|Nathan Crab||A boy, and apprentice worsted comber by trade, who lives outside the west gate of the city of Exeter in the county of Devonshire (now commemorated on the site St Mary's Steps Church in Exeter), who allegedly suffers from falling-fits and foaming at the mouth for over nine years. Nathan is the son of Zacheus Crab and Mrs. Crab, and the brother of Daughter Crab, family members who attempt to find a cure for his unexplained ailments. Nathan is introduced to Mr. Gibs, Mr. Elson, and Mr. Pridham, people who attempt to cure him. Their cures include a Bag to hang about the Youth's Neck, and Powder to take in White wine, as well as pills, induced vomiting, and urine collecting. These cures work, but only temporarily as the fits always return, leaving Nathan generally so deprived of Reason, that he is clad, and otherwise used as a meer Idiot.(47-52)||Nathan the Son of Mr. Zacheus Crab, Dyer, without Westgate, had Convulsion and Falling-Fits about nine Years since: He was a Youth well known to the late Mr. Robert Atkins the Minister who th[...]ght him one very hopeful for ReligioGoing from one of his Meeting this Youth was first taken, having came to his Masters House. ed him, he seemed to be pash'd as it some body tript up his Heels, and fell forth upon his Hands, but rose again presently. Some weeks after he had Falling-fits, with foaming at Mouth; thus he continued a Year and half before any means were used suspected for Witchcraft. After this, hearing of one Gibs, Mr. Crab, the Father of this Youth, and his Daughter, the Youth's Sister, went together to Mr. Gibs for help for the Youth. They went once every Week for a Month with the Youth's Water; the last Week of the Month the Sister ask'd, what Mr. Gibs thought now of the Cure? (they went to him in the beginning of the Week) he said, that weeks Papers of Powder would make a perfect Cure, but there would be an alteration, that he would have two or three panging fits different from the former, which things fell out as he said. When this last Week of the Month was over, they had a Debate, whether they should go to Mr. Gibs again, at length they concluded to go, and went on the beginning of the fifth Week with his Water. Gibs then told them, Since you are come to me again, I will give you that shall make a perfect Cure, that you shall need come to me no more: then he gave them a Bag to hang about the Youth's Neck, and Powder to take in White wine for one weeks time: Order was given by him, when the Youth had worn the Collar about his Neck for a while, the Youth should take it off himself, and burn it: but Mr. Elson, the Boy's Master, took off the Collar after it had been on two Days and a Night, and shewed it to some, to inquire, whether it were not a charm? there being nothing in the Collar but a Paper with this writing,
Callen Dan Dant,
Dan Dant Callen,
Dan Callen Dant.
Mr. Elson kept the Paper by him after 'twas taken from the Boy's Neck, about eighteen Weeks, not suffering it to be applied again, being told that it seemed to be a meer Charm; and the Boy being ask'd, if he were content to have his Fits again rather than have a Cure from the Devil, who would not cure his Body without greater prejudice to his Soul, than his Bodily Distemper could be reckoned? he very readily answered, he would rather choose to have his Fits again, and would leave himself to the Hands of God, for his Disease or Cure. When this Distemper left him for the Eighteen Weeks, he returned considerably to his Senses and Memory, beyond what he had before, particularly to be able to sort Wooll at his Trade, which he had not been able to do in a Year and quarter before. About the Sixth Week of these Eighteen, the Father went to Mr. Gibs again, and told him how the Note was taken off, and that several had the sight of it; Gibs then said, If the Fits do return again, he will be worse than ever, and at their return he should be able to do him no good. His Fits at the return were indeed far more terrible than before, and much of another kind than those of other Persons in the Fallen-sickness: And these Fits did return to him about 18 or 19 VVeeks after they ceased, upon a Shrove-Tuesday: Mr. Elson inquiring into the time when they returned, said, it was when he threw the Paper that ha[...] been about the Youth's Neck, into the Fir[...] and burnt it, unwilling to keep such a thing any longer. This Gibs hath the general repute of a VVizard, and his Father before him. The Youth hath a long time been utterly deprived of the use of his Reason, and is clothed, and otherwise used as a mee[...] Natural; and his Fits so dreadful, that Persons are afraid to behold him. After the return of his Fits, he was pu[...] to one Yoe's in St. Thomas's, where h[...] wrought at his Trade of VVorsted-combing, and some means were used for his Fits which he pretended to have some Skill in curing, whose Means were used about a Month without any success; then and ther[...] being at his VVork, and some signs appearing of an approaching Fit, they set him o[...] a Stool, thence he fell in a Fit, and brak[...] his Leg, the main Bone, in two pieces, another Bone in many pieces. Then he wa[...] brought home to his Father's House; and the Bones being set, the Chyrurgion said, i[...] he should have another Fit his Cure would be impossible; he lay about a Month o[...] five VVeeks very free from Fits, till his Bones were so well knit, that he could walk abroad with Crutches, which he did for a while, and then his Fits returned in the same manner as before his Bone was broken. After his Leg was well recovered, he was carried to Mr. Pridham of Morchard, he prescribed Means, which he hop'd would do him good, if there were any alteration by the use of his Pills which he then gave him to carry with him, and take when he came home: but before the Pills, he had ordered a Vomit to be taken, in the working of which, they thought he would die. Then they gave him the Pills which, after they had stay'd above an Hour in his Stomach, he vomited them up as they were taken; which were put up again in the Box, and shewed to Mr. Pridham, who said, If they had been given to a Child of two Months old, they would have been digested in half an Hour. Upon hearing the whole, he said, certainly there is something extraordinary in the case. Being asked if he could do him no good, he said, he did not question but he could, but being a Minister he feared he should lose his Benefice by Peoples saying he was a VVhite-VVitch.
The Youth's Mother apprehended, that Mr. Staddon drop'd some such words that her Son was bewitch'd or possess'd, or somewhat to that purpose, who went through a Course of Physick with the Youth, and found nothing did answer Expectation. For some Years the Youth hath been much prejudiced in his Speech; sometimes he cannot speak at all, but is as one dumb for a VVeek or Fortnight together: He speaks plain enough between, but when be hath the Dumb Fits he can hardly move his Tongue in his Mouth; and he is generally so deprived of Reason, that he is clad, and otherwise used as a meer Idiot.