Witch Court

'Live' tweeting historical witch trials. Modern English, period sources.

An ex-witch called Deliverance Hobbs is now bewitched because she confessed. The spectral form of another witch keeps appearing and beating her with iron rods as punishment. [...]

A witch had an inch-long teat on her belly. She claimed it was a hernia, but it looked recently-sucked, with a hole at the tip. When it was squeezed, "white milky matter" came out. She also had three smaller teats on her genitals. A girl claimed that Rose Cullender, the witch with the milky teat on her belly and three extra teats on her vulva, had been coming to her bed at night, one time bringing a huge dog with her. [...]

A child caught an invisible mouse and threw it into the fire where it exploded with a flash like gunpowder. No one but the child saw a mouse, but everyone saw the flash. [...]

A bee flew into a child's face. The child vomited up a large iron nail. The child later confirmed that the bee had been carrying the nail and had "forced it into her mouth". [...]

The child got sick. One night a strange toad fell out of her blanket and ran along the hearth. A boy picked it up with tongs and held it in the fire, where it exploded like a gunshot. The child had been very sick, but after the magic toad exploded in the fire she completely recovered. [...]

The boy told the Devil he would commit to a life of deceit if the Devil would grant him one strange superpower: the boy asked for his saliva to be given the power to scald dogs as though it were boiling water. The Devil granted the boy his wish (to "make his spittle scald a dog"). The boy spat on a dog and a large amount of scalding hot water poured all over it. The possessed boy admitted to having spat a torrent of boiling water onto the dog. His honesty and remorse caused the Devil to leave his body with a terrifyingly loud noise. [...]

A witch riding a goat was able to carry 15 or 16 children in one trip by taking a long wooden pole, sticking one end into the goat's anus and seating the children all along the length of the pole. [...]

Asked where precisely on her body the Devil sucked her blood, the witch said the Devil sucked at a location he had chosen himself, just slightly above her anus. Because of the Devil's constant sucking at that spot, there is now a teat-like growth on the witch's body, near her anus. Elizabeth asked the Devil why he sucked her blood from the teat just above her anus. He said that it nourished him. [...]

A witch's blood is infected with a "poisonous ferment". If a witch gives you a hard glare while thinking spiteful thoughts, pestilential spirits will shoot out of her eyes and infect you. Nature works by "subtle streams" of "minute particles". An example would be the jets of pestilence which shoot out of witch's eyes via by means of their malicious imagination and cause "dangerous and strange alterations" in those weak enough to be affected. The contagious witch-curse can be airborne - spread into the air by a witch's glaring eyes. The pestilence can also be transmitted in other more obvious ways such as the victim being hit by a witch or being given a poisoned apple. [...]

Some say, why would the Devil waste his time running errands for a "silly old woman"? But if the Devil is wicked then he probably also uses his time unwisely. When we hear about the crazy behaviour of spirits and familiars, some people ask why the devil would frolic so ludicrously. Perhaps witches are only visited by spirits or demons who are very junior, low ranking or disgraced. [...]

The idea that witches can change their bodies into animals is no harder to believe than the idea that the thoughts or imagination of a pregnant woman can cause her foetus to have real and monstrous birth defects, which is of course a widely credited fact.

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7 Responses:

  1. Line Noise says:

    I can't wait to see these on "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina"!

  2. prefetch says:

    Those 'teat-like growths' seem to be a common occurrence. Wonder if they have a medical explanation...

  3. ContextSans says:

    Dated a guy with supernumerary nipples once. He was pretty freckly so they blended in. About midwinter you could squint and see that there were some rather large ones in two parallel lines.

  4. ContextSans says:

    Also, may I recommend The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology by R(o|u)ssel Hope Robbins for all your primary source lookup needs?

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