|Agostino Veneziano, "The Witches' Procession|
This account of a "stone-throwing devil" was published in 1698 by Richard Chamberlain, the secretary of the colony of New Hampshire. It was reprinted in George Lincoln Burr's "Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases, 1648-1706." As you shall see, it shows that descriptions of poltergeist attacks have changed little over the centuries.
Such is the Sceptical Humour of this Age for Incredulity, (not to say Infidelity,) That I wonder they do not take up and profess, in terms, the Pyrrhonian Doctrine of disbelieving their very Senses. For that which I am going to relate happening in the Province of New-Hampshire in America, just upon that Governour’s Arrival and Appearance at the Council there, who was informed by my self, and several other Gentlemen of the Council, and other considerable Persons, of the true and certain Reality hereof, yet he continued tenacious in the Opinion that we were all imposed upon by the waggery of some unlucky Boys; which, considering the Circumstances and Passages hereafter mentioned, was altogether impossible.
I have a Wonder to relate; for such (I take it) is so to be termed whatsoever is Praeternatural, and not assignable to, or the effect of, Natural Causes: It is a Lithobolia, or Stone-throwing, which happened by Witchcraft (as was supposed) and maliciously perpetrated by an Elderly Woman, a Neighbour suspected, and (I think) formerly detected for such kind of Diabolical Tricks and Practises; and the wicked Instigation did arise upon the account of some small quantity of Land in her Field, which she pretended was unjustly taken into the Land of the Person where the Scene of this Matter lay, and was her Right; she having been often very clamorous about that Affair, and heard to say, with much Bitterness, that her Neighbour (innuendo the fore-mentioned Person, his Name George Walton) should never quietly injoy that piece of Ground. Which, as it has confirm’d my self and others in the Opinion that there are such things as Witches, and the Effects of Witchcraft, or at least of the mischievous Actions of Evil Spirits; which some do as little give Credit to, as in the Case of Witches, utterly rejecting both their Operations and their Beings, we having been Eye-Witnesses of this Matter almost every Day for a quarter of a Year together; so it may be a means to rectifie the depraved Judgment and Sentiments of other disbelieving Persons, and absolutely convince them of their Error, if they please to hear, without prejudice, the plain, but most true Narration of it; which was thus.
Some time ago being in America (in His then Majesty’s Service) I was lodg’d in the said George Walton’s House, a Planter there, and on a Sunday Night, about Ten a Clock, many Stones were heard by my self, and the rest of the Family, to be thrown, and (with Noise) hit against the top and all sides of the House, after he the said Walton had been at his Fence-Gate, which was between him and his Neighbour one John Amazeen an Italian, to view it; for it was again, as formerly it had been (the manner how being unknown) wrung off the Hinges, and cast upon the Ground; and in his being there, and return home with several Persons of (and frequenting) his family and House, about a flight shot distant from the Gate, they were all assaulted with a peal of Stones, (taken, we conceive, from the Rocks hard by the House) and this by unseen Hands or Agents. For by this time I was come down to them, having risen out of my Bed at this strange Alarm of all that were in the House, and do know that they all look’d out as narrowly as I did, or any Person could (it being a bright Moon-light Night), but cou’d make no Discovery. Thereupon, and because there came many Stones, and those pretty great ones, some as big as my Fist, into the Entry or Porch of the House, we withdrew into the next Room to the Porch, no Person having receiv’d any Hurt, (praised be Almighty Providence, for certainly the infernal Agent, constant Enemy to Mankind, had he not been over-ruled, intended no less than Death or Maim) save only that two Youths were lightly hit, one on the Leg, the other on the Thigh, notwithstanding the Stones came so thick, and so forcibly against the sides of so narrow a Room.
Whilst we stood amazed at this Accident, one of the Maidens imagined she saw them come from the Hall, next to that we were in, where searching, (and in the Cellar, down out of the Hall,) and finding no Body, another and my self observed two little Stones in a short space successively to fall on the Floor, coming as from the Ceiling close by us, and we concluded it must necessarily be done by means extraordinary and praeternatural.
Coming again into the Room where we first were (next the Porch), we had many of these lapidary Salutations, but unfriendly ones; for, shutting the door, it was no small Surprise to me to have a good big Stone come with great force and noise (just by my Head) against the Door on the inside; and then shutting the other Door, next the Hall, to have the like Accident; so going out again, upon a necessary Occasion, to have another very near my Body, clattering against the Board-wall of the House; but it was a much greater, to be so near the danger of having my Head broke with a Mall, or great Hammer brushing along the top or roof of the Room from the other end, as I was walking in it, and lighting down by me; but it fell so, that my Landlord had the greatest damage, his Windows (especially those of the first mention’d Room) being with many Stones miserably and strangely batter’d, most of the Stones giving the Blow on the inside, and forcing the Bars, Lead, and hasps of the Casements outwards, and yet falling back (sometimes a Yard or two) into the Room; only one little Stone we took out of the glass of the Window, where it lodg’d its self in the breaking it, in a Hole exactly fit for the Stone.
The Pewter and Brass were frequently pelted, and sometimes thrown down upon the Ground; for the Evil Spirit seemed then to affect variety of Mischief, and diverted himself at this end after he had done so much Execution at the other. So were two Candlesticks, after many hittings, at last struck off the Table where they stood, and likewise a large Pewter Pot, with the force of these Stones. Some of them were taken up hot, and (it seems) immediately coming out of the Fire; and some (which is not unremarkable) having been laid by me upon the Table along by couples, and numbred, were found missing; that is, two of them, as we return’d immediately to the Table, having turn’d our backs only to visit and view some new Stone-charge or Window-breach; and this Experiment was four or five times repeated, and I still found one or two missing of the Number, which we all mark’d, when I did but just remove the Light from off the Table, and step to the Door, and back again.
After this had continued in all the parts and sides of the first Room (and down the Chimney) for above hours, I, weary of the Noise, and sleepy, went to Bed, and was no sooner fallen asleep, but was awakened with the unwelcome disturbance of another Battery of a different sort, it issuing with so prodigious a Noise against the thin Board-wall of my Chamber (which was within another) that I could not imagin it less than the fracture and downfall of great part of the Chamber, or at least of the Shelves, Books, Pictures, and other things, placed on that side, and on the Partition-Wall between the Anti-Chamber and the Door of mine. But the Noise immediately bringing up the Company below, they assured me no Mischief of that nature was done, and shewed me the biggest Stone that had as yet been made use of in this unaccountable Accident, weighing eight pound and an half, that had burst open my Chamber Door with a rebound from the Floor, as by the Dent and Bruise in it near the Door I found next Morning, done, probably, to make the greater Noise, and give the more Astonishment, which would sooner be effected by three Motions, and consequently three several Sounds, viz, one on the Ground, the next to and on the Door, and the last from it again to the Floor, then if it had been one single Blow upon the Door only; which (‘tis probable) wou’d have split the Door, which was not permitted, nor so much as a square of the Glass-Window broken or crack’d (at that time) in all the Chamber. Glad thereof, and desiring them to leave me, and the Door shut, as it was before, I endeavoured once more to take my Rest, and was once more prevented by the like passage, with another like offensive Weapon, it being a whole Brick that lay in the anti-Chamber Chimney, and used again to the same malicious purpose as before, and in the same manner too, as by the mark in the Floor, whereon was some of the dust of the Brick, broken a little at the end, apparant next Morning, the Brick it self lying just at the Door. However, after I had lain a while, harkning to their Adventures below, I drop’d asleep again, and receiv’d no further Molestation that Night.
In the Morning (Monday Morning) I was inform’d by several of the Domesticks of more of the same kind of Trouble; among which the most signal was, the Vanishing of the Spit which stood in the Chimney Corner, and the sudden coming of it again down the same Chimney, sticking of it in a Log that lay in the Fireplace or Hearth; and then being by one of the Family set by on the other side of the Chimney, presently cast out of the Window into the Back-side. Also a pressing-Iron lying on the ledge of the Chimney back, was convey’d invisibly into the Yard. I should think it (too) not unworthy the Relation, that, discoursing then with some of the Family, and others, about what had past, I said, I thought it necessary to take and keep the great Stone, as a Proof and Evidence, for they had taken it down from my Chambers; and so I carried it up, laid it on my Table in my Chamber, and lock’d my Door, and going out upon occasions, and soon returning, I was told by my Landlady that it was, a little while after my going forth, removed again, with a Noise, which they all below heard, and was thrown into the anti-Chamber, and there I found it lying in the middle of it; thereupon I the second time carried it up, and laid it on the Table, and had it in my Custody a long time to show, for the Satisfaction of the Curious.
There were many more Stones thrown about in the House that Morning, and more in the Fields that Day, where the Master of the House was, and the Men at Work. Some more Mr. Woodbridge, a Minister, and my self, in the Afternoon did see (but could not any Hand throwing them) lighting near, and jumping and tumbling on the Grass: So did one Mrs. Clark, and her Son, and several others; and some of them felt them too. One Person would not be perswaded but that the Boys at Work might throw them, and strait her little Boy standing by her was struck with a Stone on the Back, which caused him to fall a crying, and her (being convinc’d) to carry him away forth-with.
In the Evening, as in the Evening, as soon as I had sup’d in the outer Room before mine, I took a little Musical-Instrument, and began to touch it (the Door indeed was then set open for Air), and a good big Stone came rumbling in, and as it were to lead the Dance, but upon a much different account than in the days of Old, and of old fabulous Inchantments, my Musick being none of the best. The Noise of this brought up the Deputy-President’s Wife, and many others of the Neighbourhood that were below, who wonder’d to see this Stone followed (as it were) by many others, and a Pewter Spoon among the rest, all which fell strangely into the Room in their Presence, and were taken up by the Company. And beside all this, there was seen by two Youths in the Orchard and Fields, as they said, a black Cat, at the time the Stones were toss’d about, and it was shot at, but missed, by its changing Places, and being immediately at some distance, and then out of sight, as they related: Agreeable to which, it may not be improper to insert, what was observed by two Maids, Grand-Children of Mr. Walton, on the Sunday Night, the beginning of this Lithoboly. They did affirm, that as they were standing in the Porch-Chamber Window, they saw, as it were, a Person putting out a Hand out of the Hall Window, as throwing Stones toward the Porch or Entry; and we all know no Person was in the Hall except, at that instant, my self and another, having search’d diligently there, and wondring whence those should come that were about the same time drop’d near us; so far we were from doing it our selves, or seeing any other there to do it.
On Monday Night, about the Hour it first began, there were more Stones thrown in the Kitchin, and down the Chimney, one Captain Barefoot, of the Council for that Province, being present, with others; and also (as I was going up to Bed) in an upper Chamber, and down those Stairs.
Upon Tuesday Night, about Ten, some five or six Stones were severally thrown into the Maid’s Chamber near the Kitchin, and the Glass-Windows broke in three new places, and one of the Maids hit as she lay. At the same time was heard by them, and two young Men in the House, an odd, dismal sort ofWhistling, and thereupon the Youths ran out, with intent to take the suppos’d Thrower of Stones, if possible; and on the back-side near the Window they heard the Noise (as they said) of something stepping a little way before them, as it were the trampling of a young Colt, as they fancied, but saw nothing; and going on, could discover nothing but that the Noise of the stepping or trampling was ceas’d, and then gone on a little before.
On Saturday Morning I found two Stones more on the Stairs; and so some were on Sunday Night convey’d into the Room next the Kitchin.
Upon owing Mr. Walton going (with his Men) by Water to some other Land, in a place called the Great Bay, arid to a House where his Son was placed, they lay there that Night, and the next Morning had this Adventure. As the Men were all at work in the Woods, felling Wood, they were visited with another set of Stones, and they gathered up near upon a Hat-full, and put them between two Trees near adjoining, and returning from carrying Wood, to the Boat, the Hat and its contents (the Stones) were gone, and the Stones were presently after thrown about again, as before; and after search, found the Hat press’d together, and lying under a square piece of Timber at some distance from thence. They had them again at young Walton’s House, and half a Brick thrown into a Cradle, out of which his young Child was newly taken up.
Here it may seem most proper to inform the Reader of a parallel passage, (viz.) what happened what happened another time to my Landlord in his Boat; wherein going up to the same place (the Great Bay) and loading it with Hay for his use at his own House, about the mid-way in the River (Pascataqua) he found his Boat began to be in a sinking Condition, at which being much surpriz’d, upon search, he discover’d the cause to be the pulling out a Plug or Stopple in the bottom of the Boat, being fixed there for the more convenient letting out of the Rain-Water that might fall into it; a Contrivance and Combination of the old Serpent and the old Woman, or some other Witch or Wizard (in Revenge or innate Enmity) to have drown’d both my good Landlord and his Company.
On Wednesday, as they were at work again in the Woods, on a sudden they heard something gingle like Glass, or Metal, among the Trees, as it was falling, and being fallen to the Ground, they knew it to be a Stirrup which Mr. Walton had carried to the Boat, and laid under some Wood; and this being again laid by him in that very Boat, it was again thrown after him. The third time, he having put it upon his Girdle or Belt he wore about his Waste, buckled together before, but at that instant taken off because of the Heat of the Weather, and laid there again buckled, it was fetch’d away, and no more seen. Likewise the Graper, or little Anchor of the Boat, cast over-board, which caus’d the Boat to wind up; so staying and obstructing their Passage. Then the setting-Pole was divers times cast into the River, as they were coming back from the Great Bay, which put them to the trouble of Padling, that is, rowing about for it as often to retrieve it.
Being come to his own House, this Mr. Walton was charg’d again with a fresh Assault in the out-Houses; but we heard of none within doors until Friday after, when, in the Kitchin, were 4 or 5 Stones (one of them hot) taken out of the Fire, as I conceive, and so thrown about. I was then present, being newly come in with Mr. Walton from his middle Field (as he call’d it), where his Servants had been Mowing, and had six or seven of his old troublesome Companions, and I had one fall’n down by me there, and another thin flat stone hit me on the thigh with the flat side of it, so as to make me just feel, and to smart a little. In the same Day’s Evening, as I was walking out in the Lane by the Field before-mentioned, a great Stone made a rusling Noise in the Stone-Fence between the Field and the Lane, which seem’d to me (as it caus’d me to cast my Eye that way by the Noise) to come out of the Fence, as it were pull’d out from among those Stones loose, but orderly laid close together, as the manner of such Fences in that Country is, and so fell down upon the Ground.
Some Persons of Note being then in the Field (whose Names are here under-written to visit Mr. Walton there, are substantial Witnesses of this same Stonery, both in the Field, and afterward in the House that Night, viz, one Mr. Hussey, Son of a Counsellour there. He took up one that having first alighted On the Ground, with rebound from thence hit him on the Heel; and he keeps it to show. And Captain Barefoot, mentioned above, has that which (among other Stones) flew into the Hall a little before Supper; which my self also saw as it first came in at the upper part of the Door into the middle of the Room; and then (tho’ a good flat Stone, yet) was seen to rowl over and over, as if trundled, under a Bed in the same Room. In short, these Persons, being wonderously affected with the Strangeness of these Passages, offer’d themselves (desiring me to take them) as Testimonies; I did so, and made a Memorandum, by way of Record, thereof, to this effect. Viz.
These Persons under-written do hereby Attest the Truth of their being Eye-Witnesses of at least half a score Stones that Evening thrown invisibly into the Field, and in the Entry of the House, Hall, and one of the Chambers of George Walton’s. Viz.
Samuel Jenings, Esq; Governour of West-Jarsey.
Walter Clark, Esq; Deputy-Governour of Road-Island.
Mr. Arthur Cook
Mr. Matt. Borden of Road-Island.
Mr. Oliver Hooton of Barbados, Merchant.
Mr. T. Maul of Salem in New-England, Merchant.
Captain Walter Barefoot
Mr. John Hussey
And the Wife of the said Mr. Hussey.
On Saturday, July 24, One of the Family, at the usual hour at Night, observ’d some few (not above half a dozen) of these natural (or rather unnatural) Weapons to fly into the Kitchin, as formerly; but some of them in an unusual manner lighting gently on him, or coming toward him so easily, as that he took them before they fell to the Ground. I think there was not any thing more that Night remarkable. But as if the malicious Daemon had laid up for Sunday and Monday, then it was that he began (more furiously than formerly) with a great Stone in the Kitchin, and so continued with throwing down the Pewter-Dishes, etc. great part of it all at once coming clattering down, without the stroke of a Stone, little or great, to move it. Then about Midnight this impious Operation not ceasing, but trespassing with a continuando 2 very great Stones, weighing above 30 pound a piece (that used to lye in the Kitchin, in or near the Chimny) were in the former, wonted, rebounding manner, let fly against my Door and Wall in the ante-Chamber, but with some little distance of time.
This thundring Noise must needs bring up the Men from below, as before, (I need not say to wake me) to tell me the Effect, which was the beating down several Pictures, and displacing abundance of things about my Chamber: but the Repetition of this Cannon-Play by these great rumbling Engines, now ready at hand for the purpose, and the like additional disturbance by four Bricks that lay in the outer-Room Chimney (one of which having been so imploy’d the first Sunday Night, as has been said) made me despair of taking Rest, and so forced me to rise from my Bed. Then finding my Door burst open, I also found many Stones, and great pieces of Bricks, to fly in, breaking the Glass-Windows, and a Paper-Light, sometimes inwards, sometimes outwards: So hitting the Door of my Chamber as I came through from the ante-Chamber, lighting very near me as I was fetching the Candlestick, and afterward the Candle being struck out, as I was going to light it again. So a little after, coming up for another Candle, and being at the Stare-foot door, a wooden Mortar with great Noise struck against the Floor, and was just at my Feet, only not touching me, moving from the other end of the Kitchin where it used to lye. And when I came up my self, and two more of the same House, we heard a Whistling, as it were near us in the outer Room, several times. Among the rest of the Tools made use of to disturb us, I found an old Card for dressing Flax in my Chamber.
Now for Monday Night, (June 26) one of the severest. The disturbance began in the Kitchin with Stones; then as I was at Supper above in the ante-Chamber, the Window near which I sate at Table was broke in 2 or 3 parts of it inwards, and one of the Stones that broke it flew in, and I took it up at the further end of the Room. The manner is observable; for one of the squares was broke into 9 or 10 small square pieces, as if it had been regularly mark’d out into such even squares by a Workman, to the end some of these little pieces might fly in my Face (as they did) and give me a surprize, but without any hurt. In the mean time it went on in the Kitchin, whither I went down, for Company, all or most of the Family, and a Neighbour, being there; where many Stones (some great ones) came thick and threefold among us, and an old howing Iron, from a Room hard by, where such Utensils lay. Then, as if I had been the design’d Object for that time, most of the Stones that came (the smaller I mean) hit me (sometimes pretty hard) to the number of above 20, near 30, as I remember, and whether I remov’d, sit, or walk’d, I had them, and great ones sometimes lighting gently on me, and in my Hand and Lap as I sate, and falling to the Ground, and sometimes thumping against the Wall, as near as could be to me, without touching me. Then was a Room over the Kitchin infested, that had not been so before, and many Stones greater than usual lumbring there over our Heads, not only to ours, but to the great Disturbance and Affrightment of some Children that lay there. And for Variety, there were sometimes three great, distinct Knocks, sometimes five such sounds as with a great Maul, reiterated divers times.
On Tuesday Night (June 28) we were quiet; but not so on Wednesday, when the Stones were play’d about in the House.And on Thursday Morning I found some things that hung on Nails on the ‘Wall in my Chamber, viz, a Spherical Sun-Dial, etc. lying on the Ground, as knock’d down by some Brick or Stone in the ante-Chamber. But my Landlord had the worst of that Day, tho’ he kept the Field, being there invisibly hit above 40 times, as he affirm’d to me, and he receiv’d some shrowd hurtful Blows on the Back, and other Parts, which he much complained of, and said he thought he should have reason to do, even to his dying day; and I observ’d that he did so, he being departed this Life since.
Besides this, Plants of Indian Corn were struck up by the Roots almost, just as if they had been cut with some edged Instrument, whereas re vera they were seen to be eradicated, or rooted up with nothing but the very Stones, altho’ the injurious Agent was altogether unseen. And a sort of Noise, like that of Snorting and Whistling, was heard near the Men at Work in the Fields many times, many whereof I my self, going thither, and being there, was a Witness of; and parting thence I receiv’d a pretty hard Blow with a Stone on the Calf of my Leg. So it continued that day in two Fields, where they were severally at Work: and my Landlord told me, he often heard likewise a humming Noise in the Air by him, as of a Bullet discharg’d from a Gun; and so said a Servant of his that work’d with him.
Upon Saturday (July 1), as I was going to visit my Neighbour Capt. Barefoot, and just at his Door, his Man saw, as well as my self, 3 or 4 Stones fall just by us in the Field, or Close, where the House stands, and not any other Person near us. At Night a great Stone fell in the Kitchin, as I was going to Bed, andthe Pewter was thrown down; many Stones flew about, and the Candles by them put out 3 or 4 times, and the Snorting heard; a Negro Maid hit on the Head in the Entry between the Kitchin and Hall with a Porringer from the Kitchin: also the pressing-Iron clattered against the Partition Wall between the Hall and a Chamber beyond it, where I lay, and Mr. Randolph, His Majesty’s Officer for the Customs, etc.
Some few Stones we had on Sunday Morning, (July 2) none at Night. But on Monday Morning (the 3d) both Mr. Walton, and 5 or 6 with him in the Field, were assaulted with them, and their Ears with the oldSnorting and Whistling. In the Afternoon Mr. Walton was hit on the Back with Stones very grievously, as he was in his Boat that lay at a Cove side by his House. It was a very odd prank that was practis’d by the Devil a little while after this. One Night the Cocks of Hay, made the Day before in the Orchard, was spread all abroad, and some of the Hay thrown up into the Trees, and some of it brought into the House, and scatter’d. Two Logs that lay at the Door, laid, one of them by the Chimny in the Kitchin; the other set against the Door of the Room where Mr. Walton then lay, as on purpose to confine him therein: A Form that stood in the Entry (or Porch) was set along by the Fire side, and a joint Stool upon that, with a Napking spread thereon, with two Pewter Pots, and two Candlesticks: A Cheese-Press likewise having a Spit thrust into one of the holes of it, at one end; and at the other end of the Spit hung an Iron Kettle; and a Cheese was taken out, and broke to pieces. Another time, I full well remember ‘twas on a Sunday at Night, my Window was all broke with a violent shock of Stones and Brick-bats, which scarce miss’d my self: among these one huge one made its way through the great square or shash of a Casement, and broke a great hole in it, throwing down Books by the way, from the Window to a Picture over-against it, on the other side of the Chamber, and tore a hole quite through it about half a foot long, and the piece of the Cloth hung by a little part of it, on the back-side of the Picture.
After this we were pretty quiet, saving now and then a few Stones march’d about for Exercise, and to keep (as it were) the Diabolical hand in use, till July 28, being Friday, when about 40 Stones flew about, abroad, and in the House and Orchard, and among the Trees therein, and a Window broke before, was broke again, and one Room where they never used before.
August 1. On Wednesday the Window in my ante-Chamber was broke again, and many Stones were plaid about, abroad, and in the House, in the Day-time, and at Night. The same Day in the Morning they tried this Experiment; they did set on the Fire a Pot with Urin, and crooked Pins in it, with design to have it boil, and by that means to give Punishment to the Witch, or Wizard (that might be the wicked Procurer or Contriver of this Stone Affliction) and take off their own as they had been advised. This was the Effect of it: As the Liquor begun to grow hot, a Stone came and broke the top or mouth of it, and threw it down, and spilt what was in it; which being made good again, another Stone, as the Pot grew hot again, broke the handle off; and being recruited and fill’d the third time, was then with a third Stone quite broke to pieces and split; and so the Operation became frustrate and fruitless.
On August 2, two Stones in the Afternoon I heard and saw my self in the House and Orchard; and another Window in the Hall was broke. And as I was entring my own Chamber a great square of a Casement, being a foot square, was broke with the Noise as of a big Stone, and pieces of the Glass flew into the Room, but no Stone came in then, or could be found within or without. At Night, as I, with others, were in the Kitchin, many more came in; and one great Stone that lay on a Spinning-Wheel to keep it steady, was thrown to the other side of the Room. Several Neighbours then present were ready to testifie this Matter.
Upon August 3, On Thursday the Gate between my said Landlord and his Neighbour John Amazeen was taken off again, and thrown into Amazeen’s Field, who heard it fall and averr’d it then made a Noise like a great Gun.
On Friday the 4th, the Fence against Mr. Walton’s Neighbour’s Door, (the Woman of whom formerly there was great Suspicion, and thereupon Examination had, as appears upon Record;) this Fence being maliciously pull’d down to let in their Cattel into his Ground; he and his Servants were pelted with above 40 Stones as they went to put it up again; for she had often threatned that he should never injoy his House and Land. Mr. Walton was hit divers times, and all that Day in the Field, as they were Reaping, it ceas’d not, and their fell (by the Mens Computation) above an hundred Stones. A Woman helping to Reap (among the rest) was hit 9 or 10 times, and hurt to that degree, that her left Arm, Hip, Thigh, and Leg, were made black and blue therewith; which she showd to the Woman, Mrs. Walton, and others. Mr. Wood-bridge,a Divine, coming to give me a Visit, was hit about the Hip, and one Mr. Jefferys a Merchant, who was with him, on the Leg. A Window in the Kitchin that had been much batter’d before, was now quite broke out, and unwindow’d, no Glass or Lead at all being left: a Glass Bottle broke to pieces, and the Pewter Dishes (about 9 of them) thrown down, and bent.
On Saturday the 5th, as they were Reaping in the Field, three Sickles were crack’d and broke by the force of these lapidary Instruments of the Devil, as the Sickles were in the Reapers hands, on purpose (it seems) to obstruct their Labour, and do them Injury and Damage. And very many Stones were cast about that Day; insomuch, that some that assisted at that Harvest-Work, being struck with them, by reason of that Disturbance left the Field, but were follow’d by their invisible Adversaries to the next House.
On Sunday, being the 6th, there fell nothing considerable, nor on Monday, (7th) save only one of the Children hit with a Stone on the Back. We were quiet to Tuesday the 8th. But on Wednesday (9th) above 100 Stones (as they verily thought) repeated the Reapers Disquiet in the Corn-Field, whereof some were affirm’d by Mr. Walton to be great ones indeed, near as big as a Man’s Head; and Mrs. Walton, his Wife being by Curiosity led thither, with intent also to make some Discovery by the most diligent and vigilant Observation she could use, to obviate the idle Incredulity some inconsiderate Persons might irrationally entertain concerning this veneficial Operation; or at least to confirm her own Sentiments and Belief of it. Which she did, but to her Cost; for she received an untoward Blow (with a Stone) on her Shoulder. There were likewise two Sickles bent, crack’d, and disabled with them, beating them violently out of their Hands that held them, and this reiterated three times successively.
After this we injoy’d our former Peace and Quiet, unmolested by these stony Disturbances, that whole month of August, excepting some few times; and the last of all in the Month of September, (the beginning thereof) wherein Mr. Walton himself only (the Original perhaps of this strange Adventure, as has been declared) was the designed concluding Sufferer; and going in his Canoo (or Boat) from the Great Island, where he dwelt, to Portsmouth, to attend the Council, who had taken Cognizance of this Matter, he being Summoned thither, in order to his and the Suspect’s Examination, and the Courts taking Order thereabout, he was sadly hit with three pebble Stones as big as ones Fist; one of which broke his Head, which I saw him show to the President of the Council; the others gave him that Pain on the Back, of which (with other like Strokes) he complained then, and afterward to his Death.
Who, that peruses these praeternatural Occurences, can possibly be so much an Enemy to his own Soul, and irrefutable Reason, as obstinately to oppose himself to, or confusedly fluctuate in, the Opinion and Doctrine of Daemons, or Spirits, and Witches? Certainly he that does so, must do two things more: He must temariously unhinge, or undermine the Fundamentals of the best Religion in the World; and he must disingenuously quit and abandon that of the Three Theologick Virtues or Graces, to which the great Doctor of the Gentils gave the Precedence, Charity, through his Unchristian and Uncharitable Incredulity.