A briefe account of a strange & unusuall Providence of God befallen to Elizabeth Knap of Groton, by me Samuel Willard.
This poore & miserable object, about a fortnight before shee was taken, wee observed to carry herselfe in a strange & unwonted manner, sometimes shee would give sudden shriekes, & if wee enquired a Reason, would alwayes put it off with some excuse, & then would burst forth into iḿoderate & extravagant laughter, in such wise, as some times shee fell onto ye ground wth it: I my selfe observed oftentimes a strange change in here countenance, but could not suspect ye true reason, but coneived shee might bee ill, & yrfore divers times enquired how shee did, & shee alwayes answered well; wch made mee wonder: but the tragedye began to unfold itselfe upon Munday, Octob. 30. 71, after this mañer (as I received by credible information1671
Oct. 30., being that day my selfe gon from home). In the evening, a little before shee went to bed, sitting by ye fire, shee cryed out, oh my legs! & clapt her hand on ym, immediately oh my breast! & removed her hands thither; & forthwith, oh I am strangled, & put her hands on her throat: those yt observed her could not see what to make of it; whither shee was in earnest or dissembled, & in this mañer they left her (excepting ye person yt lay with her) complaining of her breath being stopt: The next day shee was in a strange frame, (as wasOct. 31.observed by divers) sometimes weeping, sometimes laughing, & many foolish & apish gestures. In ye evening, going into ye cellar, shee shrieked suddenly, & being enquired of ye cause, shee answered, yt shee saw 2 persons in ye cellar; whereupon some went downe with her to search, but found none; shee also looking with ym; at last shee turned her head, & looking one way stedfastly, used ye exprssion, wt cheere old man? which, they that were with her tooke for a fansye, & soe ceased; afterwards (ye same evening,) ye rest of the family being in bed, shee was (as one lying in ye roome saw, & shee herselfe also afterwards related) suddenly throwne downe into ye midst of ye floore wth violence, & taken with a violent fit, whereupon ye whole family was raised, & with much adoe was shee kept out of ye fire frõ destroying herselfe after wch time she was followed wth fits from thence till ye sabbath day; in which shee was violent in bodily motions, leapings, strainings & strange agitations, scarce to bee held in bounds by the strength of 3 or 4: violent alsoe in roarings & screamings,