Go back

Assertions for a specific person.

Name Description Original Text
Anonymous 469A woman from Westwell in the county of Kent, who "had so perfectly this imposture of speaking in the Belly," an act of pretending to have been possessed by the Devil, "that many Ministers were deceived by her." These ministers "came and talked so long with that Devil, and charged him in the name of God to go out of her." The woman claimed some "poor people for Witches," responsible for her alleged possession. However, two Justices of the Peace, Mr. Thomas Wotton, and Mr. George Darrel exposed her con. She is possibly Mildred Norrington.(78 - 79)This imposture of speaking in the Belly hath been often practised in these latter days in many places, and namely in this Island of England, and they that practise it do it com|monly to this end, to draw many silly people to them, to stand wondring at them, that so by the concourse of people money may be given them, for they by this imposture do make the people beleeve that they are possessed by the De|vil, speaking within them, and tormenting them, and so do by that pretence move the people to charity, to be li|beral to them. Master Scot in his Discovery of Witchcraft, Lib. 7. Cap. 1. writeth of such a one at Westwel in Kent, that had so perfect|ly this imposture of speaking in the Belly, that many Mini|sters were deceived by her, and made no question but she had been possest by a tormenting Devil, and came and talked so long with that Devil, an charged him in the name of God to go out of her, as tha he said he would kill her, he would tear her it peeces, he would kill them all; He also told them whom sent him in, and ccused some poor people for Witches. The words and testimony of this Devil were taken in writing, and how many they that sent him had Witched to death, and yet when this matter came to examination by two wise Justices of the Peace, Mr. Thomas Wotton, and Mr. George Darrel, the Maid being discreetly examined, confes|sed the whole imposture; and for confirmation of the truth of the matter, so plain was the Maid in confession, that she acted the same thing over again before the said Magistrates, and many other Gentlemen and Gentlewomen, to the shame of those Ministers who had taken the testimony of the Devil against poor people in writing, and were credulous therein, beleeving and teaching such Doctrins, that a Witch can send a Devil to possesse and torment people, and ano|ther Witch can cast him out; but if they and all Ministers were led by the Spirit of truth, they should know, that this deluding Hagge was the Witch, and not they whom she ac|cused; for what difference was there between her imposture and a spirit of Divination? like the Maid, in Acts 16.16. formerly mentioned, whose spirit of Divination or Oracling was only a Devillish cousening imposture, saith Beza; and such ought to be put to death by the Law of Moses, because they use Divinations, pretending the discovery of Witches, it being manifest therein that they are the Witches, and be|cause they by false accustion murther others()