Go back

Assertions for a specific person.

Name Description Original Text
Mary HillA woman from Beckenton in Somersetshire, known to be 18 years old and to live with her brother and three younger sisters. Mary Hill allegedly demanded to borrow a ring from an old woman, Anonymous 8, and began threatening her for it. About a week before Mary's fits began, she met this same old woman in the street. Anonymous 8 took Mary by the hand and requested she escort her to Froom to look for work; Mary refused. The two met again four days later; Anonymous 8 begged an apple from Mary, and Mary again refused her. The following Sunday, Mary began to have prickings in her stomach, and on Monday something arose in her throat while she fell into a series of violent fits. Four or five people were needed to restrain her. While in the throes of a fit, Mary complained that she "saw this old Woman against the Wall, grinning at her, and being struck at, would step aside to avoid the blows." On Wednesday, she began to throw up crooked pins; this lasted a fortnight, and then threw up nails and pins. After an eight-day respite, she began throwing up "Nails again, and Handles of Spoons, both of Pewter and Brass; several pieces of Iron, Lead, and Tin, with several clusters of Crooked Pins; some tied with Yarn, and some with Thread, with abundance of Blood between." The townsfolk, concerned about Mary's condition, brought Anonymous 8 near her home. Though Mary allegedly did not know Anonymous 8 was approaching, she fell into a strong fit; Anonymous 8 was apprehended for witchcraft on this evidence. Mary's fits continued, however, as did her vomiting of nails and spoon-handles. Her vomiting is said to have been triggered by drinking small beer. Some accounts name the old woman as Elizabeth Carrier; Margery Combes and Anne More were also arrested in connection with Mary Hill's fits. Her vomiting was attested to in court by witnesses Susanna Belton, Ann Holland, Francis Jesse and Christopher Brewer. Belton and Holland brought numerous objects Mary was said to have vomited to court as evidence, while Jesse and Brewer gave deposition that they had searched Mary's mouth with their fingers before she vomited and were convinced she could not have faked it. John Humphreys observed that Mary vomited nails in the morning, sleep with her mouth open, groaned in her sleep while being impossible to wake, and to be much weakened by her vomiting. After the assizes, Humphreys reported that she vomited nails and glass; days later she swelled up and vomited bread and butter contaminated with white mercury.(1-2)In the same Town liveth one Mary Hill, about the same Age of this Young Man; who meeting with this Old Woman, demanded the Ring she borrowed of her; and through her Importunity, she prevailed to get the Ring (with this Threatning) from the Old Woman, That she had been better to have let her kept it longer. About a Week before the said Mary was taken with Fits, she met this Old Woman in the Street; who taking her by the hand, desired her to goe with her to Froom, to look after some Spinning Work; for none in the Town would suffer her to have any: The said Mary being afraid, refused to go with her: About four days after she met the Old Woman again, who would have begg'd an Apple of her, having newly bought some, which she refused to give her. The Sunday following, she complained of a pricking in her Stomack; but on Monday, as she was Eating her Dinner, something arose in her Throat, which was like to have Choaked her; and at the same time fell into Violent Fits, which held her till Nine or Ten a Clock at Night; the Fits were so strong and violent, that Four or Five Persons were scarce able to hold her, and in the midst of them, she would tell how she saw this old Woman against the Wall, grinning at her, and being struck at, would step aside to avoid the blows. The day after, she was taken with the like Fits, and would tell how she did see her as afore, and that she was the Person that had bewitcht her. The Wednesday following, she began to throw up Crooked Pins, and so continued for the space of a Fortnight: After this, she began to throw up Nails and Pins; and then she ceased for the space of Eight Days: And then she began to throw up Nails again, and Handles of Spoons, both of Pewter and Brass; several pieces of Iron, Lead, and Tin, with several clusters of Crooked Pins; some tied with Yarn, and some with Thread, with abundance of Blood between while; and so she continued to do for some considerable time: She threw up in all, above Two Hundred Crooked Pins, besides several clusters of Crooked Pins, Sixteen or Seventeen in a cluster, Seven Pieces of Pewter, Four Pieces of Brass, being Handles of Spoons, Six Pieces of Lead; some whereof were Handles of Spoons, and some, the Lead of a Window, besides one solid Piece of Lead, which weighed full two Ounces; Six long Pieces of Latten, with Wire belonging to them; Five-Pieces of Iron, one whereof was round, but hollow, and very big; and Two and Twenty Nails, some whereof were Board-Nails, above three Inches and a Quarter long. The People of the Town seeing the sad and deplorable Condition of the said Mary, and being much concerned for her, did cause this old Woman to be brought near the House where the said Mary Lived, unknown to her; and being gathered together above an Hundred People, the said Mary was brought forth into the open Air, who immediately fell into such strong Fits, that two or three men were scarce able to hold her: And being brought upon the Hill by the Church; and the old Woman brought near her (notwithstanding there were four men to hold the said Mary in a Chair) she mounted up over their Heads into the Air; but the men, and others standing by, caught hold of her Legs, and pulled her down again. [...] It is full Ten Weeks ago (from the Twenty Eight of October last past) that this young Woman was first seized with these Terrible Fits: And tho' she had been Visited by the Minister of the place, who for sometime Prayed with her Twice a Day; and by a Non-co[mmisioned Minister] that Lives in the same Parish, that Twice performed the like Office, yet she continues to be often seized with terrible Fits, and to bring up both Nails and Handles of Spoons, and is still remaining an Object of great Pity, and to be remembred at the Throne of Grace daily.()