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Supernatural (Vol. I of II), by Various

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Title: The Other World; or, Glimpses of the Supernatural (Vol. I of II)
       Being Facts, Records, and Traditions Relating to Dreams,
              Omens, Miraculous Occurrences, Apparitions, Wraiths,
              Warnings, Second-sight, Witchcraft, Necromancy, etc.

Author: Various

Editor: Frederick George Lee

Release Date: July 29, 2013 [EBook #43345]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by The Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images
generously made available by The Internet Archive.)






The Other World;





Vicar of All Saints’, Lambeth.








(All rights reserved.)



[Pg v]




[Pg vi]

“It is often asked—Do you believe in Prophecies and Miracles? Yes and no, one may answer; that depends. In general, yes; doubtless we believe in them, and are not of the number of those who ‘pique themselves,’ as Fénelon said, ‘on rejecting as fables, without examination, all the wonders that God works.’ But if you come to the particular, and say—Do you believe in such a revelation, such an apparition, such a cure?—here it is that it behoves us not to forget the rules of Christian prudence, nor the warnings of Holy Writ, nor the teaching of Theologians and Saints, nor, finally, the decrees of Councils, and the motives of those decrees. Has the proper Authority spoken? If it has spoken, let us bow with all the respect due to grave and mature ecclesiastical judgments, even where they are not clothed with infallible authority; if it has not spoken, let us not be of those who reject everything in a partizan spirit, and want to impose this unbelief upon everybody; nor of those who admit everything lightly, and want alike to impose their belief; let us be careful in discussing a particular fact, not to reject the very principle of the Supernatural, but neither let us shut our eyes to the evidence of testimony; let us be prudent, even to the most careful scrutiny—the subject-matter requires it, the Scriptures recommend it—but let us not be sceptics; let us be sincere, but not fanatical: that is the true mean. And let us not forget that most often the safest way in these matters is not to hurry one’s judgment, not to decide sharply and affirm absolutely—in a word, not to anticipate, in one sense or the other, the judgment of those whose place and mission it is to examine herein; but to await, in the simplicity of faith and of Christian wisdom, a decision which marks out a wise rule, although not always with absolute certainty.”—Dupanloup, Bishop of Orleans, “On Contemporary Prophecies.”



[Pg vii]



These volumes have been compiled from the standing-point of a hearty and reverent believer in Historical Christianity. No one can be more fully aware of their imperfections and incompleteness than the Editor; for the subjects under consideration occupy such a broad field, that their treatment at greater length would have largely increased the bulk of the volumes, and indefinitely postponed their publication.

The facts and records set forth (and throughout, the Editor has dealt with facts, rather than with theories) have been gathered from time to time during the past twenty years, as well from ordinary historical narrations as from the personal information of several friends and acquaintances interested in the subject-matter of the book. The materials thus brought together from so many quarters have been[Pg viii] carefully sifted, and those only made use of as would best assist in the arranged method of the volume, and suffice for its suitable illustration.

The Editor regrets that, in the publication of so many recent examples of the Supernatural (about fifty), set forth for the first time in the following pages, the names of the persons to whom those examples occurred, and in some cases those likewise who supplied him with them, are withheld.

The truth is, there is such a sensitive dislike of publicity and of rude criticism consequent upon publicity, that very many persons shrink from the ordeal. However, it may be sufficient to state that the Editor holds himself personally responsible for all those here recorded, which are not either details of received History, or formally authenticated by the names and addresses of those who have supplied him with them.

Many examples of the Supernatural in modern times and in the present day are here published for the first time, in an authoritative and complete form.

By the kind courtesy of Lord Lyttelton, the family records of a remarkable apparition, which is said to have been seen by his noble ancestor, were placed at the Editor’s disposal, and, by his Lordship’s permission, are in the following pages now first set forth in detail and at length.

The Editor is also indebted to the following, either for obliging replies to his inquiries, or for[Pg ix] information which has been embodied in the succeeding pages:—The late Lady Brougham, the late Rev. W. Hastings-Kelke, of Drayton Beauchamp; A. L. M. P. de Lisle, Esq., of Garendon Park; the Very Rev. A. Weld, S.J.; the Right Rev. Monsignor Patterson, D.D., of S. Edmund’s College, Ware; the Rev. J. Jefferson, M.A., of North Stainley Vicarage, near Ripon; the Very Rev. E. J. Purbrick, S.J., of Stonyhurst College; the Rev. John Richardson, B.A., of Warwick; Henry Cope Caulfeild, Esq., M.A., of Clone House, S. Leonard’s; the Rev. Theodore J. Morris; Mrs. George Lee; the Rev. H. N. Oxenham, M.A.; Miss S. F. Caulfeild; Dominick Browne, Esq. (Dytchley); Captain Lowrie, of York; Mr. C. J. Sneath, of Birmingham; and many others.

If there be anything set forth in this volume, in ignorance or misconception, contradictory to the general teaching of the Universal Church, the Editor puts on record here his regret for having penned it, and his desire altogether to withdraw such error.

F. G. L.

All Saints’ Vicarage,
York Road, Lambeth.

[Pg x]



[Pg xi]


Chapter I.
Introductory.—Materialism of the present age 1
Chapter II.
The Miraculous in Church History 21
Chapter III.
Spiritual Powers and Properties of the Church.—Sacraments.—Sacramentals.—Exorcism 51
Chapter IV.
Witchcraft and Necromancy 149
Chapter V.
Dreams, Omens, Warnings, Presentiments, and Second Sight 207




[Pg 1]




[Pg 2]

“In some sense of the Supernatural, in some faith in the Unseen, in some feeling that man is not of this World, in some grasp on the Eternal God, and on an eternal supernatural and supersensuous life, lies the basis of all pity and mercy, all help, and comfort, and patience, and sympathy among men. Set these aside, commit us only to the Natural, to what our eyes see and our hands handle, and, while we may organize Society scientifically, and live according to ‘the laws of Nature,’ and be very philosophical and very liberal, we are standing on the ground on which every savage tribe stands, or indeed on which every pack of wolves gallops.”



[Pg 3]



Chapter I.



To any sincere and hearty believer in Historical Christianity the advance of Materialism and the consequent denial of the Supernatural must be the cause both of alarm and sadness. The few lead, the many follow; and it is frequently the case that conclusions contrarient to the idea of the Supernatural are arrived at, after a course of reasoning, which conclusions appear to many wholly unjustified, either by the premisses adopted, or from the argument that has ensued.

It has been stated, in a serial of some ability,[1] that the final issue of the present conflict between[Pg 4] so that things are necessarily different to what they would have been if he had not thus acted, and no disturbance nor dislocation of the system around him ensues as a consequence of such action, surely He Who contrived the system in question can subsequently interpose both in the natural and spiritual order of the world. For to deny this possibility is obviously to place God on a lower level than man; in other words, to make the Creator of all things weaker and less free than His own creatures.

Now, to go a step further, all human efforts to find out God have been the result of the combination of ideas gleaned from human experience. These ideas have often enough been grotesque, fanciful, and distorted—a judgment which will be admitted to be accurate by all Christian people; whether the gross conceptions of Pagan mythology or the nebulous speculations of modern “thinkers” are brought under consideration. That man, the created, cannot understand God the Creator—that the thing made cannot compass the Maker—is not only perfectly certain, but necessary. The being of God cannot be grasped by a finite intellect; nor can such an intellect conceive the mode of an existence absolutely and utterly removed from created conditions. Such knowledge is too wonderful and excellent: we cannot attain unto it.[2]

But though it may be, and is, utterly impossible[Pg 5] to conceive Almighty God, it is anything but impossible to conceive the fact and reality of His being. For, as is well known, the general thought and conscience of mankind have believed in a God, semper et ubique, everywhere and at all times. Thus a thing may exist, and its existence may be perfectly patent to the understanding; and furthermore its existence may be worthy of implicit belief; while, at the same time, the thing itself may be found to transcend and overpass the limited powers of man’s intellect. Take, for example, the ideas conveyed by the terms “eternal”[3] and “infinite.” Who can comprehend them? Who can explain them? Ordinary popular conceptions make them mere indefinite extensions of duration and space; yet these conceptions need not and do not appear absurd, but, on the contrary, enable ideas, at once definite, distinct, and recognizable, to be conveyed from man to man.

Thus, by a simple process of thought, we may see for ourselves the place and propriety of a Revelation, and appreciate the truth of the Supernatural. Here, in the province of a Revelation, not man’s conception of God, but God Himself is set forth. Not so unlike ourselves is He that we find Him, with will, actions, and purposes, unintelligible; but,[Pg 6] using analogies gathered and systematized by experience, we learn, at the same time, that our Creator is beyond the range both of thought and language—never to be fully known, until, with divinely-illuminated faculties in a higher state, we see Him face to face.

And when we have attained to this point in our course of thought, the first leading fact of God’s revelation meets us. Here it is: “There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker and Preserver of all things, both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”[4]

Now in this revelation, given in its fullness by the Eternal Word, and bequeathed to the Christian Church, to be preserved and handed down for future generations, all is Supernatural. That body of doctrine which Christians believe, divinely guarded by the Church, was announced beforehand, centuries ere it was actually delivered, by a wisdom above nature—the divine light of prophecy. When it was set forth by the Eternal Word, its truth was attested in the face of a hostile people by a power above nature, whose word Creation obeyed, as in regularity, so in marked and palpable change.[Pg 7] This body of doctrine or gospel put forth a supernatural power in the strange rapidity and manifest success with which it subdued hearts to itself. Ancient Rome owned the Crucified as a Monarch conquering and to conquer. His Revelation, of the truth of which there shall be witnesses unto the end, is above nature, in that it alone provides adequate remedies for the manifold infirmities of the human race. The life it produces here is supernatural, as are also the means by which that life is created, and the efficient gifts by which it is being constantly renewed. Supernatural, too, is the work of the Holy Ghost, wrought out by human agents and human instrumentality; changing, sanctifying, illuminating; shadowing forth by its action the reunion of earth with heaven, of man with God, only to be completed and made perfect in the life to come.

Now the purport of this volume is to show by examples of supernatural intervention—examples many of which have been gathered from quite recent periods—that Almighty God, from time to time, in various ways and by different human instruments, still condescendingly reveals to man glimpses of the world unseen, and shows the existence of that life beyond the grave, in which the sceptic and materialist of the present restless age would have us disbelieve, and which they themselves scornfully reject.

From the sure and solid standing-point of[Pg 8] Historical Christianity, believing Holy Scripture to be the Word of God, and the Christian Church to be the divinely-formed corporation for instructing, guiding, and illuminating mankind, remarkable examples of the Supernatural, miracles, spectral appearances of departed spirits, providential warnings by dreams and otherwise, the intervention and ministry of good angels, the assaults of bad, the certain power and efficacy of the gifts of Holy Church, the sanctity of consecrated places, and the persevering malignity of the devil and his legions, are gathered together, and set forth in the pages to follow. For it may reasonably be believed that, as Almighty God has graciously vouchsafed to intervene in the affairs of mankind in ages long past, so there has never been a period in which such merciful intervention has not from time to time taken place. Granted that in the days of Moses and Aaron, and of Elijah and Elisha, man owned miraculous powers, and wrought wonders by the gift of God; granted that in dreams and visions the will of the Most High was sometimes made known to favoured individuals of the Jewish Dispensation; remembering the miracles of our Lord’s apostles and disciples, and bearing in mind the divine and supernatural powers which were first entrusted to, and have been ever since exercised by, the Catholic Church, it is at once unreasonable and unphilosophical to deny the existence in the world of the supernatural and miraculous. As will be[Pg 9] abundantly set forth, their presence and energy are in perfect accord and harmony with the universal experience of mankind. Sceptics may contemn and object, materialists may scoff; but numerous facts as well as a very general sentiment are against their conclusions and convictions.

Floating straws show the direction and force of a current. As an example of the lengths to which an adoption of the materialistic principle will lead some persons, who regard themselves as “philosophers,” and as a specimen of the dangers which threaten us, it may be well to refer briefly to the proposal which has recently been formally and publicly made, viz., that in certain cases of hopeless disease or imbecile old age, physicians should be legally authorized to put an end to such patients by poison.

Thus, when the head of a family becomes old or borders on childishness, the son, by going through the proposed legal formality, may stand by and witness the poisoning of his father, and so enter on the possession of his property. When a mother becomes old, the daughter may assist in a similar manner at her mother’s death. A crippled child, a weak-minded relation, an infirm member of the family, according to the “philosophers,” should have a poisonous drug efficiently administered; that so the weak, crippled, or imbecile might be murdered and put out of the way. Thus these philosopher-fanatics assure us that “the natural law[Pg 10] of the preservation of the fittest,” propounded by them, will come into active and unchecked operation. Having warned us that the penalty we endure for ignoring this “law” is a population largely composed of weak, unhealthy, poor and suffering people, they now earnestly recommend a “scientific method,” by which the lame, the blind, the weak, and the imbecile should be cleared off from the stage of life.[5] “Natural selection,” would, unchecked and never opposed, have preserved alive only the best and noblest types; and as, they tell us in their infallible wisdom, this principle or law has developed us so far from the mollusk to the man, it might by this time, had it been carefully and faithfully applied, have developed us, if not into angels, at least into nineteenth-century savages of great muscular power. This is the odious message to mankind which naturalistic Materialism announces. And if we confine ourselves to what is sometimes called “science”—that is, exclusive knowledge of things[Pg 11] material—such a conclusion as that arrived at, and such degrading principles as those propounded for acceptance and practice, may not be altogether unreasonable.[6] In this kind of “science” there is[Pg 12] little else but coldness, cruelty, and savagery. Only the strong have a right to live. The weak were born to have their life trampled out, and, according to this newly-revived theory, the sooner it is done the better. The murder of the lame, the halt, and the blind, therefore, becomes thoroughly scientific, and follows as a matter of course. Its practice is based upon laws which the materialists have been for some time proclaiming to be “supreme.” If there be no supernatural basis of life, if the supernatural have no real existence, if man be of the earth earthy, if he be only an outgrowth of the dumb forces of matter (the first article of the creed of these “philosophers”), if he be governed solely and altogether, absolutely and completely by an inexorable material law (the highest and the only law, as[Pg 13] they would have us believe), then, of course, their conclusion inevitably follows—that it is both merciful and wise to put a man out of his misery when he becomes a burden both to himself and his friends. There is no place in the lofty and elevating system of Naturalism for a being who cannot take care of himself.

Again: while Scepticism is rampant, and some are endeavouring to bring back the Pagan notions of ancient nations, to galvanize into new life the corrupt imbecilities of the past, men of science are making assertions and assumptions of the boldest, if not of the wildest nature. One such recently maintained the following proposition:—“Taking our earth, we know that millions of years have passed since she began to be peopled.” Now, the maintainer of this assertion notoriously holds some peculiar theories about the means by which the solar system (and consequently other systems) was made, or rather grew. These theories, in some of their details, are or may be founded upon certain more or less well-ascertained facts. But when he uses the term “know,” we are bold to point out that such an assertion rests on mere assumption.[7] We need[Pg 14] facts,—facts which could stand the careful investigation of persons skilled in taking and measuring evidence; and secondly, we require to be reasonably convinced that no other possible explanation of a difficulty be forthcoming, except that on which his assumption is founded and his inevitable conclusion (as he regards it) deduced. But how often with scientific people the phrase “We know” stands for “This is our theory,” or rather “This is our present theory;” for scientific theories change very frequently; and points which have been most dogmatically laid down at one period have been with equal dogmatism condemned and repudiated at another, by those who apparently strain every nerve and exercise every gift bestowed upon them, to deny and cast out the Supernatural from amongst mankind.

From the introduction to a volume of great interest (“The Maxims and Examples of the Saints”),[Pg 15] the following extract is taken, both because of its inherent truth, and also because the Christian instinct in defence of the Supernatural is so prominently and forcibly expressed in every line. Mr. de Lisle’s words stand thus:—

“In these days of shallowness and scepticism, men pride themselves on calling everything into question, as if they proved their claim to wisdom according to the measure of their unbelief. But those who dive a little deeper into things will not be so ready to admit the claims of modern insolent writers. They will find that our ancestors had heads as sound, judgments as cool and unprejudiced, at least, as any of these moderns; and the more they examine, the more reasons will they find for attaching weight to their testimony. In my intercourse abroad with divers holy priests and religious monks, I have seen and heard enough to convince me that many things take place in this world of a supernatural order. Nor do I believe there ever has been a period in the history of the Church, when our Lord has not borne testimony to her divine truth, and to the admirable sanctity of many of her children, by evident and glorious miracles. This is the faith of the Church; and who shall gainsay the teaching of that society that carries with it the experience of eighteen centuries, the immutable promises of God, the attestations of innumerable martyrs, and the consent of nations? To him who believes the words of the holy Gospel,[Pg 16] ‘The works that I do shall they do also, and greater than these,’ &c. (speak not now to the unbeliever), the conclusion will be clear, and humble faith will bow with submission. Keeping this promise in view, the Christian will not find it difficult to believe even the most wonderful histories in the lives of the Saints; at all events, his spirit will not be that which loves to question everything, still less that which treats the testimony of devout writers with levity or scorn. To the humble observer of the ways of Divine Providence, enough occurs every day to prepare him for any manifestation of the Power of God: not to say that there is not a state in Christendom in which, even in our own times, many wonderful miracles have not taken place. Witness the glorious appearance of a vast cross of fire in the heavens at Migné, near Poictiers in France, in the year 1826, in the month of December, an event which was attested on oath before the bishop of the diocese by several thousand eye-witnesses.[8] Josephus relates the prodigies that appeared in the heavens before the downfall of Jerusalem: and who shall say that this sublime apparition in France did not portend the approaching calamities that have since fallen upon that kingdom and upon Europe? In the years 1830 and 1831, blood miraculously flowed from the arms of S. Nicholas,[Pg 17] at Tolentino in Italy, and the circumstance was solemnly attested by the bishop, the clergy, and the magistrates of that city. History records similar prodigies to have taken place at Tolentino whenever any calamities were about to befall Christendom. S. Nicholas has been dead above 500 years. I myself had the consolation to visit his shrine; and I heard from several individuals, with tears in their eyes, the affecting recital of the miracle. Who does not call to mind the wonderful manifestations of God’s power at Rome and at Ancona during the period of the French Revolution, in the year 1792? Innumerable images of our Blessed Redeemer, and of his Virgin Mother, were seen to move their eyes, and some even to weep. Nor were these events seen only by a few, they were beheld and attested by thousands.[9] The miracles that God has performed by means of the holy Prince Hohenlohe are known to all, and some of them have been wrought even in England. These are facts so notorious, that no one can call them in question; nor is it in the power of profane ridicule to throw doubt over their authenticity. At the same time, it will always be true that the Catholic Church does not oblige her children to believe any miracles but those recorded in the sacred Scriptures; she leaves it to the[Pg 18] discretion of each individual to ground his conviction on the evidence which has come before him; though it would not be an act of piety, or worthy of praise for anyone to speak lightly of such miracles as have been honoured by the approbation of the Holy See.”


As a mark of rapid theological decline, it may here be put on record, that a recent writer, the author of “Supernatural Religion: an Inquiry into the Reality of Divine Revelation” (Longman: 1874), sets forth his “views” (not his “opinion,” least of all his faith, but his “views”) as follows:—

“The importance which has been attached to theology by the Christian Church, almost from its foundation, has been subversive of Christian morality. In surrendering its miraculous element and its claims to supernatural origin, therefore, the religion of Jesus does not lose its virtue, or the qualities which have made it a blessing to humanity. It sacrifices none of that elevated character which has distinguished and raised it above all human systems: it merely relinquishes a claim which it has shared with all antecedent religions, and severs its connection with ignorant superstition. It is too divine in its morality to require the aid of miraculous attributes. No supernatural halo can heighten its spiritual beauty, and no mysticism deepen its holiness. In its perfect simplicity it is sublime, and in its profound wisdom it is eternal.

We gain infinitely more than we lose in abandoning belief in the reality of Divine revelation. Whilst we retain pure and unimpaired the treasure of Christian morality, we relinquish nothing but the debasing elements added to it by human superstition. We are no longer bound to believe a theology which outrages reason and moral sense. We are freed from base anthropomorphic views of God and His government of the universe; and from Jewish theology we rise to higher [Pg 19]conceptions of an infinitely wise and beneficent Being, hidden from our finite minds, it is true, in the impenetrable glory of Divinity, but whose laws of wondrous comprehensiveness and perfection we ever perceive in operation around us. We are no longer disturbed by visions of fitful interference with the order of Nature, but we recognize that the Being who regulates the universe is without variableness or shadow of turning. It is singular how little there is in the supposed revelation of alleged information, however incredible, regarding that which is beyond the limits of human thought; but that little is of a character which reason declares to be the ‘wildest delusion.’ Let no man, whose belief in the reality of Divine Revelation may be destroyed by such inquiry, complain that he has lost a precious possession, and that nothing is left but a blank. The revelation not being a reality, that which he has lost was but an illusion, and that which is left is the truth.”

In another volume recently written by Mr. Congreve, the Positivist, the author maintains in the plainest possible language, what is the immediate and practical object of the small sect to which he has allied himself:—“The professed servants of Humanity must lead in the struggle to eliminate God; and that this is the essential element in the whole existing perplexity is forcing itself upon all.” Again, man’s duty is said to be “openly and avowedly to take service in one or the other of the opposing camps; to bring face to face the two beliefs; the belief in the Past, the belief in God, and the belief in the Future, the belief in Humanity; and to choose deliberately between them.” Furthermore, he avers: “We contemplate the Trinity of our religion, Humanity, the World, and Space.” A Christian critic has made the following terse comments on Mr. Congreve’s book:—

“The chief feeling which possesses us in reading these Essays is one of sorrow for the writer. It is really sad that a man of education should lend himself to such a delusion. The ‘Religion’ itself is ridiculous; indeed it has not so much as a theory. Not even on paper can its doctrines be stated, for the simple reason that it has no doctrines whatever. But[Pg 20] it is always melancholy to watch a naturally good intellect under the sway of a fantastic idea, or to see an educated gentleman writing 500 pages on the ‘Worship’ of what does not exist. The sensation of the reader, as he turns page after page, is expressed in such an inquiry as this: Since the writer himself believes in nothing whatever, how can he invite my conversion?”




[Pg 21]




[Pg 22]

“And He said unto them, Go ye into all the World, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

“And these signs shall follow them that believe: In My Name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.”—S. Mark xvi. 15-18.



[Pg 23]




The important subject of the Miraculous in Church History sufficiently well known to students of it, involves the existence of a religious principle of universal application. This will be apparent, in due course, from the following preliminary considerations:—“A miracle,” writes Hume, “is a violation of the laws of Nature; and, as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined.”[10] Further on, he declares “that a miracle supported by any human testimony is more properly a subject of derision than of argument.”[11] On these statements, definite[Pg 24] and precise as they appear, and yet not sufficiently definite, it may be remarked in the first place that no human experience is unalterable: it may to a certain person or certain persons have been hitherto unaltered. But this is all. Are there then no facts beyond our experience—no natural positions or states with which we are unacquainted? When a man writes of “unalterable experience,” he obviously means so much of that experience, as either mediately or immediately has come to his knowledge; in other words his own past experience.[12] And this[Pg 25] Hume declares sufficient to enable him to determine what are the unvarying laws of Nature, and, by consequence, what are miracles. But surely here is something akin to arrogance. For what modest person would venture to maintain his own experience to be altogether and absolutely firm and unalterable? Who would declare of a witness, who testified, for example, what was contrary to that experience, that such a man was worthy only of disbelief and derision? And yet many, in the present day, adopt and put into practice this unstable and imperfect theory of Hume.

What has been set forth above in opposition to that theory is still more pointedly expressed in the following remarkable passage:

“The natural philosopher when he imagines a physical impossibility which is not an[Pg 26] inconceiveability, merely states that his phenomenon is against all that has been hitherto known of the course of Nature. Before he can compass an impossibility, he has a huge postulate to ask of his reader or hearer, a postulate which Nature never taught: it is that the Future is always to agree with the Past. How do you know that this sequence of phenomena always will be? Answer, Because it must be. But how do you know that it must be? Answer, Because it always has been. But then, even granting that it always has been, how do you know that what always has been always will be? Answer, I see my mind compelled to that conclusion. And how do you know that the leanings of your mind are always towards truth? Because I am infallible, the answer ought to be; but this answer is never given.”[13]

Of course no Christian will deny the following elementary propositions here briefly stated, before the general subject is further discussed. First that man consists of body and soul, the nobler and more important part being the soul, which is spiritual, immortal, and eternal. God, the Creator of all things, is a Spirit; and, in this particular, man is made in the image of God. Destined to dwell on the earth for a while, during an appointed period of probation, man passes by death, which is a temporary separation of soul and body, to the life beyond the[Pg 27] grave. Man’s duty here, therefore, ought to fit and prepare him for a future state, and teach him better the value of his soul and the reality of the Supernatural.

Now the Almighty, in calling man into being here, and making him “lord of the whole earth,” giving him, in fact, dominion over the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea, has established in connection with him a two-fold order, the natural, which relates to the visible world, and the Supernatural or miraculous, which concerns the spiritual and invisible. The natural order comprises the law of nature, by which the World created by God is governed, and concerns man in his dealings with nature. But the Supernatural concerns him in his relations with God and the world of spirits. Both orders are alike from God, and each has its appointed sphere. The Author of both is the controller of each. And, as if to indicate to man from time to time that God has something to say in His own creation, and will not be totally excluded from it by man’s forgetfulness, the Supernatural is wisely and mercifully interwoven with the natural, to remind man, by the Glimpses occasionally vouchsafed of the former, that, though the World has been made for his use and advantage, many things in it speak eloquently of a continued existence in the future, though now the same World’s fashion most surely passeth away. How prone man becomes, by constantly contemplating the natural,[Pg 28] to thrust the Supernatural aside, is the experience of many. And this being so, how merciful is God to remind us of the next world, not only by the ordinary modes and channels appointed for so doing, by change, by revelation, by death; but occasionally by suddenly, strangely, and abruptly breaking in upon the usual order of events, and the ordinary course of nature, to let us see with our natural eyes, and hear with our ears, that He is. Thus the Supernatural indicates the tracing of the Finger of God. Freely, and for a lofty purpose, to set forth His glory, power, and mercy, He created the laws of nature; freely, and for a like lofty purpose, He sometimes suspends them. Such intervention on His part, such a suspension, is a miracle, which may be defined as “a record and evidence of the Supernatural manifesting itself in the midst of the natural order;” or, as S. Thomas Aquinas so clearly and ably defined it of old, “A miracle is an act performed by God out of the ordinary course of nature.” In accepting this, we do but maintain that God alone is the Author and Controller of all laws, whether natural or supernatural. Historical Christianity calls upon us to believe, firstly, the great principle that miracles are possible; and, secondly, that those recorded in Holy Scripture, ranging from the time of Moses to that of S. John the Divine, are true. Other miracles or miraculous interventions rest upon the value, purport, and character of the evidence and testimony forthcoming for their[Pg 29] authenticity. They are all equally possible, because all are acts of the Almighty; but they are not all equally credible, because the evidence of their authenticity may be of a less precise, definite, and well-authenticated character.

To assert, as some do, that a miraculous intervention implies change or contradiction in God, is inaccurate; for in His works surely He may exercise that liberty which is one of His perfections. Were man’s range of vision wider than it is, the working of a miracle might be found to be, after all, only the realization and carrying out of God’s original design and primary purpose. Again, from the point of view of another objection, to maintain that we cannot know what a miracle is, or whether any miracle has been ever wrought, without being acquainted with all the laws of nature, is likewise inaccurate; for we know enough, both of the natural and supernatural, to be perfectly certain that it is out of the ordinary course of nature for a dead man to come to life again. While, then, such a miracle teaches us to acknowledge the power of God, it may, at the same time, serve to let the Materialist realize his own possible ignorance of the laws of nature. For after all there may be some hidden law, as yet unknown, which may contradict a known law, and so modify it—a probability which is at least deserving of the consideration of those who altogether deny the Supernatural.

As regards miracles, let the well-known argument[Pg 30] of the great S. Augustine of Hippo be considered: “Christianity,” he writes, “was either founded by miracles, or it was not. If it was, then miracles exist. If it was not, then this is the greatest of all miracles, viz. that a religion so radically contrarient to all human prejudices, and so much resisted by all human influence, should, without the aid of miracles, have made its place and assured its progress in the world.” If, again, the only evidence that a person will admit is that of his own personal experience, that he must himself witness a miracle; that, like S. Thomas, he will maintain, “Except I shall see ... I will not believe,” has he not power of mind enough to appreciate the fact that he is in every way unreasonable, by demanding for himself that which he altogether refuses to admit in others?

But, in truth, the miracles of our Blessed Lord, and more particularly the miracle of His Resurrection, were so striking and convincing, being testified to, both as regards their act and consequences, by so many, that they produced both conviction and triumph. Not universally, but with a sufficient number of persons to ensure the steady increase of the infant Church—though the very miracles which wrought such a vast moral and religious change, were rejected by the unbelievers of the day.

In the Church of the primitive, as well as in later, ages, the Supernatural was being constantly manifested. The apostles proved the divinity of their mission by the power of their works. The miracles[Pg 31] recorded in the “Acts of the Apostles” were followed by others equally marvellous and remarkable in succeeding periods—a feature that might have been most reasonably looked for in the history of Christianity, for the very life and spirit of the Church are supernatural.[14] Persecuted in every age, she has risen again. After being cast down, driven from this place in one century, she has made still greater progress elsewhere in another. For the first three hundred years of her existence, and in the very heart of the world’s civilization, Rome, every patriarchal primate of that Holy See died a witness to the truths of Christianity. The ordinary supernatural powers of our Lord’s first followers were duly inherited by those formally set apart to fill their place and office. Men freely testified to what they had seen and heard. As occasion seemed to need it, the divine power was duly manifested in outward, notable, and noted acts,—to the truth and reality of which even Profane History has abundantly witnessed.

[Pg 32]While in the records of the Christian Church there is an almost constant tradition of miraculous facts. The tale of every century is rife with them. They were to have been anticipated, because He had spoken Whose Word shall never fail, and His promise seems to have been always remembered: “Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do he shall do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.”[15] Consequently it is found that many of the later miracles, those termed “ecclesiastical,” in distinction to scriptural, are even more remarkable than those wrought by our Blessed Lord Himself—a fact which, instead of deserving ridicule and contempt, merits, from persons of a Christian habit of mind, patient consideration, and a careful, if not a ready, acceptance. For in such the faithful will only perceive a perfect realization of their Master’s divine pledge.

To take a notable example of the miraculous occurring towards the close of the second century (A.D. 174), testified to, as far as the fact of the miracle is concerned, by at least four independent Pagan writers, Dionysius Cassius, Julius Capitolinus, Ælius Lampridius, and Claudian.

Eusebius, in his “Ecclesiastical History,”[16] puts on record the following account of a most remarkable[Pg 33] event:[17]—“It is said that when Marcus Aurelius Cæsar was forming his troops in order of battle against the Germans and Sarmatians, he was reduced to extremities by a failure of water. Meanwhile the soldiers in the so-called ‘Melitene legion,’ which for its faith remains to this day, knelt down upon the ground, as we are accustomed to do, in prayer, and betook themselves to supplication. And whereas this sight was strange to the enemy, another still more strange happened immediately—thunderbolts which caused the enemy’s flight and overthrow; and upon the army to which the men were attached, who had called upon God, a rain, which restored it entirely when it was all but[Pg 34] perishing by thirst.” This fact had been previously put on record by Claudius Apollinaris,[18] Bishop of Hierapolis, in his “Apology for Christianity,” addressed about the year 176 to the Emperor Marcus. Tertullian, about fifteen years later, affirms the truth of the same fact when addressing the Proconsul of Africa. Each of these writers gives point to the narrative, the first by recording that henceforth the term “Thundering Legion” was applied to that in which the Christian soldiers had prayed: the second by his statement that the Emperor had, in consequence, promulgated an edict in favour of the Christians. It is clear from Eusebius, likewise, that the Pagans acknowledged the miracle, as they could not fail to do, wrought as it was in the presence of so many; but, of course, they denied that it was to be attributed to the prayers of the Christians. Julius Capitolinus attributed it to the prayers of the Emperor;[19] Dionysius Cassius to the operations of Arnuphis, an[Pg 35] Egyptian magician.[20] A record of the unquestioned fact, however, is sculptured on the Antonine column at Rome;[21] a medal, struck the very year of the occurrence, likewise commemorates the event. Here, then, we find on record an occurrence which ordinary people will call a miracle; here we obtain a distinct example of the Supernatural. In answer to the prayers of certain Roman soldiers, sons and servants of the Crucified, palpable benefits are vouchsafed, and marvellous deliverances effected. The foe is destroyed, and they are rescued. And this fact is testified to by Pagans worthy of credit as well as by Christians, and is put on record in the modes already set forth.

Another example, the appearance of a luminous Cross to Constantine (A.D. 312), must here be given, because of its inherent importance; because the testimony to its having occurred before so many is very general; and because the moral and religious changes consequent upon it, results that both immediately and eventually followed, have been at once great and notorious:—

The conversion of the Roman empire, in the person of its head, was the most remarkable event in the early pages of Christian history. “Constantine’s submission of his power to the Church,” writes Dr. Newman, “has been a pattern for all[Pg 36] Christian monarchs since, and the commencement of our state establishment to this day; and, on the other hand, the fortunes of the Roman Empire are in prophecy apparently connected with her in a very intimate manner, which we are not yet able fully to comprehend. If any event might be said to call for a miracle it was this; whether to signalize it, or to bring it about. Thus it was that the fate of Babylon was written on the wall of the banqueting-hall; also portents in the sky preceded the final destruction of Jerusalem, and are predicted in Scripture as forerunners of the last great day. Moreover our Lord’s prophecy of ‘the Sign of the Son of Man in Heaven’ was anciently understood of the Cross. And further, the sign of the Cross was at the time, and had been from the beginning, a received symbol and instrument of Christian devotion, and cannot be ascribed to a then rising superstition. Tertullian speaks of it as an ordinary rite for sanctifying all the ordinary events of the day; it was used in exorcisms; and, what is still more to the point, it is regarded by S. Justin, Tertullian, and Minucius as impressed with a providential meaning upon natural forms and human works, as well as introduced by divine authority into the types of the Old Testament.”[22]

The supernatural manner in which the Emperor’s[Pg 37] conversion was accomplished may be thus recorded. Marching from the border of the Rhine, through Gaul and part of Italy by Verona to Rome, against the tyrant Maxentius, who had declared war against him, and was already near Rome with a largely superior force, Constantine solemnly and earnestly invoked the One True God, the God of the Christians, for assistance and victory. At that period he was not a Christian himself, though he had no doubt accurately enough measured the true character of Roman paganism. A short time after midday, upon his march, there appeared in the heavens[23] a large luminous Cross in sight of himself and the whole of his army, with the inscription surrounding it, “In this conquer.” On the following night it is recorded that our Blessed Lord appeared to him in a dream, or, as some say, a vision, and commanded him to have a representation of the sign made, and to use it henceforth as his chief standard in battle. The Emperor, rising early the next morning, announced this vision and message to his confidential friends, and at once gave orders for the making of the imperial standard.[24] This being done, fifty men[Pg 38] of the stoutest and most religious of his guards were chosen to carry it. And, surrounded by these, it was borne immediately before the Emperor himself. The Christian soldiers were full of faith and hope. They saw the Finger of God, and looked for victory.

On the other hand the army of Maxentius, consisting of three divisions of veteran soldiers, esteemed the most efficient in the empire, engaged Constantine in the Quintian fields near the bridge Milvius. The attack was fast and furious. But the aggressors were at all points met with vigour and bravery, and soon succumbed and were in retreat. Constantine, with far fewer numbers than those opposed to him, was completely victorious; the legions of Maxentius were scattered or slain, and on the same day, with the sacred Labarum (as the imperial standard in question was termed) borne before him, he entered Rome in triumph. His conversion to Christianity soon followed upon his victory. In his triumph he dropped the old customs of his Pagan predecessors. He neither mounted the Capitol, nor offered sacrifices to the deities of Rome, but by suitable inscriptions recorded his belief in the power of Christ’s[Pg 39] saving Cross. In his palace at Constantinople, as well as in the chief square of that city, the sacred sign was at once set up; and medals were struck, with representations of the symbol in question upon them, to commemorate both the victory and his own religious change. This occurred about A.D. 312.

Here then we find the record of a distinctively supernatural intervention. No known physical cause could have formed a sentence of Greek or Latin in the air. Nor could a whole army have mistaken a Cross, with its corresponding and appropriate inscription, for a halo of light, or a mere natural phenomenon. Moreover: three years after the event, Constantine erected his triumphal arch at Rome, with an inscription, which still remains, testifying that he had gained the victory “instinctu divinitatis, mentis magnitudine.” Lactantius, likewise, in his treatise “De mortibus Persecutorum” (if it be his book, though some attribute it to Cæcilius), asserts the main facts of the case as regards the dream, describing the “heavenly sign of God;” and this in a treatise certainly written within two years of its occurrence. Seven years later, Nazarius, a Pagan orator, in a panegyric on the Emperor, also puts upon record his solemn conviction that celestial aid was miraculously rendered to Constantine in his defeat of Maxentius. Thus far those who were not Christians testify to the fact under consideration. On the other hand, Eusebius, who received the account from Constantine himself (who is known to[Pg 40] have confirmed it with an oath), gives that record of the occurrence which has been already set forth—and he was notoriously an historian who had small leaning towards over-belief. While the reasonable conclusion, therefore, is that so many independent writers and records of the fact could not have been made to conspire in disseminating a falsehood; the action of the Emperor which followed the event was in perfect harmony with that which might have been looked for under the circumstances narrated—the supernatural appearance of a luminous Cross, heralding a change, even the triumph of the Religion of Christ over the effete systems of a decaying and decayed idolatry.

The principle which was manifested in these cases is, through the study of history, likewise seen to have existed and energized in every part of the Church. Everywhere, from time to time, the proximity of the unseen world and the existence of the Supernatural were made manifest: while, here and there, examples of special miraculous interventions evidently stood forth to show that neither the Arm of the Most High was shortened nor the faith of the followers of our Blessed Lord stunted in its growth. In fact miracles of the most remarkable character have been performed from the age of the apostles to the present time: while Glimpses of the Supernatural have been granted to many as partially unfolding the mysteries of the Unseen World to those who longed and prayed for the same; by which glimpses or visions their[Pg 41] faith has been deepened and their conviction of the truths of Christianity most surely strengthened. Just as our Blessed Saviour, following Moses, constantly appealed to the prodigies He wrought in attestation of His divine mission and in support of His doctrine; so was it with His followers who came after Him. For to them He had promised as much. So far therefore from confining the power of working miracles to His own person and time, He expressly pledged himself and promised that His servants and ambassadors should receive power to work still greater works.[25] Just as under the laws of Nature and the written law given by Moses, the Almighty was pleased to illustrate the society of His chosen servants with frequent miracles, so we are led to expect that the One Family of God should be for ever distinguished by occasional miracles wrought in and through her, as a standing proof of her divine origin and as a guide to the wanderers beyond the confines of her fold. And thus it comes to pass that the Fathers and Teachers of the Church, amongst other proofs of her favour, have constantly appealed to the miracles by which she is illustrated as a proof of her heavenly mission, and as marking her off, at the same time, from the various hereticks and schismaticks who, going out from her, were not of her. For example S. Irenæus, a disciple of S. Polycarp, himself a disciple of S. John the[Pg 42] Evangelist, reproaches the Hereticks against whom he writes in his well-known treatise,[26] that they could neither give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, cast out devils, nor raise the dead to life again, as he maintains was frequently done in the Church. Tertullian, a contemporary of his, writing of the hereticks, asks, “I wish to see the miracles which they have worked.” S. Pacian, in the fourth century, opposing Novatus, and considering his claims, scornfully inquires, “Has he the gift of tongues, or of prophecy? Has he restored to life the dead?” S. Augustine of Hippo, in numerous passages of his works, refers to the miracles wrought by and through and in the Church as most important if not conclusive evidence of her heavenly character and veracity.

Again: In the middle of the fourth century occurred that most wonderful miracle, when the Emperor Julian deliberately attempted to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem, with the express intention of disproving the prophet Daniel’s[27] utterance concerning it. Then tempests, whirlwinds, earthquakes, and fiery eruptions convulsed the scene of the undertaking, maiming and alarming the persistent workmen, throwing down buildings in the neighbourhood, as Rufinus testifies, and rendering the carrying on of the work a sheer physical impossibility. A luminous Cross surrounded by a circle,[Pg 43] indicating that to the Crucified was given all power in heaven and earth, and showing that the Word of God could never fail, nor be brought to nought by the vain determinations of men, appeared in the sky,—a portent witnessed by thousands, and testified to both by Pagan and Arian, as well as by Christian writers.[28]

Furthermore, in the following century, another miracle took place at Typassus or Typasa in Africa, where a large congregation of Christians, being assembled in divine worship, in opposition to the decree of the Arian tyrant Hunneric, they were collected in the Forum, in the presence of the whole province, their right hands were chopped off, and their tongues cut out to the roots by his command; yet, nevertheless they continued to speak as plainly and perfectly as they had done before the barbarous mutilation in question.

This is vouched for by Victor, Bishop of Vite, in the following words:—“The king in wrath sent a certain count with directions to hold a meeting in the Forum, of the whole province, and there to cut out their tongues by the root, and to cut off their[Pg 44] right hands. When this was done, they so spoke and speak, by the gift of the Holy Ghost, as they used to speak before. If, however, anyone will be incredulous, let him now go to Constantinople, and there he will find one of them, Reparatus a subdeacon, speaking like an educated man without any impediment whatsoever. On which account he is regarded with exceeding great veneration in the court of the Emperor Zeno, and specially by the Empress.”[29]

Now, this miracle is remarkable for various reasons. The witnesses to its authenticity are varied, both as to their persons and the details of their testimony, which testimony is both consistent and at one on all important and material points. Moreover, the evidence on behalf of the miracle is very[Pg 45] complete: the number of persons upon whom it was wrought was more than considerable; thus, at the same time, increasing the occasion of valid testimony in its favour, and preventing the interposition of what some persons term “chance.” Furthermore, the miracle is entire; for, as Dr. Newman remarks, “it carried its whole case with it to every beholder:” it is also permanent, that is, it continued to indicate its effects before thousands, whose inquiries, public investigations, and conclusions must have exercised considerable weight with those who were prepared to accept it.[30]

In this brief survey of the miraculous, it is impossible even to touch on the more remarkable evidences of the Supernatural as set forth in the History of the Christian Church. Numerous miracles are recorded by S. Basil, S. Gregory Thaumaturgus, S. Athanasius, S. Jerome, S. Chrysostom, S. Ambrose, and S. Augustine, as well as by other[Pg 46] illustrious Fathers and Church Historians who adorned the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries of the Christian era. One, however, related by both the last-named, by S. Ambrose and S. Augustine, deserves notice, because both those holy bishops were eye-witnesses of it. A cloth in which the relics of SS. Gervasius and Protasius had been wrapped was applied to the eyes of a blind man, who thereupon received his sight.[31] S. Augustine likewise gives an account of numerous miracles wrought in his own diocese of Hippo,—some through the instrumentality of the sacred remains of S. Stephen, others in answer to earnest prayer: while three of the miracles so recorded by him are the raising of three dead bodies to life.

The miracles recorded to have been wrought by S. Basil, S. Athanasius, S. Jerome, S. John Chrysostom, S. Ambrose, and S. Augustine (and, in this particular, he who runs may read) testify clearly and sufficiently to the Divine power which existed in the Church Universal in the times of those holy saints, and the rich fruits of which were both seen and tested by the faithful. One of the most remarkable was the verification of the Wood of the Cross, after its discovery by S. Helena, A.D. 326, through the convincing miracle wrought upon a dead man, who, on being touched by it, was immediately restored to life.

[Pg 47]And so soon as the Religion of Christ was brought to Britain by our great Apostle and Archbishop S. Augustine, “greater works than these” followed, as a matter of course, when the banner of the cross was unfurled upon the coasts of Kent. That this was so, that many miracles were wrought, we learn from a Letter written by S. Gregory the Great to S. Augustine, embodied in the well-known “History” of the Venerable Bede, and preserved amongst S. Gregory’s “Works,” in which the Archbishop is duly and lovingly cautioned against becoming too much elated with vain glory, because of these marked manifestations of Divine power and favour; and is reminded that God Almighty had, no doubt, bestowed the gift of working them, not on the Archbishop’s own account, or for his own merit, but for the conversion of the English nation.[32]

So, through every succeeding age, were Glimpses afforded of the Supernatural. For example, S. Bernard, perhaps the most illustrious saint of the twelfth century, in the “Life of S. Malachi of Armagh,” records the miraculous cure of the withered hand of a youth, by the dead hand of his holy friend S. Malachi. But nothing can exceed the splendour and publicity of the miracles of S. Bernard himself,—to the reality of which the faithful of France and Switzerland, as well as those of Germany and Italy, bore abundant testimony. Princes[Pg 48] and prelates, kings and priests were witnesses of his supernatural power; for, like his Lord and Master, he wrought instantaneous cures on the lame, the halt, and the blind, in the presence of multitudes, and to the great spread and triumph of the Faith. Of those worked at Cologne, Philip, Archdeacon of Liége, who was formally commissioned to inquire and report upon them by Lampeon, Archbishop of Rheims, declared as follows: that “they were not performed in a corner, but the whole city was witness to them. If anyone,” he adds, “doubts or is curious, he may easily satisfy himself on the spot, more especially as some of the miracles were wrought upon persons of no inconsiderable rank and reputation.”[33] Moreover, S. Bernard himself distinctly refers to them in one of his most celebrated treatises, “De Consideratione,” addressed to Pope Eugenius III., and maintains that the evidence of God’s special graces and exceptional blessings thus resting upon him, enabled him to feel sufficient confidence of the Divine aid and benediction to enter upon the grave and laborious task of preaching the Second Crusade.

And if we proceed onward to the sixteenth century, where in some places, and especially amongst the northern nations of Europe, Faith began to wax cold, and Charity was not, we find, from History, that the miracles of Francis Xavier, the saintly[Pg 49] apostle of India, may almost vie with those of the great S. Bernard, for they were as numerous and as inherently remarkable; while the testimony as to their truth, reality, and influence[34] was generally acknowledged by the faithful, as well as by Protestants.

In truth, wherever the Catholic religion has been taught and accepted, wherever the Name of Jesus has been loved and venerated, wherever faith in the Unseen has been active and daring, there the Finger of God has sometimes been manifested. And this, of course, was to have been expected. Our Blessed Saviour’s glorious and unfailing promise, that His disciples, with whom He pledged Himself to remain unto the end of the world, should do even “greater works” than He Himself had wrought, was thus, from time to time, as man’s faith merited God Almighty’s intervention, literally and strictly fulfilled.


[Pg 50]



[Pg 51]




[Pg 52]

“When a man holds up to my conscious eye the page of futurity; or when, at the mandate of a mortal, I clearly perceive Nature to listen and to suspend her laws, I rationally conclude that such a man is indeed employed by God. These miraculous and prophetical tests, produced by the ancient seer to the Israelites, appealed to by Christ in His own sacred cause, and made over by Him to His ministers for ever in the work of conversion, have been a means to guide the enquiring soul to that Authority divinely-commissioned to teach the World. This power to deliver the dictates of the Holy Spirit, this society of continued apostles, or in other words, the Holy Catholic Church in every age, has proved by the evidence of actual miracles her possession of this gift presented to her by her Divine Founder.”



[Pg 53]




It is allowed on all hands by Catholic Christians that liberty has been sometimes permitted to the devil or his angels to enter into the bodies of men (just as of old Satan was allowed to try the patriarch Job), and to obtain such an absolute command over their powers and faculties as to incapacitate them, more or less, for any of the common duties of life. On this point, those who accept the Written Word of God as a portion, and a very important portion, of His Divine Revelation to mankind, through Christ, can have no doubt. In the New Testament, numerous instances of possession by evil spirits are recorded.

The case of the daughter of the woman of Canaan, who cried out to our Blessed Saviour, “Have mercy[Pg 54] upon me, O Lord, Thou Son of David, my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil,”[35] and obtained from Him the gracious and merciful reply, “Be it unto thee even as thou wilt,” is familiar to all.

So likewise is that of the man with an unclean spirit, recorded in the first chapter of the Gospel according to S. Mark. Here the spirit acknowledging that Christ was the “Holy One of God,” received the rebuke of Jesus Christ. “And when the unclean spirit had torn” the man suffering, “and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth He even the unclean spirits, and they do obey Him.”

Again we read, “Unclean spirits, when they saw Him, fell down before Him, and cried saying, Thou art the Son of God.”[36] And when His apostles were called and formally ordained, it is written that they were “to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils,” power which in due course both the Gospels and the recorded History of the Church assure us was duly exercised.

Another miraculous intervention, by which our Blessed Saviour manifested His divine power over evil spirits, and freed suffering men from their[Pg 55] frightful influence, is here given from S. Mark’s Gospel at length: “When He was come out of the ship, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no not with chains: because that he had often been bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, day and night, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped Him, and cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of the Most High God? I adjure Thee by God that Thou torment me not. For He said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And He asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion, for we are many. And he besought Him much that He would not send him away out of the country. Now there was nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought Him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter unto them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine; and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea (they were about two thousand), and were choked in the sea. And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city and in the country.[Pg 56] And they went out to see what it was that was done. And they came to Jesus, and see him that was possessed of the devil, and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind.”[37]

With these solemn and awful facts before us, it is impossible to doubt either of the power or influence of the devil and his angels. That such power had been known amongst the ancient nations, and that certain persons had entered into compacts or alliances with evil spirits, seems to be generally admitted. And although the fact of the Incarnation had sorely crippled the influence of the enemy of souls, it is clear from the last promise given by our Lord to His apostles, “In My Name they shall cast out devils,” that such authority and action would still be needed. For possessions were not to cease, as a reference to the Acts of the Apostles shows: where it is recorded that the very authority bestowed by our Blessed Saviour was actually and efficiently exercised; and there is no reasonable evidence to show that such divinely-bestowed powers have ever ceased. All through the History of the Church, here and there, from time to time, as man needed and as God willed, such direct supernatural powers as those referred to, appear to have[Pg 57] been put into operation. For the Church can bless and the Church can curse. The Church can bind and can loose. She can commend to the protection of God Almighty and His holy angels, and she can deliver over to Satan. She can bestow light and peace on her true and faithful children, and send out the disobedient and impenitent beyond the consecrated confines of her spiritual powers and graces. As effects of Christ’s most gracious promise, such ordinary and extraordinary works were wrought; for the glory of His great Name, and as a testimony of the truth of the Church Universal.

For generations, up to the very earliest age of Christianity, there have been officers of the Church duly set apart and ordained for the particular work of exorcism. Amongst the minor orders of Western Christendom the exorcist has always found a place; and although, in later years, this special work, when undertaken, has been more frequently done by persons in the higher or sacred orders, yet the very office itself, and its title, as well as the existing forms for casting out evil spirits, abundantly attest the Church’s divine and spiritual powers.

In countries which are specially and eminently Christian, where churches, sanctuaries, and religious houses are numerous; where, by the road-side and on the hill-top, stand the signs and symbols of the Faith of Christendom; where the Sacrament of Baptism is shed upon so many; where post-baptismal sin is remitted by those who have authority[Pg 58] and jurisdiction to bind and loose in the Name of their Master; and where the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, God manifest in the Flesh, reposing in the tabernacle, or borne in triumph through aisle and street and garden, hallows and feeds the faithful—there the power and influence of the Evil One is circumscribed and weakened. Sacred oil for unction, and holy water and the life-giving power of the Cross, and the relics of the beatified as well as of the favoured and crowned servants of the Crucified, make the devils flee away, and efficiently curb their power. Hence it is found that in countries where the Catholic Faith has been halved or rejected, Superstition has taken the place of the first theological virtue, Faith; and the Prince of the Powers of the air comes back again with his evil and malignant spirits to vex mankind anew,[38] and mar and stay the final triumph of Him to Whom all power is given in heaven and in earth.

A remarkable case of the Supernatural will here be put on record, which occurred in the diocese of Exeter during the seventeenth century.[Pg 59] Preliminary inquiries and comments concerning the various incidents would be obviously out of place; for the well-authenticated story itself is unfolded with a simplicity and yet with a power which efficiently serve to stamp it as true.

“About 152 years since,” writes Mr. Fortescue Hitchins, in his “History of Cornwall,” “a ghost is said to have made its appearance in this parish[39] (Little Petherick[40]), in a field about half a mile from Botaden or Botathen (in that county). In the narrative which is given of this occurrence, it is said to have been seen by a son of Mr. Bligh, aged about sixteen, by his father and mother, and by the Rev. John Ruddle, master of the grammar school of Launceston, and one of the prebendaries of Exeter, and vicar of Alternon. The relation given by Mr. Ruddle is in substance as follows:—

“Young Mr. Bligh, a lad of bright parts and of no common attainments, became on a sudden pensive, dejected, and melancholy. His friends observing the change, without being able to discover the cause, attributed his behaviour to laziness—an aversion to school—or to some other motive which they suspected he was ashamed to discover. He was, however, induced after some time to inform his brother that in a field through which he passed[Pg 60] to and from school he was invariably met by the apparition of a woman whom he personally knew while living, and who had been dead about eight years. Ridicule, threats, and persuasions were alike used in vain by the family to induce him to dismiss these absurd ideas. Mr. Ruddle was however sent for, to whom the lad ingenuously communicated the time, manner, and frequency of this appearance. It was in a field called ‘Higher Bloomfield.’ The apparition, he said, appeared dressed in female attire, met him two or three times while he passed through the field, glided hastily by him, but never spoke. He had thus been occasionally met about two months before he took any particular notice of it: at length the appearance became more frequent, meeting him both morning and evening, but always in the same field, yet invariably moving out of the path when it came close by him. He often spoke, but could never get any reply. To avoid this unwelcome visitor he forsook the field, and went to school and returned from it through a lane, in which place between the quarry-park and nursery it always met him.

“Unable to disbelieve the evidence of his senses, or to obtain credit with any of his family, he prevailed upon Mr. Ruddle to accompany him to the place. ‘I arose,’ says this clergyman, ‘the next morning, and went with him. The field to which he led me I guessed to be about twenty acres, in an[Pg 61] open country, and about three furlongs from any house. We went into the field, and had not gone a third part before the spectrum, in the shape of a woman, with all the circumstances that he had described the day before, so far as the suddenness of its appearance and transition would permit me to discover, passed by.

“‘I was a little impressed at it, and, though I had taken up a firm resolution to speak to it, I had not the power, nor durst I look back; yet I took care not to show any fear to my pupil and guide; and therefore, telling him that I was satisfied in the truth of his statement, we walked to the end of the field, and returned: nor did the ghost meet us that time but once.

“‘On the 27th July, I went to the haunted field by myself, and walked the breadth of it without any encounter. I then returned, and took the other walk, and then the spectre appeared to me, when about the same place in which I saw it when the young gentleman was with me. It appeared to move swifter than before, and seemed to me about ten feet from me on my right hand, insomuch that I had not time to speak to it as I had determined with myself beforehand. The evening of this day the parents, the son, and myself being in the chamber where I lay, I proposed to them our going to the place next morning; we accordingly met at the stile we had appointed; thence we all four walked into the field together. We had not gone more[Pg 62] than half the field before the ghost made its appearance. It then came over the stile just before us, and moved with such rapidity, that by the time it had gone six or seven steps, it passed by. I immediately turned my head and ran after it, with the young man by my side. We saw it pass over the stile at which we entered, and no farther. I stepped upon the hedge at one place, and the young man at another, but we could discern nothing; whereas I do aver that the swiftest horse in England could not have conveyed himself out of sight in that short space of time. Two things I observed in this day’s appearance; first a spaniel dog, which had followed the company unregarded, barked and ran away as the spectrum passed by: whence it is easy to conclude that it was not our fear and fancy which made the apparition; secondly the motion of the spectrum was not gradatim or by steps, or moving of the feet, but by a kind of gliding, as children upon ice, or as a boat down a river, which practically answers the description the ancients give of the motion of these lemures. This ocular evidence clearly convinced, but withal strangely affrighted, the old gentleman and his wife. They all knew this woman, Dorothy Durant, in her lifetime; were at her burial: and now plainly saw her features in this apparition.

“‘The next morning being Thursday, I went very early by myself, and walked for about one hour’s space in meditation and prayer, in the field[Pg 63] next adjoining. Soon after five I stepped over the stile into the haunted field, and had not gone above thirty or forty paces before the ghost appeared at the further stile. I spoke to it in some short sentences, with a loud voice, whereupon it approached me but slowly, and, when I came near, it moved not. I spoke again, and it answered in a voice neither audible nor very intelligible. I was not in the least terrified, and thereupon persisted until it spoke again, and gave me satisfaction; but the work could not be finished at this time. Whereupon the same evening, an hour after sunset, it met me again near the same place, and after a few words on each side it quietly vanished, and neither doth appear now, nor hath appeared since, nor ever will move to any man’s disturbance. The discourse in the morning lasted about a quarter of an hour.

“‘These things are true, and I know them to be so, with as much certainty as eyes and ears can give me; and until I can be persuaded that my senses all deceive me about their proper objects, and by that persuasion deprive myself of the strongest inducement to believe in Christian Religion, I must and will assert that the things contained in this paper are true. As for the manner of my proceeding, I have no reason to be ashamed of it. I can justify it to men of good principles, discretion, and recondite learning, though in this case I chose to content myself in the assurance of the thing, rather than be at the unprofitable trouble to persuade[Pg 64] others to believe it, for I know full well with what difficulty relations of so uncommon a nature and practice obtain belief.’”

So much as regards the record of the appearance found in the volume already referred to.

The following extract from Mr. Ruddle’s MS. Diary, was taken by the Rev. R. S. Hawker, M.A., vicar of Morwenstow, the accomplished and well-known Christian poet, and appears in his interesting “Footprints of Former Men in Far Cornwall” (London, 1870), and still further amplifies and illustrates this story, the practical and eventual issue of which is now to be recorded:—

“January 7, 1665. At my own house I find by my books what is expedient to be done; and then Apage Sathanas!

“January 9, 1665. This day I took leave of my wife and family, under pretext of engagements elsewhere, and made my secret journey to our diocesan city, wherein the good and venerable bishop then abode.[41]

“January 10. ‘Deo gratias,’ in safe arrival at Exeter: craved and obtained immediate audience of his lordship; pleading it was for counsel and admonition on a weighty and pressing cause. Called to the presence; made obeisance; and then, by command, stated my case, the Botathen perplexity—which I moved with strong and earnest[Pg 65] instances and solemn asseverations of that which I had myself seen and heard. Demanded by his lordship, what was the succour that I had come to entreat at his hands? Replied, license for my exorcism, that so I might, ministerially, allay this spiritual visitant, and thus render to the living and the dead release from this surprise.

“‘But,’ said our bishop, ‘on what authority do you allege that I am entrusted with faculty so to do? Our Church, as is well known, hath abjured certain branches of her ancient power, on grounds of perversion and abuse.’

“‘Nay, my Lord,’ I humbly answered, ‘under favour, the seventy-second of the Canons[42] ratified and enjoined on us, the clergy, Anno Domini 1604, doth expressly provide that No minister, unless he hath the license of his diocesan bishop, shall essay to exorcise a spirit, evil or good. Therefore it was,’ I did here mildly allege, ‘that I did not presume to enter on such a work without lawful privilege under your lordship’s hand and seal.’

“Hereupon did our wise and learned bishop, sitting in his chair, condescend upon the theme at some length, with many gracious interpretations from[Pg 66] ancient writers and from Holy Scripture, and did humbly rejoin and reply; till the upshot was that he did call in his secretary and command him to draw the aforesaid faculty forthwith and without further delay, assigning him a form, insomuch that the matter was incontinently done, and after I had disbursed into the secretary’s hands certain moneys, for signitary purposes, as the manner of such officers hath always been, the Bishop did himself affix his signature under the sigillum of his see, and deliver the document into my hands.

“When I knelt down to receive his benediction, he softly said, ‘Let it be secret, Mr. Rudall,—weak brethren! weak brethren!’”

Some details from the same Diary as to the exact manner in which the ghost was laid give an additional interest to the narrative.

“January 12th, 1665. Rode into the gateway of Botathen, armed at all points, but not with Saul’s armour, and ready. There is danger from the demons, but so there is in the surrounding air every day. At early morning then and alone, for so the usage ordains, I betook me towards the field. It was void, and I had thereby due time to prepare. First I paced and measured out my circle on the grass. Then did I mark my pentacle in the very midst, and at the intersection of the five angles I did set up and fix my crutch of raun [rowan]. Lastly I took my station south, at the true line of the meridian, and stood facing due north. I waited and[Pg 67] watched for a long time. At last there was a kind of trouble in the air, a soft and rippling sound, and all at once the shape appeared, and came on towards me gradually. I opened my parchment scroll, and read aloud the command. She paused and seemed to waver and doubt; stood still: and then I rehearsed the sentence again, sounding out every syllable like a chant. She drew near my ring, but halted at first outside, on the brink. I sounded again, and now at the third time I gave the signal in Syriac—the speech which is used, they say, where such ones dwell and converse in thoughts that glide.

“She was at last obedient and swam into the midst of the circle: and there stood still suddenly. I saw, moreover, that she drew back her pointing hand. All this while I do confess that my knees shook under me, and the drops of sweat ran down my flesh like rain. But now, although face to face with the spirit, my heart grew calm and my mind composed, to know that the pentacle would govern her, and the ring must bind until I gave the word. Then I called to mind the rule laid down of old that no angel or fiend, no spirit, good or evil, will ever speak until they be spoken to. N.B.—This is the great law of prayer. God Himself will not yield reply until man hath made vocal entreaty once and again. So I went on to demand, as the books advise; and the phantom made answer willingly. Questioned, wherefore not at rest? Unquiet[Pg 68] because of a certain sin. Asked what and by whom? Revealed it; but it is sub sigillo, and therefore nefas dictu; more anon. Inquired, what sign she could give me that she was a true spirit and not a false fiend? Stated [that] before next Yule-tide a fearful pestilence would lay waste the land;[43] and myriads of souls would be loosened from their flesh, until, as she piteously said, ‘Our valleys will be full.’ Asked again, why she so terrified the lad? Replied, ‘It is the law; we must seek a youth or a maiden of clean life, and under age, to receive messages and admonitions.’ We conversed with many more words; but it is not lawful for me to set them down. Pen and ink would degrade and defile the thoughts she uttered, and which my mind received that day. I broke the ring and she passed, but to return once more next day. At evensong a long discourse with that ancient transgressor, Mr. B——. Great horror and remorse; entire atonement and penance;[Pg 69] whatsoever I enjoin; full acknowledgment before pardon.

“January 13, 1665. At sunrise I was again in the field. She came in at once, and, as it seemed, with freedom. Inquired if she knew my thoughts, and what I was going to relate? Answered, ‘Nay, we only know what we perceive and hear: we cannot see the heart.’ Then I rehearsed the penitent words of the man she had come up to denounce, and the satisfaction he would perform. Then said she, ‘Peace in our midst.’ I went through the proper forms of dismissal, and fulfilled all, as it was set down and written in my memoranda; and then with certain fixed rites, I did dismiss that troubled ghost, until she peacefully withdrew, gliding towards the west. Neither did she ever afterwards appear; but was allayed, until she shall come in her second flesh, to the Valley of Armageddon on the Last Day.”

Another example, giving with singular power and effect a very striking Glimpse of the Supernatural, from the experiences of a venerated and exemplary Roman Catholic clergyman, the late Rev. Edward Peach, of S. Chad’s, Birmingham, is here given at length. The events narrated occurred in the year 1815, and Mr. Peach deliberately affirmed of the following account that it “may be relied on in every particular as being strictly true.” “I,” he continues, in a formal record of the successful exorcism, “was the minister of God employed on the occasion; and[Pg 70] truth is more to me than all the boastings of pride and vain glory.”

The authentic record stands as follows:—

“Some time after Easter, in the year 1815, I was informed that a young married woman of the name of White, in the parish of King’s Norton, Worcestershire, a Protestant, was afflicted with an extraordinary kind of illness, and that her relations, who occupied a small farm, were convinced that her illness arose solely from the malice of a rejected admirer, who, they said, had employed the assistance of a reputed wizard at Dudley to do her a mischief. These were their terms. I paid but little attention to this story. Afterwards I was informed by a sister who frequents our markets, and supplies with butter a respectable family of my congregation, Mr. Powell, Suffolk Street, that the young woman was married in the beginning of the preceding Lent; that her former admirer repeatedly declared that, if she did marry any other, she should never have another happy day; that the day after her marriage she was seized with an extraordinary kind of mental complaint; that she became suddenly delirious; that she raved, and declared that a multitude of infernal spirits surrounded her; that they threatened to carry her away; that she must go with them. The poor sister informed my friend, with tears streaming down her cheeks, that she continued in that state, day and night, for nearly two months, and that the whole family were almost[Pg 71] exhausted with the fatigue of constantly attending her, for, she said, they could not leave her alone, lest she should put her threats of destroying herself into execution.

“At the end of about two months, according to the relation of the same sister, the poor creature was so spent that her medical attendant (who, during the whole time of his attendance, declared that her illness arose more from a mental than corporeal cause,) declared that, in all probability, she could not survive four-and-twenty hours. The clergyman of the parish was called in to assist her in her last moments; but he found her in a state not to be benefited by his assistance, and he departed.

“Amongst the neighbours who came to make a tender of their good offices for the relief of the afflicted family was a Catholic woman. Her offers were accepted, and she was frequently with her. Finding her reduced almost to a state of inanition, and hearing her speak of these infernal spirits every time she opened her lips, the thought came into her mind of applying to her some holy water. She accordingly procured some, dipped her finger into it, and made the sign of the cross upon her forehead. Instantly the poor sufferer started, and, in a faint voice, exclaimed, ‘You have scalded me.’ However, she leaned upon the bosom of her attendant, and, what she had not done for a considerable time before, she fell into a gentle sleep. On awaking,[Pg 72] she continued to hold the same language as before. The Catholic put a little holy water into her mouth. But the very instant it entered her mouth she seemed to be in a state of suffocation. She and the others who were with her were alarmed, and expected that every instant would be her last. In a short time, however, she swallowed it, and after many convulsive struggles she regained her breath, and exclaimed with violence, ‘You have scalded my throat, you have scalded my throat.’ In a few minutes she fell again into a comfortable sleep, and continued so for some hours. The next morning she appeared refreshed, and spoke reasonably for a short time. Being informed of what had been applied to her, she seemed to wish for more. The swallowing was attended with the same sensation of scalding, and the same convulsive struggles as before; but it seemed to give her ease. From that time the danger of death seemed to decrease by degrees. She enjoyed lucid intervals from time to time; and invariably after the application of holy water, although attended with the same sensations as before, she fell into a slumber.

“One remarkable circumstance deserves notice. In one of her paroxysms, she insisted on getting up, and going out of doors. She said that there was a large snake in front of the house, that she would go and kill it, and then one of her enemies would be removed. Nothing would satisfy her, till this same sister, who gave the account, assured her that she[Pg 73] would go down and kill it. She went down, and, to her great astonishment, found a large snake, and succeeded in destroying it.

“This in substance is the account which the sister gave of Mrs. White’s extraordinary illness. At the same time it was asked whether I could be of any assistance to her, or whether it was probable that I could be prevailed on to go and see her? My friend who related to me the whole of the above account, asked me to go. I replied that I knew nothing of them, nor they of me; but that if she would walk over, and examine into the state of the poor woman, I would go, if there appeared to her to be any probability of my being of service. She went, and, on her return, she informed me that all she had heard seemed to be true, and assured me that all the family were desirous of seeing me, and particularly the young woman herself.

“However, I still delayed, till at length, on Tuesday in Rogation Week, May 2nd, 1815, a special messenger came over to inform me that Mrs. White was in a worse state than ever, and to request me to go and see her without delay.

“I obeyed the call, and I may say with truth that it was the most awful visit I ever made during the whole course of my ministry. The distance was about six miles. No sooner had I cleared the skirts of the town than I heard the distant thunder before me. Before I had proceeded two miles, the storm was nearly over my head; and I may say the[Pg 74] remainder of my walk, and during the time I was with her, there was hardly cessation of one minute between the claps of thunder. I do not say that in this there was anything supernatural, but, knowing the business I was upon, it was truly awful.

“When I arrived at the house, I was informed that she was in a dreadful state, and that the strength of two persons was necessary to keep her in bed. I went up-stairs, and on entering into the room, before she saw me, the curtains being drawn on the side where I entered, she turned to the other side of the bed, and struggled so violently to get away that it was with difficulty that her husband and two women overpowered her. In a few minutes, before she had lifted up her eyes to see me (for she had turned her face downwards) she stretched out her hand to me, in a convulsive manner, and fell speechless and spent upon her back.

“After a time she opened her eyes, and in a faint whisper, answered a question that was put to her, and said she knew who I was. She revived by degrees, and in a short time could speak in an audible voice. Her friends having requested me to try if I could discover what it was that weighed most upon her mind, for they said they had tried to no purpose, I requested them to withdraw. Being alone, she related to me, as far as she could recollect, the circumstances of her illness, and I found that they corresponded exactly with the accounts given by[Pg 75] her sister. I questioned her as to the cause, but I could not discover that it was owing to anything weighing heavy on her mind. She was positive, she said, that it was the young man who had done her a mischief.

“I then proceeded to explain to her some of the articles of the Catholic Faith. She listened with every attention; and when I assured her that she must believe the Holy Catholic Church before she could obtain relief, she, without hesitation, declared that she did believe, and that she believed from the moment she knew what holy water was, and experienced its effects. From the time it was first applied, she said that the devils seemed to keep at a greater distance from her, and that the number seemed to be diminished.

“Such were the ideas on her mind at the time. She was convinced, she said, that it was not the effect of imagination—that she was not delirious—that she knew everything that was said to her, and that she could recollect everything that had passed. I asked her to tell me where the holy water was. Her voice immediately faltered; and with every endeavour, I perceived that she could not point out with her finger, nor tell me by words where it was. She was like an infant attempting to point out an object.

“I looked about and found it. I dipped my finger into it, and made the sign of the cross on her forehead. She started as soon as I touched her, and[Pg 76] was a little convulsed. I asked her what was the matter. For a few moments she could not articulate; but as soon as she could speak, she said that it scalded her.

“After a little more conversation, I desired her to join with me in repeating the Lord’s Prayer. She consented, and without difficulty repeated the first words. But when we came to the petitions, her voice faltered; she was labouring for breath, and appeared to be almost suffocated: her countenance and limbs were convulsed. The greatest stammerer could not find greater difficulty in pronouncing words than she did in pronouncing every word of the petitions. At one time I was inclined to desist, thinking that it was impossible for her to finish it; but we laboured on, and at length came to the end.

“After a short pause, she again began to converse with a free voice, without the least faltering. I explained to her the nature of exorcisms, and proposed to read them over her. She consented, and said that she would endeavour to offer up her prayers to God during the time in the best manner she could. As soon as I began the exorcisms, she fell into a state of convulsive agitation, not indeed endeavouring to get away; but every limb, every joint seemed to be agitated and convulsed, even her countenance was distorted,—it required constant attention to keep her covered.

“Now it was that I felt in a particular manner[Pg 77] the awful situation in which I was. All alone with a person in a distressed condition,—the lightning flashing, the thunder rolling, and I with an imperative voice commanding the evil spirit to reply to my interrogatories, and to go forth from her. I acknowledge that my flesh began to creep and my hair to stand on end. However, I proceeded on till I came to the conclusion, and nothing happened except the violent agitation of the poor sufferer, which continued uninterrupted during the whole time.

“After I had finished, she became calm, and in a few minutes began to converse with me with the same ease as before. Among other things, I asked her whether she had felt any particular sensations during the time that I was coming to see her? She said that during the whole afternoon she had felt the most determined resolution to destroy herself; that she employed every means to induce her friends to leave the room, or to make her escape from them; and that if she had succeeded, she would have laid violent hands on herself the moment she was at liberty. I explained to her the nature of baptism, the necessity of receiving it, and the effects produced by it.

“During the course of our conversation, discovering that there were strong reasons to doubt whether she had been baptized at all, or whether the essential rites had been observed in her baptism, I conceived that it would be advisable to re-baptize[Pg 78] her conditionally. I proposed it, and she readily consented. I gave her what instructions were necessary, and repeated several acts of contrition. Finding her in dispositions the most satisfactory, I made use of the holy water, and baptized her, subject to the condition, if she was not baptized. During the time she trembled like a leaf, and the features of her countenance were distorted, like those of a person in acute pain. Upon my putting the question to her, she replied as she did before, that it gave her as much pain as if boiling water had been poured over her.

“Immediately after the ceremony was concluded, she began to speak to me with all the cheerfulness of a person in perfect health and spirits. We conversed together for a few minutes, and I took my leave, promising to see her again the next day. Her sister went to her, and her first request was that she might have a cup of tea and something to eat; and before I left the house, she eat and drank as she had done before her affliction. I went to see her the next day, and found her down-stairs in perfect health; at least, no effects of her illness were perceptible, except a weakness of body. From that time to this, she has enjoyed good health, and not the least symptom of her former complaint has been felt. It is more than a twelvemonth since.”

A second example of successful exorcism, now to be narrated, is from the pen of an eminent and[Pg 79] well-known clergyman[44] of the Church of England, whose literary labours in the early part of the Oxford movement, were recognized and rewarded by high authority in the English Church. Only a slight verbal alteration here and there to make the narrative of itself quite intelligible, has been made by the Editor.

“The subject is almost too sacred for pen; and[Pg 80] I only put it on record to show the goodness of God, and to indicate that His powers are not withdrawn, nor His Arm shortened. It is some years, however, since the event to be related happened; and the subject of it has long gone to his last account. I must scrupulously refrain from any indication of place and person; though, in these latter days of rude and coarse unbelief, when such interpositions of the Almighty’s mercy are laughed to scorn, some may find comfort and edification from its recital.

“The son of a farmer, who had just come of age, having heard a sermon of mine, which I had preached some five years previously, came a distance of more than thirty miles to seek at my hands ghostly counsel. From his childhood he had been led to indulge in breaches of the seventh commandment, and these after a while were certainly of a heinous character. He believed himself (when I saw him) to be possessed by an unclean spirit. Wherever he went, he asserted that he saw a hideous black figure, darkly draped, with a form like a man, but with the face of a beast, sitting opposite to, huddled up, and staring at him. It would appear for weeks together, at home, abroad, in his sleeping-room, in the field, in the market. Sometimes he would throw himself on to the floor in an agony of distraction, and pray God that it might be removed. For a short term he would cease to see it. But in due course it reappeared. And at[Pg 81] last (an event which had never happened hitherto,) it would likewise haunt him in dreams. On one occasion he declared that it seemed to elongate itself into a long serpent-like figure, and, as he asserted, tried to creep down his throat. But wherever he went he almost always saw it. Thinking it might be the result of bodily ailment he consulted a physician; but with no effect.

“I am free to say that I was not long in coming to a conclusion, that it was a case of possession; though I did not arrive at that conclusion until I had taken counsel from one of the most pious and holy clergymen I ever knew,[45] and had commended the subject to God Almighty in very earnest prayer.

“The result was that I unfolded to the subject of this apparition my intention, with God’s help, and his own sanction, to cast out the spirit, according to the old rule and custom of Holy Church. Prior to this he made a full and frank confession of his whole life, and resolved by God’s help to amend. Having made an appointment, a fortnight hence, with him, and being resolved to consecrate my proposed act, by special deeds of fasting, self-denial, and prayer, I was alarmed to hear, by letter, of his most serious illness a few days later. His relations asserted that he was suffering from epilepsy, and that the fits were rapid and most severe.

[Pg 82]“The following day, taking with me a book containing an authorized form of exorcism, I went to see the sick man. His sufferings seemed to be excruciating: his fits shocking to witness. At a half-lucid interval he saw me; and, starting from his bed, tried to throw himself out of the window. When he was calmer, I knelt down and prayed for him with his relations; making several times an act of Faith.

“Then signing him with the cross on forehead, mouth, and breast, I began the authorized form. During this, his fits returned; and his violence and ravings were terrible to witness. Throughout I felt sustained in my action by a Higher Power, and completed my task in the Name of the Adorable and Ever-Blessed Trinity. Here he sank into a deep sleep; and this sleep proved to be the beginning of a complete change for the better. The fits ceased, the body was no longer tortured with writhings; and, as I heard from him afterwards, the hideous vision or apparition vanished, and was never seen again. A few years afterwards he died, as I believe in grace; and, as I commended his soul to God, so I committed his body to the dust; and have always looked upon this remarkable event as a token, to myself most unworthy, of the Almighty’s power and Presence amongst us, as well as of His exceeding great mercy and goodness to this poor sufferer.”

Another remarkable instance of the active and[Pg 83] energizing powers of the Church of God, unimpaired and uncrippled, may be gathered from the record which follows of the sudden and effectual cure of Françoise-Geneviève-Philippe, which took place in the church of the Carmelites of Pontoise on the 16th of July, 1784, upon the Festival of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The record below is a literal translation of the formal act and deed of the person cured:—

“I, the undersigned Françoise-Geneviève-Philippe, called in religion ‘Sister Josephine-Mary of the Incarnation,’ aged thirty years, declare that my health being disordered at Pontoise, where I resided with the Ursuline Dames for eleven years, I was advised to make a change of air; I consequently withdrew to the Dames of the Congregation of Trouvelle-les-Vernon, where I entered on the 16th of February, 1782. My health continued bad in consequence of the frequent attacks of hæmorrhage to which I became subject.

“On the 29th of December following I was seized with a violent headache, beginning with a swoon, which lasted more than two hours, and with a frightful hæmorrhage. Suitable remedies were instantly administered to me by skilful physicians, but in vain; and after this I was attacked with convulsions, and the entire suspension of all motion in my body.

“Different consultations were held at Paris; MM. Fumé and Petit sent me prescriptions which[Pg 84] produced no effect. This sickness continued until the 13th of May, 1783, when I was removed into the town of my uncle’s. All these facts have been attested by the physicians and surgeons of Vernon, by the testimony of M. Atadie, physician to his Serene Highness the Duke of Penthievre, and of M. le Noble, physician, who had employed magnetism, but without effect. These certificates, duly legalized by M. le Lieutenant-Général of the same town, attest that my disorder was deemed so violent and incurable to the period when I decided upon returning to Pontoise, hoping to recover my health by the means which it might please God to employ. I arrived there on the 5th of August, 1783; from that time my condition was precisely the same, namely habitual convulsions. I was deprived of the use of my limbs, particularly of my right arm, in which the convulsions were so violent that it was found necessary to fix and tie it with a bandage. The left was not much better, for on merely touching it, or on a change of weather, it experienced similar convulsions. Added to this I was attacked violently with gout, which I felt all over my body, but especially in my head and the extremities of my fingers. I was subject to pains in my breast and stomach, so severe as to occasion me to spit blood and to vomit up even the most liquid of my food. Sleep, of which I had in general but little till this period, now became, as it were, a stranger to me. My voice was for a month or[Pg 85] six weeks almost extinct, and there was not a part of my body which was not in a state of suffering; the least noise became almost insupportable.

“It is moreover to be remarked, that I never discovered, although always valetudinary, what could be capable of occasioning such a malady. This is a testimony I offer to truth. The persons who could not be ignorant of what concerned their patient have made the same depositions.[46]

“Such was my condition when they were proceeding at Pontoise, by order of the Holy See, in the process of the beatification of the servant of God, Marie de l’Incarnation, whose name in the world was Madame Acarie, foundress of the Carmelites in France, who, having edified the World by the virtues which characterize great souls, and consecrated at Carmel three of her daughters, herself embraced this holy state under the humble quality of converse-sister in the Convent of Carmelites at Amiens, and died at that of Pontoise in the odour of sanctity on the 18th of April, 1618, aged fifty-two years.

“The fame of this process revived my faith. I made a Novena to her, in which the Carmelites, as well as many other pious persons, united. I not only, during this Novena, took no medicines, but I[Pg 86] told my physician: ‘Perhaps, sir, you will smile at me when I tell you that I am performing a Novena to the venerable Sister Marie de l’Incarnation, and that I hope to-morrow to be taken to her tomb!’ ‘I commend your piety,’ said he, ‘to make a Novena to that blessed person, but I do not equally commend the step which you propose to take; I fear that none but bad consequences will result from it.’ I replied, as I had done to many other of my friends, ‘that I had the firmest confidence of a cure.’

“I persevered constantly in this moral and physical disposition until the moment when I was carried in a sedan chair into the church of the Carmelites. I was brought there at five o’clock in the morning. I heard mass, and communicated without quitting my chair. Towards the moment of elevation I felt severe pains throughout my whole frame, and seemed to myself to be in such a state of weakness that I then thought if I were to be communicated it would have been for the last time. A cold sweat spread itself at that time over my whole body. The priest who gave me the Holy Sacrament noticed that I was so weak that I could not hold the cloth upon my knees. He was so much afraid from the paleness of my countenance and the alteration he perceived in me, that in fear of some accident he put the sacred ciborium almost close to my lips.

“Finding me in this painful state, which[Pg 87] announced rather a speedy dissolution than a cure, I formed acts of submission to the Will of God. I begged Him to accept the sacrifice of my life; I also thrice made the prayer of the blind man, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me;’ the while interiorly, having lost my power of articulation. I remained in that state till the end of the mass, and finding my strength recovering I called my nurse, and begged her to go and see if the chapel in which the precious remains of the Venerable Sister Marie de l’Incarnation were deposited was open, having the design to be carried there. But O bounty and mercy of the Lord! at the very moment the people were preparing I quitted the chair myself; my nurse came hastily upon me to stop me, imagining that this movement was a last effort of nature. I corrected her, saying that I thanked her, but that thanks be to God! I had no need of her help, and instantly after, on the steps of the altar, returned thanks after communion; for I did not as yet perceive the change that was made in me. I was not sensible of it till after having made my thanksgiving, which was near a quarter of an hour after. I then raised myself from the ground filled with joy and consolation, finding I had recovered the use of my limbs; my breast and stomach at ease and devoid of pain, enjoying tranquillity altogether wonderful. I first ascended the seven steps of the altar; and then went to the grate of the choir and thanked the community for the prayers that they[Pg 88] had the goodness to offer up for me; requesting them to add still further their thanks to mine. I then turned towards the Blessed Sacrament, where I remained on my knees on the ground without any support during the period of three masses, which were said in succession. I afterwards heard high mass, and assisted at the entire Office of the Day, without the noise of chaunting, of the instruments, nor the great concourse of people, occasioning me the slightest inconvenience. Although I had to answer in the course of the day to more than four thousand persons attracted by the novelty of the circumstance to the church of the Carmelites, on the afternoon of the same day I went on foot to visit the Ursuline Dames.

“Done at Compiègne on the 12th of Feb. 1792.

(Signed) “Françoise-Geneviève-Philippe,

“Called in religion ‘Sr. Josephine of the Incarnation,’ Religious Carmelite of the Monastery of the City of Compiègne, in which I had the happiness to enter on the 20th of December, 1786, and to pronounce my holy and inviolable engagements on the 22nd of July, 1788.”

Another point bearing very directly on the subject of this chapter here suggests itself for some brief consideration:—

Deeds of benediction have been so universally[Pg 89] recognized in history, that it may be credibly maintained that the custom originated in the earliest ages of the World’s existence, either by a direct revelation from Heaven or by the most elementary religious instinct of the immediate descendants of our first parents. The heads of tribes, after the Flood, blessed their children and followers. And, when the Patriarchal dispensation drew towards its close, the power of blessing was exercised by the leaders and chiefs of God’s chosen people. Proof of all this is on record in the Sacred Writings. He, therefore, who runs may read. And we may gather from the same source that a form of blessing was attached to the priest’s office;[47] and that such blessing was efficient. All this is of course taken for granted under the Christian dispensation; and it is evident that the various forms of sacerdotal benediction are true means of bestowing the Divine blessing and grace: and this, because of the salient principle that the Fall of man from original righteousness, having effected a loss of union with God Almighty, salvation is the renewal of that union by and through Jesus Christ and His Church. Now, a Blessing, in the Name of God, is bestowed by a superior upon an inferior.[48] Thus a bishop gives his benediction to a priest, deacon, or layman; a priest to a layman; a father or head of a family to a son[Pg 90] or an inferior member of that same family; a patriarch or chieftain to his tribe, or to any member of it. The blessing of God is a great and mighty gift of grace, and has always been intimately conjoined with the offering of sacrifice, and so particularly and specifically with the offering of the Christian sacrifice, as also with and by a benediction, some of the most solemn services of Holy Church have been brought to an end.

Of course, if there be a power to bless, there is, as has already been pointed out, likewise a power to curse. Neither blessing nor curse may be absolute in their effect, and all acts and deeds are done under God, or with the permission of the Almighty. Of the results respectively of blessings or curses we know but little. But the glimpses which History, Revealed Religion, and Experience alike afford of those results are full of interest, and are subjects for contemplation and study. Here, as in the consideration of similar details, concerning the Supernatural, the Church Universal should be our guide. Where she leads we should go: where she directs we should follow.

As bearing on this subject, it may be suitably pointed out that Mr. Robert Southey in his “Common-Place Book” puts on record a very remarkable story of “citation” by a man unjustly and cruelly murdered:—

“The Philipsons of Colgarth coveted a field like Ahab, and had the possessor hung for an offence[Pg 91] which he had not committed. The night before his execution the old man (for he was very old) read the 109th Psalm as his solemn and dying commination, verses 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16.” The verses contain a prayer for vengeance upon “the wicked and deceitful, who have spoken with a lying tongue,” and whose days are to be few, and their children to be fatherless, their descendants continually vagabonds and beggars, and their posterity to be cut off. “The curse,” Southey adds, “was fully accomplished; the family were cut off, and the only daughter who remained sold laces and bobbins about the country.”

Two remarkable and, as may be well believed, supernatural events occurred (which may be fittingly recorded here) with regard to the cruel and shameful death of Edmund Arrowsmith, a Roman Catholic priest of the county of Lancaster, in the year 1628. He was born at Haddock in the parish of Winwick, five miles from Warrington and seven from Wigan. His father was Robert Arrowsmith, a yeoman, and his mother Margaret Gerard, of the ancient and noble family of that name. His immediate ancestors had suffered much for their religion. Edmund, their son, having been received into the College at Douay in 1605, was eventually ordained priest at Arras on December 9th, 1612. A year afterwards he was sent to England to minister to his fellow religionists. One of his flock being[Pg 92] exasperated against him because he refused to marry him to his first cousin and had rebuked him for evil-living, informed against him to the vigilant authorities; and Arrowsmith, being apprehended, was sent to Lancaster Castle, “for not having taken the oaths, and upon vehement suspicion that he was a priest and a jesuit.” The judge on circuit was Sir Henry Yelverton.

“Are you a priest, sir?” asked the judge, when the accused person was brought before him.

Arrowsmith, signing himself with the cross, replied, “My lord, I would to God I were worthy.”

On the judge repeating the question Arrowsmith replied coolly, “I would I were.”

When the accused, in reply to a minister on the bench, suggested a disputation regarding religion, and claimed to defend his Faith, the judge silenced him at once, and declared that he would not allow him to make any defence at all.

“I am ready, my lord, bear in mind,” replied Arrowsmith, “not only to defend it in words, but in deeds, and to seal it with my blood.”

The judge then told him, in an insulting and savage manner, that he should die, and see his bowels burnt before his very face.

“And you too must die, my lord, and that within a year.”[49]

[Pg 93]Two indictments were framed against him: one for being a priest and a jesuit, and the other for disparaging Protestantism; on these he was found guilty of high treason, and ordered to die according to the law. To the gaoler of the prison, the sheriff brought express commands from the judge to load him with the heaviest irons in the Castle, and to lodge him in a small cell where he could not lie down. This occurred on the 26th of August, 1628, and he suffered death on the 28th of the same month. He was dragged on a hurdle from the Castle to the place of execution, having received absolution from a fellow prisoner, Mr. Southworth, in the Castle yard. He was bound on the hurdle, and for greater ignominy with his head to the horse’s tail. The gallows and boiling caldron were set up about a quarter of a mile distant from the Castle. The devotion and piety of this holy and zealous man were as remarkable as his constancy and fortitude,—graces which edified those who witnessed his sad end. He offered himself up as a sacrifice thrice: once upon his knees at the foot of the ladder, again on the ladder, which he kissed, and a third time just before the halter was fastened round his neck; and then prayed fervently, “O Sweet Jesus, I freely offer Thee my death, in satisfaction for my sins.” Then he was cast off, suffered to hang until he was dead—an act[Pg 94] of mercy, by no means ordinary or common—cut down, disembowelled, and quartered; his head being placed on a pole amongst the pinnacles of the Castle. It is recorded that the judge being vexed and annoyed with the clever and luminous answers which Arrowsmith made when under examination, in the hearing of so many, appeared to take a special pleasure in viewing the execution from his lodgings, through a perspective glass; that he had the curiosity to examine the four quarters of his body, which, by his command, being brought to his apartment, he made an unnatural and shocking comparison between them and a haunch or two of venison with which he had that day been presented; and that he deliberately kicked the right hand of the body in contempt. On leaving the town he ordered the martyr’s head to be placed on a pole six yards higher than the pinnacles of the Castle.

The judge, sitting at supper at an inn on January 23, 1629, upon return from circuit, felt a heavy blow, as if someone had struck him on the back of the head; upon which he fell into a violent rage with, and severely rated, the servant who was waiting upon him; who protested that he had not struck him, nor did he see anyone strike him. A little while afterwards, the judge felt another blow like the first; and, as some records say, a third just as the meal was being ended. The blows he himself evidently thought to have come from the hand of divine justice, for he exclaimed in fear and[Pg 95] trepidation: “That dog Arrowsmith hath killed me.”[50] In great terror he was carried to bed, and dying the next morning, the prophecy of the holy priest regarding his death was exactly fulfilled.

As regards the Hand of the sufferer, it was procured and treasured up by his relatives the Gerards: and the following remarkable occurrence is connected with it.

In the year 1813 a young man named Joseph Lamb, then residing at Eccles, near Trafford Hall, about four miles from Manchester, fell from a rick of considerable height to the ground, and received a violent injury in the back. He was so injured that he could neither stand nor walk and suffered very considerable pain; but after many attempts had been made by physicians to give him relief and effect a cure, his case at a later stage was unanimously pronounced to be incurable. In religion he was a Roman Catholic, having been converted to that ancient faith from being an Anabaptist—a sect to which his father still belonged. Local circumstances had led to his investigating the martyrdom of the venerable priest, Edmund Arrowsmith, who, as already recounted, gave up his life in the cause of God at Lancaster, on the 28th of August, 1628. Of this holy man a Hand had been long and carefully preserved at Sir William Gerard’s, of[Pg 96] Garswood, near Wigan, where it was and is deservedly venerated and held in respect by all Roman Catholics. The sufferer Lamb, finding that the skill and power of man could do nothing for him, conceived a firm conviction that it would please the Almighty to restore him to health by the instrumentality of this relic, and he consequently most earnestly and systematically prayed to God that it might be so. His parents consequently, in response to his urgent entreaties, on October 2nd, 1814, had him conveyed in a covered cart from his own house near Trafford Hall to Garswood, a distance of fourteen miles.[51] In a state of considerable suffering, and quite unable to assist himself, he was lifted out of the cart and carried into the Roman Catholic chapel, where he was placed before the altar. Then the “Holy Hand,” as it is termed, was brought forth; the sacred sign of the cross was solemnly made over the affected part of the poor suffering man’s back; when, in an instant, he felt freedom from pain and found his former health and strength perfectly restored. He immediately rose, stood up for some time in prayer, and then walked, without any[Pg 97] assistance whatsoever, to his relatives and friends who were gathered at the chief entrance of the chapel. He returned home quite recovered and perfectly well, and so remained, up to the 19th of September, 1816.[52] The result of this miraculous intervention was that several of his kinsmen and acquaintances became converts to the religion which he had elected to follow; and these, together with many Roman Catholics who became acquainted with Almighty God’s merciful visitation of him, joined in a solemn act of thanksgiving, by assembling to sing the Te Deum in the chapel of Garswood.[53]

Thus, then, we see the prophecy of a Christian priest, who was unjustly and illegally condemned and cruelly murdered, exactly and most strikingly fulfilled; and a wonderful sign bestowed from God to man of Eternal Truth, in the supernatural cure wrought some two centuries and more afterwards upon this Lancashire farm-labourer.

Here something may be properly put on record,[Pg 98] regarding cases in which visible marks and tokens of the Passion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ have been supernaturally and miraculously impressed upon God’s saints and servants, in order to set forth before the eyes of man, as a matter of sight and not as a matter of faith, the truth of the Revelation of Almighty God, through His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

The first recorded instance of stigmatization is that of S. Francis of Assisi, in the thirteenth century. From the life of this distinguished saint, written by S. Bonaventure (chapters xii. and xv.), we gather the following particulars of these remarkable phenomena.

It was the custom of the saint, from time to time, to retire into the solitudes of Mount Alverna, in the Apennines, in order the more easily to give himself up to prayer and meditation. “While fasting there for forty days, being in prayer, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and feeling within his soul an intense desire to be crucified with his Lord, he beheld, descending from heaven towards him, a seraph, having six wings as it were of fire.[54] When the celestial messenger came near to him, there appeared between the wings the form of One crucified, with the hands and feet stretched out upon the cross. Two wings rose above the head,[Pg 99] two were spread forth in flight, while the others veiled the whole body.” Francis felt a great joy at the apparition, and yet, at the same time, a deep sorrow at beholding Him Whom his soul loved, so cruelly fastened to the Cross, the thought of which pierced his heart as with a sword of grief. It was presently revealed to him that he was to imitate the Passion of our Lord.

“The vision disappearing, his soul was filled with heavenly light, while a marvellous sign was left imprinted on his limbs. On his hand and feet were the marks of the nails, as he had beheld in the seraphic vision, and on his right side was a wound, as if made by a lance’s thrust. His hands and feet appeared transfixed with the nails, their heads being seen in the upper part of the feet, and the points on the reverse sides. The heads of these nails were round and black, and the points somewhat long and bent, as if turned back; so that between them and the skin there was the space of a finger. They could be moved with ease; for on the one side they were embedded in the flesh, whilst on the other they were clear of it: yet it was not possible to draw them out, as we are assured by S. Clare, who, after the saint’s death, essayed to do so, but could not succeed. The wound in the side was deep, and of the width of three fingers. It was red, and the saint’s habit was often stained by the blood which flowed from it.”

These stigmata were seen during his life by the[Pg 100] reigning Pope Alexander with many of his cardinals; and after his death, by more than fifty brethren together, by S. Clare and many of her sisters, and an innumerable crowd of seculars, who came from all parts of the country to be witnesses of these wonders.

At the close of the seventeenth century, another case of stigmatization occurred to Veronica Juliana, a nun; and her examination by the bishop of her diocese, aided by several physicians, was of so strict and severe a character, that deception on her part would have been quite impossible.

In the early part of the same century, Joanna di Jesu Maria, a Spanish nun, was subjected to even a more rigorous examination, before a court composed of the Commissary of the Inquisition, the Suffragan Bishop, several of the secular and regular clergy of the district, of many learned men, and two distinguished physicians. In this case, the subject of the phenomena bore not only the wounds on her hands, feet, and side, from which blood and water frequently flowed, but also around her head, as from the crown of thorns, a deep wound, which, in the opinion of the doctors, penetrated to the skull. They, furthermore, declared by oath that the wounds were not natural, and could not possibly be the effect of fraud.

The most celebrated subjects of stigmata in our own days are Maria Mörl, the Ecstatica of Caldamo, in the Tyrol, and Maria Domenica Lazzari,[Pg 101] a peasant girl of Capriana, whose cases were brought before the English public by that late distinguished nobleman John, Earl of Shrewsbury, A. L. M. P. De Lisle, Esq.,[55] the Rev. T. W. Allies, and others.

The following account of Maria Mörl is abridged from that of Görres, in his work on the Supernatural, entitled “Christliche Mystik,” which, perhaps, is the most complete and detailed description published. After giving a brief sketch of her life, which tells us that she was a girl of great piety, also that at the age of eighteen she became a confirmed invalid, and after receiving Holy Communion she always remained in an ecstasy for several hours, we read, that “in the autumn of 1833, her Confessor, Father Capistran, had by chance noticed that the parts of her hands where the wounds afterwards appeared had begun to form in hollows, as though impressed by some external substance, the parts, at the same time, becoming the seat of considerable pain, accompanied by frequent cramps.” Soon afterwards, the wounds appeared on the hands, feet, and side. On Thursdays and Fridays these places often ran with clear blood, and were covered on other days with a scar of dried blood, without showing any signs of inflammation. “In 1834, on the occasion of a solemn procession, a new[Pg 102] phase of her ecstasy developed itself, and one day surprised her in the presence of several witnesses, when she was transfigured with an angelic beauty, radiant and glorious as a heavenly spirit, her arms extended to their extreme width in the form of a cross, and her feet barely seeming to touch the bed on which she reposed. All around could then plainly perceive the mysterious stigmata, and the matter could no longer remain a secret.”

Of Maria Domenica Lazzari, who was born March 16th, 1815, and whose case is no less remarkable than the above, Mr. Allies, then a clergyman of the Church of England, wrote the following account, twenty-five years ago:—“In August, 1833, she had an illness, not in the first instance of an extraordinary nature; but it took the form of an intermittent fever, confining her completely to her bed, and finally contracting the nerves of her hands and feet so as to cripple them. On the 10th of January, 1834, she received on her hands, feet, and left side, the marks of our Lord’s Five Wounds.... Three weeks afterwards, her family found her in the morning covering her face in a state of great delight,—a sort of trance. On removing the handkerchief, letters were found on it marked in blood, and Domenica’s brow had a complete impression of the crown of thorns, in a line of small punctures about a quarter of an inch apart, from which the blood was flowing freshly. They asked her who had torn her so. She replied, ‘A very fair lady had come[Pg 103] in the night and adorned her.’... From the time that she first received the stigmata, in January, 1834, to the present time (account published in 1847), the wounds have bled every Friday, with a loss of from one to two ounces of blood, beginning early in the morning, and on Friday only. The above information (Mr. Allies declares) we received from Signor Yoris, a surgeon of Cavalese, the chief village of the district in which Capriana lies.”

Two additional and quite recent examples of stigmatization, most perfectly and satisfactorily authenticated, demand to have the facts which are known and admitted here set forth. The first is as follows:—

On the 30th January, 1850, was born at Bois d’Haine, a village in the province of Hainaut, in Belgium, Anne Louise Lateau, the daughter of Gregory and Adèle Lateau. The family, though of humble condition, were at the time in tolerably comfortable circumstances. The father was employed as a workman in a neighbouring metal factory, and the cottage in which they dwelt, together with the land on which it stood, was their own property. But a sad change soon took place. On the 30th April, 1850, Gregory Lateau died of small-pox, leaving the mother and three children (the infant Louise and two little girls of two and three years of age) unprovided for. To add to their distress, the widow Lateau was seriously ill, and the infant had caught the small-pox. Abandoned by all, they[Pg 104] were in danger of perishing of starvation had they not been relieved by the timely aid of a charitable neighbour. It was a long time, however, before the mother’s health was sufficiently restored to enable her to better their condition by her own exertions. When eight years old, Louise was sent to take charge of an old woman confined to her bed, and almost as poor as themselves. She afterwards received five months’ schooling, which is all the education she has ever had. At eleven years old, having made her first communion, she went as a servant to her aunt, with whom she remained until her death, which occurred two years later. Her next situation was with a lady at Brussels, but she was obliged to leave through illness. On her recovery, she was again employed in a farm at Manage, where she remained till called home by her mother, with whom she has since lived, working as a dressmaker. With regard to her moral character, one of its most important features is charity. During the ravages of the cholera in Belgium, in 1866, she gave examples of the most heroic devotedness—nursing the sick when their own relations had fled in dismay, laying out the dead, and, in some instances, even conveying them to the cemetery. For the rest, she is of a cheerful disposition, simple and straightforward in her manner, possessed of good sense, without smartness or enthusiasm. Owing to the small amount of instruction she has received, her education is limited, but has been[Pg 105] much improved by her own exertions. She speaks French with tolerable fluency, but is unable to write correctly or read with ease. The mother of Louise is fifty-eight years of age, of a frank and outspoken character, upright and religious. Though poor, she refuses to receive any pecuniary assistance, and manifests great reluctance to the introduction of the numerous visitors attracted to her cottage from all parts of the world by the wonderful accounts respecting her daughter. We now come to the consideration of those phenomena which for nearly six years have been exciting such universal interest. On Friday, the 24th April, 1868, manifestations of an extraordinary character commenced with a flow of blood from the chest. The young girl, with her accustomed reserve, made no mention of the fact; but as on successive Fridays the bleeding extended to the feet and hands, concealment became no longer possible. The phenomenon, as it now appears, is thus described by Dr. Lefebvre:—

“If in the course of the week, from Saturday to Thursday morning, an inspection is made of the parts from which blood flows on the Friday, this is what is seen:—On the back of each hand there is a rather oval surface, nearly one inch in length. It is rather more pink in colour, and it is smoother than the neighbouring skin, and does not show a trace of oozing of any kind. On the palm of each hand there is also an oval surface of a light pink[Pg 106] colour, corresponding precisely to the stigmatized surface of the back. On the upper aspect of each foot, the impress has the shape of a long square with rounded angles, the square being a little more than an inch long. To conclude, there are on the soles of the feet, as on the palms of the hands, small surfaces of pinkish white colour.

“... The first symptoms indicative of the approaching efflux of blood occur on the Thursday, generally about noon. On each of the pink surfaces already described on the hands and feet, a vesicle is seen to commence, and to rise little by little. When completely developed, it is a rounded hemispherical prominence on the surface of the skin; its base is the same size as the pink surface on which it rests—that is, nearly an inch long, by a little more than half an inch broad. This vesicle is formed by the epidermis detached from the dermis, and elevated as a half sphere by serous liquid within.”

We again quote some of the medical details:—

“The phenomenon occurs thus:—The vesicle bursts, and the contained serosity escapes. This occurs in different ways—sometimes by a rent lengthways, sometimes by a crucial or a triangular division. In the last case, the rupture of the vesicle suggests the puncture of a leech; but this is a mere resemblance, to prove which it is enough to ascertain the entire absence on the hands and feet of those three-cornered white and indelible scars which[Pg 107] always follow leech-bites. But a still more decisive observation is that this triangular rent only divides the epidermis; in fact, if this be removed by rubbing with a cloth, the little wound is no longer seen, and the true skin is found to be quite intact. Directly after the rupture of the vesicle and the escape of the fluid, blood begins to ooze from the bare derma.

“The flow of blood always detaches the piece of scarf-skin that makes the vesicle, so that the bleeding surface of the true skin is quite bare; sometimes, however—and especially on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, where the epidermis is very tough—the blood collects, and forms a clot in the partly-torn vesicle.”[56]

[Pg 108]The general appearance of the wound in the side on Friday is as follows:—The blood issues from three small points of a triangular form at the distance of half an inch from each other. A vesicle has also been observed similar to those upon the hands and feet. On its bursting, the blood flowed through the derma or thick skin over a round surface of the diameter of about half an inch.

The bleeding on the forehead commenced on Friday, the 25th September, 1868, and, at the present time,[57] takes place every week, and has extended round the whole of the head. The bleeding circlet on the forehead forms a band of two fingers’ breadth in width, and the blood oozes from twelve or fifteen points. There is no appearance of vesicle, nor is the skin discoloured.

The second extraordinary account of a young girl, who is now marked with the stigmata, is furnished by the Rev. F. Prendergast, of San Francisco:[58]

[Pg 109]“Miss Collins was born in England; both her parents are Roman Catholics. About two years and a half ago she was a pupil at the Convent of Notre Dame. On her return to this city she left her father’s home, and with a friend, Miss Armer, commenced the practice of charitable acts—visiting the sick, clothing the destitute, and instructing little children. Many of the charitable persons of the city co-operate with Miss Collins, Miss Armer, and an elderly lady who keeps house for them, in their good works. The archbishop approved of this semi-religious order, and has paid the house rent of these ladies since they began this practice. Miss Collins has always been in delicate health, and has frequently received the last sacraments of the Church, given to those in a dying condition. She has had periodical attacks of heart disease, and intense pulmonary congestion. Soon after Miss Collins and Miss Armer entered upon their charitable and self-denying duties, the former was prostrated by a return of her complaint. She recovered but slowly and imperfectly, and on January 2nd, at the children’s festival in the basement of S. Mary’s Cathedral, she was seized with a most violent attack. She was taken to her residence; and two or three days afterwards was again seized with congestion of the lungs, followed by congestion of the brain. The attending physician, herself, and all her friends were convinced that there was no hope of her recovery. She took leave[Pg 110] of those who stood by her bedside, and made her final preparations for death. On Wednesday, January 8th, she was all day in convulsions.... Towards six o’clock she grew better, but on the night of the third day became speechless, and was compelled to write her wants and wishes in pencil.

“At twelve o’clock that night, Miss Armer and the nurse, who watched by her bedside, believed her to be dying, if not dead. They recited the prayers for the departing soul, and held the blessed candle by her hand, according to the custom of the Church. Presently Miss Collins closed her eyes and drew a long breath. They then believed her to be dead; but to their utter amazement and bewilderment she revived, and made signs that she wished to write. They gave her the pencil and paper, and she wrote as follows: ‘Put three drops of the water from the font of Our Lady of La Salette in my mouth, and say three Hail Maries with me before the crucifix.’ They complied with the instructions, and perceived that she joined mentally in the recital of the prayers. As soon as ended, she reached out her hands for the crucifix, and kissed, with an expression of great devotion, the Five Wounds of our Blessed Saviour. She then intimated that she wished to have a little water. They gave her some, and she immediately rose up and declared, with a beaming and heavenly countenance, that she was cured; and she called on her companions, Miss Armer and the nurse, to join her[Pg 111] in saying the rosary for the sick. She wished to recite the principal parts of the devotion herself, but yielding to the request of Miss Armer, only made the responses in a clear and loud voice. She then requested her companions to retire, but seeing they had some objections, told them she would set the example. She laid down quietly, and slept without motion or sign till morning, when she ate heartily, and seemed quite restored to health. Since then she has never for a moment suffered from any of those diseases to which she had been before a victim, and which had more than once brought her to death’s door.

“On being questioned about her recovery, she stated to her confessor, her companions, and others of her friends, that immediately previous to her recovery the Blessed Virgin spoke to her in a voice clear and musical, but as if it were coming from afar, directing her what to do in order to obtain her health, approving her manner of life, and giving her some counsels for her own guidance. Her recovery was regarded by all conversant with the facts as being a miraculous one; and, contrasting her subsequent excellent health with her former miserable condition, there seems to be no reason to doubt but that she was saved by the merciful interposition of the Supreme Power of God.

“After some weeks she experienced, without any assignable natural cause, an intense pain in her temples, which caused her indescribable[Pg 112] anguish. These sufferings suddenly passed away, but in the course of some days returned with equal violence. So far there were no perceptible marks on any portion of her body, but during her sufferings on the Feast of the Five Wounds of our Lord she felt an acute pain in her head, her side, in both hands, and in both feet. On the Friday before Good Friday, the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin, she experienced pains in the same parts, and on that day the stigmata, or marks of our Saviour’s Wounds, became clearly visible on the backs of her hands, and blood oozed from her left side, near the heart.

“Several persons witnessed the stigmata on this occasion, but were loth to reveal the fact, preferring to await further developments. That night the pains passed away, and her usual health returned. On Holy Thursday the same sufferings were experienced, commencing in the afternoon and becoming very intense during Thursday night. On Friday the stigmata appeared on the surfaces of both hands and on the upper surface of both feet. Blood also oozed from her side. During the day her sufferings were indescribable, and were witnessed by a large number of people.[59] The stigmata and[Pg 113] suffering continued unabated until twelve o’clock on Friday night, when she suddenly experienced some relief, and was able, for the first time in twenty-four hours, to take a little water. On the next day she attended divine service in church, and has since been in the enjoyment of excellent health. The marks of the stigmata remain on her hands and side. She has never, at any time during her sufferings, been unconscious, except when they were so intense as to cause momentary delirium. She prayed continually, and her countenance, ordinarily indicating extreme agony, occasionally relaxed into a sweet and heavenly smile. At times her hands were extended in the form of a crucifix, and became so rigid in that position that it was impossible to move them.”[60]

As serving still further to illustrate the subject of this chapter, it should be known that Dr. John Milner, F.S.A., Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District of England (a prelate eminent both for his high character and great literary ability), records a[Pg 114] supernatural cure, the subject of which was personally known to himself.

“On March 15, 1809, Mary Wood, living at Taunton Lodge, near Taunton, in Somersetshire, in attempting to open a sash-window, pushed her left hand through a pane of glass, which caused a very large and deep transverse wound in the inside of the left arm, and divided the muscles and nearly the whole of the tendons that lead to the hand; from which accident she not only suffered at times the most acute pain, but was, from the period the bishop saw her [March 15, 1809], until some time in July, totally deprived of the use of her hand and arm.”[61] What passed between the latter end of July, when, as the surgeon states, “he left his patient with no hope of her recovery or of restoring her,” until the 6th of August, on the night of which she was miraculously cured, can be gathered from a Letter to Bishop Milner, dated November 19th, 1809, by her amanuensis Miss Maria Hornyold, of the ancient family of that name:

“The surgeon gave little or no hopes of the girl ever again having the use of her hand; which, together with the arm, seemed withered and somewhat contracted; only saying [that] in some years Nature might give her some little use of it, which was[Pg 115] considered by her superior as a mere delusive comfort. Despairing of further human assistance toward her cure, she determined, with the approbation of her said superiors, to have recourse to God, through the intercession of S. Winifred by a Novena.[62] Accordingly on the 6th of August she put a piece of moss from the Saint’s Well on her arm, continuing recollected and praying, &c., when, to her great surprise, the next morning she found that she could dress herself, put her arm behind her, and to her head, having regained the free use and full strength of it. In short, she was perfectly cured.”

So much for this portion of Miss Hornyold’s narrative. Now, reverting to Bishop Milner, his testimony to the fact of the cure having been effected is here set forth:

“In this state I myself saw her a few years afterwards, when I examined her hand; and in the same state she still continues, at the above-named place, with many other highly credible vouchers, who are ready respectively to attest these particulars.”

The conclusion of Miss Hornyold’s Letter is as follows:

“On the 16th of the month the surgeon was sent for, and being asked his opinion concerning Mary Wood’s arm, he gave no hope of a perfect cure, and little of her ever having even the least use of it;[Pg 116] when she, being introduced to him and showing him the arm, which he thoroughly examined and tried, he was so affected at the sight and the recital of the manner of the cure, as to shed tears, and exclaim, ‘It is a special interposition of Divine Providence.’”

The case of Winifred White, a young woman of Wolverhampton, suddenly and miraculously cured, is not less important and interesting:—“The disease from which she was suffering,” writes Bishop Milner, “was one of the most alarming of a topical nature of any that is known, namely a curvature of the spine, as the physician and surgeon ascertained, who treated it accordingly, by making two great issues, one on each side of the spine, of which the marks are still imprinted on the patient’s back. Secondly, that besides the most acute pains throughout the whole nervous system, and particularly in the brain, this disease of the spine produced a hemiplegia, or palsy of one side of the patient, so that when she could feebly crawl, with the help of a crutch under her right arm, she was forced to drag her left leg and arm after her, just as if they constituted no part of her body. Thirdly, that her disorder was of long continuance, namely, of three years’ standing, though not in the same degree till the latter part of that time, and that it was publicly known to all her neighbours and a great many others. Fourthly, that having performed the acts of devotion which she felt herself called upon to[Pg 117] undertake, and having bathed in the fountain [at Holywell in Flintshire], she, in one instant of time, on the 28th of June, 1805, found herself freed from all pains and disabilities, so as to be able to walk, run, and jump like any other young person, and to carry a greater weight with the left arm than with the right. Fifthly, that she has continued in this state these thirteen years, down to the present time; and that all the above-mentioned circumstances have been ascertained by me in the regular examination of the several witnesses of them, in the places of their respective residences, namely in Staffordshire, Lancashire, and Wales, they being persons of different counties, no less than of different religions and situation of life.”[63]

The result of a solemn Curse, made in the Name of Almighty God, by one who had been greatly and grievously wronged, is recorded and not unsuitably here, it is hoped, in the following remarkable narrative—one fresh evidence of the existence of the Supernatural amongst us, had we only eyes to see and ears to hear.

The younger son of a Nova Scotia baronet, under[Pg 118] promise of marriage, betrayed the only surviving daughter of a Northumbrian yeoman of ancient and respectable family, nearly allied to a peer, so created in William the Fourth’s reign. She was a person of rare beauty and of considerable accomplishments, having received an education of a very superior character in Edinburgh. After her betrayal she was deserted by her lover, who fled abroad. The night before he left, however, at her earnest request, he met her in company with a friend with the avowed intention of promising marriage in the future, when his family (as he declared) might be less averse to it. After-events show that this was merely an empty promise, and that he had no intention of fulfilling it. A long discussion took place between the girl and her betrayer, in the presence of the female friend in question, a first cousin of her father. High words, strong phrases, and sharp upbraidings were uttered on both sides; until at last the young man in cruel and harsh language, turning upon her fiercely, declared that he would never marry her at all, and held himself, as he maintained, perfectly free to wed whom he should choose. “You will be my certain death,” she exclaimed, “but death will be more welcome than life.” “Die and be ——,” he replied. At this the girl, with a wail of agony, swooned away. On her recovery she seemed to gather up her strength to pronounce a Curse upon him and his. It was spoken in the Name of the One Living and True God. She uttered it with deliberation, yet with wildness and bitterness, maintaining that[Pg 119] she was his wife, and would haunt him to the day of his death; declaring at the same time to her relation present, “And you shall be the witness.” He left the place of meeting without any reconciliation or kind word, and, it was believed, went abroad. In less than five months, in giving birth to her child, she died, away from her home, and was buried with it (for the child, soon after its baptism, died likewise) in a village churchyard near Ambleside. Neither stone nor memorial marks the grave. Her father, a widower, wounded to the quick by the loss of his only daughter, pined away and soon followed her to his last resting-place.

Five years had passed and the female cousin of the old yeoman, being possessed of a competency, had gone to live in London, when, on a certain morning in the spring of the year 1842, she was passing by a church in the west end, where, from the number of carriages waiting, she saw that a marriage was being solemnized. She felt mysteriously and instinctively drawn to look in. On doing so, and pressing forwards towards the altar, she beheld to her astonishment, the very man, somewhat altered and weather-worn, who had caused so much misery to her relations, being married (as on inquiring she discovered) to the daughter of a rich city merchant. This affected her deeply, bringing back the saddest memories of the past. But, as the bridal party were passing out of the church, and she pushed forward to look, and be quite sure that she had made no mistake, both herself and the[Pg 120] bridegroom at one moment saw an apparition of her relation, the poor girl whom he had ruined, dressed in white, with flowing hair and a wild look, holding up in both hands her little infant. Both seemed perfectly natural in appearance and to be of ordinary flesh and blood. There was no mistaking her certain identity. This occurred in the full sunshine of noon and under a heavy Palladian Porch in the presence of a crowd. The bridegroom turned deathly pale in a moment, trembled violently, and then, staggering, fell forward down the steps. This occasioned a vast stir and sensation amongst the crowd. It seemed incomprehensible. The bridegroom, said the church officials in answer to inquiries, was in a fit. He was carried down the steps and taken in the bridal carriage to his father-in-law’s house. But it was reported that he never spoke again; and this fact is mentioned in a contemporary newspaper-account of the event. Anyhow his marriage and death appeared in the same number of one of the daily papers. And although the family of the city merchant knew nothing of the apparition, what is thus set forth was put on record by the lady in question, who knew the mysterious circumstances in all their details; which record is reasonably believed by her to afford at once a signal example of retributive justice and a marked piece of evidence of the Supernatural. Names, for obvious reasons, are not mentioned here. The truth of this narrative, however,[Pg 121] was affirmed on oath by the lady in question, before two justices of the peace, at Windsor, on October 3, 1848, one of whom was a beneficed clergyman in the diocese of Oxford, well known to the Editor of this volume,—to whom this record was given, in the year 1857 (when he was assistant-minister of Berkeley Chapel), by a lady of rank who worshipped there.

Here, accounts of two cases of miraculous cure through and by the Blessed Sacrament will be suitably and fittingly introduced. The first is from the pen of a well-known mission-preacher of the Church of England, and occurred in the diocese of London: the second, equally remarkable, took place in the diocese of Metz.

The introductory remarks, so full of truth and piety, which immediately precede the first narrative, have an equal bearing on that which follows. Both are instances of God’s extraordinary mercy and goodness to the children of men.

“The Blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of the Lord works its effects not only on the soul of man, but also on his body. We need not be surprized at this, for if the body is affected by the soul, so that a person depressed in mind often falls sick in body; and, on the contrary, if good spirits are of great use in preserving bodily health—as indeed we frequently see,—if this be the case, may we not expect that the Sacrament, which only reaches the soul through the body, will have some[Pg 122] influence on that body through which they are transmitted. The Blessed Sacrament, then, when worthily received, affects the body in three ways. First, it tends to moderate what is called ‘concupiscence,’ that is those natural appetites and desires of the body which dwell in the flesh and tempt to sin. And this we learn from the words of the prayer of Humble Access in the Communion Service—that our sinful bodies may be made clean by His Body.

“Secondly, the Blessed Sacrament gives to our bodies glory in the Day of the Resurrection.

“Our Lord says, ‘He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood hath Eternal Life, and I will raise him up at the last day.’ Not that all men will not rise from the dead at that day, but that the wicked will rise with hideous bodies, and the righteous only with bodies like unto our Lord’s own Body; whilst the glory also of those who are saved will differ one from another. And so S. Paul writes, ‘One star differeth from another star in glory.’

“Thirdly, the Blessed Sacrament sometimes works the cure of sick persons who receive it with faith. Of course this is not often the case, for if miracles were common they would cease to be miracles. Moreover, there is but little faith now-a-days, and even when our Lord walked in the flesh there were some places in which He did not do many mighty works because of their unbelief. Also He worked bodily cures the rather during His[Pg 123] earthly ministry; because when He gives these more excellent gifts it is less necessary for Him to show this power by miracles of healing. It pleases Him however, sometimes even now, to cure bodily sickness by his bodily touch, and a case of this sort we will now relate:—

“I. Two or three years ago there lived in one of our great cities a poor woman of devotion and faith. She attended a church where the Holy Eucharist was frequently celebrated, and the true faith believingly taught. She received the faith gladly, and lived up to it, communicating regularly and with devotion. It befell her, however, to be taken with sickness, which brought on lockjaw, so that she could not eat, and only small portions of nourishment could be given her through an opening in her teeth. She was in this state several days, looking forward to certain death.

“At last, thinking more of the suffering which her loss would bring upon her family than upon any fear of death in her own heart, she said to her husband, ‘Surely, the Lord Jesus is very merciful and would restore me to health if we were to ask Him. For how dreadful would it be for the poor children to be left without a mother! I have heard of a woman who was cured of a sickness by our Lord when the doctors gave her up. Why should we not ask Him to cure me?’ Thus she spoke, and her husband agreed with her, that they would ask this of the Lord.

“The priest of the church which they attended[Pg 124] was visiting the poor woman, and next time he came she told him of what she had thought, and asked whether it would be wrong to pray for this object. Seeing the faith of the poor people, he could not say anything against it, only exhorting them to be ready to accept the Will of the Lord whatever it might be. ‘It is not wrong,’ said he, ‘to pray to the Lord for restoration to health, so long as we add, “Not my will but Thine be done.”’

“Accordingly he arranged that they should have a special Celebration of the Blessed Sacrament with that intention—to ask of our Lord the cure of the poor mother. The time was fixed. The woman was to be present herself, and to communicate, and the priest promised to ask some other devout people to attend and unite in prayer for the same object.

“At the hour appointed the priest was at the altar, a little body of devout persons was gathered in the church, and the poor woman was brought there, suffering, but still with good hope. The service proceeded; the prayer of Consecration was said; the Lamb of God was upon the altar, and the priest pleaded the one true and perfect and all-sufficient Sacrifice on behalf of the poor sufferer, and prayed for her recovery, as did also herself and her friends. Having communicated himself, the priest brought the Holy Sacrament to the woman, giving her only a small particle, such as she could receive between her teeth, and then[Pg 125] the chalice of the Lord’s Blood. The faithful now communicated; the remainder of the service was said, the Priest gave the Peace and Blessing, and the last Amen was said. Then the woman fell down in a sort of swoon; but it only lasted a short time, for presently she got up, opened her mouth, and said, ‘I am quite well.’ Yes! The Lord had heard her. We were astonished with joy, and joined in hearty thanksgiving to God for the miracle which he had wrought. The woman walked home, to the great delight of her family, and was able to return to her ordinary work.

“A fortnight after the event, the writer of this narrative[64] saw the woman, and heard from her own lips, as well as from the Priest, the account of the miracle, which he has related as nearly as he can remember it.

“We are not to be anxious for miracles, nor to crave after signs; but when it pleases God to work such as this, it seems to be right for His glory, and for the dignity of the Most Holy Sacrament, that His mercy should be made known; and is it not joy to every faithful heart, that the Lord should manifest His power over all His works, and show to men His tender compassion of the sick and suffering?”

II. The second case is thus related. It bears a remarkable similarity to that just set forth:—

[Pg 126]“Anne de Cléry, the subject of the extraordinary cure about to be recorded, was at school in the Convent of the Sacred Heart, at Metz, in the year 1855. She was then thirteen years of age, and her health and spirits good. Previously she had lived two years in Africa, where her father still resides,[65] and occupies the post of Notary-General to the Imperial Court at Algiers. Madame de Cléry’s health having suffered from the climate, she returned to Metz with her two daughters, the youngest of whom—Anne—was very uneasy about her mother’s health, and prayed fervently for her recovery, offering herself to suffer the pains of sickness in her stead. Anne’s illness, which was of a very distressing nature, commenced in the Holy Week of 1856, and continued steadily to increase, in spite of the prescriptions of the first physicians at Metz, Aix in Savoy, and Paris. Remedies of every possible kind—some of them of a terribly severe character—were tried, but without the smallest result, except to increase the sufferings of the poor patient. The Paris physician, at length (in the year 1857), pronounced her case to be incurable. He says: ‘Mdlle. Anne is labouring under the disease known by the name of “muscular and atrophical paralysis.” I very much apprehend that no remedies can touch[Pg 127] the disease.’ The sufferings of the poor girl were continuous and severe. Her limbs were deprived of power and strength; they shrank and contracted, and the muscles under each knee produced a sort of knot which no power on earth could untie. She would be, as far as man could foresee, a cripple as long as she lived. Anne de Cléry was, however, resigned to the Will of God, and supported her heavy trial by a deep piety and constant prayer. At times her faith suggested the possibility of a miraculous cure; but she scarcely hoped or wished for such a wonderful favour. She had a particular devotion to the Blessed Sacrament; and every week the priest brought her the Holy Communion, which was her greatest support and consolation. She employed her time, when able, though in the recumbent position, and unable to lift her head, in embroidering altar-cloths, and making artificial flowers for the adornment of the sanctuary. It was while thus preparing for the devotion known as ‘the Forty Hours’ Adoration’ in the parochial church of S. Martin at Metz, in the year 1865, that the thought sometimes crossed her mind that she might be cured by the Blessed Sacrament. But she was slow to encourage an idea which might be an illusion, and deprive her of her resignation and peace of mind. The devotion above mentioned was to take place on the 12th, 13th, and 14th of June. On the first two days it was impossible to carry her to the church (whither she had not been taken for[Pg 128] a long while), her pains were so severe; but on the third day, with the greatest difficulty, and at the cost of much suffering, after having received Communion, she was carried to the church by her maid Clémentine, who sat on a bench and held her on her knees. Madame de Cléry and Mdlle. de Coetlosquet knelt close beside her; but neither Anne nor her friends were expecting the extraordinary event about to follow.

“After a few moments’ rest Anne became absorbed in devotion, and prayed as she often did at the moment of Communion: ‘Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst cure me.’ At the same instant she felt so violent a pain in her whole body, that it was all she could do not to scream out. She prayed for strength to bear it, and resigned herself to God’s will. Then, she says, she felt filled with faith and hope, and became conscious that she was cured. Anne threw herself immediately upon her knees and said to her companions, ‘Pray, pray; I am cured!’ Madame de Cléry overcome with emotion, in a state of bewilderment, led her daughter out of the church, scarcely believing the evidence of her senses when she saw her standing alone and able to walk. She ascertained that the knots under her daughter’s knees had entirely disappeared; and then Anne returned to the church, where she remained kneeling in praise and thanksgiving before the Blessed Sacrament for three-quarters of an hour, without feeling the least fatigue.

[Pg 129]“Her cure was complete; all the ailments that had afflicted her disappeared, leaving behind no trace of illness. Eleven days after her cure, Anne walked through the streets of Metz in a procession of the Blessed Sacrament, which lasted an hour and a quarter, to the astonishment and admiration of all who had known her former sad condition. Her physician, when he saw her rise and walk to meet him, said, ‘Mademoiselle, what men could not effect, God has done.’”[66]

The Editor has been furnished with many similar accounts; some coming before him on slender testimony: others on testimony which it is impossible either to weaken or to reject. In some cases strange and supernatural events which have occurred of late years—beautiful glimpses of the unseen world—are treasured up by those who were the direct subjects of them, though considerable difficulty is experienced in obtaining such satisfactory attestations of their authentication, (owing to the fact that persons naturally shrink from publicity,) as would warrant their appearance in this volume.

Before this chapter is closed, however, it may be well to add the following, from the pen of an[Pg 130] English clergyman well known to the Editor, which possess some inherent interest:

“This passed under my own eyes a few weeks back. A little child, three years old, daughter of highly-respectable but poor parents, was accidentally burnt to death—fell upon the grate, and lingered only some two hours, it might have been supposed in frightful tortures. Her mother, who blamed herself for leaving the child even for a moment, seemed in imminent danger of losing her reason, and was in a state of terrible despair. The little one raised herself to say, ‘Mother, don’t cry! I’m going to die;’ and then pointing, added, ‘Don’t you see that Good Man who stands there and waits for me?’ This from a child of three years old.

“Let those who choose, elect to believe that this was an optical delusion: those who honestly believe that the angels of little children do behold His Father’s face, and doubt not that angels minister to the heirs of salvation, will probably arrive at a different conclusion.”[67]

Here is another remarkable case of the Supernatural, provided by the same clergyman:—

“A lady of my acquaintance, a woman of great intellectual powers, with a keenly satirical and inquiring mind, chastened, however, by Christian[Pg 131] faith and love—a most devout communicant—was the voucher of these facts.

“Retiring to rest some years ago, late at night, she happened, on her way to her room, to look out of a window which opened on a court behind the house. To her surprise (she was not in the least a superstitious person, nor had her mind been travelling in a ghostly direction), she saw standing beneath the window, in the full rays of the moonlight, the figure of a child in white clothing, the arms crossed in prayer, the face inclining forward, with a kind of white cowl or head-covering, from the body of which child rays seemed to pass. She was not terrified, but amazed; and after gazing fixedly some little while, during which the figure did not move, she went to her room, and sent the nurse down to fetch something, where she would be likely to see the figure, without saying anything about it to her. The nurse returned speedily, white with fear, saying, ‘Ma’am, did you see that wonderful thing all shining?’ The lady inquired what she meant. The servant’s impressions were identical with her own. Neither of them went to look again; but the lady thought within herself, that this might be a warning sent from God to prepare her for the death of an elder child, a daughter, whose figure and bearing, she thought, resembled that of the child enshrouded in white linen in the yard; and she consequently entertained a dread that that daughter might be taken from her. This did not[Pg 132] prove the case; but as another younger child—the very darling of the mother’s heart, and an infant at the time of this singular apparition—grew older, the idea was borne in strongly upon the lady’s mind, that that younger child would be taken from her about the time when it attained the apparent age and stature of the mysterious visitant, who seemed to be a little girl of about five years old. This, doubtless, might be a fancy only: she had not seen the face, only the figure; and when this dear little one—a peculiarly sweet and engaging child—actually sickened, and at last, after a long illness, died, at about this age, the mother did not dare take to herself the consolation it seemed likely to afford her, as a foreshadowing of her child’s beatified rest. On the contrary, the mother’s heart was distracted with doubts and fears.... There had been no direct communion with God, as far as man could judge, near the last; rather a certain fretfulness, a turning from God to man, a clinging to the mother as her all. The Christian’s heart was almost paralysed by the vast and unspeakable terror which took possession of her soul. Was her dear one indeed saved?... Although she thought all day long of this child,—I knew her at the time, and she seemed consumed by grief, fast breaking, though never was God’s house opened without her finding her way thither,—she had never once dreamt of her, or seen her in her dreams, much to her own surprise, and despite the constant[Pg 133] craving of her aching heart. But at last, one night she dreamt, and thus: that she had risen from her bed, and was standing in her chamber; that the door softly opened, and her little one came and sat upon the threshold, sweetly smiling. ‘What, my own darling! (she thought she said,) are you come back again to me?’ ‘Yes, my mamma,’ replied the child. ‘And are you happy, dearest?’ ‘Yes, quite happy; but not for anything I have done,—only for the merit of my Lord.’ The mother advanced and embraced her child, and thus embracing she awoke. And now wonderfully was it borne in upon her that the midnight apparition of so many years ago and the child of her dream were one. Her dream was so real, that she could not but receive it as a divine intimation, a direct answer to her prayers. She now felt and believed that her dear one was in Paradise. For some weeks, despite her longings to renew the vision, she saw her child no more. Then she did so once again, in a dream. She was crossing a radiant garden, where she knew not; in its centre was a stately hall or cupola, and on the marble steps which led to it stood her sweet one, looking pure and blessed. The mother bounded towards her, when she espied, within the hall, at the further end of a corridor or long passage, the form of another child of hers still living! This sight terrified her; she shrieked out, and shrieking she awoke. That child lives still, and may it long be preserved to the mother’s prayers! But meanwhile, it is not[Pg 134] a little remarkable, that during nearly three years which have elapsed, despite every effort on the mother’s part, she has never once dreamt of her darling! This is what contributes, with the vision of the radiant child at first, to impart a supernatural character to the whole transaction, and take these visitations out of the category of ordinary dreams. On my own mind there is not the smallest doubt that here was a two-fold supernatural intervention; firstly, vision,—seen, remember, by two witnesses; then by a most strangely corroborative dream.”

Another example, shadowing forth the possible value and power of prayer,—“the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man,”—though briefly told, is not without its own special interest in these days of Irreligion and Unbelief.

“An English gentleman I knew well was residing in France; his only son was a barrister in the Middle Temple Chambers in London. This son suffered from disease of the heart, not known to be immediately dangerous; he was a professed unbeliever—a scoffer, even; and had, alas! spoken lightly of Revelation the day before his death. A sudden, violent attack prostrated him; and, after a few hours of suffering, he departed. That night, the father, who was not aware of any immediate danger to his child, dreamt that the spirit of his deceased wife appeared to him, and addressed him, saying, ‘Rise and pray! William is dying, and there are none to pray for him!’—or words to that[Pg 135] effect. This dream was repeated, I believe, thrice. The father did rise, and remained in earnest intercessory prayer (he was a devout Christian man,) for the greater part of the night. This is a well-authenticated fact, the certainty of which may be relied on.”

This chapter is brought to its close by a most impressive account of sweet and heavenly music which was heard near the dying bed of one, whose patience and devotion during sickness were as remarkable as her earthly life had been pure and holy.

It is from the pen of one who for many years was a clergyman of the Church of England, but is now a Cistercian monk of the Monastery of Mount S. Bernard, on the Charnwood Hills, in Leicestershire, and who is known in religion as Father Augustine.

“On the last day she [Mary, daughter of A. P. de Lisle, of Garendon Park, Esq.], longed much for a cup of cold water, but it was not thought good for her; and so, when reminded of our Saviour’s thirst on the Cross, she offered up her own thirst in union with His, and said she would ask for it no more.[68] Her faculties, however,[Pg 136] continued entire and clear to the end, and by her particular request indulgenced prayers[69] were recited to her that she might frequently repeat them. Thus her life ebbed softly away; the last words on her lips being a prayer to her ‘Sweet Saviour to have mercy upon her.’ And are not such things as these natural grounds for having a sure hope that she died in the favour of God? It is true that we have even supernatural grounds in the fact that on the night before her decease (whilst she was receiving with devout mind the last anointing of Holy Church to prepare her for her end) there was heard distinctly and by several persons the sound of a celestial chant, proceeding from her chamber, hymned by no earthly voices. Does not this look as if the blessed spirits themselves had been assisting to prepare her that she might soon become one of their company?”

“Four men,” continues the author of the Sermon from which the above is taken, in a note to it, “none of them [Roman] Catholics, heard the chanting three several times. They all agreed in[Pg 137] their conviction as to whence it came, that it was from the chamber of the dying child. The third time it was so loud that they could distinguish, as it were, the several voices that blended in this celestial harmony, some of which sung the treble notes, while others took the deeper parts. The character of the music was indescribably beautiful; and one of the men, who had been in the habit of attending the Catholic service in S. Mary’s chapel, at Grâce-Dieu, declared that the style of it was exactly like that of the solemn Plain Chant used in that chapel which he was accustomed to hear there. They described the chanting as having no air in it that they could carry away, but the effect was solemn and beautiful beyond expression. They supposed, at the moment, that it was some service, according to the Catholic rites, which was being sung in the sick chamber by the priest and his attendants. When they heard it, therefore, they were not surprised at the sound, except that its beauty exceeded that of any religious service they had ever heard; and it was not until the following morning, at the breakfast hour, when relating what they had heard to their fellow-servants, and being then informed that there had been no service chanted in the sick room, that the conviction flashed upon them, as upon all to whom these facts have been since related, that the chanting proceeded from heavenly spirits and departed saints, who had come hither on an errand of mercy, to hedge round[Pg 138] the dying bed of the departing child.”—Note, p. 13.

The Editor prefers to leave these varied records of the spiritual powers and properties of the Church, these different examples of the presence of the Supernatural, to the consideration of the reader; himself declining either to lay down principles, frame arguments, or draw deductions from facts already set forth.



Appendix to Chapter III.


[Translated from the “Roman Ritual.”]


The Priest, having confessed, or at least hating sin in his heart, and having said Mass, if it possibly and conveniently can be done, and humbly implored the Divine help, vested in surplice and violet stole, the end of which he shall place round the neck of the one possessed, and having the possessed person before him, and bound if there be danger of violence, shall sign himself, the person, and those standing by, with the sign of the Cross, and sprinkle them with holy water, and kneeling down, the others making the responses, shall say the Litany as far as the prayers.

At the end the Antiphon. Remember not, Lord, our offences, nor the offences of our forefathers, neither take Thou vengeance of our sins.

Our Father. Secretly.

℣ And lead us not into temptation.

℟ But deliver us from evil.

 [Pg 139]

Psalm liv.

Deus, in Nomine.

The whole shall be said with Glory be to the Father.

℣ Save Thy servant,

℟ O my God, that putteth his trust in Thee.

℣ Be unto him, O Lord, a strong tower,

℟ From the face of his enemy.

℣ Let the enemy have no advantage of him,

℟ Nor the son of wickedness approach to hurt him.

℣ Send him help, O Lord, from the sanctuary,

℟ And strengthen him out of Sion.

℣ Lord, hear my prayer,

℟ And let my cry come unto Thee.

℣ The Lord be with you,

℟ And with thy spirit.


Let us pray.

O God, Whose property is ever to have mercy and to forgive: receive our supplications and prayers, that of Thy mercy and loving-kindness Thou wilt set free this Thy servant (or handmaid) who is fast bound by the chain of his sins.

O holy Lord, Father Almighty, Eternal God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who hast assigned that tyrant and apostate to the fires of hell; and hast sent Thine Only Begotten Son into the world, that He might bruise him as he roars after his prey: make haste, tarry not, to deliver this man, created in Thine Own image and likeness, from ruin, and from the noon-day devil (dæmonio meridiano; in our version, “the sickness that destroyeth in the noon-day”). Send Thy fear, O Lord, upon the wild beast, which devoureth Thy vine. Grant Thy servants boldness to fight bravely against that wicked dragon, lest he despise them that put their trust in Thee, and say,[Pg 140] as once he spake in Pharaoh: I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go. Let Thy right hand in power compel him to depart from Thy servant N. (or Thy handmaid N.) ✠, that he dare no longer to hold him captive, whom Thou hast vouchsafed to make in Thine image, and hast redeemed in Thy Son; Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, ever One God, world without end. Amen.


Then he shall command the spirit in this manner.

I command thee, whosoever thou art, thou unclean spirit, and all thy companions possessing this servant of God, that by the Mysteries of the Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the sending of the Holy Ghost, and by the Coming of the same our Lord to judgment, thou tell me thy name, the day, and the hour of thy going out, by some sign: and, that to me, a minister of God, although unworthy, thou be wholly obedient in all things: nor hurt this creature of God, or those that stand by, or their goods in any way.


Then shall these Gospels, or one or the other, be read over the possessed.

The Lesson of the Holy Gospel according to S. John i. 1. As he says these words he shall sign himself and the possessed on the forehead, mouth, and breast. In the beginning was the Word ... full of grace and truth.

The Lesson of the Holy Gospel according to S. Mark xvi. 15. At that time: Jesus spake unto His disciples: Go ye into all the world ... shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

The Lesson of the Holy Gospel according to S. Luke x. 17. At that time: The seventy returned again with joy ... because your names are written in heaven.

[Pg 141]The Lesson of the Holy Gospel according to S. Luke xi. 14. At that time: Jesus was casting out a devil, and it was dumb ... wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

℣ Lord, hear my prayer,

℟ And let my cry come unto Thee.

℣ The Lord be with you,

℟ And with thy Spirit.


Let us pray.

Almighty Lord, Word of God the Father, Jesus Christ, God and Lord of every creature: Who didst give to Thy Holy Apostles power to tread upon serpents and scorpions: Who amongst other of Thy wonderful commands didst vouchsafe to say—Put the devils to flight: by Whose power Satan fell from heaven like lightning: with supplication I beseech Thy Holy Name in fear and trembling, that to me Thy most unworthy servant, granting me pardon of all my faults, Thou wilt vouchsafe to give constancy of faith and power, that shielded by the might of Thy holy arm, in trust and safety I may approach to attack this cruel devil, through Thee, O Jesus Christ, the Lord our God, Who shalt come to judge the quick and the dead, and the world by fire. Amen.


Then defending himself and the possessed with the sign of the Cross, putting part of his stole round the neck, and his right hand upon the head of the possessed, firmly and with great faith he shall say what follows.

℣ Behold the Cross of the Lord, flee ye of the contrary part.

℟ The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed.

℣ Lord, hear my prayer,

℟ And let my cry come unto Thee.

[Pg 142]℣ The Lord be with you,

℟ And with thy spirit.


Let us pray.

O God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, I call upon Thy Holy Name, and humbly implore Thy mercy, that Thou wouldest vouchsafe to grant me help against this, and every unclean spirit, that vexes this Thy creature. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ.


The Exorcism.

I exorcise thee, most foul spirit, every coming in of the enemy, every apparition, every legion; in the Name of our Lord Jesus ✠ Christ be rooted out, and be put to flight from this creature of God ✠. He commands thee, Who has bid thee be cast down from the highest heaven into the lower parts of the earth. He commands thee, Who has commanded the sea, the winds, and the storms. Hear therefore, and fear, Satan, thou injurer of the faith, thou enemy of the human race, thou procurer of death, thou destroyer of life, kindler of vices, seducer of men, betrayer of the nations, inciter of envy, origin of avarice, cause of discord, stirrer-up of troubles: why standest thou, and resistest, when thou knowest that Christ the Lord destroyest thy ways? Fear Him, Who was sacrificed in Isaac, Who was sold in Joseph, was slain in the Lamb, was crucified in man, thence was the triumpher over hell. The following signs of the Cross shall be made upon the forehead of the possessed. Depart therefore in the Name of the Father ✠, and of the Son ✠, and of the Holy ✠ Ghost: give place to the Holy Ghost, by this sign of the holy ✠ Cross of Jesus Christ our Lord: Who with the Father, and the same Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth ever one God, world without end. Amen.

[Pg 143]℣ Lord, hear my prayer.

℟ And let my cry come unto Thee.

℣ The Lord be with you.

℟ And with thy spirit.


Let us pray.

O God, the Creator and Protector of the human race, Who hast formed man in Thine own Image: look upon this Thy servant N. (or this Thy handmaid N.), who is grievously vexed with the wiles of an unclean spirit, whom the old adversary, the ancient enemy of the earth, encompasses with a horrible dread, and blinds the senses of his human understanding with stupor, confounds him with terror, and harasses him with trembling and fear. Drive away, O Lord, the power of the devil, take away his deceitful snares: let the impious tempter fly far hence: let Thy servant be defended by the sign ✠ (on his forehead) of Thy Name, and be safe both in body, and soul. (The three following crosses shall be made on the breast of the demoniac.) Do Thou guard his inmost ✠ soul, Thou rule his inward ✠ parts, Thou strengthen his ✠ heart. Let the attempts of the opposing power in his soul vanish away. Grant, O Lord, grace to this invocation of Thy most Holy Name, that he who up to this present was causing terror, may flee away affrighted, and depart conquered; and that this Thy servant, strengthened in heart, and sincere in mind, may render Thee his due service. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


The Exorcism.

I adjure thee, thou old serpent, by the Judge of the quick and the dead, by thy Maker, and the Maker of the world: by Him, Who hath power to put thee into hell, that thou depart in haste from this servant of God N., who[Pg 144] returns to the bosom of the Church, with thy fear and with the torment of thy terror. I adjure Thee again ✠ (on his forehead), not in my infirmity, but by the power of the Holy Ghost, that thou go out of this servant of God N., whom the Almighty God hath made in His Own Image. Yield, therefore, not to me, but to the minister of Christ. For His power presses upon thee Who subdued thee beneath His Cross. Tremble at His arm, which, after the groanings of hell were subdued, led forth the souls into light. Let the body ✠ (on his breast) of man be a terror to thee, let the image of God ✠ (on his forehead) be an alarm to thee. Resist not, nor delay to depart from this person, for it has pleased Christ to dwell in man. And think not that I am to be despised, since thou knowest that I too am so great a sinner. God ✠ commands thee. The majesty of Christ ✠ commands thee. God the Father ✠ commands thee. God the Son ✠ commands thee. God the Holy ✠ Ghost commands thee. The Sacrament of the Cross ✠ commands thee. The faith of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the other Saints ✠, commands thee. The blood of the Martyrs ✠ commands thee. The stedfastness (continentia) of the Confessors ✠ commands thee. The devout intercession of all the Saints ✠ commands thee. The virtue of the Mysteries of the Christian Faith ✠ commands thee. Go out, therefore, thou transgressor. Go out, thou seducer, full of all deceit and wile, thou enemy of virtue, thou persecutor of innocence. Give place, thou most dire one: give place, thou most impious one: give place to Christ in Whom thou hast found nothing of thy works: Who hath overcome thee, Who hath destroyed thy kingdom, Who hath led thee captive and bound thee, and hath spoiled thy goods: Who hath cast thee into outer darkness, where for thee and thy servants everlasting destruction is[Pg 145] prepared. But why, O fierce one, dost thou withstand? why, rashly bold, dost thou refuse? thou art the accused of Almighty God, whose laws thou hast broken. Thou art the accused of Jesus Christ our Lord, whom thou hast dared to tempt, and presumed to crucify. Thou art the accused of the human race, to whom by thy persuasion thou hast given to drink thy poison. Therefore, I adjure thee, most wicked dragon, in the Name of the immaculate ✠ Lamb, Who treads upon the lion and adder, Who tramples under foot the young lion and the dragon, that thou depart from this man ✠ (let the sign be made upon his forehead), that thou depart from the Church of God ✠ (let the sign he made over those who are standing by): tremble, and flee away at the calling upon the Name of that Lord, of Whom hell is afraid; to Whom the Virtues, the Powers, and the Dominions of the heavens are subject; Whom Cherubim and Seraphim with unwearied voices praise, saying: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth. The Word ✠ made Flesh commands thee. He Who was born ✠ of the Virgin commands thee. Jesus ✠ of Nazareth commands thee; Who, although thou didst despise His disciples, bade thee go bruised and overthrown out of the man: and in his presence, having separated thee from him, thou didst not presume to enter into the herd of swine. Therefore, thus now adjured in His Name ✠, depart from the man, whom He has formed. It is hard for thee to wish to resist ✠. It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks ✠. Because the more slowly goest thou out, does the greater punishment increase against thee, for thou despisest not men, but Him, Who is Lord both of the quick and the dead, Who shall come to judge the quick and the dead, and the World by fire. ℟ Amen.

℣ Lord, hear my prayer.

℟ And let my cry come unto thee.

[Pg 146]℣ The Lord be with you.

℟ And with thy spirit.


Let us pray.

O God of heaven, God of earth, God of the Angels, God of the Archangels, God of the Prophets, God of the Apostles, God of the Martyrs, God of the Virgins, God, Who hast the power to give life after death, rest after labour; because there is none other God beside Thee, nor could be true, but Thou, the Creator of heaven and earth, Who art the true King, and of Whose kingdom there shall be no end: humbly I beseech Thy glorious majesty, that Thou wouldest vouchsafe to deliver this Thy servant from unclean spirits, through Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Exorcism.

I therefore adjure thee, thou most foul spirit, every appearance, every inroad of Satan, in the Name of Jesus Christ ✠ of Nazareth, Who, after His baptism in Jordan, was led into the wilderness, and overcame thee in thine own stronghold: that thou cease to assault him whom He hath formed from the dust of the earth for His own honour and glory: and that thou in miserable man tremble not at human weakness, but at the image of Almighty God. Yield, therefore, to God ✠ Who by His servant Moses drowned thee and thy malice in Pharaoh and his army in the depths of the sea. Yield to God ✠, Who put thee to flight when driven out of King Saul with spiritual song, by his most faithful servant David. Yield thyself to God ✠, Who condemned thee in the traitor Judas Iscariot. For He touches thee with Divine ✠ stripes, when in His sight, trembling and crying out with thy legions, thou saidst: What have I to do with Thee, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Art Thou come hither to torment us before the time? He presses upon thee with perpetual flames, Who shall say to the wicked at the end of time—Depart from[Pg 147] Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For thee, O impious one, and for thy angels, is the worm that dieth not; for thee and thy angels is the fire unquenchable prepared: for thou art the chief of accursed murder, thou the author of incest, thou the head of sacrileges, thou the master of the worst actions, thou the teacher of heretics, thou the instigator of all uncleanness. Therefore go out ✠, thou wicked one, go out ✠, thou infamous one, go out with all thy deceits; for God hath willed that man shall be His temple. But why dost thou delay longer here? Give honour to God the Father ✠ Almighty, before Whom every knee is bent. Give place to Jesus Christ ✠ the Lord, Who shed for man His most precious Blood. Give place to the Holy ✠ Ghost, Who by His blessed apostle Peter struck thee to the ground in Simon Magus; Who condemned thy deceit in Ananias and Sapphira; Who smote thee in Herod, because he gave not God the glory; Who by His apostle Paul smote thee in Elymas the sorcerer with a mist and darkness, and by the same apostle by his word of command bade thee come out of the damsel possessed with the spirit of divination. Now therefore depart ✠, depart, thou seducer. The wilderness is thy abode. The serpent is the place of thy habitation: be humbled, and be overthrown. There is no time now for delay. For behold the Lord the Ruler approaches closely upon thee, and His fire shall glow before Him, and shall go before Him; and shall burn up His enemies on every side. If thou hast deceived man, God thou canst not scoff: One expels thee, from Whose Sight nothing is hidden. He casts thee out, to Whose power all things are subject. He shuts thee out, Who hast prepared for thee and for thine angels everlasting hell; out of Whose mouth the sharp sword shall go out, when He shall come to judge the quick and the dead, and the World by fire. Amen.

 [Pg 148]

All the aforesaid things being said and done, so far as there shall be need, they shall be repeated, until the possessed person be entirely set free.

The following which are noted down will be of great assistance, said devoutly over the possessed, and also frequently to repeat the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Creed.

The Canticle. Magnificat.

The Canticle. Benedictus.


The Creed of S. Athanasius.

Quicunque vult.

Psalm xci. Qui habitat.

Psalm lxviii. Exurgat Deus.

Psalm lxx. Deus in adjutorium.

Psalm liv. In Nomine Tuo.

Psalm cxviii. Confitemini Domino.

Psalm xxxv. Judica, Domine.

Psalm xxxi. In Te, Domine, speravi.

Psalm xxii. Deus, Deus meus.

Psalm iii. Domini, quid multiplicati?

Psalm xi. In Domino confido.

Psalm xiii. Usque quo, Domine?

Each Psalm shall be said with Glory be to the Father, &c.


Prayer after being set free.

We pray Thee, O Almighty God, that the spirit of wickedness may have no more power over this Thy servant N. (or Thy handmaid N.), but that he may flee away, and never come back again: at Thy bidding, O Lord, let there come into him (or her) the goodness and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have been redeemed, and let us fear no evil, for the Lord is with us, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the Unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. ℟ Amen.



[Pg 149]




[Pg 150]

“To deny the possibility, nay actual existence of 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. chap. iv. p. 61.



[Pg 151]




Witchcraft is the system of those persons who, through the direct agency of wicked spirits, perform certain acts and deeds beyond the natural and ordinary powers of mankind.[70] On the other hand,[Pg 152] Necromancy, according to the definition of Cotgrave, is “divination by conference with dead bodies raised.” In its modern and wider acceptation, the latter is a formal summoning of the spirits of the dead out of the hidden place of their abode—“the desert where they glide,”—in order to consult with them as to the present or future by unlawful means, and to secure their active assistance in supernatural things and practices which are forbidden.

The invocation and consultation of evil spirits specially summoned to earth by certain recognized incantations, would be acts of Witchcraft and Necromancy. Of these cases, abundant examples occur both in sacred[71] and profane history.[72]

[Pg 153]To the wizard or witch were freely given by the Devil or his angels divers powers at once supernatural and uncommon, by which, when sought for, both riches and sensual pleasures could for a while be secured, even to surfeiting. Occasionally the gift of predicting certain future events was bestowed; in other cases, the power of working evil and mischief upon the lives, limbs, and fortunes of[Pg 154] neighbours or chosen subjects. This power, as was commonly believed, was bestowed by an express and definite compact, as some declare, formally made in writing by the Devil or his agents, and sealed with the wizard’s or witch’s own blood. By the unvarying terms of the bond, as an essential preliminary, the Sacrament of Holy Baptism was expressly renounced by the person accepting the Devil’s terms and conditions. Satan was formally worshipped, prayed to, and acknowledged as Ruler and Lord; and then, after a certain number of years, as a necessary consequence, the soul of the wizard or witch, without any chance of redemption, was irrevocably lost, and became absolutely the everlasting property of the Evil One.

The existence of this detail of the Supernatural, sometimes dimly and obscurely set forth, at others with undoubted and remarkable clearness, owns in its favour the almost universal consent of the human race[73] in all ages. Even the incredulity of the modern persons, who term themselves “philosophers” and “thinkers,” cannot be reasonably alleged in contravention of so broad and general a fact; for these “philosophers” themselves admit as much when, in their great wisdom, they proceed to characterize the opposite disposition—the[Pg 155] readiness to accept such facts—as “vulgar” and “popular.”

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.[74] If one particular phase was removed, discredited, or discountenanced, some other form, substantially and inherently similar, eventually took its place. Holy Scripture[75] is full of references to Witchcraft and Necromancy. The dark rites and deeds involved in their practice are distinctly and unequivocally condemned. If such had not actively existed, why should their condemnation have been pronounced in the Sacred Books? Supernatural acts are there recorded, which are expressly said to have been performed by and through the system and power of Witchcraft, which is plainly declared to be a sin of a very dark dye. The practice, consequently, is directly and plainly forbidden, as being contrary to the Mind and Will of God; and laws were enacted and put on record by which those[Pg 156] who, in the face of warnings, continued to practise such forbidden arts, were to be punished by death.

It is equally clear from certain of the Epistles of the Apostles of our Blessed Lord, that the fact of Witchcraft and Necromancy being commonly practised by Pagan nations was not only perfectly well known[76] to the guides and rulers of the Christian[Pg 157] Church, but was again formally forbidden by those who were left to teach in the Name and on behalf of their Lord and Master. Nothing, in fact, can be more certain than that the Apostles condemned and prohibited the consultation of, or intercourse with, either the spirits of the departed or evil angels.

Here a few remarks defining and setting forth the principle on which such unlawful arts were authoritatively prohibited, may reasonably follow.

By the very act of his profession the Christian allows the co-existence in the World of two distinct and separable orders,—the Natural, which governs the physical and moral laws of the world, and the Supernatural, which, according to God’s Revelation, gradually unfolded and duly developed, governs the moral laws of man. The object of man’s faith is mystery, certain in itself, but above human intelligence. He yields the homage of his will not only to a God Who is the Great Creator and Preserver of the world and of all that therein is, but renders it to a God Who is the Repairer and Restorer of the human race by the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, and the Sanctifier of souls. This supernatural order, then, was not only known and established in the earth by other supernatural facts, but[Pg 158] the visible testimony of Nature to the invisible order superior to and above Nature, was from time to time, and when necessary, abundantly made manifest. The Supernatural, then, exists in the World to lead men to God. Everything, therefore, that rises up in opposition to the Supernatural and mars the true idea of it, of necessity turns man away from God. The World, the Flesh, and the Devil, each and all (as Christian experience by temptation testifies,) effect this most successfully.

The World, which has been defined as “the rebellion of the reason against God,” scorns to accept miracles and mysteries, and boldly denies the existence both of angels and fallen spirits—scoffing at and repudiating the idea of Witchcraft or Necromancy, which it craftily characterizes as “the foolish and ignorant superstitions of a dark age.” Furthermore, the World admits of no truth superior to the human intellect, of no law which restricts what is called “human liberty” or the “rights of man;” and absolutely refuses to acknowledge in the domain of facts anything which oversteps those fixed rules which it alone chooses to recognize in the government of Nature.

The Flesh tends to degrade man to the level of the beasts, with whom he has in common notable tendencies and powerful passions. To the carnal man, who is at enmity with God, the very term “Supernatural” is a word void both of meaning and efficacy. His motto is, “Let us eat and drink, for[Pg 159] to-morrow we die:” his conviction, as far as he may be said to have any, is that his own soul is nothing more than “a force which has its origin in matter itself,” and which, by consequence, shares its destruction; while his God is simply either “a stream of tendency, by which all things tend to fulfil the law of their being,” or “a substance immanent in the universe.”[77]

Thirdly, the Devil, through hatred both of God and man, strives in every way to substitute himself for God in this World. He is the Prince of the Powers of the air. He is stronger and more knowing than man. His intellect is clearer and finer. Moreover, his kingdom is powerful; his spiritual auxiliaries are numerous; his allies on earth, of all kinds, in the flesh, are multitudinous. The deeds which he delights that men should do are perfectly well known.[78] By counterfeiting genuine prodigies and true revelations, therefore, he draws men into the deadly meshes of a degrading and damnable superstition, by means of a delusive and lying supernaturalism. And the mischief resulting from such an active and successful policy is by no[Pg 160] means on the wane, if they are not surely on the increase, in these dangerous latter days. True that in England the laws against Witchcraft are abolished,[79] but history, fairly consulted and faithfully read, tells us that not a century has elapsed since the commencement of the Christian era without its demoniacal apparitions and certain examples of Necromancy and Witchcraft. While this is so, of course no intention is entertained by the Editor of denying the common belief of the Universal Church, that by and through the Incarnation and Sacrifice of the Ever-Blessed Son of God the powers and influence of the Enemy of souls have been materially and efficiently crippled.[80]

[Pg 161]Having thus digressed for an obvious purpose, it is now needful to return to the particular subject of this section, upon which some light will, in due course, be found to have been thrown, by the above brief expositions of principles; in the consideration and by the aid of which the strange facts and singular records which follow will appear in their proper place, when the important subject of the Supernatural, as brought out, incident upon incident, by historical records and authentic accounts, is under consideration.

That Witchcraft and Necromancy were publicly recognized as facts by the Fathers of the Christian Church is indisputable; while the existence of an order of ministers known as “exorcists,” acting from time to time, as occasion required or necessity demanded, in casting out evil spirits, is a sufficient proof of the watchful care and beneficent action of the Universal Church, at once authoritative, indefectible, and divine.[81]

[Pg 162]In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII. issued a Bull against Witchcraft, upon the promulgation of which, treatises were drawn up for the guidance of local bishops, chancellors, and other ecclesiastical officials, in the necessary labour of bringing hardened offenders to justice. This Bull was renewed in the latter part of the fifteenth century, by Pope Alexander VI., so that the subject of Witchcraft gained unusual attention about that period.

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 demoralization 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[Pg 163] 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.[82] But many of the Puritans, knowing that the act of exorcism, like baptism, was not essentially a sacerdotal act (for if baptism may be validly confirmed by a deacon, it may, with equal validity, be bestowed by a[Pg 164] layman), maintained the power to be inherent in any Christian man (with right disposition and following recognized and authorized rules) of casting out evil spirits; and, in consequence, declined altogether to repudiate the clear and plain records and statements of Holy Scripture concerning Witchcraft and Necromancy. They therefore made several attempts to secure the official authorization of a form for exorcism, framed after the old and customary rite, to be printed in the “Book of Common Prayer.” This, however, was never done. But in 1604 the subject was duly considered, and determined upon in the seventy-second Canon, which, as has been already pointed out, properly and stringently forbad to the clergy the practice of exorcism without a special license or faculty from the Bishop of the diocese.

As to the facts of Witchcraft and Necromancy, it is quite impossible to deny their existence. Records of the plainest character, legal evidence and literary testimony of undisputed authority,[83] may be discovered, which very luminously set forth what was believed on the subject; and this not alone by the ignorant, but by the learned and well-informed. The only difficulty is to make a suitable selection from that evidence which so abundantly exists; being careful that such selection shall not[Pg 165] set forth merely one aspect of the subject, but several, and leaving each account to tell its own story. This it is now proposed briefly to attempt.

For example, in the year 1599, a girl named Martha Brossier, of Romorantin, in Berry, was reputed to be possessed, and excited a considerable sensation in Paris. At the suggestion of the then Bishop of Paris, the King ordered a Committee composed of the most eminent physicians, to examine and report on her case. The physicians appointed were Marescot, Ellain, Haulin, Riolan, and Duet; and their Report, which is exceedingly curious, will be found translated into English by Abraham Hartwell, and published towards the close of the sixteenth century.[84] The dedication to his Majesty proceeds thus:—

“Sire, by the commandment of Your Majestie, we have set down briefely and truly that which wee have found in our visiting of Martha Brossier.... We present the same unto Your Majestie without any art, without any painted show, without any flourish, but with a naked Simplicitie, the faithful companion of Truth, which you have desired from us in this matter and which you have always loved and curiously sought.” The Report then continues: “We the undersigned Doctors Regents in the facultie[Pg 166] of physicke in the Universitie of Paris, touching the matter of Martha Brossier, a maide of the age of two-and-twenty yeres or thereabouts, born at Romorantin in Berry, who was brought unto us in the chappel of my Lord of Saint Genefue [Geneviève], and who we saw sometimes in constitution, countenance and speech as a person sounde of bodie and minde, ... do say in our consciences, and certify that which followeth: that all which is before set down (referring to the character of her fits) must be referred to one of these three causes—sicknesse, counterfeiting, or diabolicall possession. For the opinion that it proceedeth from sicknesse, we are clerely excluded from that, for the agitations and motions we observed therein doe retain nothing of the nature of sickness, nay not of those diseases whereunto of the first sight they might have resembled; it being neither an epilepsie or falling sickness, which always supposes the loss of sense and judgment, nor the passion which we call hysterica, ... nor any of the foure motions proceeding from diseases, that is to say, shivering, trembling, panting, and convulsion, or indeede if there doe appeare any convulsion; and that a man will so call the turning up of her eyes, the gnashing of her teeth, the writhing of her chaps (which are almost ordinarie with this maide while she is in her fittes); the confidence which the priest hath when he openeth her mouth, and holdeth it open with his finger within it, testifying sufficiently that they doe[Pg 167] not proceede from, nor are caused by, any disease, considering that in diseases he that hath a convulsion is not master of that part or member wherein it is, having neither any power of election or command over it, and particularly which is in the convulsion of the jawes, which is most violent of all the rest, the finger of the priest should bee no more respected nor spared than the finger of any other man. Moreover, diseases, and the motions also of diseases (especially those that are violent), leave the body feeble, the visage pale, and the breath panting. This maide, at the end of her fittes, was found to be as little moved and changed in pulse, colour, countenance, and breath, as ever she was before; yea, which is the more to be noted, as little at the end of her exorcisme as at the beginning, at evening as in the morning, at the last day as at the first. Touching the point of counterfeiting, the insensibilitie of her bodie during her extasies and furies, tried by the deepe prickings of long pinnes, which were thrust into divers parts of her hands, and afterwards plucked out againe, without any show that ever she made of feeling the same, either in the putting in of them, or the taking out of them, a griefe which, without majicke and without speech, could not, in our opinion, be indured, without any countenance or show thereof, neither by the constancie of the most courageous, nor by the stoutnesse of the most wicked, nor by the stronge conceit of the most criminall malefactores, took[Pg 168] from us almost the suspicion of it, but much more persuaded us from that opinion, the thin and slender foam that in her mad fits we saw issue out of her mouth, which she had no means to be abel to counterfeit. And yet more than all this, the very consideration before mentioned of the little or no change at all that was seene in her person after all these most sharpe and very long pangs, (a thing which nobody in the world did ever trie in their most moderate exercises,) we are driven, even till this houre, by all the lawes of discourse and knowledge, yea, and almost forced to beleeve that this maide is a demoniacke, and the Devill dwelling in her is the Author of these effects. If wee had seen that which my Lord of St. Genefue and many others doe report,—that this maide was lifted up into the ayre more than four foote above five or six strong persons that held her,—it would have been an argument to us of an extraordinarie power, over and beyond the common nature and condition of man. But not being presente at that wonder, we doe give a testamonie of our knowledge, which is as much or rather more admirable than that force and power was, viz., that being demanded, and in her exercising commanded, my Lord of Paris furnishing the priest with questions and interrogatories, this maide divers and sundrie times, by many persons of qualitie and worthie of credit, was seene and heard to obey and answere to purpose, not only in the Latin tongue, (wherein it had not been impertinent[Pg 169] peradventure to have suspected some collusion,) but also in Greeke and in English, and that upon the sudden. She did, we say once againe, understande the Greeke and English languages, wherein we beleeve, as it is very likely that she was never studied, so that there was no collusion used with her, neither could she invent or imagine the interpretations thereof. It resteth, therefore, even in the judgment of Aristotle in the like case, that they were inspired unto her.” The Report then concludes with this solemn declaration: “By reason whereof, and considering also, under correction, that Saint Luke, who was both a physician and an evangelist, describing the persons out of whose bodies our Lord and his apostles did drive the devils left unto us, none other or any greater signes than those which wee think wee have seene in this case, wee are the more induced and almost confirmed to beleeve and to conclude as before, taking God for a Witness of our consciences in the matter. Made at Paris, this 3rd April, 1599.”

On this Report, as may be gathered from the tractate referred to, it is evident and notorious that the physicians Marescot, Ellain, Haulin, Riolan, and Duet, were all men of scientific attainments and unimpeachable moral integrity; the same facts were also witnessed and formally attested by the Bishop of Paris, the Abbot of Geneviève, and other competent observers.

Another case, that of a girl named Anne Millner,[Pg 170] or Mylner, of Chester, about the year 1564, deserves consideration. The record here given is taken from a pamphlet of considerable interest.[85] Some curious facts connected with it are attested by Sir William Calverley, Sir William Sneyd, Lady Calverley, and other persons of distinction who then lived at Chester. The description of the paroxysm is extremely graphic:—“We went,” says the Report, which is signed by the above-named persons, “at about two of the clocke in the afternoone of the same 16th day of February and there found the mayden in her traunce, after her accustomed manner lying in a bed within the haule, her eyes half shut, half open, looking as she had been agast, never moving either eye or eyelid, her teeth something open, with her tongue doubling betweene, her face somewhat red, her head as heavy as leade to lift at; there she laid, still as a stone, and feeling her pulse it beat in as good measure as if she had been in perfect health.” The Report then describes her becoming violently convulsed: “She lifted herself up in her bed, bending backwards in such order that almost her head and fete met, falling down on the one side, then on the other.” A person of the name of Lane, who was reputed to possess great power[Pg 171] over demoniacs, was then called in, who first, as the Report expresses it, “willed” that she should speak, and then “willed” that she should rise and dress herself, all which she did, to the astonishment of the bystanders; and a Certificate to that effect was signed by all present on March 8, 1564.

In Lancashire seven persons belonging to one family were reputed to be under the direct influence of evil spirits, or in a certain state of bewitchment, exhibiting signs of demoniacal possession. The pamphlet, the title of which is given below,[86] puts on record what in this case is reported to have occurred: “These possessed persons had every one something peculiar to herselfe which none of the rest did shew, and that so rare and straunge that all the people were obliged to confesse it was the worke of an evil spirit within them; so had they many things in common, and were handled for the most part in their fittes alike.... They had all every one very straunge visions, they heard hideous and fearful voices of spirits sundrie times and did make marveilous answers back againe ... they were in their fits ordinarilie holden in that captivity and bondage, that for an houre, two, or three, and longer time they[Pg 172] should neither see, heare, nor taste, nor feel nothing but the divells, they employing them wholly for themselves, vexing and tormenting them so extreameley as that for the present they could feel no other paine or torture that could bee offered; no, though you should plucke an ear from the heade or an arm from the bodie. They had also a marveilous sore heaving as if their hearts would burst, so that with violent straining some of them vomitted bloude many times. They were all of them verry fierce, offering violence both to themselves and others, whereine they shewed verie greate and extraordinarie strength. They were out of their right mind, without the use of their senses, expecially voyd of feiling: as much sense in a stock as one of them, or as possible, in a manner, to quicken a dead man as to alter or chaunge them in their traunces in anything they either saide or did. They in their fittes had divers parts and members of their bodies so striffe and stretched out as were inflexible or very hard to be bended. They shewed very great and extraordinarie knowledge, as may appeare by the straunge things saide and done by them, according to that which we have already set down in the particulars. They ever after their fittes were as well as might be, and felt very little or no paine at all, although they had been never so sore tormented immediately before.”

The strange and singular violence of the convulsions in those who were under the influence of Witchcraft, is brought out in almost all the records[Pg 173] of such cases, notably in those which occurred during the Great Rebellion,[87] and specially in the case of Anne Styles, who was executed at Salisbury in 1653.

The narrative states that she was so strong in her fits that six men or more could not hold her, but while suffering under most grievous hurrying and tortures of the body, the witch being only brought into the room, she fell asleep and slept for three hours, so fast that when they would have awakened her they could not.[88] The insensibility of the body in this state, we are informed by Increase Mather, led to a cruel test for demoniacal possession. There was a notorious Witchfinder, he observes, “in Scotland, who undertook by a pin to make an infallible discovery of suspected persons, whether they were witches or not. If, when the pin was run an inch or two into the body of the accused party no[Pg 174] blood appeared nor any sense of pain, he declared them to be witches, by means of which no less than three hundred persons were condemned for witchcraft in that country.”[89]

In a small but curious tractate entitled “Daimonomagia,” the effects of Witchcraft are maintained to be a disease. The definition of it stands thus:—“A disease of witchcraft is a sickness that arises from strange and preternatural causes, and from diabolical power in the use of strange and ridiculous ceremonies by witches or necromancers, afflicting with strange and unaccustomed symptoms, and commonly preternaturally violent, very seldom, or not at all, curable by natural remedies.” Then follow the diagnostical signs, amongst which are insensibility, convulsions, together with a preternatural knowledge both of living and dead languages, and after these the causes of witchcraft. Biernannus and Wierius, two authorities on the subject, find that aspect and contact do not necessarily bewitch; but witches sometimes try to bewitch another of the same family. Lastly, as regards the cure, directions are provided by which the wizard, witch, or necromancer is to be compelled to use certain dark ceremonies for the cure of the bewitched.

In the year 1658, a woman named Jane Brookes[Pg 175] was tried, condemned, and executed at Chard in Somersetshire. The indictment against her was that she had bewitched Richard the son of Henry Jones, of Shepton Mallet in that county. Numberless persons of all ranks and classes, including both clergymen and physicians, witnessed his sufferings and paroxysms; while the direct influence of the woman indicted was fully apparent and abundantly proved. “The boy,” as the Rev. Joseph Glanville,[90] one of the chaplains of King Charles II. writes, “fell into his fitts at the sight of Jane Brookes and lay in a man’s arms like a dead person; the woman was then willed to lay on her hand, which she did, and he thereupon started and sprung out in a very unusual manner. One of the justices, to prevent all possibilities of legerdemain, caused Gibson and the rest to stand off from the boy, and then that justice himself held him. The youth being blindfolded, the justice called as if Brookes should touch him, but winked to others to do it, which two or three successively did, but the boy appeared not concerned. The justice then called on the father to take him, but had privately before desired one Mr. Geoffrey Strode to bring Jane Brookes to touch him at such a time as he should call for his father, which was done, and the[Pg 176] boy immediately sprang out after a very odd and violent fashion. He was afterwards touched by several persons and moved not, but Jane Brookes being again caused to put her hand upon him he started and sprung up twice as before. All this while he remained in his fit and some time after, and being then laid on a bed in the same room, the people present could not for a long time bow either of his arms or legs.”

It appears tolerably evident that the boy, when under the influence of his fits, owned a faculty not unlike that of clairvoyance. As regards Jane Brookes and her sister, he seems to have had the capacity to describe them accurately wherever they might have been. As the Report declares, “He would tell the clothes and habits they were in at the time, exactly as the constable and others have found them on repairing to them, although Brookes’ house was a good distance from Jones’: this they often tried, and always found the boy right in his description.”[91]

From the same volume, the main facts of which seem to be admitted by competent authority, a[Pg 177] woman named Elizabeth Style of Bayford was indicted for bewitching a girl named Elizabeth Hill, thirteen years of age. In this case the formal deposition of three credible witnesses attests that “during her fits, her strength was encreased beyond the proportion of nature, and the force of divers men. Furthermore, in one fit she foretold when she would have the next, which happened accordingly.”

The case of the “Surey Demoniac,” as he was termed, which was set forth at length in a publication issued in London towards the close of the seventeenth century,[92] is certainly worthy of being noticed here. In the year 1697 a youth of nineteen years of age, named Richard Dugdale, excited great attention; it being generally believed that he was possessed by an evil spirit, as the direct consequence of Witchcraft. His paroxysms were witnessed by numerous clergymen, physicians, and persons of respectability and rank; and caused an amount of interest and excitement which can scarcely be realized.[93] His fits commenced with violent convulsions; his sight or eyeballs turned[Pg 178] upward and backwards; he afterwards answered questions; predicted during one fit the period of accession and duration of another fit; spoke in foreign languages, of which at other times he was ignorant, and described events passing at a distance with singular and recognized accuracy. Here again the word of narration is quoted at length:—“At the end of one fit the demoniac told what hour of the night or day his next [fit] would begin, very precisely and punctually, as was constantly observed, though there was no equal or set distance of time between his fits; betwixt which there would be, sometimes a few hours, sometimes many, sometimes one day, sometimes many days.” “He[Pg 179] would have told you,” one of the deponents asserts on oath, “when his fits would begin, when they were two or three in one day, or three or four days asunder, wherein he never was, that the deponent knoweth of, disappointed.” On one occasion, when the minister was addressing him, he exclaimed, “At ten o’clock my next fit comes on.” “Though he was never learned in the English tongue, and his natural and acquired abilities were very ordinary, yet, when the fit seized him, he often spake Latin, Greek, and other languages very well.... He often told of things in his fits done at a distance, whilst those things were a-doing,—as, for instance, a[Pg 180] woman being afraid to go to the barn, though she was come within a bow’s length of it, was immediately sent for by the demoniac, who said, ‘Unless that weak-faithed jade come, my fits will last longer.’ Some said, ‘Let us send for Mr. G——.’ The demoniac answered, ‘He is now upon the hay-cart,’ which was found to be true.... On another occasion he told what great distress there was in Ireland, and that England must ‘pay the piper.’ Again, one going by him to a church meeting, was told by the demoniac in his fit, ‘Thou needest not go to the said meeting, for I can tell thee the sermon that will be preached there,’ upon which he told him the text and much of the sermon that was that day preached.” Lastly, it is certified by two of the deponents that “the demoniac could not certainly judge what the nature of his distemper was; because when he was out of his fits, he could not tell how it was with him when he was in his fits.”

From another publication[94] we gather that, in the case of Florence Newton, an Irishwoman, who was charged with bewitching Mary Longdon, when the sufferer and the accused were both in court, and the evidence against the person charged was being concluded, the prisoner at the bar simply looked at the woman reputed to be under her influence, and[Pg 181] made certain motions of her hands towards her, upon which we are told that “the maid fell into most violent fits, so that all the people that could lay hands on her could scarcely hold her.”

Quaint as these records are, peculiar in their literary style, singularly simple and homely in their subject-matter as to details, and tinged, it may be, not infrequently with the exaggerated superstitions of the times, it is impossible that so many persons of all ranks and classes—the highest as well as the lowest—eye-witnesses of facts, could have been so utterly mistaken as to the Supernatural character of Witchcraft, or so deluded as to its true nature and import. Some writers have hastily and erroneously asserted that at the close of the seventeenth century the arraigning and trying of witches came to an end. But this is not so.[95] In 1712, Judge Parker (who succeeded Chief Justice Holt,) put a check upon the so-called “trial by water,” by his charge at the Essex Summer Assizes of that year. Three years later, however, in 1715, Elizabeth Treslar was hung and then burnt for Witchcraft on Northampton Heath.

The following account (extracted verbatim et literatim) is taken from a rare and curious tract[96][Pg 182] published early in the eighteenth century, containing an account of the trial, examination, and condemnation of two witches named Shaw and Phillips in the year 1705. One or two sentences of the old narrative are two coarse for quotation; but substantially the contemporary account is reprinted, following its old typographical form:—

“On Wednesday the 7th of this Instant March 1705, being the second day of the Assizes held at Northampton: One Ellinor Shaw and Mary Phillips[97][Pg 183] (two notorious Witches), were brought into court and there Arraign’d at the Bar upon several Indictments of Witchcraft; particularly for Bewitching and Tormenting in a Diabolical manner, the Wife of Robert Wise of Benefield in the said County, till she Dyed; as also for Killing by Witchcraft and wicked Facination one Elizabeth Gorham of Glapthorn, a Child of about four years of Age, in the said County of Northampton; as also for Bewitching to death one Charles Ireland of Southwick in the said County; to which Indictment the two said Prisoners pleaded not Guilty and there upon put themselves upon their Tryals as followeth:—

“The first Evidence against them was one Widdow Peak, who deposed that she with two other Women, undertook to Watch the same Prisoners after they had been Apprehended; and that about Midnight there appeared in the Room a[Pg 184] little white Thing about the Bigness of a Cat, which sat upon Mary Phillips’ Lap, at which time she heard her, the said Mary Phillips, say, then pointing to Ellinor Shaw, that she was the Witch that Killed Mrs. Wise by Roasting her Effiges in Wax, sticking it full of Pinns, and till it was all wasted, and all this she affirm’d was done the same Night Mrs. Wise Dyed in a sad and languishing Condition. Mrs. Evans deposed that when Mrs. Wise first was taken Ill, that she saw Ellinor Shaw look out at the Window (it being opposite to her House), at Which time she heard her say, ‘I have done her Business now I am sure; this Night Ill send the old Devil a New Year’s Gift’ (next day being New year’s Day), and well knowing this Ellinor Shaw to be a reputed Witch, was so much concern’d at her Words that she went then to see how Mrs. Wise did, Where[Pg 185] she found her Tormented with such Pains, as exceeding those of a Woman in Travel, which Encreased to such a terrible Degree that she Expired about 12 of the clock to the great amasement of all her Neighbours.

“Another Evidence made Oath that Ellinor Shaw and Mary Phillips being one day at her house they told her she was a Fool to live so Miserable as she did, and therefore if she was willing, they would send some thing that Night that would Relieve her, and being an ignorant Woman she consented; and accordingly the same Night two little black Things, almost like Moles came into her bed ... repeating the same for two or three Nights after, till she was almost frightened out of her Sences [sic] insomuch that she was forced to send for Mr. Danks the Minister, to Pray by her several nights[Pg 186] before the said Imps would leave her: She also added that she heard the said Prisoners say that they would be Revenged on Mrs. Wise because she would not give them some Buttermilk.

“Mrs. Todd of Southwick deposed that Charles Ireland being a Boy of about 12 years of Age, was taken with Strange Fitts about Christmas last, continuing so by Intervals till twelf Day last, at which time he Barked like a Dogg, and when he was Recovered and come to himself, he would Distinctly describe Ellinor Shaw and Mary Phillips, affirming them two to be the Authors of his Misfortunes, though he never saw them in his Life; so that Mrs. Ireland, the Boy’s mother, was advised to Cork up some ... in a stone Bottle filled full of Pins and Needles, and to Bury it under the Fire Hearth; which being done accordingly, the[Pg 187] two said Witches could not be quiet till they came to the same House and desired to have the said Bottle taken up, which was not granted, till they had confessed the Matter, and promised never to do so again; but for all this the Next night but one, the said Boy was so violently Handled, that he Dyed in two Hours time; and this Woman’s Testimoney was confirm’d by five or six other Evidences at the same time.

“The said Witches were Try’d a third time for Bewitching to Death Elizabeth Gorham of Glapthorne on the 10th of February last, as also for killing several Horses, Hogs, and Sheep, being the Goods of Matthew Gorham, Father of the said Child aforesaid. The Evidence against them to prove all this, was William Boss and John Southwel; who deposed that being Constables of the said[Pg 188] Town, they were Charged with the said Prisoners in their Custody, who threatning them with Death if they did not Confess, and promising them to let them go if they would Confess; after some little Whineing and Hanging about one another’s Necks they both made this Confession:—

“‘That living in one house together they contracted with the Devil about a Year ago to sell their Souls to him, upon condition he would enable them to do what Mischief they desired against whom they pleased, either in Body, Goods, or Children; upon which the same Night they had each of them three Imps sent them as they were going to Bed, and at the same instant the Devil appeared to them in the shape of a tall black Man, and told them that these Imps would always be at their Service, either[Pg 189] to kill Man, Woman, Child, Hog, Cow, Ship, [i.e. Sheep] or any other Creature, when they pleased to command them, provided ... which being agree’d to, the Devil came to Bed to them Both.... And that the next morning they sent four of their Imps to kill two Horses of one John Webb of the said Town of Glapthorne, because he openly said they were Witches; and accordingly the Horses were found dead in a Pond the same day; and two Days after this, they Kill’d four great Hoggs after the same manner, belonging to Matthew Gorham, because he said they both look’d like Witches, and not thinking this Revenge sufficient, the next day after, they sent two Imps a piece to destroy his Child, being a little Girle of about four years of Age, which was done [Pg 190]accordingly in 24 Hours’ time, notwithstanding all the Skill and Endeavour of able Doctors to preserve it. They further confessed that if the said Imps were not constantly imploy’d to do Mischief they had not their Healths, but when they were imploy’d they were very Healthful and Well. They further added, that the said Imps did often tell them in the Night-time in a hollow whispering low voice, which they plainly understood, that they should never feel Hell Tormēts, and they had Kill’d a Horse and two Cows of one Widow Broughton because she deny’d them some Pea-cods last year, for which they had also struck her Daughter with Lameness, which would never be cured as long as either of them Liv’d, and accordingly she had continued so ever since.’

[Pg 191]“The above said Evidence further deposed that having thus extorted the said Confession from the prisoners, they persuaded them to set their Hands to it, which was done accordingly, tho’ with very much difficulty, upon which the said Confession was produced in Court, and the Witness’s to it Examin’d, who all deposed upon Oath that the said Confession was made in their Hearing, and that they saw the said reputed Witches set their Marks to it in the presence of ten Witnesses.

“Upon which the said Prisoners were desired by the Court to declare wheather they own’d the said Confession and the Marks thereunto Affixed or not, to which they both answered in the Negative; and thereupon made such a Howling and lamentable Noise as never was heard before to the amusement of the Whole Court, and Deny’d every particular[Pg 192] that was laid to their Charge: but the Court having heard the matter of Fact so positively asserted against them by several Evidences, and above all by their own Confessions, that after having given a Larned [sic] Charge to the Jury relating to every particular Circumstance, they brought them in both Guilty of wilful Murther and Witchcraft, and accordingly the next day the Court was pleased to pronounce sentence of Death upon them, that is to say, To be Hang’d till they are almost Dead, and then surrounded with Faggots Pitch and other Combustable matter, which being set on fire their Bodies are to be consumed to Ashes.”

In the month of March, 1711-12, another woman, Jane Wenham by name[98] (formally charged with bewitching Anne Thorne, Anne Street, and others),[Pg 193] was tried at the Assizes at Hertford, and received sentence of death. The case was heard before Sir Henry Chauncey. Before the grand jury the depositions of sixteen witnesses were taken; one of whom deposed that Jane Wenham confessed to him that she had practised Witchcraft during sixteen years. On one occasion when the girl whom she had afflicted was in one of her paroxysms, we are informed that a very ingenious gentleman and able physician happened to be present, his curiosity bringing him a little out of his way to inquire into the truth of the story of this witch, which he had heard several ways told, as things of this nature generally are. When he saw her in a fit, which was one of the least she ever had, he tried whether he could bring her out of it without prayers. He took a great feather, which burning he held under the maid’s nose, and though the stink was so great that we were not able to bear it in the room, yet the maid received the strong steam into her nose without being the least affected by it and without perceiving it, as far as we could perceive. The physician then felt her pulse and assured them that “it was no natural disease under which the maid laboured, that it must be counterfeit or preternatural; but,” observes the author of this account, “that she should counterfeit even death itself one minute and restore herself to health the very next, and that she should put herself to all this trouble for no manner of pleasure or profit, is so very inconceivable and so[Pg 194] wholly unaccountable, that I must needs say I shall never have faith enough to believe such a heap of absurdities.” (p. 33.)

The undoubted insensibility of the girl was tested in a very practical but remarkably barbarous manner. One of the members of the Family of Chauncey “ran a pin into her arm six or seven times, and finding she never winced for it, but held her arm as still as if nothing had been done to it, and seeing no blood come, he ran it in a great many times more; still no blood came; but she stood talking and never minded it. Then, again, he ran it in several times more. At last he left it in her arm that all the company might see it, run up to the head.” (p. 19.)

The record of these cases also contains the following:—

“There are also some things in which the fits of Mary Longdon and Anne Thorn agree, particularly the great strength of the afflicted when in a fit, so great that three or four men could hardly hold ’em down, but there is one very remarkable difference, which I doubt not my readers have already taken notice of, viz. that this Mary Longdon was always worse of her fits whenever Florence Newton came in the room; whereas Anne Thorn constantly recovered from hers at the touch of the witch. And yet I think these different appearances may be accounted for [in] different ways. It is not reasonable to suppose that either of those alterations in the afflicted[Pg 195] came to pass by the consent or procurement of the witches themselves, who could not but perceive that they served as strong circumstances against them, but this was done by the overruling providence of Almighty God to convict these miserable creatures; and either of these ways might do as well as the other, since it is equally surprising to see one in perfect health fall into such terrible fits at the sight of any one person, as to see another recover out of such fits by the bare touch of the suspected witch, both of them tending only to the discovery of the criminal.” (pp. 17, 18.)

As to certain of the characteristics and evidences of Witchcraft, Increase Mather in his “Cases of Conscience” writes as follows. What he sets forth, and what is now to be quoted, serves to show not only the kind of evidence as to facts which was then forthcoming, but also to afford information as to the current sentiment of his own period: “As for that which concerns the bewitched persons being recovered out of their agonies by the touch of the suspected party, it is various and fallible; sometimes the afflicted person is made sick instead of being made whole by the touch of the accused; sometimes the power of imagination is such as that the touch of a person innocent and not accused shall have the same effect. Bodin relates that a witch who was tried at Nantes was commanded by the judges to touch a bewitched person, a thing often practised by the judges of Germany in the Imperial Chamber. The witch[Pg 196] was extremely unwilling, but being compelled by the judges, she cried out, I am undone, and as soon as ever she touched the afflicted person the witch fell down dead. I think,” continues Mather, “that there is weight in Dr. Cottar’s argument, viz. that the power of healing the sick and possessed was a special grace and favour of God for the confirmation of the truth of the Gospel; but that such a gift should be annexed to the touch of wicked witches, as an infallible sign of their guilt is not easy to be believed. It is a thing well known, that if a person possessed by an evil spirit is (as oft it happens) never so outrageous whilst a good man is praying with and for the afflicted, let him lay his hand on them and the evil spirit is quiet.”

The cases already referred to took place in England. A brief reference may be here made to two examples which caused considerable sensation in Scotland,—a country where the belief in Witchcraft was in times past almost universal; and where, even still, the clear statements of Holy Scripture on the subject are neither explained away, scoffed at, nor disbelieved:—

In the year 1696 a commission was appointed in Scotland by the Lords of his Majesty’s Privy Council, to inquire into the case of Christian Shaw, daughter of John Shaw of Bargarran, and the accused persons confronted before Lord Blantyre, the rest of the commissioners, several others gentlemen of note and ministers, the accused and in particular[Pg 197] Catherine Campbell were examined in the presence of the commissioners. “When they [the accused] severally touched the afflicted girl, says the Report, she was seized with grevious fits and cast into intolerable agonies; others then present did also touch her, but no such effects followed, and it is remarkable that when Catherine Campbell touched the girle she was immediately seized with more grevious fittes and cast into more intolerable torments than upon the touch of other accused persons, whereat Campbell herself being daunted and confounded, though she had formerly declined to bless her, uttered these words, ‘The Lord of heaven and earth bless thee and save thee both body and soul.’”[99]

During these trials we are informed that the “prisoners were called in, one by one, and placed about seven or eight feet from the justices and accusers; then, stood between the justices and them, the prisoners were ordered to stand right before the justices, with an officer appointed to hold each hand, lest they should herewith afflict them, and the prisoners’ eyes must be constantly on the justices, for if they looked on the afflicted they would either[Pg 198] fall into fitts or cry out they were much hurt by them.”

“On the trial of Bridget Bishops,” it is further added that, “the indictment being drawn up according to form, it was testified at the examination of the prisoner before the magistrates that the bewitched were extremely tortured. If she did but cast her eye on them they were presently cast down, and this in such a manner that there could be no collusion in the business. But upon the touch of her hand upon them when they lay in their swoones they would immediately revive, and not upon the touch of anyone else. Moreover, upon the special actions of her body, as the shaking of her head or the turning up of her eyes, they presently fell into the same postures, and many of the like accidents fell out while she was at the bar.”[100]

Most curious are the various details of the trials thus far referred to. And certain of them may be regarded as trivial, if not absurd and ridiculous. Nevertheless it should be our careful aim to distinguish between those facts which were formally, regularly, and clearly established by positive evidence, and the personal fancies, superstitions, notions and wild ideas which may possibly accompany the reports of them. Of course exaggerations may have been made, and impositions not[Pg 199] unfrequently practised; but in the forcible words of Joseph Glanville, we should remember that “frequency of deceit and fallacy will warrant a greater care and caution in examining, and a greater scrupulosity and shyness of assent to, things wherein fraud hath been practised, or may in the least degree be suspected; but to conclude that, because an old woman’s fancy hath abused her, or some knavish fellow hath put tricks on the ignorant and timorous, therefore whole assizes have been deceived in judgment upon matters of fact, and that numbers of persons have been forsworn in things wherein perjury could not advantage them, I say such inferences are as void of charity as of good manners.... In things of fact the people are as much to be believed as the most subtle philosophers and speculators, since their sense is the judge, but in matters of notion and theory they are not at all to be heeded, because Reason is to be the judge of these, and this they know not how to use.”[101]

It must be frankly admitted that these records of trials—of which there are such numerous examples in print—often contain principles and details of a most disagreeable and offensive nature. They have been quoted at some length, however, in order to point out exactly what for many years was currently believed with regard to Witchcraft; and whatever fanciful additions were made, or whatever[Pg 200] superstitious garnishings were added to such accounts, by the ignorant or half-informed, there can be little doubt that, after all reasonable deductions had been made, there was a considerable substratum of truth underlying each of them, which ought not to be ignored, and which cannot, on any satisfactory theory, be reasonably explained away.

In certain cases the subject of Witchcraft had a somewhat wide and vague meaning. It not unfrequently covered the practices of all the so-called “occult sciences,” just as in the “Book of Daniel,” “the magicians, the astrologers,[102] the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers,” classed together, were together consulted; so it seems to have been in ancient times in places, and amongst people who practised Witchcraft and Necromancy. Invocations of the dead; the use of charms; watching the flight of birds; “reading the stars;” interpreting dreams, and foretelling[Pg 201] future events by the aid of evil spirits, were all practices which, in a somewhat vague but popular phraseology, came under the class of sins of the nature of those directly condemned in Holy Scripture.

One or two further remarks may be added upon the general subject. From the amount of evidence which exists, it is impossible to deny that such a power as Witchcraft has been frequently exercised, and consequently may be put into practice again. It is idle to assert that it is a mere moral epidemic, at least for those who take up a Christian standing-point, and do not deny both the Inspiration of Holy Scripture and the Indefectibility and Infallibility of the Church Universal, as well as, and in addition to, well-authenticated historical facts. The practice of Witchcraft has, of course, been more ordinary in countries which are not Catholic;[103] for example in Scotland, Sweden, Germany, and North America; though, of necessity it prevailed very largely with many in England from the period of the Reformation until the beginning of the eighteenth century, as has been already sufficiently shown. Thus, many who refused to hear, and abide by, the message and guidance of Holy Church; who rejected the miracles and mercies of the Almighty, were sometimes too ready to accept as true, and participate[Pg 202] in the weird works of necromancers, and sometimes to be duped by the Prince of darkness, through the active instrumentality of his human agents.[104]

Without, at this point of our general argument,[Pg 203] trenching unduly on a detail of the subject in its most recent developments, which is carefully considered at some length in later chapters, it may be well to give a single example perfectly accurate and most satisfactorily authenticated.

Here it is:—The friend of a distinguished Scotch peer wished for certain important and valuable information, which in any ordinary, usual, and common modes he was, it appears, altogether unable to obtain. He therefore thought it right and proper to consult a “spiritual medium,” and so held a consultation, made an inquiry, and obtained a response. The following is the authenticated record of this action:—

“A friend of mine was very anxious to find the Will of his grandmother, who had been dead forty years, but could not even find the certificate of her death. I went with him to the Marshall’s[105] and we had a séance; we sat at a table, and soon the raps came; my friend then asked his questions mentally; he went over the alphabet himself, or sometimes I did so, not knowing the question. We[Pg 204] were told [that] the Will had been drawn by a man named William Walter, who lived in Whitechapel; the name of the street and the number of the house were given. We went to Whitechapel, found the man, and subsequently, through his aid obtained a copy of the draft; he was quite unknown to us, and had not always lived in that locality, for he had once seen better days. The medium could not possibly have known anything about the matter, and even if she had, her knowledge would have been of no avail, as all the questions were mental ones.”[106]

The specific features of this account are so obvious and well defined, and the account itself is so remarkably clear in all its various parts, that nothing more needs to be added, than the simple remark, that if the old and false principles of Witchcraft and Necromancy are not here again present and energizing (only appropriately and properly draped in a nineteenth-century garment, and carefully adapted to the tastes of refined and educated people), it would be well to find some other principle by which this, and thousands of other similar cases may be rationally and openly explained and accounted for, and this from the standing-point of a firm belief in Historical Christianity.

From the point of view from which this book is[Pg 205] written, it may be reasonably maintained that recent “spiritual manifestations,” as they are termed, are very possibly only another mode by which in an age of superior civilization the Prince of the Power of the air, adapting his delusions to the less coarse tastes and sentiments of his anxious clients and inquiring followers, produces “lying wonders,” false miracles, and delusive appearances; or unlawfully reveals secrets, affords information in the present, and gives, or pretends to give, revelations as to the future.

Many persons in the present day are ready enough (as well they may be,) to become eloquent on the trivial absurdities and vulgar (too often dark and obscene) contrivances of the Witchcraft of the seventeenth century. Be it so. But perhaps, after all, the system as then worked was both skilfully, intellectually, and well enough adapted for the purposes and aims which its author had in hand. If the coarse-minded and uneducated of those days so readily became its agents and workers, coarseness and ignorance were reasonably and suitably, and perhaps of necessity, used in its operations. Now, however, the persistent Enemy of mankind, “the Old Serpent,”[107] appears to have adopted quite another course of tactics, less coarse it may be, and less revolting (in some particulars) to the sentimental and shallow, but equally efficacious for his[Pg 206] diabolical purposes and eventual success. Where Witchcraft was formerly practised by ten persons, its new and more attractive phase, it is to be feared, is now accepted by thousands. All this, and more, may be gathered later on, when the subject of “Modern Spiritualism” is duly considered.




[Pg 207]




[Pg 208]

“And how will those modern wits, of which our age is so full, account for this, who allow no God or Providence, no invisible world, no angelic kind and waking spirits, who, by a secret correspondence with our embodied spirits, give merciful hints to us of approaching mischief and impending dangers; and that timely, so as to put the means into our hands to avoid and escape them?”—History and Reality of Apparitions, by Andrew Moreton, Esq., p. 218. London: 1735.

“The Soul’s dark cottage, batter’d and decay’d,
Lets in new light through chinks which Time hath made.”
Edmund Waller.

“All who read this, I exhort in the Name of the Most Sacred Majesty of our Most Blessed King, Jesus Christ, to be extremely suspicious of all such extraordinary appearances, presentiments, trances and predictions; to examine well and minutely everything; not to look upon those books, which even pious souls in such a state have written, unconditionally as a divine revelation; and not to believe their predictions, but to be persuaded, that though some things may be fulfilled, others may not.”—J. H. Jung-Stilling, On Forebodings. London: 1834.



[Pg 209]




The subjects here set forth for consideration (by which no slight progress will be made in exhibiting such facts as serve to unfold and make manifest more plainly the purpose of this treatise), are very wide in their scope. A large volume might with no great difficulty be compiled upon each separate subject; for the examples of remarkable dreams and supernatural omens which are already on record, are exceedingly numerous,[108] while the warnings[Pg 210] and presentiments of danger and death, which are still often vouchsafed, have been so notably providential in their purport, that many of the mercifully-bestowed Glimpses of the Supernatural, brought before the Editor’s notice, can only be attributed generally to the goodness of Almighty God, and particularly either to the intercession of His Saints, the effectual fervent prayers of those still in the flesh, or the direct intervention of His Holy Angels, the guardians and guides of Christians.

Some dreams, especially those of an ordinary character, appear to consist of the mere revival of old memories and associations regarding persons and events which have long passed out of the mind, and seem to have been forgotten. It is often quite impossible to trace the manner in which, or the method by which, dreams arise; and certainly many of the facts connected with them do not appear referable to any coherent principle with which it may truly be said that man is perfectly acquainted. They are mysterious; they are strange; they are supernatural. At the same time it is impossible not to remember how frequently the sacred and divine writings record examples of dreams, by which the Will of God was directly made known of old to some of His favoured servants. The case of King Abimelech, warned against taking Abraham’s wife (whom he had untruly called his sister), is an early instance in[Pg 211] point.[109] So, too, are the warnings and directions given by Almighty God to Jacob and Laban. The dreams of Joseph likewise illustrate the principle which may be readily discovered and comprehended by the help of Scripture, viz. that some dreams, whatever others may be, are certainly from God, and ought not to be disregarded. For the Almighty expressly pledged Himself to make known His Will to His prophets both by dreams and in visions.[110] And it was by the former that He appeared to Solomon, graciously and mercifully offering him a response to any request he might make. “Ask what I shall give thee.” The dreams and visions of Daniel, the Hebrew Prophet, likewise of S. Joseph of Nazareth, both with regard to the Blessed Virgin and the malice of Herod; the warning dreams of the Three Eastern Kings; that of Pilate’s wife, and others equally remarkable, are familiar to us all. So that, whatever theories may be excogitated by some, it is impossible for Christians to hold any novel and fantastic ideas, which would sweep away those links which in dreams and visions may still bind together the natural with the supernatural, and by which, from time to time, in the present day, warnings[Pg 212] and necessary lessons may sometimes be mercifully vouchsafed and imparted.

A considerable difficulty has been experienced by the Editor, not only in testing recent examples which have been brought before him, but in inducing those who supplied him with them, to allow the use and support of their names.[111] In the cases to be given, he has spared no reasonable trouble in their investigation; and, where they are not matters of history (received and recognized by those who are satisfied with an application of the ordinary laws of evidence), the reader may rely on the fact that they have not been embodied in this volume without the most anxious inquiry and careful sifting of their truth and accuracy.

Thus much as to his purport and intent. Now let the examples of remarkable dreams be put on record; after a brief reference has been made to the belief and expressions of opinion of certain[Pg 213] early Christian writers, obviously formulated upon the basis of scriptural assertions and sacred examples of old.

When the body sleeps, as Tertullian remarks,[112] it takes its own peculiar refreshment, but that refreshment not being adapted to the soul, which does not rest, she during the inactivity of the bodily members employs her own. Then in his treatise “On the Soul,”[113] he proceeds to distinguish between the hallucination of dreaming and insanity. Dreaming is agreeable to the course and order of Nature, he maintains; but he rejects the doctrine of Epicurus, in which dreams are disparaged as idle and fortuitous. He further expresses his conviction that future honours, dignities, medical remedies, thefts and treasure have been revealed by dreams—testimonies to which are both numerous and strong. Many dreams, specially those which are vain, frivolous, impure, and turbulent, may be attributed to demons. Others, again, proceed from God or holy angels, as one portion of prophecy.

Lactantius, in a short passage of his well-known “Tract,”[114] expresses his conviction of divine agency in dreams. He maintains that the undoubted testimony of History presents mankind with several most remarkable verifications of dreams; and he repeats what Tertullian had already maintained,[Pg 214] viz. that part of the economy of prophecy depends upon them. He holds that Virgil’s evidence may be admitted, that dreams are neither always true nor always false.

Again, S. Cyprian states that he was divinely instructed in a dream to mix a little water with the wine for the Holy Eucharist.[115] On the general subject, S. Basil warns those who may be ready to attribute too great importance to dreams, to rest contented with the written revelation of Almighty God in Holy Scripture.[116] S. Bernard, the last of the Fathers, treats of dreams at great length in his remarkable sermon “On Sleep,” which is full of sage advice of the same nature as that set forth by S. Basil; and so does S. Thomas Aquinas, who discusses the subject with singular breadth, fulness, and system, arriving at the conclusion that it is unreasonable to deny anything—the truth of which is affirmed by general experience; and he adds that general experience affirms that dreams very frequently give indications of coming events; and therefore, concludes that it is lawful to interpret and endeavour to comprehend them.[117] But at this point, he goes on to maintain that only those dreams which are suggested by angels may be investigated and interpreted, those suggested by demons and evil spirits[Pg 215] being left alone. But unfortunately he provides no criterion by which the one class may be safely and truly distinguished from the other; nor is it easy to supply the deficiency.

From another point of view, a thoughtful modern writer[118] has remarked that “dreams are uniformly the resuscitation or re-embodiment of thoughts which have formerly, in some shape or other, occupied the mind. They are old ideas revived, either in an entire state, or heterogeneously mingled together. I doubt if it be possible,” he continues, “for a person to have in a dream, any idea whose elements did not, in some form, strike him at a previous period. If these break loose from their connecting chain, and become jumbled together incoherently, as is often the case, they give rise to absurd combinations; but the elements still subsist, and only manifest themselves in a new and unconnected shape.”

This, and such as this, may be quite true; but yet whatever theories the scientific may propound which seem to oppose the facts of man’s experience, will not in the long run command that adhesion which for awhile they may possibly obtain. And now for examples:

The Dream of the so-called “Swaffham Tinker”[119][Pg 216] 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 neighbours, 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[Pg 217] 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, however, till late in the evening, when, just as he was about to depart, a stranger who had noticed him standing stedfastly 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 his errand, though without acquainting him with the name of the place whence he came. The stranger enjoyed a smile at the rustic’s simplicity, and advised him to go home and for the future to 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[Pg 218] merely thanked the stranger for his advice, and went away avowing his intention to follow it. Next day he set out 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 difficulty 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 description read without any suspicion on the part of his neighbours 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[Pg 219] 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 the 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 paralleled:—

“One Adam Rogers, a creditable and decent man of good sense and repute, who kept an inn at Portlaw, a small hamlet nine or ten miles from Waterford, in Ireland, dreamed one night that he saw two men at a particular green spot on the adjoining mountain; one of them a small, sickly-looking man, the other remarkably strong and large. He then saw the latter man murder the other, upon which he awoke in great agitation.

“The circumstances of the dream were so distinct and forcible that he continued much affected by them. He related them to his wife, and also to several neighbours next morning.

“In some time he went out coursing with greyhounds, accompanied amongst others by one Mr. Browne, the Roman Catholic priest of the parish. He soon stopped at the above-mentioned particular green spot on the mountain, and calling Mr. Browne,[Pg 220] pointed it out to him, and told him what had happened there. During the remainder of the day he thought little more about it.

“Next morning he was extremely startled at seeing two strangers enter his house at about eleven o’clock in the forenoon. He immediately went into an inner room, and desired his wife to take particular notice, for they were precisely the two men he had seen in his dream.

“After the strangers had taken some refreshment, and were about to depart in order to prosecute their journey, Rogers earnestly entreated the little man at once to quit his fellow-traveller. He assured him that if he would remain with him that day he would accompany him to Carrick the next morning—that being the town to which the travellers were proceeding. He was unwilling and ashamed to tell the cause of his being so solicitous to separate him from his companion. But as he observed that Hickey (which was the name of the little man) seemed to be quiet and gentle in his deportment, and had money about him, and that the other had a ferocious, bad countenance, the dream still recurred to him. He dreaded that something fatal would happen, and wished at all events to keep them asunder.

“However, the humane precautions of Rogers proved ineffectual, for Caulfield (such was the other’s name) prevailed upon Hickey to continue with him on their way to Carrick, declaring that as[Pg 221] they had long travelled together, they should not part, but remain together until he should see Hickey safely arrived at the habitation of his friends. The wife of Rogers was much dissatisfied when she heard they were gone, and blamed her husband exceedingly for not being absolutely peremptory in detaining Hickey.

“About an hour after they left Portlaw, in a lonely part of the mountain, just near the place observed by Rogers in his dream, Caulfield took the opportunity of murdering his companion. It appeared afterwards from his own account of the horrid transaction, that as they were getting over a ditch he struck Hickey on the back part of the head with a stone, and when he fell down into the trench in consequence of the blow, Caulfield gave him several stabs with a knife, and cut his throat so deeply that the head was observed to be almost severed from his body. He then rifled Hickey’s pockets of all the money in them, took part of his clothes and everything else of value about him, and afterwards proceeded on his way to Carrick. He had not been long gone when the body, still warm, was discovered by some labourers who were returning to their work from dinner.

“The report of the murder soon reached Portlaw. Rogers and his wife went to the place and instantly knew the body of him whom they had in vain endeavoured to dissuade from going on with his treacherous companion. They at once spoke out[Pg 222] their suspicions that the murder was perpetrated by the fellow-traveller of the deceased. An immediate search was made, and Caulfield was apprehended at Waterford the second day after.

“He was brought to trial at the ensuing assizes and convicted of the fact. It appeared amongst other circumstances that when he went to Carrick he hired a horse and a boy to conduct him—not by the usual road, but by that which runs on the north side of the river Suir—to Waterford, intending to take his passage in the first ship from thence to Newfoundland. The boy took notice of some blood on his shirt, and Caulfield gave him a half-crown to promise not to speak of it.

“Rogers proved not only that Hickey was last seen in company with Caulfield, but that a pair of new shoes which Hickey wore had been found on the feet of Caulfield when he was apprehended; and that a pair of old shoes which he had on at Rogers’s house were upon Hickey’s feet when the body was found. He described with great exactness every article of their clothes. Caulfield on the cross-examination, shrewdly asked him from the dock whether it was not very extraordinary that he, who kept a public-house, should take such particular notice of the dress of a stranger accidentally calling there? Rogers in his answer said he had a very particular reason, but he was ashamed to mention it. The court and the prisoner insisted on his declaring it. He gave a circumstantial narrative of[Pg 223] his dream, called upon Mr. Browne, the priest, then in court, to corroborate his testimony, and said that his wife had severely reproached him for permitting Hickey to leave their house, when he knew that in the short footway to Carrick they must necessarily pass by the green spot in the mountain which had appeared in his dream.

“A number of witnesses came forward, and the proofs were so strong that the jury without hesitation found the prisoner guilty.

“It was remarked as a singularity that he happened to be tried and sentenced by his namesake, Sir George Caulfeild, at that time Lord Chief Justice of the King’s Bench, which office he resigned in the summer of the year 1760.

“After sentence Caulfield confessed the fact. It came that Hickey had been in the West Indies two and twenty years, but falling into a bad state of health, he was returning to his native country (Ireland) bringing with him some money his industry had acquired. The vessel on board which he took his passage was, by stress of weather, driven into Minehead. He there met with Frederick Caulfield, an Irish sailor, who was poor and much distressed for clothes and common necessaries. Hickey compassionating his poverty, and finding he was his countryman, relieved his wants, and an intimacy commenced between them. They agreed to go to Ireland together; and it was remarked on their passage that Caulfield spoke contemptuously, and[Pg 224] often said it was a pity that such a puny fellow as Hickey should have money, and he himself without a shilling. They landed at Waterford, at which place they stayed some days, Caulfield being all the time supported by Hickey, who bought some clothes for him. The assizes being held in the town during that time, it was afterwards recollected that they were both at the Court-house, and attended the whole of a trial of a shoemaker who was convicted of the murder of his wife. But this made no impression on the hardened mind of Caulfield, for the very next day he perpetrated the same crime on the road between Waterford and Carrick-on-Suir, near which town Hickey’s relations lived.

“He walked to the gallows with firm step and undaunted countenance. He spoke to the multitude who surrounded him, and in the course of his address mentioned that he had been bred at a charter-school, from which he was taken as an apprenticed servant by William Izod, Esq., of the county of Kilkenny. From this position he ran away on being corrected for some faults, and had been absent from Ireland six years. He confessed also that he had several times intended to murder Hickey on the road from Waterford to Portlaw, which, though in general not a road much frequented, yet people at that time continually coming in sight, prevented him.

“Being frustrated in all his schemes, the sudden and total disappointment threw him probably into[Pg 225] an indifference for life. Some tempers are so stubborn and rugged that nothing can affect them, but immediate sensation. If to this be united the darkest ignorance, death to such characters will hardly seem terrible, because they can form no conception of what it is, and still less of the consequences that may follow.”

The record of the following dream is certainly curious and interesting, and is perfectly well authenticated, coming as it does from the pen of the gentleman’s son more immediately concerned, who testified as to its literal fulfilment:—

“In the year 1768 my father, Matthew Talbot, Esq., of Castle Talbot, in the county of Wexford, was much surprised at the recurrence of a dream three several times during the same night, which caused him to repeat the whole circumstance to his lady the following morning. He dreamed that he had arisen as usual and descended to his library, the morning being hazy. He then seated himself at his secrétaire to write; when, happening to look up a long avenue of trees opposite the window, he perceived a man in a blue jacket mounted on a white horse coming towards the house. My father arose and opened the window. The man advancing, presented him with a roll of papers, and told him they were invoices of a vessel which had been wrecked and had drifted in during the night on his son-in-law’s, Lord Mountmorris’s, estate close by, and signed ‘Bell and Stephenson.’ My father’s[Pg 226] attention was only called to the dream from its frequent recurrence: but, when he found himself seated at his desk on the misty morning, and beheld the identical person whom he had seen in his dream in the blue coat riding on the grey horse, he felt surprised, and opening the window waited the man’s approach. He immediately rode up, and drawing from his pocket a packet of papers, gave them to my father, stating they were invoices belonging to an American vessel which had been wrecked, and drifted in upon his lordship’s estate; that there was no person on board to lay claim to the wreck, but that the invoices were signed ‘Stephenson and Bell.’ I assure you that the above is most faithfully given by me as it actually occurred; but it is not more extraordinary than other examples of the prophetic powers of the mind or soul in sleep which I have frequently heard related.”[120]

Another remarkable dream, exceedingly well authenticated by an aunt of the Editor of this volume, is now set forth in detail and at some length:—

“On the night of the 11th of May, 1812, Mr. Williams, of Scorrier House, near Redruth, in Cornwall, awoke his wife, and exceedingly agitated,[Pg 227] told her that he had dreamed that he was in the lobby of the House of Commons, and saw a man shoot with a pistol a gentleman who had just entered the lobby, who was said to be the Chancellor, to which Mrs. Williams naturally replied that it was only a dream, and recommended him to be composed, and go to sleep as soon as he could.

“He did so, but shortly after again woke her; and said that he had the second time had the same dream; whereupon she observed that he had been so much agitated with his former dream that she supposed it had dwelt on his mind, and begged of him to try to compose himself and go to sleep, which he did. A third time the same vision was repeated, on which, notwithstanding her entreaties that he would be quiet, and endeavour to forget it, he arose, being then between one and two o’clock, and dressed himself.

“At breakfast the dreams were the sole subject of conversation, and in the forenoon Mr. Williams went to Falmouth, where he related the particulars of them to all his acquaintance that he met.

“On the following day, Mr. Tucker, of Trematon Castle, accompanied by his wife, a daughter of Mr. Williams, went to Scorrier House about dusk. Immediately after the first salutation, on their entering the parlour, where were Mr., Mrs., and Miss Williams, Mr. Williams began to relate to Mr. Tucker the circumstances of his dream; and Mrs. Williams observed to her daughter, Mrs.[Pg 228] Tucker, laughingly, that her father could not even suffer Mr. Tucker to be seated before he told him of his nocturnal visitation; on the statement of which Mr. Tucker observed that it would do very well for a dream to have the Chancellor in the lobby of the House of Commons, but that he would not be found there in reality; and Mr. Tucker then asked what sort of man he appeared to be, when Mr. Williams minutely described him; to which Mr. Tucker replied: ‘Your description is not at all that of the Chancellor, but is certainly very exactly that of Mr. Perceval, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and although he has been to me the greatest enemy I ever met with through life, for a supposed cause which had no foundation in truth (or words to that effect), I should be exceedingly sorry, indeed, to hear of his being assassinated, or of any injury of the kind happening to him.’

“Mr. Tucker then inquired of Mr. Williams if he had ever seen Mr. Perceval, and was told that he never had seen him, nor had ever even written to him, either on public or private business; in short, that he never had had anything to do with him, nor had he ever been in the lobby of the House of Commons in his life.

“At this moment, whilst Mr. Williams and Mr. Tucker were still standing, they heard a horse gallop to the door of the House, and immediately after, Mr. Michael Williams of Trevince (son of[Pg 229] Mr. Williams of Scorrier), entered the room and said that he had galloped out from Truro (from which Scorrier House is distant seven miles), having seen a gentleman there, who had come by that evening’s mail from London, who said that he was in the lobby of the House of Commons, on the evening of the 11th, when a man called Bellingham had shot Mr. Perceval, and that, as it might occasion some great ministerial changes, and might affect Mr. Tucker’s political friends, he had come out as fast as he could to make him acquainted with it, having heard at Truro that he had passed through that place in the afternoon on his way to Scorrier.

“After the astonishment which this intelligence had created had a little subsided, Mr. Williams described most particularly the appearance and dress of the man whom he had seen in his dream fire the pistol, as he had before done of Mr. Perceval.

“About six weeks after, Mr. Williams, having business in town, went accompanied by a friend to the House of Commons, where (as has been already observed) he had never before been. Immediately that he came to the steps at the entrance of the lobby, he said: ‘This place is as distinctly within my recollection in my dream, as any room in my house,’ and he made the same observation when he entered the lobby.

“He then pointed out the exact spot where Bellingham stood when he fired, and where Mr. Perceval had reached when he was struck by the ball,[Pg 230] and where and how he fell. The dress, both of Mr. Perceval and Bellingham, agreed with the descriptions given by Mr. Williams, even to the most minute particular.”[121]

The number of records in which it is believed that dreams have been the means by which murder has been discovered are so considerable; and some are so well authenticated, that it is impossible, as it certainly would be presumptuous, to endeavour to set them aside. The murder of Maria Marten of Polstead in Suffolk, by William Corder, a farmer, in May of the year 1827, is a remarkable example:—

This unfortunate woman was induced to leave her home, and having accompanied the man who, under the promise of marriage, had betrayed her, to a certain barn, was there cruelly murdered and buried under the floor. For nearly twelve months the murder was undiscovered; for Corder, who remained away, but still communicated with her parents, maintained that she had married him; that circumstances prevented his bringing her back to his father’s home: but that in due course they would both come, though it was implied that they were both on the Continent.

[Pg 231]The mother of the murdered woman, however, about ten months after her daughter’s death, dreamed that her daughter had been murdered, and buried under the floor of the barn. So strong and deep an impression did this make both on her relations and the people of the village, that the girl’s father and others on April 19, 1828, took up the floor of the barn, where they discovered the body of the murdered woman in a sack; and not so much decayed but that obvious marks of violence were perceptible. The body was successfully identified by the want of two teeth—one on the left side of the upper jaw, and the other on the right side of the lower. In the meantime Corder had married, and had gone to live in Essex, where he was apprehended, tried, and condemned on the strongest circumstantial evidence. He made a full confession of the murder when in prison, under sentence of death, and was executed in August, 1828.

The following sets forth how an impressive, vivid, and twice-repeated dream induced a sailor to go to the place dreamed of, and rescue three suffering fellow-creatures from a horrible death. It was related to a Cornish friend, as a matter of fact, by a native of the island of Alderney, and is quite worthy of being here recorded:—

“Some few years before the erection of those well-known lighthouses called the Caskets, near that island, an islander dreamed that a ship had been wrecked near those rocks, and that some[Pg 232] part of the crew had saved themselves upon them. This dream he related on the quay; but the sailors (although the most superstitious people in the world) treated it as an idle fancy. Yet the next night produced the same dream, and the man would no longer be laughed out of it; so he prevailed upon a companion the next morning to take a boat and go with him to the rock, where they found three poor wretches half-starved with cold and hunger, and brought them on shore. This circumstance, and the supposed loss of the ‘Victory’ on this rock, the islanders give as a reason for erecting three lighthouses there.”

Still more remarkable perhaps is the following, which, telling its own story, and abundantly illustrating the reality of the Supernatural, needs no comment:—

“The Rev. Mr. Perring, Vicar of a parish which is now a component part of London, though, about forty-five years ago it had the appearance of a village at the outskirts, had to encounter the sad affliction of losing his eldest Son at an age when parents are encouraged to believe their children are to become their survivors; the youth dying in his seventeenth year. He was buried in the vaults of the church.

“Two nights subsequently to that interment, the father dreamed[122] that he saw his Son habited in a[Pg 233] shroud spotted with blood, the expression of his countenance being that of a person enduring some paroxysm of acute pain: ‘Father, father! come and defend me!’ were the words he distinctly heard, as he gazed on this awe-inspiring apparition; ‘they will not let me rest quiet in my coffin.’

“The venerable man awoke with terror and trembling; but after a brief interval of painful reflection concluded himself to be labouring under the influence of his sad day-thoughts, and the depression of past sufferings; and with these rational assurances commended himself to the All-Merciful, and slumbered again and slept.

“He saw his Son again beseeching him to protect his remains from outrage, ‘For,’ said the apparently surviving dead one, ‘they are mangling my body at this moment.’ The unhappy Father rose at once, being now unable to banish the fearful image from his mind, and determined when day should dawn to satisfy himself of the delusiveness or verity of the revelation conveyed through this seeming voice from the grave.

“At an early hour, accordingly, he repaired to the Clerk’s house, where the keys of the church and of the vaults were kept. The Clerk after considerable delay, came down-stairs, saying it was very[Pg 234] unfortunate he should want them just on that very day, as his son over the way had taken them to the smith’s for repair,—one of the largest of the bunch of keys having been broken off short in the main door of the vault, so as to render it impracticable for anybody to enter till the lock had been picked and taken off.

“Impelled by the worst misgivings, the Vicar loudly insisted on the Clerk’s accompanying him to the blacksmith’s—not for a key but for a crowbar, it being his resolute determination to enter the vault and see his Son’s coffin without a moment’s delay.

“The recollections of the dream were now becoming more and more vivid, and the scrutiny about to be made assumed a solemnity mingled with awe, which the agitation of the father rendered terrible to the agents in this forcible interruption into the resting-place of the dead. But the hinges were speedily wrenched asunder—the bar and bolts were beaten in and bent beneath the heavy hammer of the smith,—and at length with tottering and outstretched hands, the maddened parent stumbled and fell: his son’s coffin had been lifted from the recess at the vault’s side and deposited on the brick floor; the lid, released from every screw, lay loose at top, and the body, enveloped in its shroud, on which were several dark spots below the chin, lay exposed to view; the head had been raised, the broad riband had been removed from under the[Pg 235] jaw, which now hung down with the most ghastly horror of expression, as if to tell with more terrific certainty the truth of the preceding night’s vision. Every tooth in the head had been drawn.

“The young man had when living a beautiful set of sound teeth. The Clerk’s Son, who was a barber, cupper, and dentist, had possessed himself of the keys, and eventually of the teeth, for the purpose of profitable employment of so excellent a set in his line of business. The feelings of the Rev. Mr. Perring can be easily conceived. The event affected his mind through the remaining term of his existence; but what became of the delinquent whose sacrilegious hand had thus rifled the tomb was never afterwards correctly ascertained. He decamped the same day, and was supposed to have enlisted as a soldier. The Clerk was ignominiously displaced, and did not long survive the transaction. Some years afterwards, his house was pulled down to afford room for extensive improvements and new buildings in the village.

“As regards the occurrence itself, few persons were apprised of it; as the Vicar—shunning public talk and excitement on the subject of any member of his family—exerted himself in concealing the circumstances as much as possible. The above facts, however, may be strictly relied on as accurate.”

A somewhat similar dream is recorded in the following statement, copied from the public prints, the fact of which has been authenticated by a[Pg 236] correspondent in Scotland, who furnished the Editor with it. The paragraph, now to be quoted, appeared some years ago in the “Scotsman” newspaper, and was quoted in the “Times” of Tuesday, April 25, 1865:—

“The legal proceedings which lately took place in the Sheriff Court of Clackmannanshire, with regard to the violation of a grave in the churchyard at Alloa, and the unwarrantable exhumation of the body of James Quin, had their origin, it is stated, in a remarkable dream of the mother of the deceased. Young Quin died in September, 1863, and was buried in a lair in the churchyard, which was purchased by his father from William Donaldson, the Kirk Treasurer, it being agreed that the price was to be paid by instalments. About six months afterwards, Robert Blair, the sexton or grave-digger, took upon himself (without the authority, it would appear, of Donaldson) to sell the same lair to another person, and to inter therein a relative of the new purchaser, without, however, at the time exhuming the body of Quin, the former tenant. Some considerable time after this the mother of Quin being desirous of erecting a head-stone on the grave of her son, made some inquiries with that view, in the course of which she heard something of another person having been buried in his grave, this having, as she stated, been ‘cast up’ by Blair’s nephew to a younger son of hers on their way from Sunday-school. But the grave-digger denied the[Pg 237] truth of this story, and managed to pacify her. Feeling, however, that he had got into a scrape by the lair having been resold, he, some weeks after Mrs. Quin had interrogated him on the subject, dug up the body of her son during the night of Thursday, the 23rd of March last, and reinterred it in the other ground. Now, on that very Thursday night, as sworn to by Mrs. Quin, at the trial, she had this remarkable dream:—

“She dreamt that her boy stood in his nightgown, at her bedside, and said to her, ‘Oh, mother, put me back to my own bed.’ She then awoke her husband, and forgetting in her half-dreaming state that her son was dead, said to him, ‘Jemmie is out of his bed; put him back into it;’ after which she fell asleep, and again had the same dream.

“A third time, during the same night, she dreamt that her son was standing beside her bed; but on this occasion remembering that he was dead, the figure of the grave-digger was mixed up with that of the boy, and he appeared to be shoving his spade into the body. Awakening in great trepidation, and feeling certain that her boy had been taken out of his grave, she went to the grave-digger and vehemently accused him of having dug up the body, which, after prevarication, he at last admitted. Hence arose the action of damages against Donaldson, the Kirk Treasurer, and Blair, the grave-digger, which being restricted to twelve pounds was brought in the Small Debt Court. The Sheriff, after a long[Pg 238] proof, assoilzied Donaldson, and found Blair liable in damages, which, the parties not having settled the same extrajudicially, have since been assessed at five pounds.”

Another dream, equally remarkable, by which a warning was given, and in a measure attended to by the dreamer, now follows; although not so weirdly tragic as that relating to the Perring Family, yet it efficiently serves to shadow forth the proximity of the spiritual world; and, it may be, in this example, the direct intervention of a guardian-angel:—

“Some years ago a clergyman named W—— was visiting an old college friend, Canon Hutchinson of Blurton Vicarage, near Trentham, and being a good pedestrian, proposed to accomplish his journey home again from Trentham to Birmingham, which place he desired to reach by ten o’clock one morning, on foot. In order to do this he intended to leave Blurton at four o’clock a.m. on a certain day; and so retired to rest the previous evening at an unusually early hour. During the night he had a vivid and remarkable dream, which deeply impressed him. He dreamt that whilst he was on his walking journey between Tamworth and Sutton, upon a very lonely road enclosed by tall hedges, he heard a rough voice cry out, ‘Ah, Jack, are you there?’ and looking round saw two exceedingly ill-looking men jumping down from an elevated part of the bank under the hedge, and alighting[Pg 239] close to him on the path below. Their countenances and suspicious bearing seemed to bespeak their evil intentions. Presently one of them all of a sudden presented a pistol at him. The clergyman imagined that he had only a moment or two in which to commend his soul to God, which he did with earnestness, when the pistol was fired and his life thus taken away. Here the dream ended and he awoke. It left an uneasy impression on his mind, but being naturally of an undaunted spirit, and a firm believer in the protection of Almighty God, he did not hesitate to leave his friend’s house at the early period determined on. After walking for about an hour and a half, and when a few miles from Sutton Coldfield, where all of a sudden, as regards locality, he realized the minutest details of the dream, two men coming through the hedge suddenly overtook him. One addressed the other in the words already set forth. They were in every particular, even to features, dress, and demeanour, identical with those whom he had seen in the dream. They accompanied him, keeping close to his side, and watched him with very mysterious looks. He was deeply startled and alarmed, but lifted up his heart to God for guidance, direction, and protection. Soon they all reached a broad and dreary common, upon the extreme distant edge of which stood a small inn, whither he resolved to go for refreshment in the hope of shaking off his companions. Here for awhile they separated; but, on[Pg 240] entering the house and asking to be supplied with tea, he found that the two men had followed him, and were asking for refreshments likewise. After waiting for some time, he determined on leaving the inn by a path at its back entrance, which, from knowing something of the locality, he believed would take him by a nearer way to Sutton Coldfield. This turned out to be the case; for by his action he successfully avoided the two tramps, who were afterwards taken up and imprisoned for some marked offence against the laws of the land.”[123]

A warning of a very similar character may now be narrated, in which the curious point seems to be that it was given so many years before it was needed, though its efficiency was fully made manifest when the actual danger threatened:—

“The Housekeeper of a county family in Oxfordshire dreamt one night that she had been left alone in the house upon a Sunday evening, and that hearing a knock at the door of the chief entrance, she went to it, and there found an ill-looking tramp armed with a bludgeon, who insisted on forcing himself into the house. She thought that she struggled for some time to prevent him so doing, but quite ineffectually; and that being struck down[Pg 241] by him and rendered insensible, he thereupon gained ingress to the mansion. On this she awoke.

“She at once mentioned her dream to some of her fellow-servants, and also, a few days later, to the Master of the House. The latter, smiling, pooh-poohed it; but remarked that ‘all the greater care should be taken by the servants to see that the fastenings were secure.’

“As nothing happened for a considerable period, the circumstance of the dream was soon forgotten; and, as she herself asserts, had altogether passed away from her mind. However, many years afterwards, this same Housekeeper was left with two other servants to take charge of an isolated mansion at Kensington (subsequently the town residence of the family), when, on a certain Sunday evening, her fellow-servants having gone out and left her alone, she was suddenly startled by a loud knock at the front door.

“All of a sudden the remembrance of her former dream returned to her with singular vividness and remarkable force, and she felt her lonely isolation greatly. Accordingly, having at once lighted a lamp on the hall table—during which act the loud knock was repeated with vigour—she took the precaution to go up to a landing on the stair, throw up the window, and there, to her intense terror, she saw in the flesh the very man whom years previously she had seen in her dream, armed with a bludgeon and demanding an entrance. With great presence[Pg 242] of mind she went down to the chief entrance, made that and other doors and windows more secure, and then rang the various bells of the house violently, and placed lights in the upper rooms. It was concluded that by these acts the intruder was scared away. It turned out afterwards that the lodge-keeper, having left two children to guard the entrance, they had been terrified into admitting the tramp into the garden; and that the latter had fastened them into the lodge, where they were found in a considerable state of alarm by the two servants on their return home.”[124]

Another example of a warning attended to, which had been given in a dream, and acted upon immediately afterwards, comes to the Editor on conclusive evidence of its undoubted truth and authenticity:

A Scotch lady, a relation of the late J. R. Hope Scott, Esq., of Abbotsford, dreamt that her nephew, a promising young student of the University of Edinburgh, had been drowned with two companions[Pg 243] with whom he had made an engagement to take an excursion by boat on the Frith of Forth. So much impressed was she by this dream, that she rose two hours earlier than usual in the morning, and sent off her man-servant at once to prevail upon her nephew to give up his engagement. On being pressed he did so. His companions (who had also been warned not to go,) went without him, and alone, that is, without an experienced sailor. The boat was capsized and they were both drowned.

In the case which is now to follow, the warning given, not having been acted upon at once, came too late. It was narrated to the Editor, vivâ voce, in 1866, by the late Dr. J. M. Neale:—

“In the autumn of the year 1845, one of the maid-servants of the then rector of Shepperton, a village on the Thames, near Chertsey, dreamed that her brother, a respectable and steady youth belonging to that place, was drowned. The dream was singularly vivid. In it she further imagined that she actually went to search for her brother’s body, and that, after seeking for some time, she found it at a certain part of the river, which she knew well, near the brink, and in a particular position. This dream took place on a Saturday night. When she awoke on the Sunday morning, she at once acquainted her fellow-servant (who saw how deep an impression the dream had evidently made), and remarked that she ought at once to obtain her master’s leave to go home on the morrow, and warn her brother,[Pg 244] who was unable to swim, not to go out on to the river. The leave was given, and her home was soon reached, but alas! the warning had come too late. Her brother had gone rowing on the Sunday evening, the boat was accidentally upset, and he was drowned. The body was not recovered for some time; nor was it found near the spot where the accident had happened. But it was found by the poor youth’s sister, lower down the river, and exactly in the same place and position as had been so forcibly and clearly prefigured in her impressive dream.”

The following example of a dream which occurred about twenty years ago, by which the fact of a murder was made known, being likewise well authenticated and of considerable interest, is now set forth:—

“On Saturday, the 30th of July, 1853, the dead body of a young woman was discovered in a field at Littleport, in the isle of Ely. The body has not yet been identified, and there can be little doubt that the young woman was murdered. At the adjourned inquest, held on the 29th August before Mr. William Marshall, one of the coroners for the Isle, the following extraordinary evidence was given:—

“James Jessop, an elderly, respectable-looking labourer, with a face of the most perfect stolidity, and who possessed a most curiously-shaped skull, broad and flat on the top, and projecting greatly on each side over the ears, deposed—‘I live about a furlong and a half from where the body was[Pg 245] found. I have seen the body of the deceased. I have never seen her before her death. On the night of Friday, the 29th of July, I dreamt three successive times that I heard the cry of murder issuing from near the bottom of a close called Little Ditchment Close (the place where the body was found). The first time I dreamt I heard the cry it awoke me. I fell asleep again and dreamt the same thing. I then awoke again and told my wife I could not rest, but I dreamt it again after that. I got up between four and five o’clock, but I did not go down to the close, the wheat and barley in which has been since cut.

“‘I dreamt once about twenty years ago that I saw a woman hanging in a barn, and on passing the next morning the barn which had appeared to me in my dream, I entered and did find a woman there hanging, and cut her down in time to save her life. I never told my wife that I heard cries of “murder,” but I have mentioned it to several persons since. I saw the body on the Saturday it was found. I did not mention my dream to any one till a day or two after that. I saw the field distinctly in my dream and the trees therein, but I saw no person in it. On the night of the murder the wind lay from that spot to my house.’

“Rhoda Jessop, wife of the last witness, stated that her husband related his dreams to her on the evening of the day that the body was found.”[125]

[Pg 246]Another case, deeply interesting, and certainly more dramatic in the nature and importance of the very practical results which followed from the action taken upon it, than even that already recorded of the Perring family (for it greatly benefited the living), is now narrated. The interesting account, which, with the greatest simplicity, and in the actual words of the persons advantaged, records the plain facts, tells its own story with considerable power. Frivolous and pointless as are so many dreams, without intelligible purpose or sequence of action, this is one which it may be reasonably held can only be explained by a firm belief in a superintending Providence, in other words in Almighty God, Who, as an old writer asserts, “sometimes warneth and instructeth in dreams,” and Who mercifully uses the ministry both of angels and men for carrying out His Divine purpose:—

“A Gloucestershire gentleman in good circumstances, who for many years had lived a retired life, quite apart from his relations, some of whom in a previous year had been cast in a lawsuit with him for the recovery of certain properties, suddenly died, and, as was supposed, died intestate.

“He had long intended, at the advice of the Rector of the village in which he dwelt, and with whom alone he was on terms of intimacy, to make certain provisions by will on behalf of the relations in question, who had lost much by his successful lawsuit. However, this (as was believed by his family[Pg 247] lawyer, residing in an adjacent country town, who proceeded to settle his affairs) had not been done; and the whole of his property consequently seemed likely to go to his heir-at-law, a man of property, almost unknown to him.

“Five months after his death, however, the Rector of the parish in which he had lived, had what he termed ‘a waking dream,’ in which he imagined that the deceased gentleman came to him in sorrow, and solemnly conjured him to obtain possession of a Will, which had been duly made by him in London a few months before his decease, and which was in the custody of a firm of attorneys there, which Will was so drawn as that the relations in question should greatly benefit by the just and righteous disposition therein of his property. Imagining the dream to be only a dream and nothing more, he took no notice of it, and regarded it as the mere result of his own imagination.

“In about a fortnight, however, the identical dream occurred again—with the simple difference that the deceased gentleman bore an expression of deeper grief, and appeared to urge him, in still stronger terms, to obtain the Will. The Rector was much impressed by this; but on careful reflection upon the following day, appeared indisposed, on such testimony, to interfere with arrangements which were then being made for the settlement of the deceased person’s affairs, on the supposition that he had left no Will. And consequently he did nothing.

[Pg 248]“A third time, however, about eight days afterwards, he had the same dream, with certain additional details of import and moment. The deceased person, as the Rector imagined, appearing once again, urged him most vehemently and solemnly to do as he wished, and to go and obtain the Will. A conversation took place as it were in the dream, and the clergyman set forth many cogent arguments why he should not be called upon to undertake a work, which might not only be misunderstood, but might render him liable to misrepresentations, if not to trouble and annoyance.

“However, at last he consented, and, in his dream, accompanied the deceased person to a certain lawyer’s office at a certain number, on a certain floor in Staple Inn, on the south side of Holborn, where the drawer in a writing-table was opened, and he saw the packet containing the Will sealed in three places, with the deceased person’s armorial bearings. The whole room was before him vividly. It was panelled in oak, picked out with white and pale green, and over the mantel-piece hung an engraving of Lord Eldon.

“The Rector awoke, and resolved without delay to do as he was enjoined. Before proceeding, he mentioned the circumstance of the thrice-repeated dream to a clerical friend, who volunteered to accompany him to London on his important errand.

“They went together. Neither had ever been to[Pg 249] Staple Inn before; nor did they know its exact whereabouts. On inquiry, however, it was soon found. And so was the room and office, with the furniture and print of Lord Eldon, which had been seen beforehand by the Rector in the dream, to his intense awe and wonderment. Even the peculiar handles of the writing-table, which were of brass and old-fashioned, were those which had been clearly apparent. The identical drawer was opened, and the Will, secured in an envelope of stout paper and sealed with three impressions, was found, just as it had been seen in the dream. The lawyer, who at once gave every facility for inquiry, was a junior partner in the firm which had drawn it up, and had only recently come to London, from a cathedral city, where the firm in question had a branch office, on the death of the chief partner. The Will was found to be good and valid, and was in due course proved. Under it the relations, who had so suffered by the loss of their law-suit as to have been almost reduced to penury, obtained their due. The whole of these facts are vouched for by a friend of the Editor of this book.”[126]

[Pg 250]The following example of presentiment of death is also well authenticated. It occurred on board one of the ships of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth in the year 1850. From the MS. account, furnished by one thoroughly able to give an exact record, the following is taken:—

“The officers being one day at the Mess-table, a young Lieutenant R—— suddenly laid down his knife and fork, pushed away his plate, and turned extremely pale. He then rose from the table, covering his face with his hands, and retired from the room. The President of the mess, supposing him to be ill, sent one of the young men to inquire what was the matter. At first Mr. R—— was unwilling to speak; but, on being pressed, he confessed that he had been seized by a sudden and irresistible impression that a brother he had in India was dead. ‘He died,’ said he, ‘on the 12th of August at six o’clock, I am perfectly sure of it.’ No argument could overthrow this conviction, which, in due course of post, was verified to the letter. The young man had died at Cawnpore at the precise period mentioned.”

Under the heading of “Singular Prognostication,” “The Times” of April the 17th, 1865, copies from the “Cornish Telegraph” the narrative of a then recent dream of a young clergyman of the county of Cornwall, which was almost immediately followed by the accidental death of the dreamer:—

“On Wednesday last, the Rev. Stephen Barclay[Pg 251] Drury, an unmarried clergyman of twenty-six, who has for about twelve months acted as the curate of Phillack and Gwithian, had a conversation with the brother of the Rector of those parishes,[127] Mr. Charles Hockin, and related a dream, which he described as a very singular one, and as having made a deep impression on him.

“His words were: ‘I dreamt I was to be buried, and I followed my coffin into the church, and thence to the tomb. I took no part in the service, and when we came to the tomb, I looked into it, and saw it was very nice. I then asked the undertaker who was to be buried, and he answered, “You.” I then said, “I am not to be buried, I am not dead.” The undertaker then said, “I must be paid for the coffin,” upon which I awoke.’

“On Sunday morning and afternoon Mr. Drury officiated at Gwithian, and after the second service remained with the children to practise singing.

“Returning to his lodgings in Gwithian at half-past four, he waited a little, took with him Thomas à Kempis’ ‘De Imitatione Christi,’ and set out for a walk, accompanied by a Newfoundland dog. He asked for a bit of cord, as he might give the dog a dip, and started in his usually cheerful and happy mood. In an hour and a half the dog returned with the cord around his neck.

[Pg 252]“Mr. Drury was never again seen alive. His absence throughout the night occasioned no surprise, as he sometimes went to, and slept at Copperhouse, two miles off.

“On Monday morning a Gwinear miner, in quest of seaweed at low water, near the rocky shore of Godrevy, saw Mr. Drury’s body in a pool seventy or eighty yards from the sea.

“An inquest, under the county coroner, Mr. John Roscoria, was held on Tuesday at Gwithian, when these circumstances were elicited, and a verdict was returned of ‘Found Drowned.’

“From the facts, however, that Mr. Drury had never shown the least signs of depression, that he started with the expressed intention of giving the dog a dip, and that he was very near-sighted, the general inference is that the unfortunate gentleman slipped on the rocks, was stunned, fell into the water, and so casually and singularly fulfilled his strange dream of a few days previously.”

A somewhat similar prognostication was had in the case of Captain Speer, which may properly be put on record, for, as in the case already narrated, it turned out to be a true warning of impending death:

Captain Speer, an officer of the 3rd Surrey Militia, and a magistrate for the county of Surrey,[128][Pg 253] lately met his death under remarkable circumstances. The “Quebec Mercury” says:—“Captain W. D. Speer passed the last winter among us. During part of it, he had some fine sport on the north shore of the S. Lawrence, in company with Captain Knox and Lieutenant Duthie, of the 10th Royal Artillery. This spring he made a tour through the States and West Indies, with Major Leslie, R.A., returning only for a few days, to set out again on what has, alas! proved to be his last expedition.[129] Strange to say, he stated to several gentlemen, just before setting out, that he had had a dream in which he distinctly saw a coffin with the name of ‘W. D. Speer, died June 17th, 1867,’ on it; and in writing to a lady three weeks previously,[130] he said in a joke that one reason for addressing her was his own approaching end. The date of his death is not known,[131] but it must have been on the day he named, or very near it. It appears that he was going to his cabin on board the Mississippi steamer, which was at anchor, and[Pg 254] somewhere in the neighbourhood of the Indian disturbances; when in the middle of the night he was shot dead by a sentry, who omitted to challenge him.”

On this remarkable incident a Letter was written, from which the following extract may fittingly be put on record here:

“It seems the account of the dream was true, as Major Terry told Mr. Kempson, that he had heard the letter read in which he [Captain Speer] related the circumstance. Singular, was it not? I trust it may have taken some little effect on his mind, but I fear he was not one to attach any importance to such a warning. However, I do hope he did, for it is so awful to think of anyone in pure health and spirits being ushered into Eternity without one moment’s preparation.” From a Letter, dated August 10th, 1867, signed “Anne M. Kempson, Richmond Hill, Surrey, S.W.”

Another example of a warning given in a dream (but neglected) may now be put on record:

A few years ago a serious accident occurred in the village of Bulmer, in Yorkshire, to a pic-nic party going to Castle Howard. The party made the journey in an omnibus, and it seems that the wife of one of the men hesitated to join the others, and tried to persuade her husband not to go, because she asserted that she had dreamt a week before that they were in an omnibus, and were upset on going through a village and greatly injured, the[Pg 255] fright awakening her. The man and his wife however did go; but on reaching Bulmer, the woman became greatly excited. Not only, she remarked, was the omnibus that which she had seen in her dream, but the village was the one in which the accident she dreamt of appeared to happen. The words were scarcely uttered when the omnibus was upset and a scene of great confusion resulted. Those on the outside were thrown to the ground with great violence; one man was rendered insensible by the omnibus falling upon him, and several sustained rather serious injuries. The woman to whom the accident was revealed beforehand, was herself badly hurt; but her husband’s was the worst case, he sustaining a dislocation of an ankle. Medical aid was quickly procured, the sufferers were relieved, and afterwards conveyed to their homes. Every incident of the accident seems to have been pictured in the premonitory dream.

A remarkable presentiment by means of a dream is related in the second section of the first volume of the “Museum of Wonders,” and is to the following effect. Though not new, it is so exceptionally curious as to be quite worthy of reproduction here:—

“A short time before the Princess Natgotsky, of Warsaw, travelled to Paris, she had the following dream:—She dreamed that she found herself in an unknown apartment, when a man who was likewise unknown to her, came to her with a cup, and presented it to her to drink out of. She replied that[Pg 256] she was not thirsty, and thanked him for his offer. The unknown individual repeated his request, and added that she ought not to refuse it any longer, for it would be the last she would ever drink in her life. At this she was greatly terrified and awoke.

“In October, 1720, the Princess arrived at Paris, in good health and spirits; and occupied a furnished hotel, where soon after her arrival she was seized with a violent fever. She immediately sent for the King’s celebrated physician, the father of Helvetius. The physician came, and the Princess showed striking marks of astonishment. She was asked the reason of it, and gave for answer that the physician perfectly resembled the man whom she had seen at Warsaw in a dream; but added she, ‘I shall not die this time, for this is not the same apartment which I saw on that occasion in my dream.’

“The Princess was soon after completely restored, and appeared to have altogether forgotten her dream, when a new incident reminded her of it in a most forcible manner. She was dissatisfied with her lodgings at the hotel, and therefore requested that a dwelling might be prepared for her in a convent at Paris, which was accordingly done. The Princess removed to the convent, but scarcely had she entered the apartment destined for her, than she began to exclaim aloud: ‘It is all over with me; I shall not come out of this room again alive, for it is the same that I saw at Warsaw in my dream!’ She died in reality not long afterward in the same[Pg 257] room, in the beginning of the year 1721, of an ulcer in the throat, occasioned by the drawing of a tooth.”

“This dream,” observes Jung Stilling, from whose work the account of it is transcribed, “proceeded from a good angel, who wished to attract the attention of the Princess to her approaching end.”

A dignitary of the Church of England, of rank and reputation, courteously furnishes the Editor with the following remarkable Dream, which occurred to himself,—alas! so completely fulfilled. Another account of the same, almost identical in terms, was sent to him from another quarter. But he prefers putting on record the former:[132]

“My brother had left London for the country to preach and speak on behalf of a certain Church Society, to which he was officially attached. He was in his usual health, and I was therefore in no special anxiety about him. One night my wife woke me, finding that I was sobbing in my sleep, and asked me what it was. I said, ‘I have been to a strange place in my dream. It was a small village, and I went up to the door of an inn, if so it might be called, though it really was a decent public-house. A stout woman came to the door. I said to her, ‘Is my brother here?’ She said, ‘No, sir,[Pg 258] he is gone.’ ‘Is his wife here?’ I went on to enquire. ‘No, sir, but his widow is.’ Then the distressing thought rushed upon me that my brother was dead: and I awoke sobbing.

“A few days after, I was summoned suddenly into the country. My brother returning from Huntingdon had been attacked with angina pectoris; and the pain was so intense that they left him at Caxton (a small village in the diocese of Ely), to which place on the following day he summoned his wife: and the next day, while they were seated together, she heard a sigh and he was gone.

“When I reached Caxton, it was the very same village to which I had gone in my dream. I went to the same house, was met and let in by the same woman; and found my brother dead, and his widow there.

One of the most striking and well-authenticated cases of a Warning given in a Dream and acted upon, by which a grave temporal danger was actually averted, remains to be put on record now. The case is related with great simplicity by one who has carefully investigated the circumstances of both the dreams; and nothing is required on the Editor’s part, either to enlarge on any detail of it or to point its moral:—

“Knowing as I do intimately,” writes the correspondent in question, “the Widow of an Irish clergyman who was warned by a dream of the railway accident which took place a few years ago at Abergele, in North Wales, I give you gladly the following particulars:—

[Pg 259]“About a fortnight before the accident occurred, my friend, the lady in question, had a dream in which her husband, who had been dead for three years, appeared to her, as she thought. This occurred on the night which followed the day on which she had settled and arranged with some friends to make a journey by railway. She dreamed that her husband was still living, and that she and he were walking on the sea-shore of North Wales, close to which the railway to Holyhead passes, when they came to a tunnel,[133] from which, all of a sudden, volumes of the blackest smoke were pouring out, and which became so dense that the sky was quite overcast. Alarmed at this, they hastily went forward together towards its mouth, when it seemed to be all on fire; the crackling and roar of which was quite unusual. In a moment or two the sounds of frantic cries of men and women wildly shrieking seemed to come from out of the mouth of the tunnel; and then, as if to add to the horror of what had already appeared, another train, full of people and at express speed, came up and dashed through smoke and flame into the tunnel itself. Upon this the lady awoke, and so deep an impression had the dream made (for it unhinged her for some days), that she resolved to postpone her journey, which she did. Had she gone at the time appointed and arranged,[Pg 260] she and her friends would have travelled by the very train—the passengers of which were burnt by the explosion of petroleum.

“The most curious part of this interesting record has yet to be told. On the same night upon which this lady had this dream-warning, her own daughter, a child of nine years of age, who was staying with some relations nearly sixty miles from home, had likewise a dream, in which she thought she saw two trains meeting each other on one line of railway, in one of which her mother was seated, and in the other one of her mother’s friends (who was to have travelled with her). The trains seemed to be going at a great rate, and when the collision actually took place, the child at once awoke. On the following morning she recounted her dream to her relations: but at the time they took no notice of it, though it formed the subject of a general conversation regarding dreams. It was only when (as was afterwards discovered) her mother had possibly escaped the frightful disaster of a railway accident, and probably a very painful death, that the fact of her child having had the dream on the night of her own warning and mentioned it, was specially remarked and noted down.”

A prognostication, or rather a personal Presentiment of impending death, and that death the result of an accident, will fittingly be recorded here:—

At the village of Bloxwich, in the diocese of Lichfield, a miner resided, well known to the person[Pg 261] who communicated the following occurrence to the Editor of this volume:—“One morning in 1872, on his way to the pit’s mouth, the miner had a strong presentiment that he should be killed at his work. He returned home, communicated his impressions to his wife (who expostulated with him for being so fanciful and superstitious), and then insisted on seeing all his children. They were assembled. He took down his Prayer Book and Bible, read a chapter from the latter, and afterwards said some of his accustomed prayers. Then affectionately greeting wife and children, he went to his work, with the same strange but vivid presentiment of approaching death upon him; as his wife so clearly testifies. He had not been at work many minutes when he was suddenly crushed to death by the fall of a rock.”

These facts are duly authenticated by persons who obtained the account from the man’s widow on the day of his burial, and have supplied them directly to the Editor.

The following cases, equally remarkable, are taken from the “Standard” newspaper:—

“Sir,—I beg to acquaint you of a very singular event which occurred here yesterday. On Saturday night a villager named Andrew Scott dreamed of being along the coast on S. Cyrus’ Sands, and finding a man among the rocks under Whitson Houses. On Sabbath morning after breakfast he cleaned himself, and told his wife he would go and see if there was anything in his dream, taking another[Pg 262] man with him to whom he made known his errand; and on arriving at the spot where he expected to find the man, sure enough there was the drowned man, washing amongst the rocks, just as seen in his dream. He was taken ashore, reported to the S. Cyrus’ authorities, and to-day he is to be interred. He is supposed to be one of the men belonging to the ‘Providence,’ wrecked on Dec. 19. I have the honour to be, sir, your most obedient servant,

“Daniel Hamilton.

“Johnshaven, Kincardineshire, Jan. 20.”

“At an inquest held on Monday afternoon at James Bridge, near Wolverhampton, on the body of a collier named Samuel Tinley, who had been killed in a pit there by a fall of rock strata, it transpired that during the previous night he awoke, saying he had a ton of rock on his head, though he had no headache. He was convinced it boded ill, and was reluctant to go to work. Upon being urged to go by his wife, he went to his child and saying, ‘Let me have my last kiss,’ went to the pit and was killed. It was further shown that a cousin of his, who is a close friend, was returning home from working a night-shift, when he said he saw the deceased standing before him in the road. Instead of going home to bed he went to the deceased’s house, to which place the news of the death had just been brought, but altogether unknown to the cousin.[134] At the[Pg 263] inquest a yet more remarkable case, that had come before the same coroner in the same locality, was mentioned.”

So much as to examples and records of extraordinary Dreams, Warnings by Visions, and Presentiments. The subject of Omens may now be briefly touched upon. An “omen” has been defined to be “a token or sign of good or ill;” “a boding or foreboding;” “a prognostic.” Some of the following are of such a character as that they are very suitably considered both in connection with events already described and with those yet to be narrated.

It has been forcibly and appropriately remarked, though not perhaps in any marked or specific Christian spirit, that Omens constitute the poetry of history. They cause the series of events which they are supposed to declare to flow into epical unity, and the political catastrophe seems to be produced, not by prudence or by folly, but by the superintending destiny.

The case of the Tichborne Prophecy, in connection with the well-known ancient Dole of that family, is so curious (having been in part recently fulfilled), that it may not only be set forth in detail, but may[Pg 264] reasonably find a place at this particular part of this book. For the following version the Editor is indebted to a near connection of the family:—

“The Tichbornes date their possession of the present patrimony, the manor of Tichborne, so far back as two hundred years before the Conquest. When the Lady Mabella,[135] worn out with age and infirmity, was lying on her deathbed, she besought her loving husband, Sir Roger Tichborne, as her last request, that he would grant her the means of leaving behind her a charitable bequest, in a Dole of Bread to be distributed to all who should apply for it annually on the Feast of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sir Roger, her husband, readily acceded to her request by promising the produce of as much land as she could go over in the vicinity of the Park while a certain brand or billet was burning, supposing that, from her long infirmity (for she had been bedridden some years), she would be able to go round a small portion only of his property. The venerable dame, however, ordered her attendants to convey her to the corner of the Park, where, being deposited on the ground, she seemed to regain a renovation of strength; and to the surprise of her anxious and admiring lord, who began to wonder where this pilgrimage might end, she crawled round several rich and goodly acres.

[Pg 265]“The field which was the scene of Lady Mabella’s extraordinary feat retains the name of ‘The Crawls’ to this day. It is situated near the entrance to the Park, and contains an area of twenty-three acres.

“Her task being completed, she was re-conveyed to her chamber; and, summoning her family to her bedside, predicted its prosperity while the annual Dole existed, and left her solemn Curse, uttered in God’s most Holy Name, on any of her descendants who should be so mean or covetous as to discontinue or divert it, prophesying that when such should happen the old house should fall, and the family name would become extinct from the failure of heirs male; and that this would be foretold by a generation of seven sons being followed immediately after by a generation of seven daughters and no son.

“The custom thus founded in the reign of Henry II. continued to be observed for centuries; and our Lady’s Day, the 25th of March, became the annual festive-day of the family. It was not until the middle of the last century that the custom was abused; when, under the pretence of attending the Tichborne Dole, vagabonds, gipsies, and idlers of every description, assembled from all quarters, pilfering throughout the neighbourhood; and, at last, the gentry and magistrates complaining, it was discontinued in 1796. Singularly enough, the baronet of that day, Sir Henry Tichborne,[136] had seven[Pg 266] sons, and, when he was succeeded by the eldest, there appeared a generation of seven daughters, while the apparent fulfilment of the prophecy was completed by the change of the name of the late baronet to Doughty, under the will of his kinswoman. (This allusion is to Sir Edward Doughty, ninth baronet, who inherited the ‘Doughty’ estate, then Mr. Edward Tichborne.)”

Here is the record of a weird and obvious Omen:—

“The Duke of Somerset, the great sacrilegious nobleman of Henry VIII.’s reign, who worked such mischief and perpetrated such robberies on God’s poor, is said to have been more than once warned of his coming death upon the scaffold, by the appearance of a Bloody Hand stretched out from the panelled wall of the corridor of his mansion; and it is also reported that the Hand was visible to his duchess as well as to himself.”

And here is the narrative of a remarkable Dream, as well as of a singular coincidence:—

“Sir Thomas White, Alderman of London, was a very rich man, charitable and public-spirited. He dreamed that he had founded a college at a place where three elms grew out of one root. He went[Pg 267] to Oxford probably with that intention; and discovering some such tree near Gloucester Hall, he began to repair the building of that community, with a design to endow it. But walking afterwards by the convent where the Bernardines formerly lived, he plainly saw an elm tree with three large bodies rising out of the same root; he forthwith purchased the ground, and endowed his college there, as it is at this day; except the additions which Archbishop Laud made near the outside of the building, in the garden belonging to the President. The tree is still to be seen. He made this discovery about the year 1557.”

The numerous tokens of the death of Henry IV. of France, who reigned from 1589 until 1610, are finely tragical. Mary of Medicis, in her well-known dream, saw the brilliant gems of her crown change into pearls—the recognized symbols of tears and mourning. An owl is said to have hooted until sunrise at the window of the chamber to which the King and Queen retired at S. Denis on the night preceding her coronation. During the ceremony, it was observed with dread, that the dark portals leading to the royal sepulchre beneath the choir, were gaping and expanded. The flame of the sacred taper held by Her Majesty was suddenly extinguished, and it is said that her crown twice nearly fell to the ground.

An anecdote, which was current during the reign of King Charles I., and has the support both[Pg 268] of Archbishop Laud and Lord Clarendon, is said to have thrown a sad gloom over the spirits of the royal friends, already saddened by the fearful pestilence which inaugurated his reign. At the coronation it was found that there was not in the whole of London, nor indeed in the whole of England, sufficient purple velvet with which to make the customary royal robes and the corresponding furniture of the chair of state and throne. What was to be done? Rigid custom, coming down no doubt for long generations, possibly from the time of S. Edward, required that old traditions should be scrupulously observed and carefully followed. What was needed could not in all probability be had nearer than Genoa. To obtain it would have caused a delay of several months: and it was agreed that the solemn anointing and coronation could not be properly postponed. So it was resolved to robe His Majesty in white velvet, from which he was known afterwards as “the White King.” But this was the colour in which victims were arrayed. So many persons maintained that the Council which had sanctioned such an innovation had unwittingly, perhaps, but efficiently established an agency of evil; and many more after the King’s martyrdom recalled the ominous change.

Another Warning, or supposed Warning, of approaching evil vouchsafed to the King was equally striking and peculiar. It happened a short time[Pg 269] before the disastrous Battle of Newbury, and is thus recorded:—

The King being at Oxford, went one day to see the Public Library, where he was shown amongst other books, a Virgil, nobly printed and exquisitely bound. The Lord Falkland, to divert the King, would have his Majesty make a trial of his fortune by the Sortes Virgilianæ, which everybody knows was not an unusual kind of augury some ages past. Whereupon the King opening the book, the period which happened to come up was part of Dido’s imprecation against Æneas, which Mr. Dryden translated thus:—

“Yet let a race untamed, and haughty foes,
His peaceful entrance with dire arms oppose;
Oppress’d with numbers in th’ unequal field,
His men discouraged and himself expelled,
Let him for succour sue from place to place,
Torn from his subjects and his son’s embrace;
First let him see his friends in battle slain,
And then untimely fate lament in vain;
And when at length the cruel war shall cease,
On hard conditions may he buy his peace;
Nor let him then enjoy supreme command,
But fall untimely by some hostile hand,
And lie unburied on the barren sand.”
“Æneid,” Book iv. 88.

It is said that King Charles seemed concerned at this accident, and that Lord Falkland observing it, would likewise try his fortune in the same manner, hoping he might fall upon some passage that could have no relation to his case, and thereby[Pg 270] divert the King’s thoughts from any impression the other might have upon him. But the place that Falkland stumbled upon was yet more suited to his destiny than the other had been to the King’s; being the following expressions of Evander upon the untimely death of his son Pallas, as they are translated by the same hand:—

“O Pallas! thou hast fail’d thy plighted word,
To fight with caution, not to tempt the sword;
I warn’d thee but in vain; for well I knew
What perils youthful ardour would pursue,
That boiling blood would carry thee too far,
Young as thou wert in dangers—raw in war!
O cursed essay in arms—disastrous doom,
Prelude of bloody fields and fights to come.”
“Æneid,” Book xi. 230.

Again, as regards the King’s bust, the following record was current and commonly discussed:—

“Vandyke, having painted the King’s head, in three different attitudes, a profile, a three-quarters, and a full face, the picture was sent to Rome for Bernini, the celebrated sculptor, to make a bust from it. This artist, being exceedingly dilatory over his work, and having had complaints made to him on the subject, said that there was something so unusually sad and melancholy in the royal features, that if any stress might be laid on physiognomy, he was sure that the person whom the picture represented was destined for a violent end. When the bust arrived in England, the King being anxious to see it, it was taken immediately to Chelsea and placed on a table in the garden,[Pg 271] whither the King, attended by many, went to inspect it. While so doing a hawk, with a wounded and bleeding partridge in its talons, flew over the King’s head, and some of the blood fell upon the marble neck of the bust, where it remained without being wiped off. The omen is said to have been marked by many.”

On the day of the King’s burial, when the coffin was borne to S. George’s Chapel, Windsor, by tried and trusted subjects and servants, it was carried through a severe snow-storm, and the purple pall was covered with the whitest snow, thus adding a fresh reason for the title by which His Majesty had been known.

There were also some remarkable Warnings in the life of the great Archbishop Laud, some of which were noted down in his “Diary.” For example, he was elected Head of S. John’s College, Oxford, on the Feast of the Beheading of S. John the Baptist; and of course, when he as Head of that college perished by a similar death, this more than remarkable coincidence was noticed and remembered. Another likewise is certainly curious. Not long before his martyrdom, on entering his study one day, he is said to have found his own portrait, by Vandyke, at full length on the floor, the cord which fastened it to the wall having snapped. The sight of this warning, as it was regarded, is said not only to have deeply impressed that great man, whose obvious belief in the[Pg 272] Supernatural was considerable; but also to have brought back to his memory the fact of a great disaster which occurred to one of his barges, on the very day of his translation to the See of Canterbury, which boat sank with his coaches and horses into the Thames.

There was an Omen attached to the ancient Ferrers family, of Chartley Park in Staffordshire. The large possessions of this family were forfeited by the attainder of Earl Ferrers, after his defeat at Burton Bridge, where he led the rebellious barons against Henry III. The Chartley estate having been settled in dower was alone reserved and handed down. In the Park is said to be preserved an indigenous Staffordshire cow, small in stature, of sand-white colour, with black ears, muzzle, and tips at the hoofs. In the year of the Battle of Burton Bridge a black calf was born; the downfall of the house of Ferrers happening at the same period gave rise to the tradition, which to this day is said to be commonly current through observation of past events, viz., that the birth of a parti-coloured calf from the wild herd in Chartley Park is a sure omen of death within the same year to a member of Lord Ferrers’ family. By a noticeable coincidence a calf of this description has been born whenever a death has happened of late years in this noble family.[137] The decease of the late Earl[Pg 273] and Countess, of his son Lord Tamworth, and of his daughter, Mrs. William Joliffe, as well as the deaths of the son and heir of the present nobleman, and his daughter, Lady Frances Shirley, has each been preceded by the birth of an ominous calf. In the spring of the year 1835 an animal perfectly black was calved by one of this weird tribe; and it was soon followed by the death of the amiable Countess.

The Omen connected with the ancient gentle family of Oxenham, co. Devon,[138] may now be suitably referred to. The following, describing it, is copied from a rare and ancient pamphlet:[139]—“In the parish called Sale Monachorum, in the county of[Pg 274] Devon, there lives one James Oxenham, a gentleman of good worth and quality, who had many children, one whereof was called John Oxenham, a young man in the vigour, beauty, and flower of his age, about 22, who was of stature comely and tall, being in height of body sixe foote and a half, a very proper person.... This young gentleman fell sicke, who being visited by many of the neighbours during the time of his sickness, departed this transitory life on the 5th day of September 1635, to whom, two days before he yielded up his soul to God, there appeared the likeness of a Bird with a white breast hovering over him.” The pamphlet in question states that the White Bird also appeared previously to the deaths of Thomasine, Rebecca and Thomasine the younger,[140] facts formally[Pg 275] testified to, on the oaths of divers eyewitnesses before the Lord Bishop of Exeter (Dr. Joseph Hall).

In Howell’s “Familiar Letters,” a communication dated “July 3, 1632,” states that the writer saw, at a stonecutter’s shop in London, a marble monument commemorating several examples of this curious omen; and gives the following as the inscriptions:—

“Here lies John Oxenham, a goodly young man, in whose chamber as he was struggling with the pangs of death, a Bird with a White Breast was seen fluttering about his bed, and so vanished.

“Here lies also Mary Oxenham, the sister of the said John, who died the next day, and the same apparition was seen in the room.

“Here lies hard by, James Oxenham, the son of the said John, who dyed a child in his cradle a little after, and such a Bird was seen fluttering about his head a little before he expir’d, which vanish’d afterwards.”

At the bottom of the stone there is:—

“Here lies Elizabeth Oxenham, the mother of the said John, who died sixteen years since, when such a bird with a white breast was seen about her bed before her death.”[141]

Then come the following remarks:—

[Pg 276]“To all these there be divers witnesses both squires and ladies, whose names are engraven upon the stone. This stone is to be sent to a town hard by Exeter where this happen’d. Were you here, I could raise a choice discours with you hereupon. So hoping to see you the next tirm, I rest, etc.”

From an old MS. letter of the eighteenth century, written on the fly-leaf of a copy of Howell’s book already referred to, it seems that the appearance of the omen was regarded as a fact at that period. The Letter dated “December 29th, 1741,” contains the following statement:—

“I have received an answer from the country in relation to the strange Bird which appeared to Mr. Oxenham just before his death, and the account which Dr. Bertie gave to Lord Abingdon of it, is certainly true. It first was seen outside the window, and soon afterwards by Mrs. Oxenham in the room, which she mentioned to Mr. Oxenham, and asked him if he knew what bird it was. ‘Yes,’ says he, ‘it has been on my face and head, and is recorded in history as always appearing to our family before their deaths; but I shall cheat the Bird.’ Nothing more was said about it, nor was the Bird taken notice of from that time: but he died soon afterwards. However odd this affair may seem, it is certainly true; for the account was given of it by Mrs. Oxenham herself: but she never mentions it to anyone unless particularly asked about it; and as it was seen by several persons at the same time,[Pg 277] I cannot attribute it to imagination, but must leave it as a phenomenon unaccounted for.”

My friend, the Rev. H. N. Oxenham, of this family, writes to me A.D. October, 1874, as follows:

“The tradition about the White Bird has certainly existed for so long a time—I believe for centuries—in our family, that I have every reason to believe there are well-authenticated accounts of its appearance before the death of the head of the family; and that certainly a white Bird was seen at the window a few days before my late uncle’s death (who was the head of the family) last Christmas” [i.e. in 1873].

Here a singular account of the possession of a charm, or amulet, and of a Curse connected with it, may be fittingly set forth:—

“The family of Graham of Inchbrachie, county Perth, are said to possess a small blue, uncut stone, set in an antique ring, of which the following story is told. Some two centuries ago, as the Head of the Family was passing by a hill near or at Crieff, he discovered a large crowd, presided over by one of the Campbells of ——, preparing to execute a witch. On approaching the crowd, he found that the unhappy victim (who had for some years lived in a rocky cave, still known by her name), was none other than his old nurse, Katherine Nivens. Charged with witchcraft, she had been condemned and was about to be executed. Graham, addressing the mob, urged them to prevent Campbell from carrying[Pg 278] out his purpose. In acknowledgment of his generous help on her behalf, the poor creature threw him a small blue stone like a bead, which she had kept in her mouth, and desired him to keep it for her sake; adding that as long as it was preserved in his family good fortune should ever attend them; while to the Campbells of —— (whom she solemnly cursed), she predicted that there never should be born an heir male, and cited him to appear before God’s judgment-bar, where justice should be done.[142] The strange feature in the story is that (as a correspondent avers) both promise and prediction have turned out to be true. The stone is said to be an uncut sapphire. Other Scotch families possess similar amulets or charms: amongst these the Macdonald-Lockharts of Lee in the county of Lanark.

The sound of the Beating of a Drum is said to betoken death to a noble Scotch family—one which has been a staunch, good old loyalist clan for centuries, and suffered sorely for having been “leal and true” to their Royal House and their own consciences. Some years ago the then head of it was paying a visit in England, when, one day, sitting outside in the garden with the lady of the house,[Pg 279] his lordship exclaimed suddenly, “Listen! here comes a band of music.”

“Music!” she replied, “oh, impossible.”

“Oh, don’t you hear it? it is coming this way.”

“No, I hear nothing.”

“Listen!” he retorted; “don’t you hear the Drum?”

She assured him that there was nothing, that it was a fancy, and that no band of music could come near enough to the house to be heard, on account of the unusual extent of the grounds and park.

On this the nobleman turned pale, and becoming much agitated, remarked that he felt sure it must be the sound of the family “Drum,”—an omen that always preceded death, and feared that something had happened to one of his relations.

The next post brought him the sad and melancholy news of his wife’s unlooked-for death, through giving birth prematurely to a child.

The origin of this omen, as far as the Editor can discover, appears to be unknown.

In another family of rank a female figure, dressed in brown clothes, appears as a warning of death. To the members of an old knightly family in the West of England there always comes, before the death of its chief, the sound of a heavy carriage with many horses driven round the paved courtyard of the Elizabethan mansion.

It is equally notorious that in a certain noble English family, the form of a spectral head appears[Pg 280] as a sign of death to any member of it, and invariably so, when the chief of it dies,—a fact which the Editor has been assured of in writing (A.D. 1872) from a member of a junior branch of the same.

To another family, living in the East of England (of the rank of gentle people), appears an Omen, equally, if not more disagreeable. The appearance of a spectral Black Dog is also a portent of death. About twenty years ago, A.D. 1853, the then head of the family married, and though he himself (by no means superstitious) could not reject the tradition of the unpleasant omen, having heard so much about it on its previous appearance, he said nothing to his wife. Some years afterwards, in 1861, their eldest child was taken ill. The illness, however, (as the physician asserted,) was slight, and not at all likely to prove dangerous; so little, in truth, was this anticipated that there were several persons staying in the house at the time. Just before dinner was announced one evening, the wife of the head of the family asked to be excused for a moment or two, while she looked into the night nursery to see how the sick child was. She went, but returned almost immediately, saying, “Darling —— is fast asleep; but there’s a large black dog lying under the bed; go and drive it out.” The father, at once calling to mind the omen, was sorely terrified. He went at once to the sick room. Neither under nor near the bed, nor (as was afterwards discovered) on the premises, was there, or had there been, any dog,[Pg 281] but the poor child’s sleep was found to be the sleep of death.

To revert to Omens in general. There is a widely-spread and singular prejudice, (which with many is deeply rooted,) that if thirteen people sit down to dinner one of them, at least, shall die within a year.[143] It seems to have originated from the fact of Judas having been the thirteenth at the Paschal Feast, when our Lord instituted the Holy Sacrament.

Again, Friday has from time immemorial been[Pg 282] considered an unlucky day;[144] because the Crucifixion of our Blessed Saviour took place on that day—a day of fear and trembling, of darkness and of earthquakes—a day of awe, when even some of the Pagan oracles were silent, and indications of the decay and weakening of their powers were by their impotence made manifest. Plutarch in his book on the “Cessation of Oracles,” makes mention of the voice which, near Paxos, the pilot of a vessel heard in the spring of the nineteenth year of the Emperor Tiberius, crying out, “Great Pan is dead.” Now we know that in the spring of that year, and possibly on the afternoon of that very day, our Divine Lord overcame death by dying, conquered Satan, and opened the gates of everlasting life to mankind. Can we be surprised that after that victory on the first Good Friday, the power of the Evil One was largely and surely curbed?

Second Sight, indications of the existence of which have already been given, appears to be a power or property of seeing beforehand events which are still in the future, and such sight claimed by several[145] is said[Pg 283] to belong to many persons in Scotland. In a “Description of the Western Isles,” a popular writer of the last century somewhat amplified the definition. He maintained as follows: “The Second Sight is a singular faculty of seeing an otherwise invisible object, without any previous means used by the person that sees it for that end; the vision makes such a lively impression upon the seers, that they neither see nor think of anything else, except the vision, as long as it continues; and then they appear pensive or jovial, according to the object which was represented to them.” He further points out generally that when persons gifted with Second Sight “actually behold something unusual, the eyelids of the person are erected, and the eyes continue staring until the object vanish.” In the case of a certain person in the Island of Skye, “when he sees a vision, the inner part of his eyelids turns so far upwards, that after the object disappears, he must draw them down again with his fingers.” The same writer maintains that the property of Second Sight does not necessarily descend in a family, as[Pg 284] some persons hold and assert. “I know several parents,” he writes, “who are endowed with it, but their children not, and vice versa; neither is it acquired by any previous compact. And, after a strict inquiry, I could never learn from any among them that this faculty was communicable any way whatsoever.”

Several volumes have been written on the subject, and examples almost without number provided.

In John Aubrey’s “Miscellanies”[146] is recorded a remarkable escape from death of Dr. William Harvey, the celebrated discoverer of the circulation of the blood through Second Sight:—“When Dr. Harvey, one of the Physicians’ College in London, being a young man (in 1695), went to travel towards Padua, he went to Dover with several others, and showed his pass as the rest to the Governor there. The Governor told him that he must not go, but he must keep him prisoner. The Doctor desired to know ‘for what reason? how he had transgressed?’ ‘Well, it was his will to have it so.’ The pacquet boat hoisted sail in the evening, which was very clear, and the doctor’s companions in it. There ensued a terrible storm, and the pacquet boat and all the passengers were drowned. The next day the sad news was brought to Dover. The Doctor was unknown to the Governor both by[Pg 285] name and face; but the night before the Governor had a perfect vision of Dr. Harvey in a dream, who came to pass over to Calais, and that he had a warning to stop him. This the Governor told the Doctor the next day. The Doctor was a pious, good man, and has several times directed this story to some of my acquaintance.”

The following, from a rare and curious volume of the last century,[147] containing nearly two hundred cases, authenticated mainly by ministers of the Scotch Establishment, is a good example:—

“Alexander Macdonald, of Kingsborough (when living in the possession of Aird, in the remote end of Trotternish), dreamed that he saw a reverend old man come to him, desiring him to get out of bed, and get his servants together, and make haste to save his fields of corn, as his whole cattle, and his tenants’ cattle also, had got out of the fold, and were in the middle of a large field behind the house. He awaked and told his wife, with whom he consulted whether he would rise or not; and she telling him it was but a dream, and not worth noticing, advised him to lie still, which he obeyed; but no sooner fell asleep, than the former old man appeared to him, and seemed angry, by telling Mr. Macdonald (then of Aird), he the old man was very idle, in acquainting him of the loss he would[Pg 286] or had by this time sustained by his cattle, and seemed not to heed what he said, and so went off. Mr. Macdonald awaking the second time, told his wife, but she would not allow him, and ridiculed him for noticing the folly of a confused dream; so that, after attempting to get up, he was, at his wife’s persuasion, prevailed upon to lie down again; and falling asleep, it being now near break of day, the old gentleman appeared to him a third time, with a frowning countenance, and told him he might now lie still, for that the cattle were now surfeited of his corn, and were lying in it; and that it was for his welfare that he came to acquaint him so often, as he was his grand-uncle by his father; and so went off. He awaking in about an hour thereafter, arose and went out, and actually found his own and his tenants’ cattle lying in his corn, after being tired of eating thereof; which corn, when comprised, the loss amounted to eight bolls of meal.”

Two quite recent cases of Second Sight are here given, and are each somewhat remarkable. Both have been furnished to the Editor by those who knew the cases, and the accuracy of each has been vouched for by trusty and courteous correspondents.

The first has reference to the murder of a policeman at Cardiff:—“An inquest was formally opened on the body of William Perry, a constable of the Cardiff police force, who was fatally stabbed on Tuesday by a butcher, named Jones. The medical[Pg 287] evidence went to show that the murderer was in a very excited state at the time, but was neither insane nor suffering from delirium tremens. The further hearing was adjourned. The ‘Western Mail’ says:—The deceased man Perry was a well-known and very efficient officer. He joined the borough police force on the 5th of July, 1865, and from that time had always conducted himself in a praiseworthy manner, having attained to the position of a first-class constable some time ago. Previous to 1865 he was employed in the Merthyr division of the county police. He was 36 years of age. The superstitious will probably feel interested in the following story, which our reporter heard last night from the lips of the widow herself. Strange as it may seem, it is no less strange than true; and mournful as the circumstance is in itself, those who believe in the efficacy of dreams as prognosticators of future events, will perhaps derive some gratification from it. On Sunday night Mrs. Perry (who resides at Melrose-cottage, Heath-street, Canton), had a dream, which but too faithfully predicted the sad tragedy of yesterday. In the midst of her sleep she saw, to use her own words, a large crowd following her husband down the Cowbridge-road, in the direction of the Westgate hotel, where the murder was committed. She saw, in the horror of her dream, a knife plunged into the breast of her husband, and drawn out again, blood-stained and grimy, by some cruel but unknown hand. She[Pg 288] saw, too, the murdered form of her husband borne away, and little thought, when brooding over her awful dream, that it was a ‘dark presage,’ and the precursor of what was soon to be a terrible reality. The dream occasioned her great uneasiness, but she mentioned it to no one until the dreadful tidings of her husband’s death reached her yesterday morning, when the circumstance forced itself vividly upon her recollection.” (A.D. 1873.)

The second example is equally remarkable:—“A singular case of Second Sight is reported from the neighbourhood of Marlborough. A labourer named Duck, employed by Mr. Dixon, of Mildenhall Warren Farm, was in charge of a horse and water-cart on the farm, when the animal took fright and knocked him down. The wheel went over his chest, and the injuries he received were such that his death occurred shortly afterwards. However, the singular part of the story remains to be told. Duck resided at Ramsbury, and immediately after the accident Mr. Dixon despatched a woman to acquaint his wife of the fact. On arriving at her home the messenger found her out gathering wood; but shortly afterwards a girl who was her companion arrived, and, without being told of what had occurred, volunteered the statement that ’Ria (Mrs. Duck) was unable to do much that morning, that she had been very much frightened, having seen her husband in the wood. Shortly afterwards Mrs. Duck returned, without any wood, and, being[Pg 289] informed by a neighbour that a woman from Mildenhall Woodlands wished to see her, ejaculated immediately, ‘My David’s dead, then.’ Inquiry has since been made by Mr. Dixon of the woman, and she positively asserts that she saw her husband in the wood, and said, ‘Holloa, David, what wind blows you here, then?’ and that he made no reply. Mr. Dixon inquired what time this occurred, and she replied about 10 o’clock, the hour at which the fatal accident took place.” (A.D. 1874.)

Before this chapter is closed, the following account, which created the deepest impression in the town and neighbourhood of Devizes, is embodied in terms which plainly enough set forth its point and purpose. It is an awful example of God’s summary judgment, recorded by the local authorities both as a memorial of the Supernatural and as a warning to all:—

“The Mayor and Corporation of Devizes avail themselves of the stability of this building [the Market Cross,] to transmit to future times the record of an awful event which occurred in the Market Place in the year 1753, hoping that such record may serve as a salutary warning against the danger of impiously invoking Divine vengeance, or of calling on the Holy Name of God to conceal the devices of falsehood and fraud:

“On Thursday, the 25th of January, 1753, Ruth Pierce, of Potterne in this county, agreed with three other women to buy a sack of wheat in the market,[Pg 290] each paying her due proportion towards the same. One of these women, in collecting the several quotas of money, discovered a deficiency, and demanded of Ruth Pierce the sum which was wanting to make good the amount. Ruth Pierce protested that she had paid her share, and said: She wished she might drop down dead if she had not. She rashly repeated the awful wish; when, to the consternation and terror of the surrounding multitude, she instantly fell down and expired, having the money concealed in her hand.”

The narrative of this solemn event was by order of the authorities recorded on a tablet and hung up in the Market house (a row of sheds near the Cross). When the building was taken down, Mr. Halcombe, who kept the Bear Inn, in order that the remembrance might not be lost, caused it to be inscribed on the pediment of a couple of pillars which stood opposite his inn, supporting the sign of the Bear.

The sign was removed in 1801, and a few years after Lord Sidmouth having presented to the town the New Cross, which forms the central ornament of the Market Place, the Mayor and Corporation “availed themselves,” to use their own language, “of the stability of the new structure to transmit to future time a record of the awful death of Ruth Pierce in hope that it might serve as a salutary warning against the practice of invoking the Sacred Name to conceal the devices of falsehood and fraud.”

[Pg 291]And now to conclude this portion of the subject. Each example already recorded has, no doubt, told its own story sufficiently well. Some cases may appear to certain minds to be as trivial as they certainly are, to others, marvellous and inexplicable; other examples, again, cannot fail to leave a deep impression on the reader, as well from the remarkable character of the presentiments and dreams themselves, as from the reasonable testimony by which their truth is supported by persons of repute and credibility. The Editor has intentionally avoided the making of comments, either prolix or the reverse, preferring to present to the reader each recorded narrative, as received or obtained by himself, without dissertations, theories, or explanations.








A Discerner of spirits, i. 81

Abimelech’s dream, i. 210

Aerolites, i. 24

After-vision of a suicide, ii. 75

Alexander Macdonald’s dream, i. 285

Amulet of the Grahams, i. 277

—— of the Macdonald Lockharts, i. 278

Ann Thorne bewitched, i. 194

Apparition at Ballarat, ii. 61

—— at time of death, ii. 59

—— in the Jewel House, ii. 105

—— near Cardiff, ii. 114

—— of a college friend, ii. 71

—— of a crow, ii. 131

—— of a dying father, ii. 58

—— of a dying lady to her children, ii. 64

—— of a father to his son, ii. 58

—— of a friend, ii. 60

—— of a sister, ii. 59

—— of a son to his mother and another, ii. 73

—— of an officer, ii. 10

—— of Dr. Ferrar’s daughter, ii. 25

—— of Philip Weld, ii. 51

—— of Rev. W. Naylor, ii. 7

—— of S. Stanislaus, ii. 51

—— seven years after death, ii. 71

—— to a gentleman, ii. 119

—— to a lady and her child, ii. 113

—— to a lady and her child, ii. 117

—— to a sentry, and his death thereupon, ii. 108

—— to Lord Brougham, ii. 68

—— to Lord Chedworth, ii. 35

—— to Mr. Andrews, ii. 41

Apparitions at Oxford, ii. 209

Arrowsmith, Trial of Rev. E., i. 91

Arrowsmith’s Hand preserved, i. 95

Authentication of Lamb’s cure, i. 96

Barony of Chedworth, ii. 34

Belief in God universal, i. 5

Benediction, The principle of, i. 90

Beresford apparition, The, ii. 11

Bird, The Spectral, ii. 128

Bisham Abbey, Ghost at, ii. 91

Bishop Joseph Hall on temporal punishment, ii. 89

Bishop Ken’s hymn, ii. 82

Blessing and cursing, Power of, i. 90.

Bosworth’s testimony, Mr. T., ii. 146

Bridget Bishop accused of witchcraft, i. 198

Bull of Pope Innocent VIII. against witchcraft, i. 162

Captain William Dyke, ii. 22

Cardan, Jerome, i. 282

Case of Annie Milner, i. 169

—— of Martha Brossier, i. 165

Catharine Campbell accused of witchcraft, i. 197

Catholic claim to exclusive use of exorcism, i. 163

Causation, The law of, i. 3

Chamber, John, on “Judiciall Astrologie,” i. 200

Charles I., Omens concerning, i. 267, 271

Charles Ireland bewitched, i. 186

Chevalier’s testimony concerning Spiritualism, Mr., ii. 180

“Christ is coming” quoted, ii. 136.

Christian Shaw bewitched, i. 197

Christian writers on the Supernatural, i. 31

Christianity, Morse on the decline of, ii. 137

Citation, Remarkable case of, i. 90

Club, The Hell-Fire, ii. 207

Colgarth, The Philipsons of, i. 90

Collins’s Sermon, Rev. H., i. 135

Cometism, The Trinity of, i. 19

Constantine victorious, i. 38

Creslow, Haunted chamber at, ii. 92

Criticism upon Mr. Congreve, i. 20

Crookes, Mr. W., on Spiritualism, ii. 159, 162, 164

Cross of Constantine, The, i. 35

—— fire seen in France in 1826, A, i. 16

Cure, Miraculous, i. 95

—— Miraculous, by the Blessed Sacrament, i. 121, 125

Daimonomagia, i. 174

Dale-Owen, Mr., quoted, ii. 183, 185

Death of Captain Speer, i. 253

—— of Rev. S. B. Drury, i. 251

De Lisle’s, Miss, death, Supernatural music at, i. 135

De Lisle, Mr., on the Weld ghost story, ii. 54

—— Mr. Edwin, on Strauss, i. 2

Demons, Belief in, ii. 212

Denial of the Supernatural, i. 1

Details of the Supernatural, i. 8

Discovery of a lost will, i. 204

Disease of witchcraft, i. 174

Double apparition at time of death, ii. 55

—— in the West Indies, ii. 58

Dr. Lamb, the sorcerer, i. 202

Dr. Newman on ecclesiastical miracles, i. 36

Dr. Samuel Johnson on the Lyttelton story, ii. 45

Dr. William Harvey’s escape from death, i. 284

Dream of a child, Warning given in the, i. 260

—— of a dignitary realized, i. 257

—— of a housekeeper realized, i. 240

—— of a widow lady, i. 258

—— of Adam Rogers, i. 219

—— of Andrew Scott, i. 261

—— of Mr. Matthew Talbot, i. 225

—— of Mr. Williams of Scorrier, i. 226

—— of the Princess Natgotsky, i. 255

—— of the Swaffham tinker, i. 215

—— Prognostication of death in a, i. 250

—— Remarkable, of a clergyman, i. 247

—— Warning given in a, i. 254

—— Warning neglected, i. 244

Dreams and visions, i. 211

Dreams, Nature of, i. 210

—— of James Jessop, i. 244, 245

—— recorded in Scripture, i. 211

—— reproduction of thoughts in, i. 215

—— supernatural, i. 210

Dunbar’s testimony, Rev. Dr., ii. 218

Dungeon at Glamis Castle, The, ii. 114

Early Popes martyrs, The, i. 31

Eastern form of exorcism, i. 162

Ecclesiastical miracles, i. 32

Effect of the Supernatural, i. 7

Elimination of God, The, i. 19

Elizabeth Gorham bewitched, i. 187

—— Style accused of witchcraft, i. 177

—— Tibbots bewitched, i. 178

—— Treslar hung for witchcraft, i. 181

Ellinor Shaw and Mary Philips, i. 182

Emperor Julian thwarted, The, i. 42

English canon concerning exorcism, i. 164

—— statutes against witchcraft, i. 163

“Eternal,” The term, i. 5

Execution of Frederick Caulfield, i. 223

—— of Lamb’s servant, i. 203

Exhumation of James Quin, i. 236

Exorcism, Power of, i. 57, 69, 82

—— Latin form of, i. 138

—— Oriental form of, i. 162

Facts of witchcraft and necromancy, i. 164

Faculty of Jerome Cardan, i. 283

Fall of aerolites, i. 25

False reasoning, i. 26

Ferrers family, Omen concerning, i. 272

Florence Newton accused of witchcraft, i. 180

Friday an unlucky day, i. 282

Ghost of Bisham Abbey, ii. 91

God and His creatures, i. 4

—— The elimination of, i. 19

Guesses of Science, The, i. 14

Hand of Arrowsmith preserved, i. 95

Hanmer, Mr. C. L., on an apparition, ii. 60

Hannah Green’s testimony, i. 242

Haunted houses and localities, ii. 82

—— chamber at Creslow, ii. 92

—— Glamis Castle, ii. 114

—— house at Barby, ii. 109

—— house at Berne, ii. 126

—— house in Cheshire, ii. 116

—— house in Scotland, ii. 123

—— place at York Castle, ii. 96

—— places, ii. 84

—— police cell, ii. 121

—— road near Cardiff, ii. 114

—— room at Glamis Castle, ii. 112

—— room in the Tower, ii. 104

—— spot in Yorkshire, ii. 100

Hell-Fire Club, The, ii. 207

Henry Spicer’s testimony, Mr., ii. 75

—— IV. of France, Omen of death to, i. 267

Herder on Witchcraft, ii. 210

Heresies of the modern Spiritualists, ii. 185, 191

Home, Mr. Daniel, ii. 151, 153

Hospitals, Christian in their origin, i. 10

Howell, Mr. J., on Spiritualism, ii. 176, 177

Howitt, Mr. W., on eternal punishment, ii. 186, 188

Hume on miracles, i. 23

Increase Mather on the tests of demoniacal possession, i. 173

—— Mather’s “Cases of Conscience,” i. 195

Inquiries regarding Wynyard, ii. 33

Jane Brookes accused of witchcraft, i. 175

—— Wenham accused of witchcraft, i. 192

Johnson, Dr. Samuel, on the Lyttelton ghost, ii. 45

Kostka’s, S. Stanislaus, apparition, ii. 53

—— picture at Stonyhurst, ii. 53

Labarum, The, i. 37

Lactantius on dreams, i. 213

Lady Betty Cobb, ii. 15

Lancashire demoniacs, The, i. 171

Lane, Mr., on Modern Necromancy, ii. 215, 217

Laud, Omens concerning Archbishop, i. 271

Law of causation, The, i. 3

Lecky, Mr. W. H. E., on the Oxford Movement, ii. 232

Legion, The Thundering, i. 34

Longdon, Mary, bewitched, i. 194

Lord Falkland, Omen concerning, i. 270

Lord Litchfield’s note of a presentiment, i. 281

—— testimony, i. 281

Lord Westcote’s testimony, ii. 42

Lyttelton Ghost story, ii. 36, 42, 46

Macdonald’s, A., case of second sight, i. 285

Macknish on dreams, i. 215

Major George Sydenham, ii. 22

Marquis de Marsay on Spirits, ii. 86

Mary of Medicis, Omen of death to, i. 267

Media, Table of Spiritual, ii. 143

Mines, Haunted, ii. 84

Ministry of Angels, ii. 82

Miracles at Rome in 1792, i. 17

—— Bishop Hall on, ii. 230

—— examination of at Rome, ii. 227

—— of our Lord, i. 30

—— of Prince Hohenlohe, i. 17

—— wrought by the Blessed Sacrament, i. 123, 126

Miracle at Garswood, i. 96

—— at Metz, i. 128

—— at Typasa, i. 42

—— under Marcus Aurelius, i. 33

Miraculous cure at Pontoise, i. 83

—— facts, Tradition of, i. 32

—— of Joseph Lamb, i. 95

—— of Mary Wood, i. 114

—— of Winifred White, i. 116

Mediumship, ii. 143

—— Clairlative, ii. 146

—— Clairvoyant, ii. 150

—— Developing, ii. 148

—— Duodynamic, ii. 148

—— Gesticulating, ii. 144

—— Homo-motor, ii. 147

—— Impersonating, ii. 145

—— Impressional, ii. 150

—— Manipulating, ii. 145

—— Missionary, ii. 149

—— Motive, ii. 144

—— Neurological, ii. 146

—— Pantomimic, ii. 145

—— Pictorial, ii. 148

—— Psychologic, ii. 147

—— Psychometric, ii. 148

—— Pulsatory, ii. 145

—— Speaking, ii. 150

—— Symbolic, ii. 147

—— Sympathetic, ii. 146

—— Therapeutic, ii. 149

—— Tipping, ii. 144

—— Vibratory, ii. 144

Miss Weld’s testimony, ii. 54

Modern scientific methods, i. 10

Monsignor Patterson’s testimony, ii. 52

More’s “Antidote against Atheism,” i. 173

Mr. De Lisle on Miracles, i. 15

Mr. De Lisle’s testimony, ii. 54

Mr. Edwin De Lisle in reply to Strauss, i. 4

Mr. E. Lenthal Swifte’s testimony, ii. 104

Mr. George Fortescue’s declaration, ii. 43

Mr. Henry Cope Caulfeild’s testimony, ii. 115

Mr. Herbert Spencer answered, i. 11

Mr. J. G. Godwin’s declaration, ii. 68

Mr. Laxon’s wife tormented, i. 189

Mr. M. P. Andrews’ declaration, ii. 43

Mr. Ralph Davis on the Northampton witches, i. 182

Mr. Rutherford’s declaration, i. 263

Mr. William Talbot’s testimony, i. 226

Mrs. Baillie-Hamilton’s testimony, ii. 66

Mrs. George Lee’s testimony, i. 230

Mrs. Kempson’s testimony, i. 254

Murder discovered by a dream, i. 221

—— of Maria Martin discovered, i. 231

—— of the crippled and imbecile, i. 9

Naturalistic materialism, i. 10

Nature of God, i. 6

—— dreams, i. 210

Necromancy recognized by the fathers, i. 161

—— in China, ii. 220

Northamptonshire witches, The, i. 182

Notions, reintroduction of Pagan, i. 13

Old traditions generally accepted, ii. 90

Omen concerning Archbishop Laud, i. 271

—— concerning King Charles I., i. 268, 269, 270

—— concerning Lord Falkland, i. 270

Omens and prognostications, i. 263

—— The subject of, i. 263

Opinions of Strauss, i. 3

Oracles, The cessation of, i. 282

Ostrehan’s, Captain, testimony, ii. 218

Oxenham omen, The, i. 273

Pagan notions, Reintroduction of, i. 13

Patterson’s, Monsignor, information, ii. 52

Perrone, Father, on Spiritualism, ii. 184

Philipsons of Colgarth, The, i. 90

Planchette, Use of, ii. 220, 222

Plumer Ward’s, Mr., account of the Lyttelton ghost, ii. 46

Plutarch on the “Cessation of Oracles,” i. 282

Popes martyrs, The early, i. 31

Portrait of S. Stanislaus, ii. 53

Power and malice of Satan, ii. 83

—— of blessing and cursing, i. 90

—— of exorcism claimed exclusively, i. 163

Presentiment of Lieutenant R——, i. 250

—— of death, i. 262

—— to Lady Warre’s chaplain, i. 281

Principle of benediction, The, i. 88

Principles of the Broad Church party, ii. 137

Prognostication of death in a dream, i. 250

—— of death to Captain Speer, i. 252

Prognostications and omens, i. 263

Propriety of a revelation, i. 5

Purbrick, Rev. E. J., on the Weld ghost story, ii. 54

Purport of dreams, i. 212

Rebuilding of the Temple, i. 42

“Report on Spiritualism” quoted, ii. 153

Rev. Dr. Cox’s testimony, ii. 54

Rev. Dr. J. M. Neale’s testimony i. 243

Rev. Edward Price on the World of Spirits, ii. 82

Rev. G. R. Winter on the Swaffham tinker, i. 215

Rev. H. N. Oxenham’s testimony, i. 277

Rev. J. Richardson’s testimony, i. 253

Rev. John Wesley on evil spirits, ii. 85

Rev. Joseph Jefferson’s testimony, ii. 100

Rev. Mr. Perring’s dream realized, i. 234

Rev. T. J. Morris’s testimony, i. 240

“Rules for the Spirit Circle” quoted, ii. 151

S. Augustine on miracles, i. 30

S. Bernard on dreams, i. 214

S. Cyprian on dreams, i. 214

S. Cyril on dreams, i. 214

S. Irenæus on miracles, i. 41

S. John’s College, Oxford, Founding of, i. 267

S. Pacian on miracles, i. 41

S. Thomas Aquinas on dreams, i. 214

Sacrilege discovered by a dream, i. 232

“Sadducismus Triumphatus” referred to, i. 199

Satan, power and malice of, ii. 83

Science and faith, Rev. R. S. Hawker on, ii. 239

Science of the Pagan oracles, i. 161

“Scientific View of Modern Spiritualism” quoted, ii. 143

Scott, Dream of Andrew, i. 261

Scripture on witchcraft and necromancy, i. 164

Séance at the Marshalls’, i. 203

—— record of, from “Spiritual Magazine,” ii. 169

Second sight, Treatise on, i. 285

—— at Cardiff, i. 286

—— at Ramsbury, i. 288

—— Jerome Cardan’s gift of, i. 283

Sexton, Dr. G., on spiritualism, ii. 225

Shakespeare’s conception of the supernatural, ii. 89

Singular prognostication, i. 250

Sir Christopher Heydon on astrology, i. 200

Sir George Caulfeild, i. 223

Sir Henry Chauncy trying witches, i. 193

Sir Henry Yelverton and his death, i. 95

Sir Martin Beresford, ii. 13

Sir Matthew Hale’s evidence as to witchcraft, i. 163

Sir Thomas Brown’s evidence against witchcraft, i. 163

Slade’s, Sir Alfred, testimony, ii. 218

Somerset omen, The, i. 266

Sorcery of Dr. Lamb, i. 202

Sortes Virgilianæ, The, i. 269, 270

Sound of a drum, The, i. 278

Southey on haunted localities, ii. 84

Spectral dog, The, i. 280

Spectre of Lady Hobby, The, ii. 91

Spedlin’s Tower haunted, ii. 97

Spirits, perturbed, ii. 87

—— World of, ii. 82

Spiritualism despised, ii. 139

—— modern, ii. 135, 169

—— Mr. W. Crookes on the phenomena of, ii. 159

—— Origin of, ii. 141

Spiritualistic manifestations, i. 205;
ii. 151, 153, 155, 157, 160, 161, 163, 169, 173, 175, 176, 177, 178, 180

Statement of Lord Lyttelton’s valet, ii. 45

Stigmatization, i. 98, 100, 101, 102, 105, 109

Strauss, Opinions of, i. 2

Successful exorcism by an English clergyman, i. 80

Sudden death of Ruth Pierce, i. 289

Supernatural banished, The, ii. 140

—— basis of life, i. 12

—— its work, i. 2

—— noises at Abbotsford, ii. 99

—— religion, i. 18

Surey demoniac, The, i. 177

Tertullian on dreams, i. 213

Testimony to the fulfilment of a solemn Curse, i. 117

The Chester-le-Street apparition, ii. 3

The Christian system, i. 26

The Lyttelton ghost story, ii. 35

The Misses Amphlett, ii. 39

The Oxenham omen, i. 274

The result of a solemn Curse, i. 117

The sound of a drum, i. 278

The spectral dog, i. 280

—— bird, ii. 128

The use of the Sign of the Cross, ii. 4

The white bird of the Oxenhams, i. 274

Theories concerning dreams, i. 210

Thirteen to Dinner, i. 281

Thomas Aquinas on miracles, S., i. 28

Three men rescued by a dream, i. 231

Tichborne dole, The, i. 264

—— Curse and Prophecy, The, i. 265

—— Mabella, Lady, i. 264

—— Sir Henry, i. 265

—— Sir Roger, i. 264

Tinley, Dream of Samuel, i. 262

Tradition of miraculous powers, i. 32

Treatise on second sight, i. 285

Trial of Rev. E. Arrowsmith, i. 91

Trinity of Comteism, The, i. 19

Twice-repeated dream of a sailor, i. 231

Tyrone apparition, The, ii. 11

Unalterable experience, i. 24

Use of the Sign of the Cross, ii. 4

Wallace, Mr. A., on spiritualism and science, ii. 193

Wandering souls, ii. 87

Ward’s account of the Lyttelton ghost, Mr., ii. 46

Warning given in a dream, i. 238, 254

—— given to a lady by a dream, i. 242

—— to a lady, i. 258

—— to a little child, i. 260

—— to two persons in dreams, i. 258

“Weekly Register,” The, on Mr. Wallace’s theories, ii. 197

Weld ghost story, The, ii. 49

—— Philip, drowned, ii. 50

—— Very Rev. Alfred, S. J., on the Weld ghost story, ii. 54

Weld’s, Philip, apparition, ii. 53

Westcote, Lord, on the Lyttelton ghost, i. 33

White’s Dream, Sir Thomas, i. 266

Witchcraft and necromancy, i. 152

—— and sorcery, Canon Melville on, i. 156

—— common in non-Catholic countries, i. 201

—— condemned in Scripture, i. 152, 155

—— Definition of, i. 174

—— Examples of, i. 176-201

—— George More on, i. 171

—— Herder on, ii. 210

—— Jane Wenham accused of, i. 192

—— Joseph Glanville on, i. 175

—— recognized by the Fathers, i. 161

—— Rev. John Wesley on, i. 160

Witches, The Northamptonshire, i. 182

“Wonders of the Invisible World,” i. 198

World of spirits, The, ii. 82

Wynyard ghost story, The, ii. 26




[1] “Westminster Review,” July, 1872.

[2] Acts xvii. 27.

[3] The idea of the eternal enters largely into the stock arguments of unbelief; for it is through the asserted “eternity of matter” that the unbeliever shifts away the ideas of creation and a creator.

[4] Articles of Religion, No. 1, Book of Common Prayer.

[5] Christianity, as we know, exhorted men and women to the care of the aged, the suffering, and the infirm. Our Blessed Saviour’s promise, regarding the gift of a cup of cold water and its reward, was not forgotten. Christian love resisted and cast out Pagan selfishness. Hospitals were built where the diseases of the poor might be cured; where the sore distress of hopeless pain and slow wasting-away might be soothed; and asylums were provided where the weak and imbecile might be tended. Now if the Pagan theories of “scientific people” are applied, the chief duty of physicians in the future will be to poison their patients. Such a conception would be ludicrous were it not so utterly revolting.

[6] A writer in an influential organ of opinion connected with the American Church puts forth the following vigorous protest:—

“It is quite as well that we should be accustomed to the logical consequences of some of our philosophies. The tradition of Christianity is so strong upon the most ‘advanced’ of our wise men that it holds them back from the carrying-out of their principles. But here and there is one, and we should all be thankful to him who is so intellectually constituted that he must carry ‘a law’ to its issue, and by the issue let us see the nature of the law. The hint of what may be is given in the revival of the advocacy of suicide for the wretched, and the putting to death of the helpless. Naturalism carried out comes to that conclusion. Mr. Herbert Spencer had been patiently laying down principles which scores who think they think are accepting, without the slightest idea, on his part apparently or on theirs, that they are simple savagery and pure Paganism, and that the man who dines off his aged mother has been acting on them, though Mr. Spencer’s name had never been heard in his native speech.

“In some sense of the supernatural, in some faith in the unseen, in some feeling that man is not of this world, in some grasp on the Eternal God, and on an eternal, supernatural, and supersensuous life, lies the basis of all pity and mercy, all help and comfort and patience and sympathy among men. Set these aside, commit us only to the natural, to what our eyes see and our hands handle; and while we may organize society scientifically, and live according to ‘the laws of nature,’ and be very philosophical and very liberal, we are standing on the ground on which every pack of wolves gallops.

“One may safely say, ‘If you will show me, on any principle of naturalism, or any rule of what you shallowly in these days call ‘philosophy,’ on any law of nature, why I should not strangle my deaf and dumb child, smother my paralytic father, or drown my hopelessly insane wife, then I will turn materialist also.’ We are far from believing that these gentlemen know how they have been undermining the foundations of civilized and social life. A lurid glare cast across these speculations, like this English discussion of Euthanasia, may startle some whom Mr. Tyndall’s discussion of the scientific absurdity of prayer might not startle, though both are locked in one, and stand or fall together. But however it be, we are sure that man will find that society stands on supernatural ground, that the Family and the Nation are divine, and that ‘Naturalism,’ modified or disguised as it may be, is only isolated savagery—‘every man for himself, and the weakest to the wall.’”

[7] A writer in the “Church Journal” of New York puts the case well and fairly as follows:—“The scientific people have taken up the lost weapons of bigoted theological polemics, and assail with the rough sides of their tongues and pens any man who calls for further evidence, or presumes to bring their assumptions to the test of examination. But having no more reverence for the unsustained dicta of Sir Charles Lyell, Mr. Proctor, or Professor Tyndall, than for the same sort of dicta from a Middle Age monk, we shall go on calling for proof. Our credulity is incapable of saying ‘we know’ about a thing of which, when we examine, nobody ‘knows’ anything, except that some scientific man asserts it in his book.

“We are not ‘enemies to science;’ we only want science, and not guesses. And the thoroughly unscientific, uncritical, and credulous way in which men like Mr. Proctor are declaring ‘we know’ about things of which they know nothing, is one of the greatest obstacles with which science has to contend.”

[8] “La Croix de Migné vengée de l’incrédulité du siècle.” Published at Paris, in 1829.

[9] “Account of the Miraculous Events at Rome in the years 1792 and 1793.” Published in London, by Keating and Brown, Duke Street, Grosvenor Square.

[10] Hume’s “Essays and Treatises on Various Subjects,” second edition, vol. ii. p. 122. London, 1784.

[11] Ibid. vol. ii. p. 133.

[12] Take for example the subject of meteoric stones. Marked changes with regard to a belief in these, have existed in the past. The scholar can testify that antiquity is undoubtedly in favour of their existence. Plutarch, for example, in his “Life of Lysander,” describes a celebrated aerolite which fell in Thrace, and History testifies unmistakably to similar events—more particularly to the preservation of such in ancient temples. Yet it was not until the year 1803, when meteoric stones fell at L’Aigle in Normandy, that the Academy of Sciences in Paris appointed a committee to investigate the case, and their report determined the question. Mr. W. G. Nevill, F.G.S., of Gresham Street, City, London, comprises the above in the following testimony to facts which appeared in the “Standard,” of Feb. 25, 1873. “With reference to a paragraph headed ‘An Exercise of Credulity’ in your paper of the 24th instant, allow me to offer a few observations, as the circumstance narrated therein of the fall of an aerolite on board the Seven Stones light-vessel, as narrated by the crew, is of extreme interest. The men in the light-vessel service are carefully selected by the elder brethren of the Trinity House and trained to make observations on the weather and record them in books at the time, which books are received as evidence in the Admiralty Court. Their account agrees in the main with the details given in other cases. My father, Mr. W. Nevill, of Godalming, has a collection of specimens of 226 distinct falls of such bodies. These take place in all parts of the world. I believe only one instance has before been recorded in England. That occurred at Wold Cottage, Thwing, Yorkshire, on Dec. 13, 1795. One of the earliest recorded falls took place at Guisheim, in Alsace, during a battle, Nov. 7, 1492, and was preserved in the neighbouring church. A large shower of stones took place at L’Aigle, in north of France, on April 26, 1803 (not very far from the Seven Stones). These stones are of a grey ashy colour and invariably coated with black enamel; other meteorites are composed of solid native iron, and are sometimes of large size, as the one at Bitburg in Rhenish Prussia, which weighed several tons.”

[13] “Athenæum,” for March 12, 1859, p. 350.

[14] Testimonies to the Supernatural amongst Christian writers are abundant. The following may be instanced as a few concerning such events, both in the second and third centuries:—Justin Martyr, Ap. ii. cap. vi.; Dial. cum Tryph. cap. xxxix. and lxxxii.; Irenæus, ii. 31 and v. 6; Tertullian “Apolog.” cap. 23, 27, 32, 37; “Origen against Celsus,” book i. p. 7 and book vii. pp. 334-335, Ed. Spencer; Dionysius of Alexandria, in “Eccl. Hist.” of Eusebius, vi. 40; Minucius Felix Octav. p. 361, Ed. Paris, 1605; S. Cyprian, “De Idol. Vanit.” p. 14.

[15] S. John xiv. 12.

[16] “Hist. Eccles.” cap. v. Chronicon. p. 82.

[17] The following version by Dio. Cassius, translated from the “Annals” of Baronius, affords no slender testimony to the account by Eusebius given in the text:—“When the barbarians would not give them battle, in hopes of their perishing by heat and thirst, since they had so surrounded them that they had no possible means of getting water; and when they were in the utmost distress from sickness, wounds, sun, and thirst, and could neither fight nor retreat, but remained in order of battle and at their posts in this parched condition, suddenly clouds gathered, and a copious rainfall, not without the mercy of God. And when it first began to fall, the Romans, raising their mouths towards heaven, received it upon them; next, turning up their shields and helmets, they drank largely out of them, and gave to their horses. And when the barbarians charged them, they drank as they fought, and numbers of them were wounded.... And while they were thus incurring heavy loss from the assault of the enemy, because most of them were engaged in drinking, a violent hailstorm and much lightning were discharged upon the enemy. And thus water and fire might be seen in the same place falling from heaven, that some might drink refreshment and others be burnt to death.”—Dion. Cass. “Hist.” lxxi. p. 805.

[18] The treatise of Apollinaris, it should be added, is lost; and there seems to be some ground for believing that a particular Legion bore the name “Thundering” as far back as the days of Augustus. This latter assertion, however, even if proved, cannot set aside the leading facts recorded in the text.

[19] “Life of Marcus Antonius,” chap. xxiv.

[20] “Historia Romana,” lxi. 8.

[21] Mosheim’s “Ecclesiastical History” (Ed. Stubbs), vol. i. pp. 99-101. London, 1863.

[22] “Two Essays on Scripture Miracles and on Ecclesiastical,” by J. H. Newman, pp. 273-4, Second Edition. London, 1870.

[23] Socrates, Philostorgius, Gelasius, and Nicephorus declare that the Cross was in the sky. Sozomen, too, on the authority of Eusebius, makes a similar statement. So likewise does Rufinus.

[24] This standard was known by the name of the “Labarum”—a word the etymology of which is very uncertain. It was a pole plated with gold, upon which was laid horizontally a cross-bar, so as to form the figure of a cross. The top of the perpendicular shaft was adorned with a golden crown, ornamented with precious stones. In the middle of this crown was a monogram representing the name of Christ by the two Greek initial letters Χ and Ρ. A purple veil of a square figure hung from the cross-bar, which was likewise spangled with jewels. Gretser, “De Cruce,” Lib. i. cap. iv.

[25] S. John v. 20.

[26] Liber cont. Hær. c. xxxi.

[27] Daniel ix. 20-27.

[28] These miraculous interventions are testified to by S. Gregory Nazianzen, S. Chrysostom, and S. Ambrose, as well as by Rufinus, Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret. They are also recorded by Philostorgius the Arian, and by Ammianus the Pagan. Bishop Warburton published a volume entitled “Julian” in proof of their miraculous character, and they are acknowledged as such by Bishop Halifax on p. 23 of his “Discourses.”

[29] Those who testify to the truth of this miracle are firstly a Christian prelate, Victor Vitenus, “Hist. Pers.” sec. Vandal, iii. p. 613, whose words are translated above; the Emperor Justinian (who declares that he had seen some of the sufferers, “Codex Justin.” Lib. I. Tit. xxx. Ed. 1553); the Greek historian, Procopius of Cæsarea, who asserts that their tongues were cut off as low down as their throat, and that he had conversed with them, Lib. I. “De Bell. Vand.” cap. viij. and x. 1. Æneas of Gaza, a Platonic philosopher, who, having examined their mouths, remarked that he was not so much surprised at their being able to talk, as at their being able to live. He saw them at Constantinople. Mosheim, amongst Protestants, and Dodwell, the nonjuror, amongst English writers, frankly admit the miracle. The most lucid and exhaustive account, however, may be found in Section ix. of Dr. J. H. Newman’s “Essays on Miracles,” pp. 369-387 (Second edition, London, 1870), where the ancient evidence is set forth at length.

[30] On this subject a volume has recently been published, entitled “The Tongue not Essential to Speech: with Illustrations of the Power of Speech in the African Confessors.” By the Hon. Edward Twistleton. London: 1873. This book has been carefully and exhaustively criticized in “The Month,” for September, 1873. It will be sufficient here to remark that the modern scientific objections to this miracle, that, because in a certain case, by the skill of an operator, a tongue was so removed with marked dexterity in recent times, therefore the power of speech retained by the African Confessors was an ordinary event, are objections at once inconsequential and invalid.

[31] “De Civitate Dei,” Lib. xxii. p. 8.

[32] “Epist. Sti. Greg.;” “Hist. Bed.” Lib. i. c. xxxj.

[33] Vide “Sti. Bernardi Vita,” in loco, published by Mabillon.

[34] They were examined on the spot, by virtue of a Commission from John III. King of Portugal, and were generally acknowledged, not only by Europeans, but also by native Mahometans and Pagans. The important and conclusive testimony of three Protestant writers—Hackluyt, Baldens, and Tavernier—is set forth in Bouhours’ “Life of Francis Xavier,” which our own poet, John Dryden, translated and published.

[35] S. Matthew xv. 22-28.

[36] S. Mark iii. 11. Ibid. iii. 15, 22-30.

[37] S. Mark v. 2-15. See also S. Luke viii. 26-40. Instances of such power bestowed and exercised over unclean or deaf and dumb spirits may be found in the following:—S. Mark vi. 13; vii. 25-30; ix. 17-29. S. Luke iv. 33-37; ix. 38-42; xi. 14-26. Acts v. 12, 16; xvi. 16-18; xix. 13-20; xxviii. 3-6.

[38] One of the most distinguished physicians in London recently assured the Editor that, in his judgment, numerous peculiar and remarkable cases both of epilepsy and madness could only be duly and rationally accounted for by the Christian theory of possession; and he himself declared that if the Church’s spiritual powers on the one hand, and the virtue of faith on the other, were more commonly put into practice than they are, many cures, by God’s blessing, might be looked for.

[39] “The History of Cornwall,” by Fortescue Hitchins, Esq., in 2 vols. 4to. Helston, 1824. Vol. ii. pp. 548-51.

[40] The parish of Little Petherick is six miles north of S. Columb, and three due south from Padstow.

[41] Bishop Seth Ward, D.D.—Editor.

[42] “No minister or ministers shall ... without the license and direction (mandatum) of the Bishop ... attempt upon any pretence whatsoever either of possession or obsession, by fasting or prayer, to cast out any devil or devils, under pain of the imputation of imposture or cosenage, and deposition from the ministry.”—Canons of 1604, No. 72.

[43] Mr. Hawker quotes from the Diary of Mr. Ruddle for July 10th, 1665, the following triumphant entry:—“How sorely must the infidels and hereticks of this generation be dismayed when they know that this Black Death, which is now swallowing its thousands in the streets of the great city [London] was foretold six months agone, under the exorcisms of a country minister, by a visible and suppliant ghost! And what pleasures and improvements do such deny themselves who scorn and avoid all opportunity of intercourse with souls separate, and the spirits, glad and sorrowful, which inhabit the unseen world.”—pp. 123-4.

[44] In the act of exorcism, of course it is not necessary that the exorcist be a clergyman, in other words, in holy orders. An “exorcist” technically so called, when formally ordained, is only in “minor” and not in “holy” or “sacred orders.” Any Christian layman, with faith and a hearty desire and readiness to abide by the rules of the Church, can perform the act of exorcism, if no duly-ordained exorcist can be had; just as a layman (in the absence of a priest), can validly baptize. By baptism the “old man” is cast out, and the work of regeneration formally effected. By exorcism, some evil spirit or devil is expelled from a person possessed, in the Name of our Adorable Redeemer, Who triumphed over death and hell, and Who delegated Divine powers to the Church which He instituted. “It belongs to an exorcist,” writes a distinguished Western divine, “by exorcisms to deliver energumens and catechumens from the vexations of demons.”—“Axioms concerning the Sacraments,” No. lxviii. of Augustinus Hunnæus. On this point, the same theologian, sometime Professor of Theology at Louvain, writes thus:—“In adults catechism, whereby the doctrine of faith is delivered, ought to precede baptism; but exorcism, whereby evil spirits are expelled, and the senses opened to the perception of the mysteries of Salvation, ought to precede catechism. Both, as well catechism as exorcism, pertain to the office of a priest; but in catechizing he uses the ministry of a reader: in exorcism that of an exorcist.”—“Axioms concerning the Sacraments,” No. xii.

[45] This clergyman, whose name the Editor is not at liberty to mention, is known to many to be “a discerner of spirits.” He is now a dignitary of the English Church in the colonies.

[46] “The same has been attested to myself by M. Denison, nephew to the celebrated Morand, whom I saw at that time at Maubuisson-les-Pontoise. He ran the same career as his uncle, and was also distinguished for his merit. F. G. P.”

[47] Deut. x. 8; Numb. vi. 22-26, a form which the Christian Church has adopted and retained.

[48] Heb. vii. 7.

[49] Another version of this conversation gives the report as follows: “And should I die unjustly and undeservedly, my lord, in that case, you, my lord, shall soon die too, and follow me; yea within the compass of a year.”—MS. Letter of Very Rev. Dr. Husenbeth.

[50] “That dead dog Arrowsmith” stands in another version of this portion of the narrative.—Editor.

[51] They went in company with Thomas Cutler and Elizabeth Dooley. The above facts were formally authenticated by the parents of Lamb, as also by the Rev. Thomas Sadler, of Trafford, near Manchester; and the Rev. J. Craythorne, of Garswood. A friend who resides in Lancashire informs the Editor that this miracle is firmly believed by thousands (A.D. 1873).

[52] It was on this day that formal and sufficient testimonies were put into writing of the fact of the cure narrated above; and duly signed by those who from their own personal knowledge could testify to the truth of the same.

[53] The event recorded above, Arrowsmith’s sufferings and death, and its details are taken from Dod’s “Church History,” Challoner’s “Memoirs of Missionary Priests,” vol. ii. pp. 130-146; a “Relation of the Death of E. Arrowsmith,” published A.D. 1630; a Latin MS. of his life, preserved at Douay; and special traditional information given to the Editor by the late Very Rev. Dr. Husenbeth, Provost of Northampton.

[54] This wonderful mystery is frequently represented in Christian Art, both with beauty and effect.

[55] See a rare and remarkable pamphlet, by Mr. De Lisle, with etchings by J. R. Herbert, R.A., now out of print, containing an account of his visit to the subject of this miraculous occurrence. London: Dolman, 1841.

[56] The following is the full title of the volume from which the above narrative and the extracts given are taken:—“Louise Lateau of Bois d’Haine, her Life, her Ecstasies, and her Stigmata.” A medical study, by Dr. F. Lefebvre. Translated from the French. Edited by Rev. J. Spencer Northcote, D.D., President of S. Mary’s College, Oscott. To which the following explanatory note may be added:—The name of Dr. Lefebvre is sufficient guarantee of the importance of any work coming from his pen. During twenty years that he has filled the chair of General Pathology and Therapeutics in the University of Louvain he has gained a world-wide reputation by his investigations in the wide and, to a great extent, unexplored field of medical research. Add to this moral qualities of the first order, and ardent zeal in the cause of religion, and we have a character which commands our admiration and esteem in the highest degree. The book, translated into English under the superintendence of Dr. Northcote, is a medical inquiry into the case of Louise Lateau, the Belgian stigmatizata. The medical features of the case are all that Dr. Lefebvre proposes to treat, leaving, of course, to the proper ecclesiastical authorities the theological investigation. An abridged account of this case has been published, entitled “Louise Lateau, the Ecstatica of Bois d’Haine,” by Dr. Lefebvre, translated from the French by J. S. Shepard. London: Richardson and Son. 1872.

[57] This account was written in 1874.

[58] Affidavits of the truth of the above narrative have been made by the physician and clergyman who witnessed the miraculous intervention, as also by the person more immediately concerned—Miss Collins.

[59] Among the spectators were the following: Mr. R. Tobin and family, Mr. John Sullivan and wife, Mr. C. D. O’Sullivan and wife, Mr. J. A. Donahue and wife, Mr. George Hooper and wife, Mrs. Emmet Doyle, Mr. D. J. Oliver, and many others. Dr. Polactri was standing by Miss Collins’s bedside, taking notes on the condition of the patient. He confessed the case was beyond the reach of medical science. Her head moved from side to side with the intensity of her agony, and her tongue was parched and swollen.

[60] Mr. D. J. Oliver writes from San Francisco, in a private letter, as follows: “I was awe-stricken whilst beholding the miracle. I know both the young girls, and the account is correct in every particular, except that the stigmata was on both sides of the hands and feet, and not on one side only. I spent an hour with them last evening, and saw them at communion at early mass this morning.”

[61] The account up to this point is copied from a Letter to Miss F. T. Bird, dated September 3, 1809, by Mr. Woodford, an eminent surgeon of Taunton, who attended Mary Wood upon her accident.

[62] Certain stated prayers and devotional exercises continued throughout nine days.

[63] The authentic documents of the examination, and of the whole process of the cure, are contained at length in a work entitled “The Miraculous Cure of Winifred White,” by the Rev. John Milner, D.D., published by Grace of Dublin, and reprinted, on several occasions and in different forms, in England. It may be added that Winifred White departed this life on the 13th of January, 1824, nineteen years after her cure. She died of consumption.

[64] A well-known clergyman of the Church of England.

[65] The account from which the above was compiled was a formal and authentic statement of the Curé de S. Martin, at Metz (A.D. 1865).

[66] The account given above is taken from a small tractate entitled “The Miracle of Metz, wrought by the Blessed Sacrament, June 14, 1865,” translated from the French, by Lady Georgiana Fullerton. With the imprimaturs of His Grace the Archbishop of Westminster and the Bishop of Metz. London: Burns and Co., 1865.

[67] See a series of most interesting letters, entitled “Is God amongst us?” by a Clergyman of the Church of England, published in the “Union” newspaper, for 1857, vol. ii. pp. 262, 329-330. London: Painter.

[68] “The Measure of Christian Sorrow for the Departed,” a Sermon preached at the funeral of Mary Lisle Phillipps de Lisle, by the Rev. Henry Collins, M.A. Loughborough: J. H. Gray, 1860, pp. 11-13.

[69] “Indulgenced prayers are prayers to the recital of which is attached by the Church the grant of indulgences. By indulgences Catholics understand a remission of sin, that is, of all those temporal pains which God inflicts for sin committed by His servants after baptism; and the Church teaches that the power of remission was conferred by Jesus Christ when He said to the Apostles, ‘Whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in Heaven.’” S. Matt. xvi. 19.

[70] 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 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 Conjurer, 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 sorts and 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 labour well spent to travel much therein. One artificer hath devised them all.”

[71] “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 “He caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards.”—2 Chron. xxxiii. 6. Lastly, S. Paul mentions “witchcraft” amongst such “works of the flesh” as “adultery, fornication, heresies, drunkenness, and murders.”—Galat. v. 19-21.

[72] 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 the 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 disciple 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.

[73] “Fuga Satanæ. Exorcismus, ex sacrarum Litterarum fontibus, pioq̃ S. Ecclesiæ Instituto exhaustus. Authore Petro Antonio Stampa, Sacerdote Clavenense. Cum privilegio. Venetiis. M.D.C.V. Apud Sebastianum Combis.”

[74] “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.

[75] See note to this effect on page 152.

[76] The following passage, from a sermon by the late Canon Melville, bears out the above statement:—“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 intercourse with invisible beings, and professed to derive from that intercourse 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 whatsoever passes upon 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.”—“Sermons on certain of the less prominent facts and references in Sacred Story.” By Henry Melville, D.D. In two volumes. London: Rivingtons, 1872. Vol. i. pp. 57, 58.

[77] The above definitions are taken from the literary productions of certain of the most recent “philosophers” and “thinkers” already referred to in the text.

[78] “The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.” Galat. v. 19-21.

[79] This took place in England in the year 1736, in the teeth of the protests of many, who felt that a modification of laws founded on an explicit principle of Scripture would have been both wiser and safer than their total and absolute abolition. Amongst others, Mr. John Wesley wrote and preached to this effect. Quite recently a distinguished Liberal statesman remarked that if the practices of the so-called “Spiritualists” still developed, as for some time they had been developing, some re-enactment of the laws against Witchcraft might become necessary. It certainly seems one-sided and unfair that ignorant women should be punished for “fortune-telling,” and that the paid professional mediums should go scot free.

[80] The following bears out the remarks in the text:—“The influence of Christianity upon magic could not be small; material changes would undoubtedly be brought about through its influence.... At the epoch of Christ’s appearance, faith in demons, and particularly in evil spirits, was not only general amongst the heathen, but also among the Jews to an incredible extent; and unbounded powers, even as great as those of the Divinity, were ascribed to them, which not only were supposed to influence the mind, but also Nature and physical life.”—Ennemoser’s “History of Magic.” Translated by W. Howitt. London, 1854. Vol. i., pp. 340, 341. One particular fact may be here put upon record, as being, to say the least, more than remarkable: To the Roman Emperor Augustus, who, according to Suidas and Nicephorus, sent to a renowned Oracle to inquire what successor he should have, it was answered, “The Hebrew Child, Whom all the gods obey, drives me hence.” No other response was vouchsafed.

[81] The Editor is indebted to the Rev. Dr. Littledale for the following note:—“There is an authorized Form of Exorcism in the Greek ‘Euchologion.’ It begins with the Trisagion, and Psalms, Domine exaudi, Dominus regit me, Dominus illuminatio mea, Exurgat Deus, Miserere, Domine ne in furore, and Domine exaudi precem. Then follows the Consolatory Canon, with a long Hymn addressed to our Blessed Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and All Saints. At the close of this the priest anoints the patient, saying a brief prayer over him, and so the office closes.” See also Appendix to Chapter iii. pp. 138-148.

[82] John Selden, in his “Table Talk,” in the article upon “Devils,” somewhat scoffingly asserts that the Roman Catholics affirm that “the Protestants the Devil hath already, and the Papists are so holy, he dares not meddle with them.”

[83] “The Question of Witchcraft debated.” By John Wagstaffe. London: 1669. Second edition, 1671.

[84] “A True Discourse upon the Matter of Martha Brossier, of Romorantin,” translated out of French into English, by Abraham Hartwell. London: imprinted for John Wolfe. 1599.

[85] “The Copy of a Letter describing the Wonderful Worke of God in delyviring a maydene within the city of Chester from a horrible kind of torment or sicknesse, 16 February anno 1564.” Imprinted at London for John Judely, dwelling in Little Britayne Street beyond Aldersgate, 23 March 1564.

[86] “A Briefe and True Discourse, contayning the certayne possession and dispossession of seven persons in one familie, in Lancashire.” By George More, Minister and Preacher of the Word, and now (for bearing witness unto this, and for justifying the rest,) a prisoner at the Clinks, where he hath continued almost for two yeares. A.D. 1600.

[87] 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.

[88] “An Antidote against Atheism: or an Appeal to the Natural Faculties of the Mind of Man.” By Henry More, Fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge. 1655.

[89] “Cases of Conscience concerning Evil Spirits personating Men.” By Increase Mather. Printed at Boston, and reprinted in London for John Dutton at the Raven in the Poultry, 1693.

[90] “Sadducismus Triumphatus: a Full and Plain Evidence concerning Witches and Apparitions.” By Joseph Glanville, Chaplain in Ordinary to King Charles II. London: 1726.

[91] A careful deposition as to the above facts was made before the Justices of the Peace mentioned, who added the following formal attestation: “The aforesaid passages [i.e. occurrences] were some of them seen by us, and some other remarkable ones, not here set down, were upon the examination of several witnesses taken on oath before us.

“(Signed) Robert Hunt.
John Carey.”

[92] “The Surey Demoniack; or, an Account of Satan’s Strange and Dreadful Actings in and about the Body of Richard Dugdale of Surey, near Whalley in Lancashire.” London: 1697.

[93] The following curious extract from a “Coventry News-Letter,” dated Nov. 2, 1672, certainly tells a wonderful story, in some respects not unlike that recorded in the text. It serves at all events to show what were the popular notions concerning occurrences which, to say the least, were very remarkable; and it is reprinted here verbatim:—

“All our wonder here about is employ’d at the strange condition of a maid neare us, one Elizabeth Tibbots of about 18 yeares of age liveing with her unkle one Thomas Crofts at a place cal’d Hust (?) in ye parish of Stonely (Stoneleigh) about two miles hence. Ye maid for about this 3 weekes past has bene taken with strange fitts in which shee has vomitted up severall things incredible, as first severall Peble stones neare as big as eggs, knives, sissers, peices of glass some of them two or 3 Inches square, peices of Iron, an Iron Bullet of at least 8 Inches round, and 2 pound & halfe weight, a black drinking pot of neare halfe a pint, peices of cloth & wood, a pockett pistoll, a paire of Pincers, Bottoms of yarne and severall other things many whereof are now at our majors, and have bene evidently seene to come out at her mouth, by many credible witnesses, nor should I my selfe venture to give you this Relation, which seemes soe unlike truth, had I not my selfe beene an eye wittness, with my most cunning observation of soe much of it, that I am confirmed in ye beleife of the whole, all which is imputed to some diabollicall practices of one Watson a strang kind of an Emperick, to whom shee was some tyme a Patient, who had it seemes soe wrought with her as that shee had promis’d him marriage, & to goe with him (though shee knew not whither,) But afterwards refused it. Immediately upon which shee fell into these fitts, yet has shee her respites, dureing which shee appeares reasonable well, & I have heard her discourse very rationally of her selfe & condition, a full account whereof would be too long to give; ’tis said that for these 4 or 5 dayes past (in which tyme I have not seene her) somewhat appeares to her in ye shape of a dogg. Now, whether shee be bewicht or whether shee be a witch, or whether ye Divell be in her, (as well as some others of her sex,) I know not, but that what I have told you seemed to ye most vigilant eye to be infallibly true is not doubted, so that if it be not really soe, I can onely say the Divell’s in’t, who you perhaps may fancy to be in him that gives you this seemingly incredible Relation, which be pleased to accept for better, for worse from,” &c.

[94] “Witchcraft further Displayed.” London: Printed for E. Curl at the Dial and Bible. 1714.

[95] In the “Overseer’s Accounts” for the parish of S. Giles, Northampton, there is an item for the purchase of faggots for the purpose of burning a witch. A.D. 1705.

[96] “An Account of the Tryals, Examination, and Condemnation of Ellinor Shaw & Mary Phillips (Two Notorious Witches) at Northampton Assizes on Wednesday the 7th of March, 1705, for Bewitching a Woman & Two children, Tormenting them in a Sad and Lamentable Manner till they Dyed. With an account of their strange Confessions about their Familiarity with the Devil, and How They Made a wicked Contract with him to be revenged on several Persons, by Bewitching their Cattel to Death, &c. And several other Strange and Amasing Particulars.” London: Printed for F. Thorne, near Fleete-street.

[97] The following “Letter” from Mr. Ralph Davis, of Northampton, addressed to Mr. William Simons, merchant in London, is reprinted almost verbatim, certain passages, by reason of their extreme coarseness, being alone suppressed. It was published by Thorne, of Fleet Street, in 1705, and had a very large circulation. It is entitled “The Northamptonshire Witches:”—

“According to my word Promise in my last I have sent you here Inclosed a faithful Account of the Lives and Conversations of the two notorious Witches that were Executed on the North side of our town on Saturday the 17th instant, and indeed considering the extraordinary Methods these wicked women used to accomplish their Diabolical Art, I think it may merit your Reception, and the more since I understand you have a friend near Fleete Street who being a Printer may make use of it in order to oblige the Publick; which take as followeth; viz:—

“To proceed in order, I shall first begin with Ellinor Shaw (as being the most notorious of the two) who was Born at Cotterstock within a small Mile of Oundle in Northamptonshire, of very obscure Parents, who not willing, or at least not able, to give their Daughter any manner of Education, she was left to shift for her self at the age of 14 years; at which time she got acquainted with a Partener in Wickedness, one Mary Phillips, Born at Oundle aforesaid, with whom she held a frindly Correspondence for several years together, and work’d very hard for a Livelihood; but when she arriv’d to the age of 21 she began to be a very lude [lewd] sort of a Person ... which wicked and loathsom Actions were not only talked of in the Town of Cotterstock where she was Born but at Oundle, Glapthorne, Benefield, Southwick and several Parts adjacent; and that as well by Children of four or five years of Age as persons of riper years; so that by degrees her Name became so famous or rather infamous that she could hardly peep out of her Door but the Children would point at her in a Scoffing manner ... [so] that she Swore she would be revenged on her enemies tho’ she pawn’d her Soul for the Purchase; and then Mary Phillips being her Partner in Knitting and Bedfellow also, who was as bad as herself in the Vices aforesaid, she communicated her Thoughts to her, relating to a Contract with the Devil, in order to have the Wills of those who Slandered them.... In fine as these two Harlots agreed in their other Wickedness so they were resolv’d to go Hand in Hand in this, and consequently go to the Devil together for Company, but out of a Hellish kind of Civility he saved them that Trouble at present, for ... he immediately waited upon ’em to obtain his Booty on Saturday the 12th of February 1704 about 12 a Clock at Night according to their own Confessions, appearing in the shape of a black tall Man, at whose approach they were very much startled at first, but taking Ellinor Shaw by the Hand he spoke thus—Says he, Be not afraid, of me for I am one of the Creation as well as your selves, having power given me to bestow it on whom I please, and do assure you that if you will pawn your Souls to me for only a Year and two Months I will for all that time assist you in whatever you desire. Upon which he produced a little piece of Parchment on which by their Consents having prick’t their Fingers’ ends, he wrote the Infernal Covenants in their own Blood which they signed with their own Hands and the same Night.... In the Morning he told them they were now as substantial Witches as any were in the world, and that they had power by the assistance of the Imps that he would send them to do what Mischief they pleased.

“I shall not trouble you with what is already mention’d in the Tryals of these two persons because it is in print by your Friend already but only instance what was omitted in that as not having room here to contain it altogether but as to their general confessions after their Condemnations, take as followeth:—

“The day before they were Executed, Mr. Danks the Minister visited them in Prison, in order if possible to bring them to a State of Repentance, but seeing all pious Discourse prov’d ineffectual, he desired them to tell him what mischeivous Pranks they had Play’d and what private Conference they had with the Devil from time to time, since they had made that fatal Bargain with him: To which Ellinor Shaw with the Consent of the other told him that the Devil in the Shape of a tall black Man appear’d several times to them and at every visit would present them with new Imps some of a Red Coulour others of a Dun and the third of a black Colour and that ... by the Assistance of these Hellish Animals they often Kill’d Men Women and Children to the great surprise of all the towns thereabouts; she further adding that it was all the Delight they had to be doing such wicked Actions and they had Kil’d by their Inchantments and Witchcraft in the space of nine Months time 15 children eight Men and six Women tho’ none was suspected of being Bewitch’d but those two Children, said the Woman, that they Dy’d for; and that they had Bewitch’d to Death in the same Space of Time 40 Hoggs of several poor People, besides 100 Sheep, 18 Horses, and 30 Cows, even to the utter Ruin of several Families: As to their particular Intreagues and waggish tricks I have not Room to enumerate, they are so many; only some remarkable Feats they did in Prison which was thus, viz:—one Day Mr. Laxon and his wife coming by the Prison had the Curiosity to look through the Grates and seeing of Ellinor Shaw told her that now the Devil had left her in the Lurch, as he had done the rest of his Servants; upon which the said Ellinor was observ’d to Mutter strangely to herself in an unknown Language for about two Minutes; at the end of which Mr. Laxon’s Wife’s Cloathes were all turn’d over her head Smock and all in a most strange manner ... notwithstanding all the Endeavours her Husband could use to keep her Cloathes in order; at which the said Ellinor having Laughed Heartily and told her She had prov’d her Lyer, her Cloathes began to come to their right order again. The keeper of the Prison having one Day Threatened them with Irons, they, by their Spells, caused him to Dance almost an Hour Naked in the Yard to the Amazement of the Prison: nay, such Pranks were Play’d by them during their Confinement that no one durst give them an ill Word, insomuch that their Execution was the more hastened in the regard of their frequent Disturbances and great Mischief they did in several places of the Town notwithstanding their Imprisonment.

“They were so hardened in their Wickedness that they Publickly boasted that their Master (meaning the Devil) would not suffer them to be Executed: but they found him [a] Lyer; for on Saturday Morning being the 17th instant they were carried to the Gallows on the Northside of the Town whither numerous Crowds of people went to see them Die, and being come to the place of Execution the Minister repeated his former pious endeavours to bring them to a sense of their Sins but to as little purpose as before: for instead of calling on God for Mercy nothing was heard from them but D——g and Cursing. However a little before they were ty’d up; at the request of the Minister, Ellinor Shaw confessed not only the Crime for which she Dyed, but openly declared before them all how she first became a Witch, as did also Mary Phillips; and being desired to say their Prayers they both set up a very loud Laughter, calling for the Devil to come and help them in such a Blasphemous manner as is not fit to Mention, so that the Sherif seeing their presumptious Impenitence caused them to be Executed with all the Expedition possible; even while they were Cursing and raving; and as they liv’d the Devil’s true Factors so they resolutely Dyed in his service, to the Terror [of] all People who were eye-Witnesses of their dreadful and amazing Exits.

“So that being Hang’d till they were almost Dead the Fire was put to the Straw, Faggots and other Combustable matter till they were Burnt to Ashes. Thus Liv’d and thus Dyed two of the most notorious and presumptious Witches that ever were known in this Age.

“To conclude: I heartly wish that these wretched Women’s Sad and Lamentable Fates may be a warning to all Proud, Lustful and Malicious Persons whatsoever, least they be brought Step by Step before they are aware unto the Devil’s Slaughterhouse of Confusion and Misery to all Eternity.

“I am promised a Copy of the Sermon that was Preached by Mr. Danks at the Church of All Saint’s the next day after the said Witches were Executed (being Sunday) upon that very Occasion, which I hope to send you by the next Post.

“I am Sir, Your humble Servant, Ralph Davis.”

[98] “A Full and Impartiall account of the Discovery of Sorcery and Witchcraft, practised by Jane Wenham,” etc. London: 1712.

[99] “Sadducismus Debellatus: or a True Narrative of the Sorceries and Witchcraft exercised by the Devil and his Instruments upon Mrs. Christian Shaw in the county of Renfrew, in the West of Scotland, from August 1696 to April 1697, &c.” Collected from the Records. London: Newman and Bell, 1698.

[100] “Another Brand Plucked out of the Burning: or More Wonders of the Invisible World.” London: 1700.

[101] “Saddvcismus Triumphatus,” pp. 20-37.

[102] Two remarkable works for and against what was termed “Judiciall Astrologie,” were published in the latter years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. One, attacking the system, from the pen of John Chamber, Prebendary of Windsor and Fellow of Eton College (London: John Harrison, Paternoster Row, 4to., Lambeth Library, 78 F. 22); the other defending it, in reply to the above, by Sir Christopher Heydon, Knt., printed at Cambridge, by John Legat, printer to the University in 1603 (Lambeth Library, 78 F. 12). The former is a treatise of very considerable vigour and power of reasoning: the latter is somewhat laboured, eminently pedantic, overburdened with tedious and irrelevant quotations, and altogether very inferior from a literary point of view.

[103] In almost all Heathen or Pagan countries, Witchcraft, Necromancy and Sorcery are recognized and established institutions.

[104] There was a notorious sorcerer and reputed necromancer in King James the First’s reign, a certain Dr. Lamb. In Baxter’s “Certainty of the World of Spirits” (A.D. 1691), he records a curious instance of Lamb’s miraculous performances. This sorcerer, meeting two of his acquaintances in the street, they, expressing a wish to witness some example of his spiritual skill, were invited to his house. There they were conducted to an inner room, where to their intense surprise they saw a growing-tree spring up slowly in the middle of the room. [It may be here remarked that the Oriental jugglers and sorcerers work a similar manifestation of their powers, often witnessed and frequently described.—Editor.] In a moment, as this record informs us, there appeared three diminutive men, who with little axes felled the tree; and then the doctor dismissed his guests, who had been duly impressed by his powers. On that very night, however, a tremendous hurricane arose, causing the house of one of the guests to rock from side to side, with every probability that the house would fall, and bury him and his wife in its ruins. The wife in an agony of fear inquired, “Were you not at Dr. Lamb’s to-day?” The husband admitted that it was true that he had been. “And did you not bring something away from his house?” The husband confessed that he had done so. When the little men were felling the tree, he had picked up some of the chips and put them into his pocket. Nothing, therefore, as his wife pointed out, remained to be done but to produce these chips, and get rid of them as fast as possible. When this was done, the tempest ceased, and the rest of the night was perfectly calm. It may be added that this sorcerer became so odious, because of his necromancy and other infernal practices, that in 1640 the populace rose upon him and tore him to pieces in the streets; while, thirteen years afterwards, a woman who had been in his service was apprehended upon a charge of Witchcraft, was tried on what seems to have been very strong and conclusive evidence, found guilty, and in expiation of her crime was executed at Tyburn. [The contemporary literature extant, relating to this case of Lamb and his servant, would fill a large volume.—Editor.]

[105] These persons are reported and reputed to be professional mediums, and are said to be very largely patronized by people of all ranks and classes, more especially the higher.

[106] “Report on Spiritualism.” Examination of the Master of Lindsay, p. 215. London: Longman, 1871.

[107] Genesis iii. 1; Revelation xii. 9; Ibid. xx. 2.

[108] The Editor, while avoiding the reproduction of examples which are tolerably well known, has generally aimed at setting forth cases which have not yet been put into print; though in some records which follow, a few have been selected which have already been published, in order that one example, at least, of all the particular kinds of warning and dreams, may be here presented to the reader.

[109] Genesis xx. 3; Ibid. xxxi. 11, and (to Laban) ver. 31. As to Pharaoh’s dream of a coming famine, see Genesis xli.

[110] Numbers xii. 6; 1 Kings iii. 5-15; Daniel vii. to the end of the book. S. Matthew, 1-20; Ibid. ii. 12 (as to S. Joseph), ver. 13. and verses 19 and 20; Ibid, xxvii. 19.

[111] Two valued correspondents respectively write as follows:—“One could relate many such family incidents as you suggest, but everyone shrinks from allowing them to be verified by name. I imagine that this reticence arises from the natural dread and dislike to having what is sacred to one’s own faith and feelings submitted to the ridicule of sceptical and rationalistic minds.”

Another:—“I send you the enclosed—a record of the supernatural appearance which is always seen immediately prior to the death of the head of our family. But I do not wish it printed; and absolutely forbid the mention either of place or person, lest it should be identified, which might cause annoyance to our friends.”

[112] De Anima, c. 45-47.

[113] Ibid.

[114] De Opificio Dei, sæc. xviii.

[115] Epist. Sti. Cypriani, lxiii.

[116] Epist. Sti. Basilii, cxx.

[117] Opera Thom. Aquin., Tom. ii., Quæst. xcv., Art. vi.: Tom. iii., Quæst. lxxx., Art. vii.

[118] “The Philosophy of Sleep.” By Macknish.

[119] The Rev. George R. Winter, M.A., Vicar of Swaffham and Rural Dean, thus most obligingly writes to the Editor (A.D. 1874):—“The story of the Dream is popularly believed, and there was a good foundation for it. In the upper portion of the windows of the north aisle is some old painted glass, which is supposed to represent the man and his family; but the chief monument of his identity is a piece of old carving representing a pedlar with a pack on his back, and also his dog, forming part of the westernmost stalls of the choir. This, I believe, was at one time in the north aisle, which the man is supposed to have built.” The dream is related at length in Blomfield’s “History of Norfolk.”

[120] The above was written at Alton Towers, Cheadle, on the 23rd of October, 1842, and duly signed by Mr. William Talbot, a relation of John, Earl of Shrewsbury.

[121] “The account here given of the Dream which occurred in Cornwall, is, as I personally testify, true and accurate. (Signed) Rachel L. Lee (daughter of the late Benjamin Tucker, of Trematon Castle, Esquire, and daughter-in-law of the late Rev. T. T. Lee, Vicar of Thame), Kentons, near Henley-on-Thames, May 14th, 1873.”

[122] A friend who provided the above example writes to the Editor:—“I knew the family, and the circumstance of Mr. Perring’s singular dream; and can certainly testify to its truth.”

[123] From a Letter dated Nov. 1, 1872, in the handwriting of the Widow of the Clergyman in question, kindly communicated to the Editor by the Rev. Theodore J. Morris, Vicar of Hampton in Arden, near Birmingham.

[124] The following document was drawn up about thirteen years ago, and given to the Editor with the above account by an Oxford friend:—

“This is to certify that in 1840 I dreamt the Dream about the strange man coming to the front door and forcing himself in; and that seven years afterwards, that is in 1847, what I had seen in my dream occurred in London, when, having heard knocks at the door when I was alone in the house, I saw the man outside the door whom I had seen in my dream seven years before.

“Hannah Green.

“Wootton, Oxfordshire, August 5, 1861.”

[125] “Notes and Queries,” Sept. 24, 1853.

[126] “I have carefully read the account which you have so nicely written out from my own and my brother’s Letters; and have also twice read the same to my mother and brother. Both join with me in testifying to its absolute truth and perfect accuracy. Our account was taken down from the lips of the Rector of —— himself. We, indeed, have reason to believe in the Supernatural.”

[127] The Rector of Phillack and Gwithian, near Hayle in Cornwall, is the Rev. Frederick Hockin, M.A. and Rural Dean.

[128] He is described as “Wilfred D. Speer, Esq., of West End Lodge, Thames Ditton, a magistrate for the County of Surrey, and a captain in the Militia of that county.”

[129] “Statement of the Circumstances attending the Death of Wilfred D. Speer, Esq., with copies of Testimony and Correspondence.” London, Ontario: John Cameron, Dundas Street, West, 8vo. pp. 12, 1867.

[130] “If my dream come true, I am certainly approaching my latter end, and have only a little time longer in this world.” Attested copy of Captain Wilfred Speer’s Letter, given to the Editor by the Rev. John Richardson, of Warwick.

[131] He was shot dead on the night of the 17th of June, 1867, on board a steamboat on the Missouri.

[132] The following Letter has been received by the Editor from the dignitary in question:—“Nov. 6, 1874. Rev. and dear Sir, I only wish that my name should not be published. The statement, as written out by me, is entirely at your service.... To the Rev. Dr. Lee.”

[133] It seems that as a matter of fact there is no tunnel near the scene of the accident, but a long, level line of railway, very near the margin of the sea. At least so a correspondent who knows the locality well has informed me.—Editor.

[134] “Having made enquiries regarding the fact of Tinley’s remarkable dream, which seemed to foreshadow his death by the well-known accident, I can testify to the truth that he had such a dream, and that he regarded it as a sign of coming death.

“A. Rutherford, Wolverhampton.

“July 14, 1874.”

[135] Sir Roger Tichborne, Knt. of Tichborne, flourished in the reign of Henry II. He married Mabella, daughter and sole heiress of Ralph de Lamerston, in the Isle of Wight.

[136] Sir Henry Tichborne, born in 1756, married in 1778 Elizabeth Plowden, and had seven sons, viz. 1. Henry, 2. Benjamin, 3. Edward, 4. James, 5. John, 6. George, and 7. Roger. His eldest son Henry, who married Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Burke, had seven daughters, viz. 1. Eliza, 2. Frances, 3. Julia, 4. Mary, 5. Katherine, 6. Lucy, and 7. Emily.

[137] “Staffordshire Chronicle,” July, 1835.

[138] Lysons in his “Magna Britannia,” vol. vi. describing the parish of South Tawton, about five miles from Okehampton, co. Devon, says:—“Oxenham, in this parish, gave name to an ancient family who possessed it, at least from the time of Henry III. to the death of William Long Oxenham, Esq., in 1814.” The mansion, as the Editor learns, has long been occupied as a farm-house. It may here be added that it is believed that Drake’s friend, Captain John Oxenham, who lost his life in an engagement with the Spaniards in South America (A.D. 1575), was a member of this family. Mr. Canon Kingsley, in “Westward-Ho,” has introduced the omen of a Bird with a white breast in connection with this gentleman.

[139] “A True relation of an Apparition in the likeness of a Bird with a White Breast, that appeared hovering over the deathbeds of some of the children of Mr. James Oxenham, of Sale Monachorum, Devon, Gent. Confirmed by Sundry witnesses. London, printed by I. O. for Richard Clutterbuck, and are to be sold at the figure of the Gun in little Britain, near St. Botolph’s church. 1641.” British Museum, Press-Mark E. 205-9.

A copy of this pamphlet is also to be found amongst Gough’s collection in the Bodleian. The British Museum copy contains a curious and very effective engraving, representing the actual appearance of the Bird to a person dying in bed.

[140] It is also stated in this pamphlet that the clergyman of the parish had been appointed by the bishop of the diocese to inquire into the truth of these particulars, and that a monument had been put up with his approbation with the names of the witnesses of each apparition of the Bird. The pamphlet states that those who had been sick and had recovered, never saw the apparition. It further came out in the evidence tendered, that the same Bird had appeared to Grace, the grandmother of John Oxenham, who died in 1618.

[141] Lysons states that these monumental inscriptions do not now exist either in the church or churchyard of Tawton or Sale Monachorum. But, considering the shameful destruction of monuments in late years by so-called “Church Restorers,” this is not to be wondered at.

[142] It has been shrewdly and perhaps not untruly observed, that “a genuine and solemn citation may tend to work its own fulfilment in certain minds, who, by allowing the thing to prey upon their spirits, enfeeble the powers of life, and perhaps at the critical date arouse some latent or dormant disease into deadly action.”

[143] The following is from a MS. note of a member of the Editor’s family—George Henry Lee, Lord Litchfield, who was Chancellor of the University of Oxford in the latter part of the last century. Lord Rochester, it should be added, was allied to that family through his mother, Anne, Countess of Rochester, previously the widow of Sir F. H. Lee:—

“Lord Rochester told me of an odd presage that one had of his approaching death in the Lady Warre his mother-in-law’s house. The chaplain had dreamt that such a day he should die, but being by all the family put out of the belief of it, he had almost forgot it till the evening before at supper, there being thirteen at table, according to a fond conceit that one of these must soon die, one of the young ladies pointed to him that he was to die. He, remembering his dream, fell into some disorder; and the Lady Warre reproving him for his superstition, he said he was confident he was to die before morning; but he being in perfect health, it was not much minded. It was Saturday night, and he was to preach the next day. He went to his chamber, sat up late, (as appeared by the burning of his candle,) and he had been preparing his notes for his sermon, but he was found dead in his bed next morning. These things he said made him inclined to believe [that] the soul was a substance distinct from matter, and this often returned into his thoughts.”

[144] The Registrar-General in his last Report writes thus:—“Seamen will not sail, women will not wed on a Friday so willingly as on other days of the week. It has been ascertained that out of 4,057 marriages which took place during a certain period in the midland district of England, not two per cent. were celebrated on a Friday, while thirty-two per cent. were entered as having taken place on a Sunday.”

[145] Jerome Cardan, the strange sixteenth-century physician, who dealt so extensively in horoscopes, and is said to have sought the assistance of spirits, professed to own and exercise some specific and supernatural gifts:—1. The power of throwing his spirit out of his body, by which he could see things at a distance. 2. His faculty of Second Sight, or of seeing whatever he pleased with his eyes, “Oculis, non vi mentis.” 3. His dreams, which, as he maintained, uniformly foretold to him what was about to occur, and by which he truly predicted the day of his own death, and 4. his “unerring astrological knowledge.”

[146] “Miscellanies, collected by J. Aubrey, Esq.” London: printed for Edward Castle, 1696.

[147] “A Treatise on the Second Sight, Dreams, and Apparitions,” by Theophilus Insulanus. Dedicated “To the Honourable Sir Harry Monro, of Foulis, Baronet.” Pp. 107-108. Edinburgh: 1763.




Transcriber’s Note:

The General Index was not a part of the original text. It has been copied from Volume II of the series.

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