The Secret Commonwealth
by Robert Kirk
History and Author of The Secret Commonwealth
Robert Kirk (1644 - 1692?) was a Scottish Clergyman and minister of Aberfoyle, Perthshire. He was the seventh son of James Kirk who studied at St. Andrews and received his Masters Degree at Edinburgh in 1661. Kirk was a Gaelic scholar who translated the Scottish metrical psalms into Gaelic and oversaw the printing of the Bible into Gaelic, published at Edinburgh in 1684. The original manuscript was complied in 1689 but was not put into print until 1815.
The Secrets Commonwealth is a collection of stories, information and testimonies that Robert Kirk compiled from residence in his region, documenting various accounts of paranormal phenomena and what was then referred to as faerie activity.
Kirk makes a number of interesting claims such as his opine on the origin of these creatures that the residence encounter as well as the relation they have to demonic or evil spirits, seen in chapter 7, they retreat or kneel at the name of Jesus.
Uncommon Terms Used
Sith - in Gaelic Sith or Sidh was the term used for Fairy.
Sleagh Maith - Aerial Fairies
Good People - also a term for Faeries as to not upset them with a negative denotation or term.
Foyson - Life Force
Tryst - Romantic rendezvous between lovers
Second sight - Clairvoyance, ability to see spiritual things
AN ESSAY OF
The Nature and Actions of the Subterranean (and, for the most Part,) Invisible People, heretofioir going under the name of ELVES, FAUNES, and FAIRIES, or the lyke, among the Low-Country Scots, as they are described by those who have the SECOND SIGHT; and now, to occasion further Inquiry, collected and compared, by a Circumspect Inquirer residing among the Scottish-Irifh in Scotland.
A Treatise displayeing the Chiefe Curiosities as they are in Use among diverse of the People of Scotland to this Day;
SINGULARITIES for the most Part peculiar to that Nation.
A Subject not heretofore discoursed of by any of our Writters;
and yet ventured on in an Essay to suppress the impudent and growing Atheisme of this Age,
and to satisfy the desire of some choice Friends.
Then a Spirit passed before my Face, the Hair of my Flesh stood up; it stood still, but I could not discerne the Forme thereof; ane Image was before mine Eyes.--Job, 4. 15, 16.
This is a REBELLIOUS PEOPLE, which say to the Siers, sie not; and to the Prophets, prophesie not unto us right Things, bot speak unto us smoothe Things.--Isaiah, 30. 9, 10.
And the Man whose Eyes were open hath said.--Numbers, 24. 15.
For now we sie thorough a Glass darkly, but then Face to Face.--1 Corinth. 13. 12.
It doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we shall be lyke God, and sie him as he is.--1 John, 3. 2.
Μη γιγιαντες μαιωδησονται ὑποκατωδεν ὑδατος και των γειτονων αυτον;--Job, 26. 5 (Septuag.). (Shall giants (Rephaim - shades or ghosts) be born from under the water and the inhabitants thereof?)
By MR ROBERT KIRK, Minister at Aberfoill. 1691.
OF THE SUBTERRANEAN INHABITANTS.
THESE Siths, or FAIRIES, they call Sleagh Maith, or the Good People, it would seem, to prevent the Dint of their ill Attempts, (for the Irish use to bless all they fear Harme of;) and are said to be of a midle Nature betuixt Man and Angel, as were Dæmons thought to be of old; of intelligent fluidious (?) Spirits, and light changeable Bodies, (lyke those called Astral,) somewhat of the Nature of a condensed Cloud, and best seen in Twilight. These Bodies be so plyable thorough the Subtlety of the Spirits that agitate them, that they can make them appear or disappear at Pleasure. Some have Bodies or Vehicles so spungious, thin, and delecat (?), that they are sed by only sucking into some fine spirituous Liquors, that pierce like pure
pure Air and Oyl: others seid more gross on the Foyson or substance of Corns and Liquors, or Corne it selfe that grows on the Surface of the Earth, which these Fairies steall away, partly invisible, partly preying on the Grain, as do Crowes and Mice; wherefore in this same Age, they are some times heard to bake Bread, strike Hammers, and do such lyke Services within the little Hillocks they most haunt: some whereof of old, before the Gospell dispelled Paganism, and in some barbarous Places as yet, enter Houses after all are at rest, and set the Kitchens in order, cleansing all the Vessels. Such Drags goe under the name of Brownies. When we have plenty, they have Scarcity at their Homes; and on the contrarie (for they are empowred to catch as much Prey everywhere as they please,) there Robberies notwithstanding oft tymes occassion great Rickes of Corne not to bleed so weill, (as they call it,) or prove so copious by verie farr as wes expected by the Owner.
THERE Bodies of congealled Air are some tymes caried aloft, other whiles grovell in different Schapes, and enter into any Cranie or Clift
of the Earth where Air enters, to their ordinary Dwellings; the Earth being full of Cavities and Cells, and there being no Place nor Creature but is supposed to have other Animals (greater or lesser) living in or upon it as Inhabitants; and no such thing as a pure Wilderness in the whole Universe.
WE then (the more terrestriall kind have now so numerously planted all Countreys,) do labour for that abstruse People, as weill as for ourselves. Albeit, when severall Countreys were unhabitated by ws, these had their easy Tillage above Ground, as we now. The Print of those Furrous do yet remaine to be seen on the Shoulders of very high Hills, which was done when the champayn Ground was Wood and Forrest.
THEY remove to other Lodgings at the Beginning of each Quarter of the Year, so traversing till Doomsday, being imputent and [impotent of?] staying in one Place, and finding some Ease by so purning [Journeying] and changing Habitations. Their chamælion-lyke Bodies swim in the Air near the Earth with Bag and Bagadge; and at such revolution of Time, SEERS, or Men
of the SECOND SIGHT, (Fæmales being seldome so qualified) have very terrifying Encounters with them, even on High Ways; who therefoir uswally shune to travell abroad at these four Seasons of the Year, and thereby have made it a Custome to this Day among the Scottish-Irish to keep Church duely evry first Sunday of the Quarter to sene or hallow themselves, their Corns and Cattell, from the Shots and Stealth of these wandring Tribes; and many of these superstitious People will not be seen in Church againe till the nixt Quarter begin, as if no Duty were to be learned or done by them, but all the Use of Worship and Sermons were to save them from these Arrows that fly in the Dark. (1) THEY are distributed in Tribes and Orders, and have Children, Nurses, Mariages, Deaths, and Burialls, in appearance, even as we, (unless they so do for a Mock-show, or to prognosticate some such Things among us.)
8:1 Note ( a1), p. 86.
THEY are clearly seen by these Men of the SECOND SIGHT to eat at Funeralls [and] Banquets; hence many of the Scottish-Irish will not
teast Meat at these Meittings, lest they have Communion with, or be poysoned by, them. So are they seen to carrie the Beer or Coffin with the Corps among the midle-earth Men to the Grave. Some Men of that exalted Sight (whither by Art or Nature) have told me they have seen at these Meittings a Doubleman, or the Shape of some Man in two places; that is, a superterranean and a subterranean Inhabitant, perfectly resembling one another in all Points, whom he notwithstanding could easily distinguish one from another, by some secret Tockens and Operations, and so go speak to the Man his Neighbour and Familiar, passing by the Apparition or Resemblance of him. They avouch that every Element and different State of Being have Animals resembling these of another Element; as there be Fishes sometimes at Sea resembling Monks of late Order in all their Hoods and Dresses; so as the Roman invention of good and bad Dæmons, and guardian Angells particularly assigned, is called by them an ignorant Mistake, sprung only from this Originall. They call this Reflex-man a Co-walker, every way like the
Man, as a Twin-brother and Companion, haunting him as his shadow, as is oft seen and known among Men (resembling the Originall,) both before and after the Originall is dead, and wes also often seen of old to enter a Hous, by which the People knew that the Person of that Liknes wes to Visite them within a few days. This Copy, Echo, or living Picture, goes att last to his own Herd. It accompanied that Person so long and frequently for Ends best known to it selfe, whither to guard him from the secret Assaults of some of its own Folks, or only as ane sportfull Ape to counterfeit all his Actions. However, the Stories of old WITCHES prove beyond contradiction, that all Sorts of People, Spirits which assume light aery Bodies, or crazed Bodies coacted by forrein Spirits, seem to have some Pleasure, (at least to asswage from Pain or Melancholy,) by frisking and capering like Satyrs, or whistling and screeching (like unlukie Birds) in their unhallowed Synagogues and Sabboths. If invited and earnestly required, these Companions make themselves knowne and familiar to Men; other wise, being
in a different State and Element, they nather can nor will easily converse with them. They avouch that a Heluo, or Great-eater, hath a voracious Elve to be his attender, called a Joint-eater or Just-halver, feeding on the Pith or Quintessence of what the Man eats; and that therefoir he continues Lean like a Hawke or Heron, notwith standing his devouring Appetite: yet it would seem that they convey that substance elsewhere, for these Subterraneans eat but little in their Dwellings; there Food being exactly clean, and served up by Pleasant Children, lyke inchanted Puppets. What Food they extract from us is conveyed to their Homes by secret Paths, as sume skilfull Women do the Pith and Milk from their Neighbours Cows into their own Chiefe-hold thorow a Hair-tedder, at a great Distance, by Airt Magic, or by drawing a spickot fastened to a Post which will bring milk as farr of as a Bull will be heard to roar. 1 The Chiefe made of the remaineing Milk of a Cow thus strain'd will swim in Water like a Cork. The Method they take to recover their Milk is a
bitter chyding of the suspected Inchanters, charging them by a counter Charme to give them back their own, in God, or their Master's Name. But a little of the Mother's Dung stroakit on the Calves Mouth before it suck any, does prevent this theft.
11:1 Note ( b1), p. 87.
THEIR Houses are called large and fair, and (unless att some odd occasions) unperceaveable by vulgar eyes, like Rachland, and other inchanted Islands, having fir Lights, continual Lamps, and Fires, often seen without Fuel to sustain them. Women are yet alive who tell they were taken away when in Child-bed to nurse Fairie Children, a lingering voracious Image of their (them?) being left in their place, (like their Reflexion in a Mirrour,) which (as if it were some insatiable Spirit in ane assumed Bodie) made first semblance to devour the Meats that it cunningly carried by, and then left the Carcase as if it expired and departed thence by a naturall and common Death. The Child, and Fire, with Food and other Necessaries, are set before the Nurse how soon she enters; but she nather perceaves any Passage
out, nor sees what those People doe in other Rooms of the Lodging. When the Child is wained, the Nurse dies, or is conveyed back, or gets it to her choice to stay there. But if any Superterraneans be so subtile, as to practice Slights for procuring a Privacy to any of their Misteries, (such as making use of their Oyntments, which as Gyges's Ring makes them invisible, or nimble, or casts them in a Trance, or alters their Shape, or makes Things appear at a vast Distance, &c.) they smite them without Paine, as with a Puff of Wind, and bereave them of both the naturall and acquired Sights in the twinkling of ane Eye, (both these Sights, where once they come, being in the same Organ and inseparable,) or they strick them Dumb. The Tramontains to this Day put Bread, the Bible, or a piece of Iron, in Womens Beds when travelling, to save them from being thus stollen; and they commonly report, that all uncouth, unknown Wights are terrifyed by nothing earthly so much as by cold Iron. They delyver the Reason to be that Hell lying betwixt the chill Tempests, and the Fire Brands of scalding
[paragraph continues] Metals, and Iron of the North, (hence the Loadstone causes a tendency to that Point,) by ane Antipathy thereto, these odious far-scenting Creatures shrug and fright at all that comes thence relating to so abhorred a Place, whence their Torment is eather begun, or feared to come hereafter
THEIR Apparell and Speech is like that of the People and Countrey under which they live: so are they seen to wear Plaids and variegated Garments in the Highlands of Scotland, and Suanochs therefore in Ireland. They speak but litle, and that by way of whistling, clear, not rough. The verie Divels conjured in any Countrey, do answer in the Language of the Place; yet sometimes the Subterraneans speak more distinctly than at other times. Ther Women are said to Spine very fine, to Dy, to Tossue, and Embroyder: but whither it is as manuall Operation of substantiall refined Stuffs, with apt and solid Instruments, or only curious Cob-webs, impalpable Rainbows, and a fantastic Imitation of the Actions of more terrestricall Mortalls, since it transcended all
the Senses of the Seere to discerne whither, I leave to conjecture as I found it.
THERE Men travell much abroad, either presaging or aping the dismall and tragicall Actions of some amongst us; and have also many disastorous Doings of their own, as Convocations, Fighting, Gashes, Wounds, and Burialls, both in the Earth and Air. They live much longer than wee; yet die at last, or [at] least vanish from that State. 'Tis ane of their Tenets, that nothing perisheth, but (as the Sun and Year) every Thing goes in a Circle, lesser or greater, and is renewed and refreshed in its Revolutions; as 'tis another, that every Bodie in the Creation moves, (which is a sort of Life;) and that nothing moves, but [h]as another Animal moving on it; and so on, to the utmost minutest Corpuscle that's capable to be a Receptacle of Life.
THEY are said to have aristocraticall Rulers and Laws, but no discernible Religion, Love, or Devotion towards God, the blessed Maker of all: they disappear whenever they hear his Name invocked, or the Name of JESUS, (at
which all do bow willinglie, or by constraint, that dwell above or beneath within the Earth, Philip. 2. 10;) nor can they act ought at that Time after hearing of that sacred Name. The TABHAISVER, or Seer, that corresponds with this kind of Familiars, can bring them with a Spel to appear to himselfe or others when he pleases, as readily as Endor Witch to those of her Kind. He tells, they are ever readiest to go on hurtfull Errands, but seldome will be the Messengers of great Good to Men. He is not terrified with their Sight when he calls them, but seeing them in a surpryze (as often he does) frights him extreamly. And glaid would he be quite of such, for the hideous Spectacles seen among them; as the torturing of some Wight, earnest ghostly stairing Looks, Skirmishes, and the like. They do not all the Harme which appearingly they have Power to do; nor are they perceaved to be in great Pain, save that they are usewally silent and sullen. They are said to have many pleasant toyish Books; but the operation of these Peices only appears in some Paroxisms of antic corybantic Jolity, as if
ravisht and prompted by a new Spirit entering into them at that Instant, lighter and mirrier than their own. Other Books they have of involved abstruse Sense, much like the Rosurcian [Rosycrucian] Style. They have nothing of the Bible, save collected Parcells for Charms and counter Charms; not to defend themselves withall, but to operate on other Animals, for they are a People invulnerable by our Weapons; and albeit Were-wolves and Witches true Bodies are (by the union of the Spirit of Nature that runs thorow all, echoing and doubling the Blow towards another) wounded at Home, when the astrial assumed Bodies are stricken elsewhere; as the Strings of a Second Harp, tune to ane unison, Sounds, though only ane be struck; yet these People have not a second, or so gross a Bodie at all, to be so pierced; but as Air, which when divyded units againe; or if they feel Pain by a Blow, they are better Physicians than wee, and quickly cure it. They are not subject to sore Sicknesses, but dwindle and decay at a certain Period, all about ane Age. Some say their continual Sadness is because of
their pendulous State, (like those Men, Luc. 13. 2. 6.) as uncertain what at the last Revolution will become of them, when they are lock't up into ane unchangeable Condition; and if they have any frolic Fitts of Mirth, 'tis as the constrained grinning of a Mort-head, or rather as acted on a Stage, and moved by another, ther [than?] cordially comeing of themselves. But other Men of the Second Sight, being illiterate, and unwary in their Observations, learn from those; one averring those subterranean People to be departed Souls, attending awhile in this inferior State, and clothed with Bodies procured throwgh their Almsdeeds in this Lyfe; fluid, active, ætheriall Vehicles to hold them, that they may not scatter, or wander, and be lost in the Totum, or their first Nothing; but if any were so impious as to have given no Alms, they say when the Souls of such do depairt, they sleep in an unaictve State till they resume the terrestriall Bodies again: others, that what the Low-countrey Scotts calls a Wreath, and the Irish TAIBHSHE 1 or Death's Messenger, (ap-
pearing sometimes as a little rough Dog, and if crossed and conjured in Time, will be pacified by the Death of any other Creature instead of the sick Man,) is only exuvious Fumes of the Man approaching Death, exhal'd and congeal'd into a various Likness, 1 (as Ships and Armies are sometimes shapt in the Air,) and called astral Bodies, agitated as Wild-fire with Wind, and are neather Souls or counterfeiting Spirits; yet not a few avouch (as is said,) that surelie these are a numerous People by them selves, having their own Polities. Which Diversities of Judgments may occasion severall Inconsonancies in this Rehearsall, after the narrowest Scrutiny made about it.
18:1 The Death-candle is called DRUIG.
19:1 Note ( c1), p. 87.
THEIR Weapons are most what solid earthly Bodies, nothing of Iron, but much of Stone, like to yellow soft Flint Spa, shaped like a barbed Arrow-head, but flung like a Dairt, with great Force. These Armes (cut by Airt and Tools it seems beyond humane) have something of the Nature of Thunderbolt subtilty, and mortally wounding the vital Parts without breaking the Skin; of which Wounds I have observed in
[paragraph continues] Beasts, and felt them with my Hands. They are not as infallible Benjamites, hitting at a Hair's-breadth; nor are they wholly unvanquishable, at least in Appearance.
THE MEN of that SECOND SIGHT do not discover strange Things when asked, but at Fits and Raptures, as if inspyred with some Genius at that Instant, which before did lurk in or about them. Thus I have frequently spoke to one of them, who in his Transport told he cut the Bodie of one of those People in two with his Iron Weapon, and so escaped this Onset, yet he saw nothing left behind of that appearing divyded; at other Times he out wrested [wrestled?] some of them. His Neibours often perceaved this Man to disappear at a certane Place, and about one Hour after to become visible, and discover him selfe near a Bow-shot from the first Place. It was in that Place where he became invisible, said he, that the Subterraneans did encounter and combate with him. Those who are unseened or unsanctified (called Fey) are said to be pierced or wounded with those People's Weapons, which makes them do
somewhat verie unlike their former Practice, causing a sudden Alteration, yet the Cause thereof unperceavable at present; nor have they Power (either they cannot make use of their natural Powers, or ask't not the heavenly Aid,) to escape the Blow impendent. A Man of the Second Sight perceaved a Person standing by him (found to others view) wholly gored in Blood, and he (amazed-like) bid him instantly flee. The whole Man laught at his Airt and Warning, since there was no appearance of Danger. He had scarce contracted his Lips from Laughter, when unexpectedly his Enemy leapt in at his Side, and stab'd him with their Weapons. They also pierce Cows or other Animals, usewally said to be Elf-shot, whose purest Substance (if they die) these Subterraneans take to live on, viz. the aereal and ætherial Parts, the most spirituous Matter for prolonging of Life, such as Aquavitæ (moderately taken) is among Liquors, leaving the terrestrial behind. The Cure of such Hurts is, only for a Man to find out the Hole with his Finger; as if the Spirits flowing from a Man's
warme Hand were Antidote sufficient against their poyson'd Dairts.
As Birds and Beasts, whose Bodies are much used to the Change of the frie and open Air, forsee Storms; so those invisible People are more sagacious to understand by the Books of Nature Things to come, than wee, who are pestered with the grosser Dregs of all elementary Mixtures, and have our purer Spirits choaked by them. The Deer scents out a Man and Powder (tho a late Invention) at a great Distance; a hungry Hunter, Bread; and the Raven, a Carrion: Ther Brains, being long clarified by the high and subtil Air, will observe a very small Change in a Trice. Thus a Man of the Second Sight, perceaving the Operations of these forecasting invisible People among us, (indulged thorow a stupendious Providence to give Warnings of some remarkable Events, either in the Air, Earth, or Waters,) told he saw a Winding-shroud creeping on a walking healthful Persons Legs till it come to the Knee; and afterwards it came up to the Midle, then to the Shoulders, and at last over the Head, which was visible to
no other Persone. And by observing the Spaces of Time betwixt the severall Stages, he easily guessed how long the Man was to live who wore the Shroud; for when it approached his Head, he told that such a Person was ripe for the Grave.
THERE be many Places called Fairie-hills, which the Mountain People think impious and dangerous to peel or discover, by taking Earth or Wood from them; superstitiously beleiving the Souls of their Predicessors to dwell there. 1 And for that End (say they) a Mote or Mount was dedicate beside every Church-yard, to receive the Souls till their adjacent Bodies arise, and so become as a Fairie-hill; they useing Bodies of Air when called Abroad. They also affirme those Creatures that move invisibly in a House, and cast hug great Stones, but do no much Hurt, because counter-wrought by some more courteous and charitable Spirits that are everywhere ready to defend Men, (Dan. 10. 13.) to be Souls that have not attained their Rest, thorough a vehement Desire of revealling a Murther or notable Injurie done or receaved,
or a Treasure that was forgot in their Liftyme on Earth, which when disclos'd to a Conjurer alone, the Ghost quite removes.
IN the nixt Country to that of my former Residence, about the Year 1676, when there was some Scarcity of Graine, a marvelous Illapse and Vision strongly struck the Imagination of two Women in one Night, living at a good Distance from one another, about a Treasure hid in a Hill, called SITHBHRUAICH, or Fayrie-hill. The Appearance of a Treasure was first represented to the Fancy, and then an audible Voyce named the Place where it was to their awaking Senses. Whereupon both arose, and meitting accidentallie at the Place, discovered their Designe; and joyntly digging, found a Vessell as large as a Scottish Peck, full of small Pieces of good Money, of ancient Coyn; which halving betuixt them, they sold in Dish-fulls for Dish-fulls of Meall to the Countrey People. Very many of undoubted Credit saw, and had of the Coyn to this Day. But whither it was a good or bad Angell, one of the subterranean People, or the ressless Soul of him who hid it,
that discovered it, and to what End it was done, I leave to the Examination of others.
23:1 Note ( d1), p. 88.
THESE Subterraneans have Controversies, Doubts, Disputs, Feuds, and Siding of Parties; there being some Ignorance in all Creatures, and the vastest created Intelligences not compassing all Things. As to Vice and Sin, whatever their own Laws be, sure, according to ours, and Equity, natural, civil, and reveal'd, they transgress and commit Acts of Injustice, and Sin, by what is above said, as to their stealling of Nurses to their Children, and that other sort of Plaginism in catching our Children away, (may seem to heir some Estate in those invisible Dominions,) which never returne. For the Inconvenience of their Succubi, who tryst with Men, it is abominable; but for Swearing and Intemperance, they are not observed so subjct to those Irregularities, as to Envy, Spite, Hypocracie, Lieing, and Dissimulation.
As our Religion oblidges us not to make a peremptory and curious Search into these Obstrusenesses, so that the Histories of all Ages give as many plain Examples of extraordinary
Occurrances as make a modest Inquiry not contemptable. How much is written of Pigme's, Fairies, Nymphs, Syrens, Apparitions, which tho not the tenth Part true, yet could not spring of nothing! Even English Authors relate (of) Barry Island, in Glamorganshire, that laying your Ear into a Clift of the Rocks, blowing of Bellows, stricking of Hammers, clashing of Armour, fyling of Iron, will be heard distinctly ever since Merlin inchaunted those subterranean Wights to a solid manuall forging of Arm's to Aurelius Ambrosius and his Brittans, till he returned; which Merlin being killed in a Battell, and not coming to loose the Knot, these active Vulcans are there ty'd to a perpetuall Labour. But to dip no deeper into this Well, I will nixt give some Account how the Seer my Informer comes to have this secret Way of Correspondence beyond other Mortalls.
THERE be odd Solemnities at investing a Man with the Priviledges of the whole Mistery of this Second Sight. He must run a Tedder of Hair (which bound a Corps to the Bier) in a Helix [?] about his Midle, from End to End;
then bow his Head downwards, as did Elijah, 1 Kings, 18. 42. and look back thorough his Legs untill he sie a Funerall advance till the People cross two Marches; or look thus back thorough a Hole where was a Knot of Fir. But if the Wind change Points while the Hair Tedder is ty'd about him, he is in Peril of his Lyfe. The usewall Method for a curious Person to get a transient Sight of this otherwise invisible Crew of Subterraneans, (if impotently and over rashly sought,) is to put his [left Foot under the Wizard's right] Foot, and the Seer's Hand is put on the Inquirer's Head, who is to look over the Wizard's right Shoulder, (which hes ane ill Appearance, as if by this Ceremony ane implicit Surrender were made of all betwixt the Wizard's Foot and his Hand, ere the Person can be admitted a privado to the Airt;) then will he see a Multitude of Wight's, like furious hardie Men, flocking to him haistily from all Quarters, as thick as Atoms in the Air; which are no Nonentities or Phantasms, Creatures proceiding from ane affrighted Apprehensione, confused or crazed Sense, but Realities, appearing
to a stable Man in his awaking Sense, and enduring a rationall Tryall of their Being. Thes thorow Fear strick him breathless and speechless. The Wizard, defending the Lawfullness of his Skill, forbids such Horror, and comforts his Novice by telling of Zacharias, as being struck speechless at seeing Apparitions, Luke, 1. 20. Then he further maintains his Airt, by vouching Elisha to have had the same, and disclos'd it thus unto his Servant in 2 Kings, 6. 17. when he blinded the Syrians; and Peter in Act, 5. 9. forseing the Death of Saphira, by perceaving as it were her Winding-sheet about her before hand; and Paul, in 2nd Corinth. 12. 4. who got such a Vision and Sight as should not, nor could be told. Elisha also in his Chamber saw Gehazi his Servant, at a great Distance, taking a reward from Naaman, 2d Kings, 5. 26. Hence were the Prophets frequently called SEERS, or Men of a 2d or more exhalted Sight than others. He acts for his Purpose also Math. 4. 8. where the Devil undertakes to give even Jesus a Sight of all Nations, and the finest Things in the World, at one Glance, tho in
their naturall Situations and Stations at a vast Distance from other. And 'tis said expresly he did let sie them; not in a Map it seems, nor by a phantastick magicall jugling of the Sight, which he could not impose upon so discovering a Person. It would appear then to have been a Sight of real solid Substances, and Things of worth, which he intended as a Bait for his Purpose. Whence it might seem, (compairing this Relation of Math. 4. 8. with the former,) that the extraordinary or Second Sight can be given by the Ministery of bad as weill as good Spirits to those that will embrace it. And the Instance of Balaam and the Pytheniss make it nothing the less probable. Thus also the Seer trains his Scholler, by telling of the Gradations of Nature, ordered by a wise Provydence; that as the Sight of Bats and Owls transcend that of Shrews and Moles, so the visive Faculties of Men are clearer than those of Owls; as Eagles, Lynxs, and Cats are brighter than Mens. And again, that Men of the Second Sight (being designed to give warnings against secret Engyns) surpass the ordinary Vision of other
Men, which is a native Habit in some, descended from their Ancestors, and acquired as ane artificiall Improvement of their natural Sight in others; resembling in their own Kynd the usuall artificiall Helps of optic Glasses, (as Prospectives, Telescopes, and Microscopes,) without which ascititious Aids those Men here treated of do perceive Things that, for their Smallness, or Subtility, and Secrecy, are invisible to others, tho dayly conversant with them; they having such a Beam continuallie about them as that of the Sun, which when it shines clear only, lets common Eyes see the Atomes, in the Air, that without those Rayes they could not discern; for some have this Second Sight transmitted from Father to Sone thorow the whole Family, without their own Consent or others teaching, proceeding only from a Bounty of Providence it seems, or by Compact, or by a complexionall Quality of the first Acquirer. As it may seem alike strange (yet nothing vicious) in such as Master Great-rake, 1 the Irish Stroaker, Seventh-sons, and others that cure the King's Evill,
and chase away Deseases and Pains, with only stroaking of the affected Pairt; which (if it be not the Reliques of miraculous Operations, or some secret Virtue in the Womb, of the Parent, which increaseth until Seventh-sons be borne, and decreaseth by the same Degrees afterwards,) proceids only from the sanitive Balsome of their healthfull Contsitutions; Virtue going out from them by spirituous Effluxes unto the Patient, and their vigorous healthy Spirits affecting the sick as usewally the unhealthy Fumes of the sick infect the sound and whole.
30:1 Note ( e1), p. 88.
THE Minor Sort of Seers prognosticat many future Events, only for a Month's Space, from the Shoulder-bone of a Sheep on which a Knife never came, (for as before is said, and the Nazarits of old had something of it) Iron hinders all the Opperations of those that travell in the Intrigues of these hidden Dominions. By looking into the Bone, they will tell if Whoredom be committed in the Owner's House; what Money the Master of the Sheep had; if any will die out of that House for that Moneth; and if any Cattell there will take a Trake, as
if Planet-struck. Then will they prescribe a Preservative and Prevention.
A WOMAN (it seems ane Exception from the generall Rule,) singularlie wise in these Matters of Foirsight, living in Colasnach, ane Isle of the Hebrides, (in the Time of the Marquess of Montrose his Wars with the States in Scotland,) being notorious among many; and so examined by some that violently seazed that Isle, if she saw them coming or not? She said, she saw them coming many Hours before they came in View of the Isle. But earnestly looking, she some times took them for Enemyes, sometime for Friends; and morover they look't as if they went from the Isle, not as Men approaching it, which made her not put the Inhabitants on their Guard. The Matter was, that the Barge wherein the Enemie sailed, was a little befoir taken from the Inhabitants of that fame Isle, and the Men had their Backs towards the Isle, when they were plying the oares towards it. Thus this old Scout and Delphian Oracle was at least deceived, and did deceave. Being asked who gave her such Sights
and Warnings, she said, that as soon as she set three Crosses of Straw upon the Palm of her Hand, a great ugly Beast sprang out of the Earth neer her, and flew in the Air. If what she enquired had Success according to her Wish, the Beaft would descend calmly, and lick up the Crosses. If it would not succeid, the Beaft would furiously thrust her and the Crosses over on the Ground, and so vanish to his Place.
AMONG other Instances of undoubted Verity, proving in these the Being of such aerial People, or Species of Creatures not vulgarly known, I add the subsequent Relations, some whereof I have from my Acquaintance with the Actors and Patients, and the Rest from the Eye-witnesses to the Matter of Fact. The first whereof shall be of the Woman taken out of her Child-bed, and having a lingring Image of her substituted Bodie in her Roome, which Resemblance decay'd, dy'd, and was bur'd. But the Person stollen returning to her Husband after two Years Space, he being convinced by many undenyable Tokens that she
was his former Wyfe, admitted her Home, and had diverse Children by her. Among other Reports she gave her Husband, this was one: That she perceived litle what they did in the spacious House she lodg'd in, untill she anointed one of her Eyes with a certain Unction that was by her; which they perceaving to have acqainted her with their Actions, they fain'd her blind of that Eye with a Puff of their Breath. She found the Place full of Light, without any Fountain or Lamp from whence it did spring. This Person lived in the Countrey nixt to that of my last Residence, and might furnish Matter of Dispute amongst Casuists, whither if her Husband had been mary'd in the Interim of her two Years Absence, he was oblidged to divorse from the second Spouse at the Return of the first. There is ane Airt, appearingly without Superstition, for recovering of such as are stolen, but think it superfluous to insert it.
I SAW a Woman of fourtie Years of Age, and examined her (having another Clergie Man in my Companie) about a Report that past of
her long fasting, [her Name is not intyre.] 1 It was told by them of the House, as well as her selfe, that she tooke verie little or no Food for severall Years past; that she tarried in the Fields over Night, saw and conversed with a People she knew not, having wandered in seeking of her Sheep, and sleep't upon a Hillock, and finding her self transported to another Place before Day. The Woman had a Child since that Time, and is still prettie melanchollyous and silent, hardly ever seen to laugh. Her natural Heat and radical Moisture seem to be equally balanced, lyke ane unextinguished Lamp, and going in a Circle, not unlike to the faint Lyfe of Bees, and some Sort of Birds, that sleep all the Winter over, and revive in the Spring.
IT is usuall in all magicall Airts to have the Candidates prepossessit with a Believe of their Tutor's Skill, and Ability to perform their Feats, and act their jugling Pranks and Legerdemain; but a Person called Stewart, possessed with a prejudice at that was spoken of the 2d Sight,
and living near to my House, was soe put to it by a Seer, before many Witnesses, that he lost his Speech and Power of his Legs, and breathing excessively, as if expyring, because of the many fearfull Wights that appeared to him. The Companie were forced to carrie him into the House.
IT is notoriously known what in Killin, within Perthshire, fell tragically out with a Yeoman that liv'd hard by, who coming into a Companie within ane Ale-house, where a Seer sat at Table, that at the Sight of the Intrant Neighbour, the Seer starting, rose to go out of the Hous; and being asked the Reason of his hast, told that the intrant Man should die within two Days; at which News the named Intrant slabb'd the Seer, and was himself executed two Days after for the Fact.
A MINISTER, verie intelligent, but misbelieving all such Sights as were not ordinar, chanceing to be in a narrow Lane with a Seer, who perceaving a Wight of a known Visage furioslie to encounter them, the Seer desired the Minister to turn out of the Way; who scorning his
Reason, and holding him selfe in the Path with them, when the Seer was going hastily out of the Way, they were both violently cast a side to a good Distance, and the Fall made them lame for all their Lyfe. A little after the Minister was carried Home, one came to tol the Bell for the Death of the Man whose Representation met them in the narrow Path some Halfe ane Hour before.
ANOTHER Example is: A Seer in Kintyre, in Scotland, sitting at Table with diverse others, suddenly did cast his Head aside. The Companie asking him why he did it, he answered, that such a Friend of his, by Name, then in Ireland, threatened immediately to cast a Dishfull of Butter in his Face. The Men wrote down the Day and Hour, and sent to the Gentleman to know the Truth; which Deed the Gentleman declared he did at that verie Time, for he knew that his Friend was a Seer, and would make sport with it. The Men that were present, and examined the Matter exactly, told me this Story; and with all, that a Seer would with all his Opticks perceive no other Object so readily as this, at such a Distance.
35:1 Thus in the manuscript, which is only a Transcript of Mr. Kirk's Original. Perhaps M'Intyre?
A SUCCINT ACCOMPT OF My LORD TARBOTT'S RELATIONS,
IN A LETTER TO THE HONOURABLE ROBERT BOYLE, ESQUIRE, OF THE PREDICTIONS MADE BY SEERS, Whereof himself was Ear and Eye-witness.
[I thought fit to adjoyne [it] hereunto, that I might not be thought singular in this Disquisition; that the Mater of Fact might be undenyably made out; and that I might, with all Submission, give Annotations, with Animadversions, on his supposed Causes of that Phenomenon, with my Reasons of Dissent from his judgement.]
SIR, I HEARD very much, but beleived very little, of the Second Sight; yet its being assumed
by severall of great Veracity, I was induced to make Inquirie after it in the Year 1652, being then confin'd to abide in the North of Scotland by the English Usurpers. The more generall Accounts of it were, that many Highlanders, yet far more Islanders, were qualified with this Second Sight; that Men, Women, and Children, indistinctly, were subject to it, and Children, where Parents were not. Some times People came to age, who had it not when young, nor could any tell by what Means produced. It is a Trouble to most of them who are subject to it, and they would be rid of it any Rate if they could. The Sight is of no long Duration, only continuing so long as they can keep their Eyes steady without twinkling. The hardy therefore fix their look, that they may see the longer; but the timorous see only Glances, their Eyes always twinkles at the first Sight of the Object. That which generally is seen by them, are the Species of living Creatures, and of inanimate Things, which was in Motion, such as Ships, and Habits upon Persons. They never sie the
the Species of any Person who is already dead. What they foirsie fails not to exist in the Mode, and in that Place where it appears to them. They cannot well know what Space of Time shall interveen between the Apparition and the real Existance: But some of the hardiest and longest Experience have some Rules for Conjectures; as, if they sie a Man with a shrowding Sheet in the Apparition, they will conjecture at the Nearness or Remoteness of his Death by the more or less of his Bodie that is covered by it. They will ordinarily sie their absent Friends, tho at a great Distance, some tymes no less than from America to Scotland, sitting, standing, or walking in some certain Place; and then they conclude with a Assurance that they will sie them so and there. If a Man be in love with a Woman, they will ordinarily sie the Species of that Man standing by her, and so likewise if a Woman be in love; and they conjecture at their Enjoyments (of each other) by the Species touching (of) the Person, or appearing at a Distance from her (if they enjoy not one another.) If they sie
the Species of any Person who is sick to die, they sie them covered over with the shrowding Sheet.
THESE Generalls I had verified to me by such of them as did sie, and were esteemed honest and sober by all the Neighbourhood; for I inquired after such for my Information. And because there were more of these Seers in the Isles of Lewis, Harris, and Uist, than in any other Place, I did entreat Sir James M'Donald (who is now dead) Sir Normand M'Loud, and Mr. Daniel Morison, a verie honest Person, (who are still alive,) to make Inquirie in this uncouth Sight, and to acquaint me therewith; which they did, and all found ane Agriement in these Generalls, and informed me of many Instances confirming what they said. But though Men of Discretion and Honour, being but at 2d Hand, I will choose rather to put myself than my Friends on the Hazard of being laughed at for incredible Relations.
I WAS once travelling in the Highlands, and a good Number of Servants with me, as is usuall
there; and one of them going a little before me, entering into a House where I was to stay all Night, and going haistily to the Door, he suddenly stept back with a Screech, and did fall by a Stone, which hit his Foot. I asked what the Matter was, for he seemed to be very much frighted. He told me very seriously that I should not lodge in that House, because shortly a dead Coffin would be carried out of it, for many were carrying of it when he was heard cry. I neglecting his Words, and staying there, he said to other of his Servants, he was sorry for it, and that surely what he saw would shortly come to pass. Tho no sick Person was then there, yet the Landlord, a healthy Highlander, died of ane appoplectick Fit before I left the House.
In the year 1653, Alexander Monro (afterward Lieut. Coll. to the Earl of Dunbarton's Regiment,) and I were walking in a Place called Ullabill, in Lochbroom, on a little Plain, at the Foot of a rugged Hill. There was a Servant working with a Spade in the Walk before us; his Back was to us, and his Face to
the Hill. Before we came to him, he let the Spade fall, and looked toward the Hill. He took Notice of us as wee passed neer by him, which made me look at him; and perceiving him to stair a little strangely, I conjectured him to be a Seer. I called at him, at which he started and smiled. What are you doing? said I. He answered, I have seen a very strange Thing; ane Army of Englishmen, leeding of Horses, coming doun that Hill; and a Number of them are come down to the Plain, and eating the Barley, which is growing in the Field neer to the Hill. This was on the 4th May, (for I notted the Day,) and it was four or fyve Days before the Barley was sown in the Field he spoke of. Alexander Monro asked him how he knew they were Englishmen? He said, because they were leeding of Horses, and had on Hats and Bootts, which he knew no Scot Man would have there. We took little Notice of the whole Storie, as other than a foolish Vision; but wished that ane English Partie were there, we being then at Warr with them, and the Place almost unacceslable for Horse-
men. But in the Beginning of August therafter, the Earle of Midleton (then Lieut. for the King in the Highlands) having occasion to march a Party of his toward the South Highlands, he sent his Foot thorow a Place called Inverlawell; and the Fore-partie which was first down the Hill, did fall off eating the Barley which was on the litle Plain under it. And Monro calling to mynd what the Seer told us, in May preceiding, he wrote of it, and sent ane Express to me to Lochslin, in Ross, (where I then was) with it.
I HAD Occasion once to be in Companie where a Young Lady was, (excuse my not naming of Persons,) and I was told there was a notable Seer in the Companie. I called him to speak with me, as I did ordinarly when I found any of them; and after he had answered me to several Questions, I asked if he knew any Person to be in love with that Lady. He said he did, but he knew not the Person; for during the two Dayes he had been in her Company, he perceaved one standing neer her, and his Head leaning on her Shoulder; which he said
did fore-tell that the Man should marrie her, and die before her, according to his Observation. This was in the Year 1655. I desired him to describe the Person, which he did; so that I could conjecture, by the Description, of such a one, who was of that Ladyes Acquaintance, tho there were no thought of their Marriage till two Years thereafter. And having Occasion, in the Year 1657, to find this Seer, who was ane Islander, in Company with the other Person whom I conjectured to have been described by him, I called him aside, and asked if that was the Person he saw beside the Lady near two Years then past. He said it was he indeed, for he had seen that Lady just then standing by him Hand in Hand. This was some few Months before their Marriage, and that Man is since dead, and the Lady still alive.
I SHALL trouble you but with one more, which I thought most remarkable of any that occurred to me. In January 1652, the above mentioned Lieut. Coll. Alex. Monro and I happened to be in the House of one Wm. M'Cleud of Ferrinlea, in the County of Ross.
[paragraph continues] He, the Landlord, and I were sitting in three Chairs neir the Fire, and in the Corner of the great Chimney there were two Islanders, who were that verie Night come to the Hous, and were related to the Landlord. While the one of them was talking with Monro, I perceaved the other to look oddly toward me. From this Look, and his being ane Islander, I conjectured him a Seer, and asked him, at what he stair'd? He answered, by desiring me to rise from that Chair, for it was ane unluckie one. I asked him why. He answered, because there was a dead Man in the Chair nixt to me. Well, said I, if it be in the nixt Chair, I may keep mine own. But what is the Likness of the Man? He said he was a tall Man, with a long Grey Coat, booted, and one of his Legs hanging over the Arme of the Chair, and his head hanging dead to the other Side, and his Arme backward, as if it were brocken. There were some English Troops then quartered near that Place, and there being at that Time a great Frost after a Thaw, the Country was covered all over with Yce. Four or Fyve of the English ryding by
this House some two Hours after the Vision, while we were sitting by the Fire, we heard a great Noise, which prov'd to be those Troopers, with the Help of other Servants, carrying in one of their Number, who had got a very mischeivous Fall, and had his Arme broke; and falling frequently in swooning Fits, they brought him into the Hall, and set him in the verie Chair, and in the verie Posture that the Seer had prophesied. But the Man did not die, though he recovered with great Difficulty.
AMONG the Accounts given me by Sir Normand M'clud, there was one worth of special Notice, which was thus. There [was] a Gentleman in the Isle of Harris, who was always seen by the Seers with ane Arrow in his Thigh. Such in the Isle who thought those prognostications infalliable, did not doubt but he would be shot in the Thigh before he died. Sir Normand told me that he heard it the Subject of their Discourse for many Years. At last he died without any such Accident. Sir Normand was at his Buriall, at St Clement's Church in the Harris. At the same Time, the Corps of
another Gentleman was brought to be buried in the same verie Church. The Friends on either Side came to debate who should first enter the Church, and in a Trice from Words they came to Blows. One of the Number (who was arm'd with Bow and Arrows) let one fly among them. (Now everie Familie in that Isle have their Buriall-place in the Church in Stone Chests, and the Bodies are carried in open Biers to the Buriall-place.) Sir Normand having appeased the Tumult, one of the Arrows was found shot in the dead Man's Thigh. To this Sir Normand was a Witness.
IN the Account which Mr Daniel Morison, Parson in the Lewis, gave me, there was one, tho it be hetergeneous from the subject, yet it may [be] worth your Notice. It was of a young Woman in his Parish, who was mightily frightned by seeing her own Image still before her, alwayes when she came to the open Air; the Back of the Image being alwayes to her, so that it was not a reflection as in a Mirrour, but the Species of such a Body as her own, and in a very like Habit, which appeared to herself
continually before her. The Parson keept her a long whyle with him, but had no Remedy of her Evill, which troubled her exceidingly. I was told afterwards, that when she was four or fyve Years elder she saw it not.
THESE are Matters of Fact, which I assure yow they are truely related. But these, and all others that occurred to me, by Information or otherwise, could never lead me into a remote Conjecture of the Cause of so extraordinary a Phænomenon. Whither it be a Quality in the Eyes of some People into these Pairts, concurring with a Quality in the Air also; whither such Species be every where, tho not seen by the Want of Eyes so qualified, or from whatever other Cause, I must leave to the Inquiry of clearer judgements than mine. But a Hint may be taken from this image which appeared still to this Woman abovementioned, and from another mentioned by Aristotle, in the 4th of his Metaphysicks (if I remember right, for it is long since I read it;) as also from the common Opinion that young Infants (unsullied with many Objects) do sie Appearitions, which were
not seen by those of elder Years; as like wife from this, that severalls did sie the Second Sight when in the Highlands or Isles, yet when transported to live in other Countreys, especially in America, they quite lose this Qualitie, as was told me by a Gentleman who knew some of them in Barbadoes, who did see no Vision there, altho he knew them to be Seers when they lived in the Isles of Scotland.
Thus far my Lord Tarbett.
My LORD, after narrow Inquisition, hath delivered many true and remarkable observes on this Subject; yet to encourage a further Scrutiny, I crave leave to say,
THAT 1. But a few Women are endued with this Sight in respect of Men, and their Predictions not so certane.
2. This Sight is not criminal, since a Man can come by it unawares, and without his Consent; but it is certaine he sie more fatall and fearfull Things than he do gladsome.
3. THE Seers avouch, that severalls who go
to the Siths, (or People at Rest, and, in respect of us, in Peace,) before the natural Period of their Lyfe expyre, do frequently appear to them.
4. A VEHEMENT Desyre to attain this Airt is very helpfull to the Inquyrer; and the Species of ane Absent Friend, which appears to the Seers, as clearly as if he had sent his lively Picture to present it selfe before him, is no phantastick Shaddow of a sick Apprehension, but a reality, and a Messinger, coming for unknown Reasons, not from the originall Similitude of it selfe, but from a more swift and pragmantick People, which recreat them selves in offering secret Intelligence to Men, tho generally they are unacquainted with that Kind of Correspondence, as if they had lived in a different element from them.
5. THO my Collections were written long before I saw My Lord of Tarbett's, yet I am glad that his descriptions and mine correspond so nearly. The Maid my Lord mentions, who saw her Image still before her, suteth with the CO-WALKER named in my Account; which tho
some, at first Thought, might conjecture to be by the Refraction of a Cloud or Mist, as in the Parelij, (the whole Air and every Drop of Water being a Mirrour to returne the Species of Things, were our visive Faculty sharpe enough to apprehend them,) or a naturall Reflexion, from the same Reasons that an Echo can be redoubled by Airt; yet it were more fasable ((?) fafable in original--JBH) to impute this Second Sight to a Quality infused into the Eye by ane Unction: for Witchies have a sleepie Oyntment, that, when applyed, troubles their Fantasies, advancing it to have unusuall Figures and Shapes represented to it, as if it were a Fit of Fanaticism, Hypocondriack Melancholly, or Possession of some insinuating Spirit, raising the Soul beyond its common Strain, if the palpable Instances and Realities seen, and innocently objected to the Senses did not disprove it, make the Matter a palpable Verity, and no Deception; yet since this Sight can be bestowed without Oyntment, or dangerous Compact, the Qualification is not of so bad an Originall. Therefore,
6. By my Lord's good Leave, I presume to
say, that this Sight can be no Quality of the Air nor of the Eyes; becaus, 1. such as live in the same Air, and sie all other Things as farr off and as clearly, yet have not the SECOND SIGHT. 2. A SEER can give another Person this Sight transiently, by putting his Hand and Foot in the Posture he requires of him. 3. The unsullied Eyes of Infants can naturally perceave no new unaccustomed Objects, but what appear to other Men, unless exalted and clarified some Way, as Ballaam's Ass for a Time; tho in a Witches Eye the Beholder cannot sie his own Image reflected, as in the Eyes of other People; so that Defect of Objects, as well as Diversities of the Subject, may appear differently on severall Tempers and Ages. 4. Tho also some are of so venemous a Constitution, by being radicated in Envy and Malice, that they pierce and kill (like a Cockatrice) whatever Creature they first set their Eye on in the Morning; so was it with Walter Grahame, some Time living in the Paroch wherein now I am, who killed his own Cow after commending its Fatness, and
shot a Hair with his Eyes, having praised its swiftness, (such was the Infection of ane evill Eye;) albeit this was unusuall, yet he saw no Object but what was obvious to other Men as well as to himselfe. 5. If the being transported to live in another Countrey did obscure the Second Sight, nather the Parson nor the Maid needed be much troubled for her Reflex-selfe; a little Peregrination, and going from her wonted Home, would have salved her Fear. Wherefore,
7. SINCE the Things seen by the Seers are real Entities, the Presages and Predictions found true, but a few endued with this Sight, and those not of bad Lyves, or addicted to Malifices, the true Solution of the Phænomenon seems rather to be, the courteous Endeavours of our fellow Creatures in the Invisible World to convince us, (in Opposition to Sadduce's, Socinians, and Atheists,) of a Deity; of Spirits; of a possible and harmless Method of Correspondence betwixt Men and them, even in this Lyfe; of their Operation for our Caution and Warning; of the Orders and Degrees
of Angells, whereof one Order, with Bodies of Air condensed and curiously shap't, may be nixt to Man, superior to him in Understanding, yet unconfirmed; and of their Region, Habitation, and Influences on Man, greater than that of Starrs on inanimat Bodies; a Knowledge (belike) reserved for these last atheistick Ages, wherein the Profanity of Mens Lives hath debauched and blinded their Understanding, as to MOSES, JESUS, and the Prophets, (unless they get Convictions from Things formerly known,) as from the Regions of the Dead: nor doth the ceasing of the Visions, upon the Seers Transmigration into forrein Kingdoms, make his Lordship's Conjecture of the Quality of the Air and Eye a white (while (?)--JBH) the more probable; but, on the Contrary, it confirms greatly my Account of ane Invisible People, guardian over and care-full of Men, who have their different Offices and Abilities in distinct Counterey's, as appears in Dan. 10. 13. viz. about Israels, Grecia's, and Persia's assistant Princes, whereof who so prevaileth giveth Dominion and Ascendant to his Pupills and Vassalls over
the opposite Armies and Countreys; so that every Countrey and Kingdom having their topical Spirits, or Powers assisting and governing them, the SCOTTISH SEER banished to America, being a Stranger there, as well to the invisible as to the visible Inhabitants, and wanting a Fimiliarity of his former Correspondents, he could not have the Favour and Warnings, by the severall Visions and Predictions which were wont to be granted him by these Acquantances and Favourites in his own Countrey. For if what he wont to sie were Realities, (as I have made appear,) 'twere too great ane Honour for Scotland to have such seldom-seen Watchers and predominant Powers over it alone, acting in it so expressly, and all other Nations wholly destitute of the lyke; tho, without all peradventure, all other People wanted the right Key of their Cabinet, and the exact Method of Correspondence with them, except the sagacious active Scots, as many of them have retained it of a long Time, and by Surpryses and Raptures do often foirtell what in Kyndness is really represented to them at
severall Occasions. To which Purpose the learned lynx-ey'd Mr. Baxter, on Rev. 12. 7. writting of the Fight betwixt Michaell and the Dragon, gives a verie pertinent Note, viz. That he knows not but ere any great Action (especiall tragicall) is don on Earth, that first the Battell and Victory is acted and atchieved in the Air betwixt the good and evill Spirits: Thus he. It seems these were the mens Guardians; and the lyke Battells are oft tymes perceav'd in a Loaft (sic--JBH) in the Nycht-time; the Event of which myght easily be represented by some one of the Number to a Correspondent on Earth, as frequently the Report of great Actions have been more swiftly caried to other Countreys than all the Airt of us Mortals could possibly dispatch it. St. Austine, (Augustine?--JBH) on Mark, 9. 4. giveth no small Intimation of this Truth, averring that Elias appeared with Jesus on the Mount in his proper Bodie, but Moses in ane aereall Bodie, assumed like the Angels who appeared, and had Ability to eat with Abraham, tho no Necessity on the Account of their Bodies. As lyke wife the late Doctrine of the Pre-existence
of Souls, living into aereall Vehicles, gives a singular Hint of the Possibility of the Thing, if not a direct Prooff of the whole Assertion; which yet moreover may be illuminated by diverse other Instances of the lyke Nature, and as wonderfull, besides what is above said. As,
8. THE invisible Wights which haunt Houses seem rather to be some of our subterranean Inhabitants, (which appear often to Men of the Second Sight,) than evill Spirits or Devills; because, tho they throw great Stones, Pieces of Earth and Wood, at the Inhabitants, they hurt them not at all, as if they acted not malitiously, like Devills at all, but in Sport, lyke Buffoons and Drolls. All Ages have affoorded some obscure Testimonies of it, as Pythagoras his Doctrine of Transmigration; Socrates's Dæmon that gave him [Warning] of future Dangers; Platoe's classing them into various vehiculated Specieses of Spirits; Dionisius Areopagita's marshalling nyne Orders of Spirits, superiour and subordinate; the Poets their borrowing of the Philosophers, and add-
ing their own Fancies of Fountain, River, and Sea Nymphs, Wood, Hill, and Montain Inhabitants, and that every Place and Thing, in Cities and Countreys, had speciall invisible regular Gods and Governours. Cardan speaks of his Father his seeing the Species of his Friend, in a moon-shyn Night, riding fiercely by his Window on a white Horse, the verie Night his Friend dy'd at a Vast Distance from him; by which he understood that some Alteration would suddenly ensue. Cornelius Aggrippa, and the learned Dr. Mor, have severall Passages tending that Way. The Noctambulo's themselves would appear to have some forrein joquing Spirit possessing and supporting them, when they walk on deep Waters and Topes of Houses without Danger, when asleep and in the dark; for it was no way probable that their Apprehension, and strong Imagination setting the Animal Spirits a work to move the Body, could preserve it from sinking in the Deepth, or falling down head-long, when asleep, any more than when awake, the Body being then as ponderous as before; and it is hard
to attribute it to a Spirit flatelie evill and Enemy to Man, because the Noctambulo returns to his own Place safe. And the most furious Tribe of the Dæmons are not permitted by Providence to attacke Men so frequently either by Night or by Day: For in our Highlands, as there may be many fair Ladies of this aereal Order, which do often tryst with lascivious young Men, in the quality of Succubi, or lightsome Paramours and Strumpets, called Leannain Sith, or familiar Spirits (in Dewter. 18. 11.); so do many of our Hyghlanders, as if a strangling by the Night MARE, pressed with a fearfull. Dream, or rather possessed by one of our aereall Neighbours, rise up fierce in the Night, and apprehending the neerest Weapons, do push and thrust at all Persons in the same Room with them, sometymes wounding their own Comerades to dead. The lyke whereof fell sadly out within a few Miles of me at the writting, hereof I add but one Instance more, of a very young Maid, who lived neir to my last Residence, that in one Night learned a large Peice of Poesy, by
the frequent Repetition of it, from one of our nimble and courteous Spirits, whereof a Part was pious, the rest superstitious, (for I have a Copy of it,) and no other Person was ever heard to repeat it before, nor was the Maid capable to compose it of herself,
9. He demonstrated and made evident to Sense this extraordinary Vision of our Tramontain Seers, and what is seen by them, by what is said above, many haveing seen this same Spectres and Apparitions at once, haveing their visive Faculties entire; for non est disputandum de gustu. Itt now remaines to shew that it is not unfutable to Reason nor the Holy Scriptures.
FIRST, That it is not repugnant to Reason, doeth appear from this, that it is no less strange for Immortal Sparks and Souls to come and be immersed into gross terrestrial elementary Bodies, and be so propagated, so nourished, so fed, soe cloathed as they are, and breathe in such ane Air and World prepared for them, then for Hollanders or Hollow-cavern Inhabitants to live and traffick among us, in another
State of Being, without our Knowledge. For Raymond de Subinde, in his 3d Booke, Chap. 12. argues quaintly, that all Sorts of Living Creatures have a happie rational Politie of there own, with great Contentment; which Government and mutual Converse of theirs they all pride and pluim themselves, because it is as unknown to Man, as Man is to them. Much more, that the Sone of the HIGHEST SPIRIT should assume a Bodie like ours, convinces all the World that no other Thing that is possible needs be much wondered at.
2. The Manucodiata, or Bird of Paradise, living in the highest Region of the Air; common Birds in the second Region; Flies and Insects in the lowest; Men and Beasts on the Earth's Surface; Worms, Otters, Badgers, in Waters; lyke wise Hell is inhabited at the Centre, and Heaven in the Circumference: can we then think the middle Cavities of the Earth emptie? I have seen in Weems, (a Place in the Countie of Fyfe, in Scotland,) divers Caves cut out as vast Temples under Ground; the lyke is a Countie of England;
in Malta is a Cave, wherein Stons of a curious Cut are thrown in great Numbers every Day; so I have had barbed Arrow-heads of yellow Flint, that could not be cut so small and neat, of so brittle a Substance, by all the Airt of Man. It would seem therefoir that these mention'd Works were done by certaine Spirits of pure Organs, and not by Devills, whose continual Torments could not allow them so much Leasure. Besides these, I have found fyve Curiosities in Scotland, not much observ'd to be elsewhere.
1. The Brounies, who in some Families are Drudges, clean the Houses and Dishes after all go to Bed, taking with him his Portion of Food and removing befor Day-break.
2. The Mason Word, which tho some make a Misterie of it, I will not conceal a little of what I know. It is lyke a Rabbinical Tradition, in way of Comment on Jachin and Boaz, the two Pillars erected in Solomon's Temple, (1 Kings, 7. 21.) with ane Addition of some secret Signe delyvered from Hand to Hand, by which they know and become familiar one with another.
3. This Second Sight, so largely treated of before.
4. Charmes, and curing by them very many Diseases, sometimes by transferring the Sicknes to another.
5. A being Proof of Lead, Iron, and Silver or a Brieve making Men invulnerable. Divers of our Scottish Commanders and Souldiers have been seen with blue Markes only, after they were shot with leaden Balls; which seems to be an Italian Trick, for they seem to be a People too currious and magically inclyned. Finally Iris-men, our Northern-Scotish, and our Athole Men are so much addicted to and delighted with Harps and Musick, as if, like King Saul, they were possessed with a forrein Spirit, only with this Difference, that Musick did put Saul's Pley-fellow a sleep, but roused and awaked our Men, vanquishing their own Spirits at Pleasure, as if they were impotent of its Powers, and unable to command it; for wee have seen some poor Beggers of them, chattering their Teeth for Cold, that how soon they saw the Fire, and heard the Harp, leapt thorow the House like Goats and Satyrs. As there paralell Stories in all Countries and Ages
reported of these our obscure People, (which are no Dotages,) so is it no more of Necessitie to us fully to know their Beings and Manner of Life, then to understand distinctly the Politic of the nyne Orders of Angels; or with what Oyl the Lamp of the Sun is maintained so long and regularlie; or why the Moon is called a great Luminary in Scripture, while it only appears to be so; or if the Moon be truly inhabited, because Telescopes discover Seas and Mountains in it, as well as flaming Furnishes in the Sun; or why the Discovery of America was look't on as a Fairie Tale, and the Reporters hooted at as Inventors of ridiculous Utopias, or the first probable Asserters punished as Inventures of new Gods and Worlds; or why in England the King cures the Struma by stroaking, and the Seventh Son in Scotland; whither his temperat Complexion conveys a Balsome, and sucks out the corrupting Principles by a frequent warme sanative Contact, or whither the Parents of the Seventh Child put furth a more eminent Virtue to his Production than to all the Rest, as being the
certain Meridian and hight to which their Vigour ascends, and from that furth have a graduall declyning into a feebleness of the Bodie and its Production. And then, 1. Why is not the 7th Son infected himselfe by that Contagion he extracts from another? 2. How can continual stroaking with a cold Hand have soe strong a natural Operation, as to exhale all the Infections warming corroding Vapours. 3. Why may not a 7th Daughter have the same Vertue? So that it appears, albeit, a happie natural Constitution concurre, yet something in it above Nature. Therefore every Age hath left some secret for its Discoverie; who knows but this Entercourse bewixt the two Kinds of rationall Inhabitants of the same Earth may be not only beleived shortly, but as friely entertain'd, and as well known, as now the Airt of Navigation, Printing, Limning, riding on Saddles with Stirrups, and the Discoveries of Microscopes, which were sometimes a great a Wonder, and as hard to be beleived. 10. THO I will not be so curious nor so peremptorie as he who will prove the Posi-
bility of the Philosopher's Stone from Scripture, Job, 28. 1. 2. Job, 22. 24. 25.; or the Pluralitie of Worlds, from John, 14. 2. and Hebrews ii. 3.; nor the Circulation of Blood from Eccles. 12. and 6.; nor the Tanismanical Airt, from the Blind and Lame mentioned in 2d of Samuel, 5. 6. yet I humblie propose these Passages which may give some Light to our Subject at least, and show that this Polity and Rank of People is not a Thing impossible, nor the modest and innocent Scrutiny of them impertinent or unsafe. The Legion or Brigad of Spirits (mentioned Mark, 5. 10.) besought our Saviour not to send them away out of the Countrey; which shows they were DÆMONES LOCI, Topical Spirits, and peculiar Superintendents and Supervisors assign'd to that Province. And the Power over the Nations granted (Rev. 2. 26.) to the Conquerors of Vice and Infidelitie, Sound somewhat to that Purpose. Tobit had a Dæmon attending Marriage, Chap. 6. Verse, 15; and in Matth. 4. and 5. ane evill Spirit came in a Visible Shape to tempt our Saviour, who himselfe
denyed not the sensible appearing of Ghosts to our Sight, but said, their Bodies were not composed of Flesh and Bones, as ours, Luke, 24- 39. And in Philip. 2. 10. our verie Subterraneans are expressly said to bow to the Name of JESUS. Elisha, not intellectually only, but sensibly, saw Gehazi when out of the Reach of ane ordinary View. It wants not good Evidents that there are more managed by God's Spirits, good, evill, and intermediate Spirits, among Men in this World, then we are aware of; the good Spirits ingesting fair and heroick Apprehensions and Images of Vertue and the divyne Life, thereby animating us to act for a higher Happines, according to our Improvement; and relinquishing us as strangely upon our Neglect, or our embraceing the deceatfull syrene-like Pictures and Representations of Pleasures and Gain, presented to our Imaginations by evill and sportfull Angells, to allure to ane unthinking, ungenerous, and sensual Lyfe; non of them having power to compell us to any Misdemeanour without our flat Consent. Moreover, this Life
of ours being called a Warfair, and God's saying that at last there will be no Peace to the Wicked, our bussie and silent Companions also being called Siths, or People at Rest and Quiet, in respect of us; and withall many Ghosts appearing to Men that want this Second Sight, in the very Shapes, and speaking the same Language, they did when incorporate and alive with us; a Matter that is of ane old imprescriptible Tradition, (our Highlanders making still a Distinction betwixt Sluagh Saoghalta and Sluagh Sith, averring that the Souls goe to the Sith when dislodged;) many real Treasures and Murders being discovered by Souls that pass from among our selves, or by the Kindness of these our airie Neighbours, non of which Spirits can be altogither inorganical. No less than the Conseits about Purgatory, or a State of Rescue; the Limbus Patrum et Infantum, Inventions, [which] tho misapplyed, yet are not Chimæras, and altogither groundless. For ab origine, it is nothing but blansh and faint Discoveries of this SECRET REPUBLICK Of ours here treated on, and additional Fictions
of Monks doting and crazied Heads, our Creed saying that our Saviour descended εἰς ᾅδου, to the invisible Place and People. And many Divines supposing that the Deity appear'd in a visible Shape seen by Adam in the Cooll of the Day, and speaking to him with ane audible voice. And Jesus, probably by the Ministery of invisible Attendants, conveying more meat of the same Kind to the fyve Thowsand that wes fed by him with a very few Loaves and Fishes, (for a new Creation it was not.) The Zijmjiim and Ochim, in Isa. 13. 21. 22. Thes Satyres, and doolfull unknown Creatures of Islands and Deserts, seem to have a plain Prospect that Way. Finally, the eternal Happiness enjoyed in the 3d Heavens, being more mysterious than most of Men take it to be. It is not a sense whollie adduced to Scripture to say, that this SIGHT, and the due Objects of it, hath some Vestige in holy Write, but rather 'tis modestly deduced from it. 11. It only now remains to ansear the obvious Objections against the Reality and Lawfullness of this Speculation.
QUESTION 1. How do you salve the Second Sight from Compact and Witchcraft?
ANSWER, Tho this Correspondence with the Intermediate Unconfirm'd People (betwixt Man and Angell) be not ordinary to all of us who are Superterraneans, yet this SIGHT falling some Persons by Accident, and its being connatural to others from their Birth, the Derivation of it cannot always be wicked. A too great Curiositie, indeed, to acquyre any unnecessary Airt, may be blameworthy; but diverse of the SECRET COMMONWEALTH may, by Permission, discover themselves as innocently to us, who are in another State, as some of us Men do to Fishes, which are in another Element, when we plunge and dive into the Bottom of the Seas, their native Region; and in Process of Time we may come to converse as familiarly with these nimble and agile Clans (but with greater Pleasure and Profit,) as we do now with the Chino's Antipodes.
QUESTION 2. Are they subject to Vice, Lusts? Passion, and Injustice, as we who live on the Surface of the Earth?
ANSWER. The Seers tell us that these wandering Aereal People have not such an Impetus and fatall Tendency to any Vice as Men, as not being drenched into so gross and dregy Bodies as we, but yet are in ane imperfect State, and some of them making better Essays for heroick Actions than others; having the same Measures of Vertue and Vice as wee, and still expecting advancement to a higher and more splendid State of Lyfe. One of them is stronger than many Men, yet do not incline to hurt Mankind, except by Commission for a gross Misdemeanour, as the destroying Angell of Ægypt, and the Assyrians, Exod. 12. 29. 2 Kings, 10. 35. They haunt most where is most Barbaritie; and therefoir our ignorant Ancestors, to prevent the Insults of that strange People, used as rude and course a Remedie; such as Exorcisms, Donations, and Vows: But how soon ever the true Piety prevailed in any Place, it did not put the Inhabitants beyond the Reach and Awthoritie of these subtile inferiour Co-inhabitants and Colleagues of ours: The FATHER OF ALL SPIRITS, and the Person himselfe, having the only Command of his Soul and Actions, a concurrance they may have to what is virtuously done; for upon committing of a foul Deed, one will find a Demure upon his Soul, as if his cheerfull Collegue had deserted him.
QUESTION 3. Do these airie Tribes procreate? If so, how are they nourished, and at what period of Time do they die?
ANSWER. Supposing all Spirits to be created at once in the Beginning, Souls to pre-exist and to circle about into several States of Probationship; to make them either totally unexcusable, or perfectly happie against the last Day, solves all the Difficulties. But in very Deed, and speaking suteable to the Nature of Things, there is no more Absurditie for a Spirit to inform ane Infant in Bodie of Airs, than a Bodie composed of dull and drusie Earth; the best of Spirits have alwayes delyghted more to appear into aereal, than into terrestrial Bodyes. They feed most what on Quintessences, and aetheriall Essences. The Pith and Spirits only of Women's Milk feed their Children, being artificially
conveyed, (as Air and Oyl sink into our Bodies,) to make them vigorous and fresh. And this shorter Way of conveying a pure Aliment, (without the usuall Digestions,) by transfusing it, and transpyring thorow the Pores into the Veins, Arteries, and Vessells that supplie the Bodie, is nothing more absurd, than ane Infant's being fed by the Navel before it is borne, or than a Plant, which groweth by attracting a livelie juice from the Earth thorow many small Roots and Tendons, whose courser Pairts be adapted and made connatural to the Whole, doth quickly coalesce by the ambient Cold; and so are condens'd and bak'd up into a confirm'd Wood in the one, and solid Bodie of the Flesh and Bone in the other. A Notion which, if intertained and approv'd, may shew that the late Invention of soaking and transfusing (not Blood, but) athereal virtuall Spirits, may be usefull both for Nourishment and Health, whereof is a Vestige in the damnable Practise of evill Angells, their sucking of Blood and Spirits out of Witches Bodys (till they drew them into a deform'd and dry Leanness,) to seid their own
Vehicles withall, leaving what we call the Witches Mark behind; a Spot that I have seen, as a small Mole, horny, and brown-coloured; throw which Mark, when a large Brass Pin was thrust (both in Buttock, Nose, and Rooff of the Mouth,) till it bowed and become crooked, the Witches, both Men and Women, nather felt a Pain, nor did bleed, nor knew the precise Time when this was adoing to them, (there Eyes only being covered.) Now the Air being a Body as well as Earth, no Reason can be given why there may not be Particles of more vivific Spirit form'd of it for Procreation, then is possible to be of Earth, which takes more Time and Pains to rarify and ripen it, ere it can come to have a prolific Virtue. And if our Aping Darlings did not thus procreate, there whole Number would be exhausted after a considerable Space of Time. For tho they are of more refyned Bodies and Intellectualls than wee, and of far less heavy and corruptive Humours, (which cause a Dissolution,) yet many of their Lives being dissonant to right Reason and their own Laws,
and their Vehicles not being wholly frie of Lust and Passion, especially of the more spirituall and hautie Sins they pass (after a long healthy Lyfe) into one Orb and Receptacle fitted for their Degree, till they come under the general Cognizance of the last Day.
QUESTION 4. Doth the acquiring of this Second Sight make any Change on the Acquirers Body, Mind, or Actions?
ANSWER. All uncouth SIGHTS enfeebles the SEER. Daniel, tho familiar with divyne Visions, yet fell frequently doun without Strength, when dazzled with a Power which had the Ascendant of, and passed on him beyond his Comprehension, Chap. 10. 8. 17. So our SEER is put in a Rapture, Transport, and sort of Death, as divested of his Body and all its Senses, when he is first made participant of this curious Peice of Knowledge: But it maketh no Wramp or Strain in the Understanding of any; only to the Fancy's of clownish or illiterate Men, it creates some Affrightments and Disturbances, because of the Strongness of the Showes, and their Unacquaintedness with them. And as for their
their Lyfe, the Persons endued with this Rarity are, for the most Part, candid, honest, and sociable People. If any of them be subject to Immoralities, this obstruse Skill is not to be blamed for it; for unless themselves be the Tempters, the Colonies of the Invisible Plantations, with which they intercommune, do provoke them by no Villainy or Malifice, nather at their first Acquaintance nor after a long Familiarity.
QUESTION 5. Doth not Sathan interpose in such Cases by many subtile unthought Insinuations, as to him who let the Fly, or Familiar, go out of the Box, and yet found the Fly of his own putting in, as serviceable as the other would have been?
ANSWER. The Goodness of the Lyfe, and Designs of the ancient Prophets and Seers, was one of the best Prooffs of their Mission. 1
78:1 The original Transcriber has added:
"See the Rest in a little Manuscript belonging to Coline Kirk," probably the author's son of that name.--A. L.
IN trying to collect evidence as to the Rerrick "evil spirit" from Kirk-Session Records, I have been most kindly assisted by the Rev. Mr. M'Conachie, Minister of Rerrick. Mr. M'Conachie finds that only two parishes in the Stewartry, Kells and Girthon, have records containing the years 1695, 1696. The records of Rerrick do not go so far back. We are therefore left to the pamphlet of 1696, by Telfair, which is an unusually business-like statement, the names of attesting witnesses being added in the marginal notes. For phenomena similarly similar to those of Rerrick, Obeah, by Mr. H. J. Bell, may be consulted. (Obeah, Sampson Low & Co., London, 1889, p. 93.)
Note (a), p. xvi.--"The Psychical Society."
The Psychical Society, as far as the writer is aware has not examined officially the old accounts of the phenomena which it investigates at present. The Catalogue of the Society's Library, however, proves that it does not lack the materials.
Note (b), p. xxx.--"Their speech is a kind of whistling."
That the voice of spirits is a kind of whistling, twittering, or chirping, is a very widely diffused and ancient belief. The ghosts in Homer twitter like bats; in New Caledonia an English settler found that he could scare the natives from a piece of ground by whistling there at night. Mr. Samuel Wesley says, "I followed the noise into almost every room in the house, both by day and by night, with lights and without, and have sat alone for some time, and, when I heard the noise, spoke to it to tell me what it was, but never heard any articulate voice, and only once or twice two or three feeble squeaks, a little louder than the chirping of a bird, and not like the noise of rats, which I have often heard" (Memoirs of the Wesley Family, p. 164). Professor Alexander mentions the "peculiar whistling sound" at some manifestations in Rio Janeiro as "rather frequent " (Proc. S. P. R.,
81 xix. 180). Here children were the mediums; how did they get the idea of the traditional whistle? See also the following note.
Note (c), p. xl.--"Not long after the Spanish conquest of Peru."
The phenomena alluded to here are said to have occurred in 1549. The evidence is a mere report by Cieza de Leon, who does not pretend to have been an eye-witness. But, as Mr. Clements Markham, Cieza's editor, remarks, the phenomena are analogous to those of spiritualism. At the very least, we find a belief in this kind of manifestation at a remote date, and in an outlandish place. Cieza says: 1
"When the Adelantado Belalcazar was governor of the province of Popyan, and when Gomez Hernandez was his lieutenant in the town of Auzerma, there was a chief in a village called Pirsa, almost four leagues from the town, whose brother, a good-looking youth named Tamaraqunga, inspired by God, wished to go to the town of the Christians to receive baptism. But the devils did not wish that he should attain his desire, fearing to lose what seemed secure, so they frightened this Tamaraqunga in such sort that he was unable to do anything. God permitting it, the devils stationed themselves in a place where the chief alone could see them, in the shape of birds called auras. Finding himself so persecuted by the devils, he sent in great haste to a Christian living near, who came at once, and hearing what he wanted, signed him with the sign of the cross. But the devils then frightened him more than ever, appearing in hideous forms, which only were visible to
him. The Christian only saw stones falling from the air and heard whistling. A brother of one Juan Pacheco, citizen of the same town, then holding office in the place of Gomez Hernandez, who had gone to Caramanta, came from Auzerma with another man to visit the Indian chief. They say that Tamaraqunga was much frightened and ill-treated by the devils, who carried him through the air from one place to another in presence of the Christians, he complaining and the devils whistling and shouting. Sometimes when the chief was sitting with a glass of liquor before him, the Christians saw the glass raised up in the air and put down empty, and a short time afterwards the wine was again poured into the cup from the air." Compare what Ibn Batuta, the old Arab traveller, saw at the court of the King of Delhi. The matter is discussed in Colonel Yule's Marco Polo.
This may suffice as a specimen of the manifestations. They continued while the chief was on his way to church; he was lifted into the air, and the Christians had to hold him down. In church the ghostly whistling was heard, and stones fell around, while the chief said that he saw devils standing upside down, and himself was thrown into that unusual posture. The combination of convulsive movements with the other phenomena is that which we have already remarked in the cases of "Mr. H." and the grandson of William Morse. Cieza de Leon says that the chief was not troubled after his baptism. The illusions of the newly-converted, so like those of the early Christian hermits, are described by Callaway in his Zulu Tales.
Note (d), p. 1.
Priestley's explanation of the Epworth disturbances is imposture by the servants, by way of a practical joke.
[paragraph continues] Coleridge, on the other hand, says that "all these stories, and I could produce fifty cases at least equally well authenticated, and, as far as the veracity of the narrators, and the single fact of their having seen and heard such and such sights or sounds, above all rational scepticism, are as much like one another as the symptoms of the same disease in different patients."
It is a pity that Coleridge did not produce his fifty well-authenticated examples. The similarity of the narratives everywhere, all the world over, is exactly what makes them interesting. Coleridge goes on. 'This indeed I take to be the true and only solution--a contagious nervous disease, the acme, or intensest form of which is catalepsy" (Southey's Wesley, vol. i. p. 14, Coleridge's note). If there be such a contagious nervous disease, it is a very remarkable malady, and well worth examining. The Wesleys were not alarmed; they bantered the spirit; they wished they could set him to work; and beyond the trembling of the children when Jeffrey was knocking during their sleep, there is no sign of morbid conditions. A neighbouring clergyman, who was asked to pass a night in the house, saw and heard just what the others heard and saw. 1 The hypothesis of a contagious nervous disease, in which every witness exhibits the same symptoms of illusion in all parts of the world, is a theory which needs a good deal of verification. Where material traces of the disturbances remain, it is absurd to speak of contagious hallucinations. We must fall back on the hypothesis of trickery, or must say with Southey, "Such things may be preternatural, yet not miraculous; they may not be in the ordinary course of nature, yet imply no alteration of its laws." Any theory is more plausible than the idea that Mr. Wesley and Mr. Hoole
were in a state bordering on catalepsy. Believers in hypnotism may think it possible that this, that, and the other persons, if they submitted themselves to hypnotic influences, might have the same hallucinations suggested to them. But there is no evidence, in the Epworth case nor in the Rerrick case, of any such matter. "So far as we yet know, sensory hallucination of several persons together, who are not in a hypnotic state, is a rare phenomenon, and therefore not a probable explanation" (Proc. S. P. R., iv. 62). There is some evidence that epileptic patients suffer from the same illusions--for example, the presence of a woman in a red cloak; and in delirium tremens the "horrors" are usually similar. But that all the persons who enter a given house should be impressed by the same material illusions, as of chairs and tables, and even beds (like Nancy Wesley's) flying about, is a theory more incredible than the hypothesis either of trickery or of abnormal occurrences. When the disturbances always cease on the arrival of a competent witness, then it is not hard to say which theory we ought to choose. For imposture see next note.
Note (e), p. lvii.--"Children at séances."
The phenomena discussed are most frequently connected with children, who may be regarded either as mediums or impostors, conscious or unconscious. In Proc. S. P. R., iv. 25-42, Professor Barrett gives the case of a little girl whom he knew. She had raps wherever she went, even when alone with the Professor, who made her stand with her hands against the wall, at the greatest stretch of her arms, "with the muscles of the legs and arms all in tension." "A brisk pattering of raps" followed Professor Barrett's request. But he also mentions a boy "of juvenile piety," who "for twelve
months deceived his father, a distinguished surgeon, and all his family, by pretended spiritualistic manifestations, which appeared at first sight inexplicable, until the cunning trickery of the lad was discovered." The only difference between these cases is that an "outsider" discovered trickery in one instance and not in the other. This is a very ticklish kind of certainty, and it is plain that children can do a great deal in the way of mere imposture. The state of any young Wesley who might have been caught out is unenviable. Verily Mr. Wesley would not have spared for his crying.
Note (f), p. lxii.--"The pricking of witches."
It is pretty certain that some of these unlucky old women were pricked "in anæsthetic areas."
Note (a1), p. 8.--"These Arrows that fly in the Dark."
The arrows are the ancient flint arrow-heads, which Mr. Kirk later asserts to be too delicate for human artificers. On this matter Isabel Gowdie, the witch, confessed, "As for Elf arrows, the Divell sharpes them with his ain hand, and deliveris them to Elf boys, wha whyttlis and dightis them with a sharp thing lyk a paking needle; bot whan I was in Elfland, I saw them whyttling and dighting them." Isabel described the manner in which witches use this artillery: "We spang them from the naillis of our thoombs," and with these she and her friends shot and slew many men and women. The confessions of Isabel Gowdie are in the third volume of Pitcairn's Scottish Criminal Trials. They contain little or nothing of the "psychical;" all is mere folk-lore, fairy tales, and charms derived from the old Catholic liturgy. The poor woman, having begun to fable, fabled
with manifest enjoyment and considerable power. It seems from her account that each "Covin," or assembly of witches, had a maiden in it, and "without our maiden we could do no great thing." On the other hand, an extraordinary case of an epileptic boy, who was hurled about, and beheld distant occurrences in trance, may be read in Chambers's Domestic Annals of Scotland, iii. 449. Candles used to go out when this boy, a third son of Lord Torpichen, was in the room. The date (1720) and the place (Mid-Lothian) prevented any one from being burned for bewitching him. A fast was proclaimed. The boy recovered, and did good service in the navy. He is said to have been "levitated" frequently."
Note (b1), p. 11.--" Milk thorow a hair-tedder. "
Isabel Gowdie confessed to stealing milk from the cow by magic. "We plait the rope the wrong way, in the Devil's name, and we draw the tether between the cow's hind feet, and out betwixt her forward feet, in the Devil's name, and thereby take with us the cow's milk."
Mr. Kirk, it will be observed, does not connect the Fairy kingdom with that of Satan, as some of his contemporaries were inclined to do.
Note (c1), p. 19.--"The Wreath (wraith) . . . is only exuvious fumes of the Man. . . . exhaled and congealed into a various likeness."
What is this theory of "Men illiterate and unwary in their Observations," but Von Hartmann's doctrine of "the nerve force which issues from the body of the medium, and then proceeds to set up fresh centres of force in all neighbouring objects . . . while it still remains under the control of the medium's unconscious will"? See Mr. Walter Leaf on Hartmann's Der Geisterhypothese des Spiritismus, Proc. S. P. R., xix. 293
It is amusing to find a learned German coinciding in scientific theory with "ignorant and unwary" Highland seers. Both regard the phantasms as manifestations of "nerve-force," "exuvious fumes," and as "neither souls nor counterfeiting spirits."
Note (d1), p. 23.--"Fairy hills."
The hypothesis that the Fairy belief may be a tradition of an ancient race dwelling in subterranean homes, is older than Mr. McRitchie or Sir Walter Scott. In his Scottish Scenery (1803), Dr. Cririe suggests that the germ of the Fairy myth is the existence of dispossessed aboriginals dwelling in subterranean houses, in some places called Picts' houses, covered with artificial mounds. The lights seen near the mounds are lights actually carried by the mound-dwellers. Dr. Cririe works out in some detail "this marvellously absurd supposition," as the Quarterly Review calls it (vol. lix., p. 280).
Note (e1), p. 30.--"Master Greatrake, the Irish Stroaker."
Glanvill, in Essays on Several Important Subjects (1675), prints a letter from an Irish Bishop on Greatrex, the "stroker." He cured diseases "by a sanative contagion." According to the Bishop, Greatrex had an impression that he could do "faith-healing," and found that he could, but whether by virtue of some special power or by "the people's fancy," he knew not. He frequently failed, and his patients had relapses. See his own Account of Strange Cures: in a Letter to Robert Boyle. London, 1666.
82:1 The Travels of Pedro de Cieza de Leon, ch. cxviii.
84:1 Mr. Hoole's account, Memoirs of the Wesleys, p. 91.