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The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang online

The Book of Dreams and Ghosts by Andrew Lang


"Many other strange and fantastical freaks have been done by the said daemon or spirit in the view of divers persons; a barrel of salt of considerable quantity hath been observed to march from room to room without any human assistance.

"An hand-iron hath seemed to lay itself cross over-thwart a pan of milk that hath been scalding over the fire, and two flitches of bacon have of their own accord descended from the chimney where they were hung, and placed themselves upon the hand-iron.

"When the spectre appears in resemblance of her own person, she seems to be habited in the same cloaths and dress which the gentlewoman of the house (her daughter-in-law) hath on at the same time. Divers times the feet and legs of the young man aforesaid have been so entangled about his neck that he hath been loosed with great difficulty; sometimes they have been so twisted about the frames of chairs and stools that they have hardly been set at liberty. But one of the most considerable instances of the malice of the spirit against the young man happened on Easter Eve, when Mrs. C. the relator, was passing by the door of the house, and it was thus:--

"When the young man was returning from his labour, he was taken up by the _skirt_ of his _doublet_ by this _female daemon_, and carried a height into the air. He was soon missed by his Master and some other servants that had been at labour with him, and after diligent enquiry no news could be heard of him, until at length (near half an hour after) he was heard singing and whistling in a bog or quagmire, where they found him in a kind of trance or _extatick fit_, to which he hath sometimes been accustomed (but whether before the affliction he met with from this spirit I am not certain). He was affected much after such sort, as at the time of those _fits_, so that the people did not give that _attention_ and _regard_ to what he said as at other times; but when he returned again to himself (which was about an hour after) he solemnly protested to them that the daemon had carried him so high that his master's house seemed to him to be but _as a hay-cock_, and _that during all that time he was in perfect sense, and prayed to Almighty God not to suffer the devil to destroy him_; and that he was suddenly set down in that quagmire.

The workmen found one shoe on one side of his master's house, and the other on the other side, and in the morning espied his perriwig hanging on the top of a tree; by which it appears he had been carried a considerable height, and that what he told them was not a fiction.

"After this it was observed that that part of the young man's body which had been on the mud in the quagmire was somewhat benummbed and seemingly deader than the other, whereupon the following _Saturday_, which was the day before _Low Sunday_, he was carried to _Crediton, alias Kirton_, to be bleeded, which being done accordingly, and the company having left him for some little space, at their return they found him in one of his fits, with his _forehead_ much _bruised_, and _swoln_ to a _great bigness_, none being able to guess how it happened, until his recovery from that _fit_, when upon enquiry he gave them this account of it: _that a bird had with great swiftness and force flown in at the window with a stone in its beak, which it had dashed against his forehead, which had occasioned the swelling which they saw_.