Sacred Texts  Wicca and Paganism  Index  Previous  Next 


OF Dæmonologie


The description of all these kindes of Spirites that troubles men or women. The conclusion of the whole Dialogue.


The diuision of spirites in foure principall kindes. The description of the first kinde of them, called Spectra & vmbræ mortuorum. What is the best way to be free of their trouble.


I Pray you now then go forward in telling what ye thinke fabulous, or may be trowed in that case.

EPI. That kinde of the Deuils conuersing in the earth, may be diuided in foure different kindes, whereby he affrayeth and troubleth the bodies of men: For of the abusing of the soule,

{p. 57}

I haue spoken alreadie. The first is, where spirites troubles some houses or solitarie places: The second, where spirites followes vpon certaine persones, and at diuers houres troubles them: The thirde, when they enter within them and possesse them: The fourth is these kinde of spirites that are called vulgarlie the Fayrie. Of the three former kindes, ye harde alreadie, how they may artificiallie be made by Witch-craft to trouble folke: Now it restes to speake of their naturall comming as it were, and not raysed by Witch-craft. But generally I must for-warne you of one thing before I enter in this purpose: that is, that although in my discourseing of them, I deuyde them in diuers kindes, yee must notwithstanding there of note my Phrase of speaking in that: For doubtleslie they are in effect, but all one kinde of spirites, who for abusing the more of mankinde. takes on these sundrie shapes, and vses diuerse formes of out-ward actiones, as if some were of nature better then other. Nowe I returne to my purpose: As to the first kinde of these spirites, that were called by the auncients by diuers names, according as their actions were. For if they were spirites that haunted some houses, by appearing in diuers and horrible formes, and making greate dinne: they were called Lemures or Spectra. If they appeared in likenesse of anie defunct to some friends of his, they wer called vmbræ mortuorum: And so innumerable stiles they got, according to their actiones, as I haue said alreadie. As we see by experience, how manie stiles they haue gi-

{p. 58}

ven them in our language in the like maner: Of the appearing of these spirites, wee are certified by the Scriptures, where the Prophet ESAY 13. and 34. cap. threatning the destruction of Babell and Edom:[1] declares, that it shal not onlie be wracked, but shall become so greate a solitude, as it shall be the habitackle of Howlettes, and of ZIIM and IIM, which are the proper Hebrewe names for these Spirites. The cause whie they haunte solitarie places, it is by reason, that they may affraie and brangle the more the faith of suche as them alone hauntes such places. For our nature is such, as in companies wee are not so soone mooued to anie such kinde of feare, as being solitare, which the Deuill knowing well inough, hee will not therefore assaile vs but when we are weake: And besides that, G O D will not permit him so to dishonour the societies and companies of Christians, as in publicke times and places to walke visiblie amongst them. On the other parte, when he troubles certaine houses that are dwelt in, it is a sure token either of grosse ignorance, or of some grosse and slanderous sinnes amongst the inhabitantes thereof: which God by that extraordinarie rod punishes.

PHI. But by what way or passage can these Spirites enter in these houses, seeing they alledge that they will enter, Doore and Window being steiked?

EPI. They will choose the passage for their entresse, according to the forme that they are in at

[1. Esay. 13 Iere. 50]

{p. 59}

that time. For if they haue assumed a deade bodie, whereinto they lodge themselues, they can easely inough open without dinne anie Doore or Window, and enter in thereat. And if they enter as a spirite onelie, anie place where the aire may come in at, is large inough an entrie for them: For as I said before, a spirite can occupie no quantitie.

PHI. And will God then permit these wicked spirites to trouble the reste of a dead bodie, before the resurrection thereof? Or if he will so, I thinke it should be of the reprobate onely.

EPI. What more is the reste troubled of a dead bodie, when the Deuill carryes it out of the Graue to serue his turne for a space, nor when the Witches takes it vp and joyntes it, or when as Swine wortes vppe the graues? The rest of them that the Scripture speakes of, is not meaned by a locall remaining continuallie in one place, but by their resting from their trauelles and miseries of this worlde, while their latter conjunction againe with the soule at that time to receaue full glorie in both. And that the Deuill may vse aswell the ministrie of the bodies of the faithfull in these cases, as of the vn-faithfull, there is no inconvenient; for his haunting with their bodies after they are deade, can no-waies defyle them: In respect of the soules absence. And for anie dishonour it can be vnto them, by what reason can it be greater, then the hanging, heading, or many such shameful deaths, that good men will suffer?

{p. 60}

for there is nothing in the bodies of the faithfull, more worthie of honour, or freer from corruption by nature, nor in these of the vnfaithful, while time they be purged and glorified in the latter daie, as is dailie seene by the vilde diseases and corruptions, that the bodies of the faythfull are subject vnto, as yee will see clearelie proued, when I speake of the possessed and Dæmoniacques.

PHI. Yet there are sundrie that affirmes to haue haunted such places, where these spirites are alleaged to be: And coulde neuer heare nor see anie thing.

EPI. I thinke well: For that is onelie reserued to the secreete knowledge of God, whom he wil permit to see such thinges, and whome not.

PHI. But where these spirites hauntes and troubles anie houses, what is the best waie to banishe them?

EPI. By two meanes may onelie the remeid of such things be procured: The one is ardent prayer to God, both of these persones that are troubled with them, and of that Church whereof they are. The other is the purging of themselues by amende ment of life from such sinnes. as haue procured that extraordinarie plague.

PHI. And what meanes then these kindes of spirites, when they appeare in the shaddow of a person newlie dead, or to die, to his friendes?

EPI. When they appeare vpon that occasion, they are called Wraithes in our language. Amongst the Gentiles the Deuill vsed that much, to make

{p. 61}

them beleeue that it was some good spirite that appeared to them then, ether to forewarne them of the death of their friend; or else to discouer vnto them, the will of the defunct, or what was the way of his slauchter, as is written in the booke of the histories Prodigious. And this way hee easelie decciued the Gentiles, because they knew not God: And to that same effect is it, that he now appeares in that maner to some ignorant Christians. For he dare not so illude anie that knoweth that, neither can the spirite of the defunct returne to his friend, or yet an Angell vse such formes.

PHI. And are not our war-woolfes one sorte of these spirits also, that hauntes and troubles some houses or dwelling places?

EPI. There bath indeede bene an old opinion of such like thinges; For by the Greekes they were called {Greek lukanðrwpoi} which signifieth men-woolfes. But to tell you simplie my opinion in this, if anie such thing hath bene, I take it to haue proceeded but of a naturall super-abundance of Melancholie, which as wee reade, that it hath made some thinke themselues Pitchers, and some horses, and some one kinde of beast or other: So suppose I that it hath so viciat the imagination and memorie of some, as per lucida interualla, it hath so highlie occupyed them, that they haue thought themselues verrie Woolfes indeede at these times: and so haue counterfeited their actiones in goeing on their handes and feete, preassing to deuoure women and barnes, fighting and snatching with all the towne

{p. 62}

dogges, and in vsing such like other bruitish actiones, and so to become beastes by a strong apprehension, as Nebucad-netzar was seuen yeares:[1] but as to their hauing and hyding of their hard & schellie sloughes, I take that to be but eiked, by vncertaine report, the author of all lyes.


The description of the next two kindes of Spirites, whereof the one followes outwardlie, the other possesses inwardlie the persones that they trouble. That since all Prophecies and visiones are nowe ceased, all spirites that appeares in these formes are euill.


COme forward now to the reste of these kindes of spirites.

EPI. As to the next two kindes. that is, either these that outwardlie troubles and followes some persones, or else inwardlie possesses them: I will conjoyne them in one, because aswel the causes ar alike in the persons that they are permitted to trouble: as also the waies whereby they may be remedied and cured.

PHI. What kinde of persones are they that vses to be so troubled?

EPI. Two kindes in speciall: Either such as being guiltie of greeuous offences, God punishes

[1. Dan. 4.]

{p. 63}

by that horrible kinde of scourdge, or else being persones of the beste nature peraduenture, that yee shall finde in all the Countrie about them, G O D permittes them to be troubled in that sort, for the tryall of their patience, and wakening vp of their zeale, for admonishing of the beholders, not to truste ouer much in themselues, since they are made of no better stuffe, and peraduenture blotted with no smaller sinnes (as CHRIST saide, speaking of them vppon whome the Towre in Siloam fell:)[1] And for giuing likewise to the spectatators, matter to prayse G O D, that they meriting no better, are yet spared from being corrected in that fearefull forme.

PHI. These are good reasones for the parte of G O D, which apparantlie mooues him so to permit the Deuill to trouble such persones. But since the Deuil hath euer a contrarie respecte in all the actiones that G O D employes him in: which is I pray you the end and mark he shoots at in this turne?

EPI. It is to obtaine one of two thinges thereby, if he may: The one is the tinsell of their life, by inducing them to such perrilous places at such time as he either followes or possesses them, which may procure the same: And such like, so farre as G O D will permit him, by tormenting them to weaken their bodie, and caste them in incurable diseases. The other thinge that hee preases to obteine by troubling of them, is the tinsell of their Soule, by intising them to mistruste

[1. Luc. 13.]

{p. 64}

and blaspheme God: Either for the intollerablenesse of their tormentes, as he assayed to haue done with IOB;[1] or else for his promising vnto them to leaue the troubling of them, incase they would so do, as is knowen by experience at this same time by the confession of a young one that was so troubled.

PHI. Since ye haue spoken now of both these kindes of spirites comprehending them in one: I must nowe goe backe againe in speering some questions of euerie one of these kindes in speciall. And first for these that followes certaine persones, yee know that there are two sortes of them: One sorte that troubles and tormentes the persones that they haunt with: An other sort that are seruiceable vnto them in all kinde of their necessaries, and omittes neuer to forwarne them of anie suddaine perrell that they are to be in. And so in this case, I would vnderstande whither both these sortes be but wicked and damned spirites: Or if the last sorte be rather Angells, (as should appeare by their actiones) sent by God to assist such as he speciallie fauoures. For it is written in the Scriptures, that God sendes Legions of Angells to guarde and watch ouer his elect.[2]

EPI. I know well inough where fra that errour which ye alleage hath proceeded: For it was the ignorant Gentiles that were the fountaine thereof. Who for that they knew not God, they forged in their owne imaginationes, euery man to be still accompanied with two spirites, whereof they called

[1. Iob. x.

2. Gen. 32. 1. Kin. 6 Psal. 34.]

{p. 65}

the one genius bonus, the other genius malus: the Greekes called them {Greek endaimona} & {Greek kakodaimona}: wherof the former they saide, perswaded him to all the good he did: the other entised him to all the euill. But praised be God we that are christians, & walks not amongst the Cymmerian conjectures of man, knowes well inough, that it is the good spirite of God onely, who is the fountain of all goodnes, that perswads vs to the thinking or doing of any good: and that it is our corrupted fleshe and Sathan, that intiseth vs to the contrarie. And yet the Deuill for confirming in the heades of ignoraunt Christians, that errour first mainteined among the Gentiles, he whiles among the first kinde of spirits that I speak of, appeared in time of Papistrie and blindnesse, and haunted diuers houses, without doing any euill, but doing as it were necessarie turnes vp and down the house: and this spirit they called Brownie in our language, who appeared like a rough-man: yea, some were so blinded, as to beleeue that their house was all the sonsier, as they called it, that such spirites resorted there.

PHI. But since the Deuils intention in all his actions. is euer to do euill,, what euill was there in that forme of doing, since their actions outwardly were good.

EPI Was it not euill inough to deceiue simple ignorantes, in making them to take him for an Angell of light, and so to account of Gods enemie, as of their particular friend: where by the contrarie, all we that are Christians, ought assuredly to know

{p. 66}

that since the comming of Christ in the flesh, and establishing of his Church by the Apostles, all miracles, visions, prophecies, & appearances of Angels or good spirites are ceased. Which serued onely for the first sowing of faith, & planting of the Church. Where now the Church being established, and the white Horse whereof I spake before, hauing made his conqueste, the Lawe and Prophets are thought sufficient to serue vs, or make vs inexcusable, as Christ saith in his parable of Lazarus and the riche man.[1]


The description of a particular sort of that kind of following spirites, called Incubi and Succubi: And what is the reason wherefore these kindes of spirites hauntes most the Northerne and barbarous partes of the world.


THE next question that I would speere, is likewise concerning this first of these two kindes of spirites that ye haue conjoyned: and it is this; ye knowe how it is commonly written and reported, that amongst the rest of the sortes of spirites that followes certaine persons, there is one more monstrous nor al the rest: in respect as it is alleaged, they converse naturally with them whom they trouble and hauntes with: and therefore I would knowe in two thinges your opinion herein: First if suche a thing can be: and next if it be: whether there be a difference of sexes amongst these spirites or not.

EPI. That abhominable kinde of the Deuils

[1. Luk. 16.]

{p. 67}

abusing of men or women, was called of old, Incubi and Succubi, according to the difference of the sexes that they conuersed with. By two meanes this great kinde of abuse might possibly be performed: The one, when the Deuill onelie as a spirite, and stealing out the sperme of a dead bodie, abuses them that way, they not graithlie seeing anie shape or feeling anie thing, but that which he so conuayes in that part: As we reade of a Monasterie of Nunnes which were burnt for their being that way abused. The other meane is when he borrowes a dead bodie and so visiblie, and as it seemes vnto them naturallie as a man converses with them. But it is to be noted, that in whatsoeuer way he vseth it, that sperme seemes intollerably cold to the person abused. For if he steale out the nature of a quick person, it cannot be so quicklie carryed, but it will both tine the strength and heate by the way, which it could neuer haue had for lacke of agitation, which in the time of procreation is the procurer & wakener vp of these two natural qualities. And if he occupying the dead bodie as his lodging expell the same out thereof in the dewe time, it must likewise be colde by the participation with the qualities of the dead bodie whereout of it comes. And whereas yee inquire if these spirites be diuided in sexes or not, I thinke the rules of Philosophie may easelie resolue a man of the contrarie: For it is a sure principle of that arte, that nothing can be diuided in sexes, except such liuing bodies as must haue a naturall seede to ge-

{p. 68}

nere by. But we know spirites hath no seede proper to themselues, nor yet can they gender one with an other.

PHI. How is it then that they say sundrie monsters haue bene gotten by that way.

EPI. These tales are nothing but Aniles fabulæ. For that they haue no nature of their owne, I haue shewed you alreadie. And that the cold nature of a dead bodie, can woorke nothing in generation, it is more nor plaine, as being already dead of it selfe as well as the rest of the bodie is, wanting the naturall heate, and such other naturall operation, as is necessarie for woorking that effect, and incase such a thing were possible (which were all utterly against all the rules of nature) it would bread no monster, but onely such a naturall of-spring, as would haue cummed betuixt that man or woman and that other abused person, in-case they both being aliue had had a doe with other. For the Deuilles parte therein, is but the naked carrying or expelling of that substance: And so it coulde not participate with no qualitie of the same. Indeede, it is possible to the craft of the Deuill to make a womans bellie to swel after he hath that way abused her, which he may do, either by steiring vp her own humor, or by herbes, as we see beggars daily doe. And when the time of her deliuery should come to make her thoil great doloures, like vnto that naturall course, and then subtillie to slippe in the Mid-wiues handes, stockes, stones, or some monstruous barne brought from some other place, but this is more reported

{p. 69}

and gessed at by others, nor beleeued by me.

PHI. But what is the cause that this kinde of abuse is thought to be most common in such wild partes of the worlde, as Lap-land, and Fin-land, or in our North Iles of Orknay and Schet-land.

EPI. Because where the Deuill findes greatest ignorance and barbaritie, there assayles he grosseliest, as I gaue you the reason wherefore there was moe Witches of women kinde nor men.

PHI. Can anie be so vnhappie as to giue their willing consent to the Deuilles vilde abusing them in this forme.

EPI. Yea, some of the Witches haue confessed, that he hath perswaded them to giue their willing consent thereunto, that he may thereby haue them feltred the sikarer in his snares; But as the other compelled sorte is to be pittied and prayed for, so is this most highlie to be punished and detested.

PHI. It is not the thing which we cal the Mare, which takes folkes sleeping in their bedds, a kinde of these spirites, whereof ye are speaking?

EPI. No, that is but a naturall sicknes, which the Mediciners hath giuen that name of Incubus vnto ab incubando, because it being a thicke fleume, falling into our breast vpon the harte, while we are sleeping, intercludes so our vitall spirites, and takes all power from vs, as maks vs think that there were some vnnaturall burden or spirite, lying vpon vs and holding vs downe.

{p. 70}


The description of the Dæmoniackes &possessed. By what reason the Papistes may haue power to cure them.


WEL, I haue told you now all my doubts, and ye haue satisfied me therein, concerning the first of these two kindes of spirites that ye haue conjoyned. Now I am to inquire onely two thinges at you concerning the last kinde, I meane the Dæmoniackes. The first is, whereby shal these possessed folks be discerned fra them that ar trubled with a natural Phrensie or Manie. The next is, how can it be that they can be remedied by the Papistes Church, whome wee counting as Hereticques, it should appeare that one Deuil should not cast out an other, for then would his kingdome be diuided in it selfe, as CHRIST said.[1]

EPI. As to your first question; there are diuers symptomes, whereby that heauie trouble may be discerned from a naturall sickenesse, and speciallie three, omitting the diuers vaine signes that the Papistes attributes vnto it: Such as the raging at holie water, their fleeing a back from the Croce, their not abiding the hearing of God named, and innumerable such like vaine thinges that were alike fashious and feckles to recite. But to come to these three symptomes then, whereof I spake, I account the one of them to be the incredible strength of the possessed creature, which will farre exceede the strength of six of the wightest and wodest of any other men that are not so troubled. The next is the

[1. Mat. 12 Mark. 3]

{p. 71}

boldning vp so far of the patients breast and bellie, with such an vnnaturall sturring and vehement agitation within them: And such an ironie hardnes of his sinnowes so stiffelie bended out, that it were not possible to prick out as it were the skinne of anie other person so far: so mightely works the Deuil in all the members and senses of his body, he being locallie within the same, suppose of his Soule and affectiones thereof, hee haue no more power then of any other mans. The last is, the speaking of sundrie languages, which the patient is knowen by them that were acquainte with him neuer to haue learned, and that with an vncouth and hollowe voice, and al the time of his speaking, a greater motion being in his breast then in his mouth. But fra this last symptome is excepted such, as are altogether in the time of their possessing bereft of al their senses being possessed with a dumme and blynde spirite, whereof Christ releiued one, in the 12. Of Mathew. And as to your next demande, it is first to be doubted if the Papistes or anie not professing the the onelie true Religion, can relieue anie of that trouble. And next, in-case they can, vpon what respectes it is possible vnto them. As to the former vpon two reasons, it is grounded: first that it is knowen so manie of them to bee counterfite, which wyle the Clergie inuentes for confirming of their rotten Religion. The next is, that by experience we finde that few, who are possessed indeede, are fullie cured by them: but rather the Deuill is content to release the bodelie hurting of them, for a

{p. 72}

shorte space, thereby to obteine the perpetual hurt of the soules of so many that by these false miracles may be induced or confirmed in the profession of that erroneous Religion: euen as I told you before that he doth in the false cures, or casting off of diseases by Witches. As to the other part of the argument in-case they can, which rather (with reuerence of the learned thinking otherwaies) I am induced to beleeue, by reason of the faithfull report that men sound of religion, haue made according to their sight thereof, I think if so be, I say these may be the respectes, whereupon the Papistes may haue that power. CHRIST gaue a commission and power to his Apostles to cast out Deuilles, which they according thereunto put in execution: The rules he had them obserue in that action, was fasting and praier: & the action it selfe to be done in his name. This power of theirs proceeded not then of anie vertue in them, but onely in him who directed them. As was clearly proued by Iudas his hauing as greate power in that commission, as anie of the reste. It is easie then to be vnderstand that the casting out of Deuilles, is by the vertue of fasting and prayer, and in-calling of the name of God, suppose manie imperfectiones be in the person that is the instrumente, as CHRIST him selfe teacheth vs of the power that false Prophets sall haue to caste out Devils.[1] It is no wounder then, these respects of this action being considered, that it may be possible to the Papistes, though erring in sundrie points of Religion to accomplish this, if they vse the right

[1. Mat. 7.]

{p. 73}

forme prescribed by CHRIST herein. For what the worse is that action that they erre in other thinges, more then their Baptisme is the worse that they erre in the other Sacrament, and haue eiked many vaine freittes to the Baptisme it selfe.

PHI. Surelie it is no little wonder that God should permit the bodies of anie of the faithfull to be so dishonoured, as to be a dwelling place to that vncleane spirite.

EPI. There is it which I told right now, would prooue and strengthen my argument of the deuils entring in the dead bodies of the faithfull. For if he is permitted to enter in their liuing bodies, euen when they are ioyned with the soule: how much more will God permit him to enter in their dead carions, which is no more man, but the filthie and corruptible caise of man. For as CHRIST Sayth, It is not any thing that enters within man that defiles him, but onely that which proceedes and commeth out of him.[1]


The description of the fourth kinde of Spirites called the Phairie: What is possible therein, and what is but illusiones. How far this Dialogue entreates of all these thinges, and to what end.


NOW I pray you come on to that fourth kinde of spirites.

EPI. That fourth kinde of spirites, which by the Gentiles was called Diana, and her wandring Court, and amongst vs was called the Phairie (as I

[1. Mark. 7]

{p. 74}

tould you) or our good neighboures, was one of the sortes of illusiones that was rifest in the time of Papistrie: for although it was holden odious to Prophesie by the deuill, yet whome these kinde of Spirites carryed awaie, and informed, they were thought to be sonsiest and of best life. To speake of the many vaine trattles founded vpon that illusion: How there was a King and Queene of Phairie, of such a iolly court & train as they had, how they had a teynd, & dutie, as it were, of all goods: how they naturallie rode and went, eate and drank, and did all other actiones like naturall men and women: I thinke it liker VIRGILS Campi Elysij, nor anie thing that ought to be beleeued by Christians, except in generall, that as I spake sundrie times before, the deuil illuded the senses of sundry simple creatures, in making them beleeue that they saw and harde such thinges as were nothing so indeed.

PHI. But how can it be then, that sundrie Witches haue gone to death with that confession, that they haue ben transported with the Phairie to such a hill, which opening, they went in, and there saw a faire Queene, who being now lighter, gaue them a stone that had sundrie vertues, which at sundrie times hath bene produced in judgement?

EPI. I say that, euen as I said before of that imaginar rauishing of the spirite foorth of the bodie. For may not the deuil object to their fantasie, their senses being dulled, and as it were a sleepe, such hilles & houses within them, such glistering courts and traines, and whatsoeuer such like wherewith he pleaseth to delude them. And in the meane

{p. 75}

time their bodies being senselesse, to conuay in their hande any stone or such like thing, which he makes them to imagine to haue receiued in such a place.

PHI. But what say ye to their fore-telling the death of sundrie persones, whome they alleage to haue seene in these places? That is, a sooth-dreame (as they say) since they see it walking.

EPI. I thinke that either they haue not bene sharply inough examined, that gaue so blunt a reason for their Prophesie, or otherwaies, I thinke it likewise as possible that the Deuill may prophesie to them when he deceiues their imaginationes in that sorte, as well as when he plainely speakes vnto them at other times for their prophesying, is but by a kinde of vision, as it were, wherein he commonly counterfeits God among the Ethnicks, as I told you before.

PHI. I would know now whether these kindes of spirites may only appeare to Witches, or if they may also appeare to anie other.

EPI. They may do to both, to the innocent sort, either to affraie them, or to seeme to be a better sorte of folkes nor vncleane spirites are, and to the Witches, to be a cullour of safetie for them, that ignorant Magistrates may not punish them for it, as I told euen now. But as the one sorte, for being perforce troubled with them ought to be pittied, so ought the other sorte (who may bee discerned by their taking vppon them to Prophesie by them,) That sorte I say, ought as seuerely to be punished as any other Witches, and rather the more, that

{p. 76}

that they goe dissemblingly to woorke.

PHI. And what makes the spirites haue so different names from others.

EPI. Euen the knauerie of that same deuil; who as hee illudes the Necromancers with innumerable feyned names for him and his angels, as in special, making Sathan, Beelzebub, & Lucifer, to be three sundry spirites, where we finde the two former, but diuers names giuen to the Prince of all the rebelling angels by the Scripture. As by CHRIST, the Prince of all the Deuilles is called, Beelzebub in that place, which I alleaged against the power of any hereticques to cast out Deuils. By IOHN in the Reuelation, the old tempter is called, Sathan the Prince of all the euill angels. And the last, to wit, Lucifer, is but by allegorie taken from the day Starre (so named in diuers places of the Scriptures) because of his excellencie (I meane the Prince of them) in his creation before his fall. Euen so I say he deceaues the Witches, by attributing to himselfe diuers names: as if euery diuers shape that he trans formes himselfe in, were a diuers kinde of spirit.

PHI. But I haue hard many moe strange tales of this Phairie, nor ye haue yet told me.

EPI. As well I do in that, as I did in all the rest of my discourse. For because the ground of this conference of ours, proceeded of your speering at me at our meeting, if there was such a thing as Witches or spirites: And if they had any power: I therefore haue framed my whole discours, only to proue that such things are and may be, by such number of examples as I show to be possible by reason: & keepes

{p. 77}

me from dipping any further in playing the part of a Dictionarie, to tell what euer I haue read or harde in that purpose, which both would exceede fayth, and rather would seeme to teach such vnlawfull artes, nor to disallow and condemne them, as it is the duetie of all Christians to do.


Of the tryall and punishment of Witches. What sorte of accusation ought to be admitted against them. What is the cause of the increasing so far of their number in this age.


THEN To make an ende of our conference, since I see it drawes late, what forme of punishment thinke ye merites these Magicians and Witches? For I see that ye account them to be all alike guiltie?

EPI. They ought to be put to death according to the Law of God, the ciuill and imperial law, and municipall law of all Christian nations.

PHI. But what kinde of death I pray you?

EPI. It is commonly vsed by fire, but that is an indifferent thing to be vsed in euery cuntrie, according to the Law or custome thereof.

PHI. But ought no sexe, age nor ranck to be exempted?

EPI. None at al (being so vsed by the lawful Magistrate) for it is the highest poynt of Idolatrie, wherein no exception is admitted by the law of God.

PHI. Then bairnes may not be spared?

EPI. Yea, not a haire the lesse of my conclusion.

{p. 78}

For they are not that capable of reason as to practise such thinges. And for any being in company and not reueiling thereof, their lesse and ignorant age will no doubt excuse them.

PHI. I see ye condemne them all that are of the counsell of such craftes.

EPI. No doubt, for as I said, speaking of Magie, the consulters, trusters in, ouer-seers, interteiners or sturrers vp of these craftes-folkes, are equallie guiltie with themselues that are the practisers.

PHI. Whether may the Prince then, or supreame Magistrate, spare or ouer-see any that are guiltie of that craft? vpon som great respects knowen to him?

EPI. The Prince or Magistrate for further tryals cause, may continue the punishing of them such a certaine space as he thinkes conuenient: But in the end to spare the life, and not to strike when God bids strike, and so seuerelie punish in so odious a fault & treason against God, it is not only vnlawful, but doubtlesse no lesse sinne in that Magistrate, nor it was in SAVLES sparing of AGAG[1]. And so comparable to the sin of Witch-craft it selfe, as SAMVELL alleaged at that time.

PHI. Surely then, I think since this crime ought to be so seuerely punished. Iudges ought to beware to condemne any, but such as they are sure are guiltie, neither should the clattering reporte of a carling serue in so weightie a case.

EPI. Iudges ought indeede to beware whome they condemne: For it is as great a crime (as SALOMON sayeth,) To condemne the innocent, as to let the guiltie escape free;[2] neither ought the report of any

[1. 1. Sam. 15.

2. Pro. 17]

{p. 79}

one infamous person, be admitted for a sufficient proofe, which can stand of no law.

PHI. And what may a number then of guilty persons confessions, woork against one that is accused?

EPI. The assise must serue for interpretour of our law in that respect. But in my opinion, since in a mater of treason against the Prince, barnes or wiues, or neuer so diffamed persons, may of our law serue for sufficient witnesses and proofes. I thinke surely that by a far greater reason, such witnesses may be sufficient in matters of high treason against God: For who but Witches can be prooues, and so witnesses of the doings of Witches.

PHI. Indeed, I trow they wil be loath to put any honest man vpon their counsell. But what if they accuse folke to haue bene present at their Imaginar conuentiones in the spirite, when their bodies lyes sencelesse, as ye haue said.

EPI. I think they are not a haire the lesse guiltie: For the Deuill durst neuer haue borrowed their shaddow or similitude to that turne, if their consent had not bene at it: And the consent in these turnes is death of the law.

PHI. Then SAMVEL was a Witch: For the Deuill resembled his shape, and played his person in giuing response to SAVLE.

EPI. SAMVEL was dead aswell before that; and so none coulde slander him with medling in that vnlawfull arte. For the cause why, as I take it, that God will not permit Sathan to vse the shapes or similitudes of any innocent persones at such vnlawful times, is that God wil not permit that any inno-

{p. 80}

cent persons shalbe slandered with that vile defection: for then the deuil would find waies anew, to calumniate the best. And this we haue in proofe by them that are carryed with the Phairie, who neuer see the shaddowes of any in that courte, but of them that thereafter are tryed to haue bene brethren and sisters of that craft. And this was likewise proued by the co~fession of a young Lasse, troubled with spirites, laide on her by Witchcraft. That although shee saw the shapes of diuerse men & women troubling her, and naming the persons whom these shaddowes represents: yet neuer one of them are found to be innocent, but al clearely tried to be most guilty, & the most part of them confessing the same. And besides that, I think it hath ben seldome harde tell of, that any whome persones guiltie of that crime accused, as hauing knowen them to be their marrowes by eye-sight, and not by hear-say, but such as were so accused of Witch-craft. could not be clearely tryed vpon them, were at the least publickly knowen to be of a very euil life & reputation: so iealous is God I say, of the fame of them that are innocent in such causes. And besides that, there are two other good helpes that may be vsed for their trial: the one is the finding of their marke, and the trying the insensiblenes thereof. The other is their fleeting on the water: for as in a secret murther, if the deade carcase be at any time thereafter handled by the murtherer, it wil gush out of bloud, as if the blud wer crying to the heauen for reuenge of the murtherer. God hauing appoynted that secret super-naturall signe, for tryall of that secrete

{p. 81}

vnnaturall crime, so it appeares that God hath appoynted (for a super-naturall signe of the monstruous impietie of the Witches) that the water shal refuse to receiue them in her bosom, that haue shaken off them the sacred Water of Baptisme, and wilfullie refused the benefite thereof: No not so much as their eyes are able to shed teares (thretten and torture them as ye please) while first they repent (God not permitting them to dissemble their obstinacie in so horrible a crime) albeit the women kinde especially, be able other-waies to shed teares at euery light occasion when they will, yea, although it were dissemblingly like the Crocodiles.

PHI. Well, wee haue made this conference to last as long as leasure would permit: And to conclude then, since I am to take my leaue of you, I pray God to purge this Cuntrie of these diuellishe practises: for they were neuer so rife in these partes, as they are now.

EPI. I pray God that so be to. But the causes ar ouer manifest, that makes them to be so rife. For the greate wickednesse of the people on the one parte, procures this horrible defection, whereby God justlie punisheth sinne, by a greater iniquitie. And on the other part, the consummation of the worlde, and our deliuerance drawing neare, makes Sathan to rage the more in his instruments, knowing his kingdome to be so neare an ende. And so fare-well for this time.[1]


[1. Reuel. 2.]

{p. 82}

Next: Errata