Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/424

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328
THE ELIZABETHAN PEOPLE

air, and dance with devils. Some write that they can play the part of Succubus, and contract themselves to Incubus. Some say they can transsubstantiate themselves and others, and take the forms and shapes of asses, wolves, ferrets, cows, horses, hogs, etc. Some say they can keep devils and spirits in the likeness of toads and cats.

"They can raise spirits (as others affirm), dry up springs, turn the course of running waters, inhabit the sun and stay both day and night, changing the one into the other. They can go in and out of auger holes, and sail in an eggshell, a cockle or mussel shell, through and under the tempestuous seas. They can bring souls out of the graves. They can tear snakes in pieces. They can also bring to pass that, churn as long as you list, your butter will not come; especially if either the maids have eaten up the cream, or the good wife have sold the butter before in the market."

The appearance of these mysterious and usually bearded women is thus described by the same author: "The sort of such as are said to be witches are women which be commonly old, lame, blear-eyed, pale, foul, and full of wrinkles; poor, sullen, superstitious, and papists; or such as know no religion; in whose drowsy minds the devil hath gotten a fine seat; so as, mischief, mischance, calamity or slaughter is brought to pass,