The fourteenth Relation.
An Account of a Person that by car∣rying of a Girdle from one Witch to another, was reduced to Mad∣ness.
NEar the River of Tweed in Scot∣land, a Woman suspected to be a Witch, had a Child very sick, and seeing she could not help it by lawful means, she had her address to her Dia∣bolical Art; this way she could not free her Child, unless she laid either the same Disease, or a worse upon ano∣ther Person, otherwise she must have thwarted the interest of her Infernal Master, which was not in her Power, if it had been her inclination, as undoub∣tedly it was not, to effect: She, hearing that a Scrivener was going two or three miles to a place where she had an Ac∣quaintance, who served the same Ma∣ster with her self, to wit, the Prince of Darkness, went to him, and desired him to carry a Girdle to her. Her de∣sign Page 232 in sending it by him was, that her Child might be cured of its Distemper, and the same or a worse laid on this innocent Person. Whether she had any Malice against him, I could not be informed; but I rather incline to think that it was only in Obedience to her Masters Command. He took the Gir∣dle from her, and when he came to the place, went, and delivered it to the Party. The Woman at the delivery of it, having never had any prejudice against the Bearer, was really troubled that he should have been imployed therein, knowing how much it would tend to his hurt, and asked him if her Friend could find no other Person to impose this trouble upon, but him, to carry it, not daring to tell him the danger he had thereby involved himself in, lest she should bring her self into a greater, by being discovered, only pretending that her Friend was very uncivil in troubling a Person of his Quality with any such thing. He answered her, that there was no indiscretion in it, adding withal, that it was his utmost desire to be serviceable to any Person, without respect to their Quality, to the utmost of his Power. The Woman entertai∣ned him with several Discourses, and Page 233 seemed very Courteous to him; and at parting she desired him to have a special care that he did not sleep till he got home, telling him that he would be strongly inclined to sleep, and withal certifying him that if he slept any where by the way, he would have cause to re∣pent it while he lived. He promised to take care to prevent it, beginning then to be somewhat afraid, recalling to mind that the Person he had the Gir∣dle from, was under the Bruit of a Witch. As he was going homewards, he found himself mightily assailed by sleep, and he strove as much against it as was possible; but when he was come within less then a quarter of a Mile of his own House, it so prevailed upon him, that he could go no further, but laid himself down upon the Grass to sleep. When he awaked again, he was raging Mad, and continued so for a long time after without respite, and during his life he was Mad in the three hot Months in Summer, and at the Full of the Moon. His Son also, who was born a considerable time after this, was Heir to the same Distemper, and for ought I know is still alive, and hath the same Fits at the usual times; as also a Daughter of the Sons.
Page 234This Story I have from sure hands, who have heard the Father relate it when he was in his right Wits, as he used to be for the most part, save at the times above mentioned. The Son I have spoke with several times, and have seen him run up and down in his mad Fits.