“The history of the Salem witchcraft, as we find it recorded in the works of Cotton Mather, Calef, Upham, and others, furnishes a curious corroboration of the fact of the double, as it also does of the effects of allowing elementary spirits to have their own way. This tragical chapter of American history has never yet been written in accordance with the truth.
A party of four or five young girls had become “developed” as mediums, by sitting with a West Indian negro woman, a practitioner of Obeah. They began to suffer all kinds of physical torture, such as pinching, having pins stuck in them, and the marks of bruises and teeth on different parts of their bodies.
They would declare that they were hurt by the spectres of various persons, and we learn from the celebrated Narrative of Deodat Lawson (London, 1704), that “some of them confessed that they did afflict the sufferers (i.e., these young girls), according to the time and manner they were accused thereof; and, being asked what they did to afflict them, some said that they pricked pins and poppets, made with rags, wax, and other materials.
One that confessed after the signing of her death-warrant, said she used to afflict them by clutching and pinching her hands together, and wishing in what part and after what manner she would have them afflicted, and it was done.”
Mr. Upham tells us that Abigail Hobbs, one of these girls, acknowledged that she had confederated with the Devil, who “came to her in the shape of a man”, and commanded her to afflict the girls, bringing images made of wood in their likeness, with thorns for her to prick into the images, which she did; whereupon, the girls cried out that they were hurt by her.
How perfectly these facts, the validity of which was proven by unimpeachable testimony in court, go to corroborate the doctrine of Paracelsus. It is surpassingly strange that so ripe a scholar as Mr. Upham should have accumulated into the 1,000 pages of his two volumes such a mass of legal evidence, going to show the agency of earth-bound souls and tricksy nature-spirits in these tragedies, without suspecting the truth.
Ages ago, the old Ennius was made by Lucretius to say:
“Bis duo sunt homines, manes, caro, spiritus umbra; Quatuor ista loci bis duo suscipirent; Terra tegit carnem; tumulum circumvolat umbra, Orcus habet manes.”
In this present case, as in every similar one, the scientists, being unable to explain the fact, assert that it cannot exist.”
H. P. Blavatsky