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haunted house, a truly tedious process, for the expulsion of demons, who, it should seem, have not been easily ferreted out of their quarters, if one may judge of their unwillingness to depart by the prolixity of this removal warrant.
One smiles at Bourne's zeal in honour of his Protestant brethren, at the end of his tenth chapter. The vulgar, he says, think them no conjurors, and say none can lay spirits but popish priests: he wishes to undeceive them, however, and to prove at least negatively that our own clergy know full as much of the black art as the others do.'
St. Chrysostom is said to have insulted some African conjurors of old with this humiliating and singular observation : "Miserable and woful creatures that we are, we cannot so much as expel fleas, much less devils." "Obsession of the devil is distinguished from possession in this:-In possession the evil one was said to enter into the body of the man. In obsession, without entering into the body of the person, he was thought to besiege and torment him without. To be lifted up into the air, and afterwards to be thrown down on the ground violently, without receiving any hurt; to speak strange languages that the person had never learned; not to be able to come near holy things or the sacraments, but to have an aversion to them; to know and foretel secret things; to perform things that exceed the person's strength; to say or do things that the person would not or durst not say, if he were not externally moved to it; were the antient marks and criterions of possessions." Calmet, in Bailey's Dictionary.
"Various ways," says an essayist in the Gentleman's Magazine for October, 1732, ii. 1002, "have been proposed by the learned for the laying of ghosts. Those of the artificial sort are easily quieted. Thus when a fryer, personating an apparition, haunted the chambers of the late Emperor Josephus, the present king, Augustus, then at the Imperial Court, flung him out of the window, and laid him effectually. The late Dr. Fowler, Bishop of Gloucester, and the late Mr. Justice
Upon the subject of exorcising, the following books may be consulted with advantage: Fustis Dæmonum, cui adjicitur Flagellum Dæmonum, 12mo. Venet. 1608 (a prohibited book among the Roman Catholics): and Practica Exorcistarum F. Valerii Polidori Patavini ad Dæmones et Maleficia de Christi Fidelibus expellendum: 12mo. Venet. 1606. From this last, Bourne's form has been taken.
Powell, had frequent altercations upon this subject. The bishop was a zealous defender of ghosts; the justice somewhat sceptical, and distrustful of their being. In a visit the bishop one day made his friend, the justice told him, that since their last disputation he had had ocular demonstration to convince him of the existence of ghosts. How,' says the bishop, what! ocular demonstration? I am glad, Mr. Justice, you are become a convert; I beseech you let me know the whole story at large.' 'My lord,' answers the justice, 'as I lay one night in my bed, about the hour of twelve, I was wak'd by an uncommon noise, and heard something coming up stairs, and stalking directly towards my room. 1 drew the curtain, and saw a faint glimmering of light enter my chamber.' 'Of a blue colour, no doubt,' says the bishop. 'Of a pale blue,' answers the justice; 'the light was follow'd by a tall, meagre, and stern personage, who seemed about seventy, in a long dangling rugg gown, bound round with broad leathern girdle; his beard thick and grizly: a large fur cap on his head, and a long staff in his hand; his face wrinkled, and of a dark sable hue. I was struck with the appearance, and felt some unusual shocks; for you know the old saying I made use of in court, when part of the lanthorn upon Westminster Hall fell down in the midst of our proceedings, to the no small terror of one or two of my brethren:
'Si fractus illibatur orbis,
But to go on it drew near, and stared me full in the face.' 'And did not you speak to it?' interrupted the bishop; 'there was money hid or murder committed to be sure.' 'My lord, I did speak to it.' 'And what answer, Mr. Justice?' 'My lord, the answer was (not without a thump of the staff and a shake of the lanthorn), that he was the watchman of the night, and came to give me notice that he had found the street-door open, and that, unless I rose and shut it, I might chance to be robbed before break of day.' The judge had no sooner ended but the bishop disappeared." The same essayist (p. 1001) says: "The cheat is begun by nurses with stories of bugbears, &c., from whence we are gradually led to the traditionary accounts of local ghosts, which, like the genii of the ancients, have been reported to haunt certain family
seats and cities famous for their antiquities and decays. Of this sort are the apparitions at Verulam, Silchester, Reculver, and Rochester: the dæmon of Tidworth, the black dog of Winchester, and the bar-guest of York. Hence also suburban. ghosts, raised by petty printers and pamphleteers. The story of Madam Veal has been of singular use to the editors of Drelincourt on Death." And afterwards ironically observes : "When we read of the ghost of Sir George Villiers, of the piper of Hammel, the dæmon of Moscow, or the German Colonel mentioned by Ponti, and see the names of Clarendon, Boyle, &c., to these accounts, we find reason for our credulity; till, at last, we are convinced by a whole conclave of ghosts met in the works of Glanvil and Moreton." Mr. Locke assures us we have as clear an idea of spirit as of body.
Allan Ramsay, in his Poems, 1721, p. 27, mentions, as common in Scotland, the vulgar notion that a ghost will not be laid to rest till some priest speak to it, and get account of what disturbs it:
"For well we wat it is his ghaist
Wow, wad some folk that can do't best,
'Tis a good deed
In the Statistical Account of Scotland, xiii. 557, parish of Lochcarron, county of Ross, we read: "There is one opinion which many of them entertain, and which indeed is not peculiar to this parish alone, that a popish priest can cast out devils and cure madness, and that the Presbyterian clergy have no such power. A person might as well advise a mob to pay no attention to a merry-andrew as to desire many ignorant people to stay from the (popish) priest."
Pliny tells us that houses were anciently hallowed against evil spirits with brimstone! This charm has been converted by later times into what our satirist, Churchill, in his Prophecy of Famine, calls "a precious and rare medicine," and is now used (but I suppose with greater success) in exorcising those of our unfortunate fellow-creatures who feel themselves possessed with a certain teazing fiery spirit, said by the wits
of the south to be well known, seen, and felt, and very troublesome in the north.1
In the New Catalogue of Vulgar Errors, 1767, p. 71, I find the following: "I look upon our sailors to care as little what becomes of themselves as any set of people under the sun, and yet no people are so much terrified at the thoughts of an apparition. Their sea-songs are full of them; they firmly believe their existence and honest Jack Tar shall be more frightened at a glimmering of the moon upon the tackling of the ship, than he would be if a Frenchman was to clap a blunderbuss to his head. I was told a story by an officer in the navy, which may not be foreign to the purpose. About half a dozen of the sailors on board a man-of-war took it into their heads that there was a ghost in the ship; and being asked by the captain what reason they had to apprehend any such thing, they told him they were sure of it, for they smelt him. The captain at first laughed at them, and called them a parcel of lubbers, and advised them not to entertain any such silly notions as these, but mind their work. It passed on very well for a day or two; but one night, being in another ghostsmelling humour, they all came to the captain and told him that they were quite certain there was a ghost, and he was somewhere behind the small-beer barrels. The captain, quite enraged at their folly, was determined they should have something to be frightened at in earnest, and so ordered the boatswain's mate to give them all a dozen of lashes with a cat-o'nine-tails, by which means the ship was entirely cleared of
In Dr. Jorden's Dedication of his curious treatise of the Suffocation of the Mother, 4to. Lond. 1603, to the College of Physicians in London, he says: "It behoveth us, as to be zealous in the truth, so to be wise in discerning truth from counterfeiting, and naturall causes from supernatural power. I doe not deny but there may be both possessions, and obsessions, and witchcraft, &c., and dispossession also through the prayers and supplications of God's servants, which is the only meanes left unto us for our reliefe in that case. But such examples being verye rare now a-dayes, I would in the feare of God advise men to be very circumspect in pronouncing of a possession; both because the impostures be many, and the effects of naturall diseases be strange to such as have not looked thoroughly into them." Baxter, in his World of Spirits, p. 223, observes that "devils have a greater game to play invisibly than by apparitions. O happy world, if they did not do a hundred thousand times more hurt by the baits of pleasure, lust, and honour, and by pride, and love of money, and sensuality, than they do by witches!"
ghosts during the remainder of the voyage. However, when the barrels were removed, some time after, they found a dead rat, or some such thing, which was concluded by the rest of the crew to be the ghost which had been smelt a little before." Our author accounts for this philosophically: "A great deal may be said in favour of men troubled with the scurvy, the concomitants of which disorder are, generally, faintings and the hip, and horrors without any ground for them."
The following was communicated to me by a gentleman, to whom it had been related by a sea captain of the port of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. "His cook," he said, "chanced to die on their passage homeward. This honest fellow, having had one of his legs a little shorter than the other, used to walk in that way which our vulgar idiom calls with an up and down.' A few nights after his body had been committed to the deep, our captain was alarmed by his mate with an account that the cook was walking before the ship, and that all hands were upon deck to see him. The captain, after an oath or two for having been disturbed, ordered them to let him alone, and try which, the ship or he, should get first to Newcastle. But, turning out, on farther importunity, he honestly confessed that he had like to have caught the contagion, and on seeing something move in a way so similar to that which an old friend used, and withal having a cap on so like that which he was wont to wear, verily thought there was more in the report than he was at first willing to believe. A general panic diffused itself. He ordered the ship to be steered towards the object, but not a man would move the helm. Compelled to do this himself, he found, on a nearer approach, that the ridiculous cause of all their terror was part of a main-top, the remains of some wreck, floating before them. Unless he had ventured to make this near approach to the supposed ghost, the tale of the walking cook had long been in the mouths, and excited the fears, of many honest and very brave fellows in the Wapping of Newcastle-upon-Tyne."
Dr. Johnson, in his description of the Buller of Buchan, in Scotland, pleasantly tells us: "If I had any malice against a walking spirit, instead of laying him in the Red Sea, I would condemn him to reside in the Buller of Buchan."
Spirits that give disturbance by knocking are no novelties. Thus I find the following passage in Osborne's Advice to his