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&c. to which we owe no more faith than to the tales of fairies, and other idle romances. Where one relation is exactly according to truth, there are two, at least, that are wholly the fruit of wild imagination, or intolerably mixt with deceit and falsehood. Hence some have taken occasion to doubt of, and deny the existence of spirits, and an invisible world ; and others to turn all that wise men say or write about them into ridicule. 'Tis a pity the world has been so credulous, and furnished these scepticks with matters to make sport of. At the same time, it is a thing horrid to think of, that we should be imposed upon by false relations, and our understandings daily affronted by lies. It would certainly have been a singular kindness, if those who have been instrumental in detecting falsehoods of this nature, especially causes of pretended witchcrafts, had been careful, and have taken and emitted authentick accounts of them, from time to time; which might have proved an happy means of preventing the like, or stopping their progress. When I consider this, and what every one owes to his own generation, and to posterity, I reckon myself obliged to offer a story, full of remarkable circumstances, which was the subject of much discourse and debate, in the day of it, and has lately, by the wonderful providence of God, and his most powerful word, been brought to light and unfolded. I trust it may be of some service to the world, and therefore commend it to the divine blessing.

E. T.

The Account itself.

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In the year of our Lord 1720, at Littleton, in New England, lived Mr.

TB- three of whose children were in very odd and unaccountable circumstances for many months; viz. E-haged about eleven years; J-a, aged about nine years; and M -y, aged about five years. All of them were supposed to be under an evil hand, (i. e.) afflicted by Satan. I shall divide the history of them into six parts or chapters, that you may receive it with greater advantage. (1.) I shall relate speeches or facts; (2d) what people thought or spake about them in the time of it; (3d) explain all that was dark and unintelligible in their behaviour; (4th) declare the reasons and motives that induced and led them to it; (5th) the manner in which they were treated, and how they ought to have been treated ; (6th) the means by which things were brought to light; and then add some useful reflections on the whole.

First, then, I shall relate speeches and facts, or what was said and done by these children supposed to be under an evil hand. I shall begin with E-h, who was first in the plot, of whom I am able to give the most particular account. This girl, of about eleven years old, for eight months together, acted after a very strange manner. She began with telling stories which she had heard or read; agreeably and surprisingly accommodating them to the present time, company, occasion, &c. She proceeded in a short time to the relating of dreams; strange and unaccountable ones. From dreaming she fell into trances, and would, to all appearance, swoon away, and lie as one dead for a considerable time; out of which she would anon awake, and tell her friends, and those about her, what affrighting or pleasing visions she had of this or the other worlds. She made an unlawful use of sieves, eggs, and other things, to shew tricks and tell futurities; a practice which many foolish people run into. When she was put upon reading the scriptures, which she could do very well, and fixed her eye upon the words God, or Christ, or Holy Spirit, &c. she would drop down as one thunder-struck, scarce any sign of life remaining with her; and this she would do as often as they put her to read those words. Many strange noises were daily heard in the house, and stones often flung down chimney, by which not only the food that was dressing, and the utensils, were damaged, but the family was endangered. She would frequently tear her clothes, and disfigure herself, bite her attendants, and spit upon them, and her visitors too, excepting the pastor of the church, whom she appeared to have no power to hurt. 'Twas very common

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to find her in ponds of water, at a considerable distance from the house, crying out, in great distress, she should be drowned. Sometimes she would be seen on the top of the house, and on the tops of trees, crying out that she should fall and kill herself; and when asked how she got there, she answered, she flew there. She did frequently complain of wounds and pinches and prickings, which she said she received by invisible hands, and the usual marks of such things were seen upon her. She accused à certain woman of the town for afflicting her, and as causing all the evil she suffered, and would often cry out to her mother-There she is! there she is! there's Mrs. D

-y. Two things are very remarkable relating to Mrs. Þ_y's pretended appearances.

One time E-h said to her mother, there was a little bird in such a part of the room: Her mother went directly to the place, and having something in her hand, struck the place pointed to. Ě-h immediately cry'd out, O mother, you have hit it on one side of the head; and it was found afterwards that Mrs. Dy was at the same time hurt on one side of her face. Another time E-h

-h said to her mother, There's Mrs. Dy; she is just there; coming to afflict me! Her mother struck the place with something, and Eh cry'd out, You have hit her on the bowels. It was found that Mrs. D

-Y received much hurt at the same time, and said she felt something break within her. She was then big with child, took to her chamber, and died in a few weeks. And as soon as she knew of Mrs. D— y's death, she ceased all complaints, and quickly grew composed and easy; and has never been known to use the like strange behaviour since.-I proceed now to give some account of Ja, when she appeared to be under the like influences of an evil hand. She was a girl of about nine years old. I discoursed with her, and she confirms what has been related before of her sister. You must know it was four months after her sister that she began to talk and act like her, and to complain of Mrs. Dy's afflicting her. Indeed she was never seen to fall into those trances, or heard to relate such visions as her sister; but VOL. X.


was in other respects equally odd and unaccountable, and in one instance she fairly outdid her. J-a was often seen upon the top of an high barn, when a young man could not without great difficulty get up; and there she would

cry for help, saying she was carried there through the air. But when Mrs. D -y's death was known, an entire stop was put to all her actions of this kind. The youngest sister, M—y, of about five years old, commenced this odd behaviour about six months after E-h, and two after J-a, and was not in many

-a articles outdone by her sisters. Her complaints and speeches and actions were much the same. I am not able to say how far this child remembers these things, not having seen her; but the sisters say, she retains but a very confused notion of them. In one circumstance she differed from both her sisters, viz. notwithstanding the news of Mrs. D- -y's death was brought to her, she carried on the old stroke, with bitter complaints of her, for many weeks; persisting in it that, let her sisters be ever so well, she remained under an evil hand. I must be so just as to tell you here, that there passed a day or two before Mrs. D—y's death was known to either of these children, and that these days were as much filled with complaints of her, as the months before. Thus have I finished the first head proposed, by giving you a plain and honest account of speeches and facts. The reader may now make a pause, and judge whether this be witchcraft or not, or stay till he hears the sentiments of others, which it is the business of the next head to relate.

2d, I am to relate what the thoughts and discourses of people were about the behaviour of these children, in the time of it. The news of Mr. B-d's family being under trouble presently took air, and spread about the neighbourhood, and also reached many places at a considerable distance; many went to visit them; some out of compassion, and others out of curiosity, to make observations on their carriage, whom they found ready enough to make their moans and show their distressed case. The children were pitied by most that visited them or that heard of them, as being in great adversity. There were many conjectures formed about the causes of their behaviour: Some thought they labored of bodily maladies; others that their minds were disordered, and that a 'strange kind of distraction had seized on them. Others, from some of their actions, (which were silly enough,) thought them to be underwitted; others that

1 they were perverse and wicked children. But so far as I can learn, the greater number thought and said they were under an evil hand, or possessed by satan. This was the general cry of the town, and though many of this opinion were not so uncharitable as to judge or condemn Mrs. D—y as afflicting them, or to censure her as one in covenant with the devil, (having sufficient reason to believe the accused are not always the guilty persons;) yet they scrupled not to say, some evil spirit afflicted them in her shape. Indeed, that circumstance I named, of their complaining of Mrs. D—y, after she was really dead,

-y stumbled many, who before seemed fully persuaded the children were bewitched; as also Mrs. Dy's protestations of her innocency all along, together with her forgiving spirit upon her death bed: For when one asked her, among other questions, whether she forgave the wrong done her reputation by Mr. B-d's children, she answered, she freely forgave them all. People at a distance, forming their judgment of these matters from the parents of the children, and other relations, (who made their story as lamentable and doleful as it could be,) plumply pronounced it witchcraft as much as that which was formerly acted at Salem; [Vide History of New England, on Witchcraft.) all which, it may be, arose from as small a beginning, though attended and followed with more fatal effects. And it may be with some difficulty that my next head will undeceive some persons; which is

3dly, To explain what was dark and unintelligible in these children's speeches and behaviour. Whoever has considered well of what was said under the first particu-, lar, let the general conclusion he has drawn up in his mind be what it will, he must certainly be nonpluss'd, if

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