Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review Volumes 32 and 33.djvu/539

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the view that a man masquerading as the Devil is equivalent to the Devil in human shape. If Miss Murray were to turn to the practitioners of astrology and white magic belonging to the period, she would find that the occurrence of analogous supernatural encounters are believed and stated in perfect good faith.[1] The discussion of animal transformations clearly demands a study of a wider range of facts, nor can the familiars of witches be considered apart from the familiars of other practitioners of the Magic Arts both earlier and contemporary. The argument that the magical rites of witches, which, like the magic of all times and places (e.g. that denounced in the Roman twelve tables), are concerned with injuring the fertility of man, beast and field, are therefore inverted survivals from rites originally intended to promote fertility is very unconvincing. The argument that the peculiar voice of the Devil points to the use of a mask will appear flimsy to those familiar with the stridor characteristic of Roman witches who did not wear masks.[2] The relation of the riding of horses by witches to popular superstition as to the cause of nightsweating in the stable has not been considered, nor the possible connection of the lighted candles of the witches' revels with "fairy lights" and corpse candles.[3] The alleged frigidity of witches rests upon a medieval

  1. E.g. Aubrey, Miscellanies, pp. 169 foll. A closer study of the period might lead Miss Murray to modify the unreal importance which she attaches to some points of detail, e.g. the wearing of his hat indoors by the Devil has no esoteric significance. The widow of Lilly's master "next day at dinner made me sit down at dinner with my hat on my head and said, that she intended to make me her husband." Lilly's History of His Life and Times (London, 1774), p. 28.
  2. This characteristic of classical witches is well discussed by Flower Smith, Hasting's Enc. Rel. Eth. s.v. Magic (Greek and Roman).
  3. Sunt et aliae ludificationes malignorum spirituum, quas faciunt interdum in nemoribus et locis amoenis, et frondosis arboribus ubi apparent in similitudine puellarum aut matronarum, ornatu muliebri et candido, interdum etiam in stabuhs cum luminaribus cereis, ex quibus apparent distillationes in comis et collis equorum et comae ipsorum diligenter tricatae; et audies eos qui talia se vidisse fatentur, dicentes veram ceram esse quae de luminaribus huiusmodi stillaverat. Guil. Alvernus, Bishop of Paris, De Universo (thirteenth century), quoted by Thomas Wright, Proceedings against Dame Alice Kyteler (Camden Soc. 1843), p. xxxiv. For corpse candles, see Aubrey, Miscellanies, 176. Cf . the superstition of sailors in the seventeenth century with regard to the phosphorescent lights visible at the masthead in stormy weather. Covel's Diaries in Bent, Early Voyages and Travels in the Levant (Hakluyt Society, 1893), p. 127.