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frtcnrfttrt, §&mmt anb %vt.

WITCHCRAFT m THE NiN^ TEENTH CENTtTJEtY. ;.'L ,

\ . Ar recent trial for vritcheraft— ror, at Jf least, fraudulent f ortune-tefiiug-^uggests .the unpleasant reflection that tie belief in witches still exists to a very consider able extent in EjaglaacL ..- ,W« do not, it is true, heai; of itvjnTich in. thej.bnsy towns ; because there is not so much gossiping rumor in them as in country .places, and because the people, with sail their shortcomings, are a little less igno rant. Nevertheless, the isrnorance still:

displayed in the nineteenth century may weft occasion surprise, and suggest fixujui ries concerning, that -said schoolmaster who is declared to 'be, ** abroad.'' -In London the credulity is chiefly among servant girls, who give their sixpences to fortune-tellers for information on certain important questions aboiit 'darkmenjn 'fair men,' and tl^e like. The line of division between 'fpitune-telling. and witchcraft being a s%ht one, we' 'need not be surprised that ther credulous often step over this boundary, : ~L and1 commit themselves to the most gross and absurd impositions. ? J,_.:' In a' case tried at Stafford la i823^one Sarah JJoxborough waSiCharged wittf^he following piece of Mguery J— Slie' ' an nounced to a tradesman's wife at Hartley, that she could ' rule the planets, restore stolen goods, and get in bad debts.' On one particular day, the' wise woman ^ap peared at the tradesman's house, and began her professional incantations. -She i desired the wife to have a fire kindled in an upper room; to obtain :frbm, Tier husband twenty-five one-pound notes, or five five-pound notes; to pl^ss, the notes in her bosom ; and to let them re main there till 9 o'clock in the evening. The credulous wife did as she was directed. The woman Boxborough came again later ', in the day, went up-stairs, and, a^nt ?: the wife down' for some pins and some : of her husband's hair. She' then' asked , for the notes, saying she could not get on -jA . without them. The wife hesitated- a 1 little, but at length gave them. ' Sarah, ? after putting a Little of tae husband's \ hair into each note, and folding th^in up, ? made a small bundle of them, which' she 5 put on a chair. The wife haying^some \ misgivings, wanted the nbiies ; re \ turned ; but the deceiver declared ithat { the charm would fail- unless the notes I remained a few minutes in the_ chair. ] Sarah then told the silly dupe ^tp stand | in the middle of the1 ^rooin, jbhrow^jpnB | into the lire, and watdh/tuT they .were 4 consumed. While this was doing, the i knavish woman watched for1 an 'op:por- ' tunity to take up the roll of notes, 'and ; deposit in its place a small paper parcel ? of similar size and appearance!., .-.[ This, i however, was not s© adroitly tlone as 'to j escape the notice of the wife ; suspicion ? was aroused, the husband was called up j stairs, the impostor was searched, given \ into custody, tried, and imprisoned. The .cheat was of the most vulgar kind, but it (sufficed to show the intense credulity of -V the person duped. No longer ago than 1857, a trial at the Stafford Assizes exhibited a fanner and his wife in such a light as would appear almost incredible, were it not 7 that the narrative came from their own lips. The farmer, Thomas Charlesworth, 'lived \ at ^ Rugby. He married in 1856, against his mother's wish ; she quitted nis rooif, and gave him a mysterious caution not to make cheese, as it would be sure to crum ble to pieces. This warning ~ seeni&d to imply that the young wife woiild' bewitch the dairy ; but the farmers evidence, did not tend to show what .he fcim s|lf believed in this matter. ;Very shortly, everything seemed to' go wrong ; the cheese* would not'' turn out properly ; the farmer, Ms wife, -and the dairymaid all became unwell. In this predicament he sought the advice of a neighboring toll-gate keeper, who sug gested that he should apply to a 'wise man,' named James Tunnicliff. The farmer and his wife started off,- visited the wise man, told their story, and ©1m tained a promise that he would' borne toithe farm on the following day. ; He; did come. His report startled the poor farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Charlesworth, the? maid, all the horses, all the cows, the farm, and the cheese vat were pronounced to be bewitched. A regular tariff was named for the disenchantment — five shillings for each human being, five shillings for each horse, threeandsix pence each cow, five shillings for the cheese vat, &c. — until the poor dupe had ^f paid as much as seven pounds. No good, result followed ; the cheese was no better, than before ; and the inmates of the farm were (or fancied, themselves to be) ^very ; much out of condition. They believed: they heard at night strange noises, the bellowing of cattle and the howling of dogs. Tunnicliff now asserted that the whole commotion was due to the influence; of Charlesworth's mother over certain wizards living at Longton, Burton-on-, Trent, and Derby ; and that to counteract this baneful influence a large outlay of - money would be needed. The farmer gave him an additional sum of thirty, pounds. StilJ, there was no improve-^ ment. And now occurred the strangest proof of deception on the one hand, and, credulity on the other. The farmer took, the knave Tunnicliff into T»a .house, and allowed him to live there eleven months. The rogue lived an easy life, and fed on' the best that the farm afforded. Some times he would make crosses on all the , doors with witch hazel ; and sometimes^ he would burn blue lights to overcome the powers of the evil one. The farmer deposed in evidence that one night he was taken ill; that he heard a sound like that of a carriage in the yard, and X another like a rush of wind through a passage ; that the house dog entered the room, followed by ' the shape of another dog all on fire ;' that after the farmer had. said the Lord's Prayer, the fiery dog dis appeared, but the house dog stayed, with ,%- his tongue hanging out and his paws hanging down. The mistress and the maid had both of them something to say concerning this fiery dog. After this extraordinary hallucination had con tinued nearly a year, even the obtuse mind of the farmer began to open to the' possibility that the wise man had been making a dupe of hin»- He consulted a lawyer, and the lawyer collected evidence

sufficient to bring upon TiiWcliffe a sen-: %encfe -Mof; fwBlve month^5 ^ nnprisonment '#ifii hard labor, 'for obtaining 'mdney Sihder'laise'-pretieiic^.r' ; But the evi dence was not sufficient to show how far, qririyhat way, he'fiad produced the ap pe^ulBetfand^e- ibises which so much assisted to keep'up the cheat. The obstinate .milk of a co.w r was the prifaaary -&ukfe . ot this absurd exhibition w: ignorance | and .such anevent has not unfijeqriefttijr led to applications to tortune^tellers and; wise 'men. Early in the present '^ ce'n Wry; there was a case in point, /maicrpus In. its commencement x-ut tragical at its close. \ A cow belong ing to a tailor leased to yield mfllr and W iM-£a wife 'believed that the annnafrtwas batched. .She assembled twelyejwpmen at ^er house and got them

?mx uvjrauieiiuiiy uitiss wie vuyr ? oux BtlLl nb milkcame. She then applied to one Mary Butters, a fortune-teller. This woman advised that^the tailorand another m&i klibtildjgp ti- thecow-house, turn their ^ajst-k)ats inside out, and st^ria by the Jiead of ,&he dow .till the ,n»Hr came. The two'sm^e|pns\did as they were directed, 'and remained ^in 'the cow-house many honra^.but as the co,w continued as dry as./eyeir ffifey returned to the. house. ^Finding doors and windows closed, and obseryjng a .strange silence everywhere, ih^'fopc^d an entrance, and saw within .^te house the tailor's wife, . her sen, and an old woman, 'all lying dead, together Wi&'3^CMyjBujfcfers ip. a. very exhausted i state. '-? Iri this case ihere is reason to be^ lifeye. that the witch, or fortune-teller, irais to i^a certain degree sincere in her .^tehe^;sh-e tad shut herself up in the noiise wifii the- tiiree other' persons, had 6iosedeve?ytcrevice,'and put a pot on the fii0 bontajjoing pins, ' needles, crooked nails, a^tJlemilk, and, it is supposed, a little -sulphur.' The fumes 'had suffo cated her*w^lcEecl'c6mpanions, and had nearly made an end ofrherself too. An enquiry that came before the Bethnal GreeA.dPolice^.jGourt, in 1856, exhibited the metropolis in nearly as un fayorajble, alight as the country districts. The wne^of a ^coppersmith; ' suffering under illness ,and~anxiety, was tpld by some' of iier;jieigTibora that she had a ' spell' Tipori^er, and was 'recommended to-^jOstp-a^'wjse woman'- named Sarah SEcDanafl4j? feeing that a jnedical inan had failed ^6' -dure^her. The wise woman told her . that ' some person was doing her0 ]an- injury^' arid that the remedy would be -&e burning of tetf powders. The dupe purchased the pptrders, at sixpence each, of Mcpoii^j'wnqiJirew them ^into thipfi^wfiei^hiBy;i*tiracked, and burned, and Itlazed, ' and bounced.' The wise woman muttered some words, which were supp6sed'to be part of a charm or incanta fibir. The sifly wife repeated these visits ^even or eig^!t tinies, always unknown to her htisban'd: It came out in the course of .the investigation that the magic^O w der-waV'o^y common salt ; but, even then, the dupes (for the woman's daughter had also fallen into the snare) believed that the tpise woman Jcould ?* remove the : spell' t£ she chose ; indeed, the complaint before the Magistrate was, not that she had done wrong, but that she would iiot !dd what ^she could. The credulity was ;ieridered' the more strange by the fact that the tradesman's wife belonged to a I good family moving in a circle of society ? wliere the witch theory is not usually [ countenanced. ; In 1825 a curious proof was afforded of the popular belief in a ' sinkbr swim' method of detecting a wizard.1 A^j.WicHiam '.Ketijh? jn Suitelk, there dwelt oneTsaac Stebbing, a small, 'spare, ieldfe^'man ( he was 'a huckster, or dealer in smail cheap wares. Near, him dwelt ta r; thatcher, whose wife became more and more silly as she advanced in years ; whaie another neighbor, a farmer, ; also showed signs of mental weakness. ?The gossips of the village deeming it strange, that there should be two silly perioM'a;mong them, took refuge in the ifitSory ^^bf^mtchSr^ftpr : necromancy, and isoughf jshpui^QT'tiome One who had done jthe .mischief,' ' The poor huckster was fix«jd npgn. \ -^One cottager asserted that, v^^y^^is^k^iiy^-^ao. one evening, ! Isaac StebDing was seen to dance up to ithedpor. ,Tbis, it seems, is one of the jtests1 of wizard tactics ; ' but Stebbing :stbWtly denied ;hkving done anything of !ii^e^kip4._ :d4ferS&tippn' rose a charge jijia'tiienad once called upon a neighbor with. mackerel for sale at 4 o'clock in tlie^ jmorning', ^liefdte '?flie family were up —?another 'proof ''ot black magic ; ne adr mitted haying, called at the hour named, but only ks ai jdealfer, arid denied all com plicity with^^iz^b. .Not yet satisfied, the' viilagers las^rtalried from a cobbler itiiat' ' oiLe day ^s wax would neither iirielt nor ; Vork properly, and that Isaac ; Stebbing' j passed' his '. door at the very instant when this occurred, a sure' proof ;(in.Jthe ' co^feler^s 'estimutipn) that the ihucksteV'nad5 bewifajlifed the wax. The villagers, having their minds preoccupied I with the belief j that Stebbing was a wizard, did, not- like to be' baffled, and proposed tliat the sirik-pr-swim test isiipuTd ^beji. applied. The poor fellow consented. There.was alarge pond called the Grunner, on 'Wickham-green, and arpundni^us.,pQnd,'pn a, certain day, a s^pnga jnus'ter of villagers assembled,. ;Fpur: men were appointed to walk into the water with Isaac, and the parish con stable : ^attended to keep the peace. Steb bing, 'we^PPS ov^y Jhis . coat and breeches, walked into the pond, attended by the four men; and when they nad waded about breast high, they 'lifted hiin up -and laid him flat on his backj$$&he surface of the water,-;: Ifawitiis taiown to bathers that v?hentW.l«^Pl»re mpderatfslj: inflated, the human: body weighs a little less than an - -equal bulk of water ; and : that a person can : at such a time afloat on the -surface, provided he keeps perfectly still. Whether the huckster, was aware of this, is not re corded ; but ie-iirf float --rather to the diflapppintinent of the wizard hunters. 'Ehe -palled out, *f Give him another]' and again jdid he remain so quiet as to float when placed; on the surface of the water. Not-yet satisfied, they cried out, 'Try. him .again— rdip him wider- the water !' and under he went, head down and heels up ; but speedily recovering himself, he .floated as Jtrefore. The old man wasnaore dead than alive when -he hadnboraetaiesB repeated duckings for three quarters of an hour, and he hoped thathi^neighbors wonid be satisfied with

the result. But they were not ; they ^irished thfeir wizard theory to %e justified, even if the poor fellow's life had been sacrificed as a consequence. It was gravely proposed 'that ' another man of his age and' size ought to be made to swim with him.' What this meant we are not told ; but they had probably begun to suspect the nature of his floating power. One Tom Wilden, of Hacton parish, was selected as the second man; and on the next following Saturday nearly all the inhabitants of both villages assembled around '. the pond. By this time, how ever, the clergyman* arid churchwardens had heard of the affair, and forbade the further prosecution of the monstrous ordeal. ' pq the last two or three years afford any indication that these degrading dis plays of ignorance \have vanished from amoiw us ? At Stratford-on-Avon. in

October, 1867, a whole family were smitten with a belief (so astonishing |as to be itself almost unbelievable) that hideous headless men and women were in the habit of coming down the chim neys during the night, pinching the in mates of the house, making horrible noises, and even turning the people out of their beds. A theory^ sprang up in the fatriily that they were all bewitched by a neighbor, Jane Ward, and that the shed ding, of some of Jane's blood would be necessary to the removal of the spell. The father forthwith gave poor Jane a gash in the cheek with a knife', whereupon the family obtained, as they declared,, jfeaceful nights. But a trial at the' Warwick Assizes taught the deluded man that his peculiar; mode of getting rid of witches was not exactly in accordance with the laws of England. Again. At Newbury, iri Berks, in February, 1868, one Isaac Rivers having lost his watch, applied to a 'cunning woman,' named Maria Giles, to help 'him in his troubles. She re ceived half-a-crown as; payment for allowing him . to look into a glass something like; those used in bird cages, in which he was to see the face of the man wio had possession of the watch. The noodle fancied he ' saw whiskers,' but no face. A few days afterwards he gave' '. Her nine ' shillings and sixpence, wherewith to buy some ' doctors' stuff,' which was to assist in the search. A second time diet he give her a similar sum of nine; shillings arid sixpence, for a similar purpose; but he saw neither doctors' stuff nor watch. On a fourth oc casion the simpleton gave her twenty-five shillings (unless the watch were a gold one, he must have about paid its full value by this time), and he wa* bidden to remain indoors until, at midnight, Majcia should bring him the. man who possessed the watch. The^simplicity with which he afterwards assured a magistrate that he did wait indoors, and that the people did not come with the. watch, was something to marvel at. At Cuckfield, in October, 1868, a married woman, being ill, applied to a *' cunning man' to ascertain whether she was -bewitched. A midnight meeting, a book of necromancy, a pair of tongs, some new pins, and a great deal of cere monial ejaculation and jargon somehow failed either to bring the witch to light or to cure the illness. In November, 1868, at Tunbridge Wells, a woman, jealous of her husband, applied to a fortune-teller to reveal whether there were grounds for her jealousy. A bargain was made that, for one shilling to bay doctors' stuff, the fortune-teller should bewitch a certain other woman who was supposed to have led the husband astray, and should give her ' excruciating pain.' Somehow or other the wife herself was in great pain that same night, and then, indicted the fortune-teller 'for haying bewitched the wrong person. At Maidstone Assizes the charge settled d -wn into ttteinore definite one of obtaining a shilling under false pretences. . . ? Enough. Newspaper readers may remember still more recent instances of the same ^Tdnd.— - AM the Tear Bound.

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