An Antidote Against Atheism/Book III/Chapter X
1. The Nocturnal Conventicles of Witches; two examples thereof out of Paulus Grillandus. 2. Of the witch of Lochiæ, with a reflexion on the unexceptionableness of these Instances for the proof of Spirits. 3. The piping of John of Hembach to a Conventicle of witches. 4. The dancing of Men, Women and cloven-footed Satyrs at Mid-day. 5. John Michael’s dumb Musick, on his crocked staff from the hough of an Oak, at that Antick dancing. 6. The Impresse of a Circle with cloven feet in it on the Ground where they danced.
1.Paulus Grillandus reports of one not farre from Rome, who at the perswasion of his Wife anointing himself, as she had done before him, was carried away in the aire to a great Assembly of Wizards and Witches, where they were feasting under a Nut-tree. But this stranger not relishing his chear without Salt, at last the Salt coming, and he blessing of God for it, at that Name the whole Assembly disappeared, and he poor man was left alone naked an hundred miles off from home; whither when he had got he accused his Wife: she confess'd the fact, discovering also her companions, who were therefore burnt with her.
The same Author writes also of a young Girl thirteen years old in the Dukedome of Spalatto, who being brought into the like company, and admiring the strangeness of the thing, and crying out, Blessed God, what's here to doe! made the whole Assembly vanish, was left her self in the field alone, and wandring up and down was found by a countreyman, to whom she told the whole matter.
Bodin. Mag. Dæmon. lib. 2. cap. 4.2. So the Husband of the Witch of Lochiæ whom she brought into the like Assembly, by saying, O my God, where are we? made all to vanish, and found himself naked alone in the field fifteen dayes journey from home.
Several other Narrations to this purpose Bodinus sets down, which these sensible effects of being so far distant from home, and being found naked in the fields, shew to be no freaks of Melancholy, but certain truth. But that the Devil in these junquetings appears to the Guests in the form of a Satyr, black Goat, or else sometimes in the shape of an ill-favoured black man, is the ordinary Confession of Witches, by this way discovered and convicted.
See Remig. Dænomolatr. l. 1. cap. 14.John of Hembach was carried by his Mother being a Witch to one of these Meetings, and because he had learn'd to play on the Pipe, was commanded by her to exercise his faculty, and to get up into a Tree, that they might the better hear his Musick. Which he doing, and looking upon the Dancers, how uncouth and ridiculous they were in their motions and gestures, being struck with admiration at the novelty of the matter, suddenly burst out into these words, Good God, what a mad company have we here! Which was no sooner said, but down came John, Pipe and all, and hurt his shoulder with the tumbling cast; who when he called to the company to help him, found himself alone, for they had all vanished. John of Hembach told what had hapned, but people knew not what to make of it, till some of that mad Crew that danc'd to his Pipe were apprehended upon other suspicions, as Catharina Frævotia, Kelvers Orilla, and others, who made good every whit what John had before told (though they knew nothing of what he told before) adding also more particularly that the place where he pip'd to them was Maybuch.
Dæmonolatr. l. 1. c. 14.4. The other memorable Story that I shall relate out of Remigius is this. One Nicolea Langbernhard, while she was going towards Assenunturia along a hedge side, spied in the next field (it was about Noon-time of day) a company of men and women dancing in a ring; and the posture of their bodies being uncouth and unusual, made her view them more attentively, whereby she discerned some of them to have cloven feet like Oxen or Goats (it should seem they were Spirits in the shape of lusty Satyrs:) she being astonish'd with fear cries out, Jesus, help me, and send me well home. She had no sooner said so, but they all vanished saving onely one Peter Grospetter, whom a little after she saw snatch'd up into the aire, and to let fall his Maulkin (a stick that they make clean Ovens withall) and her self was also driven so forcibly with the wind, that it made her almost lose her breath. She was fain to keep her bed three dayes after.
5. This Peter (though at first he would have followed the Law on Nicolea for slandering him, yet) afterward freely confess'd and discovered others of his companions, as Barbelia the wife of Joannes Latomus, & Majetta the wife of Laurentius, who confessed she danced with those cloven-footed Creatures at what time Peter was amongst them. And for further evidence of the business, John Michael, Herdsman, did confess, that while they thus danced, he plaid upon his Crooked staff, and struck upon it with his fingers as if it had been a Pipe, sitting upon an high bough of an Oak; and that so soon as Nicolea called upon the Name of Jesus, he tumbled down headlong to the ground, but was presently catch'd up again with a whirlwind, and carried to Weiller Meadows, where he had left his Herds a little before.
6. Adde unto all this, that there was found in the place where they danced a round Circle, wherein there was the manifest marks of the treading of cloven feet, which was seen from the day after Nicolea had discovered the business till the next Winter that the Plough cut them out. These things hapned in the year 1590.