An Antidote Against Atheism/Book III/Chapter V
1. Knives, Wood, Pieces of Iron , Balls of Haire in the body of Ulricus Neusesser. 2. The vomiting of Cloth stuck with Pins, Nails and Needles, as also Glass, Iron and Haire, by Wierus his Patients, and by a friend of Cardan’s. 3. Wierus his Story of the thirty possessed Children of Amsterdam. 4. The Convictiveness of these Narrations. 5. Objections against their Convictiveness answered. 6. Of a Maid Damoniack speaking Greek; and of the miraculous binding of anothers hands by an invisible power.
1.I will begin with that memorable true Story that Langius tells of one Ulricus Neusesser. who being grievously tormented with a pain in his side, suddenly felt under his skin, which yet was whole, an iron Nail as he thought. And so it prov'd when the Chirurgion had cut it out: But nevertheless his great torments continued, which enraged him so that he cut his own Throat. The third day, when he was carried out to be buried, Eucharius Rosenbader and Johannes ab Ettenstet, a great company of people standing about them dissected the Corps, and ripping up the Ventricle, found a round piece of Wood of a good length, four Knives, some even and sharp, others indented like a Saw, with other two rough pieces of Iron a span long. There was also a ball of Hair, This hapned at Fugenstal, 1539.
2. De Præstig. Dæmon. l. 4. c. 2, 3.Wierus tells also of one that was possessed, of which himself was an Eye-witness, that vomited up pieces of Cloth with Pins stuck in them, Nails, Needles, and such like stuff: which he contends doth not come from the stomach, but by a prestigious sleight of the Devil is onely ingested into the mouth.
De Varietate Rerum, lib. 15. cap. 80.Cardan relates the like of a good simple Countrey-fellow and a friend of his, that had been a long time troubled with vomiting up Glass, Iron, Nails and Hair, and that at that time he told Cardan of it, he was not so perfectly restored but that something yet crash'd in his belly, as if there were a Bag of Glass in it.
I might adde seasonably hereunto what is so credibly reported of Ms Muschamp's Child, that it was seen to vomit up pieces of Wood With Pins stuck in it.
3. Wierus De Præstig. Dæmon. l. 4. c. 8.But I will conclude all with that Story of about thirty Children that were so strangely handled at Amsterdam, 1566. of the truth whereof Wierus professeth himself very well assured. They were tortured very much, and cast violently upon the ground; but when they arose out of their fitt, knew nothing, but thought they had been onely asleep. For the remedying of this mischief they got the help of Physicians, Wizards and Exorcists, but without succcss. Onely while the Exorcists were reading, the Children vomited up Needles, Thimbles, shreds of Cloth, pieces of Pots, Glasse, Hair, and other things of the like nature.
4. Now the advantage I would make of these Relations is this, That these Effects extraordinary and supernatural being so palpable and permanent, they are not at all liable to such Subterfuges as Atheists usually betake themselves to, as of Melancholy and disturbance of Phansie in those that profess they see such strange things, or any Fraud or Imposture in those that act.
5. All that can with any shew of Reason be alledged is this. That such parties in their fitts of Distraction may devour such things as they vomit up, or at least put them into their mouths. But they that are by might easily see that, distracted people doing things carelesly and openly. And these things happen to those that are thus handled against their wills: and as they are not discovered to doe any such things of themselves, so neither do they confess afterwards that they did it, when they are come to their right senses; and ordinarily it is found out that some Woman or other by Sorcery or Witchcraft was the Author of it.
Besides, it is evident that there can be no mistake at all in some of these passages: For how can an iron Nail get betwixt the skin and the flesh, the skin not at all ripped or touch'd? or how is it possible for any body to swallow down Knives and pieces of Iron a span long? which besides that Story of Ulricus Neusesser, is made good in another of a young Wench, who when she had made clean a pair of shoes with a Knife, which she put in her bosom, she after seeking for it, it could not be found any where, till at length it began to discover it self in a swelling oh her left side, and at last was pulled out thence by a Chirurgion. You may read the whole Relation in Wierus.De Præstig. Dæmon. lib. 4. cao. 13. It was done at Levensteet in the Dukedome of Brunswick, 1562. An old Woman had come to the house in the morning, and a strange black Dog was found under the table.
6. There are also other miraculous & supernatural Effects, as in that Maid of Saxonie's speaking of Greek;See Bodin. Mag. Dæmonoman. l. 2. c. 3. and in another, whom Cælius Rhodiginus profest he saw, that spoke from betwixt her Legs; a third at Paris, whom Dr. Picard and other Divines would have dispossest, whom one Hollerius a Physician deriding, as if it had been nothing but Melancholy in the Woman and Ignorance in those Divines, was after convinc'd of the contrary, when he saw her standing betwixt two other women, and crying out of a sudden, discerning her hands to be so fast bound that there was no loosing of them without cutting the string. There was not the appearance of any thing to any body but to the possessed onely, who said she saw then a white cloud come near her when she was bound.