"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Monday, August 10, 2020

The Courtship of Sir Edward: A 17th Century Rom-Com

Sir Edward Dering, by William Dobson

This week, we look at a love story. Albeit, a love story that reads more like one of Shakespeare’s more robust comedies.

Edward Dering (1598-1644) was a distinguished figure. He had the distinction of being born in the Tower of London, as his father was then deputy-lieutenant of the site. After he graduated from Cambridge, Dering devoted himself to antiquarian studies and the collection of manuscripts. In 1619, he was knighted by James I, and in 1626 became a baronet.

This is all well and good, but the scholarly Sir Edward would not be entering the hallowed halls of Strange Company HQ if it were not for a curious courtship he entered into. He left a detailed record of his wooing in his diary, and, happily, the document has been preserved for the edification of historians who delight in seeing a dignified British aristocrat making a thorough fool of himself.

By 1628, Sir Edward had been twice widowed, but he felt ready for a third try at matrimony. The lady of his choice was Elizabeth Bennett, the young widow of a prominent London mercer. Mrs. Bennett was extremely rich, well-connected, and far from lacking in personal charms. Naturally, Sir Edward found himself facing a great deal of competition for her hand.

To the extreme amusement of Londoners--who seemed to have viewed the fight to marry Mrs. Bennett as a grand sporting event--the three leading suitors were named Finch, Crow, and Raven. Sir Sackville Crow had been Treasurer of the Navy, but he was soon kicked out of office (due to, in the words of 19th century historian John Timbs, “an unfortunate deficit of which he was unable to give a satisfactory account.”) After this humiliation, it was felt that Sir Sackville was out of the matrimonial running.

Raven--a London physician--came to an even more ignominious end. Having failed to win Mrs. Bennett’s heart through the conventional methods, he thought it a good plan to hide himself in her bedchamber, and after she had retired for the night, awaken her to pop the question yet again.

This worked out as well as any sane person would think. Mrs. Bennett screamed to raise the roof, the servants rushed in and seized the intruder, and poor old lovesick Dr. Raven found himself in the custody of the parish constable. The following day, the Recorder (who, as yet another of Mrs. Bennett’s suitors, must have felt his day was made,) charged Raven with “flat burglary” and ordered him to prison. At his trial, Raven was found guilty of the lesser charge of “ill-demeanor,” and ordered to pay a fine and a short term in jail.

This Recorder, Sir Heneage Finch, was of finer mettle than his imprudent rivals. He was a prominent lawyer, Speaker of the House of Commons, and owned a house so grand it eventually became the royal Kensington Palace. Sir Edward probably saw him as his main rival.

Heneage Finch

Our hero commenced his courtship on the morning after Dr. Raven was told “Nevermore.” His first diary entry, on November 20, was unpromising: “I adventured, was denied. Sent up a leter, which was returned, after she read it.”

When sentiment fails to work, try bribery. The following day, Sir Edward wrote, “I inveigled [George] Newman [one of Mrs. Bennett’s servants] with 20s.

November 24: “I did re-engage [Newman,] 20s. I did also oil the cash-keeper, 20s.”

November 26: “I gave Edmund Aspull [the oiled cash-keeper] another 20s. I was there, but denied sight.”

On November 27, Sir Edmund finally saw some results from his expenditures: “I sent a second letter, which was kept.”  Wisely striking while the metal was hot, on that same day he “set Sir John Skettington” upon one Matthew Cradock, Mrs. Bennett’s cousin and trusted adviser. Sir Edmund rounded off his busy day by having Cash-Keeper Aspull over to dinner, which I assume was a lavish one indeed.

However, the following day brought a setback: “I went to Mr. Cradock, but found him cold.” Sir John’s diplomatic efforts had clearly fallen flat.

On November 29, Sir Edward recorded that he had seen Mrs. Bennett at the Old Jewry Church, “both forenoon and afternoon.” On December 1, he was able to boast that he had sent the widow a third letter, “which was likewise kept.”

During this period, Mrs. Bennett had more serious problems than pesky suitors. A man named Steward had, through judicious bribery, acquired the wardship of her four-year-old son Simon. She was currently in negotiations with him to buy this wardship, but he refused an offer of 1,500 pounds in cash. Steward had suggested they settle the dispute by--you guessed it--getting married.  Although the widow was naturally repulsed by this blatant extortion, she felt it was wise to string him along until she was able to recover custody of her son. On December 5, Sir Edward described a conversation he had had with one Loe, a confidante of Mrs. Bennett’s, about the matter. Loe told him “that Steward was so testy that she durst not give admittance unto any, until he and she were fully concluded for the wardship--that she had a good opinion of me--that he [Loe] heard nobly of me--that he would inform me when Steward was off--that he was engaged for another--that I need not refrain from going to the church where she was, unless I thought it to disparage myself.”

Accordingly, the following Sunday Sir Edward went to St. Olave’s church, where the widow was also among the attendees. As he exited, George Newman whispered to him, “Good news! Good news!” Later that day, Newman called on Sir Edward with the information that Mrs. Bennett “liked well his carriage, and that if his land were not settled on his eldest son there was good hope.” Such encouraging words earned Mr. Newman another twenty shillings. That evening, as Sir Edward dined with Heneage Finch, he got even better news: Sir Heneage sighed that he had despaired of ever winning the widow’s favor, and even offered to help Sir Edward succeed where he himself had clearly failed.

The course of true love, as has been said a million times, never runs smooth, and such was the case with Sir Edward. Just when things were looking so promising, on New Year’s Day he, for unrecorded reasons, got into a huff, and demanded that Mrs. Bennett return his letters. When she did so--with a rather insulting speed--he instantly regretted his little fit of temper. He enlisted a friend named Izaak Walton (who himself gained fame as a biographer and author of “The Compleat Angler,) to act as go-between to calm these suddenly troubled waters. After all, as Sir Edward noted on January 9, “George Newman says she hath two suits of silver plate, one in the country and the other here, and that she hath beds of 100l the bed!”

Dreams of those enticing suits of silver plate and lavish beds inspired Sir Edward to ramp up his wooing. One day, as George Newman walked through Finsbury Fields in the company of Susan (Mrs. Bennett’s nursemaid) and the widow’s small son, they were accosted by Taylor, Sir Edward’s landlord. Taylor convinced the trio to come by for a visit. Our diarist “entertained the child with cake, and gave him an amber box, and to them, wine. Susan professed that she and all the house prayed for me, and told me the child called me ‘father.’ I gave her 5s, and entreated her to desire her mistress not to be offended by this, which I was so glad of. She said she thought she would not.”

Izaak Walton was dispatched to have a chat with Matthew Cradock. Mrs. Bennett’s cousin told him that he would do his best, if Sir Edward “would be ruled by him.” Although all this seemed hopeful, Sir Edward knew the game was far from over. His many rivals all had their own agents seeking to influence the widow, leaving him practically sleepless with anxiety. It was time to get God on his side. A relative of Sir Edward’s, the Dean of Canterbury, was enlisted into the fight. The Dean sent one Dr. Featley, a prominent London clergyman, to use his famed eloquence on Mrs. Bennett. When Sir Henry Wotton, running into Sir Edward in the Privy Chamber, gave him a knowing look and wished him “a full sail,” Dering must have felt that the prize was virtually his at last. The race was nearing the finish line!

Indeed it was, and it proved to be a contest with a surprise ending. After all those shillings, all that cake, all those envoys, Elizabeth Bennett announced that she was marrying...Sir Heneage Finch. Evidently Finch had been her choice from the beginning, but for whatever reason--perhaps because they found these multiple courtships to be capital entertainment--the pair had elected to keep their betrothal a secret.

Shortly after Elizabeth and Sir Heneage wed in April 1629, Sir Edward found his third wife. She was Unton, a daughter of Sir Ralph Gibbs. His marriage to “my ever dear Numps” (as he addressed her in his letters) proved to be a very successful one. As for the Finchs, they also lived in great contentment until Sir Heneage’s early death in 1631.

So here you have something which is probably a first for this blog: a happy ending!

Friday, August 7, 2020

Weekend Link Dump

“The Witches’ Cove,” Follower of Jan Mandijn 

Welcome to this week's Link Dump!  But play nicely.

Granny's watching!

The long history of a Yorkshire castle.

In reality, plague doctors looked like more stylish KKK members.

It seems unfair to call anything "the worst novel in the English language" as long as "Wuthering Heights" is still in print.

A haunted penal colony.

The shadows of Hiroshima.

Yet another case where poisoning became habit-forming.

Today's Jupiter weather report: mostly cloudy, with a strong chance of ammonia mushballs.

The saga of a wealthy Crazy Cat Lady.

Archaeologists share their favorite finds.

A really big "Oopsie!" from the Pepsi marketing department.

A ritual offering has been found on the bottom of Lake Titicaca.

An 18th century celebrity shipwreck survivor.

Eyewitness accounts of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

How dreams were used to win 18th century lotteries.

Let's talk haunted castles.

Astronomers have found multiple planets orbiting a Sun-like star.

The grave of Mother Damnable.

Sarah Gough, poor little dear.

A look at 18th century wigs.

Where Stonehenge got its stones.

Ah, the good old days, when it just took a comet to send the world into hysteria.

Look, if you're going to pretend to be the guy you just murdered, check his dietary preferences first.

A drug-smuggling cat is on the lam.

The burial of a hard-luck baby.

How portrait miniatures were the 18th century Facebook.

The Kayhausen Boy: one of those very cold murder cases.

How prehistoric humans made twine.

An unusual Yeti.

The missing mines of the Old West.

Why Ranton may be England's weirdest village.

A brief history of holiday cruise ships.

Mike the Headless Wonder Chicken.

This week in Russian Weird looks at mosquito tornadoes.

Disaster on the SS Eastland.

How one woman posthumously founded modern medicine.

A man (probably) murders his family...and disappears.

A Pennsylvania hoodoo house.

The man who went hunting and found aliens instead.

The murder of Jubilee Jim Fisk.

That's it for this week!  Tune in on Monday, when we'll look at courtship, 17th century style.  In the meantime, I think I've posted this song before, but it's a favorite of mine, and if this isn't a song for 2020, I don't know what is.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

Many people have curious superstitions about certain photos, but it’s hard to top the following tale from the “St. Louis Post-Dispatch,” August 17, 1898:
Mrs. Elizabeth Dellbregge of 1301 Ohio avenue applied to the Health Department Wednesday morning for a permit to exhume the body of her sister, Mrs. Minnie Schauber, who was buried in Concordia Cemetery Dec. 2, last year. 
In explaining her request, Mrs. Dellbregge related a story of superstition that surprised the Health Department officers and reminded them of the witchcraft that early historians tell about. Mrs. Dellbregge’s belief is that something interred with her dead sister is a hoodoo--that she is causing the Dellbregge family death, mysterious disappearance and general ill luck.   
hoodoo photo -

“A picture of my daughter Annie was buried in the coffin with my sister,” said Mrs. Dellbregge, “and I want to take it out. A fortune teller says that picture is causing all of the trouble.” 
When Mrs. Dellbregge visited the Health Office she was clad in deep mourning, for she buried her daughter Anna but two weeks ago. The death of her child set her to thinking that some ill luck attended the burial of the picture, and when she suggested that idea to a fortune teller, it was promptly confirmed. To add to Mrs. Dellbregge’s troubles her son John, 25 years old, has disappeared from his home, and she has no information as to his whereabouts. Her husband is also missing, but she thinks she knows where to find him. 
Two sons, Henry and Gerhart, are still at home and have not yet become victims of the hoodoo, but Mrs. Dellbregge says she doesn’t know what day they will fall under the baneful influence. 
“I didn’t know they were going to bury Anna’s picture with my sister, or I would never have consented to it,” the woman explained. “I did not get along well with my sister, and I believe the burial of that picture in her coffin was the work of some enemy of mine. The picture was laid right over my sister’s heart, so the fortune tellers say, and that is the most dangerous place it could have been put. My daughter died of convulsions.” 
Added to this weird theory of Mrs. Dellbregge’s is a story she tells about a dream. “Just a little while before Anna died,” she related, “I dreamed that she would live but a short time. The dream troubled me. I told Anna about it and she said she believed my dream would come true, and sure enough it did. The poor girl died in agony, and it all might have been avoided but for that picture. 
“I have permission of my dead sister’s husband for the disinterment of the body, and I propose to have that picture taken out. If it stays in there I will lose my whole family and then I will have to go too.” 
Dr. Karges, mortuary clerk, informed Mrs. Dellbregge that the rules of the Board of Health do not allow the disinterment of bodies at this season, and she was told to wait until September. Then, if she still maintains that the picture is a haunt, the grave will be opened and the picture will be removed. 
While Mrs. Dellbregge’s story discloses superstition rarely encountered these days, she appears perfectly rational. That she is determined and firmly set in her belief, there is no doubt. Mrs. Dellbregge is a member of the Lutheran Church at Grand avenue and Caroline street. She consulted her pastor, Rev. Schiller, about the disinterment of the body, and although she is a devout churchwoman, the pastor was unable to discourage her. 
When she learned that she must wait until September for the removal of the picture she became despondent and tears dropped from her eyes as she trudged away from the city dispensary.
I found nothing more about this story, so I have no idea if poor Mrs. Dellbregge made it to September without any further calamities. In any case, this story teaches a valuable lesson: be very careful about what you put into a coffin besides the dearly departed. 

As a side note, fortune tellers have a lot to answer for.

Monday, August 3, 2020

The Case of the Vanishing Movie Star: A Mystery at Sea

"Philadelphia Inquirer," November 16, 1919, via Newspapers.com

Mary Ann Louisa Taylor (or, as she was known to her many fans, “Marie Empress,”) was a well-known actress of the silent film era. Her sultry good looks brought her much success in the “vamp” roles which were so popular in that period. She was also a talented singer, dancer, and male impersonator. Unfortunately, none of her films survive, so today, even among film historians, she is a largely overlooked figure. She is now only remembered--when she is remembered at all--for the peculiar circumstances of her death.

Little is known about Marie’s personal life. When she was 18, she married a dentist named Walter Herbert Horton. In 1906, after only four years of marriage, she left him in order to pursue a theatrical career. Horton--who seems to have taken the loss of his wife with equanimity--then moved to New Zealand. (As he explained in their 1918 divorce suit, “a wife did not want her husband when she was on the stage.”) Like most performers of her day, Marie supplied the press with many colorful and entirely fictitious details about her life, leaving her real history largely a mystery. 

"Philadelphia Inquirer," November 16, 1919

She became a comedienne in the music halls of her native England, where she was billed as “the girl who is making a name for herself.” This was not hyperbole. She was soon successful enough to be emboldened to try her luck in American vaudeville, where critics praised her “winning personality” and “dainty, dark beauty.” In 1915, she made her screen debut in a melodrama called “When We Were 21.” Again, she was an instant hit. Her films consistently did well at the box office, and reviewers enthused over her beauty, charisma, and acting talents. In short, Marie was well on her way to becoming one of cinema’s biggest stars. 

"Altoona Tribune," April 11, 1916

In the fall of 1919, Marie went to England to make personal appearances and negotiate film contracts with English producers. On October 16, she boarded the Cunard steamer Orduna for her return to New York. The glamorous 35-year-old actress--always dressed in black and sporting a monocle--naturally attracted a good deal of attention from her fellow passengers. She kept largely to herself, but seemed in excellent spirits. 

The Orduna

On the evening of October 26, the Orduna was two and a half hours out from its last stop in Halifax. Around six p.m., a stewardess brought dinner to Marie’s stateroom. Marie told her she wasn’t feeling very well, and wasn’t sure if she could eat anything, but half an hour later, when the stewardess returned to collect the dishes, she found that the actress had finished her meal. Marie told her to come back at about 9:30 with some sandwiches (it was apparently her habit to have a robust snack before going to bed.) The stewardess noted that Marie seemed cheerful and good-humored--as, indeed, she had been throughout the entire voyage. 

When the stewardess brought the sandwiches at precisely 9:30, she found Marie’s stateroom empty. Presuming the actress had gone out on deck, she put the food on a table and left. The next morning, the stewardess tapped on Marie’s door. There was no answer. When she entered the room, she found that the bed had not been slept in.  The sandwiches were untouched.  The only items missing from the stateroom--besides Marie--were her handbag and the jewelry she had worn the night before. When she reported this oddity to the captain, he had the ship thoroughly searched. There was no sign of Marie, and no one on board remembered having seen her. The only conclusion the passengers and crew could come to is that sometime between 6:30 and 9:30 on the night of the 26th, Marie had gone overboard--whether accidentally or deliberately, no one could say. 

The first mystery is how the actress could have gone into the sea. The porthole in her stateroom was far too small for her to fit through, and in any case it was found locked from the inside. For her to go on deck, she would have had to travel a number of well-lighted passageways and salons which, at that time, were crowded with people. The deck itself was also brightly lit, and full of passengers and crew members. Surely, it was reasoned, someone with Marie’s striking looks could not have slipped through and thrown herself into the sea unobserved? 

The second question is why Marie would have wished to drown herself. Although she seems to have not spoken much to anyone on the ship, there was nothing indicating she contemplated anything other than a successful sojourn in New York. A rack above her berth contained a number of photographs of herself which she intended to give to the press when she arrived. From Halifax, she had cabled a New York hotel asking them to reserve a room for her. She had just completed a triumphant tour of Australian music halls, and her stewardess said Marie had hinted to her that she might soon marry. 

Her disappearance was considered so inexplicable that newspapers declared that Marie was alive and well and staging an epic publicity stunt--a theory bolstered by her proven ability to pass herself off as a man. An English press agent, Walter Kingsley, coyly told reporters, “Did you ever hear of a woman registering as Miss So-and-So and later changing her room and calling herself Miss Somebody Else?” He added, “Wouldn’t it be nice if a fishing boat picked her up, or something like that happened?” The grinning Kingsley predicted that the missing woman would soon turn up “mysteriously and unannounced” in New York.  Rumors spread that Marie had managed to sneak into New York disguised as one of the ship’s male crew members. 

"Waterloo Courier," November 18, 1919

However, as the days went by with no sign of the missing actress, and her trunks remained unclaimed, it became obvious that poor Marie had gone overboard.  Was this a case of accidental fall? Suicide? Or, as some darkly suggested, even murder? It was reported that a London man named Oliver Williams was “the one person who could throw light on the mystery,” but that enigmatic statement was never expanded upon. 

Nothing remained to keep her memory alive except her films, which, eerily, continued to play in theaters for months after she was last seen in the flesh. Eventually, of course, even those faded away, and, before very long, the once-acclaimed Marie Empress was nothing but a forgotten mystery at sea.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Weekend Link Dump

"The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan Mandijn

It's time for the Link Dump!

And tea is served!

Do you want to buy an Irish mansion inhabited by the Devil?  Of course you do.

If you want to lose what little faith in humanity you have left, contemplate the fact that somebody out there would spend $12,000 for a pizza that looks like something I wouldn't eat for free.

Maurice the Rooster and "sensory heritage."  I've long been bemused by people who flee cities for rural areas and then bitch about how rural areas aren't enough like a city.

How the Titanic foiled a kidnapping.

The naming of Mount Everest.

How the corpse of a murderer wound up doing advertising for a drug store.

How a woman wasn't murdered.

How Chicago was shaped by skunks.  Um, I mean literally, but I won't blame you for thinking otherwise.

How hurricanes have shaped history.

A grave that's become a circus shrine.

Need an excuse to move out of your house?  Here are a few suggestions.

A Portuguese writer who was "brilliantly clever but quite mad."

Anglo-Saxon medicine for the win!

The execution of Essex witches.

India has a potato-throwing poltergeist.

Vikings are being blamed for spreading smallpox.

You know the old, old story: boy meets girl.  Love blossoms.  They go live in a cave...

When cryptids meet mainstream science.

The "fasting-woman of Tutbury."

A look at Cockney Beanos.

A mass UFO sighting in Finland.

Vintage newspaper portraits of dogs.

A child is accidentally murdered by the Mob.

A Persian Prince goes on trial.

Singer Johnny Horton's fake son.

An unartful dodger.

Two words you definitely don't want to see in the same headline: "latrine" and "disaster."

De Quincey and the fine art of murder.

How Raphael probably died.  (Spoiler: his doctors were quacks.)

The murder of a major figure in early Canadian history.

The Great Long Island Tiger Hunt.

Neanderthals were sissies.

Accounts of flying trains.

And we're outta here for this week.  Tune in on Monday, when we'll look at the strange end of a silent film star.  In the meantime, here's a bit of Baroque.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

I think it’s about time a Shadowy Hand made an appearance on this blog. The “Garber Sentinel,” August 18, 1927:
Aosta, Italy—Priests and spiritualists using respectively exorcisms and mediums are seeking to probe the mystery of a shadowy hand which for some weeks now has been disturbing the family peace of a modest workman, Giuseppe Della Villa. who lives here with his wife and four children.

Some months ago a brother of Della Villa who lived in the house died, and a few weeks ago the family hung up a photographic enlargement of the deceased in the room in which he slept. The first signs of the psychic phenomenon were noted by Della Villa and his wife one night about ten o’clock. The clearly defined shadow of a hand appeared on the wall close to the photograph and the fingers opened and closed as if trying to grasp something. The neighbors were called in and the phenomenon was repeated in the presence of half a dozen people.

The dead hand was shadowed on the wall near the photograph on several other occasions, always at night time, and the parish priest was called in to pronounce an exorcism. This seems to have produced no effect on the shadowy hand, which continued to show up every other night about bedtime.

Some local spiritualists then interested themselves and brought a medium to the house. According to the medium the hand is a spirit manifestation from the dead brother who is trying to convey a message to the family. What this message is the medium does not pretend to know.
There do not seem to be any follow-ups to the story.

Monday, July 27, 2020

The Demon of the Printing-Office: An Unusual 18th Century Haunting

Poltergeist accounts tend to be surprisingly formulaic--read enough of them, and you start to think, “If you’ve seen one polt, you’ve seen them all.” For that reason, the number of unusual and bizarre details in the following story come as a welcome change of pace. This report comes from the Benedictine monk Antoine Augustin Calmet, whose informant was probably one of the exorcists involved in the case.
They write me word from Constance, the 8th of August, 1748, that towards the end of the year 1746 sighs were heard, which seemed to proceed from the corner of the printing-office of the Sieur Lahart, one of the common-council-men of the city of Constance. The printers only laughed at it at first, but in the following year, 1747, in the beginning of January, they heard more noise than before. There was a hard knocking near the same corner whence they had at first heard some sighs; things went so far that the printers received slaps, and their hats were thrown on the ground. They had recourse to the Capuchins, who came with the books proper for exorcising the spirit. The exorcism completed, they returned home, and the noise ceased for three days.

At the end of that time the noise recommenced more violently than before; the spirit threw the characters for printing, whether letters or figures, against the windows. They sent out of the city for a famous exorcist, who exorcised the spirit for a week. One day the spirit boxed the ears of a lad; and again the letters, &c, were thrown against the window-panes. The foreign exorcist, not having been able to effect anything by his exorcisms, returned to his own home.

The spirit went on as usual, giving slaps in the face to one, and throwing stones and other things at another, so that the compositors were obliged to leave that corner of the printing-office and place themselves in the middle of the room; but they were not the quieter for that.

They then sent for other exorcists, one of whom had a particle of the true cross, which he placed upon the table. The spirit did not, however, cease disturbing as usual the workmen belonging to the printing-office; and the Capuchin brother who accompanied the exorcist received such buffets that they were both obliged to withdraw to their convent. Then came others, who, having mixed a quantity of sand and ashes in a bucket of water, blessed the water, and sprinkled with it every part of the printing-office. They also scattered the sand and ashes all over the room upon the paved floor, and being provided with swords the whole party began to strike at random right and left in every part of the room, to see if they could hit the ghost, and to observe if he left any foot-marks upon the sand or ashes which covered the floor. They perceived at last that he had perched himself on the top of the stove or furnace, and they remarked on the angles of its marks of his feet and hands impressed on the sand and ashes they had blessed.

They succeeded in driving him from thence, and they very soon perceived that he had slid under the table, and left marks of his hands and feet on the pavement. The dust raised by all this movement in the office caused them to disperse, and they discontinued the pursuit. But the principal exorcist having taken out a screw from the angle where they had first heard the noise, found in a hole in the wall some feathers, three bones wrapped up in a dirty piece of linen, some bits of glass, and a hair-pin, or bodkin. He blessed a fire which they lighted, and had it all thrown in. But this monk had hardly reached his convent when one of the printers came to tell him that the bodkin had come out of the flames three times of itself, and that a boy who was holding a pair of tongs, and who put this bodkin in the fire again, had been violently struck in the face. The rest of the things which had been found having been brought to the Capuchin convent, they were burnt without further resistance; but the lad who had carried them there saw a naked woman in the public market-place, and on that and the following days groans were heard in the market-place of Constance.

Some days after this the printer's house was again infested in this manner, the ghost giving slaps, throwing stones, and molesting the domestics in diverse ways. The Sieur Lahart, the master of the house, received a great wound in his head, two boys who slept in the same bed were thrown on the ground, so that the house was entirely forsaken during the night. One Sunday a servant girl carrying away some linen from the house had stones thrown at her, and another time two boys were thrown down from a ladder.

There was in the city of Constance an executioner who passed for a sorcerer. The monk who writes to me suspected him of having some part in this game; he began to exhort those who sat up with him in the house, to put their confidence in God, and to be strong in faith. He gave them to understand that the executioner was likely to be of the party. They passed the night thus in the house, and about ten o'clock in the evening, one of the companions of the exorcist threw himself at his feet in tears, and revealed to him, that that same night he and one of his companions had been sent to consult the executioner in Turgau, and that by order of the Sieur Lahart, printer, in whose house all this took place. This avowal strangely surprised the good father, and he declared that he would not continue to exercise, if they did not assure him that they had not spoken to the executioner to put an end to the haunting. They protested that they had not spoken to him at all. The Capuchin father had everything picked up that was found about the house, wrapped up in packets, and had them carried to his convent.

The following night, two domestics tried to pass the night in the house, but they were thrown out of their beds, and constrained to go and sleep elsewhere. After this, they sent for a peasant of the village of Annanstorf, who was considered a good exorcist. He passed the night in the haunted house, drinking, singing, and shouting. He received slaps and blows from a stick, and was obliged to own that he could not prevail against the spirit.

The widow of an executioner presented herself then to perform the exorcisms; she began by using fumigations in all parts of the dwelling, to drive away the evil spirits. But before she had finished these fumigations, seeing that the master was struck in the face and on his body by the spirit, she ran away from the house, without asking for her pay.

They next called in the Cure of Valburg, who passed for a clever exorcist. He came with four other secular cures, and continued the exorcisms for three days, without any success. He withdrew to his parish, imputing the inutility of his prayers to the want of faith of those who were present.

During this time, one of the four priests was struck with a knife, then with a fork, but he was not hurt. The son of Sieur Lahart, master of the dwelling, received upon his jaw a blow from a paschal taper, which did him no harm. All being of no service, they sent for the executioner of the neighbourhood. Two of the persons who went to fetch him were well thrashed and pelted with stones. Another had his thigh so tightly pressed, that he felt the pain for a long time. The executioner carefully collected all the packets he found wrapped up about the house, and put others in their room; but the spirit took them up and threw them into the market-place. After this, the executioner persuaded the Sieur Lahart that he might boldly return with his people to the house; he did so, but the first night, when they were at supper, one of his workmen named Solomon was wounded on the foot, and then followed a great effusion of blood. They then sent again for the executioner, who appeared much surprised that the house was not yet entirely freed, but at that moment he was himself attacked by a shower of stones, boxes on the ears, and other blows, which constrained him to run away quickly.

Some heretics in the neighbourhood, being informed of all these things, came one day to the bookseller's shop, and upon attempting to read in a Catholic Bible which was there, were well boxed and beaten; but having taken up a Calvinist Bible, they received no harm. Two men of Constance having entered the bookseller's shop from sheer curiosity, one of them was immediately thrown down upon the ground, and the other ran away as fast as he could. Another person, who had come in the same way from curiosity, was punished for his presumption, by having a quantity of water thrown upon him. A young girl of Augsburg, a relation of the Sieur Lahart, printer, was chased away with violent blows, and pursued even to the neighbouring house, where she entered.

At last the hauntings ceased, on the 8th of February. On that day the spectre opened the shop-door, went in, displaced a few articles, went out, shut the door, and from that time nothing more was seen or heard of it.