judgment and Her case is interesting. which we shall endeavour to abstract. endeavoured to escape from the charge of witchcraft. being able to enlist such first He insists . and who. and avowedly subjected to a higher power. the rites and ceremonies of the Scottish witches. has some most judicious reflections. which seems as to have operated on Isobel Gowdie. Some.

These poor creatures. and this usage was the ground of all their confession . they will imagine things the most of which instances are given.) ex certtsslma scientia. Like of a woman. being persuaded they do God good service. of a poor weaver." " Most of these poor creatures are tortured by 4thly. of which I shall give two instances. either of which wants is enough to disarm the strongest reason. made ' answer. 3dly. But. think it their duty to vex and torment poor prisoners delivered up to them. persons ordinarily accused of this crime are poor ignorant men. and the close prison in for which they are kept. when they are defamed. and many mistake their own fears and apprehensions for witchcraft. and albeit the . flies dancing about the candle. who. and so starved want of meat and drink. of all others the most simple. as rebels to Heaven and enemies to " . that most of all that ever were men and I taken were tormented in this manner. it ? if a who asked seriously. 2dly. numbers of 291 recruits. accused. and apprehension." (continues Sir George. and the little advantage which he himself would gain by doing so. One.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.' Another. should be tried for a crime of all others it is And the most mysterious. says " the Mackenzie. ridiculous and absurd. or else women. become so confounded with fear. that hardly wiser and more serious people than they would escape and when men are confounded with fear distraction . who understand not the nature of what they are accused of. their keepers. after he had confessed witchcraft. who. know. when she was woman might be a witch and not know dangerous that persons. being asked how he saw the devil.

" 5thly. by the for fear of very infamy which the accusation cast upon them. after she was servant. who was a silly creature. yet the judge should be jealous of it. have poor creatures to confess to judges. that the wisest and I recommend ministers should be sent to them. And really ministers are oft times in- discreet in their zeal to in this. as the minister said. the actors being the only witnesses. . was a Justice-deput to examine some women who had confessed judicially. such as any person of reputation would willingly exchange for a short death. and those sent should be cautious in this particular. that she had not confest because she was guilty. and which they dare not retract it. she knew she would starve. as that which did at first elicit the confession. This learned author gives us an instance. God to witness to what she said to that she was afraid the devil would be his challenge a right to her. and suspicion. and that all men would beat her and hound and said. . and which was sure to follow. and one of them. 45. dogs at her. and defamed for a witch. and that therefore she desired to be out of the world whereupon she wept most bitterly. but I " went when who wrought for her meat."* * Mackenzie's Criminal who are Law. being for no person thereafter would either give her meat or being a poor creature lodging. when he was desiring her to confess. how these unfortunate creatures might be reduced to confession.292 LETTERS ON this poor miscreants cannot prove usage. and therefore she desired to die. condemning them for life to a state of necessity. p. misery. told me under secresie. however I painful. upon her knees called Another told me. and would haunt her.

but to rise and go to the stake. she lifted up . Being carried forth to the place of execution. therefore. and entreated to be put to death with the others who had been appointed to suffer upon the next Monday. however. panions in prison were adjudged to die. and she was charged before the Lord to declare the to destroy both her soul home upon truth. for the destruction own life. it was charged her by the ministers. by ministers and others on Saturday. As a corollary to this affecting story. and Monday morning. always to be put away with the Whereupon. and third prayer. and body . sent for the minister of the town. that there was just ground of jealousy that her confession was not sincere. as full as theirs. had made up of her adopted a strong persuasion that this confession was in the pride of her heart. second.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. given herself She. she remained silent during the first. and cried stirfly rest. she was Monday morning. yea. and condemned to die with the rest that same day. who lay there with other females on a charge of witchcraft. on and said. confessing before them what she had found guilty. that she might resile from that confession. as well as others. being called before the judges. she and not to take her blood upon her own head. We give the result in the minister's words " Therefore much pains was taken on her. Sunday. I 293 may quote Her comup as the case of a woman in Lauder jail. and then perceiving that there remained no more. by a confession guilty. and had no foundation : in truth. The clergyman. and she too had. Yet adhered to what she had said. which was suspected to be but a temptation of the devil.

which all could restrain themselves from tears so it may be to a demonstration of Satan's subtlety. wherein the confessions of the accused conlife. disowned by my husband and friends. 43. on pretence of Sinclair's Satan's Invisible World Discovered. p. I declare I am as free of witchcraft as any child but being delated by a malicious . woman. am now to all ' all die as a witch by my own confession.294 LETTERS ON that see her body. all Which lamentable story. and torturforth confession. and put in prison under the name of a witch. ing them at the same time. none of . through the temptation of the devil I made up that confession. by running pins into their body. . you c me this day. These things to be of and some others to despair. or ever coming in credit again. of the guilt of my blood. to draw was. and I free men. being weary of it. on purpose to destroy my own life. a faithful minister the same might have been the case in many other instances. partly by tempting many to presumption. One celebrated mode of detecting witches. are attested by an eye and ear-witness who is yet truth. stituted the principal. I take it wholly upon myself my blood be upon my own head : and as I must make answer to the God of heaven presently. know that I Now. evidence of their guilt. and choosing rather to die than live / as it and so died. of the gospel. that as one woman. and with a loud voice cried out. if not sole. renounced her own alive. whose design to destroy is still all. out of very despair. especially the ministers and magistrates. did then astonish the spectators. and seeing no ground of hope of my coming out of prison."* It is strange the inference does not seem to have been deduced.

the point. that in so terrible an agony of shame as a trial. which was hollow for the purpose. and that which appeared to enter the body did not pierce it at all. is likely to convulse a human being under such blood and such personal insults. the common pricker. "who found two marks of what he called the devil's making. of the infamous Hopkins. were ridiculous. sheathed in the upper. the apt to return . there is also room to believe that the professed pricker used a pin. or lower part of which was. and the young witchfinder was allowed to torture the accused party. discovering the devil's stigma. Pitcairn. the practice insensible to pain. and to ba to be by This species of search. it we recollect.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. They were pins of three inches in length. horrid imposture. to exercise his craft upon her. as if in exercise of a lawful calling. that. or mark." Besides the fact. that the persons of old people especially sometimes contain spots void of sensibility. on being pressed down. which inflicted 295 was said him upon all his vassals. was in Scotland reduced to a trade . the magistrates and ministers of that market town caused John Kincaid of Tranent. nor did they (the marks) bleed when when they were taken out again . at the trial of Janet Peaston of Dalkeith. and she was asked where she thought the pins were put in. for she could not feel the pin when it was put into either of the said marks. she pointed to a part of her body distant from the real place. worth while to dwell on a subject so might is But. although Sir George Mackenzie stigmatizes it as a I observe in the Collections of Mr. and which appeared indeed to be so.

against the malice or folly of some defamatory accusa* Fountainhall's Decisions. and one of those impostors called prickers. vol. this childish. 15. p. as we have already seen. and the proneness to persecute those accused of such practices were increased by the too great readiness of subordinate judges to interfere in matters which in Scotland. in took it on him which examina- tions. made up of extorted confessions. . were to the Privy Council. imprison. to arrest. perly and exclusively ought to have been tried. in 1678. were. They expressed high displeasure against the presumption of the parties complained against. In the end of the seventeenth century. who had been abused by a country magistrate. the pettiest bailie in the most trifling burgh. i. that the predominance of the superstition of witchcraft. each inferior judge in the country. Privy name. all that were transmitted who were to direct the future mode of Thus no creature was secure procedure.296 to the heart."* common From this and other instances it appears. the Council received the complaint of a poor woman. beyond their jurisdiction. and examine. may be latter without being followed by blood. the smallest and in practice. LETTERS ON and a slight wound. and treated the pricker as a cheat. inflicted. most ignorant baron of a rude territory. the accused suffered The copies of these examinathe grossest injustice. and brutal practice. began to be called by its right Fountainhall has recorded that. of inhabile witnesses. in- decent. The Supreme Court of Justiciary was that in which the cause proBut. as with a pin. in fact. or the evidence tions.

to appoint commissions and peculiarly liable to be affected by the clamour of the neighbourhood against the delinquent. should not have been uniformly tried by a court whose rank and condition secured them from the suspicion of partiality. But our ancestors arranged it was the consequence that such commissioners very seldom. uttered by the supposed witch. to be found within the district. as it is well known that such a commission could not be granted in a case of murder in the county where the crime was charged. secondly. though it might be attributed to the most natural course of events. though not country. et malum secutum some mischief. But. was supposed necessarily to be in consequence of the menaces of the accused. lost an opportunity of destroying it be forgotten that the proof led in of the prosecution was of a kind very unusual support The lawyers admitted as evidence in jurisprudence. Now. a witch. cil it was the course of the Privy Coun- of the gentlemen of the and particularly of the clergymen. tion if there 297 was a timid or superstitious judge. following close upon a threat. which. there seems no good reason why the trial of witches. Sometimes this vague species of evidence was still . or wish of revenge. and it brought before them.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Neither must what they called damnum minatum. so liable to excite the passions. by acquitting the persons otherwise. likely from their education to be freed from general prejudice. that is to say. though of the meanest denomination.

and curing the diseases of man and beast by day. One summer's : you have too long followed ledging my trade without acknowwith me for a master. the party actually were uncommon by a sudden gust of wind. You must now enlist me. one of a party of stout burghers of Dalkeith. and become my servant. the devil appeared to him in shape of a grave " " Mediciner. from that town to Niddrie. appointed to guard an old woman. and mischief ensuing. This man had for some time adopted the credit of being a conjurer. 1 66 1. and charms. whose real name was Alexander Hunter. who his was cleaning probably saw his courage was not entirely constant. " What would you think if the devil raise a whirlwind and take her from you on the road to-morrow ?" Sure enough. gun. though the more menaces had not come from the accused party herself. (not a very event in that climate. called Christian "Wilson. on a green spells hill. and I will teach you your . hope that this and some ground to extraordinary evidence was not admitted into a pool of water. he was slyly questioned by Janet Cocke. and allegations of danger threatened. on their journey to Niddrie. On loth June." addressing him thus roundly Sandie. There is a story told of an old wizard. which it had pleased the devil to confer upon him. as John Stewart. were admitted. though he was more generally known by the nickname of Hatteraick.side. while the assailed miserable prisoner was with difficulty raised again. is blown There upon the trial.298 LETTERS ON loosely adduced.) which scarce permitted the valiant guard to keep their feet. another confessing witch.

country for his he grew very famous through the charming and curing of diseases in men and beasts. When he came home. young to A gentleman. ere it be long. seeing him. such was the ignorance of many at that time. His sister. ' You warlock carle. he rides through a shady Tyne commonly called Allers.* gaining meal. and flesh.' This was damnum m'matum. and turned a vagrant fellow like a jockie. Rev. the Lady Samuelston. Hatteraick consented to the proposal. the ser- vants observed terror and fear in his countenance. saying. You shall dear buy this. trade better. and was overheard to say. far The young gentleman conveyed his friends a way off. Mr. switcht him about the ears. sons there that begat a dreadful consternation in him." 299 and rest we shall let the tale. he met with some perevening being piece of a haugh.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. taking his horse and crossing supped. One day he came the yait [gatej of Samuelston when some friends after dinner were going to horse. was heard * say. rather for his ill than his good. none durst refuse Hatteraick an alms. . what have you to do here ?' Whereupon the fellow goes * away grumbling. and was bound for several days. where he After supper. George Sinclair tell the of the " After this. hearing Surely that knave Hatteraick is Or Scottish wandering beggar. Whatever house he came to. This was malum secutum. he would never reveal. ' of it. and the somewhat dark. brother to the lady. for the most part. which. The next day he became distracted. and money by his charms. and came home that way again. water to go home.

* Sandie. The young man. and has a fever World Discovered.' says she. and probably could not. must which was soon not be known pranks he played with it canbut within a short while the gentleman What recovered his health. all his patrimony. he was at last apprehended at Dunbar. and burnt upon Now. . if evidence. gotten. striking fair * I should make him repent of his She. 98. it Hatteraick was really put to death on such is worth while to consider what was its real amount. through a dark shady place. ' Your brother William shall quickly go off the country. The beggar A grumbles. giving the rogue me at the yait lately. with beef and cheese. is frightened by he would not. hot-tempered swaggering young gentleman horsewhips a beggar of ill-fame for loitering about the gate of his sister's house. him He ' undertook the business.' After this warlock had abused the brother. . George. When Hatteraick came to re- ceive his wages.300 LETTERS ON -."* into Edinburgh. to the defrauding of his younger return. but shall never She. and promising him his pockful of meal. ' But I first. the cause of his trouble call for him in all haste.' says he. fit. and brought the Castlehill.' words. riding in the night. what I you have done to my brother William ?' ' told him. as any man would. he told the lady.' ' When is this he had come to her. have one of his sarks ' (shirts). His * Sinclair's Satan's Invisible p. knowing the fellow's prophecies to hold caused the brother to make a disposition to her of true.' says he. persuaded the fellow to cure again. and probably in liquor. country for a long time. tell what.

of whom the real crime was.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. we return to the general history of the trials re- corded from the reign of James V. and the evidence upon which they were convicted. that she had attracted too great a share. their situation was rendered intolerable by the detestation in which they were held by all ranks. et . to the Union of the kingdoms. Besides these particular disadvantages. kenzie. learning the probability of his departure. others of a pardonable description found means to shelter In one case. both by which they were tried. and all legal malum secutum. and the selfish Lady Samuel- The ston. committed a fraud which ought to have rendered her evi- dence inadmissible. in the lady's opinion. abhorred them with ing. sister 301 ing to his profession employs the wizard to take off the spell accordhere is damnum minatum. we are informed by Macthemselves. and ashes ! cause for burning a man to vagrant Hatteraick probably knew somethe wild young man which might soon oblige thing of him to leave the country . to which the accused of this crime in Scotland were neces- parties in relation to the judicature sarily exposed. Through the reign of Queen Mary these . The gentry hated diseases and death of their relations them. of the attention of the laird ! Having thus given some reasons why the prosecutions for witchcraft in Scotland were so numerous and fatal. less still the grossly superstitious vulgar more perfect dread and loath- And amongst those natural feelings. a poor girl was to die for witchcraft. because the and children were often imputed to them .

and the crime was subjected to heavier punishment by the 73d act of her o. was much augmented by the disposition have already of the Kirk to the same sentiments. doubtless. But when James VL years of discretion. but we are . the arrival of a skilful farrier was accounted a special providence. to This was. his talents The sove- reign had exhausted of investigation on the subject of witchcraft. This natural tendency to comply with the opinions of the sovereign. with good said that We faith. They applied these principles of belief to the meanest causes. the general erroneous belief respecting witchregarding it indeed as a crime which affected their own order more nearly than others in the state. they bound to oppose the incursions of Satan. were peculiarly at least. among better things. The works which remain behind them show. craft. horse falling lame was a snare of the devil. and credit was given to all who acted in defence of the opinions of the reigning prince. especially called to the service of Heaven." and this was equalled.th Parliament. the extreme anxiety approached to which he dis- played to penetrate more deeply into mysteries which others had regarded as a very millstone of obscurity. these venerable persons entertained. an unhesitating belief in what were called " by them special providences . a general sense true. drew still larger attention to the subject. to keep A the good clergyman from preaching . since. by their credulity as to the actual interference in of evil spirits the affairs of this world.302 trials for LETTERS ON sorcery became numerous. in defeat the purpose of Satan. since nothing can happen without the foreknowledge and will of Heaven .

and how easily moved. " full clearness " in giving him concerning Bessie Gra- hame. since the minister. and that the great content to execute His purposes by the of those laws which influence the general operation course of nature. especially as he doubted Satan's Invisible World. We have already woman was they accounted the seen that innocent of the even the conviction that a crime of witchcraft. The Author was Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow. as they conceived themselves. and wished from prison.* there occur some observ- able passages of God's providence to a godly minister. by Mr. and similar indifference concern- ing the feelings of those whom enemies of God and man. Creator is by the snares and temptations of hell. under suspicions of no great weight. in Renfrewshire. they entered into war with the kingdom of Satan. after various conferences. rather than a witch should be left undetected. with the same confidence in the justice of their cause. George Sinclair. Surrounded. as the crusaders of old invaded the land of Palestine. . Our ancient Scottish divines thought otherwise. it would seem. suspected of witchcraft. and relying on the aid of Heaven. did not induce a worthy clergyman to use any effort to withdraw her from the stake .DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Bessie Grahame had been committed. and afterwards minister of Eastwood. illustration of the The whole detail is a curious spirit of credulity which men brought with them to such inveswell-disposed the gravest doubts were retigations. that for her delivery * he actually pitied her hard usage. 303 authorized to believe that the period of supernatural interference has long passed away. and in the same collection. found her defence so successful.

he would acknowledge it as a singular favour and mercy. according to his idea. which he regarded as an answer to his prayer. they heard the prisoner. he thrust a great brass pin up to the head in a wart on the woman's back. One evening the clergyman. diswho used a low and which the minister instantly recognised ghostly tone. and the clergyman's own doubts from being removed. granted for trial . This put the worthy man upon a solemn prayer to God.304 whether a civil LETTERS ON court would send her to an assize. and his own visited Bessie in her cell. was accomplished in the following manner. we as the Foul should have been of opinion that Bessie Grahame talked to herself." This. the kirk-officer. But for this discovery. pretended to understand the sense of what was said within the cell. " that if he would were far find out a way for giving the minister full clearness of her guilt. he regarded the overhearing this conversation as the answer of the . to urge her to but in vain. or whether an assize would be disposed to convict her. had they had left coursing with another person. alone in her place of confinement. Fiend's voice. but still the chief gentlemen in the county refused to act. and the minister himself was pretty sure he heard two voices at the same time. whom servant. . head behind the door. as melancholy and despairing wretches But as Alexander Simpson are in the habit of doing. As they stood on the stairconfession. which he A commission was affirmed to be the devil's mark. with Alexander Simpson. a fellow named Begg was employed as a skilful pricker by whose authority it is not said. While the minister was in this doubt.

nourished. acquitting her . -. was. into contact which failed not at last to be brought with the king's prerogative yet. in the early system of church government. intrusted with the charge of the public government. The king. when the clergy were. themselves discords that his during his reminded him in their future kingdom had never been so quiet as voyage to Denmark. Although the ministers. in correspondence with the prevailing superstitions of the people. when freed from the influence of such a favourite as the profligate Stuart. and would not confess nay. or the guilt of Bessie Grahame. whose opinions were but too strongly. on this head. .DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. a considerable desire to secure their own immunities and privileges as a national church. . rather acceptable to the clergy of his kingdom and period. for they often in a great measure. James. acknowledged with many thanks the care which the clergy had bestowed in this particuNor were they slack in assuming the merit to lar. on his romantic expea consort from Denmark. judges and jury of her blood. made a most decent and Christian end. after his return. in respect of the strong delusion under which they laboured. he very to the clergy to contribute all to assist the civil magistrates recommended that lay in their power and preserve the public peace of the kingdom. At his departing dition to bring politically home from Scotland. in his personal qualities. though she died obstinate. Earl of Arran. in the earlier part of his reign. 305 Deity to his petition and thenceforth was troubled with no doubts either as to the reasonableness and propriety of his prayer.

being under an assize of error. the pedantic sovereign. which. the other hand. Scotland. or such evidence as that collected by the minister who overheard the dialogue between the witch and her master. and reconcile them to bring in a verdict of Guilty. The execution very common in some measure of witches became. on account of his . burnt as a necessary conclusion of his The juries were also afraid of liable to suffer consequences of acquittal to themselves. should they be . the mass. thought to have been unjustly merciful and as the witches tried were personally as insignificant as the charge itself was odious. The clergy consi- dered that the Roman mies. in their opinion. and the witches. and there seldom wanted some such confession as we have often mentioned. considered the execution of every On witch who was own the royal syllogisms. and natural allies in the great cause of mischief. their hearty agreement on the subject of witchcraft failed not to heat the fires against the persons suspected of such iniquity. for these reasons. there was no restraint whatever upon those in whose hands their fate lay. where the king seemed in to have made himself a party in the cause. having exercised his learning and ingenuity in the Demonologia. and the clergy esteemed themselves such from the very nature of their profession. were mutually associated together. to salve their consciences. were equally devoted to the Catholics. JBut the general spite of Satan especially directed against and his adherents was supposed to be James.306 LETTERS ON During the halcyon period of union between kirk and king. their principal enedevil.

and he very naturally believed that the Prince of the power of the occasion. she gave her opinion. being. that the Wise of Keith for. not as one of the base or ignorant class of ordinary witches. composed and deliberate in her answers. from the terms of her indictment. but a grave matron. called the Wise Wife of Keith. not only to darkness with alarm. and at the same time establishes. it could not be doubted. and sheltered side of the law in such delicate right charms. which were all to some purpose. seems to have been a kind of white witch. in which she One article of her indictment proves this. unusual spirit the indirect policy of Elizabeth. and the sick woman's hus- . an event which struck the whole kingdom of James was self-gratified by the which he had displayed on his voyage in quest of his bride. that nothing could amend her unless the devil was raised . affecting to cure diseases by words and a dangerous profession. but to the malevolent purpose of hell itself. the 307 the union of a Pro- King of Scotland and heir of England. or Samson. match with Anne of Denmark testant princess with a Protestant prince.DEAIONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. and well disposed to fancy that he had performed it in positive opposition. His fleet had been tempest-tost. considering the times Neither did she always keep the lived. Woman . knew how to turn her profession to account being consulted in the illness of Isobel Hamilton. This grave dame. operations. air had been personally active on the The principal person implicated in these heretical and treasonable undertakings was one Agnes Sampson. and described by Archbishop Spottiswood.

made the hero of the whole tale of necromancy. was Doctor John Fian. perhaps. clay. The third person in this singular league of sorcerers. without adding to them the story of a philtre being applied to a cow's hair instead of that of the young woman for whom it was designed. This was Dame Euphane MacCalzean.308 LETTERS ON band. published from Scotland. the widow of a Senator of the College of Justice. and being indifferent. to be wasted and tormented after the usual fashion of necromancy. and a person infinitely above the rank of the much whom she was joined in her Mr. and enjoyed much This man was hazardous reputation as a warlock. raise the devil. about the issue. and to take the king's life by anointing his linen with and by constructing figures of poisonous materials. whereupon the Wise Wife refused to and the patient died. otherwise Cunninghame. witchcrafts It is remarkable that the Scottish sufficiently horrible were not thought by the editor of this tract." which has been lately reprinted by the Roxburghe Club. startling at the proposal. would not bestow the necessary expenses. and telling how the animal came lowing after the sor- . Pitcairn supposes that this connexion may crime. who was schoolmaster at Tranent. have arisen from her devotion to the Catholic faith and obscure witches with her friendship for the Earl of Bothwell. Amongst her associates was an unhappy lady of higher degree. in an at and entitled " News account of it London. This woman was principally engaged in an extensive conspiracy to destroy the fleet of the queen by raising a tempest.

309 cerer to his school-room door. a very active witch. they afforded the Privy Council and him sport for the greatest part of the remaining winter. the grave matron before mentioned. they embarked in iii. the original of which charm occurs in the story of Apuleius. king When the monarch of Scotland sprung this strong doorkeeper to the conclave. * Lucii Apuleii Metamorphoses. like a second Pasiphae. king's life. having four joints of men knit to its feet. hour tortured by the twisting of a cord around her head. a called as his ! covey of his favourite game. Douglas. after being an to in whom they at length resorted for advice. they had.sisters in Macbeth. and by one means or other.* Besides these persons.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. lib. who had charmed a cat by certain spells. told them // est French respecting King James. un homme de Dieu. and about thirty other poor creaalias tures of the lowest condition. nickname Graymeal. which they threw Another frolic into the sea to excite a tempest. confessed that she had consulted with one Richard Grahame concerning the probable length of the But Satan. among the rest. like the weird. there was one Barbara Napier. Agnes Sampson. according to the custom of the Buccaneers. who was cuffed by " " God bless the the devil for saying simply. The poor woman also acknowledged that she had held a meeting with those of her sisterhood. Geillis Duncan. He attended on the examinations himself. they were indifferently well dressed to his palate. . when. a person of some rank . and the means of shortening it. and silly old ploughman.

repeatedly promised. whereupon the bolts gave way. his knees were crushed in the boots. where. nails were torn from his fingers with smiths' pincers . they feasted till the sport grew tiresome. They went on board of a foreign ship richly laden with wines. no question. and then Satan sunk the vessel and all on board. where they paced round the church 'withershins. He was saluted with an " man occupying Hail. ordinary and extraordinary. dimly seen. The devil. or Cunninghame. was fairly overcome. the Fiend rolling himself before them upon the waves. hitherto sustained. pins were driven into the places which the nails usually defended . in reverse of the motion of the sun. Barbara Napier. as the bystanders supposed by the help of the devil. the unhallowed crew entered. Fian then blew into the lock of the church door. was also visited by the The sharpest tortures. Master " ! the but dissatisfied with his not having a picture of the king. LETTERS ON with much mirth and jollity. and resembling a huge haystack in size and appearance. and some other amateur witch above those of the ordinary profession. The devil was particularly upbraided on this subject by divers respectable-looking females. brought which was to place his majesty at the mercy of this the company were infernal crew. Fian. that is. Euphane MacCalzean. and their master the devil appeared to his servants in the shape of a black pulpit. At length his constancy. invisible to the crew. Agnes Sampson. on this . and he gave an account of a great witchmeeting at North Berwick.310 sieves. his finger bones were splintered in the pilniewinks.

the number of dancers considered. generally acting as clerk or recorder. the evening with a divertisement and a dance after his own manner. the music seems to have been rather imperfect. and dividing it in fragments among the company. Fian. cummers. He sent for Geillis Duncan. forgot himself. which had been assigned to him as Master of the Rows. Dr. where it is accounted very indifferent manners to name an individual evidence which ground of be brought Satan. This was considered and the rule is still observed at every renas bad taste . something disconcerted. and the ball was maintained by well-nigh two hundred singing this " persons. Geillis Duncan was the only instrumental performer. or Rolls. 311 memorable occasion. as above mentioned. called in Scotland a trump. led the ring. King James was deeply rious meetings. instead of the demoniacal sobriquet of Rob the Rowar. and called Fian by his own name. smugglers. in case of affording may upon a day of trial new-buried corpse. gang ye before . let me " ! ! After this choral exhibition. and caused her tune to which Satan and to play before his him the same companions led the brawl . The former consisted in disinterring a by his own name. or the like. interrested in those mysteand took great delight to be present at the examinations of the accused. muffled. Cummer.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. dezvous of forgers. cummer gang ye Gif ye will not gang before. and was highly honoured. and she played on a Jew's harp. chant who danced a ring dance. concluded against him.

The majority of the jury which tried Barbara Napier. concluded in the same tragedy at the stake and the pile. Almost all these poor wretches were executed. displayed the ashes of the numbers who had * The music of this witch tune is unhappily lost.312 in LETTERS ON His ears were grati- North Berwick churchyard. Castlehill of . is preserved.* way. gar cast her a pickle. that the king was the greatest enemy whom he had in the world. were themselves threatened with a trial for wilful error upon an assize. and burning to ashes thereafter. for the purthe new approach to the city from the pose of forming west. ther. having acquitted her of attendance at the North Berwick meeting. which was strangling to death. The alterations and trenching which lately took place on the Edinburgh. And she will grow mickle. And she will do good. believed to have been popular The silly bit chicken. the same extorted confessions. and submitting themThis rigorous and selves to the king's pleasure. for at this fied in another meeting it was said the witches demanded of the devil why he did bear such enmity against the king ? who returned the flattering answer. the same prejudiced and exaggerated eviin dence. nor did Euphane MacCalzean's station in life save her from the common doom. and could only escape from severe censure and punishment by pleading Guilty. iniquitous conduct shows a sufficient reason why there should be so few acquittals from a charge of witchcraft. It juries were so much at the mercy of the would be disgusting to follow the numerous cases which the same uniform credulity. Bnt that of anoon such occasions. where the crown.

" it This singular document shows. Nor did King " 1608. were becoming fully sensible of the desperate iniquity and inhumanity of I have modernized the spelling. December I. and other suburban parts of Edinburgh. evincing plainly that the Earl of Mar. of 313 whom must have been executed between great discovery Calzean and the plices. brak out of the fire. perished in this manner. and were satiated own with the excess of cruelty. a large proportion 1590. that these proceedings. that even of James. there occurs a singular entry. * I city as the borough of Southwark bears to London. the Council. which dashed half- am obliged to the kindness of Mr.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. and convicted. his dutiful Privy Council began to think that they had supt full with horrors.* and were cast quick in again till they were burned to the death. yet they were burned quick [alive]. Leith. renouncing and blaspheming [God]. and their accom- and the union of the crowns. this appalling record may be legible to all my readers. that the jurisdiction or regality of Broughton embraced Holyrood. James's removal to England soften this horrid persecution. half burned. Pitcairn for this singular The southern reader must be informed. and others. Canongate. and bore the same relation to that extract. albeit they persevered constant in their denial to the end. In Sir Thomas Hamilton's Minutes of Proceedings in the Privy Council. after such a cruel manner that some of them died in despair. that some as witches. so soon as his in the reign august person was removed from Edinburgh. and others of James's Council. when the was made concerning Euphane Mac Wise Wife of Keith. . The Earl of Mar declared to women were taken in Broughton and being put to an assize.

314

LETTERS ON

consumed wretches back into the flames from which they were striving to escape. But the picture, however much it may have been
disgusting and terrifying to the Council at the time,

and though the intention of the entry upon the records

was obviously

for the purpose of preventing such horrid

cruelties in future,

had no

lasting effect

on the course
the

of justice, as the severities against witches were most
unhappily
still

considered

necessary.

Through

whole of the

sixteenth, and the greater part of the seventeenth century, little abatement in the persecution

of this metaphysical crime of witchcraft can be traced in the kingdom. Even while the Independents held
the reins of government, Cromwell himself, and his

major-generals and substitutes, were obliged to please the common people of Scotland by abandoning the victims accused of witchcraft to the power of the law,

though the journals of the time express the horror and disgust with which the English sectarians beheld a
practice so inconsistent with their ciple of universal toleration.

own humane

prin-

Instead of plunging into a history of these events, which, generally speaking, are in detail as monotonous
as they are melancholy,
it

may amuse

the reader to

confine the narrative to a single trial, having in the course of it some peculiar and romantic events. It is

the tale of a sailor's wife, more tragic in its event than that of the chestnut-muncher in Macbeth.*
*

was

trial, which took place in Ayrshire, withheld his name, so that I can only thank him in this general acknowledgment.

A copy of
sent to

the record of the

me by a friend, who

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.

315

Margaret Barclay, wife of Archibald Dein, burgess of Irvine, had been slandered by her sister-in-law, Janet Lyal, the spouse of John Dein, brother of Archibald, and

by John Dein himself,

as guilty of

some

act

of

theft.

Upon

this

provocation

Margaret Barclay

raised an action of slander before the church court,

which prosecution,
session discharged,

after

some procedure, the kirkbetween

by

directing a reconciliation

Nevertheless, although the two women shook hands before the court, yet the said Margaret
the parties.

Barclay declared that she gave her hand only in obedience to the kirk-session, but that she still retained her

hatred and

ill-will against

John Dein, and

his wife,

time the bark of John Dein About Janet Lyal. was about to sail for France, and Andrew Train, or
this

Tran, Provost of the burgh of Irvine, who was an owner of the vessel, went with him to superintend the
commercial part of the voyage. Two other merchants of some consequence went in the same vessel, with a
sufficient

number of mariners.

Margaret Barclay, the

revengeful person already mentioned, was heard to imprecate curses upon the provost's argosy, praying to God that sea nor salt water might never bear the ship,

and that partans [crabs] might bottom of the sea.

eat the

crew

at

the

When, under

these auspices, the ship

was absent on

her voyage, a vagabond fellow, named John Stewart, pretending to have knowledge of jugglery, and to
possess the power of a spaeman, came to the residence of Tran, the provost, and dropped explicit hints that

the ship was lost, and that the good

woman

of the

316

LETTERS ON
The
sad truth was afterwards

house was a widow.

learned on more certain information.

Two

of the sea-

of doubt and anxiety, arrived with the melancholy tidings that the bark, of which John Dein was skipper, and Provost Tran part owner, had

men,

after a space

been wrecked on the coast of England, near Padstow, when all on board had been lost, except the two sailors

who brought the notice. Suspicion of sorcery, in those days easily awakened, was fixed on Margaret Barclay, who had imprecated curses on the ship, and
of the

on John Stewart, the juggler, who had seemed to know evil fate of the voyage before he could have

become acquainted with it by natural means. Stewart, who was first apprehended, acknowledged
that Margaret Barclay, the other suspected person, had " in order applied to him to teach her some magic arts,

that she might get gear, kye's milk, love of man, her heart's desire on such persons as had done her wrong,

and

finally that

she might obtain the fruit of sea and

land." Stewart declared that he denied to Margaret that he possessed the said arts himself, or had the

power of communicating them.
true

So

far

was well

;

but,

or

false,

he added a string of circumstances,

whether voluntarily declared or extracted by torture, which tended to fix the cause of the loss of the bark on Margaret Barclay. He had come, he said, to this

woman's house
from harbour.

in Irvine, shortly after the ship set sail

He went to Margaret's house by night, and found her engaged, with other two women, in one of the figures was made making clay figures
;

handsome, with

fair hair,

supposed to represent Provost

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.
Tran.

317

then proceeded to mould a figure of a and during this labour the devil appeared to the company in the shape of a handsome black lap-

They

ship in clay,

dog, such as ladies used to keep.'

34

'

He

added, that the

the house together, and went into an empty wastehouse, nearer the seaport, which house he From this house pointed out to the city magistrates.

whole party

left

they went to the sea-side, followed by the black lapdog aforesaid, and cast in the figures of clay representing
the ship and the
roared, and
dyer's cauldron.

men

;

after

became red

like

which the sea raged, the juice of madder in a

This confession having been extorted from the unfortunate juggler, the female acquaintances of Margaret Barclay were next convened, that he might point out

her associates in forming the charm, when he pitched upon a woman called Isobel Insh, or Taylor, who reso-

having ever seen him before. She was however, in the belfry of the church. An imprisoned,
lutely denied

addition to the evidence against the poor old

woman

Insh was then procured from her own daughter, Margaret Taylor, a child of eight years old, who lived as ser-

Margaret Barclay, the person principally This child, who was keeper of a baby belonging to Margaret Barclay, either from terror or the innate love of falsehood which we have observed as
accused.

vant with

proper to childhood, declared that she was present when the fatal models of clay were formed, and that in plunging them in the sea Margaret Barclay, her mistress,

and her mother, Isobel Insh, were assisted by
may remind
the reader of Gazette's Diable Amoureux.

* This

318
another

LETTERS ON
woman, and
this child

dwelt

at the

town-head.

a girl of fourteen years old, who Legally considered, the evi-

dence of

was

contradictory, and inconsistent

with the confession of the juggler, for it assigned other particulars and dramatis persona in many respects different.

But

all

was accounted

sufficiently

regular,

especially since the girl failed not to swear to the presence of the black dog, to whose appearance she also

added the additional

terrors of that of a black

man.

The dog
from
its

also, according to her account, emitted flashes

jaws and

nostrils, to illuminate the

witches

during the performance of the spell. The child maintained this story even to her mother's face, only alleging that Isobel Insh remained behind in the wastehouse,

and was not present when the images were put into the sea. For her own countenance and presence on
the occasion, and to ensure her secrecy, her mistress promised her a pair of new shoes.

John Stewart, being re-examined and confronted with the child, was easily compelled to allow that the "little smatchet" was there, and to give that marvellous account of his correspondence with Elfland we have noticed elsewhere.

which

conspiracy thus far, as they conceived, disclosed, the magistrates and ministers wrought hard with Isobel Insh to prevail upon her to tell the truth,

The

and she
time

acknowledged her presence at the the models of the ship and mariners were destroyed, but endeavoured so to modify her declaration as to deny all personal accession to the guilt. This
at length

when

poor creature almost admitted the supernatural powers

DEM ONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.

319

imputed to her, promising Bailie Dunlop, (also a mariner,) by whom she was imprisoned, that if he would
dismiss her he should never

make a bad voyage, but
by sea and land. would

have success

in all his dealings

She
fully

was

finally

brought

to promise that she

confess the

whole

that she

knew of
hard a

the affair on the

morrow.
But finding herself
nate
in so
strait,

the unfortu-

woman made
With

escape.

use of the darkness to attempt an this view, she got out by a back win-

of the belfry, although, says the report, there were " iron bolts, locks, and fetters on her," and attained the roof of the church, where, losing her footing, she sustained a severe fall, and was greatly bruised.

dow

Being apprehended, Bailie Dunlop again urged her to but the poor woman was determined to appeal confess
;

to a

more merciful
last

tribunal,

and maintained her innolife,

cence to the

minute of her

denying

all

that

she had formerly admitted, and dying five days after her fall from the roof of the church. The inhabitants

of Irvine attributed her death to poison. The scene began to thicken, for a commission was granted for the trial of the two remaining persons
accused, namely, Stewart the juggler, and Margaret The day of trial being arrived, the following Barclay.
singular events took place, the record
:

which we give

as stated in

"

My

Lord and Earl of Eglintoune (who dwells

within the space of one mile to the said burgh) having come to the said burgh at the earnest request of the said Justices, for giving to them of his lordship's coun-

320

LETTERS ON

tenance, concurrence, and assistance in trying of the foresaid devilish practices, conform to the tenor of the
foresaid commission, the said

better preserving to the day of the assize,

John Stewart, for his was put in

a sure lockfast booth, where no manner of person might have access to him till the downsitting of the
Justice Court
;

and, for avoiding of putting violent
strictly

hands on himself, he was very
fettered

guarded, and

by the arms, as use is. And upon that same of the assize, about half an hour before the downday minisitting of the Justice Court, Mr. David Dickson,
ster at Irvine,

and Mr. George Dunbar, minister of Ayr, having gone to him to exhort him to call on his God for mercy for his bygone wicked and evil life, and

mercy loose him out of the bonds of the devil, whom he had served these many years bygone, he acquiesced in their prayer and godly I am so straitly exhortation, and uttered these words guarded that it lies not in my power to get my hand to take off my bonnet, nor to get bread to my mouth.
that

God would

of his

infinite

'

;

And
sters

immediately after the departing of the two mini-

from him, the juggler being sent for at the desire of my Lord of Eglintoune to be confronted with a
of the Burgh of Ayr, called Janet Bous, who was apprehended by the magistrates of the burgh of Ayr for witchcraft, and sent to the burgh of Irvine purposely for that affair, he was found by the burgh officers who went about him strangled and hanged by the cruik of the door, with a tait of hemp, or a string made of hemp, supposed to have been his garter, or above the length of two span string of his bonnet, not

woman

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.

321

long, his knees not being from the ground half a span, and was brought out of the house, his life not being But, notwithstanding of whatsover totally expelled.

means used

in the contrary for remeid of his life, he revived not, but so ended his life miserably by the help of the devil, his master.

" And because

there

was then only

in life the said

Margaret Barclay, and that the persons summoned to pass upon her assize, and upon the assize of the juggler,

who, by the help of the
;

devil, his master,

had

put violent

hands on himself, were all present within the said burgh therefore, and for eschewing of the like in the person of the said Margaret, our sovereign
lord's justices in that part, particularly

constituted by and advice of the said noble lord, whose concurrence and advice was chiefly required and taken in this

commission, after

above named, solemn deliberation

matter, concluded with all possible diligence before the downsitting of the Justice Court, to put the said Mar-

garet in torture
sion,

;

in respect the devil,

by God's permisthe lights of

had made her

associates,

who were

the cause, to be their

own

burrioes, [slayers.!

They

used the torture underwritten as being most safe and gentle, (as the said noble lord assured the said justices,)

by putting of her two bare and thereafter by onlaying of

legs in a pair of stocks,

certain iron gauds [bars] one by one, and then eiking and augmenting severally the weight by laying on more gauds, and in easing of

her by offtaking of the iron gauds one or more, as occasion offered, which iron gauds were but little short

gauds, and broke not the skin of her legs, &c.

Y

by earnest prayer. for God's cause. had hitherto conducted herself like a passionate woman innocently accused. provost of Ayr. to cry and crave. the whole Whose desire in that being fulfilled. by rendering of the truth. and Mr. and disappoint the enemy of her salvation. minister of Kilmarnock. she then uttered these words take off. and before !' Take off. minister of the burgh." Trial of Margaret Barclay. minister of Dairy. but [i. who was a young and lively person. and she should declare truly. at her former denial. might glorify and magnify his holy name. according to the increase of the pain. she then desired my Lord of Eglintoune. and the said Mr. she began And being of new assayed in : torture as * of befoir. e. and she should declare truly the whole matter. Mr. John Cunninghame. the said four justices. David Dickson. God I shall show you faithful the whole form " And the said irons being of new. minister of Ayr. the " After using of the which kind of said Margaret began. "Which being removed. her confession in this manner. name. Sfc. George Dunbar. without] any kind of demand. being called upon for opening of her lips and easing of her heart. that she carried about her rowan-tree and coloured and high-tempered . she made matter. to come by themselves. without interrogation God's .322 LETTERS ON gentle torture. and Mr. 1618. as she should answer to God. to take off her shins the foresaid irons. removed. freely. and Hugh Kennedy. upon her promise. that she. Mitchell Wallace. Margaret Barclay. and to remove all others. and the only appearance of conviction obtained against her was.

The jury unmoved by proceeded upon the principle that the confession of the accused could not be considered as made under the influence of torture. But all I ? she answered. when a strange juncas an anodyne by the cow good Lord Eglinton the placing. for when the prisoner was asked by the lawyer whether she wished to be defended " As you of torture please. at her screams and declarations that she was willing to tell all. The trial was then appointed to proceed. and saving the rest of the crew. that it was with the purpose of killing only her brother-in-law. the terror. in great imputed crime. appeared in court with a lawyer to act on his wife's behalf. thread.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. and. But the gentle torture tion of words recommended give milk. as she said. Apparently. her legs in the stocks. when. since the bars at the her limbs placed at were not actually upon delivered. to make. although they were her elbow ready to be again laid on her bare time it was . confessed the husband of Margaret Barclay. her it 323 began to fail." To which she in pathetically added Ye have been too long coming. when Alexander Dein. She at the same time involved in the guilt Isobel Crawford. She then told a story of destroying the ship of John Dein. the iron. This poor cipal woman was also apprehended. the sight of her husband awakened some hope and desire of life. and loading her bare shins with bars of overcame her resolution . namely. retorting the prinblame on Margaret Barclay herself. before God. have confessed was in agony and. ." these affecting circumstances. and Provost Tran. all I have spoken is false and untrue. affirming. weights were removed.

incensed at the nature of the crime. however imaginary. however. three vic- tims having already perished by this accusation. and died affirming it the explanation . at the stake. in the present case. and after A Mr. the assistant minister of Irvine. even by confession of what all believed It is remarkable. It is singular that she should have again returned to her confession after sentence. or that an apparent penitence for her offence. the woman whom she had herself accused. for her trial. David Dickson. that pile was usually lighted at the embers of another. that she earnestly respecting her. Accordingly. might be. On this nice distinction. inculpated by Margaret new commission was granted Barclay's confession. was the only mode in which she could obtain any share of public sympathy at her death. one voice found Margaret Barclay guilty. having died with It many one was one fatal expressions of religion and penitence. entreated the magistrates that no harm should be done to Isobel Crawford. of which. she might be willing to purchase. in her circumstances. had made earnest prayers to God . did not forbear to insist against Isobel Crawford. if she LETTERS ON was less explicit in her declaration than they in her auditors wished. either that she had really in her ignorance and folly tampered with some idle spells. This unfortunate young creature was strangled and her body burned to ashes. or a portion of the prayers of the clergy and congregation. and at the loss of several friends of their own.324 shins. consequence of these cruel persecu- tions. so perilous as it seemed to men of a maritime life. the magistrates. which. one of whom had been their principal magistrate.

deprived of all human became disposed to throw away the lives bitter to them. without any kind of din or on her exclamation. trial for witchcraft. illustrating in ceived how poor wretches. never shrinking thereat in any sort. steady. by a voluntary con- sympathy. which had subsisted cordingly. and died without any sign of repentance. and absolutely refusing to pardon the executioner. abandoned as they conby God and the world.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. that were rendered . forms the most detailed specimen I have met with. was charged with. she broke out into horrible cries (though not more than three bars were then aff !" Tak aff tak actually on her person) of On being relieved from the torture. as in the case of Margaret Barclay. She endured this torture with incredible firmness. and at considerable length. of a Scottish particular. " since she did admirably. suffer above thirty stone of iron to be laid legs. as it were. offering repeated interruption to the minister in his prayer. she was subjected to the torture of iron bars laid upon her bare shins. but re- maining. she made all " the usual confession of that she devil. her constancy gave way . This tragedy happened in the year 1613. her feet being in the stocks. she openly denied all her former confessions." But in shifting the situation of the iron bars. 325 for opening her obdurate and closed heart. After this Sentence was given against her achad been denounced. and of a connexion with the for several years. and removing them to another part of her shins. and exposed to personal tortures of an acute description. and recorded as it is very particularly.

fession of guilt. have endeavoured to justify a belief in the existence of witchcraft. even in modern times. bestowing a few words upon those celebrated persons. is so much distinguished by fame among the numerous instances which occurred in Scottish history. the throwing some clay models into the merely because sea. a man of sense can listen for an instant to the evidence founded on confessions thus obtained. during two cennay perhaps on such charges and such evidence as proved the turies. that we are under the necessity of One case. It was also remark- . and his mother a lady of family in Clydesdale. that many hundreds.326 LETTERS ON many evils. in which a particular vessel was lost ! It is scarce possible that. admissible. might here take leave of our Scottish history of We witchcraft. death of those persons in the trial of the Irvine witches. (the chiefly son of a gentleman. without the corroboration of other testimony. which has been almost the sole reason by which a few individuals. is the most suspicious of and even when voluntarily given. when extorted by such means. by barely mentioning. a fact told differently by the witnesses who spoke so of it. rather than struggle hopelessly against Four persons here lost their lives. for no day was fixed. is scarce all evidence . The case of this notorious wizard was remarkable of some condition. after reading such a story. corresponded with the season. Major Weir and his sister. The result of the judicial examination of a criminal. thousands. lost their lives however.) which was seldom the case with those from his being a man that fell under similar accusations.

and. short. were of such a character that it may be charitably hoped most of them were the fruits of a depraved to have been in many imagination. to be strict in execu- ting the severest penalties upon such Royalists It as fell under his military charge. in 1649. though he appears . In this capacity he was understood. which he seems to have admitted without either shame or contrition. Commonwealth. in came be observed. his wit This Major Weir was that seized by the magistrates on a strange whisper became current respecting vile practices. that when this stick and talent appeared to forsake him. unless when he had in his hand a stick of peculiar shape and appearance. by the bedside to was some often called to exercise this talent it of sick persons. an infirmity easily of ject to reconcilable with the formal pretences which he made with a maiden fits to a high show of religious zeal. sister who had kept his house. and In the years of the peculiarly attached to that cause. as He was peculiar in was the custom of the period.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. was taken from him. this man was trusted and employed by who were then at the head of affairs. and was. appears that the Major. by which it is more easy to conceive than to explain. was submelancholic lunacy. The disgusting profligacies which he confessed. as was indeed implied in the those duties of that officer at the period. he could not pray with the same warmth and fluency of expression. his gift of prayer. which he generally walked with. commander of the City-guard of Edinburgh. 327 able in his case that he had been a Covenanter. It was noticed. that. which procured him his title of Major. until association.

there was no need of incensing him by His witchcraft seems to vain efforts at repentance. that as he had no hope whatever of escaping Satan. and invited them to visit a friend at Dalkeith. and that while there her brother received information of the event of the . with seems probable that he was whom he was supposed to have also to death. but such as urged him not to repent. he avowed solemnly that he had not confessed the hundredth part of the crimes which he had committed. 1670.328 respects a LETTERS ON wicked and criminal hypocrite. but any feeling he had of him was in the dark. was condemned and more explicit testitheir mony of mutual sins than could be extracted from the Major. at the Gallow-hill between Leith and his indictment in Edinburgh. ment. From this time he would answer no interrogatory. her brother. His sister. He received sentence of death. "When he had completed his confession. as usual. that one day a person called upon them at noonday with a fiery chariot. as was chiefly founded on the same docuwhich he alleged he had never seen the devil. the consequence perhaps of remorse. nor would he have recourse to prayer. and acknowledged the assistance she received from that Of sovereign in spinning an unusual quantity of yarn. she said. She gave. which he suffered I2th April. some account of her connexion with the queen of the fairies. have been taken for granted on his own confession . It burnt alive. but to despair. leaving a stronger had an incestuous connexion. as to justify the opinion that he was oppressed with a kind of melancholy frenzy. He died so stupidly sullen and impeni- tent. arguing.

.

SOW. EDIHBTEJRGH HOUSE OF MAJOR WEIR. T />. . vr TFoG .

the author of Thesaurus Septentrionalis. the . as that of Major Weir. as our readers may perceive by looking at the frontispiece. Her last words were in the tone of the sect to which her brother had so long affected " " to belong weep and lament for Many. on the subject of Major Weir. determining. so many of which occurred near and in Edinburgh. a poor old wretch like me but." she said. battle of Worcester. 329 of their No one saw the style equipage except themselves.harge of having fostered and encouraged the crimes they committed or attempted. and the case of Mitchell. rejoiced to have an opportunity. made such a lasting impression on the public The remains of the mind. Andrews. alas few are weeping : ." The Scottish prelatists. as she said. and other infernal proof against used to throw many practices. has a . written with the unjust purpose of attaching to the religious sect to which the wizard and assassin belonged. called Ravaillac Redivivus. this " with the woman. upon whom the Covenanters aspersions respecting their receiving shot from the devil. published. which. Hickes. house in which he and his sister lived are still shown at the head of the Westbow. On the scaffold. to die greatest shame possible." was with difficulty prevented from throwing off her clothes before the people. ! for a broken Covenant. in their turn. his who book fired at the Archbishop of St. to retort on their adversaries the charge of sorcery. Dr. It is certain that no story of witchcraft or necro- mancy.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. and with scarce less trouble was she flung from the ladder by the executioner.

in fortress of superstitious renown the course of being destroyed. which procured for his sister such a character as a spinner. It gloomy lint. in order to the modern im- provements now carrying on in a quarter long thought unimprovable. or hearing the hum of the necromantic wheel. to which he was appointed so he did not sufficient feel early as 1678. learning began to increase. this last At the time I am is writing. and bold was the urchin from the in . was at different times a brazier's shop. more seldom disgrace our records of Criminal Jurisprudence. . had delivered his opinion on the subject in the Gentle i. Sir John Clerk. al- As knowledge and though not discontinued. 15. conjurer) to be a judge upon such an inquisition. voL p. his friend.330 LETTERS ON aspect. a scholar and an antiquary. Allan Ramsay. the and clergy of Scotland became ashamed of gentlemen the credulity of their ancestors. that himself warlock (that is.* alleging dryly. at the risk of seeing the Major's enchanted staff parading through the old apartments. and witch trials. had the honour to be as a commissioner amongst the first to decline acting on the trial of a witch. the grandfather of the late celebrated John Clerk of Eldin. * See FountainhaH's Decisions. well suited for a necromancer. and who must be supposed to speak the sense of his many respectable patrons. and a magazine for my younger days was employed for the but no family would inhabit the haunted walls as a residence . and latter use High-School who dared approach the gloomy ruins.

Sir George Maxwell. where Mause's imaginary witchcraft constitutes the machinery of the poem. The chief evidence on the subject was a vagabond girl. and the sixth only escaped on account of extreme youth. of Bargarran. five of the accused were executed. who were leagued for the purpose of tormenting a clay image in his likeness. in where a young girl. pretending to be deaf and dumb. was the princiThis unlucky damsel. more remarkable case occurred at Paisley. believed himself bewitched to death by six witches. who hanged himself in prison. of whom five were executed. 331 Shepherd. besides one John Reed. about eleven years of age. But even those who believed in witchcraft . or. one man and five women. was strangled by the devil in person lest he should make disclosures to the detriment of the service. 1697. and had hid it where it was afterwards found in consequence of her own infor- mation. of Pollock.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. daughter of John Shaw. and herself punished. Yet these dawnings of sense and humanity were obscured by the clouds of the ancient superstition o:i more than one distinguished occasion. still A practices out of a quarrel with a maid-servant. But as her imposture was afterwards discovered. continued to imitate a case of possession so accurately that no less than twenty persons were condemned upon her evidence. In 1676. apparently a man of melancholic and valetudinary habits. In the meantime. it is reasonably to be concluded that she had herself formed the picture or image of Sir George. as was charitably said. beginning her pal evidence.

in his MS. escaped from happy * Law's Memorialls. so that oftentimes old age. 93. and in the means made use of for promoting the disco- very of such wretches and bringing them to justice . edited p. have yet moved many to suspect and de- fame their neighbours to the unspeakable prejudice of Christian charity . Esq. a when persons of more goodness and esteem than most of their calumniators were defamed for witches. who an accusation of witchcraft against were accordingly seized on. in the present " there has been much harm done to worthy and inno- cent persons in the common way of finding out witches. in the business of the sorceries exercised upon the Laird of Bargarran's daughter.. Prefatory Notice. and im- One of the unprisoned with the usual severities. creatures. features. who A affected fits. a frightful instance of popular bigotry occurred at Pittenweem. Sharpe. K. or reasonableness of the practice in such cases began to In the take courage and state their objections boldly. laid two women. and ill-fame. by 0. strolling vagabond." * Those who doubted of the sense of the law. poverty. anno 1697." says the Rev. a late instance whereof we had in the west. . year 1704. and which was occasioned mostly by the forwardness time and absurd credulity of divers otherwise worthy ministers of the gospel. Mr. Janet Cornfoot by name. and some topping professors in and about the city of Glasgow. Bell. Treatise on Witchcraft. " I own.332 LETTERS ON were now beginning to open their eyes to the dangers mode of prosecution. with such like grounds not worthy to be represented to a magistrate.

it was something gained that the cruelty was exposed to the public. but was unhappily caught and brought back to Pittenweem. and finally ended her miserable existence by throwing a door over her. The officers in the higher branches of the law dared now own assert their official authority. and reserve for their decision cases of supposed witchcraft which the fear of public clamour had induced them formerly to leave in the hands of inferior judges operated upon by all the prejudices of the country and the populace. as she lay exhausted on the beach. where she fell into the hands of a ferocious mob. however. and heaping stones upon it till she was pressed to death. swung her suspended on a rope betwixt a ship and the shore. rities were expected to take up the affair. consisting of rude seamen and fishers. during the general distraction of the country concerning the Union. a warm attack was made upon the magistrates and ministers of the town by those who were shocked at a tragedy of such a horrible cast. There were answers published. . and the crowd exercised their brutal pleasure on the poor old woman. The magistrates made no attempts for her rescue. The voice of general opinion was now appealed to. pelted her with stones. but it so happened.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. and. the Still. in the long run. As even the existing laws against witchcraft were transgressed by this brutal riot. sentiments which it advocates are - commonly those of good sense and humanity. in which the parties The superior authoassailed were zealously defended. that the murder went without the investigation which a crime so horrid demanded. 333 prison.

he made such a dispersion that they were quiet for the In consequence of his blows. with duties intrusted to a grand jury in England. . the precognition* of the affair. of Arniston. the celebrated lawyer. A Montgomery. as his servant-maid reported. and in what manner. which is one of the most nonsensical in this nonsensical depart- ment of the law. and broadsword. The case of a third." The Sheriff-depute sends. then King's Advocate. if so. two witches were night. ject of a trial or not . and betwixt his Highland arms of his professional knife. with his apology. named Ninsaid to have died. dirk.S34 LETTERS ON In 1718. named William infested with cats. in the first place. * The precognition is the record of the preliminary evidence on which the public officers charged. before what court." that he fell in a rage upon a party of those animals which had assembled in his house at irregular hours. incur the responsibility of sending an accused person to trial. in Scotland. which. Robert Dundas. wrote a severe letter of censure to the Sheriff-depute of Caithness. "a thing of too great difficulty to be tried without very deliberate advice. He also called the magistrate's attention to a report that he. and beyond the jurisdiction of an inferior court. vocate reminded this local judge that the duty of inferior magistrates in such cases was to advise with the King's Counsel first whether they should be made suband. as certain precognitions having neglected to communicate officially which he had led respecting some The Adrecent practices of witchcraft in his county. the Sheriff-depute. intended to judge in the case himself . and weapon of an axe. it should take place. " spoke among themselves. was so certain carpenter.

and finally was drowned in a storm. to trial. The The boy was though he is said at one time to have been disposed to try his fits while on board. as be supposed. laying the cause of his distress on certain old witches in Calder. the third son of James. took it upon him. the crown counsel would not proceed sent to sea. of Littledean. who had so little idea of her situation parish as to rejoice at the sight of the fire which was destined . on which the hag was enclosed in prison. and finally fell off.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Lord Torphichen. 335 Her leg being Gilbert. whether any process should be directed against persons whom. in her compelled confession. The women were imprisoned. and. witchcraft which victim was ever passed The was an insane old woman belonging to the of Loth. was still more remarkable. noble family also began to see through the cheat. quashed all farther procedure. broken. an unlucky boy. a Sheriff-depute of Sutherland. pined. Captain David Ross. in process of time he became a good sailor. the injured limb withered. in flagrant violation of the then established rules of jurisdiction. and one or two of them died but . it is said. took it into his head. where she also died : and the question which remained was. from a knavish governor. assisted gallantly in defence of the vessel against the pirates of Angria. near to which village his father had his mansion. she had The Lord Advocate. 1722. to In the year pronounce the last sentence of death for in Scotland. to play the possessed and bewitched person. as usual informed against. may In 1720. under instructions. when the discipline of the navy proved too severe for his cunning.

Since this deplorable action. to whom the poor of her extensive country are as well known as those of the higher order. author himself. the charity of the present Marchioness of Stafford. evincing that the belief in witchcraft is only asleep. of which some instances could be produced. chiefly as facts known In a remote part of the Highlands. a circumstance attributed to the witch's having been used to transform her into a pony. was living so lately as to receive . he himself distinguished by the same misfortune. confided in by all throughout Scotland as the most powerful counter-charm. consume She had a daughter lame both of hands and feet. and get her shod by the devil. unless to there has been no on account of witch- prevent explosions of popular enmity against people suspected of such a crime. and might in remote corners be again awakened to deeds of blood. judicial interference in Scotland craft. The remains of the superstition sometimes occur : there can be no doubt that the vulgar are still addicted to the custom of scoring above the breath. by two cuts in the form of a cross on the witch's forehead. an ignorant and malignant woman seems really to have meditated the destruction of her neighbour's property.* (as it is termed. that is. It does not appear that any punishment was inflicted for this cruel abuse of the law on the person of a creature so helpless but the son of the lame daughter. by placing in * Drawing blood.) and other counter-spells. . An instance or to the two may be quoted. Countess of Sutherland in her own right.336 to LETTERS ON her.

The Scottish story with which I will trouble 1 you. or an evil may do last the animal harm. a counter- charm. an operation requiring so much care and attention. against the operations of witchcraft on the cattle which are kept within. subsisted chiefly by rearing chickens. or byre. and even the farmers' wives. in or shortly after the year known to 800. is which spell. containing locks of hair. the design conjectured. and other This precious spell was discovered. The formidable spell is now in my About two years since.DEMONOLOG Y AND WITCHCRAFT. possession. as we call it. these the neighbourhood gathered some of her people. was inconvenient to of the eighteenth. and the witch would have been torn to pieces. pairings of nails. a pot of baked clay. that the gentry. as they were taking down the walls of a building formerly used as a feeding-house for cattle. in a wild and lonely district. scarce one but has a curious knot upon his tail. The beginning of this century. z . there was found below the threshold-stone the withered heart of some animal stuck full of many scores of pins . but A solitary old woman. Among the almost innumerable droves of bullocks which come down there is every year from the Highlands for the south. had not a high-spirited and excellent lady in trumpery. and all. according to tradition.) and by main force taken the unfortunate creature out of the hands of the populace. also a precaution lest an evil eye. (though were not very fond of the service. and me. happened the whole circumstances are well dearth of the years in the end distressing to the poor. in the town of Dalkeith. 337 a cowhouse.

honest man. " Good neighbour. like others. off five came the wheel from sacks of corn were damaged by the water. is " I am sorry to be obliged my corn measured out for Dalkeith market . stock of poultry In distress on this dame went to a neighbouring farmer. . the old woman's temper gave way. and for so small a quantity. and create much trouble and disadvantage . and as the carts crossed the ford of the river beneath the farm-house. the wealthy farmer. sensible. my carts are loaded to set out. As old woman. one of them." On receiving this She answer. and chiefly because the farmers were unwilling to sell grain in the very moderate quantities which she was able to purchase. to sell her a peck of oats at any price. But she felt. which was just setting off for the market. The good farmer hardly knew what to think of this there were the two circumstances or six . envy stigmatized her as having some unlawful mode of increasing the gains of her little trade. a very good-natured." he to refuse you. would cast my accounts loose. fought her way through life better than her neighbours. and wished evil to his scolded property. I dare say you will get all you want at such a place. or such a place. the inevitably starved. than the to undertake the trouble of bringing them up. after some angry language on both sides . and without which. and apparently she did not take much alarm at the accusation. and requested him. the dearth of the years alluded to. as a favour.338 often find it LETTERS ON better to buy poultry at a certain age. but said. in the present instance. They parted. and sure enough. her little must have been account. and to open these sacks again.

as a friend rather than as a magistrate. let her wish her worst to him. and speak ower In short." I am ill-guided. and her disposition to insist upon their efficacy. said after " I would be well-meaning sheriff's scepticism. that the accused herself was not to be reconciled to the sheriff's doctrine so easily. She was rather more angry than pleased at the laith to . their consequences. my words when which might have in other times conveyed her to the for which her expressions. his belief that her words and intentions were perfectly harmless. she was obstinate in claiming an influence over the destiny of others by words and wishes. and sufficient to the et Damnum minatum y malum Scarce knowing what to believe. that if she used her tongue with so much licence. she must expose herself to suspicions. He reminded her. the story is scarcely worth mentioning. but true. at the same time. no apprehension of being hurt by her. he hastened to consult the sheriff of the county. sir. The official person showed him that the laws against witchcraft were abrogated and had little difficulty to bring him . He therefore requested her to be more cautious in her language for her own sake professing.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. At present. to regard the matter in It is strange. wish ony ill either to you or yours. and that he had . and that should coincidences happen to irritate her neighbours. stake . but something aye comes fast. she might suffer harm at a time when there was no one to protect her. would certainly of old have made her a fit victim." she " for I kenna how it is. its true light of an accident. deemed of old witchcraft essential 339 crime of secutum. upon a case so extraordinary. but as it con .

in short. as on their boast former occasions. is it now the belief in witchcraft. which. At least one hypochondriac patient is known to the author. would go near. that. individuals who only received by those half-crazy feel a species of consequence derived is from accidental coincidences. . so that he wants nothing but an indulgent judge to awake again the old ideas of sorcery.340 tains LETTERS ON which many material resembling those out of tragic incidents have arisen. and ascribes his illness to their charms. to cost the lives of those who make of them. perhaps. who believes himself the victim of a gang of witches. So low. were they received by the community in general.

DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Dun Connexion of Times Evidence of a Ghost against a Murderer Ghost of Sir George Villiers Story of Earl St. Lamb Dr. discovered Woodstock. 341 Other Mystic Arts independent of Witchcraft Influence during the Astrology Its Wth and Tilth Centuries Base Ignorance of those who practised it Lilly's History of his Life and Times Astrologers' Society Dr. anno 1649 ImposSimilar case in Scotland Disturbances at ture called the Stockwell Ghost . Forman Irish Superof the Banshie Similar Superstition in the Highlands Brownie Ghosts Belief of Ancient Philosophers on that Subject Enquiry into the respect due to such Tales in Modern stition Establishment of the Royal Society Partridge Astrologers with Elementary Spirits Dr. Vincent of a British General Officer of an Apparition in France of the Second Lord Lytteltonof two Highlanders for by a Ghost Bill Jones the ofJarvis Matcham Trial of Murder of Sergeant Davis.

commanding a view from a loftier quarter of the same terra incognita. Chiromancy. vanity. or answer any other horary questions. which he might be anxious to propound. the queen of mystic sciences. his birth. and other But the road most it fantastic arts of prediction. Veal's Ghost Dunton's Apparition Evidence Effect of a tendency to Superstition appropriate Scenery to encourage differs at distant Periods of Life Night at Glammis Castle about 1791 Visit to Dunvegan in 1814. in the sixteenth. while flattering to human seductive to was at the same time most human credulity. the events of any man's career. as they were termed. and greater part of the sevenall was that was necessary to enable . This was represented as accessible by several routes. the great were supposed to have a royal path of their own. teenth centuries. Physiognomy. provided al- ways he could supply the exact moment of This.342 LETTERS ON Story of a Disturbed discovered ly the firmness of the Proprietor Ghost appearing to an Exciseman Home tion at Appari- Plymouth A Club of Philosophers Ghost Adventure of a Farmer Trick upon a Veteran Soldier Ghost Stories recommended ly the Skill of the Authors who compose them Mrs. his chance of success in life or in marriage. was that of Astrology. who flattered those who confided in her. with some approach to certainty. j|HILE the vulgar endeavoured to obtain a glance into the darkness of futurity by consulting the witch or fortune-teller. his advance in favour of the great. and that a sage acquainted with her lore could predict. afforded each its mystical assistance and guidance. that the planets and stars in their spheres figure forth and influence the fate of the creatures of mortality.

be But a grave or sober use of it this science. the cultiva. or Native. inflamed by hopes of temporal aggrandizement. 343 the astrologer to erect a scheme of the position of the heavenly bodies. ambition and success have placed confidence in the species .. would not have suited the temper of those who. and that artist lived by duping others by duping himself. rich He became by the eager hopes and fond credulity of those who consulted him. which should disclose the life of the interrogator. like others. mystic knowledge though talking loud and high of the endless treasures his art was to produce. lived from day to day. The wisest men have been cheated by the idea that some supernatural influence upheld and guided them . Bacon himself allowed the truth which might be found in a well-regulated astrology. as he conceived. with all its changes. instead of starving. and from year to year. might. and the manner in which made a proper use of. present. in the sixteenth century. upon hopes as unsubstantial as the smoke of his furnace. and from the time of Wallenstein to that of Bonaparte. if even Bacon could have taught such moderation. and to come.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. tion of this fantastic science was the serious object of men whose understandings and acquirements admit of no question. But the pursuits of the astrologer were such as called for instant remuneration. pretended to understand and explain to others the lanAlmost all the other paths of guage of the stars. as he was called. making thus a distinction betwixt the art as commonly practised. led to poverty . Imagination was dazzled by a prospect so splendid and we find that. even the alchymist. past.

was the degradation of the art itself. with some gloomy shades of fanaticism in his temperament. occupied by a set of men sometimes they were elevated into rank and fortune. frauds. were more frequently found classed with rogues and vagabonds. whose knowledge was imposition. were all the store of information necessary for The natural consequence of establishing a conjurer. merely by perusan advanced period of life. Lilly himself. and some knowledge by rote of the terms art. must soon have discovered its delusive vanity through the splendour of its professions and the place . always forward and assuming. abandoned to the his vice. of such calm and disinterested pursuers of truth was ingenious. who wrote the History Own Life and Times. Lilly. of fatalism inspired by a belief of the influence of their own Such being the case. at and perhaps cheated himself. . worthless. From history. was sufficiently fitted to dupe others. grounded on the desire of deceit and who. faithful in their remarks and reports. though than he himself perhaps more pretence to science. some of the astro- logical tracts devised by men of less cunning.344 LETTERS ON star. whose responses were. upon what we learn of silly fools and imposing. like the oracles of yore. notices in that curious volume the most distinguished persons of his day who made pretensions to astrology. by the grossest who consulted them. the science was little pursued by those who. and almost without exception describes them as profligate. ing. This was the more apt to be the case that a sufficient stock of of impudence. sharking of his cheats. the degraded character of the professors. if sometimes . a own low- born ignorant man.

the astrologers had a public dinner or feast. swallow these gross impositions. being persons extremely credulous doubtless respecting the mystic arts. Yet the still 345 continued to public might boast. had discovered from the heavens. opposite possible to exact science. so as to suit the current of the time. for his friends. though coming from such unworthy authority. Congreve's picture of a man like Foresight. and eager to believe. the dupe . that still is. contriving with some address to shift the sails of his prophetic bark. and the gale of No person could better discover from various fortune. Lilly was a prudent person. nay. the most couraged Elias Ashmole. he foresaw the perpetual destruction of the monarchy. and in 1 660. touching the fortune of the strife. and the king on one side.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. lovers of the mathematics. by which name were distinguished those who enthe pursuit of mystical prescience. seldom failed to attend . The astrologers embraced different sides of the Civil War. or Gadbury. several men of sense and knowledge honoured this rendezvous. were both equally curious to know. this did not prevent his fore seeing the restoration of tained King Charles II. with the Parliamentary leaders on the other. Once a-year. too. what Lilly. where the knaves were patronized by the company of such fools as claimed the title of Philomaths . omens the course of Charles's misfortunes so soon as In the time of the Commonthey had come to pass ! wealth. " the most honourable Esquire is " to whom Lilly's Life dedicated. some credit even among the better Aubrey and Ashmole both called themselves He main- classes. Wharton.

Others of the audience only saw in them the baby . was then common in But the astrologers of the Ijth century did society. For such reasons people detested the astrologers of the great. were produced in court. thirteen years afterwards. who was consulted by the Countess of Essex on the best mode of conducting her guilty intrigue with the affair Earl of Somerset. which were viewed by one party with horror as representing the most horrid It was even said that the devil was about to spells. as cordially as they did the more vulgar witches of their own sphere. in King James's time. some little puppets crime. much mention was made of the art and skill of Dr. pulled to pieces in the City of London by the enraged populace. There was no not province of fraud which they did not practise . out. another professor of the same sort with Lamb. they were scandalous as panders. the atrocious authors of the When the cause was tried. was inclined to cherish astrology. the common Dr. with the exception only of the principal parties. pull down the court-house on their being discovered. hanged as a witch at In the villainous transaction of the poisonSalisbury. and as quacks sold potions for the most unworthy purposes. who. in 1640. ing of Sir Thomas Overbury.346 of astrology and its LETTERS ON sister arts. it did all others concerned. Forman. as He was dead before the cost broke which might otherwise have him the gibbet. like other overgrown favourites. Lamb. patronized by the Duke of Buckingham. confine themselves to the stars. and his maidservant. was.

sylph. assumed by these persons and their clients. began to sink under ridicule and When Sir Richard Steele set up the paper contempt. figures 347 on which dressmakers then.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. or salamander. They affirmed that they could bind to their service. that is. were accusto tomed expose new fashions. the called the Guardian. on the principles of the Rosicrucian philosophy. under the Ironside. but at the time the conductor of an Astrological Almanack. he chose. had a . and issued predictions accordingly. and render answers to such questions as the viewer should propose. led to a controversy. pretended always to a correspondence with the various spirits of the elements. or a stone. some fairy. once a shoemaker. This dishonoured science has some right to be mentioned in a Treatise on Demonology because the earlier astrologers. although denying the use of all necromancy. with Swift's Elegy on the same person. science. as now. announcing the death of a person named Partridge. dedicated to far different purposes than the pursuits of astrology. The erection of the Royal Society. It is remarkable that the sage him- . one of which. is one of the last occasions in which astrology has afforded even a jest to the good people of England. which was supported with great humour by Swift and other wags. to title of Nestor assume the character of an astrologer. and compel it to appear when called. I believe you will find that this. unlawful or black magic. natural operation in bringing the latter into discredit and although the credulity of the ignorant and uninformed continued to support some pretenders to that name of Philomath. a mirror. and imprison in a ring.

the distinction of a banshie is only allowed to families of the pure Milesian .348 LETTERS ON . during the course of the intrigue respecting the diamond necklace in which the late Marie Antoinette was so unfortunately implicated. Dr. or reader. self did not pretend to see the spirit but the task of viewer. a boy or girl usually under the years of puberty. seemingly mourning while she announces the approaching death of some one of the destined race. as she is called. had a stone of this kind. If I am rightly informed. The subject has been so lately and beautifully investi- gated and illustrated by Mr. Irish fiction. some leading once perhaps common to the countries of Europe. in the British Some superstition of the same kind was in- troduced by the celebrated Count Cagliostro. was intrusted to a third party. that I may dispense with being very particular regarding it. is said to have been imposed upon concerning the spirits it. who acted as his viewer. but now restricted to those which continue to be inhabited by an undisturbed and Of these. their actions and answers. is fortune and reputation. who are heard of. whose office it is to- appear. Dee. or mirror. The report unfortunate Dee was ruined by his associates both in His show-stone. now seldom all Dismissing this general class of impostors. attached to still preserved. Crofton Croker and others. we come now briefly to mention superstitions. one of the most beautiful is the native race. or household fairy. by the of one Kelly. among other curiosities. which assigns to certain families of ancient descent and distinguished rank the privilege of a Banshie. Museum. and an excellent mathematician.

however. is that of an an- cestor of the family of the death of any of his along the sea-beach. whose form and appearance differed in different cases. Amongst them. The spectre is said to MacLean of Lochbuy. who solution of those were not limited to announcing the diswhose days were numbered. chieftain. where he served under Lord Wellington. or the best card to be played at any other game.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. though much shocked. and point out the fittest move to be made at chess. by next accounts. Several families of the Highlands of Scotland anciently laid claim to the distinction of an attendant spirit. in consequence of which the family and clan. announcing the event by cries and lamentations. at others. sometimes as warding off dangers of battle . that their gallant chief was dead at Lisbon. stock. the phantom chief gallops have rode his rounds and uttered his death-cries within these few years. Before race. were in no way surprised to hear. 349 and is proudest Norman never ascribed to any descendant of the or boldest Saxon who followed the banner of Earl Strongbow. as guarding and protecting the infant heir through the dangers of childhood and sometimes as condescending to interfere even in the sports of the . the functions of this attendant genius. performed the office of the Irish banshie. near to the castle. Among those spirits who have deigned to vouch their existence by appearance of late years. . much less to adventurers of later date who have obtained settlements in the Green Isle. The Highlanders contrived to exact from them other points of service.

and the object of his wrath. would not suffer any sacrifice to be given to Brownie . or brewing. Neither was assistance. where his services had . but many of the simple inhabitants could little see the prudence of parting with such a useful domestic drudge. on religious to this domestic spirit. or. it at all times safe to reject Brownie's Thus." told Another story of the same kind is of a lady in Uist. and grew cold ale very but of the third broust. hired away. as somewhat resembling Robin Goodfellow in the frolicsome days of Old England. yet in a . good. he abanfirst . food or raiment. This spirit was easily banished. time for though the wort it left off working. that Brownie was displeased with book he read upon. they would get no more service of Brownie but he being better instructed from that book. whereupon the first and second brewings were spoilt. the usual sacrifice The and second brewings failed. without fee or reward. wrought he had sacrifice well. when Brownie lost the perquisite to which he had been so long accustomed. we in the Brand. that a young man informed by " used to Orkneys are . with whom afterwards they were no more troubled. though he would not give any to Brownie. doned the inhospitable house. by the offer of clothes or food . if he continued to do. who refused. which. as it was styled.350 LETTERS ON Of a meaner origin and occupation was the Scottish Brownie already mentioned. who served faithfully. and sometimes read upon his Bible to whom an old woman said. Brownie's eyesore. when he brewed. brew. grounds. and for no use little . but the third succeeded and thus. which was that .

351 so long been faithfully rendered. in Moffatdale. to call ed. subject. the self-instructed entertaining beck. particular superstitions. The general faith in fairies has . The an affectionate father son does not easily forget the aspect of . with his usual has called the belief in ghosts " the last lingering fiction of the brain. was Bodswhich has been the subject of an tale by Mr. are too limitand too much obliterated from recollection. The last place in the south of Scotland supposed to have been honoured. or benefited. Crabbe. thousand additional circumstances. but something already undergone our consideration remains to be said upon another species of superstition. the countenance of a murdered person is engraved upon the recollection of his slayer. by the residence of a Brownie.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. that it is found to survive in states of society during which all other fictions of the same order are entirely . These for special discussion. genius of Ettrick Forest. but equally powerful. for reasons opposite. by some striking circumstances touching our meeting with in life. and. so general. in perfect similitude. Mr. than that human memory should recall and bring back to the eye of the imagination. however." Nothing appears more simple at the first view of the dismissed from influence. render the supposed appari- A . or which have been imprinted in our minds with indelible strength. far too obvious to require recapitulation. that it may be called proper to mankind in every climate so deeply rooted also in human belief. James Hogg. even the very form and features of a person whom we have been long conversant. felicity.

It is authority actually believe what they assert. continues to wander near the place of sepulture. applies with peculiar force to the belief of ghosts . the most absolute of sceptics. considers the existence of ghosts. All which that is have formerly said respecting supernatural appearances in general. have said there are we do on many ghost stories which not feel at liberty to challenge as impostures. from averring that such tales are necessarily false. that to his general system. or the misrepresentation of a . it is in this way that it commonly exhibits Hence Lucretius as himself. itself. therefore. facts and their he frequent apparition. As he soul. because we are confident that those who relate them their We own and may We are far. a waking reverie. we for whether the cause of delusion exists in an excited imagination or a disordered organic system. being detached by death. is no real phantom after all.352 tion of the LETTERS ON dead the most ordinary spectral phenomenon ever believed to occur among the living. will not allow of the at the existence of the human and same time can- not venture to question the phenomena supposed to haunt the repositories of the dead. have good reason for doing so. in the exact resemblance of the person while alive. and that the outmost and thinnest. the excitation of a powerful imagination. endeavours to account for them at the expense of assenting to a class of phenomena very irreconcilable so undeniable. though there easy to suppose the visionary has been imposed upon by a lively dream. he is obliged to adopt the belief that the body consists of several coats like those of an onion.

for example. the evidence with respect to such apparitions is very seldom accurately or distinctly questioned. a well-bred or prudent man will. he answers it on the hasty suggestion of his own imagina tion. and if in any case he presumes to do so. and by doing so. he is in danger of receiving answers. credibility. and this with perfect uncon2 A . some unim- portant question with respect to the apparition . In truth. and he would be rather accounted a sturdy moralist than an entertaining companion.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. often gives a feature of minute evidence which was before wanting. we apprehend a are called solution will be found for all cases of what ghost stories. in most cases. something like that of impeaching the genuine value of should employ himself in would indeed be a solecism assailing its the antiquities exhibited by a good-natured collector. received as an agreeable mode of amusing society. A supernatural tale is. under such circumstances. abstain from using the rules of cross-examination practised in a court of justice . than to the pure service of unadorned truth. This difficulty will appear greater. diseased organ of sight . 353 and in one or other of these causes. which are rather fitted to support the credit of the story which they stand committed to maintain. who It in manners. for the gratification of his guests. should a company have the rare good fortune to meet the person who himself witnessed the wonders which he tells . even from the most candid and honourable persons. to say nothing of a system of deception which may real in many instances be probable. The narrator is asked. tinged as it is with belief of the general fact.

wise. The judge stopped a witness about to give an account of the murder upon as it was narrated to him by the ghost of the . But in such instances. or being well acquainted with the outside of the mansion in the inside of which the ghost appeared. however. who witnessed should himself to have such a visitation. which sufficiently accounted for the supposed apparitions. I have certainly met with. and resolute persons. and his evidence the best possible but he cannot be heard by proxy in . murdered person. shades of mental aberration have afterwards occurred. or the thing happened. Summon him hither. and that in the case of able. Far more commonly.354 LETTERS ON sciousness on his own part. and will conceive incline in behalf of the me always to feel alarmed continued health of a friend. the evidence of such a second-hand retailer of the mystic story must fall under the adjudged case in an English court. myself candid. but most likely from some friend of the family. sir. The made nearest approximation to exact evidence in this case. this court. It is a rare occurrence. indeed. who was trial. every reason to be confident. " Hold. In every point. to find an opportunity of dealing with an actual such instances. the narrator possesses no better means of knowledge than that of dwelling in the country where his family. from the it has happened." said his lordship " the ghost is an excellent witness. of whose veracity I had ghost-seer . which can be generally is the word of some individual who person to whom has had the story. it may be. and I'll hear him in .

For example. all above the general ignorance of not rise in things their age. Upon the evidence of such historians we only shows that the wisest might as well believe the portents of ancient. it was irresistibly argued by the Divine Person whom they tempted that neither would they believe if one arose from the dead. a story told by a grave author at a time when such stories were believed by all the world . that incident who have told it successively we are often expected to believe of nature. and. we read in Clarendon of the apparition of the ghost of Sir George Villiers to an ancient dependant. who pledges office mere hearsay. That such stories are believed and told by men cangrave historians. as thej* positively refused by our Saviour manded it as a believed them not.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. 355 but your communication is compels me to reject. or the miracles of modern. This is. who deof his mission. is evident we can derive no proofs from that period of society when men affirmed boldly. which Yet it is upon the it upon that of three or four persons each other. no doubt. it In estimating the truth or falsehood of such stories. and believed stoutly. person . to an inconsistent with the laws how- ever agreeable to our love of the wonderful and the horrible." my credit of one man. but does it follow that our reason must acquiesce in a statement so posi- tively contradicted her works ? by the voice of Nature through all The miracle of raising a dead man was to the Jews. Shall we . all the wonders which could be coined or fancied. because they had proof already sufficient grounds of conviction . Rome.

356 LETTERS ON suppose that a miracle refused for the conversion of God's chosen people was sent on a vain errand to save the life of a profligate spendthrift ? I lay aside. it was not unnatural that a faithful friend . you observe. sayers. the idle to obtain access to the duke's messenger may have been imposed upon by an in a word. and authenticate the tale by the mention of some token known to him as a former retainer of the family. mode of Or. rather than the power of believing. has given I such stories a certain currency in society. should take this perilous situation. in the character of his father's spirit. The duke was superand the ready dupe of astrologers and soothThe manner in which he had provoked the of the people must have warned every reflecting fury stitious. as an old servant of his house. might be tempted to give him his advice. of which we are not told the import. It is the same with It is all those that are called accredited ghost stories usually told at the fireside. They want some evidence. entirely the not unreasonable supposition that Towers. or whatever was the ghost-seer's name. desi- rous to make an impression upon Buckingham. if calling his attention to his we suppose that the incident was not a mere pretext ear. true that the general wish to believe. may men- . person of his approaching fate and. the most extravagant of which is more probable than that the laws of nature were broken through in order to give a vain and fruitless warning to an ambitious minion. the age considered. numberless conjectures might be formed for accounting for the event in a natural dream way.

such his lordship's sister ? sure species of direct evidence would be necessary to prove the facts. it is in a cer- said. or from his companion of the watch. and still farther. the particulars are premight be time to enquire whether Lord qualities of a St. though he might believe that poachers or smugglers ghosts by whom The story were the worst was disturbed ? of two highly respectable officers in the it who are supposed to have seen the spectre of the brother of one of them in a hut." or from And as. that he heard the noises without being able to detect the causes. having ascertained the existence of disturbances not immediately or easily detected. and insisted on his sister giving up the house. This is told as a real story. as 357 one of the class of tales I late Earl St. a whole night order to detect the cause of cer- tain nocturnal disturbances tain which took place mansion. in British army. America. in any other case. is also one of those accredited ghost tales. his first-rate lordship might not advise his sister rather to remove than to remain in a house so haunted. from the . whether. Ricketts. Vincent. amid the other eminent seaman. it seems unreasonable to believe such a story on slighter terms. which attain a sort of brevet rank as true. might not be in some degree tinged with their tendency to superstition . in who watched mean. Vincent. is The result of his lordship's vigil said to have been.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. with But who has a thousand different circumstances. or barrack. Vin- " cent. The house was under lease to Mrs. When it cisely fixed and known. heard or seen an authentic account from Earl St. tion. his sister. that of the with a friend.

in which the name of a lady of made use of as having seen an apparition in a country-seat in France. by any means exclude tive of the circumstances. attested the probability that the disturbance and appearances were occasioned by the dexterous management of some mischievously-disposed persons. singular that a man. has been always quoted as a true story. and currency . But of late it has been said and published. The remarkable circumstance of Thomas. But we are who wit- without a glimpse when. is so far better borne out than those I have mentioned. tell the story in the same way. prophesying his own death within a few minutes. that I have seen a narra- by the party princiThat the house was disturbed. who meditated his exit from the world. in my mind. although all agree in the general event. scarcely two. has been quoted. seems concerned. upon the information of an apparition. but the circumstances (though very remarkable) did not. that the unfortunate nobleman had previously determined to take poison. and of course had it in his own power to ascertain the It was no doubt execution of the prediction. pally to be certain. should friends. it circulated and among the numbers by whom as also . have chosen to it But is still more play such a trick on his credible that a whimsical man should do so wild a thing. even of those who pretend to the best information. and in what manner.S58 LETTERS ON as the parties left mention of respectable names nessed the vision. how. in what terms. than that a messenger . the second Lord Lyttelton. this story obtained its was it first by whom. Another such condition is story.

that he was in the house with him. should be sent from the dead. an unwillingness very closely to examine such subjects . the signatures are forged after all. William Clerk. walk through society unchallenged. in which men have actually seen. was really all the foundation for so defined and distinct a narrative. [Lord Lyttelton. others. chief clerk to the Jury Court. to precise hour he should expire." : .* tell 359 a libertine at what To added. having gained a certain degree of currency in the world. contributes to the increase such which do accordingly sometimes meet us in a shape of veracity difficult to question. The following story was narrated to me by my friend Mr. as stated in the story. this list. like bills through a bank when they bear respectable indorsations. other stories of the same class might be sufficient to But it is show that such stories as these. depend heard Lord Fortescue once say. the transpiring of incidents. although. on assembling at breakfast. by a repetition of the chase of the His death followed. I received the following communication from a friend.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Aud if this lady's bird. on whom I can perfectly " Lord L I yttelton'e ghost story will not stand a scrutiny. for the secret fund of superstition in may every man's bosom is gratified by believing them to be true. Soon after. indeed. There be. and all the men tried to recover it for her. " Since the first edition of this little work appeared. and bearing creditable names on their front. apparitions which were of invisible to stories. and he mentioned the following circumstances as the ouly foundation for the extraordinary superstructure at which the world has wondered : A woman of the party had one day lost a favourite bird.^] at the time of the supposed visitation. it shows strongly on what slender grounds one of the most received tales of the kind may be in reality founded. and having being worried in his dreams. it is. or conceived that they saw. or at least induces him to abstain from challeng- And no doubt it must happen that ing them as false. Lord Lyttelton complained of having passed a very bad night.

the narra- tive is better calculated for prose than verse . have good luck on our journey there is a magpie. in com" I wish we may pliance with a common superstition. from a passenger in the mail-coach. and acute persons life." " And why should that be unlucky ?" said my friend. but three are the devil. In the course of the desultory conversation which takes in company. when the Emperor Paul laid his ill-judged embargo on British trade. and hurt. I never my was three magpies but twice. ." serve. and more especially. intelligent. Clerk to obhe supposed he believed also in ghosts. William Clerk. and once I had near lost vessel. I gave the story at that time to poor Mat Lewis. found himself with a seafaring appearance. that my friend Mr. in a mail-coach. two saw are not so bad.360 LETTERS ON Edinburgh. who published it with a ghost-ballad which he adjusted on the same theme. and the second I fell from my horse. Clerk's consent. as the friend to whom it was originally communicated. of middle age and respectable announced himself as master of a ves- man place on such occasions. on a journey to It London. the seaman observed." replied the sailor the world agrees that one magpie bodes bad luck . From the minuteness of the original detail. was about the eventful year 1 800. when he first learned it. I I have known in the course of my am willing to preserve the precise story in this place. however. Mr. is one of the most accurate. " but all " I cannot tell you that. and a sufferer by the embargo. that This conversation led Mr. now nearly thirty With years ago. who sel in the Baltic trade.

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. dislike. since he credited such auguries. and said. imply- On being deeply what he was saying. He took a particular dislike at one sailor aboard. or some such name. He then told his story as I now relate it. and returned with a blunderbuss loaded with got fat made which he took a deliberate aim at the supfired. Our mariner vessel had. who The man by leaving his duty to other people. almost amounting to mutiny. tyrannical. in his youth. he confessed that. evidently dying. of which town he seemed to be The captain of the vessel was a man of a variable temper. men. was very apt to return. gone mate of a slave from Liverpool. He fixed his eyes on the captain. you have done for me. "Sir. S61 the sailor. with mutineer. on which. with the licence sailors take in which On merchant vessels. abused the seaman as a lubberly rascal. "I may have my own this in a if I do. a saucy answer. which the old man. posed The man was handed down from the yard. but . sometimes kind and courteous to his a native. but subject to fits of humour." said reasons for doing so . there was one ghost at least which he had seen repeatedly. and cruel. and passion. and mortally wounded him. an elderly man. He seldom spoke to this person without threats and abuse. The captain. in a towering passion. one occasion. and stretchslugs. ed on the deck. according to custom. if he could believe felt own eyes. called Bill Jones. during which he was very violent. further urged." " And and he spoke ing that he his deep and serious manner. the captain ran down to his cabin. Bill Jones appeared slow in getting out on the yard to hand a sail.

he found them impressed with the idea. dared not call his attention to Thus they held on their course homeward. temper of the man. After a day or two. where they made food for the negroes. spoke his commander fair. and the narrator observed. "There was not own belief in the much fat about him after all." captain told the crew they must keep absolute on the subject of what had passed . The mate. At length the captain invited the mate. especially if a sail was to be handed. The narrator had seen this apparition himself repeatedly he believed the captain saw it also. with great fear and anxiety. and obtained his liberty. but he took no notice of it for some time. he ordered him to be confined below. The man died his body was actually thrown into the . slave-kettle. and swore he would have him thrown into the slave-kettle. said at I will never leave you /" The him for a fat lubber. and demanded if he had an intention to deliver him up for trial when the home. and as the mate was not willing to give an explicit and absolute silence The promise. in return. with a naivete his which confirmed the extent of truth of what he told. on which occasion the spectre was sure to be out upon the yard before any of the crew. who was tired of close confinement in that sultry climate. who was . that the ghost of the dead man appeared among them when they had a spell of duty. not unnatural in their situation. and the crew.OG2 LETTERS ON captain. When he mingled vessel got among the crew once more. and see how much fat he had got. he came to the mate. terrified at the violent it.

and leave him. and the instant he got up the companion-ladder. he take a glass of grog with him. to be seen no more. sprung half out of the water. and never out of my sight. and the rate of six knots an hour. to carry the vessel into Liverpool. the determination to leave the ship. assumed a very grave and anxious aspect. was running astern at When just about to he seemed to make a last exertion. Clerk asked some questions about the captain. Mr. to go down to the cabin and In this interview. Jack. mate was called to the deck for some purpose or other. and looking over the ship's side. mate. but he is always by my side. The .DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. now in a sort 3C3 of favour. The captain only shook his head gloomily. and clasped his hands towards the Bill is with me now!" and . have got on board with us He told me he would not tell never leave me. and he has kept his word You only see him now and then. he heard a splash in the water. that his leaving the vessel while out of sight of land was impossible. if The mate what had happened. At this very moment I see him I am determined to bear it no longer. saw that the captain had thrown himself into the sea from the quarter-gallery. and I have resolved to leave you. and there go ashore." replied. sink. " I need " what sort of hand we you. the mate. He advised that. and whether his companion considered him at all times rational. he should run the captain apprehended any bad consequences from for the west of France or Ireland. calling." he said. "By then sunk. After hearing this singular story. and reiterated his At this moment.

or more. the victim of remorse. that might. properly managed. I though am. and other circumstances. moment's delay. and answered. should participate in the horrible visions of those less concerned. ate and irritable disposition. tails. he must talent at least be admitted to have displayed a singular for the composition of the terrible in fiction. there . story. cannot forbear giving you. vis Matcham am Jarnot mistaken. tolerably correct I have lost the account of the such. it is nowise improbable that he.864 sailor LETTERS ON seemed struck with the question. if I in the detrial. The I tale. especially as he was compelled to avoid communicating his senti- ments with any one else and the catastrophe would in such a case be but the natural consequence of that superstitious horror which has conducted so many crimi. as congenial to this another instance of a guilt-formed phantom. prevented Mr. and the tale was nothing more likely to arise among the ship's company than the belief in as the captain was a man of a passionthe apparition to have been truly told. have verified the events. was the . Granted the murder to have taken place. Clerk from learning the names and dates on fact . Clerk be not allowed degree of credit. It would have been ascertain how far this extraordinary tale was founded but want of time. that in general he conversational desirable to have been able to after a 110 ell enough. might have made the fortune of a romancer. which made considerable noise about twenty years ago. If the fellow-traveller this of Mr. I think. nals to suicide or the gallows. to a certain degree.

perMatcham perhaps. He meditated this wickedness the more readily that the drum- mer. In the desperation of his crime. bounty of recruits. made a long walk across the country to an inn on the Portsmouth road. and behaved remark- . then a large sum. years. his summoned him remembered that. and would have deserted. when he waiter first words as he awoke were. He was summoned to join his regiment from a town where he had been on the recruiting service. where he halted and went to bed. His sobriety and attention to duty gained him the same good opinion of the officers in his new service He was afloat for several which he had enjoyed in the army. I stantly know not which. ceived discovery was at hand. desiring to be called when the first Portsmouth coach came. who was the only one of his party appointed to attend him. he thought." seaport by the coach. and avail himself of some balance of money to make his escape. and this. and inentered as an able-bodied landsman or marine. had been put as a spy on him. " My God Matcham went to the ! I did not kill him.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. He perpetrated his crime . 365 name of my hero was pay-sergeant in a regiment. but long after shook the guest by the shoulder. and. changing his dress after the deed was done. had it not been for the presence of a little drummerlad. under some shade of suspicion. The accordingly . where he was so highly esteemed as a steady and accurate man that he was permitted opportunity to embezzle a considerable part of the money lodged in his hands for pay of soldiers. and other charges which fell within his duty. he resolved to murder the poor boy.

He and another seaman re- solved to walk to town.366 LETTERS ON ably well in some actions. and what business has he to follow us so closely?" " I coming up to his companion. and whispering with a can see no one. to make a clear conscience as far as confession could do it. pursue the other. celebrated city that they were overtaken by a tempest so sudden. amongst whom was Jarvis Matcham. into At length the vessel came was paid off. He expressed more terror than seemed natural for one who was familiar with the war of elements. Plymouth. if he had anything on his mind. and did not " But what is worse." he added. The criminal fetched a deep groan. At length Matcham complained desired the to his companion that after him. so much to the terror of his com- rade that he conjured him. and began to look and talk so wildly that his companion became aware that something more than usual was the matter. were dismissed as too old for service. infected ! " What not see by the superstition of his associate. boy. would follow him when he was and Jarvis Matcham com- plained that the stones still flew after him. and thunder so dreadfully loud. alone. and some of the crew. and accompanied with such vivid lightning. and . to see if they The sailor complied. that the obdurate conscience of the old sinner began to be awakened. the stones rose from the road and flew He man to walk on the other side of the high- way. " who is that little drummer tone of mystery and fear." answered the seaman. and took the route by SalisIt was when within two or three miles of that bury. that little boy with the bloody pantaloons ?" exclaimed the secret murderer.

and the waiter remembered the ominous words which he had spoken when he awoke him to Matcham was accordingly join the Portsmouth coach. but rather advert to at least an equally abundant is class of ghost stories. he returned to his confession. Similar stories might be produced. in the which the apparition pleased not to torment . When his last chance of life was over. found guilty and executed. and added that. the influence of superstitious fear may be the appointed means of bringing the criminal to repentance for his own sake.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. and truly. Jarvis accordingly. however. and with his dying breath averred. 367 declared that he was unable longer to endure the life which he had led for years. But before the trial the love of Matcham was surrendered and made a full confession of life to justice his guilt. and to punishment for the advantage of society. full evidence had been procured from other quarters. as a considerable reward had been offered. the truth of the vision on Salisbury Plain. objections to this Having over- come friend's mode of pro- ceeding. he wished his comrade to deliver him up to the magistrates of Salisbury. By this time. and easily imagined. which he was now his convinced was inevitable. showing plainly that. The prisoner denied his confession. former regiment to prove his identity with the Witnesses appeared from his murderer and deserter. under the direction of Heaven. as he thought. so I shall dwell on them no farther . returned. as he would desire a shipmate to profit by his fate. Cases of this kind are numerous. He then confessed the murder of the drummer. and pleaded Not Guilty.

though perhaps unacquainted with all the parties. as we are informed by the facetious Captain Grose. cases occur like the following. to know what to think. There would be no edification. but proceeds a very circuitous manner. (a Highlander. we must certainly allow that ghosts have. without any At length an account of the certainty as to his fate. with respect casionally to which it is more difficult. speaking no language but Gaelic." Upon the loth of June. the embers of which were still reeking. and Alexander Bain MacDonald. to use James Boswell's " phrase. two Highlanders. murder appeared from the evidence of one Alexander MacPherson. might be privately cut It appears that off by the inhabitants of these wilds. the phantom forms and customs peculiar to themselves. in bed in his cottage. accident happened not long after the civil war. he said. 1749. this respect.) who gave the following extraordinary account of his cause of ledge : He was. who. in Edinburgh. 1754. and little amusement. Duncan Terig. knowwhen . in treating of clumsy deceptions of this kind. so there existed too The many reasons on account of which an English soldier. for the murder of Arthur Davis. is directed by In to lay the facts before a magistrate. were tried before the Court of Justiciary. straggling far from assistance.368 LETTERS ON in actual murderer. Sergeant Davis was amissing for years. sergeant Guise's regiment. where But octhe grossness of the imposture detects itself. on the 28th September. acquainting some stranger or ignorant old woman with the particulars of his fate. and sworn by an interpreter. alias Clark.

Isabel MacHardie. and received for answer. The witness. Believing his visitor to the witness did as he be one Farquharson. that who slept in court. to prove that the preceding witness. The witness did not at that time bury the bones so found. and there found the bones of a decayed. a neighbour and friend. after this visitation.EEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. had called him to the burial of the bones. 3GO an apparition came to his bedside. and go towards MacPherson's bed. Yet though the supernatural incident was thus fortified. a one of the beds which run along in upon the night when MacPherson said he saw the ghost. upbraiding him with his breach of promise. and told him the same story which he repeated person the wall in an ordinary Highland hut. called the assistance of Farquhar- son. the appearance told the witness he was the ghost of Sergeant Davis. in a which lay concealed tract called the he pointed out. and requested him to go and bury in a place hill his mortal remains. that he had been slain by the prisoners second at the bar. him to take Farquharson Next day the witness went to the place specified. without the cottage. and although there were other strong presumptions *B . was bid and when they were . Farquharson was brought in evidence. and commanded him to rise and follow him out of doors. moorland of Christie. He desired with him as an assistant. On this occasion the witness asked the ghost who were the murderers. MacPherson. in consequence of human body much which negligence the sergeant's ghost again appeared to him. declared. she saw a naked man enter the house. and buried the body.

" " well for the of an Pretty ghost answered the counsel. The . It was followed up by the counsel for the an air prisoners asking. and may also suppose. that from motives of remorse for the action." was rather smart and plausible than sound ghost being admitted. The reader may suppose that MacPherson was privy to the fact of the murder. Guilty. how- the accused parties Not solicitor. or reward have informed against . replied. character But through the whole Highlands there is no more detestable than that of an informer. who found their counsel imposed. language did the ghost speak in ?" The witness. the interference of the ghost and and most of seems to have rather impeded the vengeance which it was doubtless the murdered sergeant's desire to obtain. inference English sergeant. To Tascal-money. or takes one who what is called for discovery of crimes. may It not be alike familiar to those ever. In this case. we know all too the apparition of the little of the other world to judge whether languages to it. the story of the apparition threw of ridicule on the whole evidence for the prosecution. " As good Gaelic as I ever heard in Lochaber. although the court. for. of which the following conjecture may pass for one. or of enmity to those who had committed it. he entertained a wish to bring them to justice.370 LETTERS ON against the prisoners. or otherwise. perhaps as an accomplice. were satisfied of their having committed the murder. in the cross-examination of MacPher" What son. on the who belong jury. who was himself ignorant of English. Yet there may be various modes of explaining this mysterious story.

were encountered by obstacles which progress. what had been lately a royal resi- Woodstock 1 3th determined to wipe away the memory October. although he might probably have been murdered. the remains of a very large . of all that connected itself with the recollection of arrived at The Commissioners monarchy But. that he had life . to consider the possibility of wilful deception. the Highlanders on such formity with the sentiments of subjects. 1649. knowing well that his superstitious countrymen would pardon his com- municating the commission intrusted to him by a being from the other world. recourse to the story of the ghost. 371 Terig and MacDonald might have cost MacPherson his and it is far from being impossible. in the course of their England. We The most was used stock. in considering the truth of stories of ghosts and apparitions. would reduce the whole story to a stroke of in exact This explanation. refers to the ancient palace of Wood- when the Commissioners of the to dispark Long Parliament came down dence. whether on the part of those who are agents in the supposed distur- bances or the author of the legend. in chambers were infested with visits of a thing resembling a dog. if his delation of the crime had been consupposed voluntary. shall separately notice an instance or two of either kind. address on the part of the witness. they Their bedapparently came from the next world. It is therefore of the last consequence. Logs of wood.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. but which came and passed as mere earthly dogs cannot do. to celebrated instance in which human agency copy the disturbances imputed to supernatural beings.

their appearance. of Trenchers " without a wish free will.372 LETTERS ON Oak. and then politely scratched on the red snuff to extinguish it. which they had splintered were tossed through the house. Thunder and to the lightning came next. retreated from Woodstock without completing an errand. Joe availed himself of his local knowledge of trap-doors and private passages. " flew at their heads. who. in different shapes and one of the party saw the apparition of a hoof which kicked a candlestick and lighted candle into the middle of the room. The Commissioners' personal . Other and worse tricks were practised on the astonished Commissioners. after the Restoration. Being a bold. made . and then dropped with violence. where he had been brought up before the Civil War. active. discovered to be the trick of one of their own party who had attended the Commissioners as a clerk. This man. in their opinion. whose real name was Joseph Collins of Oxford. considering that all the fiends of hell were let loose upon them. which was. as they thought. though the opposition offered was rather of a playful and malicious than of a dangerous cast. under the name of Giles Sharp. which Sceptres were set down same cause. the feet of their couches were lifted higher than their heads. and the chairs displaced and shuffled about. and well acquainted with the old mansion of Woodstock. impeded by infernal powers. While they were in bed. called Funny Joe. spirited man. The whole matter was. tree called the King's into billets for burning. was a concealed loyalist. so as to favour the tricks his which he played off upon his masters by aid of fellow domestics.

both at the extreme trouble frolics taken by the agents in these impostures. and was along remarked. and under circumstances which induce us to wonder. or explanation. I am afraid there can be no better reason assigned than the conscious pride of superiority. of the real history of the Woodstock demons. it was the custom to believe in and dread such of the invisible world. I have at this time forgotten whether it exists in a separate collection. To the delight with which every schoolboy owing throwing a stone into a glass anticipates the effects of . that general love of tormenting. has also been published. its contagious On the first point. Plott. . as as to that noble this is common to our race mimic of humanity. while Similar disturbances have been often experienced. and also. But although the detection. Still greater is our modern surprise at the apparently simple means by which terror has been excited to so general an extent.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. that even the wisest and most prudent have not escaped influence. or where it is to be looked for. that trusty Giles Sharp saw the most extraordinary sights and visions among the all whole party. and I have myself seen it. and the slight motives from which they have been induced to do much wanton mischief. by Dr. which induces the human being in all cases to enjoy and practise every means of employing an influence over his fellow-mortals to which we may safely add. I think. reliance 373 it on him made his task the more easy. The unearthly terrors experienced by the Commissioners are detailed with due gravity by Sinclair. the monkey.

excepting while the family were at prayers. nor could she be prevailed on to sit down for a moment. This Anne Robinson had been but a few days in the old lady's service. or neighbourhood. a young and intolerable. This . LETTERS ON and to this we must also ascribe the otherwise unaccountable pleasure which individuals have taken in and filling a practising the tricksy pranks of a goblin. flew through the room. In the year 1772. threw the utmost consternation into the village of Stockwell. woman. household. and it was remarkable that she endured with great composure the extraordinary display which others beheld with terror. Golding. and with the risk of loss of character. dishes. shifted their places. and were broken to pieces.374 shop . and punishment. during which time no disturbance happened. and small movables of every kind. as the loss and damage occasioned in this extraordinary manner were alarming Amidst this combustion. and impressed upon some of its inhabitants the inevitable belief that they The plates. and glass-ware. a train of transactions commencing upon Twelfth Day. and coolly advised her mistress not to be alarmed or uneasy. seemed suddenly to become animated. with little gratification to themselves besides the consciousness of dexterity if they remain undiscovered. were produced by invisible agents. Mrs. was walking backwards and forwards. named Anne Robinson. The particulars of this commotion were as curious. contained in the house of Mrs. should the imposture be found out. Golding's maid. near London. as these things could not be helped. china. an elderly lady. with anxiety and dismay.

and placed wires under others. which went so far. to be persecuted by so strange a Mrs. There was a love story connected with the case. as has been since more completely ascertained by a Mr. and the hubbub among her movables ceased at once and for ever. by which she could throw them down without touching them. imputed to invisible agency. and the simplicity of the spectators. who did not watch her motions. She had fixed long horse hairs to some of the crockery. but finding his movables were seized with the same sort of St. but soon became unable to bear the sight of these they supernatural proceedings. invited among her goods and neighbours to stay in her house . The afflicted Mrs. as she might be well termed. in which the only magic was the dexterity of Anne Robinson. she dismissed her maid. not inconsistent with a degree of connexion with what was going forward. took refuge with a neighbour . . Other things she dexterously threw about. long after the events had happened. to make him her confidant. and set of china. Vitus's dance. considering such a commotion and demolition chattels. who persuaded Anne. 375 excited an idea that she had some reason for being so composed. her landlord reluctantly refused to shelter any longer a woman who seemed subject of vexation. that not above two cups and saucers remained out of a valuable She next abandoned her dwelling. which the spectators.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Brayfield. This circumstance of itself indicates that Anne Robinson was the cause of these extraordinary disturbances. Golding's suspicions against Anne Robinson now gaining ground. Golding.

. Walker. but to know what has been discovered in many instances. but detected at once by a sheriff's officer. and had been as famous as that of Cocklane. terrified nearly hinted at as another imposture of the same kind. chemical secrets which. a sort of persons whose habits of incredulity and suspicious observation render them very dangerous spectators on such occasions. gives us I remember a the assurance of the ruling cause in all.* Mr. Brayfield. so that they fell on the slightest motion. 62. and similar articles were suspended.376 LETTERS ON At times. and many others have been successfully concealed . has since fully explained Many such impositions have been detected. Such was the solution of the whole mystery. and Mr. delighted with the success of her pranks. So many and wonderful are the appearances described. . scene of the kind attempted to be got up near Edin- burgh. The late excellent Mr. many well-meaning persons. when the family were absent. Hone. pushed them farther than she at first intended. minister at Dunottar. experiment upon the credulity of the public. practised p. a jocular that. known by the name of the Stockwell ghost. by a Every-Day Book. bacon. she loosened the hold of the strings by which the hams. in the Mearns. I was strongly impressed with the belief that the narrative was like some of Swift's advertisements. But it was certainly published boncifde. on the authority of the wonder. which may be when I first met with the original publication. She employed some simple and. gave me a curious account of an imposture of * See Hone's this kind.

of having been imposed on. or the Isle of Mull. necessarily explain the whole story. in our fathers' time. where the ghost-seer chanced to be resident. belief The turbance arise from invisible beings. if we consider the common feats of jugglers. who of supernatural agency. when be- . victed. and thence. and unconsciously becomes disposed rather to colour more highly than the truth. than acquiesce in an explanation resting on his having been too hasty a believer. or professors of legerdemain. that certain her girl. men would have cried out either sorcery or miracles. although which. is yet unwilling to stand con- by cross-examination. young country dexterity. too. makes no very respectable appearance when convicted of his error . if too candid to add to the evidence spectator also. and recollect that it is only the frequent exhibition of such powers which reconciles us to they are as matters of course. express himself convinced of the truth of a wonderful story told him by an intelligent and bold man about an apparition. with such was for a long time impossible to as- agency in the disturbances of which she of the spectators that such scenes of dis- was the sole cause. which. For example. 377 at who was surprisingly quick throwing stones. The them at wonders has been himself duped. He was given to understand by the family. the detection depends upon the combination of certain circumstances. appre- hended. and other missiles. will appear less surprising. it turf. I once heard a sensible and intelligent friend in company.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Very often. The scene lay in an ancient castle on the coast of Morven.

that the chamber in which he slept pearances. He at the figure of a tall Highlander in the and picturesque dress of his country. the same explanation struck all present. as menaeing the Lowlander if he should attempt to quit his recum- master him bent posture. explained At other times it happens that the meanness and trifling nature of a cause not very obvious to observa- . So number of it votes from the company. when he was awakened from a dead sleep by the pressure of a human hand on his body. occasionally disquieted by supernatural apBeing at that time no believer in such little he attended to this hint. till. until the witching hour of night. viz. he was willing to have looked up sprung from bed. but the spectre stood before him in the bright moonlight. which his duty might have Here a single circumstance called upon him to seize. the other hand held up in a warning and grave posture. its one arm extended. in order to disguise from his vigilance the removal of certain modern enough spirits. upon cross-examination. with sudden and extreme fear. was explained that the principal person concerned was an exciseman . that the Highlanders of the mansion had chosen to detain the exciseman by the apparition of an ancient heroic ghost. Thus he lay in mortal agony for more than an hour. after which it pleased the spectre of ancient days to leave him to singular a story had on its side the usual more sound repose. after which eclalrcissement. so as to if he attempted to rise .378 LETTERS ON was taking himself to rest. the whole ghost story. stories. whose antique Struck brows were bound with a bloody bandage.

and which he would be ashamed of mentioning. but much lower than it had formerly seemed to be. the cause of which they had found The gentleman reit impossible to trace. and remained there for some time. pened An incident of this sort hap- to a gentleman of birth in the political and distinction. if mingled with the usual noises of day- At length the gentleman and his servant traced the sounds which they had repeatedly heard. with a domestic who had grown old in the family. which they mid- listened to with that strange uncertainty attending night sounds. They watched until the noise was heard. without hearing the noises which they had traced thither. and who had begun to mur- mur strange things concerning the knocking having followed so close upon the death of his old master. which prevents the hearers from immediately tracing them to the spot where they arise. tion. well known world. Shortly after he sucprecision ceeded to his estate and title. They entered this place. since no one is wilthat he has been alarmed ling to acknowledge by a cause of little consequence. there was a rumour among his servants concerning a strange noise heard in the family-mansion at night. at length the sound was heard. . receive.DEMON OLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. even on account of that very meanness. to a small store-room used as a place for keeping provisions of various kinds for the family. while the silence of the night generally occasions the imputing to them more than the due importance which they would light. solved to watch himself. and was detected by the of his observation. 379 has occasioned it to be entirely overlooked. of which the old butler had the key.

that you must litera- pardon its insertion. this tumult. The circumstance was told me by the gentleman to whom it happened. at a distance from the main building. had their meetings in a summer- house situated in the garden. but which took place at Plymouth is well has been differently related . was formed at the great sea-town we have named. rat caught in an old-fashioned trap had occasioned The by its efforts to escape. during those of autumn and winter. fall resounding through the house. had occasioned the disturbance which. During the summer months. A club of persons connected with science and ture. unless some particular fortune occasioned a discovery. for the sake of privacy. but. and which no one could have supposed. LETTERS ON at a distance A by the imagination of cause was immediately discovered. but for the cool investigation of the the proprietor. might easily have established an accredited ghost story. by which . they convened within the premises of a tavern. own had a pass-key dwellings rendered this conveto the garden door. it is apparition it An an incident so much to my purpose. known.380 while acted upon the hearers. the society met in a cave by the sea-shore . Some of the members to whom the position of their nient. and having some reason to think the following edition correct. There are other occasions in which the ghost story is rendered credible by some remarkable combination of circumstances very unlikely to have happened. in which it was able to raise the trap-door of its prison to a certain The noise of height. but was then obliged to drop it.

and. and stalked out of the room as it. the door suddenly opened. They went. left vacant the chair which ought to have been occupied by him. bowed around. who had thus strangely deeply appalled . that the friend. from a sentiment of sion. and put placed to his lips then re- on the table. respect. astonished party then resolved that they would remain absolutely silent respecting the wonderful sight The which they had seen. took the vacant place of lifted the empty glass it which stood before . The club met as usual. him. He wore a white by wrapper. after whom they had inquired. silent as he had entered The company remained many observations on what they had seen. the strangeness of at length. for the same reason. the appearance of which was that of death itself. a nightcap round his brow. On one occa- of the evening chanced to be very ill indeed. and returned with the frightful intelligence. the conversation turned upon the absent gentleman's talents. after appeared among them.DEM ONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. was reported to be on his deathbed. He stalked into the room with unusual ceremony. to see how it fared with the president. and the loss expected to the society his death. it gravity. Their habits were too philo- . While they were upon this melancholy theme. that its It was the rule of this club members presided alternately. 381 they could enter the garden and reach the summerhouse without the publicity or trouble of passing through the open tavern. they resolved to dispatch two of their number as ambassadors. in the winter. the president . was that evening deceased. and the appearance of the president entered the room. if in his usual health .

fore kept a strict secret. She added. of conscience on account of the manner in which he died. . and met him in the act of returning. and received for answer that he was already dead. was taken very attended by a medical ill. Unhappily she slept. She got him. She said that. but it was only to die there. and left the apartment. some dubious rumours of the tale found their way to the Several years afterwards. to wish to confirm the superstition of the vulgar. she found the bed empty and the patient patient gone.382 LETTERS ON sophical to permit them to believe that they had actually seen the ghost of their deceased brother. naming long before attended Mr. that immediately after the poor gentleman expired. an old woman who public. to convince her hearer of the what she said. as usual. had long filled the place of a sick-nurse. by what might seem inThe affair was theredubitable evidence of a ghost. and at the same time they were too wise men. and during her sleep the had awaked. member of the philosophical club. she forthwith hurried out of the house to seek him. This The delirious confession explained the whole matter. a deputation of two members from truth of the club came to enquire after their president's health. she had been malady directed to keep a close watch upon him during his illness. as his was attended by light-headedness. although. replaced in bed. she said. . patient had very naturally taken the road to the club. she acknowledged that she had expressions the president. with many of regret. whose appearance had and that she felt distress surprised the club so strangely. on her own awaking. When. and on her death-bed was To him.

although scarcely so striking in its circumstances. were bed. with no opportunity of giving the apparent phantom what seamen call a wide berth. at which he had indulged himself with John Barleycorn. now near at hand. the gentle- had reached his more circuitous road and thus there had lodging by been time for him to return to what proved his death- men sent to enquire after his health . A but not to that extent of defying goblins which it inHe was ponspired into the gallant Tarn O'Shanter. who therefore resolved. as anxious to spread the story as they The now to conceal had formerly been what a remarkable it. He accordingly approached. which passed the corner of a churchyard. Another occurrence of the same kind. and impress them with ideas far different from the truth. long before they reached his chamber. at all risks.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. philosophical witnesses of this strange scene. On the other hand. to pass the apparition. manner men's eyes might turn traitors to them. the only path which led to the rider's home. Teviotdale farmer was riding from a fair. however. The road was very narrow. from some recollections of his duty of the night. as slowly as . which made his way a shorter. had it remained unexplained. when he saw before him. used one of the pass-keys already mentioned. 383 In he had approaching and retiring from the apartment. dering with some anxiety upon the dangers of travelling alone on a solitary road. a pale female form standing the wall which surrounded the cemetery. was yet one since it showed in which. in upon the moonlight. It was. might have passed as an indubitable instance of a supernatural apparition.

and who came to attend him. and the nature and cause of her malady induced her. figure remained. he dashed in the spurs. bid the serthe ghaist!" They took off accordingly a female in white. and the terror of the rider for the hand of her who sat behind him. felt as vants own house at length he arrived. and gibbering to the moon. to wander to the churchyard. The left female was found to be a maniac. looked out. where she sometimes wildly wept over his grave. and mistook every stranger on horseback for the husband she had lost. while the perfectly still and silent. " Take aft cold as that of a corpse. and seize a manoeuvre which greatly round the waist . If this woman. who had been very suddenly by an affectionate husband. now arms. and sometimes standing on the corner of the churchyard wall. which was very the horse unobserved possible. now brandishing its When but the farmer came close to the spot. increased the speed of the horse. he the spectre did not miss its passed the corner where she to As was perched. . and the poor farmer himself was conveyed to bed. . when At his pressed upon his. and set the horse off upon a gallop opportunity. . had dropped from by him whom she had made her involuntary companion. it would have been very hard to have convinced the honest farmer that he had not actually performed part of his journey with a ghost behind him. a widow when she could make her escape. she contrived him drop behind the horseman.384 possible. the spot LETTERS ON where the spectre stood. where he lay struggling for weeks with a strong nervous fever.

and of the magnificence of the antique mansion which he The guests of course were numerous. Ventriloquism. retired after midnight. When this officer the arrangements for the was informed that there would be difficulty in it the castle. and At a certain old castle the lord to whom it on the confines of Hungary. lost in the service of his sovereign. and inhabited. should presume by any a threat which his habits would. or other arts. a veteran officer of Hussars. belonged had determined upon giving an entertainment worthy of his own rank. proposed for his occupation. to may be known me nearly thirty years ago. among them was night were made. The Major thankfully the preference. the apartment was. Somewhat contrary to the custom in these 2c . but the following told as a tale recounted by a foreign nobleman.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. Of these it is scarce necessary to quote instances . in the first place. remark- able for his bravery. whose life. and having shared the festivity accepted of the evening. unless some one would take the risk of sleeping in a room supposed to be to be haunted -. large as accommodating the company in was. having denounced vengeance against any one trick to disturb his repose who . render him sufficiently ready to execute. have been either employed to dupe the spectators. as the person least likely to surfer a bad night's rest from such a cause. 385 There is also a large class of stories of this sort. of Acoustics. it was supposed. proved too short for his friends his native "land. where various secrets of Chemistry. and that as he was known above such prejudices. or have tended to do so through mere accident and coincidence.

ingly ." he said. delight . the numbers." The song was " pired I uninterrupted the five minutes were ex- I still give count twenty. ." he said. The Major listened for some time with at "Ladies. The ladies sung on. length he tired but somewhat monotonous will you be so kind as to change the tune ? The ladies continued singing expostulated. fantastically dressed in green. but the music was not interrupted. two." " while you law. angry " and then will without hesitation. fired both the musical damsels pistols against but the ladies the unexpected sung on The Major was overcome by . "this is very well." With but that he began then to handle his pistols." he said. must consider this as a trick for the purpose of terrifying me. he looked out." he said. were seen lower end of the apartment. were pronounced with considerable pauses between.386 cases. I shall take a rough mode of stopping it. seventeen eighteen nineteen. who sung a solemn requiem. He had not slept an hour a solemn strain of music when he was awakened by Three in the ladies. and as I regard it as an impertinence. and repeating more than once his determination to fire. accordbut on approaching the end of the number. wait He five got seriously minutes. ladies. the LETTERS ON Major went to bed. having left his candle laid his trusty pistols carefully burning. and loaded on the table by his bedside. and an assurance that the pistols were cocked. Major began to grow angry . The " I fire ladies sung on. last As he pronounced ! the word twenty he . This produced as little effect as his former threats. three. he The " "I Ladies. He counted one.

now ascertained by philosophers to be a gigantic re- shadow. The young used sometimes to indulge the romantic love of lady solitude. By a similar deception. well known. to imagine they saw troops of horse and armies marching and countermarching. Other after is of the same kind are numerous and apparition of the Brocken mountain. which makes the traveller's men have been induced. street of a Their house was situated in the principal town of some size. appear a colossal figure of almost immeasurable size. flection. and had an illness which more than three weeks. was approaching. One . inefficacy of his 387 lasted violence. and even darkness. very curious case of this kind was communicated the son of the lady principally concerned. divi- it by a small cabbage-garden. The trick put upon him may be shortly described by the fact. or of the forms of peaceful travellers. and that he only fired at their reflection thrown forward into that in which he stories slept by the effect of a concave mirror.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. which were in fact only the reflection of horses pasturing upon an opposite height. this lady resided with her father. and tends to show out of what mean materials a venerto A me by In youth able apparition may be sometimes formed. a man of sense and resolution. The back part of the house ran at right angles to an Anabaptist chapel. that the fe- male choristers were placed in an adjoining room. by sitting in her own apartment in the evening ded from till twilight. represented upon the misty clouds. in Westmoreland and other mountainous countries. The having occasioned great admiration and some fear.

He obtained an account of the cause of her disturbance. The seer of this striking vision descended to her family. she was surprised. around the head before. to go out at night to gather cabThe lantern she carried in her hand threw up bages. but as the grey light faded into darkness. As she stooped to gather her cabbages. and nothing appeared . . . to see a gleamy figure. and expressed his intention to watch in the apartment next night. and." that we look upon strict research established a what is supernatural. while the young lady's attention was fixed on an object so extraordinary. . the figure bent gracefully by towards her more than once. the reflection appeared to bend forward . Twilight came. and that was the whole matter. as it that halo which painters give to the Catholic saints . He sat. where she also attended him. "What the same inclinations. as of some aerial being. " rather than allow "Any thing. the refracted reflection of her form on the chapel window. was the custom of an old woman. in his daughter's chamber. so much discomposed as to call her father's attention. said the father." It natural cause for the appearance on the window. against the arched window in the end of the Anabaptist chapel. and then disappeared. as if intimating a sense of her presence. my dear. accordingly. to whom the garden A beneath was rented. the same female figure was seen hovering on the window the same shadowy form the same pale light . hoverwere. as the evening do you think of this ? said the daugh- ter to the astonished father. Its head was surrounded ing.388 LETTERS ON evening while she was thus placed.

in the trade phrase. seller in rendering very much the reverse has not failed to show A book- of his acquaintance had. Another species of deception 389 affecting the credit of such supernatural communications. that species of composition he to fix did not require the talents of Defoe. Veal's ghost. which no man to the It alive could have conceived as having occurred mind of a person composing a fiction. instead of sleeping on the editor's shelf. the public attention on a ghost story. although in fact it does not afford a single tittle of evidence properly so called. and complained to Defoe of the loss which was likely to ensue. with such an air of truth that. which he wrote for the occasion. advised his friend to prefix the celebrated narrative of Mrs. with the purpose of recommending the edition. merely from the cunning of the narrator. incredible in itself. John Dunton. that Drelincourt's work on death. though io must stand unrivalled. and the addition of a number of adventitious circumstances. which the supposed spirit recommended to the perusal of her friend Mrs. arises from the dexterity and skill of the authors who have made it their business to present such stories in the shape most likely to attract belief. Bargrave. Defoe whose power credible that which was in itself was so peculiarly distinguished his superiority in this species of composition. sue- . it nevertheless was swallowed so eagerly by the people. a man of scribbling celebrity at the time. The experienced bookmaker. moved off by thousands at once : the story. rather overprinted an edition of Drelincourt on Death. was received as true. and unsupported as it was by evidence or enquiry.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.

who in his return met with this spectre. next stile planted herself upon at this. and paid her the observing. in Somergentlewoman. I see or speak with to like am me afraid you will but little and by noon-day. Leckie often made " For as much as the somewhat startling reply : you now seem care to believe after my death. One story is told of a doctor of physic walking into the fields. after her funeral. This family was a child generally respected in Leckie. and to each other. he became suspicious of the condition of his companion. be soon To which Mrs. Mynehead and was so pleasant . lived an ancient At Mynehead. and showed some desire to be rid of her society. whose only son and daughter resided in family with her. me. for it is of great length. and was supposed to be worth eight or ten thousand pounds. the hag at and obstructed his . in a little new. Leckie. in society that her friends used to say to her. at home and abroad. goodlost to her friends. named Mrs. however. that it was a thousand pities such an excellent. you may she did and. or ever. though I have that satisfaction. it it beginning of at least." Die. has something setshire. humoured gentlewoman must. The son traded to Ireland. was repeatedly seen in her personal likeness. howcourtesy of handing her over a stile she did not move her lips in speaking. especially Mrs.390 LETTERS ON tale ceeded to a great degree in imposing upon the public a The which he calls the Apparition Evidence. the old lady. that : her eyes in looking round. by night . from her age. They had about five or six years old. whom he at first accosted civilly. Offended it.

a boat. He got through at length with some difficulty. this troublesome ghost would come as before. own. and not without a sound kick.DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT. what she played in her son's house. they were cast away. rate. likeness as . that would break. were never so great a calm. they and if they did come. this. She would at noon' day appear upon the quay of Mynehead. or hired. but this ghost would appear in the same garb and : when she was alive and. were sure to be cast away 'twas all one. Her son had dangerous ! ! . or he had but goods on board it to the value of twenty shillings. yet immediately there would arise a most dreadful storm. at this permission from God to take them away. for his fair estate was all buried in the sea. petty and inconsiderable prank to ' A boat. and though it mainmast. If any boatho a boat. and did not come. and drown the ship and goods. and cry. wreck. ho men or seamen were in sight. and elsewhere. whistle in a calm at the mainmast at noon-day. standing at the would blow with a whistle. and come in sight of England. 391 passage. and then ship . only the seamen would escape with their lives the devil had no Yet. and an admonition to pay more attention to the next aged gentlewoman whom " But " was a he met. by her frequent apparitions and disturbances she had made a poor merchant of her son. a boat. It was equally to please and displease her. and he that was once worth thousands. was reduced to a very poor and low for whether the ship were his condition in the world . when they had descried land. several ships sailing between Ireland and England no sooner did they make land." says John Dunton.

392 and goods went that he could at
all

LETTERS ON
out of hand to wreck
;

insomuch

no ships wherein to stow his nor any manner to sail in them for, knowing goods, what an uncomfortable, fatal, and losing voyage they
last get
;

should make of it, they did all decline his service. In her son's house she hath her constant haunts by day and night but whether he did not, or would not own,
;

he did see her, he always professed he never saw Sometimes when in bed with his wife, she would her.
if

And Husband, look, there's your mother when he would turn to the right side, then was she
*

'

cry out,

!

gone

to the left

;

and when to the
:

left side

of the bed,

then was she gone to the right only one evening their only child, a girl of about five or six years old, lying
in

a truckle-bed
!

father

me

'
!

help me, help me, mother, for grandmother will choke and before they could get to their child's assist;

under them,

cries out,

'

O

had murdered it they finding the poor girl dead, her throat having been pinched by two fingers, which stopped her breath and strangled her. This
ance, she

was

the sorest of

all

their afflictions
is

;

their estate is

gone, and

gone and great sorrow. One the child's funeral, her husband being eleven in the forenoon, Mrs. Leckie the
;

now

their child

also

you may guess
morning
after

at their grief

abroad, about

up

into her

chamber

to dress her

head

;

younger goes and, as she was

looking into the glass, she spies her mother-in-law, the This cast her old beldam, looking over her shoulder. but re-collecting her affrighted into a great horror
;

and recovering the exercise of her reason, faith, and hope, having cast up a short and silent prayer to
spirits,

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.
*
:
'

393

of God, mother,

In the name God, she turns about, and bespeaks her Peace why do you trouble me ?
'
!

'

says the spectrum ; will you have of me

*

I will
'

do thee no

hurt.'

'

What

says the daughter," 8cc.* Dunton, the narrator, and probably the contriver of the
?

story, proceeds to inform us, at length, of a

commis-

sion

which the wife of Mr. Leckie receives from the

ghost to deliver to Atherton, Bishop of Waterford, a guilty and unfortunate man, who afterwards died by
the hands of the executioner
is
-,

but that part of the

too disagreeable and tedious to enter upon. subject So deep was the impression made by the story on
the inhabitants of

Mynehead,
still

that

it is

said the tradition
;

of Mrs. Leckie
mariners

remains in that port
to
it

and that

often, belonging weather, conceive they hear the whistle- call of the implacable hag who was the source of so much mis-

amid tempestuous

chief to her
tory,

own

family.
it

and too long,
to insist
stories

were we

However, already too desulwould become intolerably tedious farther on the peculiar sort of genius
of this kind

by which
prolonged.
I

may be embodied and
tale

may, however, add, that the charm of the

depends much upon
is

addressed

;

the age of the person to whom it and that the vivacity of fancy which

engages us in youth to pass over much that is absurd, in order to enjoy some single trait of imagination, dies
within us

when we

obtain the age of

manhood,

an.d

the sadder and graver regions which lie beyond it. I am the more conscious of this, because I have been
*

Apparition Evidence.

394
myself, at

LETTERS ON
two periods of my
life,

distant

from each
of

other, engaged
superstitious
call

in scenes favourable

to that degree

awe which my countrymen

expressively

being
the

eerie.

of these occasions, I was only nineteen or twenty years old, when I happened to pass a night in the magnificent old baronial castle of Glammis, the
first

On

The hoary hereditary seat of the Earls of Strathmore. pile contains much in its appearance, and in the traditions connected
It

with

it,

impressive to the imagination.

was the scene of the murder of a Scottish king of not, indeed, the gracious Duncan, with great antiquity whom the name naturally associates itself, but Malcolm
;

II.

It

contains also a curious

monument of

the peril of

feudal times, being a secret chamber, the entrance of which, by the law or custom of the family, must only be known to three persons at once, viz. the Earl of

Strathmore, his heir apparent, and any third person whom they may take into their confidence. The

extreme antiquity of the building is vouched by the immense thickness of the walls, and the wild and
straggling arrangement of the accommodation within As the late Earl of Strathmore seldom resided doors.
in that ancient

mansion,

it

was,

when

I

was

there, but

half furnished, and that with movables of great antiquity, which, with the pieces of chivalric armour hang-

ing upon the walls, greatly contributed to the general After a very hospitable reception effect of the whole. from the late Peter Proctor, Esq., then seneschal of the
castle, in

Lord Strathmore's absence,
in

I

was conducted
I

to

my

apartment

a distant corner of the building.

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.
must own
that,

395

as I

heard door after door shut after
I

my

conductor had retired,

began to consider myself

too far from the living, and somewhat too near the had passed through what is called " the dead.

We

King's room,"
stags' antlers

a vaulted apartment,

garnished

with

and similar trophies of the chase, and said by tradition to be the spot of Malcolm's murder ; and I had an idea of the vicinity of the castle chapel.
In spite of the truth of
history,

the whole night

scene in Macbeth's castle rushed

at

once upon

my

mind, and struck my imagination more forcibly than even when I have seen its terrors represented by the
late
I

John Kemble and

his inimitable sister.

In a word,

though not remarkable either for timidity or superstition, did not fail to affect me to the point of being disagreeable, while they were
experienced sensations, which,

mingled
affords

at

bable kind of pleasure,

the same time with a strange and indescrithe recollection of which

me

gratification at this

moment.

In the year

middle

life,

1814, accident placed me, then past in a situation somewhat similar to that

which

I

have described.

I had been on a pleasure voyage with some friends around the north coast of Scotland, and in that course

had arrived

in the salt-water lake

under the Castle of

Dunvegan, whose

turrets, situated

upon

a

frowning

rock, rise immediately above the waves of the loch. As most of the party, and I myself in particular, chanced
to be well

known

to the Laird of

welcomed

to the castle

Macleod, we were with Highland hospitality, and

glad to find ourselves in polished society, after a cruise

LETTERS ON
of some duration.

was founded
ancient
is

The most modern part of the castle the days of James VI. ; the more referred to a period " whose birth tradition
in

notes not."

drawbridge the

Until the present Macleod connected by a site of the castle with the mainland of
difficult.

Skye, the access must have been extremely

Indeed, so much greater was the regard paid to security than to convenience that, in former times, the only
access to the mansion arose through a vaulted cavern in a rock, up which a staircase ascended from the seashore, like the buildings

we

read of in the romances of

Mrs. Radcliffe.

Such

a castle in the extremity of the

Highlands was

of course furnished with

many

a tale of tradition, and
fill

many
in

a superstitious legend, to

occasional intervals

music and song, as proper to the halls of Dunvegan reviewed as when Johnson commemorated them.

We

the arms and ancient valuables of this distinguished saw the dirk and broadsword of Rorio Mhor, family

and

his horn,

which would drench three

chiefs of these

solemn drinking-cup of the degenerate days. of Man must not be forgotten, nor the fairy Kings
dinner given
to

The

that magic flag, fields, and will

Macleod by the queen of Fairies which has been victorious in two pitched
:

still

float in a third, the bloodiest

and

the
is

the Elfin Sovereign shall, after the fight last, recall her banner, and carry off the standardended,

when

bearer.

of ancient tradition, I had from Macleod and his lady the courteous offer of the haunted
tales

Amid such

apartment of the

castle,

about which, as a stranger, I

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.

397

might be supposed interested. Accordingly I took Except, possession of it about the witching hour.
perhaps, some tapestry hangings, and the extreme thickness of the walls, which argued great antiquity,

nothing could have been more comfortable than the interior of the apartment but if you looked from the windows the view was such as to correspond with the An autumnal blast, somehighest tone of superstition.
:

clear, sometimes driving mist before it, swept the troubled billows of the lake, which it occaalong

times

sionally concealed,

and by

fits

disclosed.

The waves

rushed

in

wild disorder on the shore, and covered with
piles

foam the steep
in

of rock, which rising from the sea

forms something resembling the human figure, have obtained the name of Macleod's Maidens, and in such
a night seemed no bad representatives of the Norwegian goddesses, called Choosers of the Slain, or Riders of

the Storm.

There was something of the dignity of for on a platform beneath the danger in the scene windows lay an ancient battery of cannon, which had
;

sometimes been used against privateers even of late The distant scene was a view of that part of years.
Quillan mountains which are called, from their form, Macleod's Dining-tables. The voice of an angry cascade, termed the Nurse of Rorio Mhor, because that
chief slept best in
its

vicinity,

time mingling

its

notes with those of

was heard from time to wind and wave.
;

Such was the haunted room
it

at Dunvegan and, as such, well deserved a less sleepy inhabitant. In the lanof Dr. Johnson, who has stamped his memory guage

on

this

remote place,

"

I

looked

around

me, and

398
wondered
is

LETTERS ON
that I
all

was not more

affected

;

but the mind

not at

word,

it is

times equally ready to be moved." In a to confess that, of all I heard or necessary

bed, in

was the comfortable make amends for some rough hoped nights on ship-board, and where I slept accordingly, without thinking of ghost or goblin, till I was called
saw, the most engaging spectacle

which

I

to

by

my

servant in the morning.
this I

From

am

taught to infer that tales of ghosts

and demonology are out of date at forty years and upwards that it is only in the morning of life that this
;

feeling of superstition

" comes

o'er us like a

summer

cloud," affecting us with fear, which is solemn and awful, rather than painful ; and I am tempted to think
that, if I

were

to write

on the subject

at all,

it

should

have been during a period of life when I could have treated it with more interesting vivacity, and might
have been
tive.

at least

amusing,

if I

could not be instructo

Even the present fashion of the world seems
suited for studies of this fantastic nature
;

be

ill

and

the most ordinary mechanic has learning sufficient to laugh at the figments which in former times were believed

by persons

far

advanced

in the deepest

knowledge

of the age.
of

my opinion countrymen's good sense so far as to exculpate them entirely from the charge of credulity. Those
I cannot,

however,

in conscience carry

my

who

are disposed to look for

them may, without much

trouble, see such manifest signs, both of superstition and the disposition to believe in its doctrines, as may

render

it

no

useless occupation to

compare the

follies

DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT.
of our fathers with our own. verb that every
impurity
;

399

The

sailors

man

in his lifetime

must

eat a

have a propeck of

and it seems yet more clear that every of the human race must swallow a certain generation measure of nonsense. There remains hope, however,
that the grosser faults of our ancestors are

now

out of

the present race may ; that, be guilty of, the sense of humanity is too universally spread to permit them to think of tormenting wretches
follies
till

date

and

whatever

they confess what
for their pains.

is

impossible, and then burning

them

and some acquaintance with the arts of magic. and a stricter explanation will be found to add great strength to the position laid down by Sir Walter. laid ij. that among the six fanciful qualities which the later stitute a How Talmudists have reckoned up as necessary to conmember of the great national council. no doubt. predicting or prognosticating. and of which the other versions of titles constitute the species. THE two verses referred to by Sir Walter in Deutero- a summary of the Jewish nomy evidently offences in the cases of Witchcraft and Wizzardism. to the exercisers of these arts strong a tendency this people among ever had to practices of the kind. of contain which DIVINATION. But to come to the various diviners comprehended in the verses above. two were a perfect knowledge of seventy languages. contains the true exposition of the nature of the guilt which attached the Jews.NOTE ON A PASSAGE IN SIK WALTER SCOTT'S DEMONOLOGT. is down as the genus. may be inferred from the fact. The them in the English Bible are exceedingly loose and indefinite. they consist of the following : . the San- hedrim. and which.

&c. prefers the explanation of * an enchanter. as is obvious from 15. By the 23rd verse/surely there is no enchantment against Jacob. a diviner of futurities by some natural phenomena.' but. to meet this meeting of the omens. as the flight of birds. uncommon among the The root of Gesenius ancients this . he * sets his face towards the wilderness.NOTE ON DEMONOLOGY. an augur. who doubts whether such a kind of augury existed in ancient times. nothing more nor less went than an enquiry at the mouth of the Lord. should be rendered. search. in fact. derived from the first meaning. cloud-monger. That course being now determined. neither is there any divination against Israel. a a diviner by looking up to the clouds. not. GNONEETZ to 401 (according Lexicon). 3. to look. I. ch. appears to have been occasionally used in a good sense. then he the omens . as in the former time. 'Balaam 'went. diction which. and will serve to This passage explain a passage in Numbers xxiv.' I apprehend is meant that the usual arts practised for diving 2D . xxii. NACHEESH. Gesenius. not as at other times. not as our present version has it. was. under the derived from the observation of serpents. a kind of prename of op/o^avTE/a. ' : Parkhurst's an observer of times. or enquire accurately.' where Israel was encamped. and the rest of the narrative becomes sufficiently clear. an ' word signifies to foretell/ ' according to according to Parkhurst. as to the course which he was to pursue on the present occasion. was not enchanter. the bowels Gesenius confines it to the auguries of animals. : English version. a bewitcher by the eye English version.' The substantive. to seek for enchant- ments.

) . ' enraptured seer. and the declaration appears to have been made for the purpose of bringing a mightier on if we may so express ourselves. when his etymological researches were not influenced by the attachment which he appears to have felt for the Hutchinsonian school. may safely be trusted. in The second sense will enable us to give a different version of two passages mode of Genesis. ' divining by a cup did exist among the Egyptians. with which character the imaginations of the Egyptians would naturally have invested Joseph after the success of his wonderful predictions. comes upon the Being. the Spirit of God. and which often rendered his uncertain. as may be seen from Burder's Oriental Customs. which Parkhurst has given them. 25 and if the butler of Joseph was in his master's secret. 5 and 15. and who. and he breaks out into that magnificent prediction of the future destinies of the House of Israel. there might be a dramatic propriety in putting into their joint mouths the language of a diviner. (there was no possible mode of attempting to pry into ' A futurity which I believe they did not practise. 5. upon the stage and accordingly. But the passages are certainly susceptible of the much easier and simpler interpretation I believe. xliv.402 NOTE ON A PASSAGE would be of no avail this into the future histories of nations occasion. . p. which he has clothed with all the glowing images and diction of eastern poetry. a few verses afterwards.' the only true agent of the prophetic power recognized in the Holy Writings. v. * own Is opinions at once fanciful and Lord drinketh?' not this the cup in which my and he would surely search ac- .

for a joiner of words together for a user of spells or en. 15. ix. this : the Apocalypse. and without by stretching a point it may be applied. * 403 Wot he not that such a v. Paul Galat. signification. chantments : the purposes of incantation readers have. Sir Walter's English version. 20. CHOBEER CHEBER. mineral. f/Aax/a. a witch. is to be referred the In witchcraft (paj/iax/a) of St. in modern times. as appointed by the Deity for the moral cause of teaching the knowledge of good and evil. a user of pharmaceutic enchantments . to magical purposes : English version. SCOTTS DEMONOLOGY. an applier of drugs. ' as I would search carefully or accurately ? man CHAUSHAPH. the It appears to me to a cunning have emphatically marked ' man who presumed is to pry into the secret things in its which belong unto the Almighty / and. is. The passage coupling witchcraft with ingratitude I cannot at the moment refer to . radical connected with that fatal tree which. and xviii. has borne its appellation accordingly. the . many a long year. or by are which men drawn from the true religion into error. a ivizzard man. used in a frauds which secondary sense. 23. curately for it. or animal. The word is frequently rendered LXX. most probably. had ample reason to acknowledge that this breed is not yet extinct YIDAGNONI is explained by the Lexicons. the same word. 21. a knowing one. yv^ar^. a charmer. according to Schleusner. To head. but I suspect that the apostle uses a different word on the occasion. v. in accord! ance with the English version. whether vegetable. and applies to the cunning arts and men use to deceive each other.IN SIR W.

dead : the English version. Acts xvi. the plurals HOBOTH and HOBATH. 7. xx. 'that this is a very proper word for a familiar spirit. x. signifies. xxix. Luke it calls him. a very learned Hebraist. so often becomes a curse to the posan inquirer at sessor himself as well as to others. to it is derived from a verb signifying tend. who were On an attenHebrew tive review. xxviii. xxxiii. the " spirit of divination. xviii. to where be 'willing-. By the latter terms are signified. to * whom I have already so often must. in the follow- referred. I Sam. a necromancer. or ' masters or mistresses of the evil spirit. II.' Parkhurst himself inclines to think that to swell. according as the sex of the person is designated. and that it may so signify in every other passage namely. Lev.' Bate. 6. ' the consulter with familiar spirits. 16 . the cmD/z-a nduvog.' remains yet to be considered. 6 . 4. and observes. DOREESH HEL HAMEETHEiM. from the affection he was supposed to have taken to the person he attended.8. and. denote the evil spirit himself. 2 Kings xxi. But the most important term. the persons who had what we term the familiar spirit in them. 27. I Chron. 2 Chron. Deut. which occurs." as St. I think the singular HOB ing texts. it would evince a remarkable instance of conformity with the inflated appearance under which the old Pythonesses were . derives the words from a root. Isa. when unaccompanied by reinstruction.' says the learned author of the and English Lexicon. The : sacred writers use two words on these occasions singular the noun HOB.404 to that ligious NOTE ON A PASSAGE knowledge which. and if this derivation is heave. 15 . to dis- correct.

by whom it pleased the Deity in those times in its of witchcraft or wizzardism. might have saved him from nal the consequences of human interference. and his station in the second. even against the word ot the Lord. SCOTrS DEMONOLOGY. consisted being a direct intrusion upon the task of the real prophet. presume not to meddle . and inquired not of the Lord therefore. view of the subject. appear. he slew him. but I may be permitted to . however. 'So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord. that Sir Walter's theory perfectly correct. spirit to inquire of it. the vengeance of a stronger and more clear-sighted tribu- was not to be eluded. to make his will known. left 405 accustomed to deliver their oracular responses.IN SIR W. Two very remarkable verses connected with stituted. a crime equivalent to treason. and of which so magnificent a description has been Virgil. and was accordingly punishable with high death. that the sin among the Jews. and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar . and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse. 13. and though the secrecy of the transaction in the first instance. and which therefore con- under the Theocracy. The inspired writer of the first 14) : book of Chronicles expressly tells us (x. By his dealings with the Witch of this Endor. which he kept not. the Monarch of Israel had evidently incurred the penalty attached to this high species of guilt . to have escaped Sir Walter. us by From these explanations is it appears pretty obvious.' With I that solemn and emphatic chapter which contains the actual interview between Saul and the Endor witch.

8 I Sam. in v. xxii. Saul's ready re- cognition of the departed seer. and of which the was rent by Saul. rendered judges (among others. (it bears. word which is observe. . perhaps. and also to Exod. in translated gods. nor curse the ruler of thy people. shalt not revile the judges (English version.406 NOTE ON DEMONOLOGY. 13. that the mantle in which the spectre : 28 * Thou appeared was that which belonged to his living as a office judge or prophet as that . that the is. : been given to the present passage. perhaps. 25 and the same meaning. 6 xxii. also. probable.' It is not imgods'). Exod. had better have many . by the descriptions given by the Pythoness.) falling fortunes and hence. at all events. ii. xxi. . passages of our authorized version. the same name skirt which Samuel wore. in the agony of his mind at his .

.

.

.

SOUTHERN REGIONAL LIBRARY FACILITY 405 Hilgard Avenue. Los Angeles. CA 90024-1388 Return this material to the library from which it was borrowed. University of California .

nil A 000114453 4 .

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful