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Title: The secrets of black arts!

A key note to witchcraft, devination [sic], omens, forwarnings, apparitions, sorcery, dæmonology, dreams, predictions, visions, and the Devil's legacy to earth mortals, compacts with the Devil! With the most authentic history of Salem witchcraft

Author: Anonymous

Release date: October 21, 2023 [eBook #71924]

Language: English

Original publication: Baltimore, MD: I. & M. Ottenheimer, 1900

Credits: Carol Brown, Steve Mattern and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)














Compiled By the Publisher.


The Devil’s Legacy.

P erhaps the title of this Book—“The Devil’s Legacy to Earth Mortals” may at first seem somewhat strange; they will pause as they do at a Witches Prayer, and wonder whether they had best look into it or no, lest they should really raise the Devil by reading what he has bequeathed to mankind.

It is a question, not yet determined by the learned, whether the word Devil be singular, that is to say, the name of a person standing by himself, or a noun of multitude; if it be a singular, and so must be used personally only as a proper name, it consequently implies one imperial devil, monarch, or god of the whole clan of Hell; justly distinguished by term, The Devil, or as the Scots call him, The muckle-horned Dee’l, or as others in a wilder dialect, The Devil of Hell, that is to say, The Devil of a devil; or (better still) as the Scriptures expresses it, by way of emphasis, the great red dragon, the Devil, and Satan.

But if we take this word to be, as above, a noun of multitude, and so to be used ambidexter, as occasion presents, singular or plural, then the Devil signifies Satan by himself, or Satan with all his legions at his heels, as you please, more or less. It is thus expressed in Scripture, where the person possessed (Matt. iv. 24.) is first said to be possessed of the Devil, singular; and our Saviour asks him, as speaking to a single person, What is thy name? and is answered in the plural and singular together, My name is Legion, for we are many.

Nor will it be any wrong to the Devil, supposing him a8 single person, seeing entitling him to the conduct of all his inferior agents, is what he will take rather for an addition to his infernal glory, than a diminution or lessening of him in the extent of his fame.

Very few, if any, of those who believe there is a God, and acknowledge the debt of homage which mankind owes to the supreme Governor of the world, doubt the existence of the Devil, except here and there one, whom we call practical atheists; and it is the character of an atheist, if there is such a creature on earth, that he believes neither God nor Devil.

As the belief of both these stands upon a level, and that God and the Devil seems to have an equal share in our faith, so the evidence of their existence seems to stand upon a level too, in many things; and as they are known by their works in the same particular cases, so they are discovered after the same manner of demonstration.

Nay, in some respects, it is equally criminal to deny the reality of them both, only with this difference, that to believe the existence of a God is a debt to nature, and to believe the existence of the Devil is a like debt to reason; one is a demonstration from the reality of visible causes, and the other a deduction from the like reality of their effects.

One demonstration of the existence of God is from the universal well-guided consent of all nations to worship and adore a supreme power; one demonstration of the existence of the Devil, is from the avowed ill-guided consent of some nations, who, knowing no other god, make a god of the Devil for want of a better.

Taking it, then, as the generality of mankind do, that there is a grand Devil, a superior of the whole black race; that they all fell, together with their general Satan at the head of them; that though he, Satan, could not maintain his high station in heaven, yet that he did continue his dignity among the rest who are called his servants, in Scripture, his angels; that he has a kind of dominion of or authority over the rest, and that they were all, how many millions soever in number, at his command; employed by him in all his hellish designs, and in all his wicked contrivances for the destruction of man, and for the setting up his own kingdom in the world. All the infernal things we converse with in the world, are fathered upon the Devil, as one undivided simple essence, by how many agents soever working; everything evil, frightful in appearance, wicked in its actings, horrible in its manner, monstrous in its effects, is called the Devil; in a word, Devil is the common name for all devils, that is to say, for9 all evil spirits, all evil powers, all evil works, and even all evil things; yet it is remarkable the Devil is no Old Testament word, and we never find it used in all the Old Testament but four times, and then not once [in] the singular number, and not once to signify Satan, as it is now understood.

That the Devil is not yet a close prisoner, we have evidence enough to confirm; he is let out by connivance, and has some little latitudes and advantages for mischief, by that means; returning at certain seasons to his confinement again. This might hold, were it not, that the comparison must suggest, that the power which has cast him down could be deluded, and the under-keepers or jailers, under whose charge he was in custody, could wink at his excursions, and the lord of the place know nothing of the matter.

It is our firm belief that the Devil still runs riot over all Christendom, and will do so until the coming of that period yet hidden in the womb of time.

We have ample evidence to justify us in this belief, as every Age of the world has felt his blighting hand and suffered from his accursed work. Everything about us that is evil bears his footprints, and as each succeeding generation appears, some new phase of the Devil’s cunning hand looms up to our sight. As man bequeaths his earthly possessions to those that follow him, so has the Devil left behind him his dark footprints over the entire face of the earth, and each step that we take we see the reflection of the Devil in thousands of forms. First among the long black Catalogue is



Next to sorcery we may recollect the case of witchcraft, which occurs oftener, particularly in modern times, than any other alleged mode of changing by supernatural means the future course of events. The sorcerer, was frequently a man of learning and intellectual abilities, sometimes of comparative opulence and respectable situation in society. But the witch or wizard was almost uniformly old, decrepid, and nearly or altogether in a state of penury. The functions, however, of the witch and the sorcerer were in a great degree the same. The earliest account of a witch, attended with any degree of detail,10 is that of the witch of Endor in the Bible, who among other things, professed the power of calling up the dead upon occasion from the peace of the sepulcher, it appears clear, that the witch of Ender was not a being such as those believed in by our ancestors, who could transform themselves and others into the appearance of the lower animals, raise and allay tempests, frequent the company and join the revels of evil spirits, and, by their counsel and assistance, destroy human lives, and waste the fruits of the earth, or perform feats of such magnitude as to alter the face of nature. The witch of Endor was a mere fortune-teller, to whom, in despair of all aid or answer from the Almighty, the unfortunate King of Israel had recourse in his despair, and by whom, in some way or other, he obtained the awful certainty of his own defeat and death. She was liable, indeed, deservedly, to the punishment of death, for intruding herself upon the task of the real prophets, by whom the will of God was, in that time, regularly made known. But her existence and her crimes can go no length to prove the possibility that another class of witches, not otherwise resembling her than as called by the same name, either existed at a more recent period, or were liable to the same capital punishment, for a very different and much more doubtful class of offences, which, however odious, are nevertheless to be proved possible before they can be received as a criminal charge.

Witches also claimed the faculty of raising storms, and in various ways disturbing the course of nature. They appear in most cases to have been brought into action by the impulse of private malice. They occasioned mortality of greater or less extent in man and beast. They blighted the opening prospect of a plentiful harvest. They covered the heavens with clouds, and sent abroad withering and malignant blasts. They undermined the health of those who were so unfortunate as to incur their animosity, and caused them to waste away gradually with incurable disease. They were notorious two or three centuries ago for the power of the “evil eye.” The vulgar, both great and small, dreaded their displeasure, and sought by small gifts, and fair speeches, but insincere, and the offspring of terror only, to avert the pernicous consequences of their malice. They were famed for fabricating small images of wax, to represent the objects of their persecution; and, as these by gradual and often studiously protracted degrees wasted before the fire, so the unfortunate butts of their resentment perished with a lingering, but inevitable death.


This faith in extraordinary events, and superstitious fear of what is supernatural, has diffused itself through every climate of the world, in a certain stage of human intellect, and while refinement had not yet got the better of barbarism. The Celts of antiquity had their Druids, a branch of whose special profession was the exercise of magic. The Chaldeans and Egyptians had their wise men, their magicians, and their sorcerers. The Negroes have their fore-tellers of events, their amulets, and their reporters and believers of miraculous occurrences. A similar race of men was found by Columbus and the other discoverers of the New World in America; and facts of a parallel nature are attested to us in the islands of the South Seas. And, as phenomena of this sort were universal in their nature, without distinction of climate, whether torrid or frozen, and independantly of the discordant manners and customs of different countries, so have they been very slow and recent in their disappearing. Queen Elizabeth sent to consult Dr. John Dee, the astrologer, respecting a lucky day for her coronation; King James the First employed much of his learned leasure upon questions of witchcraft and demonology, in which he fully believed; and Sir Matthew Hale in the year 1664 caused two old women to be hanged upon a charge of unlawful communion with infernal agents.


The power of these witches as we find in their earliest records originated in their intercourse with “familiar spirits,” invisible beings who must be supposed to be enlisted in the armies of the prince of darkness. We do not read in these ancient memorials of any league of mutual benefit entered into between the merely human party, and his or her supernatural assistant. But modern times have amply supplied this defect. The witch or sorcerer could not secure the assistance of the demon but by a sure and faithful compact, by which the human party obtained the industrious and vigilant service of his familiar for a certain term of years, only on condition that, when the term was expired, the demon of undoubted right was to obtain possession of the indentured party, and to convey him irremissibly and forever to the regions of the damned. The contract was drawn out in authentic form, signed by the sorcerer, and attested with his blood, and was then carried away by the demon, to be produced again at the appointed time.

“To deny the possibility, nay actual exsitence of12 Witchcraft and Sorcery, is at once flatly to contradict the revealed Word of God, in various passages both of the Old and New Testament; and the thing itself is a truth to which every Nation in the World hath in its turn borne testimony, either by examples seemingly well attested, or by prohibitory laws, which at least suppose the possibility of commerce with evil spirits.”—Blackstone’s “Commentaries,” book iv. chapter 4, p. 61.

An anonymous seventeenth-century writer reasons as follows:—“To know things aright and perfectly is to know the causes thereof. A definition doth consist of those causes which give the whole essence, and contain the perfect nature of the thing defined; where that is therefore found out, there appears the very clear light. If it be perfect, it is much the greater; though if it be not fully perfect, yet it giveth some good light. For which respect, though I dare not say I can give a perfect definition in this matter, which is hard to do even in known things, because the essential form is hard to be found, yet I do give a definition which may at the least give notice and make known what manner of persons they be of whom I am to speak:—A witch is one that worketh by the the Devil, or by some devilish or curious art, either hurting or healing, revealing things secret, or foretelling things to come, which the Devil hath devised to entangle and snare men’s souls withal unto damnation. The Conjuror, the Enchanter, the Sorcerer, the Diviner, and whatsoever other sort there is, are indeed encompassed within this circle. The Devil doth (no doubt) after divers forms, deal in these. But no man is able to show an essential difference in each of them from the rest. I hold it no wisdom or labor well spent to travel much therein. One artificer had devised them all.”

“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”—Exodus xxii. 18. “Neither shall ye use enchantment.”—Levit. xix. 26. “Regard not them which have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them.”—Ibid. ver. 31. “When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.”—Deut. xviii. 9-12. Of Manasseh is recorded, that “He13 caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Himon: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards.”—2 Chron. xxxiii. 6. Lastly, St. Paul mentions “witchcraft” amongst such “works of the flesh” as “adultery, fornication, heresies, drunkenness, and murders.”—Galat. v. 19-21.

Many of the heathens cordially defended magic and necromancy. For example, Asclepiades, who lived in the time of Pompey the Great, cured diseases by magic, enjoining upon his patient, in the case of falling sickness, to bind upon his arm a Cross with a Nail driven into it. Julianus, the magician, is reported to have driven the plague out of Rome by magical power. Apuleius, a deciple of Plato, wrote at length on magic. To him may be added Marcellus and Alexander Trallian. Pliny asserts in very plain language that necromancy was so prevalent in his day, but was condemned by the wisest, that it was classed with treason and poisoning. And it is notorious that magic was long used as a convenient though inefficient weapon against Christianity.—Vide, likewise, Livy i. 20, and Strabo, lib. vi.

It is impossible to point to any period when the belief in witchcraft and necromancy was perfectly obliterated, or to any nation which altogether repudiated it. If one particular phase was removed, or discountenanced, some other form, substantially and inherently similar, eventually took its place.

Touching the antiquity of Witchcraft, we must needs confess that it hath been of very ancient time, because the Scriptures do testify so much, for in the time of Moses it was very rife in Egypt. Neither was it then newly sprung up, being common, and grown into such ripeness among the nations, that the Lord, reckoning by divers kinds, saith that the Gentiles did commit such abominations, for which He would cast them out before the children of Israel.—“What a Witch is, and the Antiquities of Witchcraft,” A. D. 1612.

The following passage, from a sermon by the late Canon Melville, is interesting: “It is unnecessary for us to inquire what those arts may have been in which the Ephesians are said to have greatly excelled. There seems no reason for doubting that, as we have already stated, they were of the nature of magic, sorcery, or witchcraft; though we cannot profess accurately to define what such terms might import. The Ephesians, as some in all ages have done, probably laid claim to the intercourse with invisible beings, and professed to derive from that intercourse14 acquaintance with, and power over, future events. And though the very name of witchcraft be now held in contempt, and the supposition of communion with evil spirits scouted as a fable of what are called the dark ages, we own that we have difficulty in believing that all which has passed by the names of magic and sorcery may be resolved into sleight of hand, deception, and trick. The visible world and the invisible are in very close contact: there is, indeed, a veil on our eyes, preventing our gazing on spiritual beings and things, but we doubt not that whatever passes upon the earth is open to the view of higher and immaterial creatures. And as we are sure that a man of piety and prayer enlists good angels on his side and engages them to perform towards him the ministrations of kindness, we know not why there cannot be such a thing as a man whose wickedness has caused his being abandoned by the Spirit of God, and who, in this his desertion, has thrown open to evil angels the chambers of his soul, and made himself so completely their instrument, that they may use him in the uttering or working strange things, which shall have all the air of prophecy or miracle.”

The oldest and most authentic record from which we can derive our ideas on the subject of witchcraft, unquestionably is the Bible. The Egyptians and Chaldeans were early distinguished for their supposed proficiency in magic, in the production of supernatural phenomena, and in penetrating into the secrets of future time. The first appearance of men thus extraordinarily gifted, or advancing pretensions of this sort, recorded in Scripture, is on occasion of Pharoah’s dream of the seven years of plenty, and seven years of famine. At that period the king “sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all the wise men; but they could not interpret the dream,” which Joseph afterwards expounded.

Their second appearance was upon a most memorable occasion, when Moses and Aaron, armed with miraculous powers, came to a subsequent king of Egypt, to demand from him that their countrymen might be permitted to depart to another tract of the world. They produced a miracle as the evidence of their divine mission: and the king, who was also named Pharoah, “called before him the wise men and the sorcerers of Egypt, who with their enchantments did in like manner” as Moses had done; till, after some experiments in which they were apparently successful, they at length were compelled to allow themselves overcome, and fairly to confess to their master, “This is the finger of God”!


The spirit of the Jewish history loudly affirms, that the Creator of heaven and earth had adopted this nation for his chosen people, and therefore demanded their exclusive homage, and that they should acknowledge no other God. It is on this principle that it is made one of his early commands to them, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” And elsewhere the meaning of this prohibition is more fully explained: “There shall not be found among you any one that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer; these shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones.”

As a matter of fact, it is computed that in the year 1515, no less than five hundred witches were burnt in Geneva alone, and the same was the case in other parts of Christendom,—a proof at once of the craft and power of Satan, and of the demorilization of those who had deliberately elected to become his servants and slaves. The earliest statute against witchcraft enacted in England, was passed in the reign of King Henry VI.; and additional laws of great stringency and severity, sorely needed, were enacted under the Tudors, by Henry VIII., Queen Elizabeth, and James I. In the year 1604, the great Act of Parliament against witchcraft, drawn up by Coke and Bacon, was passed; and it is asserted that no less than twelve bishops attended the committee of the House of Lords when the bill was under discussion. Sir Matthew Hale and Sir Thomas Browne, men of high legal and literary rank and mark, each gave evidence at the trials which speedily followed. In this particular, as in some others, England followed Geneva. Between the years 1565 and 1700, eleven wizards or sorcerers were burnt at the stake in the Carrefour du Bordage, in Guernsey, the square devoted by the city authorities of that island to this kind of punishment. The last case of death for Witchcraft there took place in 1747.

It may here be put on record that at the period of the Reformation, and during the succeeding century, the power of casting out devils was claimed exclusively by those who remained in visible communion with the See of Rome, and many Roman Catholic writers of those periods maintained that no such power belonged either to any teacher of heresy or to schismatics.




In the spring of 1645 several witches were seized at Manningtree in England and were subsequently condemned and hanged. One of these was an old woman named Elizabeth Clarke, and the most important witness against her was “Matthew Hopkins, of Manningtree, gent.” It appears that Hopkins had watched with her several nights in a room in the house of a Mr. Edwards in which she was confined, to keep her from sleeping until she made a confession, and to see if she was visited by her familiars. He declared, among other things, that on the night of the 24th of March, which appears to have been the third night of watching, after he had refused to let her call one of her imps or familiars, she confessed that six or seven years before, she had surrendered herself to the devil, who came to her in the form of “a proper gentleman, with a laced band.” Soon after this a little dog appeared, fat and short in the legs, in color white, with sandy spots, which when he hindered it from approaching her, vanished from his sight. She confessed that it was one of her imps named Janiara. Immediately after this had disappeared, another came in the form of a greyhound, which she called Vinegar Tom; and it was followed by another in the form of a polecat. “And this informant further saith, that going from the house of the said Mr. Edwards to his own house, about nine or ten o’clock of the night with his greyhound with him, he saw the greyhound suddenly give a jump, and run as if she had been in full course after a hare; and that when the informant made haste to see what his greyhound so eagerly pursued, he espied a white thing about the size of a kitten, and the greyhound standing aloof from it; and that, by-and-by, the said white imp or kitten danced about the said greyhound and by all likelihood bit a piece of the flesh of her shoulder, for the greyhound came shrieking and crying to this informant with a piece of the flesh torn from her shoulder. And this informant further saith that coming into his own yard that night, he espied a black thing porportioned like a cat, only it was thrice as big, sitting on a strawberry bed, and fixing its eyes on this informant; and when he went toward it, it leaped over the pale toward this informant, as he thought, but17 ran quite through the yard with his greyhound after it to a great gate which was underset with a pair of turnbull-strings, and did throw the said gate wide open, and then vanished; and the said greyhound returned again to this informant shaking and trembling exceedingly.” Hopkins had not ventured to remain alone with the witch, but had with him John Stern, who also added “gentleman” to his name, and who confirmed all that Hopkins had said, deposed to the coming of imps and added that the third imp was called Sack-and-Sugar. They watched at night with another woman, named Rebecca West, and saw her imps in the same manner. She stated that the first time she saw Satan he came to her at night, and told her he must be her husband, and married her. The severe treatment to which the accused were exposed, forced confessions from them all, and they avowed being guilty of every species of mischief, from the taking away of human life to the spoiling of milk. The names and forms of their imps were equally fantastic. Rebecca Jones, a witch from St. Osythe’s, said that she had met a man in a ragged suit with great eyes, that terrified her exceedingly, and that he gave her three things like moles but without tails, which she fed with milk. Another had an imp in the form of a white dog, which she called Elimanzer, and which she fed on milk pottage. One had three imps, which she called Prick-ear, Jack and Frog. Several witnesses, poor and ignorant people, were brought to testify to the mischief which had been done by these means. A countryman gravely related how, passing at day by the house of one of the women, named Anne West, he was surprised to find her door open at that early hour, and looking in he saw three or four things like black rabbits, one of which ran after him. He seized upon it, and tried to kill it, but it seemed in his hands like a piece of wool, and stretched out in length as he pulled it without any apparent injury. Then recollecting that there was a spring near at hand, he hurried thither and attempted to drown it, but it vanished from his sight as soon as he put it in the water. He then returned toward the house and seeing Anne West standing outside the door in her smock, he asked why she sent her imps to torment him. This seems to have been the first appearance of Matthew Hopkins as a witch-finder, for which he afterwards became notorious, and which he now assumed as a legal profession. He proceeded in a regular circuit through Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambrigeshire, and Huntingdon, accompanied by John Sterne and a woman whose business it was to examine the bodies of the females in search of their marks.18 In August 1645, we find them at Bury, in Suffolk, where, on the 27th of that month, no less than eighteen witches were executed at once, and a hundred and twenty more were to have been tried, but a sudden movement of the king’s troops in that direction obliged the judges to adjourn the session. Some of the imps here appeared in the shape of snakes, wasps and hornets, and even of snails. They were mostly employed in petty offences; one man and his wife were guilty only of having bewitched the beer in a brewhouse and making it stink. Others however, confessed to have caused mischief of a more serious character.

The most remarkable victim of this inquisition, was an aged clergyman named Lowes, who had been vicar of Brandeston, near Framlingham, in that county fifty years, a well known opponent of the new church government. This man, we are told by Sterne, one of the inquisitors, had been indicted for a common imbanatator, and for witchcraft above thirty years before, and the grand jury found the bill for a common imbanator, who now, after he was found with the marks, confessed that in pride of heart to be equal with, or rather above God, the devil took advantage of him, and he covenanted with the devil and sealed it with his blood, and had those familiars or spirits, which sucked on the marks found on his body, and did much harm both by sea and land, especially by sea, for he confessed he being at Lungarfort, in Suffolk, where he preached, as he walked upon the wall there, he saw a great sail of ships pass by, and that, as they were sailing by, one of the three imps, namely, his yellow one, forthwith appeared to him and asked him what he should do, and he bade it go and sink such a ship, one that belonged to Ipswich, so he confessed that the imp went forthwith away, and he stood still and viewed the ships, and perceived that the ship to be immediately in more trouble and danger than the rest; for he said the water was more boisterous near that than the rest, tumbling up and down with waves, and soon after it sunk directly down into the sea, when all the rest sailed on in safety; then he confessed, he made fourteen widows in one quarter of an hour. When asked if it did not grieve him to see so many men cast away in a short time, he swore by his Maker, “No; he was joyful to see what power his imps had.” He was hanged, in 1645, at Bury St. Edmund’s.



About sixty or seventy years ago, a man of piety and integrity arrived in Germany from Philadelphia, to visit his poor old parents, and, with his well-earned wealth, to place them beyond the reach of care. He went out to America while he was still young, and had succeeded so far as to become overlooker of various mills on the Delaware river, in which situation he had honorably laid up a considerable sum.

In the neighborhood of Philadelphia, not far from the mills above-mentioned, there dwelt a solitary man in a lonely house. He was very benevolent, but extremely retired and reserved, and strange things were related of him, among which was his being able to tell a person things that were unknown to every one else. Now it happened, that the captain of a vessel belonging to Philadelphia, was about to sail to Africa and Europe. He promised his wife that he would return in a certain time, and also that he would write to her frequently. She waited long, but no letters arrived: the time appointed passed over, but her beloved husband did not return. She was now deeply distressed and knew not where to look for counsel or consolation. At length, a friend advised her for once to go to the pious solitary and tell her griefs. The woman followed his advice, and went to him. After she had told him all her troubles, he desired her to wait a while there, until he returned and brought her an answer. She sat down to wait, and the man opening a door, went into his closet. But the woman thinking he stayed a long, long time, rose up, went to the window in the door, lifted up the little curtain, and looking in, saw him lying on the couch or sofa like a corpse; she then immediately went back to her place. At length he came and told her that her husband was in London, in a coffee-house which he named, and that he would return very soon: he then told her also the reason why he had been unable to write. The woman went home pretty much at ease.

What the solitary had told her was minutely fulfilled, her husband returned, and the reasons of his delay and his not writing were just the same as the man had stated. The woman was now curious to know what would be the result, if she visited the friendly solitary in company with her husband. The visit was arranged, but when the captain saw the man, he was struck with amazement; he afterwards told his wife that he had seen this very man, on20 such a day (it was the very day that the woman had been with him), in a coffee-house in London; and that he had told him that his wife was much distressed about him; that he had then stated the reason why his return was delayed, and of his not writing, and that he would shortly come back, on which he lost sight of the man among the company.


In the “Museum of Wonders,” vol. 2, chap. ii., page 152, there is a striking instance of a presentiment, related by Madame de Beaumont, in the eigth volume of the “Universal Magazine for Art and Nature.” She says, “My whole family still remembers an accident, from which my father was preserved by a presentiment of danger. Sailing upon the river is one of the common amusements of the city of Rouen, in France. My father also took great pleasure in these water-parties, and he seldom suffered many weeks to pass over without enjoying it. On one occasion he agreed with a party to sail to Port St. Omer, about ten miles from Rouen. Dinner and musical instruments had been sent on board the vessel, and every preparation made for a pleasant excursion. When it was time to go on board, an aunt of my father’s, who was deaf and dumb, uttered a kind of howl, placed herself at the door, blocked up the way with her arms, struck her arms together, and gave by signs to understand that she conjured him to remain at home. My father who had promised himself much pleasure from this excursion, only laughed at her entreaties: but the lady fell at his feet, and manifested such poignant signs of grief, that he at length determined to yield to her entreaties, and postpone his excursion to another day. He therefore endeavored to detain the rest also; but they laughed at him for being so easily persuaded, and set sail. Scarcely had the vessel proceeded half the distance, before those on board had the greatest reason to repent that they had not followed his advice. The vessel went to pieces, several lost their lives, and those that saved themselves by swimming were so much terrified at their narrow escape, that they with difficulty got the better of it.”

No mechanical explanation can apply to this remarkable presentiment. The warning angel found he could work on no one better than the person who was deaf and dumb, he therefore selected her for the execution of his commission.


In the same volume of the “Museum of Wonders,” page 153, there is an equally striking presentiment related, which the editor had from the lips of a credible person. This individual had a friend who had a responsible situation in the country. Being unmarried, he committed his domestic concerns to the care of a housekeeper, who had been with him many years. His birthday arrived, he made many preparations for celebrating it; and told his housekeeper early in the morning, that as the day was fine, she should clean out a certain arbor in the garden, which he named, because he intended to pass the day in it with his guests. Scarcely had she received this commission, than she seemed quite in a maze, and she delayed the fulfillment of it. At length she entreated him rather to receive his guests in one of the rooms of the house, for she had a presentiment that the arbor would that day be struck by lightning. He laughed at her assertion, as there was no appearance of a storm coming on that day, and on her renewing her entreaties, he was only the more urgent that the arbor he had pointed out should be made ready, that it might not appear that he gave way to her superstitious feelings. At length she went, and did as her master ordered her. The day continued fine, the company that had been invited arrived, they went into the arbor and made themselves merry. In the meantime, however, clouds had gathered in the distant horizon, and were at length powerfully driven toward the place by the wind. The company were so intent upon their entertainment, that they did not in the least observe it; but scarcely was the housekeeper aware that the storm was approaching, than she begged her master to leave the arbor with his company, for she could not divest herself at all of the idea of the lightning striking it. At first they would not listen to her, but she continued her entreaties unremittingly; and, at length, as the storm approached with great violence, they suffered themselves to be induced to leave the arbor. They had not been in the room more than a few minutes when the lightning struck the arbor, and dashed everything that had been left in it to pieces.



“You desire me to give you a written account of what I lately verbally related to you regarding the soul’s22 faculty of prescience. As my experience rests solely upon dreams, I have certainly reason to apprehend that many will take me for a fantastic dreamer; but if I can contribute anything to the very useful object of your work, it is no matter—let people think what they will. Be that as it may, I vouch for the truth and veracity of what I shall now more particularly relate.

“In the year 1768, while learning the business of an apothecary in the royal medical establishment at Berlin, I played in the seventy-second drawing of the Prussian numerical lottery, which took place on the 30th of May of the same year, and fixed upon the numbers 22 and 60.

“In the night preceeding the day of drawing, I dreamed that toward twelve o’clock at noon, which is the time when the lottery is generally drawn, the master-apothecary sent down to me to tell me that I must come up to him. On going up stairs, he told me to go immediately to Mr. Mylius, the auctioneer, on the other side of the castle, and ask him if he had disposed of the books which had been left with him for sale; but that I must return speedily, because he waited for his answer.

“‘That’s just the thing,’ thought I, still dreaming; ‘the lottery will just be drawing, and as I have executed my commission, I will run quickly to the general lottery-office, and see if my numbers come out’ (the lottery was drawn at that time in the open street); ‘if I only walk quick, I shall be at home again soon enough.’

“I went therefore immediately, (still in my dream.) in compliance with the orders I had received, to Mr. Mylius, the auctioneer, executed my commission, and, after receiving his answer, ran hastily to the general lottery-office, on the ‘Hunters’ Bridge.’ Here I found the customary preparations, and a considerable number of spectators. They had already begun to put the numbers into the wheel—and the moment I came up, No. 60 was exhibited and called out. ‘Oh,’ thought I, ‘it is a good omen, that just one of my own numbers should be called out the moment I arrive.’

“As I had not much time, I now wished for nothing so much as that they would hasten as much as possible with telling in the remaining numbers. At length they were all counted in, and now I saw them bind the eyes of the boy belonging to the orphan-school, and the numbers afterward drawn in the customary manner.

“When the first number was exhibited and called out, it was No. 22. ‘A good omen again!’ thought I; ‘No. 60 will also certainly come out.’ The second number was drawn—and behold, it was No. 60!


“Now they may draw what they will, said I to some one who stood near me; ‘my numbers are out—I have no more time to spare.’ With that, I turned myself about and ran directly home.

“Here I awoke, and was as clearly conscious of my dream as I am now relating it. If its natural connection and the very particular perspicuity, had not been so striking, I should have regarded it as nothing else than a common dream, in the general sense of the term. But this made me pay attention to it, and excited my curiosity so much that I could scarcely wait till noon.

“At length it struck eleven, but still there was no appearance of my dream being fulfilled. It struck a quarter—it struck half-past eleven—and still there was no probability of it. I had already given up all hope, when one of the work-people unexpectedly came to me, and told me to go up stairs immediately to the master-apothecary. I went up full of expectation, and heard with the greatest astonishment that I must go directly to Mr. Mylius, the auctioneer, on the other side of the castle, and ask him if he had disposed of the books at auction which had been entrusted to him. He told me also, at the same time, to return quickly, because he waited for an answer.

“Who could have made more despatch than I? I went in haste to Mr. Mylius, the auctioneer, executed my commission, and, then after receiving his answer, ran as quickly as possible to the general lottery-office, on the ‘Hunters’ Bidge’; and, full of astonishment, I saw that No. 60 was exhibited and called out the moment I arrived. As my dream had been thus far so punctually fulfilled, I was now willing to wait the end of it, although I had so little time; I therefore wished for nothing so much as that they would hasten with counting in the remaining numbers. At length they finished. The eyes of the orphan-boy were bound, as customary, and it is easy to conceive the eagerness with which I awaited the final accomplishment of my dream.

“The first number was drawn and called out, and behold, it was No. 22! The second was drawn, and this was also as I had dreamed, No. 60!

“It now occurred to me that I had already stayed longer than my errand allowed; I therefore requested the person who was next to me in the crowd to let me pass. ‘What,’ said one of them to me, ‘will you not wait till the numbers are all out?’ ‘No,’ said I, ‘my numbers are already out, and they may now draw what they please, for ought I care.’ With that, I turned about, pushed through the crowd, and ran hastily and joyfully home.24 Thus was the whole of my dream fulfilled, not only in substance, but literally and verbatim.

“It will perhaps not be disagreeable to you, if I relate two other occurences of a similar nature:—

“On the 18th of August, 1776, I dreamed I was walking in the vicinity of the ‘Silesian Gate,’ and intended to go home thence, directly across the field, by the Ricksdorf or Dresden road.

“I found the field full of stubble, and it seemed as if the corn that had stood there had only been reaped and housed a short time before. This was really the case, although I had not previously seen it. On entering the Ricksdorf road, I perceived that some persons had collected before one of the first houses, and were looking up at it. I consequently supposed that something new had occurred in or before the house, and for this reason, on coming up, I asked the first person I met—‘What is the matter here?’ He answered with great indifference, ‘The lottery is drawn.’—‘So,’ said I, ‘is it drawn already? What numbers are out?’ ‘There they stand,’ replied he, and pointed with his finger to the door of a shop that was in the house, which I now perceived for the first time.

“I looked at the door, and found that the numbers were written up, on a black border round the door, as is frequently the case. In order to ascertain if there was really a shop, with a receiving house for the lottery, at the commencement of the Ricksdorf road, I did not think it too much trouble to go there, and found that this was really the case. To my great vexation, I found that only one of my numbers had come out. I looked over the numbers once more, in order not to forget them, and then went home disappointed.

“On awaking, I was hindered, by an accidental noise, from immediately recollecting my dream, but shortly afterward it again occurred to me; and, after a little reflection, I remembered it as clearly as I have now related it, but found it difficult to recollect all the five numbers.

“That No. 47 was the first, and No. 21 the second of the numbers, I remembered perfectly well; that the third which followed was a 6, I was also certain, only I was not confident whether the 0 which I had seen hereabouts belonged to the 6 or the following number 4, which I also remembered very distinctly to have seen; and I was not certain of this, it might have been just as well 6 and 4 alone as 60 and 40.

“I was the least confident as to the fifth number: that it was between 50 and 60 I was certain, but which I could not precisely determine. I had already laid money upon25 No. 21, and this was the number which, according to my dream, should come out.

“As remarkable as my dream appeared to be in other respects, yet I was diffident of it, from being unable to remember all the five numbers. Although I was quite certain that among the sixteen numbers mentioned—that is, those between 50 and 60, and the six previously indicated—all the five which I had seen in my dream were contained; and although there was still time to secure the numbers, yet it did not suit me on account of the considerable sum it would require to stake upon all the sixteen numbers, I therefore contented myself with a few AMBS and TERNES, and had, besides this, the disappointment of selecting a bad conjunction of numbers.

“The third day afterward (the 21st of August, 1776) the lottery was drawn. It was the two hundred and fifteenth drawing, and all the five numbers which I had seen in my dream came out exactly—namely, 60, 4, 21, 52, 42; and I now remembered that No. 52 was the fifth of those which I had seen in my dream, and which I could not previously recollect with certainty.

“Instead of some thousand dollars, I was now compelled to be contented with about twenty!

“The third, and, for the present, the last occurrence of this kind, which I shall relate, was as follows:—

“On the 21st of September, 1777, I dreamed that a good friend of mine visited me, and after the conversation had turned upon the lottery, he desired that he might draw some numbers out of my little wheel of fortune which I had at that time.

“He drew several numbers, with the intention of staking money upon them. When he had done drawing, I took all the numbers out of the wheel, laid them before me upon the table, and said to him, ‘The number which I now take up will certainly come out at the next drawing.’ I put my hand into the heap and drew out a number, unfolded it, and looked at it: it was very plainly 25. I was going to fold it up and put it again into the wheel, but that very moment I awoke.

“Having so clear a recollection of my dream, as I have now related it, I had much confidence in the number, and therefore staked so much upon it as to be satisfied with the winnings; but two hours before the lottery was drawn, I received my money back from the lottery-agent, with the news that my number was completely filled up. The lottery was drawn on the 24th of September, and the number really came out.

“Although I very willingly allow, and am well aware26 that many and perhaps the generality of dreams arise from causes which are founded merely in the body, and therefore can have no further significance—yet I believe I have been convinced by repeated experience that there are not unfrequently dreams, in the origin and existence of which the body, as such, has no part; and to these, in my opinion, belong the three instances above mentioned.

“I do not think that the contents of these dreams ought to give occasion to any one to judge wrongfully; for otherwise, I could just as well have selected others: but I have placed them together precisely because of their similarity.

Christ Knape,
“Doc. of Philosophy, Medicine, and Surgery.”



In my younger days, there was a dinner given in the village of Floremburgh, Westphalia, where I was born, on the occasion of a baptism, to which the clergyman, a worthy man, was invited. During dinner, the conversation turned upon the grave-digger of the place, who was well known, particularly on account of his second-sight, and even feared; for as often as he saw a corpse, he was always telling that there would be a funeral out of such a house. Now, as the event invariably took place, the inhabitants of the house he indicated were placed by the man’s tale in the greatest dilemma and anxiety, particularly if there was any one in the house who was sickly, whose death might probably be hastened if the prediction was not concealed from him—which, however, generally took place.

This man’s prophecying was an abomination to the clergyman. He forbade it, he reproved, he scolded, but all to no purpose; for the poor dolt, although he was a drunkard, and a man of low and vulgar sentiments, believed firmly that it was a prophetic gift of God, and that he must make it known, in order that the people might still repent. At length, as all reproof was in vain, the clergyman gave him notice that if he announced one funeral more, he should be deprived of his place, and expelled the village. This availed—the grave-digger was silent from that time forward. Half a year afterward, in autumn, about the year 1745, the grave-digger comes to27 the clergyman and says: “Sir, you have forbidden me to announce any more funerals, and I have not done so since, nor will I do so any more; but I must now tell you something that is particularly remarkable, that you may see that my second-sight is really true. In a few weeks a corpse will be brought up the meadow, which will be drawn on a sledge by an ox.” The clergyman seemingly paid no attention to this, but listened to it with indifference, and replied: “Only go about your business, and leave off such superstitious follies; it is sinful to have anything to do with them.”

The thing, nevertheless, appeared extremely singular and remarkable to the clergyman; for, in my country, a corpse being drawn on a sledge by an ox is most disgraceful, because the bodies of those that commit suicide, and notorious malefactors, are thus drawn on sledges.

Some weeks after a strong body of Austrian troops passed through the village on their way to the Netherlands. While resting there a day, the snow fell nearly three feet deep. At the same time, a woman died in another village of the same parish. The military took away all the horses out of the country to drag their wagons. Meanwhile the corpse lay there; no horses came back; the corpse began to putrify, and the stench became intolerable: they were, therefore, compelled to make a virtue of necessity—to place the corpse upon a sledge and harness an ox to the vehicle.

In the meantime, the clergyman, and the schoolmaster with his scholars, proceeded to the entrance of the village to meet the corpse; and, as the funeral came along the meadow in this array, the grave-digger stepped up to the clergyman, pulled him by the gown, pointed with his finger to it, and said not a word.

Such was the tale, with all its circumstances, as related by the clergyman. I was well acquainted with the good man: he was incapable of telling an untruth, much less in a matter which contradicted all his principles.

Another history of this kind, for the truth of which I can vouch, was related to me by my late father and his brother, both very pious men, and to whom it would have been impossible to have told a falsehood.

Both of them had business, on one occasion, in the Westphalian provence of Mark, when they were invited to dinner at the protestant preacher’s. During the repast, the subject of second-sight was likewise brought upon the carpet. The minister spoke of it with acrimony, because he had also a grave-digger who was afflicted with that evil; he had often and repeatedly forbidden28 him from mentioning it, but all to no purpose. On one occasion, the prognosticator came to the minister and said, “I have to tell you, sir, that in a short time there will be a funeral from your house, and you will have to follow the coffin before all the other funeral attendants.” Terror, anger, and displeasure, got so much the better of the good pastor, that he drove the thoughtless fellow out of the door; for his wife was near her confinement: and, notwithstanding every rational view which he took, he passed a melancholy time of it, till at length his wife was safely delivered and out of danger. He now reproached the grave-digger most bitterly, and said, “See, now, how unfounded thy reveries have been!” But the corpse-seer only smiled and said, “Sir, the matter is not yet finished.”

Immediately afterward the preacher’s servant-maid died of an apoplexy. Now, it is the custom there for the master of the house, on such occasions, to immediately follow the coffin, before the next relatives; but this time the preacher endeavored to avoid it, in order to confound the corpse-seer. He did not venture, however, to offend the parents of the deceased, which he would have done most grossly if he had not followed the coffin. He found, therefore, a suitable excuse in the circumstance that his wife—who, according to the custom prevalent there, was then to go to church for the first time after her confinement—should take his place, and he would then accompany the schoolmaster and his scholars, as was usual.

This was discussed and agreed upon, and the parents were likewise satisfied with it. On the day the funeral was to take place, the company assembled at the parsonage. The coffin lay on a bier in the porch; the schoolmaster with his scholars stood in a circle in front of the house and sang;—the minister was just going out to his appointed place; his wife stepped behind the coffin, and the bearers laid hold of the bier, when that very moment the minister’s wife fell down in a fit; she was taken into a room, and brought again to herself, but was so ill that she could not go to church; and the minister was so terrified by this accident, that it no longer occurred to him to make the grave-digger into a liar, but he stepped very quietly behind the coffin, as the prognosticator would have it.




Lord Tyrone and Lady Beresford were born in Ireland; they were both left orphans in their infancy, to the care of the same person, by whom they were both educated in the principles of Deism. When they were each of them about fourteen years of age they fell into very different hands. The persons on whom the care of them now devolved, used every possible endeavor to eradicate the erroneous principles they had imbibed, and to persuade them to embrace the revealed religion, but in vain; their arguments were insuffient to convince them, but they were powerful enough to stagger their former faith. Though now separated from each other, their friendship continued unalterable, and they seemed to regard each other with a sincere and fraternal affection. After some years had elapsed, and they were each of them grown up, they made a solemn promise to each other, that whoever should first die, would, if permitted, appear to the other to declare what religion was most approved of by the Supreme Being. Lady Beresford was shortly after addressed by Sir Marcus Beresford, to whom, after a few years; she was married; but no change in condition had power to alter her friendship; the families frequently visited each other, and often spent more than a fortnight together. A short time after one of those visits, Sir Marcus Beresford remarked when his lady came down to breakfast in the morning, that her countenance was unusually pale, and bore evident marks of terror and confusion; he inquired anxiously after her health, she assured him she was well, perfectly well; he repeated his inquiries, and begged to know if anything had disordered her; she replied no, she was as well as usual. “Have you hurt your wrist, have you sprained it?” said he, observing a black ribbon bound round it. She replied no, she had not; but added, “let me conjure you, Sir M. never to inquire the cause of my wearing this ribbon, you will never more see me without it; if it concerned you as a husband to know it, I would not for a moment conceal it from you. I never in my life denied a request, but of this I must entreat you to forgive my refusal, and never to urge me further on the subject.” “Very well, my lady, (said he, smiling) since you so earnestly desire me, I will inquire no further.” The conversation here ended; but breakfast was scarcely over30 when Lady B. inquired if the post was come in? she was told it was not. In a few minutes she again rang the bell for her servant, and repeated the inquiry, “Is not the post yet come?” she was told it was not. “Do you expect any letter, (said Sir M.) that you are so anxious concerning the coming of the post?” “I do, (she answered) I expect to hear that Lord Tyrone is dead: he died last Tuesday, at four o’clock.” “I never in my life, (said Sir M.) believed you superstitious, but you must have had some idle dream which has thus alarmed you.”

At that instant a servant opened the door, and delivered to them a letter, sealed with black. “It is as I expected, (exclaimed Lady B.) he is dead.” Sir M. opened the letter, it came from Lord Tyrone’s stewart, and contained the melancholy intelligence that his master died the Tuesday preceding, at the very time that Lady B. had specified. Sir M. entreated her to compose her spirits, and to endeavor as much as lay in her power not to make herself unhappy. She assured him that she felt much easier than she had for some time past; and added, “I can inform you of something which I know will prove welcome. I can assure you beyond the possibility of a doubt, that I am with child of a son.” Sir M. received the intelligence with that pleasure that might be expected, and expressed in the strongest terms, the felicity he should experience from such an event, which he had so long ardently desired.

After a period of some months, Lady B. was delivered of a son; she had before been the mother of two daughters only. Sir Marcus survived the birth of his son little more than four years. After his decease his lady went but little from home; she visited no family but that of a clergyman, who resided in the same village, with whom she frequently passed a few hours, the rest of her time was entirely devoted to solitude, and she appeared forever determined to banish all other society. The clergyman’s family consisted of himself, his wife, and one son, who at Sir M’s. death was quite a youth; to this son, however, she was afterwards married, in the space of a few years, notwithstanding the disparity of his years, and the manifest imprudence of such a connection, so unequal in every respect.

The event justified the expectation of every one. Lady B. was treated by her young husband with neglect and cruelty, and the whole of his conduct evinced him the most abandoned libertine, utterly destitute of every principle of virtue and humanity. To this her second husband, Lady B. brought two daughters; afterwards, such was the profligacy of his conduct, that she insisted31 upon a separation. They parted for sometime, when so great was the sorrow he expressed for his former ill conduct, that, won over by his supplication and promises, she was induced to pardon, and once more reside with him; and was, after sometime made the mother of a son.

The day on which she had him in a month, being the anniversary of her birthday, she sent for Lady ——, of whose friendship she had long been possessed, and a few friends, to request them to spend the day with her. About noon the clergyman by whom she had been baptised, and with whom she had all her life maintained an intimacy, came into the room to inquire after her health; she told him she felt perfectly well, and requested him to spend the day with her, it being her birthday. “For, (said she) I am forty-eight this day.” “No, my lady, (answered the clergyman) you are mistaken, your mother and myself have had many disputes concerning your age, and I have at length discovered I am right; happening to go last week to the parish where you were born, I was resolved to put an end to my doubt by searching the register, and find that you are forty-seven this day.”

“You have signed my death warrant, (said she) I have not much longer to live. I must, therefore entreat you to leave me immediately, as I have something of importance to settle before I die.”

When the clergyman had left Lady B. she sent to forbid her company coming; and at the same time to request Lady ——, and her son, of whom Sir M. Beresford was father, and who then was about twelve years of age, to come to her apartment. Immediatly upon their arrival, having ordered her attendants to quit the room, “I have (said she) something to communicate to you both before I die, a period which is not far distant. You, lady are no stranger to the friendship that always existed between Lord Tyrone and myself; we were educated under the same roof, in the same principles, those of Deism. When the friends into whose hands we afterwards fell, endeavored to persuade us to embrace the revealed religion, their arguments, though insufficient to convince us, were powerful enough to stagger our former faith, and to leave us wavering between two opinions. In this perplexing state of doubt and uncertainty, we made a solemn promise to each other, that whichever should happen to die first, would, if permitted by the Almighty, appear to the other to declare what religion was acceptable to him. Accordingly one night, when Sir M. and myself were in bed, I awoke, and discovered Lord Tyrone sitting by my bedside; I screamed out, and endeavored, but in vain, to32 awake Sir M. ‘For heaven’s sake, Lord Tyrone, (said I) by what means, or for what purpose came you this time of night?’ ‘Have you forgot our promise? (said he) I died last Tuesday, at four o’clock, and have been permitted by the Supreme Being to appear to you, to assure you that the revealed religion is the true and only religion by which we can be saved. I am further suffered to inform you, that you are with child of a son, who is decreed to marry my daughter; not many years after his birth, Sir M. will die, and you will marry again, and to a man whose ill treatment you will be rendered miserable by; you will bring him two daughters, and afterwards a son, in child-bed of whom you will die, in the forty-seventh year of your age.’

“Just heaven, (exclaimed I) and cannot I prevent this?’ ‘Undoubtly you may, (returned he); you have a free assent, and may prevent all by resisting every temptation to a second marriage; but your passions are strong, you know not their power; hitherto you have had no trial, nor am I allowed to tell you, but if after this warning you persist in your infidelity, your lot in another world will be miserable indeed.’ ‘May I ask, (said I) if you are happy?’ ‘Had I been otherwise, (said he) I should not have been thus permitted to appear to you.’ ‘I may thence infer that you are happy?’ He smiled, but did not answer.

“But how, said I, when the morning comes, shall I be convinced that your appearance to me thus has been real, and not the mere phantom of my imagination.’ ‘Will not the news of my death, (said he) be sufficient to convince you?’ ‘No (returned I,) I might have had such a dream, and that dream might accidentally come to pass; I must have stronger proofs of its reality.’ ‘You shall,’ said he; then waving his hand, the bed curtains, which were of crimson velvet, were instantly drawn through a large iron hoop, by which the tester of the bed, which was of an oval form, was suspended: ‘In that (said he) you cannot be mistaken; no mortal could have performed this.’ ‘True, (said I) but sleeping we are often possessed of far greater strength than awake; though awake I could not have done it, asleep I might. I shall still doubt.’ He then said, ‘You have a pocket-book, on the leaves of which I will write: you know my handwriting.’ I replied ‘Yes.’ He wrote with a pencil on one side of the leaves. ‘Still, (said I) in the morning, I doubt, though awake I may not imitate your hand, asleep I might.’

‘You are born of belief, I must not touch you, it would injure you irreparably, it is not for spirits to touch mortal33 flesh.’ I do not mind a small blemish,’ said I. ‘You are a woman of spirit, (said he) hold out your hand.’ I did; he touched my wrist; his hand was as cold as marble; in a moment the sinews shrunk up, every nerve withered. ‘Now (said he) while you live, let no mortal eye behold that wrist, to see it will be sacrilege.’ He stopped; I turned to him again—he was gone. During the time in which I had conversed with him, my thoughts were perfectly calm and collected, but the moment he was gone I felt chilled with horror, and a cold sweat came over me; every limb and joint shook under me; I endeavored to awake Sir M. but in vain; all my efforts were ineffectual. In this state of agitation I lay some time, when a shower of tears came to my relief, and I droped asleep. In the morning Sir Marcus arose and dressed himself as usual, without perceiving the state in which the curtains remained. When I awoke, I found Sir Marcus was gone down. I arose, and having put on my clothes, went into the gallery adjoining our apartment, and took from thence a long broom, such a one as in a large house is frequently used to sweep the cornices, with the help of which, though not without difficulty, I took down the curtains, as I imagined their extraordinary position would excite wonder among the servants, and occasion inquiries I wished to avoid. I then went to my bureau, locked up the pocket-book and took out a piece of black ribbon which I bound round my wrist. When I came down, the agitation of my mind on my countenance, was too visible to pass long unobserved by Sir Marcus; he instantly remarked my confusion, and inquired the cause. I told him I was well, perfectly well, but informed him Lord Tyrone was no more, that he died on the preceding Tuesday at the hour of four, and at the same time entreated him to drop all inquiries concerning the black ribbon he noticed on my wrist. He kindly desisted any further importunity, nor did he ever after imagine the cause. You, my son, as had been foretold, I brought into the world with much rejoicing, and in little more than four years after your birth your father died in my arms. After the melancholy event, I determined, as the, only probable means by which to avoid the dreadful sequel of the prediction, to give up every pleasure, and to pass the remainder of my days in solitude. But few can endure to remain in a state of superstition. I commenced an intercourse with one family, and only one; nor could I then see the fatal consequences which afterwards resulted from it. Little did I imagine that their son, their only son, then a mere youth, would prove the person alloted34 by fate to prove my undoing. In a few years I ceased to regard him with indifference; I endeavored by every possible means to repel a passion, the fatal consequences of which, if ever I should be weak enough to yield to its impulse, I too well knew, and fondly imagined I should overcome its influence; when in the evening of one fatal day ended my fortitude, and plunged me in a moment down that abyss I had been so long meditating how to shun. He had frequently been soliciting his parents to go into the army, and at length obtained their permission, and came to bid me farewell before his departure.

The moment he entered the room he fell down on his knees at my feet and, told me he was miserable, that I alone was the cause of it. That instant my fortitude forsook me, I gave myself up for lost; and considering my fate as inevitable, without further hesitation consented to an union, the immediate result of which I knew to be misery, and its end death. The conduct of my husband, after a few years were passed, amply warranted my demand for a separation; I hoped by this means to avoid the fatal sequel to the prophecy; but, won over by his repeated entreaties, I was prevailed on to pardon and once more to reside with him, though not until I had, as I supposed, passed my forty-seventh year; but, I have heard this day from indisputable authority that I have hitherto laid under a mistake with regard to my age, that I am but forty-seven this day. Of the near approach of my death, I entertain not the least doubt, but I do not dread it; armed with the sacred precepts of Christianity, I can meet the King of Terrors without dismay; and, without a tear, bid adieu to the regions of mortality for ever.

“When I am dead, as the necessity of its concealment closes with my life, I wish that you, my lady, would unbind my wrist, take from hence the ribbon, and let my son with yourself behold it.” Lady B. here paused for some time, but resuming her conversation, she entreated her son to behave so as to merit the high honor he would in future receive from an union with lord Tyrone’s daughter. Lady B. then expressed a wish to lie down on a bed to compose herself asleep. Lady ——, and her son immediately called her attendants, and quitted the room, after having first desired them attentively to watch their mistress, and should they observe any change in her, to call instantly. An hour passed, and all was silent in the room, they listened at the door and every thing was still; but in half an hour more a bell rung violently, they flew to her apartment, but before they reached the door of it35 they heard the servants exclaim, “my mistress is dead.” Lady ——, then desiring the servants to quit the room. Lady B’s son with herself then approached the bed of his mother, they knelt down by the side of it. Lady ——, they lifted up her hand, unbound the black ribbon, and found the wrist exactly in the same state Lady B. had described, every nerve withered, every sinew shrunk up. Lady B’s son, as has been predicted, is now married to Lord Tyrone’s daughter; the black ribbon and pocket-book are now in the possession of Lady ——, by whom the above narrative is stated, in Ireland; who together with the Tyrone family, will be found to attest its truth.


One of the most attractive, blood-curdling, hair-raising and goose-flesh causing legends in the whole history of superstition is that of the appearance of the “White Lady” as the precursor of death in the royal family of Prussia. In the first place the “White Lady” is duplex; there are two of her. One is the unhappy ghost of the Countess Agnes of Orlamunde, who is alleged to have departed this life after the procrastinating fashion peculiar to the middle ages, by being walled up alive in a vault in the palace at Berlin. The occasion for this incarceration is said to have been her poisoning of the two sons of the then Margrave of Brandenburgh (incidentally her own, by the way), who stood in the road to her promised marriage to the Margrave. The other personality of the “White Lady” was, while in the flesh, the Princess Bertha von Rosenberg, who lived in the fifteenth century died in the odor of sanctity, bequeathed a gift to the poor and this gift having been falsely discontinued, “walks” at periods inconvenient to the Hohenzollern family, to remind them of the impropriety of their course. Once in 1628, the “White Lady” made her appearance at the palace in Berlin and made the remark, in Latin, “I wait for judgment.” Pending the incident for which she waited, a Hohenzollern departed this life. Again, some hundred or so of years later, she was seen at the Castle of Neuhaus, in Bohemia, when she casually observed to the princess who encountered her, “It is ten o’clock.” This chronological information so affected the princess that she died in a few weeks. The latest appearance of La Dame Blanche was in 1879, again in the palace in Berlin; immediately there occured the death of Prince Wald[emar]. We are informed that this persistent and long-lived36 spectre was seen not long since by the night sentinels on guard at the royal castle at Berlin—and now Berlin society is all agog with a delicious fear and wonderment, waiting for grim Death to cry.—Telegram.

One of the most singular freaks of nature ever falling under our observation is the fungus growth in the possession of Mr. Simon Snyder, keeper of the hotel at Conville, Iowa. In May, 1882, Mr. Snyder lost a hand while working in a planing mill at Portsmouth, Ohio, and the amputated member was buried in his garden. Two weeks after there grew out of the mound covering the cairn a fungus plant of the exact form of the hand. It was visited by hundreds of people many of whom thought it was a portent of evil. On his removal to Conville, Mr. Snyder brought the fungus preserved in alcohol. They are of a dark brown color, and what is as remarkable as the growth itself, the fore-finger in its shortened length is a reproduction of the original which had been amputated two years before. It will pay visitors to Conville to see this wonderful duplication.

How did it get there?—We saw on Tuesday afternoon a perfectly formed, apparently human hand, that of an infant, taken from the centre of a new-grown potato, in a field near town. The formation is so perfect that the smallest fibres and ligaments are quite apparent, and by touching the thumb or wrist the motion is felt throughout the whole hand.—From the Cape Breton Advocate.


The old writers on Astrology and Magic give voluminous directions for gathering herbs and plants at certain periods during the waxing and waning of the Moon; but the more modern professors of the art, for the most part reject these formulas and rely rather upon the nature of the plants themselves, and upon the predominating stellar influences at the time their juices are expressed and prepared for use, for the efficacy of the various vegetable medicines used in Astrological Pharmacy.

An English Astrologer who published a work on Chiromancy in 1671, insists in his preface thereto, that any plant bearing a resemblance to a portion of the human frame, is a specific for the diseases of the member which it is assimilated to. He gives several illustrations of his37 opinion, a few of which, modernized from the quaint and somewhat coarse language of the book, are cited below.

How far facts will bear out the doctrine of affinities laid down by the author, the reader can ascertain by experiment.

Maiden Hair and the Moss of Quinces resemble the fibres of the head. Hence a decoction thereof is good for baldness.

Plants resembling the figure of the heart are comforting thereto. Therefore the Citron-apple, Fuller’s Thistle, Spikenard, Balm, Mint, White-beet, parsley, and Motherwort, which bear in leaves and roots a heart-like form are congenial to that organ.

Herbs that simulate the shape of the lungs, as Sage, Lungwort, Hounds-tongue and Camphrey, are good for pulmonary complaints,

Vegetable productions like in figure to the ears, as the leaves of Folefoot or wild Spikenard rightly prepared as a conserve and eaten, improve the hearing and memory. Oil extracted from the shells of sea-snails, which have the turnings and curvature of the ears, also tends wonderfully to the cure of deafness.

When plants resemble the nose in their configuration, as the leaves of the Wild Water Mint; they are beneficial in restoring the sense of smell.

Certain plants having a semblance of the womb—as Birthwort or Heartwort, Ladies’ Seal or Briony, etc., conduce much to a safe accouchement.

Shrubs and Herbs like unto the bladder and gall are excellent for those parts; as Night-shade, Alkakenge and Nux Visicaria. These relieve the gravel and stone.

Herbs formed like the milt, as Miltwort, Spleenwort, and Lupins, are recommended for the strengtheing of that part of the human viscera.

Plants that are liver-shaped, as the herb Trinity, Liverwort, Agarick, Fermitory and Figs, are efficacious in bilious diseases.

Walnuts, Indian Nuts, Leeks and the root of Ragwort, because of their form, are said when duly prepared to further generation and prevent sterility.

Herbs and Seeds, in shape like the teeth, as Toothwort, Pine Kernel, etc., preserve the dental organization.

Plants of knobbed form, like the knuckles or joints, as Galingale and the Knotty Odoriferous rush (Calamus,) are good for spinal complaints, renal diseases, foot gout, knee swellings, and all joint pains whatsoever.

Oily vegetable products, as the Filbert, Walnut, Almond, etc., tend to fatness of body. Plants naturally38 lean emaciate those who take them; as Sarsaparilla or long-leaved Rosa Solie.

Fleshy plants make flesh for the eaters; for instance the Onion, Leek and Colewort. Certain plants fortify and brace the nerves; for example, the Sensitive plant, Nettles, the roots of Mallorus, the herb Neuras, etc. The same are to be used as outward applications.

Herbs milky in their substance propagate milk; as Lettuce and the fruit of the Almond and Fig trees.

Plants of a serous nature purge the noxious humors between the flesh and the skin, as Spurge and Scamony.

Herbs whose acidity turns milk to curd, are said to lead to procreation. Such are Gallium, and the seeds of Spurge.

Those semples that obstruct the coagulation of milk, as Rue mixed with Cummin, will relieve a sore breast when the milk is knotted in it, if applied thereto.

Plants that are hollow, as the stalks of Grain, Reeds, Leeks, Garlick, etc., are good to purge, open and soothe the hollow parts of the body.

The following from “Hermeppus Redivivus,” a work now out of print, prescribes the method of preparing the famous Elixir of Life. This supposed specific for the renewal and perpetuation of youth and beauty, was sought for during the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries with as much avidity as the philosopher’s stone, which the alchemists believed would, like the touch of Midas, change all meaner substances into the regal metal—Gold.



“In the proper season of the year, when the herb is at its full growth, and, consequently, its juices in their whole vigor, gather at the fittest time of the day a sufficient quantity of balm, wipe it clean, and pick it; then put it in a stone mortar, and, by laborious beating, reduce it into a thin pap.

“Take this glutinous and odoriferous substance and put it into a bolt-head, which is to be hermetically sealed, and then place it in a dunghill, or some gentle heat equivalent thereto, where it must digest for forty days.

“When it is taken out, the matter will appear clearer than ever, and have a quicker scent. Then separate the grosser parts, which, however, are, not to be thrown39 away. Put this liquid into a gentle bath, that the remaining gross particles may perfectly subside. In the meantime, dry calcine, and extract the fixed salt of the grosser parts, separated as before mentioned, which fixed salt is to be joined to the liquor when filtrated.

“Next take sea salt, well purified, melt it, and, by setting it in a cold place, it will run, and become clear and limpid. Take equal parts of both liquors, mix thoroughly, and having hermetically sealed them in a proper glass, let them be carefully exposed to the sun, in the warmest season of the year, for about six weeks. At the end of this space, the prim muens of the balm will appear swimming on the top like a bright green oil, which is to be carefully separated and preserved. Of this oil, a few drops taken in a glass of wine for several days together, will bring to pass those wonders that are reported of the Countess of Desmond and others; for it will entirely change the juices of the human body, reviving the decaying frame of life, and restoring the spirits of long lost youth.”

The author who records this curious and wonderful discovery, remarks, “If after the medicine is thus prepared, any doubt be had of its efficacy, or of its manner of operation, let a few drops be given every day on raw meat to any old dog or cat, and in less than a fortnight, by the changing of their coats and other incontestable changes, the virtue of this preparation will sufficiently appear.”

This is the preparation of balm which Mr. Boyle (the celebrated chemist) mentions in his works; and in which he tells us that “Dr. Le Fevre” gave him an account of it, “in the presence of a famous physician, and another virtuoso, to whom he applied, as knowing the truth of what he said, that an intimate friend of his, whom,” says Mr. Boyle, “he named to me, having prepared the primums ens of balm, to satisfy himself the better of its effects, made a trial upon himself, and took of it according to the prescription, for above a fortnight; long before which, his nails, both of his hands and feet, began to loosen themselves from the skin, (but without pain,) which, at length, falling off of their own accord, this gentleman keeps yet by him in a box for a rarity; but would not pursue the trial any farther, being satisfied with what he had found, and being in no need of such physic; but having given of the same medicated wine, for ten or twelve days, to a woman that served in his house, and who was near seventy years of age, without letting her know what he expected, the peculiar signs of youth in females40 became so apparent that she was alarmed, and he did not prosecute the experiment any farther. And when I asked,” says Mr. Boyle, “why he made no trial on beasts, it was answered, that though he had but little of the medicine, yet he put apart an old hen, and moistening her food with some drops of it for a week, about the sixth day she began to moult her feathers by degrees till she became naked; but before a fortnight was passed, she began to regain others, which, when they were come to their full growth, appeared fair and better colored than at first.”

And he added, “that besides that her crest was raised she also laid more eggs than she was wont to do before.”

In our childhood, our mothers’ maids have so terrified us with an ugly devil having horns on his head, fire in his mouth, and a tail at his breech; eyes like a basin, fangs like a dog, claws like a bear, a skin like a negro, and a voice roaring like a lion, whereby we start and are afraid when we hear one cry Boh! and they have so frayed us with bull-beggars, spirits, witches, unchins, elves, hags, faries, satyrs, pans, fauhes, sylvans, kitt-with-the-candlestick, tritrons, centaurs, dwarfs, giants, imps, calcars, conjureres, nymphs, changelings, incubus, Robin Goodfellow, the spoorn, the man-in-the-oak, the hellwain, the firedrake, the puckle, Tom Thum, Hobgoblin, Tom Tumbler, Boneless, and such other bugbears, that we are afrad of our own shadows, insomuch that some never fear the devil but on a dark night; and then a polled sheep is a perilous beast, and many times is taken for our father’s soul, especially in a churchyard, where a right hardy man hitherto durst not to have passed by night but his hair would stand upright.

It is asserted by several authorities that no less than three thousand persons were executed for Witchcraft during that dark period of heretical pravity, the Great Rebellion. Now, as “Rebellion,” according to the express assurance of the Prophet Samuel (1 Sam. xv. 23) “is as the sin of Witchcraft,” no hearty believer in God’s revelation can be at all surprised to find that both Witchcraft and Rebellion in an atmosphere of heresy flourished together, under that odious tyrant and hypocritical fanatic, Oliver Cromwell: when the altar was thrown down and both King and Archbishop were murdered.

In 1488, the country four leagues around Constance was laid waste by lightning and tempest; and two women being, by fair means or foul, made to confess themselves guilty as the cause of the devastation, suffered death.

About 1515, five hundred persons were executed at Geneva, under the character of “Protestant witches;” from41 which we may suppose many suffered for heresy. Forty-eight witches were burnt at Ravensburgh within four years, as Hutchison reports, on the authority of Mengho, the author of the Malleus Maleficarum. In Lorraine, the learned inquisitor, Remigius, boasts that he put to death nine hundred people in fifteen years. As many were banished from that country; so that whole towns were on the point of becoming desolate. In 1524, a thousand persons were put to death in one year at Coma, in Italy, and about one hundred every year for several years.

In the beginning of the next century, the persecution of witches broke out in France with a fury which was hardly conceivable, and multitudes were burnt amid that gay and lively people.

The dream of the so-called “Swaffham Tinker” is singular, and may well be here reproduced, because it represents an example of the practical results of dreaming, which is quite worthy of consideration:—

“This Tinker, a hard-working, industrious man, one night dreamed that if he took a journey to London, and placed himself at a certain spot on London Bridge, he should meet one who would tell him something of great importance to his future prospects. The Tinker, on whom the dream made a deep impression, related it fully to his wife in the morning; who, however, half-laughed at him and half-scolded him for his folly in heeding such idle fancies. Next night he is said to have re-dreamed the dream; and again on the third night, when the impression was so powerful on his mind that he determined, in spite of the remonstrances of his wife and the ridicule of his neighbors, to go to London and see the upshot of it. Accordingly he set off for the metropolis on foot, reached it late on the third day (the distance was ninety miles), and after the refreshment of a night’s rest, took his station next day on a part of the Bridge answering to the description in his dream. There he stood all day, and all the next, and all the third, without any communication as to the purpose of his journey; so that towards night, on the third day he began to lose patience and confidence in his dream, inwardly cursed his folly in disregarding his wife’s counsel, and resolved next day to make the best of his way home. He still kept his station, till late in the evening, when just as he was about to depart, a stranger who had noticed him standing steadfastly and with anxious look on the same spot for some days, accosted him, and asked him what he waited there for. After a little hesitation, the Tinker told him his errand, though without acquainting him with the name of the place42 whence he came. The stranger enjoyed a smile at the rustic’s simplicity, and advised him to go home and for the future pay no attention to dreams. ‘I myself,’ said he, ‘if I were disposed to put faith in such things, might now go a hundred miles into the country upon a similar errand. I dreamed three nights this week that if I went to a place called Swaffham in Norfolk, and dug under an apple tree in a certain garden on the north side of the town I should find a box of money; but I have something else to do than run after such idle fancies! No, no, my friend; go home, and work well at your calling, and you will find there the riches you are seeking here.’ The astonished Tinker did not doubt that this was the communication he had been sent to London to receive, but he merely thanked the stranger for his advice, and went away avowing his intention to follow it up. Next day he set for home, and on his arrival there said little to his wife touching his journey; but next morning he rose betimes and began to dig on the spot he supposed to be pointed out by the stranger. When he had got a few feet down, the spade struck upon something hard, which turned out to be an iron chest. This he quickly carried to his house, and when he had with difficuly wrenched open the lid, found it, to his great joy, to be full of money. After securing his treasure, he observed on the lid of the box an inscription, which, unlearned as he was, he could not decipher. But by a stratagem he got the incription read without any suspicion on the part of his neighbors by some of the Grammar School lads, and found it to be—

‘Where this stood
Is another twice as good.’

And in truth on digging again the lucky Tinker disinterred, below the place where the first chest had lain, a second twice as large, also full of gold and silver coin. It is stated that, become thus a wealthy man, the Tinker showed his thankfulness to Providence by building a new chancel to the church, the old one being out of repair. And whatever fiction the marvellous taste of those ages may have mixed up with the tale, certain it is that there is shown to this day a monument in Swaffham Church, having an effigy in marble, said to be that of the Tinker with his Dog at his side and his tools and implements of trade lying about him.”

Among the various histories of singular dreams and corresponding events, the following, which occurred in the43 early part of the eighteenth century, seems to merit being here placed on record. Its authenticity will appear from the relation; and it may surely be maintained that a more extraordinary concurrence of fortuitous and accidental circumstances can scarcely be produced or paralleld:—

Cassius of Parma, who had espoused the cause of Marc Anthony, fled to Athens after the battle of Actium. While sleeping in his apartments there, he saw a man enter his chamber, an individual with dark complexion and dishevelled hair, very tall and stout. Cassius demanded who he was; to which the phantom replied, “I am your evil genius.” The dreamer arose in a fright, and seeing no one present, summoned his slaves, inquiring if any among them had seen a stranger enter the appartment. An examination showed the doors of the house to have been firmly closed, so that it was impossible for any one to enter. Cassius persuaded that he had been the victim of some chemical illusion, again went to sleep, but the same vision presented itself a second time, addressing him with the same words. Cassius, troubled, arose from his couch and summoned lights. At early day-break he was assassinated by order of the Emperor Augustus.

Two Arcedian friends, journeying together, arrived at Megara, at which place the one took lodgings at the house of a friend, while his companion put up at a public tavern. The traveler lodging at his friend’s, was visited in a dream by his comrade, who supplicated him to come and extricate him from a trap set for him by the innkeeper. He awoke suddenly, arose, dressed and hastened himself towards the tavern, when an afterthought impelled him to return, and he again undressed and went to sleep. Again his comrade presented himself, but this time covered with blood, and beseeching him to avenge his murder. The phantom informed his fellow traveler that he had been treacherously assassinated by the tavern keeper, and his body concealed beneath a dunghill outside the city gates. Terrified at this second appiration, the Arcadian hesitated no longer, but going to the place designated, he discovered his friend’s corpse, and was therefore enabled to bring the murderer to justice.

A tradesman of Paris, sleeping in bed with his wife, dreamed that he heard the voice exclaiming to him: “I have now finished forty years, seven months, and twenty-nine days of labor, and I am happy.” The wife, sleeping by her husband’s side, had the same dream and upon44 awakening in the morning went forth, and without mentioning the occurrence, procured a lottery-ticket bearing the numbers 40-7-29. The same day the numbers came out, and the tradesman lamented his indiscretion in not taking the advice of his nocturnal visitor. His sorrow was turned into joy when he learned that his wife, profiting by her dream, had drawn the grand prize in the Royal Lottery.

An old lady of Paris was in the habit of encouraging her niece by promises of wealth, which she never fulfilled; extenuating her procrastination from year to year, by recourse of ingenious expedients, and she finally died. Shortly afer her decease, the aunt appeared during the night-time and instructed her niece to remove the centre tile of their hearth, where she would discover the oft promised treasure. The young girl obeyed the injunction, but discovered in the cavity nothing save a heap of cinders. In vexation of spirit, the niece railled vehemently against the duplicity of a relative deceiving her after death. On the following night, however, the phantom again appeared, and without saying a word, designated four numbers apparently on the wall. Although placing little reliance upon the injunction which she conceived to relate to a lottery (then the town talk), the niece resolved to try her luck, especially as the ticket offered for her purchase by the dealer bore the same numbers designated by the apparition. Subsequently, these numbers came out in the order indicated, and the girl came into possession of four hundred thousand francs.


Popular Superstitions.—Why, however, north country people are so persistent in their refusal to give one another a pin it is not easy to discover, as even they themselves cannot give the origin and reason of this superstition. When asked for a pin they invariably say, “You may take one, but mind, I do not give it.” It may, perhaps, have some connection with the vulgar prejudice against giving a knife or other sharp instrument, as mentioned by Gay in his “Shepherd’s Week.”

But woe is me! such presents luckless prove,
For knives, they tell me, always sever love.

—a supposition as popular now as in days gone by. Another fact associated with pins will doubtless interest those45 of the fair sex about to enter on the happy state of matrimony. Thus it is still a prevalent belief in certain places that a bride in removing her bridal robe and chaplet at the completion of the marriage ceremonies, must take special care to throw away every pin worn on this eventful day. Woe to the bride who keeps even one pin used in the marriage toilet. Woe also to the bridesmaids if they retain any of them, as their chances of marriage will thereby be materially lessened, and anyhow they must give up all hope of being wedded before the following Whitsuntide. On the other hand, in Sussex on her return home from church is often robbed of all the pins about her dress by her single friends present, from the belief that whoever possesses one of them will be married in the course of a year. Much excitement and amusement are occasionally caused by the youthful competitors for this supposed charm, and the bride herself is not unfrequently the victim of rather rough treatment.

A poor peasant dwelling in the vicinity of Rheims, in Champagne, saw, one night, during his slumbers, a young man, who taking him by the hand, conducted him to the base of an old wall, where, after designating a huge stone recommended him to raise it up on the morrow, he suddenly vanished. The peasant followed his advice, and found the stone indicated in his dream, which upon being displaced, revealing a vase filled with golden coins—enriching the dreamer and his family.


The following account of a remarkable case of somnambulism contributed to the American Journal of Medical Science by Dr. Belden, an able practitioner, who attended the lady afflicted with these somnambulic paroxysms:

* * * “After several attempts to keep her in bed, it was determined to suffer her to take her own course. Released from restraint, she dressed herself, went down stairs and proceeded to make preparations for breakfast. She set the table, arranged the various articles with the utmost precision, went into a dark room to a closet at the most remote corner of it, from which she took the coffee cups, placed them on a tray, turned it sideways to pass through the door, avoided all intervening obstacles, and deposited the whole safely on the table. She then went into the pantry, the blinds of which were shut and the doors closed after her. She then skimmed the milk, poured the cream into one cup and the milk into another without spilling a drop. She then cut the bread, placed46 it regularly on the plate, and divided the slices in the middle. In fine, she went through the whole operation of preparing breakfast with as much precision as she could in open day, and this with her eyes closed, and without any light except that of one lamp which was standing in the room to enable the family to observe her operations. She finally returned voluntarily to bed, and on finding the table arranged for breakfast when she made her appearance in the morning inquired why she had been suffered to sleep while another performed her duty. None of the transactions of the preceding night had left the slightest impression on her mind. In one instance she not only arranged the table for a meal, but actually prepared a dinner with her eyes closed.”


John Knox, the great Scottish Reformer, when upon his death bed, experienced a most remarkable presentiment as to the fate of his friend Kirkaldy of Grange, who, during the civil war of that period, was holding the Castle of Edinburgh in the cause of Mary Queen of Scots and of the Anti-Protestant party. The particulars are in this wise related by Calderwood, the historian, whose testimony is unimpeachable:

“John Knox, being on his death bed, sent for his colleague and successor, Mr. Lawson, Mr. Lindsay, Minister of Leith, and the elders and deacons of Edinburgh, all of whom he addressed in a farewell speech.

“They were departing, when Knox called back Lindsay and Lawson, and desired to speak with them in private. ‘Weel, brother,’ said he addressing Lindsay, ‘I have desired all this day to have had you, that I may send you to yon man in the Castle, whom you know I have loved so dearly. Go, I pray you, to him, and tell him I have sent you to him yet once to warn him and bid him in the name of God, leave the evil cause and give over the Castle. If not, he shall be brought down over the walls of it with shame, and hang against the sun. So hath God assured me.’ Lindsay went to the Castle accordingly and delivered Knox’s message; but Kirkaldy, after conferring with Secretary Letington, said, ‘Go, tell Mr. Knox he is but a drything prophet.’ Mr. Lindsay returned to Mr. Knox and reported how he had discharged his commission. ‘Well!’ said Knox, ‘I have been earnest with my God anent these two men. For the one, I am sorry so shall befall him; yet, God assureth me that there is mercy47 for his soul. For the other I have no warrant that it shall be well with him.’

“Kirkaldy maintained the Castle for some months after Knox’s death, but was at last forced to surrender, whereupon he was condemed to death as a traitor and hanged at Edinburgh on the 3d of August, 1572, at four o’clock in the afternoon, the sun being west.”

The Prince of Navarre, afterwards King Henry the IV., of France, while playing at dice with a company at the court of Charles IX., on the eve of St. Bartholomew, observed several drops of blood to fall upon the cloth, which spread consternation among the players.

On the day upon which Gen. Arnold died in Nova Scotia, the tree under which Major Andre was captured, near Tarrytown, fell, although there was no storm.

On the eve of the assassination of Julius Cæsar, the temple of Jupiter Stabor trembled to its foundation, and an enormous piece of rock fell from the height of the capitol, and carried with it a Roman standard bearer, who was on guard, at the opening of the road.



A New York Paper publishes the following item of Interest:

I have seen several articles in regard to the divining rod. I know that science does not recognize such a thing, but were not all the sciences tested and proved by practical experiment before they were recognized by the scientific world? There is a man in this country who believes as strongly in the divining rod as the navigator does in the mariner’s compass. He is not an illiterate, superstitious man, but is as well informed on all subjects as any laboring man you ever met. He does not claim that he is enabled to locate a stream of water or a vein of mineral beneath the surface of the earth by any virtue contained in the rod, nor is it by the art of hocus pocus, but it is in and through the influence of electricity, with which his system is abundantly charged.

You will say: “If this be true why does he not go to some mining country and make himself and others rich48 by locating mineral veins?” He is a man that has had to labor very hard all his life. Now he is old and infirm, and unable to travel. This discovery with him dates only a few years back. His field for practice and experiment is limited consequently he gains knowledge on the subject slowly.

I will mention a few of the things that he claims he can do with the rod; He can locate a stream of water, and where the ground is perfectly level, measure its depth below the surface as accurately as you can measure it after the well is dug. He does not claim the depth within less than a foot, because the surface is so seldom perfectly level. There are hundreds of men in East Tennessee that will testify to this fact from actual experience. Some of them are as responsible men as there are in the State. He has never failed to convert any man who would go with him, no matter how sceptical, and he has certificates from a number of as intelligent men as there are in Tennessee. I cannot give you, in this communication, any idea of the various means by which he is enabled to demonstrate these things, but if you have any curiosity on the subject, and will answer this communication, like you do all others, you will elicit something from him that may be of interest to you.

Another writer says: “The divining rod is only another exemplification of a power not yet recognized. With a piece of witch hazel I discovered the Witch Hazel Coal Mines. I told the number of feet a shaft would have to be sunk to reach the coal, and even gave the thickness of the vein. I got $5,000 for locating the Witch Hazel mines and am also paid 12½ cents a ton for every ton of coal taken out of them.” John R. Whitelaw, Superintendent of the Cleveland Water Works, says: “At Geauga Lake, Mr. Latimer showed the power of the divining rod. After he had cut one I asked him to go over a little stream that we saw running from the bank. We knew that the water was there, and we wanted to see whether the rod would work over it. It was surprising. He held the prongs so firmly in his hands that the green bark twisted off in his palms.”

Water witches are highly regarded in the far West. One man in particular has the reputation in Colorado, of being a trustworthy diviner, and he is always in request. By trade he is a well-digger, but to this commonplace occupation he has added the profession of water finder. And he is not exclusively employed by silly people, but by practical men of business. Thus he is designating for a railroad company all the wells along the new line which49 they are constructing. The instrument of divination is a forked twig, by preference a mulberry.


In the manuscript Discourse on Witchcraft, 1705, written by John Bell, p. 41, I find the following account from Theophylact on the subject of rabdomanteia, or rod divination: “They set up two staffs, and having whispered some verses and incantations, the staffs fell by the operation of dæmons. Then they considered which way each of them fell, forward or backward, to the right or left hand, and are agreeably given responses, having made use of the fall of their staffs for their signs.”

With the divining rod seems connected a lusus nature of ash tree bough, resembling the litui of the Roman augurs and the Christian pastoral staff, which still obtains a place, if not on this account I know not why, in the catalogue of popular superstitions. Seven or eight years ago I remember to have seen one of these, which I thought extremely beautiful and curious, in the house of an old woman in Beeralston, Devonshire, of whom I would most gladly have purchased it; but she declined parting with it on any account, thinking it would be unlucky to do so.

Divination by the rod or wand is mentioned in the prophecy of Ezekiel. Hosea, too, reproaches the Jews as being infected with the like superstition: “My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them.” Chap. iv. 12. Not only the Chaldeans used rods for divination, but almost every nation which has pretended to that science has practiced the same method. Herodotus mentions it as a custom of the Alani, and Tacitus of the old Germans.

The earliest means made use of by the miners for the discovery of the lode was the divining rod. The method of procedure was to cut the twig of twelve months’ growth, into a forked shape, and to hold this by both hands in a peculiar way, walking across the land until the twig bent, which was taken as an indication of the locality of a lode. The person who generally practices this divination boasts himself to be the seventh son of a seventh son. The twig of hazel bends in his hands to the conviction of the miners that ore is present; but then the peculiar manner in which the twig is held, bringing muscular action to bear upon it, accounts for its gradual deflection, and the circumstances of the strata walked over50 always containing ore gives a further credit to the process of divination.

The vulgar notion, still prevalent in the north of England, of the hazel’s tendency to a vein of lead ore, seam or stratum of coal, &c., seems to be a vestige of this rod divination.

The virgula divina, or bocalns divinatorius, is a forked branch in the form of a Y, cut off an hazel stick, by means whereof people have pretended to discover mines, springs, &c., underground. The method of using it is this: the person who breaks it, walking very slowly over the places where he suspects mines or springs may be, the effluvia exhaling from the metals, or vapor from the water impregnating the wood, makes it dip, or incline, which is the sign of a discovery.

We read, in the same work for Nov. 1751, xxi. 507: “So early as Agricola, the divining rod was in much request, and has obtained great credit for its discovery where to dig for metals and springs of water: for some years past its reputation has been on the decline, but lately it has been revived with great success by an ingenious gentleman, who, from numerous experiments, hath good reason to believe its effects to be more than imagination. He says, that hazel and willow rods, he has by experience found, will actually answer with all persons in a good state of health, if they are used with moderation and at some distance of time, and after meals, when the operator is in good spirits. The hazel, willow, and elm, are all attracted by springs of water; some perhaps have the virtue intermittently; the rod, in their hands, will attract one half hour, and repel the next. The rod is attracted by all metals, coals, amber, and lime-stone, but with different degrees of strength. The best rods are those from the hazel, or nut tree, as they are pliant and tough, and cut in the winter months. A shoot that terminates equally forked is to be met with, two single ones, of a length and size, may be tied together with a thread, and will answer as well as the other.”

The Demonstration of Metallic Transmutation, Affinity, and the Secret of Philosophers; or, How to Change Lead into Quicksilver.—Let there be one pound of lead melted in an earthen vessel, and then put into it also one pound of that tinny metal which is usually called by the name of marcasite; and when they are both melted together you must stir them up and down, and temper them to a pefect medley with a wooden ladle. In the mean space you must have four pounds of quicksilver51 warmed in another vessel standing by, to cast in upon that compounded metal, for unless your quicksilver be warm it will not close nor agree with your metals; then temper your quicksilver and your metal together for a while, and presently after cast it into cold water; so shall it not congeal in any hard lump, but float on the top of the water, and be very quick and lively.

To Tincture Silver into Gold.—Make first a tart lye, put quicklime into a pot, whose bottom is full of many small holes, put a piece of wood or tile-shard upon it, then by degrees pour in the powder and hot water, and by the narrow holes at the bottom let it drain into a clean earthen vessel under it; do this again, to make it exceeding tart. Powder filbium and put into this, that it may evaporate into the thin air; let it boil at an easy fire, for when it boils the water will be of a purple color; then strain it into a clean vessel through a linen cloth; again, pour on the lye on the powders that remain, and let it boil so long at the fire, till the water seems of a bloody color, no more. Then boil the lye that is colored, putting fire under, till the water be all exhaled; but the powder that remains being dry, with the oil of tartar dried and dissolved, must be cast again upon plates made equal of parts of gold and silver, within an earthen crucible; cover it so long with coals, and renew your work, till it be perfectly like to gold.

Iron changed into Brass.—It is reported that in the Mountain Carpatusan, Hill of Pannonia, at a certain town called Smolinitum, there is a lake, in which are three channels, the waters of which are so impregnated with copper and gold, that upon adding absolute vitriol portions of pure gold become deposited.

The Sympathetic and Occult Virtues of Plants, Animals, Metals, &c.—In these few remarks on the sympathetic influences I have ventured to turn the light of a great central and positive science upon the mysteries, which all men, who dare think, are anxious to penetrate—for illustration:

If we bury a crab for three months in horse-dung, he will turn to a scorpion. But if you thus bury a scorpion or lizard, he will die instantly. Some, by the use of eels and brandy, cure a person of drunkenness. But how? Why, simply by the power of sympathy. But once for all, let me here say, that this knowledge I cheerfully impart for the good of mankind. And every wise person52 will see in a moment that great care must be exerted where knowledge might be used for a bad purpose. But to proceed. A black cat drops dead at the sight of a Bengal tiger; a cat of any other color is not affected in the least. A snake will kill a bird by looking at it for the space of fifteen minutes; but a snake can produce no effect on men or animals. Why? Because the proper sympathies are not brought into action. A rat will die by being compelled to look at or be near an English ferret. If an ox is killed, and let lie in a tight house with plenty of glass windows to admit the light, he will in a short time be converted into millions of bees. If he is killed and let lie upon an open field, he will soon be converted into millions of maggots.

Behold the beautiful doctrine of universal affinity or sympathy! If a lady, with a fresh breast of milk, shall milk a portion of it into a bag of corks, very soon thereafter her milk will all dry away. Any person who will wear an eelskin around his body will never have a cramp. But there is the gut of the ourang-outang, if worn around the body, will cause a cramp as long as the person shall wear it. Persons might be killed in this way, and they would be ignorant of the true cause. If one have a severe colic, and hold a live duck to the belly, the colic will immediately remove, but the duck dies. If a chicken, or any other living thing, is thus held to the belly, it produces no visible effect, either one way or the other.

The head of a hare being burned, will bring serpents together; but a fume of peacock feathers being made, will disperse the serpents. If a piece of meat is thrown to the dogs, they will seize it with great avidity; but if a jasper stone be thrown out with the meat, the dogs will instantly run away, with very great fright. Fenelon says that if we wear the clothing of the dead, that it does wonderfully shorten our lives.

The Cure of Diseases by Magical, Celestial, and Sympathetic Means.—Among a variety of examples, the loadstone is one most remarkable proof of the sympathy we speak of. However to hasten to the point. Among stones, those which resemble the rays of the sun by their golden sparkling prevent the falling-sickness and poisons, if worn on the finger. The stone which is called oculis folis, being in figure like the apple of the eye, from which shines forth a ray, comforts the brain and strengthens sight. The carbuncle, which shines by night, has a virtue against all airy and vaporous poisons. The chrysolite stone, of a light green color, when held against the53 sun, there shines in it a ray like a star of gold; this is singularly good for the lungs, and cures asthmatical complaints; and if it be bored through, and the hollow filled with the mane of an ass, and bound to the left arm, it chases away all foolish and idle imaginations and melancholy fears, and drives away folly. The stone called iris, which is like crystal in color, being found with six corners, when held in the shade, and the sun suffered to shine through it, represents a natural rainbow in the air. The stone heliotropium, green, like a jasper or emerald, beset with red specks, makes the wearer constant, renowned, and famous, and conduces to long life; there is likewise another wonderful property in this stone, and that is, that it so dazzles the eyes of men that it causes the bearer to be invisible; but there must be applied to it the herb bearing the same name, viz., heliotropium, or the sunflower; and these kind of virtues Albertus Magnus and William of Paris mention in their writings. The jacinth also possesses virtue from the sun against poisons, pestilences, and pestiferous vapors; likewise it renders the bearer pleasant and acceptable; conduces also to gain money; being simply held in the mouth, it wonderfully cheers the heart and strengthens the mind. Then there is the pyrophi, of a red mixture, which Albertus Magnus reports that Æsculapius makes mention of in one of his epistles to Octavious Cæsar, saying: “There is a certain poison, so intensely cold, which preserves the heart of man” being taken out from burning; so that if it be put into the fire for any time, it is turned into a stone, which stone is called hyrophilus. It possesses a wonderful virtue against poison, and it infallibly renders the wearer thereof renowned and dreadful to his enemies. Apollonius is reported to have found a stone (which will attract other stones, as the loadstone does iron) most powerful against all poisons; it is spotted like the panther, and therefor some naturalists have given this stone the name of pantherur; Aaron calls it evanthum; and some, on accunt of its variety, call it pantochras. It is by such and similar methods the magicians, prophets, and seers of the Middle Ages and biblical times, and many of the magi or wise men of ancient ages, succeeded in curing numbers of diseases, without any medicine whatever; these men were the true magicians, or ancient physicians, and of the race of Hindoos, Israelites, Jews, Arabians, Chinese, Assyrians, Egyptians, Chaldeans, and many of our own times. They were usually named Signa Magna, to distinguish them from the jugglers and sleight-of-hand tricksters, who exhibited themselves for money, and whose54 performances of Legerdemain consisted of a blustering volubility of words, thus diverting the attention of their audiences while they, or their accomplices, of which they traveled with one or more, made the necessary changes in their paraphernalia to deceive the sense of vision, and apparently reverse the order of things. No uncommon part of their programme was to obtain the loan of large sums of money from the wealthy and moneyed classes, thus getting a knowledge of the fact of such a sum being in their possession, and afterward by fraud, violence, or digital dexterity, securing it to themselves. The modern conjurer is, however, usually a gentleman of the highest principle, and always prefaces his exhibitions by the statement, that by dexterity he proposes to deceive. Most of the apparatus employed is double, or contains two partitions, which by simple turning, the contents are apparently changed.

Allumina Changed to Silver—Late Process.—Put it into a crucible, first breaking it into small fragments, bring it to a white heat for five or six hours, until the metal will stand firm on a red-hot plate of iron; then sprinkle it with a mixture of vinegar and sal ammoniac (parts equal), when it is cold, put it again into the furnace, and keep at a white heat for three days and three nights, the last three or four hours adding a little pure lead to make it ductile; you now break it once more into small fragments and replace it in the furnace, adding to it little pills made of lime, saltpetre, and brimstone, and by this means our mixture becomes incorporated into a pretty good silver.

To Cause Letters, Papers, &c., to Disappear.—Valivoni, an old magician, of the time of Agrippa, says: “If you take uphorbium, bdellium, gum armoniac, the roots of both hellebores, the loadstone, and a little sulphur, and incorporate them altogether with the blood of a hart, the blood of an elephant, and the blood of a black cat, and sprinkle it near the papers to be removed, that it unseals them and brings them to your presence, or just where you desire.”

To Strike Fear and Terror into the Heart of an Enemy.—Pythagoras says: “That if a flame be put into the skull of a murderer, and the flame of your enemy written therein, it will strike the person whose name is so written with fear and trembling, and he will speedily seek your forgiveness and become a steadfast friend.”


By what means Magicians and Necromancers call forth the souls of the dead.

It is manifest that the souls after death do as yet love their bodies which they left, as those souls do whose bodies want due burial, or have left their bodies by violent death, and yet wander about their carcasses in a troubled and moist spirit, beings as it were, allured by something that has an affinity with them, the means being known, by which, in time past, they were joined to their bodies, they be called forth and allured by the like vapors, liquors and certain artificial lights, songs, sounds, &c., which move the imaginative and spiritual harmony of the soul, and sacred invocations, &c.

Necromancy has its name because it works on the bodies of the dead, and gives answers by apparitions of the dead, and subterraneous spirits, alluring them into the carcasses of the dead by charms and infernal invocations, and by deadly sacrifices and wicked oblations.

There are two kinds of necromancy: raising the carcasses, which is not done without blood; the other in which the calling up of the shadow only suffices. To conclude, it works all its experiments by the carcasses of the slain, and their bones and members, and what is from them.

The Magic Crystal is a ball of pure virgin glass, somewhat in the shape of an egg; the method of using it, is to hold it in the palm of the right hand, retain it there from eleven to twelve o’clock at night, in a dark room, all the time concentrating your thoughts upon the object you desire to see; about twelve o’clock, the crystal becomes quite hot—now look steadily into it, and picture of scenes that appear are transpiring with friends far distant; in fact, it is asserted that the movements of any one can be known, whether husband, wife, lover or friend.





We now commence some detail of the witch persecution from 1645 to the 2d charter, 1692, there stood upon the statute book the old Cottonian law of 1645, against witchcraft,56 a false recognition, by the highest authority of the devil’s power to appear in the colony; nay, by strange construction it was made an act of conjuration, a summons to come forth, and which he was well pleased to obey. Within one year after the statute recognition of witchcraft, in the jurisdiction, a case occurred. It was in Springfield upon the Connecticut river, and in the family of the Rev. Mr. Moxam. Two of his children betook themselves to extreme oddities in speech and behavior, and it was readily supposed they were bewitched, but there was no proof to fix the sorcery upon any one, until three or four years afterwards, when an old woman of settled witch reputation, upon close examination was said to have confessed her guilt, and here the matter rested. The case of Mrs. Margaret Jones of Charlestown was fatal. She was reputed a witch of such extraordinary malignity, that her touch would produce blindness, sickness at the stomach and violent pains, and in 1648 she was tried and executed. In disgust and distress, her husband went on board a vessel to leave the country, and then the vessel began to rock as if it would upset, and so continued for twelve hours. Upon this the enemies of Jones procured a warrant of arrest from the Governor and assistants, then sitting at Boston; and when he was imprisoned, the vessel became quiet. There were on board this vessel at the time as she lay in Charles River, eighty horses, shipped for Barbadoes, and this was the witchcraft that rocked the vessel; and as we hear no more of Jones, no doubt the assistants saw the error and released him. In 1652, the year that old Massasoit and the Rev. John Cotton died there was another case at Springfield. Hugh Parsons was indicted for witchcraft. The jury found him guilty; but the magistrates who tried the cause would not agree to it and under a law of 1651, it was carried to the general court, where the man was discharged.

The next, was the case of the widow Hibbins, whom Gov. Endicot and the assistants hung for witchcraft May 27, 1656. Her husband was a rich Boston merchant, and an assistant when the law against witchcraft was passed, and thus he qualified his enemies in the devil’s name, to put a halter about his wife’s neck. She was a haughty dame and was not, they thought, sufficiently humbled by her husband’s great loss of property in later life, and she came under church discipline and censure. But this only inflamed her hot temper, and a witch prosecution could alone reduce her to reason. At her trial it was proved, that having once seen two persons in the street talking, she said she knew it was about her, and unhappily she57 guessed right. This turned the case against her, and she thus lost her life. At her trial they searched her body for the devil’s mark as they did the Quaker maidens, Mary Fisher and her friends in less than two months after; but none were found. Before execution Mrs. Hibbons made her will, and therein begged her friends to respect her body, and give it a Christian burial. But the whole colony rang with her story. It was exceedingly alarming to the rulers that Satan should presume so high as an assistant’s widow, and for more than thirty years there were no witch executions here, although there were many supposed cases of the offence.

In 1662 witchcraft passed over to Connecticut. In Hartford at that time, there was imprisoned as a witch, a Mrs. Greensmith and the peculiar art that was used to entrap and convict her deserves our notice. In the same place there lived a girl whom they called Ann Cole, and much admired for her beauty and ingenuity. She understood the Dutch and French languages, rare attainments then, but which of themselves would hardly excite suspicion to her prejudice, even in the realm of blue laws. But she possessed in addition to these, the power of ventriloquism in a high degree, and all combined, came very near to her own undoing; indeed they quite undid old Mrs. Greensmith. Ann Cole at first only amused herself with the little ones of her own family, and when she practiced the deceptive art in the Dutch language, the unearthly jargon seeming to came from no visible object, it afforded her great amusement to see the terrified urchins gather round the very cause of their alarm for protection. Success tempted her on, and she began to amuse herself with her neighbors. When they came in and were seated perhaps the chair would seem to compliment them with “how do you do?” and if they started up in surprise, “pray keep your seat,” would follow in a low coaxing tone; and then the house cat seated in Ann’s lap would sing melodiously. But although the facetious maiden never suffered these pastimes to pass without explanation, yet some doubted, and eyed her with jealousy and circulated strange stories, and before she had thought of consequences, rumor had declared her a sort of Magdalene, and that her demons talked to each other, in a strange variety of languages. These reports excited the attention of two clergymen of the place and they obtained Miss Ann’s consent to approach her so near when a conference of her spirits took place, as to hear and write down the particulars; and herein commenced the only veritable witchcraft of the case; for Ann Cole’s ventriloquism or58 the listening ministers, feigned the supposed demons to converse with Mrs. Greensmith as one in league with them to do mischief, a foul slander in either case, and which cost the poor woman her life. The clergyman then repaired to prison, they said the accused was much agitated upon learning the discovery they had made, and by sharp interrogatories was made to confess her familiarity with the devil. She had not signed his book, or made a covenant with him, but at the then coming Christmas, she was to be ready for a high frolic and then all was to have been finished. Strange hymenials for a woman of seventy-five and the mother of ten sons and daughters and abundance of grandchildren; and it does not even appear that she was a widow. However the poor woman was hung without scruple, or space for repentance, and without apparent pity for her future state; or whether in her execution they were doing the devil a good or ill service.

In October 1671 a demon, it was said entered into Elizabeth Knapp, an unmarried girl of Groton, and he caused her alternately to weep and laugh, and then in great agitation to call out money, money, like a modern paper banker.—On the 17th of December following, this demon began again to speak in the young woman and to utter horrid railings against the minister of the town, but without harm to his character, as the people would not believe him. He next made Elizabeth accuse the minister’s wife as the cause of all her woes; but in this also he obtained no credit; for the pious woman, after prayers with her accuser made her confess the slander; and the devil had to shift his quarters, for he can never do his business unless he can maintain some reputation. In 1679 a demon probably the same infested a house in Newbury. Sticks and stones were thrown at the family, by an invisible hand: and a staff which hung against the wall, began to swing of its own accord; and then leaped down and danced on the hearth, and when they seized it to burn, it could hardly be held on the fire.—So a dish, when the owner of the house was writing, leaped into the pail and threw water on his work. At length the terrified family cried to God for help; and then the demons were heard to say mournfully that they had no more power, and soon departed.

In 1682 one Desborough of Hartford was possessed of a chest of clothes, claimed by his neighbor, but which he would not give up. Soon after many stones, and corn cobs, were thrown at him by an invisible hand. They came in at the doors of the house, and through the windows59 and sometimes even down the chimney. At length fires were set on his lands which did him much damage. Whereupon he gave up the clothes and his vexations ceased.

So about the same time, a Quaker at Portsmouth, withheld from an old woman of his town, a lot of land which she claimed as her own; and stones soon began to be thrown at his house by an invisible hand. When they were picked up, it was said they were found hot, and smelt of brimstone, by which it was readily known from whence they came. Upon this the subdued and terrified Quaker settled with the woman and his troubles ceased. Both these cases are recorded as examples of witchcraft. Yet to us they seem to be those where claimants of property, seek other remedies than courts of law. But among these examples there is recorded one tale of horror. It appears that at Hartford, and about the time of Ann Cole’s case, one Mary Johnson a young girl in her minority, was indicted and tried by the supreme court for familiarity with the devil! The jury returned her guilty; and that mainly upon her alleged confessions. I will transcribe a portion of Cotton Mather’s history of this case. “The girl said that her first familiarity with the devil began in her discontent, and by her often saying the devil take this and that, and sometimes wishing the devil would do this or that for her, until at last the devil did appear and tendered her what services might best content her. Then if her master blamed her for not carrying out the ashes, the devil would come and clear the hearth for her. So when she was sent to drive the hogs out of the corn field, the devil would so chase and frighten them as to make her laugh most merrily. She further confessed that she had murdered a child and committed uncleanness with both men and devils;” and it was for an illicit intercourse with the latter, that the Connecticut govenor hung this young woman.

After her sentence the Rev. Mr. Stone of Hartford, visited her in prison and as he verily thought was successful in turning her heart towards the true God. So that when led out to execution she expressed a humble hope in the mercies of redemption; and died much to the satisfaction of those gathered round the gallows. In this black transaction who does not see the full success of some vile seducer of female virtue, in an apparent legalized destruction of his victim. Yet it is called a case of lamentable witchcraft. So it was with those who slew the innocent. In 1685 or 6 a book was published at Boston with the approbation of the ministers and magistrates.60 It recited the cases I have named with many others and contained various arguments to fortify their credulity. The Rev. Cotton Mather of Boston, a man of great influence in church and state was the author; though he at the time withheld his name. He was then a young minister of about five and twenty, the son of Mr. Increase Mather then president of Cambridge college,—a position then of greater civil and church power than any other in the land; he was also the grandson of the great John Cotton. Mather’s opinions and turn of thought were in harmony with those who then ruled in Massachusetts, and we thus consider him.

This book produced the notorious witch case of the Godwins, of which he also published an account commencing thus. “Haec ipse miserima vidi.” John Godwin was a Boston merchant, a character of the first respectability, and he sat under the teachings of Mather himself. A poor Irish woman called Glover, with her daughter lived near him. The young Glover often served in Godwin’s family, and on a certain time being accused by his eldest daughter of some little theft, she cast back a denial and abuse for the accusation. The mother came up also and defended her child, and her passion and wild Irish accent, so terified the little Godwin that she was thrown into hystericks, and they were kept up from day to day. Her case excited great commiseration in the neighborhood and the physicians who were called in, being puzzled, pronounced it a “preternatural visitation;” a very significant phrase, by which all understood that the little maid was bewitched. Next her little sister, and two brothers seeing what was going on, had fits also and were afflicted by the invisibles. They declared they were pinched and pricked by some one whom they knew not, and then at times they would seem deaf, dumb and blind; and sometimes their mouths would be forced wide open and then suddenly brought together with great violence, to the great hazard of their tongues.

Stoughton and Dudley, both first charter rulers, were now also supreme judges, lately commissioned by Sir Edmund; and these at the solicitation of Mather and others, ventured to arraign and to try Mistress Glover for witch practices on the Godwin family. But she was a stranger to the language and too ignorant to understand legal proceedings, and when asked to plead to her indictment, her answer was unintelligible. The court then swore an interpreter, and he soon confessed himself puzzled declaring that he believed some other witch, or the devil himself had confounded her language, lest she should tell61 tales. Then they searched Glover’s house and some rag babies were found stuffed with goats hair. We must know that the woman was a Catholic and sold toys.

When one of these images or puppets was brought into court, the witch swiftly and oddly started up and seized it, and immediately one of the children had a sad fit before the court and assembly. The judges noted the fact, and repeated the experiment and with the same result, as it was said, the children saw not when Glover laid her hand on the baby images. In the end the court was satisfied that she used these dolls mysteriously in her work of torment. She owned also that there was one who was her prince, but did not say whether he were the pope or the devil. It was suggested that she might be crazed; but a jury of doctors returned, that she was compos mentis. She was finally sentenced to death and executed in Boston; yet the afflicted children did not recover but rather grew worse, or they improved by practice, for they would now bark at each other like dogs and then they would purr like cats. They would pretend to be in a red hot oven, and pant and sweat accordingly; and then that they were cast into cold water and appeared very chilly.

Sometimes the devil would bring Miss Godwin a horse, and then she had all the graceful motions of an equestrian. One day she rode up stairs into the minister’s study, where upon she cried out as if surprised, “they are gone. God won’t let them come here;” and she was at once cured, and sat reading the Bible and other good books for a long time. But when she left the study the demons returned, with her horse, and she frolicked as before.—This experiment of the charmed study, was tried before many visitors and with the like success. Mather’s experiments further satisfied him that Miss Godwin’s demons understood Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, but none of the Indian languages.

This tragedy also began in a minister’s family. The Rev. Samuel Parris, was educated at Cambridge. He first engaged in trade, but being unsuccessful he turned to the ministry and was settled at Salem village. At the time now in view, his parish was in a high quarrel of which his arts to obtain the fee instead of the improvement for life only of the parsonage farm, was the cause. And whilst thus warm with mutual malevolence, pastor and flock, the current notions of witchcraft suddenly placed in their power the means of mutual revenge; and they were at once fully delivered over to the effects of their own excited wrath. A very mutual but terrible punishment. It was a horrid policy in the charter government62 to ever use the devil to overawe the people. A boundless power of evil, which a child, as well as a minister, or a charter ruler, could set in motion; and then whoever could might lay him. In the latter part of February, 1692, two children in the Parris family, both about ten years old, Elizabeth his daughter, and Abagail Williams his niece, began to behave in a strange manner; they would creep under chairs, sit in uncommon attitudes and utter language which none could understand; and as they were pitied and indulged; their freaks increased until it was thought they were very like the Godwins, and must be bewitched; and the physicians when called in confirmed the opinion. Mr. Parris only increased their malady by holding a day of solemn prayer at his house with the neighboring ministers.

But he had in his family two slaves, John and Tituba his wife. The squaw was from New Spain, and once a subject of the old Montezumian empire, and probably was imbued with some of its gloomy and unfathomable superstitions. Her thoughts too seemed as busy as her master’s, and she told him that although no witch herself, she once served a mistress who was, and who taught her how to find them out; and she would try upon the children without hurting them. Parris greedily took with her scheme, and he saw her while she took rye meal and kneaded a cake, which she salted in a peculiar manner, and which she said, when baked in green cabbage leaves in the embers and eaten by the two girls, would make them see their tormentors; and she continued the experiment. But although both she and her master affected to act and talk myteriously, yet the children as they crept about shrewdly under the chairs, eyed the cookery with a very jealous interest, and when they became conscious that the unsavory morsel was for their mouths they grew restive; for no necromancy could satisfy them that Tituba’s briny bread was like gingerbread, or anything good, and they began to show a rational opposition. But Tituba said they must eat, and Mr. Parris began to use authority. “I’ll smell on’t,” said little Elizabeth, “now won’t that do? say yes, say yes, good Titty.” But she shook her head. Bless me, said the father, how natural they seem; and about the same time the slave pulled the rank cake from the embers, and as the hot scent filled the room, Abagail cried out, there! there! I see them, I see them as plain as day, and so do I, said little Elizabeth. O how many! and there’s old Titt, too, she torments us, old Titt torments us, said they both.


It was now all over with the Mexican. In vain she frowned and coaxed by turns; or denied that the girls could see witch spectres by the smell of her cake only. She discredited her own magic, and which they would sustain for self-defense, and the more she labored thus, the more they professed to be tormented, until Parris himself took their part and threatened Tituba with punishment unless she confessed and disclosed her confederate witches. And John, too, her husband, when he saw her in distress meanly deserted her. He told master Parris that the girls no doubt spoke the truth; that she had for a long time tormented him, and was an old hand at it. But discouraged and deserted as she was, her master’s whip alone, as she afterwards affirmed, brought her to lie, and to confess that the devil engaged her to sign his book, and to afflict the children. And thus was acquired the spectral vision by the afflicted so much used and so fatally for the peace of the country, as we shall hereafter see. Tituba was imprisoned and so continued, until sold to pay her prison fees! And Mr. Parris fasted and prayed at his house a whole day. His family now excited a general sympathy and consideration, which others were willing to share. Their persecutions, Satan being the author, were somewhat honorable, and Ann Putnam, an older girl of the neighborhood, instigated by her mother no doubt, pretended to be afflicted also. Thus fortified, they now complained of Sarah Good and a Mrs. Osborn. It was supposed that the equivocal character of these caused the accusation; and it was the more readily credited. They were committed by two Salem magistrates the first week in March. Of Osborn we hear no more; but Mrs. Good was finally executed.

It is almost incredible, and yet it is sober history, that a little daughter of Sarah Good, five years old only, was accused by the afflicted of tormenting them; and they showed what they pretended were the prints of the child’s little teeth on their arms! The Salem magistrates committed this mere infant for witchcraft, but as we hear no more of her, she was probably liberated without further harm.

About this time there was a great fast at Salem, and another proclaimed by the government throughout the colony, “that the Lord would effectually rebuke Satan and save his people.” And the afflicted accusers multiplied daily, and there was added to the number Ann Putnam’s mother, goodwives, Pope, Bibber and Goodall, maidens, Mary Walcott and Mary Lewis; also, Tituba’s husband John; he turning accuser to save himself from64 being accused. About the same time a society was formed in Salem for the detection of witches, and these procured the accusation and commitment of many. This formidable band of accusers now cried out against two aged females who were church members, by the names of Corey and Nurse. Mrs. Nurse belonged to the church in Salem under the Rev. Mr. Noyes, and Mrs. Corey was of Mr. Parris’ flock. This was a dark business. It was supposed Parris instigated the accusation. For when made he gave it publicity and strength; and on the following Lord’s day he preached in his pulpit from this text: “Have I not chosen twelve, and one of you is a devil.”

A Mrs. Cloyes, sister to Nurse, was at the meeting, and during the furious and uncharitable sermon which followed her distress for her sister’s life, which it much endangered, constrained her to leave the meeting. A high wind closed the door suddenly after her, and it was said that she showed temper; and on the following Monday an accusation for witchcraft by the Parris family, and those under its control, went after her, upon which she was carried before Hathorn and Currier for examination. This charge, we know, must have been both malicious and false, as it was sustained by perjury.

A further knowledge of the temper and insolence of those, in whose power the lives and liberties of the citizens were now placed, may be gathered from this incident. On the 9th of March a Mr. Lawson, minister of Scituate, preached for Mr. Parris, it being the Sabbath day, and the bewitched band were present. After the psalm had been sung, Abagail Williams called out to him to stand up and name his text, and when he did so, she said it was very long indeed. In the discourse, he explained some point of doctrine at considerable length, when Mrs. Pope said loudly, “now take up some other point, the people have had enough of that.” In his improvement he made reference to doctrines which he said he had established. “Pray,” said Abagail again, “what doctrines do you mean?” And then Ann Putnam suddenly cried out, there! there! I see a little yellow bird sitting on the minister’s cocked up hat; there where it hangs on the peg in the pulpit. This was spectral vision; nobody else saw it and it seemed to be considered that the devil thus scoffed and jeered the congregation through the mouths of the afflicted.

The six commitments now made of the females—Tituba, Osborn, Good, Corey, Nurse, and Sarah Good’s little daughter, were upon the assumed authority of the two65 Salem magistrates alone, instigated by Parris. On the 11th of April, Danforth the Deputy Governor, with the council came down from Boston and sat formally with Hathorn and Curwin in the place of power.—The Governor Bradstreet the old patentee, who hung the Quakers, was now almost ninety; and ill qualified for the new service. Many of the neighboring ministers were also present. This terrible witch inquisition gave a sanction to the delusive and malicious prosecutions, and sealed the doom of many innocent victims. The inquisitors, the accused and a cloud of spectators, met in a large meeting house, Mr. Samuel Parris being employed as clerk, and assuming also a leading part in the production and examination of witnesses. The Rev. Mr. Noyes of Salem, an enthuiast in witch hunting opened the business with prayer. After which one of the accused begged that she might go to prayer also; but Danforth told her, they had come there to examine into her witchcrafts, and not to hear her pray! and she gave it up. Mr. Parris then began business by calling up as a witness Tituba’s husband John. That cunning treacherous slave knew well how to please his master and save his own neck: and living in the Parris family he knew also the views and wishes of those who now controlled the witch accusations.

Question.—John; who hurt you? A.—Goody Proctor first, and then Goody Cloyes. Q.—What did she do to you? A.—She (who?) brought the book to me, and choked me. Q.—John, tell the truth now, who hurts you; have you been hurt? A.—The first I saw was a gentlewoman.—(This was no doubt, a dark hint at Mrs. Mary English, the wife of one of the first merchants in Salem, and who was afterwards arrested and committed.) This was the woman, who, when the constables were at the door to seize and carry her to prison, called her little ones round her, gave them her parting blessing and advice, prayed with them, and wept over them, as she supposed for the last time, and then gave herself up quietly to her fate. Q.—John, who did you see next? A.—Goody Cloyes. Q.—How often did she torment you? A.—A good many times. Q.—Do the women come to you mostly in the daytime or in the night? A.—They come most in the daytime. Q.—John, do you know Cloyes and Proctor? A.—Yes, there is Goody Cloyes. Upon this Mrs. Cloyes looked sharply at him and said;—tell me when did I ever come to, or hurt thee? John.—(a little abashed,) O, a great many times. O, said Cloyes you are a grievous liar! Upon this Parris grew warm. Now, John, said he, tell us what did this Cloyes do to you? A.—She did66 pinch me and bite me till the blood came. She came and hurt me yesterday at meeting.

This was the woman whose only crime was leaving Mr. P.’s sermon. The malice of the master, the perjury of the slave, and the despotism of Danforth and his assistants were too hard for her. John, too, seems to have had the spectral vision in a high degree, though he never even smelt of his wife’s cake. He learnt it, no doubt, of the little girls her pupils, as did Ann Putnam and others. Parris then called Mary Walcot, and asked who hurt her. A.—Goody Cloyes. Q.—What did she do? A.—She hurt me. Q.—Did she bring the book? A.—Yes. Q.—What were you to do with it? A.—Sign it, and be well. Then she fell into a fit, in affected horror at the devil’s book. Abagail Williams, who so successfully outwitted Tituba in the matter of the salted cake, was next called by her uncle Parris. Abagail, said he, did you, by your spectral vision, once see a company near this meeting house eat and drink? A.—Yes sir;—it was their witch sacrament. It was on the day of the great fast. They had bread like raw flesh; and they had red drink, which they said was our blood; and they had it twice that day. Q.—How many were there? A.—About forty; they came together by the sound of a trumpet. They had a minister who preached, and Goody Cloyes and Goody Good were their deacons.

Mrs. Cloyes was of rather delicate health, and when she heard this strange tissue of falsehood, so great was her surprise and terror, that she sickened and asked for water, but as no one would assist her, she fainted and fell upon the floor. Upon which Abagail cried out, there, there, I see her spirit fly to her sister Nurse in prison for council; and she was believed; and as soon as the woman revived, she was forthwith imprisoned.

Parris then asked Mary Walcot if she had ever seen a white man. And she answered yes; often. Q.—What sort of man is he? A.—A fine, grave man, and when he comes he makes all the witches tremble, and he tells us when our fits will come on and when they will go off. This was supposed to be Jesus Christ come down to pity and to talk with bewitched children and save the charter churches. A horrid blasphemous fiction, but yet credited by the government of the colony before whom it was uttered. The justices then proceeded and said, Elizabeth Proctor, you understand, that you are here charged with sundry acts of witchcraft, what say you to it? I take God in heaven to be my witness, that I know no more of witchcraft than a child unborn. This woman67 was of excellent character, the mother of a fine family of children, all then dependent on her for nurture and protection. It is very difficult to account for her selection and accusation as a witch. Some accident, or that she was obnoxious to the Parris or Putnam family, who fabricated all the early accusations, must have been the cause. But when her unhappy husband saw his wife rudely seized like a felon in her once peaceful home, he resolved to accompany her to the examination; and his conjugal fidelity cost him his life.

Her examination began thus: Question.—Mary Walcot doth this woman hurt you?—Answer.—I never saw her to be hurt by her. Q.—Mary Lewis, does she hurt you? No answer. Q.—Ann Putnam, does she hurt you? She could not speak; and Abagail Williams thrust her hand into her own mouth lest she should speak. A pause, and almost a failure. John, said Mr. Parris, who hurts you? This is the woman, said the Indian, who came in her shift to me and choked me. And now the girls were ready to say she hurt them, and brought the devil’s book for them to sign, and the crafty Abagail, with affected simplicity and sincerity, said to Mrs. Proctor, did not you tell me that your maid had signed? Dear child, said Mrs. Proctor, it is not so; remember, dear child, that there is another judgment. Then Abagail and Ann seemed to have fits; by and by they cried out, look you, there is Proctor on the beam; and her husband, too; Proctor is a wizard! Proctor is a wizard! The man was confounded. There, said Ann, Proctor is going to take up Mrs. Pope’s feet; and her feet flew up; and now, said Abagail, he is going to Goody Bibber; and Bibber fell into a fit! The Deputy Governor and Council seemed surprised, and said to Proctor, you see the devil will deceive you, the poor children could see what you were about before the women were hurt. “Repent, for the devil is bringing you out.”

The Hon. Court then suffered some experiments to be tried on Mrs. Proctor. It was affirmed that the afflicted could not strike a witch; and Ann Putnam approached and attempted to strike Mrs. P. on the head with her fist, but as the blow descended her fist opened, and her fingers’ ends but lightly tapped the woman’s hood, and then Ann cried out with consummate art, they burn! they burn!—her fingers burned, and she fell upon the floor apparently overcome with pain. All were strongly moved by this incident, so wonderful and yet so sudden. Some fancied they saw a blue flame play around Mrs. Proctor, and others were quite sure they smelt brimstone.68 The Court then suddenly turned the experiments upon Proctor himself, and ordered him forthwith to repeat the Lord’s Prayer, without slip or hesitation, to show his innocence. It was a hard case in his present dismay, but he made the effort; and he did very well until he came to the petition “deliver us from all evil;” and this was adjudged to be a perversion of the Lord’s Prayer; for to be delivered from all evil was to be delivered from that under which he then suffered, and of course opposing the Divine decrees. But to be fair with him they put him upon the prayer again, but he had no better luck than at first. For when he came to “hallowed be Thy name,” he said “hollowed be Thy name.” Here they again stopped him and held that this was a depraving of the words. To make the name of the Deity hollow, said they, is to make it vain, light and void, and is blasphemy and cursing, rather than a prayer. In fine it was decided that they could not say it, and that he was a guilty man.

And thus the unfortunate Proctor, although he came before the magistrates a free and innocent citizen to console and sustain his afflicted and terrified wife, by a strange fatality was sent from their presence a prisoner charged with a capital offence, upon the exhibition of the foolery and malice I have named; and what is equally strange, his wife in the end by a mere accident was saved, but poor Proctor they hung.

On the 19th of April, only eight days after, the imposing witch inquisition before Judge Danforth and the council, Hathorn and Curwin called up for examination Giles Corey, the husband of Martha Corey, already committed. And thus the wrong done to the wife was soon visited upon the husband in wanton passion merely, and without shadow of truth or justice.

They thus began with him: Giles Corey, you are now brought before authority upon high suspicion of witchcraft, now tell us the truth of the matter. I hope, said Giles, with the blessing of God I shall, for I never had any hand in that matter in my life. Parris, who was still clerk and chief manager, now said to the afflicted girls, which of you have seen this man hurt you? I, said Abagail Williams; I, said Ann Putnam; I, I, I, said the whole band but one. Hasn’t he hurt you, too, said Parris coaxingly to Elizabeth Hubbard, but she attempting to answer seemed to be taken with a fit. Have you never seen him hurt you, said the same to Benjamin Gould. I have often seen Giles Corey and been hurt after it, but cannot say he did it. All the girls also said69 that he brought the devil’s book for them to subscribe. The justices then said, Corey, you hear what these testify; why do you hurt them? I never did hurt them. Then it is your spectre that hurts them, tell us what you have done? I have done nothing to them. Have you never, said Parris, entered into a compact with the devil? No, I never did. (But he had then recently joined himself to the village church under Mr. Parris.) What temptations have you had? I never had any. But what frightened you in the cow-house, Giles Corey, said the court, tell us that? Nothing, nothing. Why, here are three witnesses, who have heard you to-day say, that you was frightened in the cow-house. I do not remember it.

Note by Mr. Parris—“There was evidence by several that Corey said, he would make away with himself and charge his death upon his son!” And Goody Bibber also testified that he called her husband, a damned devilish rogue; and other vile expressions were sworn to in open court.

The residue of Giles Corey’s fate was most hideous. From the date of this fraudulent, perjured and senseless inquest, he lay helpless and almost forgotten in prison for five months. There he was found on the 9th of the following September, and with many others brought before the court of trials. But the jury seemed entirely under the court, and as, of course, returned all guilty who put themselves on trial. Corey noticed this, and when his turn came he refused to plead, saying it was useless, and that they might do as they pleased with him. But the court seemed resolved to signalize his obstinacy, in terror to all others, and gave judgment against him of pem forte et dure for standing mute, by virtue of which he was taken to prison, placed on his back, with his arms and legs extended and fastened in that position. Heavy weights were placed upon him, and to be allowed a quantity of poor bread and the nearest standing water that could be found to the prison door, and thus to remain until he died. His sufferings were horrible, and on the 17th of the month he was evidently in death’s agonies, his eyes seemed bursting and his tongue swollen greatly out of his mouth. The marshall, the agent of the people’s government, stood over him, and without compassion, thrust back the dying man’s tongue with the point of his staff! And this is the only instance of that horrible judgment, and its execution in our Massachusetts history.

In the meantime Martha Corey, the wife of Giles, lay bound in the same prison under sentence, and with70 eleven days only to prepare for death; this is Mr. Parris’ account of the mission.

“We found her (Mrs. Corey) very obdurate, justifying ourselves and condemning all who had done anything to her just discovery and condemnation. Whereupon, after a little discourse, for her imperiousness would not suffer much, and after prayer! which she was willing to decline, the dreadful sentence of excommunication was pronounced against her.” By which excommunication the woman was in form consigned to the devil’s use forever. How could the Rev. gentleman pray to God for a blessing on such a work in her prison; and what more secular tyranny ever invented such exquisite cruelty towards a hapless female. It first compassed her death, and then by clerical necromancy sought to destroy her soul! But her courage arose above the necromancy. She was sustained. She made no terms with her destroyers, or with falseness or meanness. Even on the gallows ladder she had strength to still proclaim her innocence in solemn prayer to God, and the gallows rope swung her into eternity as acceptable to Him, as if she had died in the bosom of her village church.

So wonderfully had witch accusations now multiplied, that Hathorn and Curwin held regular sittings; and the bewitched band of the Parris and Putnam family and others associated with them, were sure to find them subjects. For the convenience of the accusers these sessions were holden at Salem village, which had now become a point of great public observation and terror. Thus on the 22d of April, they committed for further proceedings William Hobbs and his wife, Mary Esty and Sara Wild, all of Topsfield; also, Edward Bishop and his wife, and Philip English and his wife, of Salem. And all these were taken on the complaint of Thomas Putnam, who thus hunted and secured the victims for his wife and daughter Ann with the Parris family to destroy.

We know the charges of witchcraft against these persons were fictitious and foul; and ofttimes hidden causes led to their selection from the mass of the citizens.

The first accusation of the Salem girls out of their own county was that of Mrs. Cary of Charlestown. This, no doubt, like most others, emanated from the neighborhood of the woman, the afflicted in Essex being used as mere instruments to destroy her. It was a startling movement, as the public recalled at once the fatal case of Margaret Jones and the vessel rocked by horses. The account of Mr. Cary, her husband, remains to this day, and71 being an eye-witness his record is very interesting. About the 20th of May, the rumor reached him that his wife had been named as a witch, at Salem village, and by the advice of his friends he resolved to go down and present her, a stranger to the afflicted, and see if they would recognize her. It was a dangerous experiment and cost him dear.

On the 14th he arrived at the inn, as Hathorn and Curwin, with a great crowd, were entering the meetinghouse for their daily work, and he and his wife took a convenient stand where they might note all that passed. A minister opened the business with prayer, and he saw that the afflicted then present were two girls of about ten or eleven years, and three others who appeared to be about eighteen. One of the younger girls could discern most spectres, and talked most (this was the shrewd Abagail Williams no doubt). When a prisoner was brought in, he or she was placed at some distance from the justices, with the eyes fixed directly on them, and the officers held each hand lest they should pinch the afflicted. The girls were placed between the prisoner and the magistrates, and if at any time the accused looked on them they were sure to be struck down in fits, or they screamed out they were hurt. Sometimes when they came out of their fits and stared round in peoples’ faces, the court would say they were struck dumb, and were then to go and touch the prisoner at the bar, to be restored to speech. This they would attempt with well dissembled hesitation, but would usually fall down in a fit. They would then be taken up and carried to the prisoner, that he might lay hands on them, and when this was done the justices would say that they were well, though Cary observed, that he could see no alteration, though he plainly saw that the justices understood the matter, and the girls were well disciplined.

Whilst all this was passing, Cary and his wife stood in sight of the afflicted, unnoticed, except a person came in the crowd and asked her name, and it would seem that quite unguardly she gave it. Soon after the examination broke up and Cary and his wife began to hope that their experiment was successful. They then repaired to the tavern, where they found the Indian John. They gave him some cider and he showed them his witch scars, but to Cary they seemed to be of long standing, and were more probably the work of his former Spanish master. John was supposed to have been stolen and brought away by the bucaniers, who then infested the American coast. Shortly the bewitched girls came in and began72 their fits and to tumble about the floor, and the company looked on in amazement and terror, no one knowing who might be cried out upon. As soon as they spoke they cried out Cary! Cary! and almost immediately, as if prepared, a warrant of arrest came from the justices then sitting in the house ready to try her. Her accusers were two girls, of whom she declared to the court, she had not the least knowledge before that day. She, too, now had to stand with her hands outstretched, like the others in the meeting house. Her husband begged that he might hold one of her hands, but it was denied him. And so Mrs. Cary stood condemned, her husband, at her request, wiped the sweat from her face and the tears from her eyes. As the examination proceeded and the girls testified as usual, she became faint and begged that she might lean on her husband, but Hathorn replied sharply, that so long as she had strength to torment those before them, she had strength enough to stand. John now came in and fell upon the floor also, and pretended to have a dumb fit. The justices then asked the girls who afflicted him. They replied that it was she (the prisoner), and that they could see that she now lay heavily upon him, though to all other eyes she was standing up and her hands held out. Upon this Cary, in his distress, said, that God would take vengeance on them for such conduct. But this seemed to prejudice the justices, for without more words her mittimus was written. No bail could be taken, and she was sent to Boston prison, from thence she was removed to Campton prison, where they put irons upon her of about eight pounds weight. And although her distress brought a severe sickness yet the irons were not taken off.

When the final trials came on at Salem, Cary went down, but when he saw the children’s spectre evidence admitted together with absurd and malicious stories against peoples’ lives, he became satisfied that there was but little chance for his wife’s life, and especially as all his efforts and those of his friends could not procure her a trial in Middlesex County. There was now only one remedy, and he embraced it. With some secret assistance he rescued her from prison and fled to Rhode Island, the common refuge of those persecuted in Massachusetts. But they were pursued, and he passed on to New York. Here Gov. Fletcher received them kindly, and sheltered them until the danger was passed.

A few days after this John Alden was brought before the Salem justices, upon accusation of witchcraft. He was a man of great consideration in the colony, being73 employed by the government to supply the fortress on the coast with warlike stores and provisions. His own account of the transaction has been perpetuated in the form of a deposition.

He states that he was arrested in Boston and sent down to Salem village, and when all were in presence of the magistrates, the girls were asked who of all the people in the room afflicted them; and one of them pointed to another man then present by the name of Hill, but she spake nothing. This girl had a man standing behind her to hold her up when necessary; and Alden saw him stoop down and place his mouth to her ear, and she cried out Alden! Alden! that it was Alden who afflicted her. Hathorn then asked her if she had ever seen Alden, and she said no, but the man near her said it was he. All were then ordered into the street and a ring was formed, the children and the justices in the centre; his accuser then cried out, pointing to him, “there stands John Alden, a bold fellow, with his hat on before the judges; he sells powder and shot to the French Indians.”

They bid Alden to look at the bewitched, and when he did they seemed to be struck down. He then asked the court why they themselves were not struck down also by his eyes. But no reason was given.

Alden spoke of God’s providence in suffering such creatures to accuse innocent persons, but the Rev. Mr. Noyes, minister of Salem, answered him, that God’s providence governed the world in peace, and with a long discourse prevented his further difficult questions. Alden was then committed to the prison in Boston, where he lay over three months, and when the final trials came on he saw how many were executed, he also made his escape and saved his life.

Deliverance Hobbs of Hopsfield, having been cried out upon and imprisoned, seems to have framed her confession in the terms of the accusation. She said she had, indeed, signed the devil’s book after many threatenings and great torment from him and his emissaries; and that so soon as she had done it, he used her spectre to afflict persons. That whilst her spectre was so employed on a certain time, one of the bewitched maids cried out, there stands Deliverance Hobbs, strike her? Upon which the marshal, a man of courage, standng by, made a pass at the spot pointed out, with his rapier, and the girl said there! you have given her a small prick about the eye, and Deliverance showed the wound to the justices, who seemed highly gratified to have the maid’s outcry so well authenticated, and to learn that a wound74 given to the spectre of a witch, would reach the original, although at home and about her business.

After this, says Calef, it was quite common for the afflicted to tell of the black man, or a spectre being on the table before the magistrates; and then the by-standers would strike at the places with their sticks and swords. Justice Curwin once broke his cane at this exercise.

This penitent also confessed that she was at the great witch sacrament at Salem village. That George Burroughs was there, that he called all the witches together by the sound of a trumpet; that he preached to them and urged them to pull down Christ’s kingdom and build up that of Satan in its stead, and that Salem village should be destroyed, beginning at Mr. Parris’ house. Among her confederates, Deliverance accused old Candy, a negress, and who was thereupon brought before Justice Hathorn. Candy said, he, you are a witch? Ans. Candy witch!—no, no—Candy no witch in her country—Candy’s mother no witch; Candy no witch Barbadoes—this country—mistress Hawks give Candy witch—(indeed!) yes, this country mistress give Candy witch.

Well, Candy, said Hathorn, with unusual mildness, how do you hurt these young folks, show us the poppets you do it with, Candy. Candy was quite happy, and asked to go out of the room, and said she would show all. When she returned she held in her hand two rags, with knots tied in them. At sight of these Deliverance Hobbs, who had now joined the afflicted band, went into a strong fit; and the other girls declared they could now plainly see Goody Hawks, Candy and the devil, standing together pinching the poppets, and then they (the afflicted) were sorely pinched, though no one actually touched them, but it was done in spectre. The Court then directed Candy to untie the knots, and when she did so, Deliverance came out of her fit, and all were well. A bit of rag was then put in the fire, and the girls cried out that they burned dreadfully. To quench it they dipped it in some water, and Deliverance started like a deer for the river, but was caught by a swift youth before she plunged in.

The cunning Candy exulted in the efficacy of her charms, and all beholders thought her mistress had practised upon her ignorance, and Goody Hawks had to confess to save her life.

About this time commeced the Andover tragedy; where as Cotton Mather says, was discovered the most horrid crew of witches that ever disgraced a New England town75 The wife of Joseph Ballard of Andover fell sick, and the town doctor finding her disease too stubborn for his art, advised her husband that she was bewitched. This practice was too common among the early Massachusetts physicians. The hint took with Ballard; and he forthwith sent men and horses to Salem village, and to the house of Mr. Parris, and brought to Andover old Tituba’s pupils Abagail Williams and Mary Walcot. When these came into the sick woman’s room, they said they could well enough see witch spectres hovering round her bed and person, but not being acquainted with any Andover people, they could not name the originals. Describe them says the husband; and they did so in language sufficiently vague to embrace half the women in the town;—and still fancy or malignity might select at pleasure; and fancy or malignity did select at pleasure and that most fatally, as the event will show.

Dudley Bradstreet, son of the old patentee, was then the acting magistrate in Andover, and he granted a warrant against a number of women on this occasion and held the examination in the meeting house. After prayers by the Rev. Mr. Barnard, minister of the town, the women were brought in, and Abagail and Mary fell down in fits at the sight, as in time past at Salem; and when the prisoners laid hands on them, they rose up and said they were well. All the old experiments were tried with the old success; and Bradstreet committed a number of his towns-women to Salem prison, to answer there, and Abagail and Mary returned home with increased credit. Yet Goody Ballard died soon after of a fever; and Dudley Bradstreet repented of the step he had taken. Some of these in their weakness were made to confess the wildest witch pranks on record, and to implicate others as associates, by which more than forty Andover women were ensnared by witch prosecutions and some lost their lives.

Here follow some of the recorded confessions of these Andover witches, long after drawn up, with death’s terrors before them. Ann Foster was one of these. She had been brought to acknowledge, in Salem prison, that she was a witch, and had attended a great witch sacrament at Salem village; that she rode thither on a pole, behind Martha Carrier, high through the air; that on their way the pole broke, and that she holding fast by Martha, came to the ground and was sorely bruised by the fall, but they mounted again and went on. Being asked what they eat, she said they carried their bread and cheese in their pockets, and ate it before the meeting began, sitting under a large tree, with the Andover76 company, and they drank water from a brook near by.

On the 21st of July, Hathorn, Curwin, Gidney and Higginson, assistants, sat upon her confession in public, and they began thus: Goody Foster, you know we have spoken with you before; you have committed great wickedness, but it seems that God will give you more favor than others, since you relent, but you did not tell us all; your daughter has confessed that she sat with you and Goody Carrier when you did ride upon the pole? F.—I did not know. How long has your daughter been a witch? F.—I have no knowledge of it—I cannot tell. Did you see her at the witch meeting? F.—No. But you said she was there, and that you stood off and did not partake; gve us a full account? F.—I know none who were there but Goody Carrier. Were there not two companies in the field? F.—I know no more. Here Mary Warren, one of the afflicted, interposed a new lie, and said that Carrier’s spectre told her, that Foster had made her daughter a witch! and the court then said to F., will you now confess you did so, about three years ago? F.—I know no more about my daughter being a witch, than upon what day I shall die. Are you willing that she should make a free confession? F.—Yes. Will you confess? F.—Yes; if I knew anything more I would speak. The magistrate now directed to have Goody Lacy, the daughter, called in, and as she entered she began. O, mother, how do you do? O, mother, we have left Christ and the devil hath got hold of us; O, how shall I get rid of this evil one! I pray God to break my rocky heart that I may get the victory this time. This witchcraft of the daughter was a surprise upon Goody Foster, she came to the confession prepared to accuse herself and Goody Carrier, but the danger of her child distressed and confounded her, and when urged to speak she answered incoherently. I did not see the devil, I was praying to the Lord. To what Lord, said the court. F.—To God. To what God do witches pray? F.—I cannot tell. The Lord help me! and she sat down overpowered, as the justice concluded guilty of witchcraft, but in truth with her own fictions. Lacy.—They were some of the higher powers; they were—Goody Lacy, said the court, let your daughter come in; we will examine her a little, and when Mary Lacy the younger, and granddaughter of Foster entered, she stood before the magistrates with downcast looks, an interesting girl of seventeen; yet at sight of her Mary Warren fell down in a violent fit. Whereupon Hathorn said to Mary sternly, why dare you come here, and bring the devil with you,77 to afflict these poor creatures; now look upon these maids in a mild and friendly way, said he, and then she turned upon the afflicted a look so kind and gentle that the bystanders smiled in sympathy, and yet the bewitched band were struck down,—pity, thought the beholders, that eyes so mild and blue should bear the devil’s spite in them.

And now said Hathorn, do you confess yourself a witch,—she hung her head—tears flowed down and she sobbed out,—ye-s, sir.

Well maiden, said the justice, you are accused of tormenting Goody Ballard, how do you do it? I don’t know. How long have you been a witch? Not above a week. Have you ever seen the devil? Yes sir. Did he bid you worship him? Yes sir. And to afflict people? Yes sir. I see, said Major Gidney, one of the magistrates, that you are in a fair way to obtain mercy. Do you desire to be saved by Christ? Yes sir, I do. Then said he, you must tell all you know.—The Lord help me so to do, said Mary. I was in bed when the devil came to me; in bed! said the Major—the devil came to your bed! how did he look? Like a great black dog. O, very well, you may go on,—what did he say? He bade me, said Mary, obey him and that I should want for nothing, and he promised he would not betray me, but he’s an old liar. How long ago was this, said Hathorn. About a year. Richard Carrier now comes often a’nights, and has me to afflict people.—He’s a rogue, cried the Major, and is making a very bad use of you! but where do you go? To Goody Ballard’s sometimes, and my mother and grandmother and Richard Carrier and his mother go there to.

Did you attend the great meeting at Salem village? Yes. Who went with you? My mother, and grandmother and Goody Carrier rode upon a long pole through the air; and I rode behind Richard Carrier upon another pole! Did you see any men at the meeting? None but the devil. How did he appear?—Like a black man with a high crowned hat on.—But did you see no other man? Your mother and grandmother say they saw a minister there. I believe I did see a minister. Was not Mr. Burroughs there? Yes he was. Thus was she made, by leading questions to accuse an absent and innocent minister of the gospel. These confessions in the end produced a sentence of death against Goody Foster and the elder Mary Lacy; but they were reprieved by Sir William Phipps and finally pardoned.

Mary Osgood, was one of the Andover witches accused by Abigail Williams of afflicting Goody Ballard, and78 after long imprisonment she was induced to give her confession in the form of a deposition; and she stated ‘that about eleven years before as she one day walked in an orchard near her house in great distress of mind, she attempted to pray; at this moment what seemed a cat crossed her path, and by its strange movements so fixed her attention that she ceased to pray. Soon a strange influence came over her and she prayed again and as she presumed to the devil for presently a black man appeared, and offered her a large book to sign; she wrote her name in it and where her finger touched the paper, it left a red spot. The apparrition told her that she was his, and that he was her God, and that she must worship him! and she believed she consented so to do.

Nine years after, the same personage appeared and carried her with others, upon a pole through the air to Five-mile-pond, and there making her renounce her former baptism, baptized her, amen, since which she afflicted people, and frolicked with the devil upon Sabbath days, and other holy festivals.

Hathorn, before whom this was also taken, always ready to hunt witches, no sooner heard that Mrs. Osgood and the devil had company upon the pole; than he asked her who they were. She replied they were Goody Tyler, Mistress Baker, and Dea, Fry’s wife. These were then arrested, and constrained to make further witch fictions to save their lives. And thus was the business driven on. There were sceptics even at this season of the delusion, who denied the validity of spectral evidence. It appears, said they, that the devil can use the spectre of one person to afflict another; why may he not take the spectre of an innocent person in that business, and then as things now are, every man’s life is at the mercy of the devil; for between him and the afflicted he is sure to suffer. Hathorn on this occasion asked Mrs. Osgood whether the devil, or his witches could use the shape of an innocent person to afflict people.—She replied that it could not be; for said she, last Monday night we witches had a meeting to afflict people, and Goody Dean and myself tried to carry the shape of the Rev. Mr. Dean of Andover between us to make it believed that he afflicted persons; but we could not. And why could you not do it, said the justice. Because, said Mrs. O., the Lord would not suffer so good a man, to be so used! This answer saved the worthy minister, who had often been hinted at by the bewitched. He was not a sound convert to witchcraft.

But on the 14th of May 1692, Sir William Phipps arrived79 with the Provincial Charter, and immediately took upon himself the government.

On the second day of June five magistrates sat, and selected for trial Bridget Bishop, the wife of Edward Bishop of Salem. This poor woman had for many years been reputed a witch; and this by the accusations of one Samuel Gray, and although on his death-bed he confessed his sorrow for the wrong he had done her, yet the imputation still rested upon her, and now enabled the afflicted, with their managers, to destroy her. And above all, as an excrescence supposed to be a witch teat was found on her body. To give currency and popularity to her execution a story was fabricated, and most industriously circulated by the witchcraft party, that as Bishop was led out to execution under a strong guard, she gave a look at the then newly erected meeting house in Salem, so blasting and spiteful, that an invisible demon forthwith entered in and tore down a portion of the holy edifice. And this is from Cotton Mather’s account of the Salem witch trials, drawn up for inspection, and by the request of Sir William, himself. The commissioners then adjourned to the 30th of June following.

Aside from the manifest fallacy of her supposed crime, and the illegality of Sir William’s commission to try witches, the woman had violated no existing law, statute or common. On the eighth of June, and two or three days after her trial and condemnation, the general court of the province was convened, and their only act was to revive the whole colonial code laws including the old Cottonian laws against witchcraft; and this upon the ground that the authority of these laws, ceased with the first charter. The law then upon which Mrs. Bishop was tried was a dead letter; it was revived, and in two days after she was hung. A strange and startling mistake by men who had charge of the lives and fortunes of the people. So difficult is the art of just government.

No wonder then that Sir William, five days after this witch execution, asked council of the leading ministers of the colony in form. And the response drawn up by Cotton Mather is as follows: “The afflicted state of our poor neighbors, now suffering by molestations from the invisible world, we apprehend, is so deplorable that we think their condition calls for the utmost help of all persons in their several capacities. Yet we acknowledge with thankfulness the success, which the merciful God has given to the sedulous endeavors of our honorable rulers, to defeat the abominable witchcrafts which have been committed in the country. We judge that in the80 prosecution of these, and all such witchcrafts, there is need of exquisite caution, lest too much credulity for things, resting only on the devil’s authority, should enable him to get an advantage over us; for we should not be ignorant of his devices. All things should be managed with exceeding tenderness towards those complained of, especially if they be persons heretofore of unblemished reputation. Nor is the circumstance of the accused being represented by spectre to the afflicted a sufficient ground for conviction; for it is an undoubted thing, that a demon may, by God’s permission, appear for ill purposes in the shape of an innocent, yea and a virtuous man.”

“We know not, however, but some remarkable affronts given to devils, by our disbelieving their testimonies, may not put a period to the progress of the dreadful calamity now among us in the accusation of so many persons for witchcraft.”

But lastly say the ministers to Sir William: “We cannot but humbly recommend unto the government the speedy and vigorous prosecutions of such as have rendered themselves obnoxious to the laws of God and the wholesome statutes of the English nation in the detection of witchcraft.” This document was dated Boston, June 16th, 1692, and signed by the principal ministers of the province, and unfortunately for the country the government seemed to heed only the last clause of the device, as will be seen hereafter.

A quorum of Sir William’s commissioners again sat at Salem on the 30th of June, for the trial of witches; Lieut. Gov. Stoughton, and Messrs. Winthrop, Sewall, and Gidney being present, and on that day they commenced the trial of Susanna Martin of Amesbury.

She was a woman of uncommon ingenuity and enterprise; and was now a widow, with the care of a considerable estate, and a large family thrown upon her. She, like Bishop, had long been reputed a witch, and an unsuccessful attempt had once been made to convict her. Mather in his account of her case, drawn up by order of the government, declares, “that she was one of the most impudent, scurrilous, wicked creatures in the world,” and the court treated her with great severity. But she repelled all false charges with invincible spirit; as will be seen by the following dialogue which took place at her primary examination, and which was now detailed in evidence against her.

Justice.—Pray Goody Martin, what ails these young people? Martin.—I don’t know. J.—But what do you think ails them? M.—I do not desire to think upon the81 subject. J.—Do you not think they are bewitched? M.—No, I do not think they are. J.—Tell us your thoughts about them then. M.—My thoughts are my own when they are in; but when they are out they are another’s—their master! J.—Their master! Who do you think is their master? M.—If they be dealing in witchcraft, Sir, you may know as well as I. J.—Well, mistress Martin, what have you done towards these girls? M.—I have done nothing at all. J.—Why it is either you or your spectre. M.—I cannot help what my spectre does. J.—It is either you or your master. How comes it that your spectre should hurt these people? M.—How do I know how it comes? Samuel was a glorified saint; but he that appeared to Saul, in Samuel’s shape may now appear in any one’s shape. A very pertinent reply and puzzled the justice. Martin was indicted for witchcraft and sorceries upon the body of Mary Walcott on the second day of May, 1692, and also for divers other acts of witchcraft before and after that time, without specification of time or place. John Allen testified, that the widow Martin once requested him to cart some staves for her, but he refused because his cattle were weak and poor; at which she was displeased and said he would be sorry for it; and before he could reach home his oxen tired and fell down. This was supposed to be by witchcraft, though Allen said the oxen were too weak to draw staves. After this he turned them upon Salisbury beach to fatten, but they became so wild that no one could approach them, and when it was attempted to drive them home they ran furiously into the sea and were drowned. Another witness purchased a cow of Martin’s son; she opposed the bargain, and soon the animal became furious and unmanageable. And these were considered cases of witchcraft.

Bernard Peach testified, that once being in bed on a Sabbath night, the widow Martin came into his room through the window, and seizing him, drew up his body into a heap and she then lay upon him about two hours, but at last after a severe struggle he got two of her fingers between his teeth and bit them until she cried out with the pain and vanished. At another time when she was after him he struck her or her spectre with his quarter-staff and it was reported that she was wounded on the head. So it was sworn that she once travelled from Amesbury to Newbury on a rainy day without wetting even the soles of her feet, and boasted that she scorned to be drabbed. It was concluded in court that the devil helped her on.


But the most wonderful story told on this occasion was that of Joseph Ring; the man seems to have been a good fiddler, whom the old charter witches and demons selected for their peculiar use and amusement. He testified that for two years past he had been strangely carried about through the air to witch revels and dances; that for a long time they had kept him dumb, but since they began to be prosecuted he had in a measure recovered his speech. His knowledge of them and their power over him, began thus:

As he sat in his house one day, a stranger of suspicious mien applied to him to give music to a company of dancers on a certain evening; and whilst the timid and distrustful fiddler hesitated, the proffer of a large sum of money by the stranger, and which he too readily accepted, induced him to make the desired promise and immediately the man vanished so suddenly that Ring was exceedingly startled and repented of what he had done; but it was too late. At the appointed hour he found a horse, well caparisoned, standing at his door; he took the hint, but no sooner had he mounted into the saddle, than the animal leaped into the air and pushed forward with a velocity which deprived him of all consciousness of time or distance and almost of existence itself. He next found himself in front of a splendid building, with lights from every part streaming out upon night’s darkness, but from whence issued no sound of mirth or festivity. Presently Goodman Ring was introduced into a spacious hall, he screwed up his fiddle, began to play, and then the dancing began in good earnest. At once a preternatural influence came over him, and he was amazed at the power of his own instrument, which seemed to fill that ample hall to its very roof, and to inspire dancing which he now plainly saw was superhuman. It was here that he saw the widow Martin, the prisoner at the bar, swinging and dancing among the revellers, like a nimble maiden of eighteen; and he was willing to swear to her identity.

When the dancing ceased, the personage who first engaged him came with a book for him to sign, and an ink horn containing something like blood. But the fiddler refused his name, and casting his eyes downward he saw that cloven foot which had been the terror of all New England for half a century, and in his distress he called upon God for help. At once a horrid hysteric laugh burst upon his ears, and then suddenly all was darkness, and he found himself in the crotch of a great pine tree, cold and comfortless, in a lonely plain, and the83 stars of midnight winking down upon him. He descended as well as he could, wandered about in the woods until morning light, and then found his way home; but he could never again find that pine tree that made the witch palace.

From that time forth the witches and demons had power over him and used him as they pleased. And Mather says “that whenever he was brought unto their hellish meetings, and showed any disobedience one of the first thing they did unto him was, to give him a knock on the back, whereupon he was ever as if bound with chains, incapable of stirring out of the place till they should release him.”

After this strange testimony was in, the court asked Martin what she had to say for herself. She replied that she had always led a virtuous and holy life, that she knew nothing of the crime whereof she was accused, and she protested against the proceedings and the evidence against her. Yet the jury soon returned a verdict of guilty, and the court pronounced sentence of death. On the following day Elizabeth Howe was tried. The evidence against her was very similar to that against Martin. She was of Ipswich, and first became noted as a witch by an abortive attempt to join the church in that place, which led to an investigation of her character, and brought out her witchcrafts. This woman it was thought had a burning witch bridle, which tortured any horse that wore it to efforts beyond its strength; it would also turn to a horse any man or beast on whom it was placed. Isaac Cammins swore that he had a very spirited mare, which he believed Howe used freely in her witch frolics. The mare grew sick and weak without apparent cause, and upon examination she seemed bruised and lamed as if rapidly ridden over rocks and rough places, and the marks of the burning witch bridle were visible upon her; nay, she was found so sulphurious that, the owner passing near her one night in the stable with his lantern, she took fire, and emitted a blue brimstone blaze, fine as a knitting needle, and which singed her own hair and endangered the barn. The beast died soon after in strange spasms. It further appeared by the confessing witches that Goody Howe was one of those who had been baptized by the devil at Newbury Falls, and before which baptism he made them all kneel down by the river’s brink and worship him.

Elizabeth Howe was indicted for witchcraft upon Mary Walcott and Mary Lewis; the jury returned her guilty and the court sentenced her to death.


At this same session were also tried Sarah Good, Rebecca Nurse and Sarah Wilde, and found guilty.

On the 19th of July these five were executed. At the gallows Noyes urged Sarah Good to confess, and told her she was a witch and she knew it; to which she replied: “Sir, you are a liar; I am no more a witch than you are a wizard, and if you take my life God will give you blood to drink.”

Stoughton and his associates were now the terror and scourge of the country. On the fifth of August they sat at Salem. Six unresisting and helpless females they had already hung without law or crime; and whose terror-stricken kindred dare not raise even a murmur of discontent. Indeed so subdued appeared the public mind, that they now adventured upon the trial of the Rev. George Burroughs, the only gospel teacher ever hung for witchcraft in this or any other Christian country. He had formerly been the settled minister of Salem village, and now an avowed infidel in the current notions of witchcraft. The Rev. Mr. Lawson, also once a teacher in the same place, was more pliant, and wrote a book flattering to the afflicted and their managers; had Burrows followed his example he might have escaped hanging.

Warily indeed did the prosecutors cast their entanglements about this devoted man. We first see a fictitious witch sacrament, with appropriate deacons;—next a clergyman, black-haired, short and thick set, with the devil to administer. All knew that this aimed at Burroughs. Then eight confessing witches affirmed that so great was his fidelity and zeal, that he was to be a king in Satan’s kingdom about to be established in Massachusetts. They multiplied his indictments to four; for afflicting those four bloody impostors, Mary Walcott, Elizabeth Hobart, Mary Lewis and Ann Putnam. And he stood before a prejudiced court and jury without hope of justice, or even of compassion.

The afflicted began their evidence with fits and outcries. They said Burroughs bit them, and showed what they alleged were the prints of his teeth on their flesh; and Ann Putnam said that even now his spectre presented her the devil’s book, boasting that he was above the ordinary rank of witches. Again they were cast into convulsions and could not proceed. Stoughton asked Burroughs, who he thought hindered those witnesses from testifying. He replied, perhaps it was the devil. “How comes the devil,” said his Honor, “so loth to have any testimony borne against you?” A foul response, but in keeping with his general conduct.


One of the afflicted declared that she was once in a trance, and that Burroughs carried her into a very high mountain and showed her all the kingdoms of the earth, and said that he would give her all these, if she would write her name in his book. She did not bid him get behind her, but told him that the kingdoms were not his to give, and refused to sign. This was a girl of eleven years, how could she distinguish between a trance and a dream? Yet her story went as evidence into the case.

Burrougs had been twice married, and it was reported that he had ill-treated his wives. But he asked the court very pertinently how this could go to sustain an indictment for afflicting Mary Walcott and for which he was then on trial. But the witnesses were not checked, and they testified that they had seen the apparition of two women, who said they were Burrough’s wives; and that he had caused their deaths; and that the Judges must be told of it; and that they did not know (strange language for ghosts) but they should appear in court at the trial. Presently Abagail Williams cried out in great apparent horror that the ghosts of those two wives had just now come in and were standing before Burrougs and crying for vengeance upon him. Yet Burroughs declared he saw them not, nor were the sound of their voices heard by the court or jury. At this the prisoner was said to be much appalled. No doubt he was so, at the depravity of the witnesses and their evidence.

But the girls went yet further, and affirmed that the spectre of Burroughs had often threatened to kill them, as he had many others who refused to obey him; and he named among his murdered victims Mrs. Lawson and her daughter Ann. The story was credited, as they presumed he might well entertain hatred towards the virtuous wife and daughter of a man like Deodat Lawson, his predecessor at Salem village. And it was now called to mind, says Mather, that the peculiar circumstances of their deaths, excited suspicion of witchcraft; yet no one then suspected from whence it came.

It was further testified that Burroughs, notwithstanding his holy orders, hated prayer and the ordinances of religion. His zeal only burned in the devil’s cause. The confessing witches also attributed their seduction to his wiles; he led them on to witch meetings, or to sorceries, by the promise of fine clothes and other unhallowed pleasures; he brought the poppets, or rag babies to them for afflicting people, and taught them where to stick the pins the most effectually; he even exhorted them to bewitch all Salem village, but with caution to prevent discovery;86 and now, they affirmed, for their penitence and confessions, Burroughs and the devils tortured them continually.

After Burroughs was hung, these confessors recanted, and confessed again the utter falsehood of all they had said respecting him. But they could not quicken the dead, or heal the wounds of bereaved friends, nor soften the hearts of such men as Stoughton, Mather, Parris, and the like.

The evidence was then turned to show that Burroughs was endowed with preternatural strength. He had been known to hold out in one hand, by the breech, a gun of seven feet barrel as if it had been a pocket pistol, and then to reverse it, and sticking his forefinger in the muzzle, to hold it out at arm’s length that way. So he would carry a full barrel of cider or molasses without staggering. But he offered to show that whatever he did in this way was to try his strength with an Indian who did the like, and even more than he could. But they who gave the testimony, says Mather, saw no Indian and it was at once concluded it must have been the devil, as Ann Putnam said he often appeared like an Indian! How did this testimony refute Burroughs? Did the witnesses see the devil in the shape of an Indian at the time? One Ruck, a brother-in-law to Burroughs testified to his preternatural walking. On a certain occasion a party in his company went to a distant field to gather strawberries. When they returned, a thunder shower was advancing, and all but the prisoner rode upon horses and at a quick pace; yet he suddenly slipped out of sight, and to their astonishment was at the house, with his basket of strawberries, before them. But he offered to show that another man was with him and walked as fast as he did, but Stoughton and his associates concluded that this pretended companion must have been the devil also and would not hear the evidence.

After this manner was the unfortunate man overwhelmed with false and absurd testimony, and the prejudice of those who held his life at will; and it was sneeringly said that he used many twistings and evasions to get off, but without effect; for the jury without hesitation returned a verdict of guilty, and the court pronounced his death sentence.

At his execution Mather and other ministers took care to be present. Burroughs, with the rest, was carted through the streets of Salem on his way to the gallows. Being on the ladder and the rope about his neck, in solemn and decided tones he proclaimed his innocence87 before the multitude. He then made his dying prayer with a deliberation and fervency that won the admiration of all present, and drew tears from many eyes. In conclusion he pronounced the Lord’s prayer without hesitancy, and the “amen” served the hangman for his death signal, and he was swung off. After it was over a strong murmur of discontent ran through the crowd, a popular uproar was feared, and a rescue of the other prisoners; but Mather, as he sat on his horse in the midst, addressed the people to dissuade them from violence. Burroughs, he said, should not be regarded as a minister after his league with the devil; and both his prayers and address, however earnest, were still deceptive, for the devil himself, he continued, when he will, can assume the guise of an angel of light.

At the same time, and to assist Mather, a story was circulated in the assembly that the bewitched girls could plainly see the black man standing near Burroughs, and assisting him in this his last effort. After this the executions went on in peace. At this session also was tried and condemned old Martha Carrier. She was regarded as one of the most decided and active witches in the country. This was the woman, of whom it was repeatedly testified, that the devil had promised her that she should be Queen of Hell; an elevation to which her enemies readily awarded her a title. Her true character was untiring industry, ceaseless vigilance and extraordinary exactitude in the discharge of all duties, and so she never sought excuses for remissness or neglect she would grant none to others, and as a majority of the world are ever on the other side, she first became the terror and then the hatred of her delinquent neighbors. In spite to her family, it was said that she ruled her husband, and that Goodman Carrier would never stick to any bargain of goods or chattels, lands or tenement, unsanctioned by her. Her children too she kept in strange obedience to her will; but her’s was a well-ordered and a thrifty household. Yet they called her a witch until the foul stain became deep and fixed.

Mather declares that when the poor tortured witnesses were brought forward against her in court every one expected their death on the very spot. Her malignant look would strike them down, and then her touch, her eyes being averted, would raise them up; and when they could speak, and testified that her shape had twisted their necks almost round; she said that they were miserable wretches and no matter if their necks had been quite twisted off.


She was indicted for afflicting Mary Walcott and Elizabeth Hubbard; and to make sure of her they terrified and tortured two of her own sons into confession, by tying them neck and heels together, until they said she was a witch, and had also given them over to the devil, and they particularized the time and place.

So old Goody Foster, and her daughter and granddaughter, the two Lacys, were brought up again to renew the old story of the witch sacrament, and riding on a pole; a recital of which wonderful adventure deeply interested Stoughton and his associates. Even in open court during the trial Susanna Shelden’s hands were tied so inexplicably with a wheel band, which they were obliged to cut, like the Gordian knot.

Most of the testimony on her trial, was similar to that given in against Bishop, How, and Martin; being of various injuries to the cattle and health of the people of Andover. But to every accusation she opposed a decided denial; threats could not weaken her, nor promises seduce her resolution to abide by the truth. Invitations to repent, confess and be saved and which others accepted so readily, she treated with contempt; her conscience was too sensitive for such falsehood and her courage remained unshaken through all the terrors of a public prosecution, trial and execution.

And who will deny to Martha Carrier’s name a place among those of recorded martyrs for the love of truth.

The boldness and even ultraism of the Andover witcher in covenanting with the devil, and renouncing infant baptism, and receiving an adult baptism at his hands by plunging in rivers and ponds, (a hit by the standing order at the Anabaptists,) and in riding on poles with him, startled and terrified the country. Some of these practices were peculiar to that company, and brought out by spectral discoveries of Abagail Williams and other pupils of old Tituba. Under this excitement the General Court met at Boston in October, 1695, and then passed a law of death against those who should feed, consult, employ or covenant with no evil or wicked spirit.

John Proctor and his wife, with John Willard, were also tried at the August session of the commissioners.

Willard had for some time been used by the prosecutors as a witch hunter, and to bring in the victims for examination; a most odious and unpopular office. But the many cases of individual and family distress and despair, which he daily witnessed in this employment, at last so excited his compassion, that he refused to act. Immediately upon which, and to punish signally the supposed89 affront and rebellion, he was cried out upon as being himself in league and covenant with the devil, and well knowing his danger he at once turned and fled northwardly into the wilderness towards Canada. But swift runners were sent on foot in the same direction who soon came up with him. And it was given out by his enemies, that the bewitched girls at Salem were conscious of the exact moment of his arrest, though many miles distant; and that one of them cried out in open court, “now Willard is taken!” which proved to be correct. He was brought back, and hung in terror to all offenders against the then dominant bloody influences.

Proctor and his wife were those whose primary examination of the 11th of April has been already detailed. Some of the same magistrates who then advised their commitment, now sat on their final trial, and they found no favor. Both were returned guilty by the jury and both received sentence of death from the commissioners, and with only ten days space to prepare for eternity.

Goody Proctor turned out to be in delicate health and circumstances, and her execution was deferred until the fury of persecution was past, and she was saved.

But for Proctor himself, although he became ensnared by his conjugal fidelity, there was no commiseration or hope; and as death nearly approached, he showed more fear than any of his suffering companions. Indeed, in all these terrors it was notorious that females suffered with the most patience and fortitude.

His letter to five of the principal clergymen in and about Boston shows their supposed influence with the government, and in the witch prosecutions.

It was written in prison a little before his trial, and is addressed Messrs. Mather, Allen, Moody, Willard and Bailey.

Up to his last moments, Proctor begged hard for his life, or for only a little space to prepare, or for repentance, often saying he was not fit to die; but all to no purpose.

After he went up the ladder he begged Mr. Noyes, his own pastor, to pray with him; but he refused, because Proctor would not confess himself guilty of witchcraft, and thus give the strongest possible sanction to the bloody measures then in progress. As he was at last forcibly pushed off, begging for his life and protesting that he was an innocent man.

On the 9th and 17th of September the witch commissioners sat and sentenced to death fifteen more; and on the 22nd of the same month, eighth of these, viz.: Martha90 Corey already mentioned, Mary Easty, of Topfield, Alice Parker and Ann Pudater of Salem, Margaret Scott of Rawley, Mary Parker and Samuel Wardwell of Andover, and William Reed of Marblehead, were hung; and as the cart with these ascended witch hill to the place of execution, it proceeded with difficulty, and at last came to a stand; whereupon the afflicted declared that the devil himself blocked the wheels. Why should he hinder a witch execution? It was doctrine then, that at their death, he had the immediate possession of their souls.

It was on this occasion that the Rev. Mr. Noyes, turning to the eight bodies hanging on the tree, said aloud to the by-standers, “how sad it is to see those eight fire brands of hell, hanging there!”

Wardwell was one of those who had confessed himself guilty of witchcraft; but afterwards denied his confession. When he was on trial his former confession, and the spectre evidence of the afflicted, were given in against him, and this was all the evidence.

Calef says that at his execution, whilst addressing the people and protesting his innocence, the hangman smoked tobacco, and the smoke blowing in his face interrupted his discourse; but the accusers said that it was the devil who smoked him.

Here it seems according to the afflicted, the devil did not wish his man to escape; contrary to his allged conduct in the cases of Burroughs and Proctor.

Mrs. Mary Easty, hung on this occasion, was also the sister of Rebecca Nurse, and no doubt but that her connection with that ill-fated woman who was herself a victim to sisterly love, was the cause of her persecution and death. The three sisters were noted for their mutual love. Her’s was a hard case and excited great public commiseration. It was hoped that her spotless character and example would prove too strong on her trial, for the fictions and fits of the afflicted and their partizans. But they employed a jury of eight women, and a doctor to search her body for the devil’s marks, and an excresence was found which was pronounced to be a witch teat; and it turned the case against her.

Shortly before her execution, she called her husband, children and friends about her in prison, and gave them her last farewell, with such affectionate and pious exhortation, as drew tears from the eyes of all present. She also sent to the court the following petition, which presents a vivid picture of her case, and of the unhallowed times on which she had fallen.

“To the Honorable Judge and Bench, now sitting in91 Salem, and the Rev. Ministers; This petition humbly sheweth; That whereas your poor petitioner being condemned to die, doth humbly beg of you to take into your judicious and pious consideration, that your poor and humble petitioner knowing my own innocency (blessed be the Lord for it) and seeing plainly the subtility and wiles of my accusers towards myself, cannot but judge charitably of others, who are going the same way to death with me, if the Lord step not mightily in.

“I was confined a whole month, on accusation of witchcraft, and then cleared by the afflicted persons, as some of your Honors know, and in two days time I was cried out upon by them again, and have been since confined, and now am condemned to die. The Lord above knows my innocence, and it will be known at the great day by men and angels. I petition to your Honors, not for my own life, for I know I must die, and my appointed time is set. I question not but your Honors do to the utmost of your powers in the discovery and detecting of witches, and would not for the world be guilty of innocent blood; but by my own innocency I know you are in the wrong way. May the Lord in mercy, direct you in this great work.

“I would humbly beg that your Honors would be pleased to examine some of those confessing witches; I being confident that there are some of them who have belied themselves and others, as will appear, if not in this world, I am sure it will in the world to come, whither I am going.

“They say that myself and others have made a league with the devil; we cannot confess. The Lord knows they belie me, as I question not they do others; the Lord alone who is the searcher of all hearts knows, as I shall answer at his judgment seat, that I know not the least thing of witchcraft, therefore I cannot, I durst not, belie my own soul.

“I beg your Honors not to deny this my humble petition, from a poor dying innocent person, and I question not but the Lord will give a blessing to your endeavors.

Mary Easty.

This touching and modest declaration Mary Easty sealed with her blood. Her husband, Captain Isaac Easty, was a soldier, and then stood in arms against the French and Indians, and to defend the country and the same power which forced away his wife from her once happy home and family, and without regard to her known piety and virtue, carted her up Witch Hill and hung her on the limb of a tree.


Of the other persons hung on the 22d of September 1692, few particulars have come down to us, either in history or by tradition. It was the last execution and its atrocity manifestly weakened the authority of Phipps’ bloody witch court, and the credit of the Parris afflicted band. It swelled the number of victims to twenty, nineteen of whom had now been hung on that fatal gallows-tree, in after ages an object of peculiar superstitious dread; and their bodies, unhonored even by funeral decencies, though not unwept by private affection, were cast with public ignominy into untimely graves about its roots. But the tree withered, as was supposed, thunder-smitten, and stood for years with leafless, outstretched branches and shattered trunk, until burned to the ground by the descendants in the third and fourth generation of those who suffered on it. In superstitious minds tempests and torrents could not wash away the blood from the unhallowed hill whereon it grew, and the soil was cursed and barren of all wholesome vegetation.

But all were not executed who were tried and sentenced. Besides Elizabeth Proctor, Abigail Falkner of Andover was saved by her delicate family condition. At her trial the court took the confession of her little daughter, ten years old, against her. But Dorcas Hoar of Beverly, Rebecca Eams of Boxford, Abigail Hobbs of Topsfield, Mary Bradbury of Salisbury, and Ann Foster and Mary Lacy of Andover, all flattered their persecutors by a confession of the charges against them, and thus escaped death.

This whole slaughter of the innocent under the similitude of legal forms, was the work of little more than three short months. A sudden bereavement, indeed, of near and loved friends. When, however, a lawful court was established, this sham tribunal, happily for the country, came to an end. And it is some consolation to know that it was entirely discontinued with the regular jurisprudence of the country.

The last witch trials ever holden in Massachusetts were those five at Ipswich about the middle of May, 1693, and to which I have already referred.

By this time the spectre evidence, or the devil’s testimony through the mouths of the afflicted, had become so unpopular that none of the judges dared to sustain it, and the juries also disregarded it; and from this time forth it was manifest that there could be no more convictions for alleged witchcrafts.

And thus public opinion, operating through the jury and the only part of the government at that time through93 which it could operate, in effect annulled the bloody witch law, passed by false agents of the people, against common justice and in favor of the then ruling political interests and influences; or the old charter church and state aristocracy. And history rarely reveals to us a more bloody despotism. And shall it not stand forever as a warning against any interference by a people’s self-government with the religion or business of the community?

Early in the year of 1727 the last witch-fire was kindled with which the air of bonnie Scotland was polluted. Two poor Highland women, a mother and daughter, were brought before Captain David Ross of Littledean, deputy-sheriff of Sutherland, charged with witchcraft and consorting with the devil. The mother was accused of having used her daughter as her “horse and hattock,” causing her to be shod by the devil, so that she was ever after lame in both hands and feet. The fact being satisfactorily proved, and Captain David Ross being well assured of the same, the poor old woman was put into a tar-barrel and burned at Dornoch in the bright month of June. “And it is said that after being brought out to execution, the weather proving very severe, she sat composedly warming herself by the fire prepared to consume her, while the other instruments of death were getting ready.” The daughter escaped. Afterward she married and had a son who was as lame as herself, and in the same manner; though it does not appear that he was ever shod by the devil and witch-ridden. “And this son,” says Sir Walter Scott, in 1830 “was living so lately as to receive the charity of the present Marchioness of Stafford, Countess of Sutherland in her own right.”

This then, is the last execution for witchcraft in Scotland; and in June, 1736, the Acts Anents Witchcraft were formerly repealed. Henceforth to the dread of the timid, and the anger of the pious, the English Parliament distinctly opposed the express Law of God: “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live;” and declared the text upon which so much critical absurdity had been talked, and in support of which so much innocent blood had been shed, vain, superstitious, impossible and contrary to that human reason which is the highest Law of God hitherto revealed unto men. But if Parliament could stay executions it could not remove beliefs nor give rationality in place of folly.

Not more than sixty years ago an old woman named Elizabeth M’Whirter was “scratched” by one Eaglesham in the parish of Colmonel, Ayrshire, because his son had94 fallen sick, and the neighbors said he was bewitched. Poor old Bessie M’Whirter was forced over the hills to the young man’s house, a distance of three miles, and there made to kneel by his bedside and repeat the Lord’s Prayer.

In offering this collection of witch stories to the public, I do not profess to have exhausted the subject, or to have made so complete a summary as I might have done, had I the space, but I do not think that I have left much untold.

Neither have I attempted to enter into the philosophy of the subject. It is far too wide and deep to be discussed in a few hasty words; and to sift such evidence as is left us—to determine what was fraud, what self-deception, what disease and what the exaggeration of the narrator—would have swelled my book into a more important and bulky work than I intended or wished. As a general rule, I think we may apply all four conditions to every case reported; in what proportion, each reader must judge for himself. Those who believe in direct and personal intercourse between the spirit-world and man will probably accept every account with the unquestioning belief of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; those who have faith in the uniform operations of nature, will hold chiefly to the doctrine of fraud; those who have seen much of disease and that strange condition called “mesmerism,” or “sensitiveness,” will detect the presence of nervous derangement, mixed up with a vast amount of conscious deception, which the credulity and ignorance of the time rendered easy to practice; and those who have been accustomed to sift evidence and examine witnesses will be dissatisfied with the loose statements and wild distortion of every instance on record.

The whole world was overrun with witches. From every town came crowds of those lost and damned souls; from every hovel peered out the cursing witch, or cried aloud for help the stricken victim. These poor and old and wretched beings, on whose heads lighted the wrath of a world, and against whom every idle lad or moping maid had a stone to fling at will, were held capable of all but omnipotence. They could destroy the babe in the womb and make the “mother of many children childless among women;” they could kill with a look and disable with a curse; bring storms or sunshine as they listed; by their “witch-ropes,” artfully woven, draw to themselves all the profit of their neighbor’s barns and breweries; yet95 ever remain poor and miserable, glad to beg a mouthful of meat or a can of sour milk from the hands of those whom they could ruin by half a dozen muttered words. They could take on themselves what shapes they would, and transport themselves whither they would. No bolt nor bar could keep them out; no distance by land or sea was too great for them to accomplish; a straw—a broomstick—the serviceable imp ever at hand—was enough for them; and with a pot of magic ointment, and a charm of spoken gibberish, they might visit the king on his throne or the lady in her bower, to do what ill was in their hearts against them or to gather to themselves what gain and store they would. Yet with all this power the superstitious world saw nothing doubtful or illogical in the fact of their own exceeding poverty, and never stayed to think that if witches and wizards could transport themselves through the air to any distance they chose, they would be but slippery holding in prison, and not very likely to remain there for the pleasure of being tortured and burned at the end. But neither reason nor logic had anything to do with the matter. The whole thing rested on fear, and that practical atheism of fear, which denies the power of God and the wholesome beauty of Nature, to exalt in their stead the supremacy of the devil.

This belief in the devil’s material presence and power over men was the dark chain that bound them all. Even the boldest opponent of the Witchcraft Delusion dared not fling it off. The bravest man, the freest thinker, could not clear his mind of this terrible bugbear, this phantasm of human fear and ignorance, this ghastly lie and morbid delusion, or abandon the slavish belief in Satan for the glad freedom of God and Nature.

Superstition dies hard; or rather, so far as we have yet gone, it does not die at all, but only changes its form and removes its locality. If educated people do not now believe in witches and Satanic compacts, as in the ignorant old times of which these stories treat, they do still believe in other things which are as much against reason and as incapable of proof. And perhaps it may give some cause to think that assertion does not necessarily include truth, and that skepticism may be at times a wiser attitude of mind than credulity, when they remember that the best brains in the world were once firmly convinced of the truth of Possession and the diabolical art of witchcraft, and realize how many innocent men and women were murdered on the strength of these beliefs and to vindicate the honor and glory of God. So96 long as one shred of superstition remains in the world, by which human charity is sacrificed to an unprovable faith, so long will it be necessary to insist on the dead errors of the past as a gauge for the living follies of the present.

But the snake is scotched, not killed. So far are we in advance of the men of the ruder past, inasmuch as our superstitions, though quite as silly, are less cruel than theirs, and hurt no one but ourselves. Yet still we have our wizards and witches lurking round area gates and prowling through the lanes and yards of the remoter country districts; still we have our mediums, who call up the dead from their graves to talk to us more trivial nonsense than ever they talked while living, and who reconcile us with humanity by showing us how infinitely inferior is spirituality; still we have the unknown mapped out in clear lines sharp and firm; and still the impossible is asserted as existing, and men are ready to give their lives in attestation of what contravenes every law of reason and of nature; still we are not content to watch and wait and collect and fathom before deciding, but for every new group of facts or appearances must at once draw up a code of laws and reasons, and prove, to a mathematical certainty, the properties of a chimera, and the divine life and beauty of a lie. Even the mere vulgar belief in witchcraft remains among the lower classes. And indeed so long as conviction without examination, and belief without proof, pass as the righteous operations of faith, so long will superstition and credulity reign supreme over the mind, and the functions of critical reason be abandoned and foresworn. And as it seems to me that credulity is a less desirable frame of mind than skepticism, I have set forth this collection of witch stories as landmarks of the excesses to which a blind belief may hurry and impel humanity, and perhaps as some slight aids to that much misused common sense which the holders of impossible theories generally consider it well to tread under foot, and loftily ignore.

Transcriber’s Note

Text was placed in brackets where the original was not legible. Punctuation was adjusted to standard usage. Duplicate words at line endings or page breaks were removed. Obvious printing errors, such as backwards, upside down, missing or partially printed letters and punctuation, were corrected. Otherwise, the many misspelled words in the text were not corrected.