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For the Spy and Columbine
IN A RELIGIOUS MEETING.
Though few In number, Father, Lord I
Still in thy name we come
,To Walt fur thy Inteaching word.
Though huatan lips be dumb;
'none* nelthCr sad nor Joyful tone
Bo lent to mortal car—
net:, thou, who knowtt the heart alone,
Wilt kindly listen here.
The while a cold and formal throng
We seem to mortal eye,
Thou knowest full many a grateful song,
And many a burdened sigh, -
And heartfelt prayer for strength end grace,
To walk from error free,
Moe from :Ml:silent gathering place,
In sounds of power to thee.
The few that here are wholly thine.
Who tread the narrow way,
Told not by outward seal or sign,
Of their baptismal day;
Thou only knowest the way and time
Their covenant begun,
Thou only, whtn they seek sublime
Communion with thy Son.
Joln me to these, as deep to deep,
Their way be still my choice
!Sly soul e'en as an Infant keep,
That knows Its parent's voice.
White others labour In thy ease
With swords of power and skill,
Be it but mine to know thy laws,
To love thee, and be still.
From Blackwood's Magazine
LITTER ON TUE TRIM'S CONTAINED IN
Religious Delusions—The Possessed—Witchcraft.
DEAR. ARcur,—The subjects about which I pro
pose writing to .yeu today are, delusions of a
religious nature;—the idea of being possessed ;
the grounds of the belief in witchcraft. With so
much before me, I have no room to waste. Se, of
the first, first.
The powerful hold which the feeling of religion
takes on our nature, at once attests the truth of the
sentiment, and witrns us to be on our guard against
fanatical excesses. No subject can safely be per
mitted to have exclusive possession of our thoughts,
least of all the most absorbing and exciting of any.
"Bo—lt will make us mad.'
It is evident that, with the majority, Providence
has designed that wordly cares should largely and
wholesomely employ the mind, and prevent inordi.
nate craving after an indulgence in spiritual stimu.
talon ; while minds of the highest order are diver
ted, by the active duties of philanthropy, from any
perilous excess of religious contemplation.
Under the influence of constant and concentrated
religious thought, not only is the reason liable to
give way—which is not our theme—but, alterna
tively, the nervous system is apt to fall into many a
form of trance, the phenomena of which are mis
taken by the ignorant for divine visitation. The
weakest frame sinks into an insensibility profound
as death, in which he has visions from heaven and
the angels. Another lies, in half:waking trance,
rapt in celestial contemplation and beatitude; others
are suddenly fixed in cataleptic rigidity; others,
again, are dashed upon the ground in convulsions.
The impressive effect of these seizures is heighten.
ed by their supervention in the midst of religious
exercises, and by the contagious and sympathetic
influence through which their spread is accelerated
among the more excitable temperaments and weak
er members of large congregations. What chance
have ignorant people, witnessing such attacks, or
being themselves the subjects of them, of escaping
the persuasion that they mark the immediate agen
cy of the Holy Spirit T Or, to take ordinarily in
formed and sober-minded people—what would they
think at seeing mixed up with this hysteric dis
turbance, distinct proofs of extraordinary percep
tive and anticipatory powers, such as occasionally
manifest themselves, as parts of a trance, to the ra
(lona] explanation of which they might not have
the key ?
In the preceding letter, I have already exempli
fied, by the case of Henry Engelbrecht, the occur
rence of visions of hell and heaven during thu
deepest state of trance. No doubt the poor ascetic
Implicitly believed his whole life the reality of the
scenes to which his imagination had transported
In a letter from the Earl of Shreswbury to Am
brose Mark Phillips, Esq., published in 1841, a very
interesting account is given of two young women
who had lain for month, or yeAr. in a =tate, Of reli
gious beatitude. Their condition, when they were
exhibited, appears to have been that of half-waking
in trance; or, perhaps, a shade nearer the lightest
form of trance.sleep. To increase the force of the
scene, they appear to have exhibited some degree
of trance-perceptive power. But without this, the
mere aspect of such persons is wonderfully im
posing. If the pure spirit of Christianity finds a
bright comment and illustration in the Madonnas
and Cherubim ofßaffaelle, it seems to shine out in
still more truthful vividness from the brow of a
young person rapt in a religions ecstasy. The
bands clasped in prayer—the upturned eyes—the
expression of bumble confidence and seraphic hope,
(displayed, let me suggest, on a beautiful face,)
THE COLUMBIA SPY
constitute a picture of which, having witnessed it,
I can never forget the force. Yet 1 knew it wall
only a trance. So one knows that village churches
are built by common mechanics. Yet when we
look over an extensive country, and see the spire
from its clump of trees rising over each hamlet, or
over the distant city its minater tower—the images
6nd an approving harmony in our feelings, and
seem to aid in establishing the genuineness and the
truth of the sentiment and the faith which have
reared such expressive symbols;
In the two cases mentioned in Lord Shrewsbury's
pamphlet, it is, however, painful to observe that
trick and artifice had been - used to bend them to
the service of Catholicism. The poor women bore
on their hands and feet wounds, the supposed
spontaneous eruption 'of delineations ofthe bleeding
wounds of the crucifix, and, on the forehead, the
bloody marks of the crown of thorns. To convict
theimposture, thablood-stains from.the wounds in
the feet ran upwards towards the toes, to complete
a fat-simile of the original, though the poor girls
were ly ing on their backs. The wounds, it is to be
hoped, are inflicted and kept fresh and active by
means employed when the victims are in the insen
sibility to pain which commonly goes with trance.
To comprehend the effects of religious excite
ment operating on masses, we may inspect three
pictures—the revivals of modern times—the fanati
cal delusions of the Cenvennes—the behavior of
the Convulsionnaries at the grave of the Abbe
"I have seen," says M. Le Roi Sunderland, him.
self a preacher, [Zion's Watchman, New York,
Oct. 2, 1842.] "persons often . lose their strength,'
as it is called, at camp-meetings, and other places
of great religious excitement; and not pious people
alone, but those also who were not professors of
religion. In the spring of 1824, while performing
pastoral labor in Dennis, Massachusetts, I saw
more than twenty people affected in this way.
Two young men, of the name of Crowell, came
one day to a prayer meeting. They were quite in•
different. I conversed with them freely, but they
showed no signs of penitence. From the meeting
they went to their shop, (they were shoemakers,)
to finish some work before going to the meeting in
the evening. On seating themselves they were
both struck perfectly stiff. I was immediately
sent for, and tound them sitting paralyzed [he
means cataleptic] on their benches, with their work
in their hands, unable to get up, or to move at all.
I have seen scores of persons affected the same way.
I have seen persons lie in this state forty-eight
hours. At such times they are unable to converse,
and are sometimes unconscious of what is passing
round them. At the same time they say they arc
in a happy state of mind."
These persons, it is evident, were thrown into
one of the forms of trance through their minds
being powerfully worked upon ; with which cause
the influence of mental sympathy with what they
saw around them, and perhaps some physical
The following extract from the same journal
portrays another kind of nervous seizure, allied to
the former, and produced by the same cause, as it
was manifested at the great revival, some forty
years ago, in Kentucky and Tennessee:
" The convulsions were commonly called the
jerks.' A writer, (11I'Neman,) quoted by Mr•
Power, (Essay on the Influence of the Imagination
over the Nervous System,) gives this account of
their course and progress:
"'At first appearance these meetings exhibited
nothing to the spectator but a scene of confusion,
that could scarcely be put into language. They
were generally opened with a sermon, near the close
of which there would he an unusual outcry, some
bursting out into loud ejaculations of prayer, &c.
"'The rolling exercise consisted in being cast
down in a violent manner, doubled with the head
and feet together, or stretched in a prostrate man
ner, turning swiftly over like a dog. Nothing in
nature could better represent the jerks,than for one
to goad another alternately on every side with a
piece of red hot iron. The exercise commonly be
gan in the head, which would fly backwards and
forwards, and from side to side, with a quick jolt,
which the person would naturally labor to suppress,
but in vain. He must necessarily go on as he was
„stimulated, whether with a violent dash on the
ground, and bounce from place to place, like a
foot-ball; or hopping round with head, limbs, and
trunk, twitching add jolting in every direction, as
if they must inevitably fly assundcr,' &c."
The following sketch is from Dow's Journal :
" In the year 1805 he preached at Knoxville, Ten.
nesse; before the governor, when some hundred
and fifty persons, among whom were a number of
Quakers, had the jerks."
"1 have seen all denominations of religions ex
ercised by the jerk, gentleman and lady, black and
white, young and old, without exception. I passed
a meeting-house, where I observed the undergrowth
had been cut away for camp-meetings, and from
fifty to a hundred saplings were left breast high,
on purpose for the people whO were jerked to hold
by. I observed where they had held on, they had
kicked up the earth, as a home stamping Meet."
Every one has heard of the extraordinary scenes
which took place in tho Cevennes at the close of
the seventeenth century.
It was towards the close of the year 1688, a re.
port was first beard, of a gift Of prophecy which
had shown itself among the persecuted followers of
the reformation, who, in the south of France, had
betaken themselves to the mountains. The first
instance was said to have occurred in the family of
a glass-dealer, of the name of Du Serre, well known
as the most zealous Calvinist of the neighborhood,
which was a solitary spot in Dauphine,near Mount
Peyra. In the enlarging circle of enthusiasts, Ga
briel Astier and Isabella Vincent made themselves
first conspicuous. Isabella, a girl of sixteen years
AND LANCASTER AND YORK COUNTY RECORD.
COLUMBIA, PA. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 1847.
of age, from Dauphine, who was in the service of
a peasant, and tended sheep, began in her sleep to
preach and prophesy, and the reformers came from
Tar and near to hear her. An advocate, of the name
of Gerlan, describes the following scene which he
had witnessed. At his request she had admitted
him, and a good many others, after nightfall to a
meeting at a chateau in the neighborhood. She
there disposed herself upon a bed, shut her eyes,
and went to sleep; in her sleep she charted in a
low tone the commandments and a psalm; after a
short respite she began to preuch in a louder voice,
not in her own dialect, but in good French, which
hitherto she had not used. The theme was en ex
hortation to obey God rather than man. Some
times she spoke quickly as to be hardly intelligible.
At certain of her pauses, she stopped to collet!. her
tielf. She accompanied her words with gestsitta
boas Getan 0 '744 her put.," miter; her arm alit"
ifigid;lnit relaxed as natural. After an interval, her
countenance put on a mocking expression, and she
began anew her exhortation, which was now mixed
with ironical reflections emu the church ofßome.
She then suddenly stopped, continuing asleep. It
was in vain they stirred her. When her arms were
lifted and let go, they dropped unconsciously. As
several now went away, whom her silence rendered
impatient, she said in a low tone, but just as if,she
was awake, " Why do you go away? 'Why do
not you wait till lam ready?" And then she de.
livered another ironical discourse against the Cath
olic church, which she closed with a prayer.
When Bowls, the intendant of the district heard
of the performances of Isabella Vincent, he had her
brought before him. She replied to his interroga
tories, that people had often told her that she
preached in her sleep, but that she did not herself
believe a word of it. As the slightness of her per
sou made her appear younger than she really was,
the intendant merely sent her loan hospital at Gre
noble, where,notwithstanding that she was visited
by persons of the reformed persuasion, there was an
end of her preaching—she became a Catholic!
Gabriel Astier, who had been a young laborer,
likewise from Dauphine, went in the capacity of a
preacher and prophet into the valley of Brassae, in
the Vivaraia. He had infected his family ; his
father, mother, elder brother, and sweetheart, fol
lowed his example, and took to prophesying. Ga.
briel, before he preached, used to fall into a kind of
stupor, in which he lay rigid. After delivering his
sermon, he would dismiss his auditors with a kiss,
and the words, "My brother, or my sister, I im
part to you the Holy Ghost." Many believed that
they had thus received the Holy Ghost from Astier,
being taken with the same seizure. During the
period of the discourse, first one then,another,
would fall down; some described themselves after.
wards as having felt first a weakness and trembling
through the whole frame, and an impulse to y.awn
and stretch their arms, then they fell convulsed and
foaming at the mouth. Others carried the conta.
gion home with them, and' first experienced its
effects, days, weeks, months afterwards. They be.
lieved—nor is it wonderfully they.did so—that they
had received the Holy Ghost.
Not less curious were the seizures of the convul
sionaries at the grave of the Abbe Paris, in the
year rm. These Jansenist vissionaries used to
collect in the church-yard of Mcdard, round the
grave of the deposed and deceased deacon, and be
fore long, the reputation of the place for working
miracles getting about, they fell in troops into con
Their statehad more analogy to that of the jerk
ers already described. But it was different. They
required, to gratify an internal impulse or feeling,
that the most violent blows should be inflicted upon
them at the pit of the stomach. Carre do Montge.
ron mentions, that being himself an enthusiast in
the matter, he had inflicted the blows required with
an iron instrument, weighing from twenty to thirty
pounds, with a round head. And as a convulsion.
ary lady complained that he struck too lightly to
relieve the feeling of depression at her stomach, he
gave her sixty Mows with all his force. It would
not do, and she begged to have the instrument used
by a tall, strong man, who stood by in the crowd.—
The spasmodic tension of her muscles must have
been enormous ; for she received ono hand red blows,
delivered with such force that the wall shook be
hind her. She thanked the man for, his benevolent
aid, and contemptuously censured De Montgeton
fur his weakness or want of faith, and timidity.—
It was indeed time for issuing the mandate, which
as wit read it, ran:
'De par le rol—Derenee a Dieu.
De faire miracle en ce lieu.'
Turn we now to another subject :—the possessed
in the middle ages—What was their philosophical
condition 7 What was really meant then by being
possessed ? I mean, what were the symptoms of
the affection, and bow are they properly to be ex
plained ? The enquiry will throw further light up
on the true relations of other phenomena we have
already looked at.
We have seen that Schwedenborg thought that
he was in constant communication with the spirit.
ual world; but felt convinced, and avowed, that
though ho saw his visitants without and around
him , they reached him Era inwardly, and enrueau.
nicated with his understanding; and thence con
sciously, and outwardly, with his senses. But it
would be a misapplication of the term to say that he
wan possessed by these spirits.
We remember that Socrates had his demon; and
it should be mentioned as a prominent feature in
visions generally, that their subject soon identifies
one particular imaginary being as his guide and
informant, to whom be applies for what knowledge
he wishes. In the most exalted states of trance
waking, the guide or demon is continually referred
to with profound respect by the entranced person.
Now, was Socrates, and arc patients of the class I
have alluded to, pawned ? No! the meaning of
the term is evidently not yet hit.
Then there are persons who permanently fancy
themselves other beings than they are, and act as
In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, there
prevailed in parts of Europe a seizure, which was
called the wolf-sickness. Those affected with it
held themselves to be wild beasts,and betook them
selves to the forests. One of these, who was
brought before De Laacre, at Bordeaux, in the be
of the sixteenth century, was a young man
of Besancon. He avowed himself to be huntsman
of the forest lord, his invisible master. He believed
that through the power of his master, he had been
transformed into a wolf; that be hunted in the for
est as such,..and that he was often accompanied by
a bigger wolf, whom he suspected to be the master
he served—with more details of the same,kind.—
pn..pgrieett thussffected weryalled Wehrwolvs.
e enjoyed in those the altainative of being
exorcised or executed.
Arnold relates, in his history of church and of
heresy, how there was a young man in Konigaberg,
well educated and natural son of a priest, who had
the impression, that, he was met near a crucifix 'in
the wayside by seven angels, who revealed to him
that he was to represent God the Father on earth,
to drive all evil out of the world, &c. The poor
fellow, after pondering upon this impression a long
time, issued a circular commencing thus—
., We, John Albrecht, Adelgrief, Syrods, Arcata,
Kanemata, Kilkis, Mataldis, Schmalkilimundis,
Sabrundis, Elioris, Overarch High priest, and Em.
peror, Prince of Peace of the whole world, Over.
arch King of the holy kingdom of Heaven, Judge
of the living and of the dead, God and Father, in
whose divinity Christ will come on the last day to
judge the world, Lord of all lords, King of all
He was thereupon thrown into prison at Konigs-
berg, regarded as a most frightful heretic, and every
means were used by the clergy to reclaim him. To
all their entreaties, however, he listened only with a
smile of pity, "that they should think of reclaiming
God the Father." He was then put to the torture ;
and, as what he endured made no alteration in his
convictions, he was condemned to have his tongue
torn out with red-hot tongs, to be cut in four
quarters, and then burned under She gallows. He
wept bitterly, not at his own fate, but that they
should pronounce such a sentence on the Deity.
The executioner was touched with pity, and en.
treated him to make a final recantation. But he
persisted that ho was God the Father, whether
they pulled his tongue out by the roots or not; and
so he was executed
The Wehrwolves,and this poor creature, in what
state were they? they were merely insane. Then
we must look further.
Gmelin. in the firof vnL,n a ni contributions
to Anthropology, narrates, that in the year 1789,
a German lady, under his observation, had daily
paroxysms, in which she believed herself to be, and
acted the part of, a French emigrant. She had
been in distress of mind through the absence of a
person she was attached to, and he-was somehow
implicated in the scenes of the French revolution.
After an attack of fever and delirium, the com
plaint regulated itself, and took the form of daily
fit of trance-waking. When the time for the fit
approached, she stopped in her conversation, and
ceased to answer when spoken to; she then re
mained a few minutes sitting pettedly still, her
eyes fixed on the carpet before her. Then in evi
dent uneasiness, she began to move her head back
wards and forwards, to sigh, and to pass her fingers
across her eyebrows. This lasted a minute, then
she raised her eyes, looked once or twice around
with timidity and embarrassment, then began to
talk in French; when sho would describe all the
particulars of her escape from France, and, as
suming the manner of a French woman, talk purer
and better accented Ftencli than she had been
known to be capable of talking before, correct her
friends when they spoke incorrectly, but delicately
and with a comment on the German rudeness of
laughing at the bad pronunciation of strangers ;
and if led herself to speak or read German, she
used a French absent, and spoke it ill; and the
Now, suppose this lady, instead of thug acting,
when the paroxysms supervened, had cast herself
on the ground, had uttered bad language and blas.
phemy, and had worn a sarcastic and malignant
expression of countenance—in striking contrast
with her ordinary character and behavior, and al
ternating with it—and you have the picture and
the reality of a person .possessed."
A person "possessed," is one affected with the
form of tmnce.waking called double consciousness,
with the addition of being deranged when in the
paroxysm, and then, out of the suggestions of her
own fancy, or catching at the interpretation put on
her conduct by others, believing herself tenanted
by the fiend.
We may quite allowably heighten the above pie.
ture by supposing that the person in her trance, in
addition to being mad, might have displayed some
of the perceptive powers occasionally developed in
trance; and so have evinced, in addition to her
t1. , ..-. -- oontacal ferocity, an .onesnny" knowledge of
things and persons. To be candid, Archy, time
was, when I should myself have had my doubts in
such a case.
We have by this time had intercourse enough
with spirits and demons to prepare us for the final
.object of witchcraft.
The superstition of witchcraft stretchee back into
remote antiquity, and has many roots. In Europe
it is partly of druidical origin. The druidesses
were part priestesses, part shrewd old ladies, who
dealt in, magic and medicine. They were called
oil-rune, all-known. There was some touch of
classical superstition mingled in the stream which
was flowing down to us ;—so an edict of a council
of Treves, in the year 1310, has this injunction:
" Nulls mulierum se nocturnis hurls °guitars cum
Disna.proplatur ; tune enina dcemoniaca eat ilhasio.';
But the main source from which we derived this
superstition, is the East, and traditions and facts
incorporated in our religion. There were only
wanted the ferment of thought of the fifteenth cen
tury, the vigor, energy, ignorance, enthusiasm, and
faith of those days, and the papal denunciation of
witchcraft by the famous bull of Innocent the VIII,
in 1459, to give fury to the delusion. And from
this time for three centuries, the flames, at which
more than 100,000 victims perished, cast a lurid
light over Europe.
One ceases to wonder at this ugly
. stain the
page of history, when one considers all things fairly.
The enemy of mankind, bodily, with borne,
hoofs, and tail, was believed to lurk round every
corner, bent upon yetr spiritual, if not holey, harm.
The ..rilch and sleerer wervic.:"' possessed,by
him szeinit their will, but went otiesof their way to
solicit his alliance, and to offer tororwardhis views
for their own advantage, or to grailf,y their malig
nity. The cruel punishments for a crime so Mon
strous were mild, compared with the practice of our
own penal code fifty or sixty years ago against sec
ond-class offences. And for the startling bigotry
of the judges, which appears the most discreditable
part of the matter, why, how could they alone be
free from the prejudices of their age? Yet they
did strange things.
At Lindheim, Horst reporti, on one occasion six
women were implicated in charge of having dis
interred the body of a child to make a witchbroth.
As they happened to be innocent of the deed, hey
underwent the most cruel tortures before they
would confess it. At length they saw their cheap
est bargain was to admit the crime, and be simply
burned alive and have it over. So they did so.—
But the husband of one of them procured an official
examination of the grave; when the child's body
was found in its coffin safe and sound. What said
the inquisitor? This is indeed a proper piece of
devil's work; no, no, lam not to be taken in by
such a gross and obvious imposture. Luckily, the
women have already confessed tho crime, and
burned they must and shall be in honor of the holy
trinity, which has commanded the extripatien of
sorcerers and witches." The six women were
burned alive accordingly.
It was hard upon them because they were inno
cent. But the regular witches, as times went,
hardly deserved any better fate—considering, I
mean, their honest and straight-forward intentions
of doing that which they believed to be the most
desperate wrong achievable. Many there were who
sought to be initiated into the black art. They were
re-baptized with the support of responsible witch
sponsors, abjured Christ, and entered to the best of
their belief into a compact with the devil; and
thrthwith commenced a course of bad works, poi
soning and bewitching men and cattle, and the like,
or trying to do so.
One feature transpired in these details, that is
-merely pathetic, not horrifying or disgusting.
The little children of course talked witchcraft,
and you may fancy, Archy, what charming gossip
it must have made. Then the poor little things
were sadly wrought on the tales they told. And
they fell into trances and had visions shaped by their
A little maid, of twelve years of age, used to fall
into to fits of sleep, and afterwards she told her pa
rents, and the judge, how an old woman and her
daughter, riding on a broom-stick, had come and
taken her out with them. The daughter eat fore
most, the woman behind, the little maid between
them. They went away through the roof of the
house, over the adjoining houses and the town gate,
to a village some way off: There they wont down
a chimney of a cottage into a room, where sat a
tall black man and twelve women. They eat and
drank. The black man filled their glasses from a
can, and gave each of the women a handfull of gold.
She herself had received none; but she had eaten
and drank with them.
A list of persons buried in Salzburg for partici
pation in witchraft, between the years 1627 and
1629, in an outbreak of this frenzy, which had its
origin in an epidemic among the cattle, enumerates
children of 14, 12, 11, 10, 9, years of age; which
in some degree reconciles one to thefate of the four-
teen canons, four gentlemen of the choir, two young
men of rank, a. fat old lady of rank, the wife of
burgomaster, a counsellor, the fattest burgess of
Wartzburg, together with his wife, the handsomest
I woman in the city, and a midwife of the name of
Sehickelte, with whom (according to N. B. in
the original report) the whole mischief originated.
To amateurs of executions in those days the fatness
of the victim was evidently a point of consideration,
as it shows by the specifications of that quality in
some of the victims in the above list. Were men
devils then? By no means; there existed then as
now upon earth, worth, honor, truth, benevolence,
gentleness. But there were other ingredients, too,
from which the times arc not yet purged. A cen.
tury ago people did not know—do they now ?—that
vindictive punishment is a crime; that the only
allowable purpose of punishment is to prevent the
recurrence of the offence; and that restraint, iso.
lation, employment, instruction, are the extreme
and only means towards that end which reason and
humanity justify. Alas, for human nature !. Some
centuries hence, the first half of the nineteenth cen
tury will be charged with having manifested no ad.
mission of principle in advance of a period, the judi.
cial crimes of which make the heart shudder. The
old lady witches bad, of course, much livelie; ideas
than the innocent children, on the subject of their
intercourse with the devils.
At Mora, in Sweden, in 1669, of many who were
put to the torture and executed, seventy-two wo
men agreed in the following avowal, thatthey were
in the habit of meeting at a place called Biocide.
That on their calling out "Come forth !" the devil
used to appear to them in a gray coat, red breeches,
gray stockings, with a red beard, and peaked hat
[WHOLE NUMBER, 912.
with partly colored feathers on his head. He then
enforced upon them, not without blows, that they
must bring him, at nights, their own and other peo
ples• children, stolen for the purpose. They travel
through the air to Blocule, either on beasts, or on
spits, or broomsticks. When they have many
children with them, they rig on an additional spar
the lengthen the back of the goat or their broom
stick that the children may have room to sit. At
Blocula they sigmtheir name in blood and are bap
sized. The devil is a humorous, pleasant gentle
man ; but his table is coarse enough, which makes
the children often sick on their way home, the pro
duct being the so-called witch-butter found in the
fields. When the devil is Jerky, he solicits the
witches to dance round him on their brooms, which
he zuddenly pulls from under them, and uses to beat
them with till they are black and blue. Re laughs
at this joke till his sides callakii tometllcans
he is in a more gracious mood, salt days to them
lovely airs upon the harp; and occasionally sons
and daughters are born to the devil, which take up
their residence at Blocula.
I will add an outline of the history, furnished or
corroborated by her voluntary confession, of a Indy
witch, nearly the last executed for this crime. She
was, at the time of her death, seventy years of age,
and had been many years sub-prioress of the con
vent of Unterzell, near Wartzburg.
Maria Renata took the veil at nineteen years of
age, against her inclination, having previously been
.initiated into the mysteries of witchcraft, which she
continued to practice for fifty years under the cloak
of punctual attendance to discipline and pretended
piety. She was long in the station of sub-prioress,
and would, for her capacity, have been promoted to
the rank of prioress, had she not betrayed a certain
discontent with the ecclesiastic life, a certain con
trariety to her superiors, something half expressed
only of inward dissatisfaction. Renata hail not
ventured to let any one about the convent into her
I ,confidencc, and she remained free from suspicion,
notwithstanding that, from time to time, some of
the nuns, either with the herbs she mixed with
their food, or through sympathy, hat - grange
seizures, of which some died. Renata beetme at
length extravagant and unguarded in her• witch
propensities, partly from long security, partly from
desire of stronger excitement; made noises in the
dormitory, and uttered shrieks in the garden; went.
at nights into the cells of the nuns to pinch and
torment them, to assist her in which she kept a
considerable supply of cats. The removal of the
keys of the cells counteracted this annoyance . ; but
a still more efficient means was a determined blew
on the part of a nun, streak at the aggreasorwith
the penitential scourge one night, on the Meriting
following which Renal.-.se e1.....eed to havn.a.
black eye and a cut face. This event awakened
suspicion against Renata. Then one of the nuns,
who was much esteemed, declared, believing her
self upon her death-bed, "that as she shortly ex
pected to stand before her Maker, Renate was
uncanny, that she had often at nights been visibly
tormented by her, and that she warned her to desist
front this course." General alarm arose, and ap
prehension of Renata's arts ; and ono of the nuns,
who previously bad had fits, now became possessed.
and in the paroxysms told the wildest tales against
Renate. It is only wonderful how the sub-prioress
contrived to keep her ground many years against
these suspicions and incriminations. She adroitly
put aside the insinuations of the nun as imaginary
or of calumniou intention, and treated witchcraft
and possession of the devil as things which enligten
ed people no longer believed in. As, bowery, five
more of the nuns, either taking the infection front
the first, or influenced by the arts of Renate, be
came possessed of devils,and unanimously attack
ed Renate., the superiors could no longer avoid
oinking a serious investigation of the charges„—
Renate was confined in a cell alone, whereupon the
six devils screeched the chorus at being deprived
of their friend. SIM had begged to be allowed - to
take her papers with her; but this being refused,
and thinking herself detected, she at once avowed
to her confessor and the superiors that she was a
witch, had learned witchcraft out of the convent,
and had bewitched the six nuns. They determin.
edlo keep the matter secret, and to attempt the
conversion of Renate. And as the nuns still con.
tinned possessed, they despatched her to a remote
convent. Here, tinder a show of outward piety,
she still went on with her attempts to realize witch
craft, and the nuns remained poenestied.; It was
decided at length to give Renata over to the civil
power. She was accordingly condemned to be
burned alive; but in mitigation of punishment her
head was streak off: Four of the possessed nuns
gradually recovered with clerical assistance; the
other two remained deranged. Renate was execut
ed on the 21st January, 1749.
Renata stated, in her voluntary confession, that
she had oftened at night been carried bodily to
witch. Sabbaths; in one of which she was first pre.
seated to the prince of darkness, when she abjured
God and the virgin at the same time. Her name,
with the alteration of Maris. into Emma, was writ
ten in a black book,ind she herself was stamped
on the back as the devil's property, in return for
which she recetved the promise of seventy years
of life, and all she might wish for. She stated
that she had often, at night, gone 'into the cellar of
the chateau and drank the best wine; in the shape
of a swine had walked on the convent walls; on
the bridge had milked the cows as they passed
over; and several times had mingled with the
actors in the theatre in London.
A question naavoidably presents itself—Bow
came witchcraft to be, in so great a degree the
province of woman? There existed sorcerer% no
doubt, bat they were comparatively few. 'Person'
at either sex and of all ages indiacrinainately in.
terested themselves in the black art;, but the pro
fessors and regular practitioners were 'almost em.
elusively women, and principally obi women., The