Page:Witch-Cult in Western Europe (1921).djvu/227

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227
FAMILIARS

which first appeared after such words or actions, would be considered as the Devil, as in the two cases quoted above. Such an explanation accounts for the statements of some of the witches that on the appearance of the animal they at once renounced the Christian religion and vowed obedience to the new God. It is noticeable that in many cases the accused acknowledged that, before the appearance of the animal, they had been 'banning and cursing', in other words, calling on the Devil; the appearance of the animal, after such summons, produced neither surprise nor alarm, and in fact seems to have been regarded as the effect of their words.

In 1556 Joan Waterhouse, the eighteen-year-old daughter of the witch Mother Waterhouse, of Hatfield Peveril, being angry with another girl, 'shee goinge home dydde as she had scene her mother doe, callynge Sathan, whiche came to her (as she sayd) in the lykenes of a great dogge'.[1] At Aberdeen in 1597 Agnes Wobster said that the Devil appeared 'in the liknes of a lamb, quhom thow callis thy God, and bletit on the, and thaireftir spak to the'.[2] James Device, one of the chief of the Lancashire witches in 1613, confessed 'that vpon Sheare Thursday was two yeares, his Grand-Mother Elizabeth Sothernes, alias Dembdike, did bid him this Examinate goe to the Church to receiue the Communion (the next day after being Good Friday) and then not to eate the Bread the Minister gaue him, but to bring it and deliuer it to such a thing as should meet him in his way homewards: Notwithstanding her perswasions, this Examinate did eate the Bread; and so in his comming homeward some fortie roodes off the said Church, there met him a thing in the shape of a Hare, who spoke vnto this Examinate, and asked him whether hee had brought the Bread.'[3] In 1621 Elizabeth Sawyer, the witch of Edmonton, said that 'the first time that the Diuell came vnto me was, when I was cursing, swearing, and blaspheming'.[4] The evidence of the Huntingdonshire witches, John Winnick and Ellen Shepheard, in 1646 (see above, p. 219), and of Dorothy Ellis of Cambridgeshire in 1647, also show that the animal

  1. Witches at Chelmsford, p. 34. Philobiblon Soc., viii.
  2. Spalding Club Misc., i, p. 129.
  3. Potts, H 3.
  4. Goodcole, Wonderfull Discoverie, p. C.