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admitted, that many first-rate philosophers have busied thema' selves in accounting for it, without once doubting the truth of the fact. Dogs have the faculty of seeing spirits, which they evince by whining and creeping close to their masters. Whether pigs—who are known to have a peculiar organ of vision for seeing the-wind--are equally gifted, has not yet been ascertained. Their coming is usually announced by a variety of loud and dreadful noises, sometimes rattling in the hall like the trundling of bowls or cannon balls, or the shooting of a chaldron of Newcastle coals. At length, the door flies open, and the spectre stalks slowly up to the bed's foot, and opening the curtain, looks steadfastly at the person in bed, by whom it is seen and no other; a Gbost never ap. pearing to more than one person at once. Agreeably to ghostly etiquette-a spirit inust never speak firstso that the party must begin by demanding, in the name of the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity, who it is, and what is its business, which it may be necessary to repeat three times; after which it will, in a low and hollow voice, declare its satisfaction at being
spoken to, and desiring the party not to be afraid. It then · enters into its narrative, which being completed, it usually
vanishes in a flash of light; in which case soine Ghosts have been so courteous as to desire the party' to shut their eyes : sometimes its departure is attended with heavenly music. During the narration, a Ghost must not be interrupted;
" List! list! list! oh! list!" is the injunction of Hamlet's father. Questions respecting their present state, or any of their former acquaintance, are seldom answered; spirits being most probably restrained by certain rules and regulations, from divulging the secrets of their prison house.
Sometimes Ghosts appear and disturb a house, without deigning to give any reason for so doing: with thesc, the shortest and only way is to exorcise them; or, as the vulgar term is, lay them. For this purpose there must be two or three clergymen, and the ceremony must be performed in Latin ; a language that strikes the most audacious Ghost with terror. A Ghost may be laid for any time less than a hundred years, and in any place or body, full or emptyma solid oak--the pummel of a saddle-a bodkin--a barrel of beer, if yeoman or simple gentleman-or a pipe of wine, if an esquire, justice, or' member of parliament. But of all places, the most common, and what a Ghost least likes, is the Red Sea; it
has been related, in many instances, that Ghosts have most earnestly besought the exorcists not to confine them in that abominable place.
In cases of murder, a Ghost, instead of going to Sir Richard Birnie or some other justice, or to the nearest relation of the person murdered, appears to some poor labourer, who knows none of the parties, draws the curtains of some old nurse, or alms-woman, or merely hovers round the place where the body is deposited. Another feature in their conduct is their fondness for low company and melancholy places; they rarely visit persons of fashion and education, or scenes of life and gaiety-their favorite associates are children, old women, and rustics--and old manor houses, ruined castles, church yards, and obscure villages, their places of resort. It would be presumptuous to scrutinize the motives of such high persona ages : they have, doubtless, forms and customs peculiar to themselves.
WITCHES. A witch is universally a poor, infirm, superannuated old woman ; who, being in great distress, is tempted by a man clothed in a black coat or gown; sometimes, also, as in Scotland, wearing a bluish band and hand-cuffs--a kind of turn-up linen slceve : the sable gentleman promises, if she will sign a contract to become his, both soul and body, she shall want for nothing, and that he will revenge her upon all her enemies. The agreement being concluded, he gives her some trifling sum of money, from half a crown down to fourpence, to bind the bargain; then cutting or pricking her fin. ger, causes her to sign her name, or make a cross as her mark, with her blood, on a piece of parchment : what is the form of these contracts is no where mentioned. In addition to this signature, in Scotland, the Devil made the witches put one hand to the sole of their foot, and the other to the crown of their head, signifying they were entirely liis. In making these bargains, there is sometimes a great deal of haggling, as is instanced in the negociation between Oliver CROM. WELL and the Devil, before the battle of Worcester, related in Echard's History of England. Before the Devil quits his new recruit, he delivers to her an imp or familiar, and sometimes two or three; they are of different shapes and forms, some resembling a cat, others a mole, a miller fly, or some other insect or animal : these are to come at her call, to do such mischief as she shall command, and, at stated times of the day, suck her blood, through teats, on different parts of ber body. Feeding, suckling, or rewarding these imps was, by law, declared FELONY.
Sometimes a Witch, in company with others of the sisterhood, is carried through the air on brooms or spits to distant meetings or sabbaths of Witches; but for this they must anoint themselves with a certain magical oinlment given thein by the Devil. At these meetings they have feasting, music, and dancing; the Devil himself sometimes condescending to play on the great fiddle, or on the pipe or cittern. When the meeting breaks up, they all have the lionour of kissing Satan's posteriors, who, for that ceremony, usually assumes the form of a he-goat ; though in Scotland it was performed when he appeared in the human shape, with a bluish band and ruff. * Witches show their spite by causing the object of it to waste away in a long and painful disease, with a sensation of thorns stuck in the flesh: when a less fatal revenge will satisfy them, they make their victims swallow pins, old nails, dirt, and trash of all sorts, invisibly conveyed to them by their imps. Frequently they show their hate by drying cows and killing oxen: for slight offences they prevent butter from coming in the churn, or beer from working. To vex the squire, the parson, or justice, they transform themselves into the shape of a hare, and lead the hounds and huntsmen a long and fruitless chase.
There are various tests for discovering a Witch. One, by weighing her against the church bible, which, if she is guilty, will preponderate: another, by making her say the Lord's Prayer, which no Witch is able to do correctly. A Witch cannot weep more than three tears, and that only out of the left eye: this want of tears was considered, even by some learned judges, as a decisive proof of guilt. Swimming them is the most infallible ordeal: strip them naked and cross bound, the right thumb to the left toe, and the left thumb to the right toe: thus prepared, throw them into a pond or river, in which, if guilty, they cannot sink; for having, by their compact with the Devil, renounced the benefit of the water of baptism, that element renounces them, and refuses to receive them into its bosom.
On meeting a Witch, it is advisable to take the wall of her in a town or street, and the right hand of her in a lane or field; and whilst passing her to clench both hands, doubling the thumb beneath the fingers : this will prevent her power at that time. It is well to salute a Witch with civil words, on meeting her, before she speaks: do not receive any thing from her, but you may present her with a few half-pence without injury.
Some persons, born under particular planets, have the power to distinguish Witches at first sight. One of these gifted individuals, named Matthew Hopkins, with John Stern and a woman, were, in 1644, permitted to explore the counties of Essex, Suffolk, and Huntingdon, with a commission to discover Witches, receiving twenty shillings from each town they visited. Many persons were pitched upon by them, and through their means convicted. Till at length some gentlemen, out of indignation at Hopkins's barbarity, tied him in the manner he had bound others, thumbs and toes together; in which state putting him in the water, he swam ! this cleared the country.
A perusal of the famous statute of James I., will shew that a belief of most of the facts above recited was not confined to the populace. By this act, any person convicted of witchcraft, or any of the practices I have mentioned, was sentenced to a year's imprisonment and pillory ; for the second offence, DEATH. This memorable specimen of the philosophy of the age, was not repealed till the ninth year of the reign of George I. .
A SORCERER OR MAGICIAN. A SORCERER differs from a Witch in this: a Witch derives all her power from a compact with the Devil; a Sorcerer commands him and the infernal spirits, by his skill in powerful charms and invocations; and also soothes and entices them by fumigations : for the devils are observed to have delicate nostrils, abominating and flying some kind of stinks ; witness the flight of the evil spirit into the remote parts of Egypt, driven by the smell of a fish's liver, burned by Tobit. They are also found to be peculiarly fond of certain perfumes ; insomuch that Lilly informs us, that one Evans having roused a spirit, at the request of Lord Bothwell and Sir Kenelm Digby, and forgetting a suffumigation, the
spirit, vexed at the neglect, snatched him from his circle, and carried him from out his house in the Minories, into a field near Battersea!
Sorcerers do not always employ their art to do mischief; but, on the contrary, frequently exert it to cure diseases inflicted by Witches; to discover thieves ; recover stolen goods; to foretel future events, and the state of absent friends. They raise spirits, and perform other secrets of their calling, by means of the circle, a beryl, a virgin, or a man undefiled with woman :-See the “ Dæmonologia " of James I.
Are a sort of intermediate beings between men and spirits, having bodies, with the power of rendering them invisible, and of passing through all sorts of enclosures. Tliey are remarkably small of stature, with fair complexions, whence they obtained their name. Both male and female are generally clothed in green; and frequent groves, mountains, the sunny side of hills, and green meadows, where they amuse themselves with dancing, band in hand, in a circle, and by moon light. The traces of their feet are visible next morning on the grass, and are commonly called Fairy Rings or Circles.
Fairies have all the passions and wants of men, but are great lovers of cleanliness and propriety; for the observance of which, they frequently reward servants, by dropping mo. ney in their shoes: they likewise severely punish sluts and slovens by pinching them black and blue. They oft change their weakly and starveling elves or children, for the more robust offspring of men. But this can only be done before baptism, for which reason, it is still the custom in the Highlands to watch by the cradle of infants till they are christened. The term Changeling, now applied to one almost an idiot, at tests the current belief of these mutations.
Some Fairies dwell in mines, and in Wales nothing is more common than these subterraneous spirits, called knockers, who good-naturedly point out where there is a rich vein of lead or silver. .?
In Scotland there were a sort of domestic Fairies, from their sun-burnt complexions called Brownies: these were extreniely useful, performing all sorts of domestic drudgery.