Filed under demonic possession

A Witch Saved

This is from Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal from 1773: A few days ago, at the Village of Seend, in Wiltshire, a Report prevailed, that a Woman who was dangerously ill of a putrid Fever, was bewitched, and this Report excited the Curiosity of Numbers of her Neighbours to go and se hr. The Fever attending … Continue reading


Weather, Sturdy Beggars and Ronnegates

A subject that keeps surfacing is why there was so much violence in Europe’s past – like torture, burning at the stake, which is completely at odds with the notions of both Christianity and civilisation. I am currently reading a wonderful book, ‘The Faithful Executioner, Life and Death, Honour and Shame in the Turbulent Sixteenth … Continue reading

Ghost as Alibi

Here’s another old newspaper article, from the Independent of 3 January 2009 by Arifa Akbar. “One winter’s night in 1804, a vigilante fired a gun at a bloodcurdling spectre he believed to be the “Hammersmith Ghost” that had terrorised the neighbourhood. But the visitation turned out to be an innocent bricklayer, walking home in his … Continue reading

Witchcraft or Madness?

The 16th and 17th centuries in England were times of massive social upheaval, and following Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries, the hospitals and care for the poor and infirm were swept away. The chaos was exacerbated by the Civil War. Given that women generally outnumber men, this left a lot of old and isolated … Continue reading

Madness and St Barthlomew

Madness and St Barthlomew

Slowly making my way through my book on the history of Bartholomew Fair, have stumbled upon the folllowing instances of madness, listed as some of the miracles attributed to St Bartholomew. “A young courtier, Robert, on the way from Northampton to London, slept in a wood. In dreams the enemy came to him, sat at … Continue reading

The Last Exorcism

The Last Exorcism

“Lo, Lukins comes, and with him comes a train Of Parsons famous for a lack of brain ; With owl-like faces, and with raven coats, Their solemn step their solemn task denotes, By exorcising, prayers and rebukings, To drive seven sturdy devils out of Lukins.” Bristol, England  is famous for lots of things. Its’ old … Continue reading