17th Century Account of Witchcraft Trial Discovered

The Guardian reports on the recent discovery of a 17th century manuscript recounting a trial of six women on charges of witchcraft brought by Edward Fairfax, who in turn wrote the account in question. Titled A Discourse of Witchcrafte As It Was Acted in the Family of Mr Edward Fairfax of Fuistone , the account includes Fairfax’s charges against the women, discusses the means by which they worked their evil wills upon the members of his family and includes descriptions of their familiars. Here’s an excerpt from the story:

“Fairfax opens his discourse dramatically, promising that ‘the actors in this be no walking ghosts, nor dancing fairies’, and that ‘in this appeareth the work of Sathan, not merely his own, but assisted by some wicked coadjutors, by whose cooperation these innocents were thus cruelly afflicted’. He goes on to tell of how his three daughters, Ann, Elizabeth and Ellen, were bewitched by six local women, and how they told him of their visions. The youngest of his daughters, Ann, died in October 1621, and Fairfax went on to declare the women witches.”

Happily this tale ends well — all six defendants were acquitted!


Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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