NOTES ON WITCHCRAFT.
IN confirmation of the melancholy facts related of the continuance of the belief in witchcraft, I would give the accompanying cuttings from the West Briton newspaper of a very recent date
"During the week ending Sunday last, a 'wise man' from Illogan has been engaged with about half-a-dozen witchcraft cases, one a young trades-man, and another a sea-captain. It appears that the 'wise man' was in the first place visited at his home by these deluded people at different times, and he declared the whole of them to be spell-bound. In one case he said that if the person had not come so soon, in about a fortnight he would have been in the asylum; another would have had his leg broken; and in every case something very direful would have happened. Numerous incantations have been performed. In the case of a captain of a vessel, a visit as paid to the sea-side, and while the 'wise man' uttered some unintelligible gibberish, the captain had to threw a stone into the sea. So heavy was the spell under which he laboured, and which immediately fell upon the 'wise man,' that the latter pretended that he could scarcely walk back to Hayle. The most abominable part of the incantations is performed during the hours of midnight, and for that purpose the wretch sleeps with his victims, and for five nights following he had five different bedfellows. Having no doubt reaped a pretty good harvest during the week, he returned to his home on Monday; but such was the pretended effect produced by the different spells and witchcraft that tell upon him from his many dupes, that two of the young men who had been under his charge were obliged to obtain a horse and cart and carry him to the Hayle station. One of the men, having had 'two spells' resting on him, the 'wise man' was obliged to, sleep with him on Saturday and Sunday nights, having spent the whole of the Sunday in his diabolical work. It is time that the police, or some other higher authorities, should take the matter up, as the person alluded to is well known, and frequently visited by the ignorant and superstitious."
THE CASE OF GROSS SUPERSTITION AT HAYLE.
"In the West Briton of the 27th ult. we gave some particulars of several cases of disgraceful fraud and delusion which had been practised by a pretended 'wise man' from Illogan, and of gross superstition and gullibility on the part of his dupes. A correspondent has furnished us with the following particulars relative to the antecedents of the 'pretended conjurer. He states that James Thomas, the conjurer from the parish of Illogan, married, some titue since the late celebrated Tammy Blee, of Redruth, who afterwards removed to Helston and carried on as a fortune-teller, but parted from her husband, James Thomas, on account of a warrant for his apprehension having been issued against him by the magistrates of St Ivea, for attempting to take a spell from Mrs Paynter, through her husband, William Paynter, who stated before the magistrates that he wanted to commit a disgraceful offence. Thomas then absconded, and was absent from the west of Cornwall for upwards of two years. His wife then stated that the virtue was in her and not in him; that she was of the real 'Pellar' blood; and that he could tell nothing but through her. His greatest dupes have been at St Just and Hayle, and other parts of the west of Cornwall. He has been in the habit of receiving money annually for keeping witchcraft from vessels sailing out of Hayle. He slept with several of his dupes recently; and about a fortnight since he stated that he must sleep with certain young men at Copperhouse, Hayle, in order to protect them from something that was hanging over them, one of them being a mason and another a miner, the two latter lately from St Just. He said himself this week at Truro that he had cured a. young man of St Erth, and was going on Saturday again to take a spell froth the father, a tin-smelter. He baa caused ka great disturbance amongst the neighbours, by charging some with having bewitched others. He is a drunken, disgraceful, beastly fellow, and ought to be sent to the treadmill. One of the young men is now thoroughly ashamed of himself to think he has been duped so by this scoundrel. We have purposely withheld the names of a number of Thomas's egregious dupes, with which our correspondent has furnished us, believing that the badgering which they have doubtless received from their friends has proved a sufficient punishment to them, and that their eyes are now thoroughly opened to the gross and disgraceful imposture that has been practised upon them."
The following is from the Western Morning News
CALLING A WOMAN A WITCH.
"At the Liskeard police court, on Monday, Harriet King appeared before the sitting magistrates charged with an assault on Elizabeth Wellington. The complainant had called the mother of defendant a witch, and said she had ill-wished a person, and the ill wish fell on the cat, and the cat died. This annoyed the daughter, who retaliated by bad words and blows. The magistrates expressed surprise at the cause of the assault, h as that had been proved, they fined defendant Is. and the costs, £1 in all.