Evidence of Witches
For Halloween: The accounts and evidence against witches (those killed for being witches) are far more terrifying than the prospects of them being true witches. The idea that they can be tried, found guilty and put to death with little or no evidence (just testimonies from neighbors) scares me a lot more than a witch showing up at my house at night.
Here is the testimony of iames Deuice. It’s taken from the book Discovery of Witches, by Thomas Potts, Edited by James Crossley (1613). We’ve included the orginal excerpt and then translated it as well as we could.
HE sayd Examinate Iames Deuice sayth, that about a month agoe, as this Examinate was comming towards his Mothers house, and at day-gate of the same night, this Examinate mette a browne Dogge comming from his Graund-mothers house, about tenne Roodes distant from the same house: and about two or three nights after, that this Examinate heard a voyce of a great number of Children screiking and crying pittifully, about day-light gate; and likewise, about ten Roodes distant of this Examinates sayd Graund-mothers house. And about fiue nights then next following, presently after daylight, within 20. Roodes of the sayd Elizabeth Sowtherns house, he heard a foule yelling like vnto a great number of Cattes: but what they were, this Examinate cannot tell. And he further sayth, that about three nights after that, about midnight of the same, there came a thing, and lay vpon him very heauily about an houre, and went then from him out of his Chamber window, coloured blacke, and about the bignesse of a Hare or Catte. And he further sayth, that about S. Peter’s day last, one Henry Bullocke came to the sayd Elizabeth Sowtherns house, and sayd, that her Graund-child Alizon Deuice, had bewitched a Child of his, and desired her that she would goe with him to his house; which accordingly she did: And therevpon she the said Alizon fell downe on her knees, & asked the said Bullocke forgiuenes, and confessed to him, that she had bewitched the said child, as this Examinate heard his said sister confesse vnto him this Examinate.
The subject, Iames Deuice, said that about a month ago, as he was walking toward his Mother’s house, and later that night at his gate, Iames saw a brown dog coming from his Grandmother’s home. The strange animal was about 50 yards away. Two or 3 nights later he heard voices of children shriking. There was a loud group of voice. Iames said he could not tell how many. They crying and screaming and it was in the same directions also about 50 yards away toward his Grand-mothers home. He heard the voices around sunrise. He also it 4 nights after that, for another approximate 20 days. He heard many cats yelling and those noises were coming from Elizabeth Sowtherns house. He was pretty sure. They sounded like cats, but he wasn’t positive.
Three nights after he heard these noises he had a spirit come over him and hold him down. It was constricting his chest. It was on him for about an hour. After that time he saw it go out the window of his home. It was black and the size of a rabbit or cat.
He says after this that last St. Peter’s Day Henry Bullocke said that his child had been bewitched by Sowtherns’ granddaughter Alizon Deuice. She took him to her house and he followed her.
When they got to the house, Alizon got down on her knees and prayed for forgiveness. She ask Bullocke to forgive her for bewitching his child. Alizon’s sister has also confessed to Iames.