"...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, February 7, 2018

Magazine Clipping of the Day



This account of a particularly lively 17th century poltergeist was reprinted in "Archaeologia Cambrensis," Volume 15 (1869):

Among particulars relating to Weobley, it may be worth while to transcribe some part of a pamphlet now in the British Museum, as illustrating some of the ideas and the history of the time to which it relates. It consists of a letter from J. A., Hereford, and is entitled The Demon of Burton:

There is a farm in Burton, a village in the parish of Weobley, which Mr. Wm. Bridges, a linen draper of London, has in mortgage from one Thomas Tomkins, a decayed yeoman. This farm was taken in by lease by Mrs. Elizabeth Bridges about Michaelmas 1669. Soon after this tenant was entered on the farm, some Familiar began to act apish pranks, by knocking boldly at the door in the dark of the evening, and the like early in the morning, but nobody to be seen. The stools and forms were thrown into disorder, heaps of malt and vetches mingled, loaves of bread laid on a table carried into another room, and hid in tubs covered with cloths ; cabbage plants dug up and replanted in various patterns; a half-roasted pig demolished, except the bones; the milk turned sour with vinegar; some cattle died, and among others a sow leaped and danced in strange postures, and at last fell down dead; a loft of hay set on fire, a mow of pulse and pease likewise. 
After these fires one John Jones, a valiant Welshman, undertook to keep watch with a sword, a mastiff dog, and a lantern. He had not long lain on the bed when he heard a knocking at the door, and, as he conceived, many cats came into his chamber, broke the windows, and made a hideous noise. The mastiff howled, the candle went out, the Welshman fell into a cold sweat, left his sword unused, and with much ado found the door, and ran half a mile without looking behind him; protesting next day he would not lie another night in the house for £100. 
These particulars I received from eye-witnesses of unquestionable credit and you may no more doubt the truth of them than distrust the affection of your humble servant,
J. A.
Hereford, March 1670.
This is all we know about the story, but if it fits the usual pattern of poltergeist cases, the disturbance soon ended as suddenly and mysteriously as it began.

Although, with cats figuring in the story, you never know. That neighborhood may still be haunted yet.

2 comments:

  1. I prefer to think the cats were warning Mr. Jones or wanted their tummies rubbed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The "many cats coming into the chamber" is an interesting twist. I can just see a whole crowd of them flooding in. Sort of like my place.

    ReplyDelete

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