"...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

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Book Clipping of the Day

La Danse du Sabbat, P. Christian, 1884

This account of demonic domestic disruptions in 1718 comes from "Domestic Annals of Scotland: 1689-1748" (1890):
"At this time the house of the Rev. Mr. M'Gill, minister of Kinross, was represented as troubled with spirits. The first fact that excited attention, was the disappearance of some silver spoons and knives, which were soon after found in the barn, stuck up in straw, with a big dish all nipped in pieces. Next it was found that no meat was brought to table but what was stuck full of pins. The minister found one in an egg. His wife, to make sure against trick, cooked some meat herself; but behold, when presented at table, there were several pins in it, particularly a big pin the minister used for his gown. Another day, there was a pair of sheets put to the green, among other people's, which were all nipped to pieces, and none of the linens belonging to others troubled. A certain night several went to watch the house, and as one was praying, down falls the press, wherein was abundance of lime-vessels, all broke to pieces; also at one other time the spirits, as they call them, not only tore the clothes that were locked up in a coffer, to pieces, but the very laps of a gentlewoman's hood, as she was walking along the floor, were clipped away, as also a woman's gown-tail and many other things not proper to mention. A certain girl, eating some meat, turned so very sick, that, being necessitate to vomit, she cast up five pins. A stone thrown down the chimney wambled a space on the floor, and then took a flight out at the window. There was thrown in the fire the minister's Bible, which would not burn; but a plate and two silver spoons melted immediately. What bread is fired, were the meal never so fine, it's all made useless. Is it not very sad that such a godly family, that employ their time no otherwise but by praying, reading, and serious meditation, should be so molested, while others who are wicked livers, and in a manner avowedly serve the Wicked One, are never troubled?"

"Wodrow, who relates these particulars, soon after enters in his note-book: 'I hear of a woman in Carstairs parish, that has been for some time troubled with apparitions, and needs much sympathy.'"
Never a dull moment in 18th century Scotland.


  1. It seems that Scotland had more of this sort of thing going on than elsewhere. It would be an interesting study to compare Scotland's paranormal activity to other lands'.

    1. That's why I love Scottish history: It does seem to have a particular affinity for The Weird.

  2. These very meek clergy were sitting ducks for the angry spirits. (Sitting and reading, indeed.) They should have called in Catalina de Erauso, the two-fisted nun.

    1. Now that I think of it, most situations could use a two-fisted nun.


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