|Anonymous 219||A spirit from Warboys in the county of Huntingdon, known to be possessing Elizabeth Throckmorton at the behest of Mother Alice Samuel. According to Elizabeth, Anonymous 219 was responsible for her tormenting fits of thrashing, shrieking and sneezing. She claimed that it would not permit her to pray, and she was witnessed falling into fits whenever someone prayed or read the Bible in front of her. This spirit also prevented her from eating, causing her to put "her hand besides her meate and her meate besides her mouth, mocking her, and making her misse her mouth." Elizabeth's uncle, Gilbert Pickering, discovered that he could end her fits by taking her abroad from the house. However, her fits would resume the moment she returned. Later, this spirit became more active. Elizabeth claimed to hear it lapping milk from within her belly, it caused her to thrash and throw books whenever she read anything "good," and it answered questions posed to it by causing her to react or remain quiet. Its responses showed it likes papistry and witchcraft, but despised prayer and gospel: "love you the woord of God: whereas shee was sore troubled and vexed. But love you Witchcraft? it seemed content: or love you the Bible? Againe, it shaked hir, but love you Papistry: it was quiet. Love you praiers: it raged. Love you the Masse: it was stil. Love you the Gospell? againe it heaued up hir belly: so that what good thing soever you named, it miss-liked, but whatsoever concerning the Popes paltrie, it seemed, pleased, and pacified. "||She [Elizabeth Throckmorton] continued well untill night, and before Supper in time of thankesgiuing, it vexed her very strangely, taking her at the very name of grace, and holding her no longer than grace was in saying: Shee sate very well at the Table, but no sooner had shee put up her knife, but it pitched her backewardes, then beeing taken from the table, shee was well untill thankesgiuing, all which time shee was most grieuously vexed and no longer. Afterwards shee was very quiet and well untill motion was made for prayers, all which time it seemed as though it woulde have rent her in pieces, with such, scritching, and outcries, and vehement neesing, as that it terrified the whole company, but prayers beeing ended shee was quieter, but still in her fitte.
Then Master Pickering, and others that were acquainted with the manner of it, saide, that if any should reade the Bible, or any other Godly booke before her, it woulde rage as before so long as they readd, but because it was a thing very strange, and therefore hardly beleeued, one did take a Bible and readd the first Chapter of Saint John the first verse: At the hearing whereof shee was as one besides her minde, when he that readd held his peace shee was quiet: when he readd, againe it tormented her: when hee ceased, it ceased: this diuers did proue many times.
Nay at the motion of any good worde, as if any that stoode by chaunced to name God, or prayed God to blesse her, or named any word that teuded to God or Godlines, it raged all one as if any had read or prayed by her, and thus she was carried to bed still continuing in her Fitte.
In the morning, being a Sabbaoth day, shee came downe into the Hall towards prayer time, and being asked whether she would tarry the time of prayers or not, shee answered that shee would doe as they woulde haue her. Then was shee asked whether shee could reade, shee said that shee could once, but shee had almost forgotten now: Then beeing asked further whether shee had prayed that day, shee made answere it would not suffer her: then whether shee used to pray at home, shee answered that it would not giue her so much time.
Then one saide to her, sith it will not suffer you to pray, not any other (seeming to haue eares), pray to your selfe secretly in your hart and spirite, and beginning to tell her that God understoode the inward sighs and grones of the hart, as well as the lowdest cries of the mouth; Shee sodainely fell into her Fitte beeing more strongly and strangely tormented than euer shee was before, and being carried away, her fits continued and increased all prayes time albeit shee was out of the hearing, which such vehement cries, scritching and continuall neesing, that many times prayers were constrayned to be ceased for the time, so much it amazed the whole company: prayers beeing ended, shee came her selfe with a gaspe, wiping her eyes being presently as well as any body, as though it had never beene shee.
Shee came down to dinner, and during the time of grace, it held her againe (which as is usuall) yet will it suffer better another to say grace than her selfe, but no body well: At dinner time it plaide with her, so sometimes shee hath merry fits, putting her hand besides her meate and her meate besides her mouth, mocking her, and making her misse her mouth, whereat shee woulde sometimes smile, and sometimes laugh exceedingly, and amongst many other things this is worthy to bee noted, that beeing in her fit shee looked far more sweetely and chearefully than when shee is awake: and although beeing tormented most pittifully, that it would have grieued any to see it, yet beeing once awaked and out of her fit shee is as well as any body. At length Master Gibert Pickering called to minde and experiment which was made at Waboyse, which was, that if one tooke any of those children in their Fits, and carried them into the Churcharde which is adjoyning to the house, they presently awaked, but bring them in again they were as before, carry them forth, and they came to themselues: goe into the house and immediately their Fit tooke them, and this was as often found to be true as proued. Hereupon we proued the like with this childe, and carried her out of the house, and shee presently recouered, but within the house it tooke her againe.
But the certainety of this failed us soone (as Sathan is most uncertaine) yet for three daies space, if shee were carried abroad in her Fit, it would leaue her, and not take her againe untill she was brought into the house. |
Anonymous. The Most Strange and Admirable Discouerie of the Three Witches of Warboys . Unknown: 1593, 12-15