The description of all these kindes of Spirites that troubles men or women. The conclusion of the whole Dialogue.
The division of spirites in foure principall kindes. The description of the first kinde of them, called Spectra & umbræ mortuorum. What is the best way to be free of their trouble.
I pray you now then go forward in telling what ye thinke fabulous, or may be trowed in that case.
EPI. That kinde of the Devils conversing in the earth, may be divided in foure different kindes, whereby he affrayeth and troubleth the bodies of men: for of the abusing of the soule, Ip.057 have spoken alreadie. The first is, where spirites troubles some houses or solitarie places: the second, where spirites followes upon certaine persones, and at divers houres troubles them: the thirde, when they enter within them and possesse them: the fourth is these kinde of spirites that are called vulgarlie the Fayrie. Of the three former kindes, ye harde alreadie, how they may artificiallie be made by Witch-craft to trouble folke: now it restes to speake of their naturall comming as it were, and not raysed by Witch-craft. But generally I must for-warne you of one thing before I enter in this purpose: that is, that although in my discourseing of them, I devyde them in diuers kindes, yee must notwithstanding there of note my Phrase of speaking in that: for doubtleslie they are in effect, but all one kinde of spirites, who for abusing the more of mankinde, takes on these sundrie shapes, and uses diverse formes of out-ward actiones, as if some were of nature better then other. Nowe I returne to my purpose: as to the first kinde of these spirites, that were called by the auncients by divers names, according as their actions were. For if they were spirites that haunted some houses, by appearing in diuers and horrible formes, and making greate dinne: they were called Lemures or Spectra. If they appeared in likenesse of anie defunct to some friends of his, they wer called umbræ mortuorum: And so innumerable stiles they got, according to their actiones, as I have said alreadie. As we see by experience, how manie stiles they have given them in our language in the like maner: Of thep.058 appearing of these spirites, wee are certified by the Scriptures,Esay. 13. Iere. 50 where the Prophet ESAY 13. and 34. cap. threatning the destruction of Babell and Edom: declares, that it shal not onlie be wracked, but shall become so greate a solitude, as it shall be the habitackle of Howlettes, and of ZIIM and IIM, which are the proper Hebrewe names for these Spirites. The cause whie they haunte solitarie places, it is by reason, that they may affraie and brangle the more the faith of suche as them alone hauntes such places. For our nature is such, as in companies wee are not so soone mooved to anie such kinde of feare, as being solitare, which the Devill knowing well inough, hee will not therefore assaile us but when we are weake: and besides that, GOD will not permit him so to dishonour the societies and companies of Christians, as in publicke times and places to walke visiblie amongst them. On the other parte, when he troubles certaine houses that are dwelt in, it is a sure token either of grosse ignorance, or of some grosse and slanderous sinnes amongst the inhabitantes thereof: which God by that extraordinarie rod punishes.
PHI. But by what way or passage can these Spirites enter in these houses, seeing they alledge that they will enter, Doore and Window being steiked?
EPI. They will choose the passage for their entresse, according p.059 to the forme that they are in at that time. For if they have assumed a deade bodie, whereinto they lodge themselves, they can easely inough open without dinne anie Doore or Window, and enter in thereat. And if they enter as a spirite onelie, anie place where the aire may come in at, is large inough an entrie for them: for as I said before, a spirite can occupie no quantitie.
PHI. And will God then permit these wicked spirites to trouble the reste of a dead bodie, before the resurrection thereof? Or if he will so, I thinke it should be of the reprobate onely.
EPI. What more is the reste troubled of a dead bodie, when the Devill carryes it out of the Grave to serve his turne for a space, nor when the Witches takes it up and joyntes it, or when as Swine wortes uppe the graves? The rest of them that the Scripture speakes of, is not meaned by a locall remaining continuallie in one place, but by their resting from their travelles and miseries of this worlde, while their latter conjunction againe with the soule at that time to receave full glorie in both. And that the Devill may use aswell the ministrie of the bodies of the faithfull in these cases, as of the unfaithfull, there is no inconvenient; for his haunting with their bodies after they are deade, can no-waies defyle them: in respect of the soules absence. And for anie dishonour it can be unto them, by what reason can it be greater, then the hanging, heading, or many such shameful deaths, that good men will suffer? For there is nothing in the bodies of[note0p.60[/note] the faithfull, more worthie of honour, or freer from corruption by nature, nor in these of the unfaithful, while time they be purged and glorified in the latter daie, as is dailie seene by the vilde diseases and corruptions, that the bodies of the faythfull are subject unto, as yee will see clearelie proved, when I speake of the possessed and Dæmoniacques.
PHI. Yet there are sundrie that affirmes to have haunted such places, where these spirites are alleaged to be: and coulde never heare nor see anie thing.
EPI. I thinke well: for that is onelie reserved to the secreete knowledge of God, whom he wil permit to see such thinges, and whome not.
PHI. But where these spirites hauntes and troubles anie houses, what is the best waie to banishe them?
EPI. By two meanes may onelie the remeid of such things be procured: the one is ardent prayer to God, both of these persones that are troubled with them, and of that Church whereof they are. The other is the purging of themselves by amendement of life from such sinnes, as have procured that extraordinarie plague.
PHI. And what meanes then these kindes of spirites, when they appeare in the shaddow of a person newlie dead, or to die, to his friendes?
EPI. When they appeare upon that occasion, they are called Wraithes in our language. Amongst the Gentiles the Devill usedp.061 that much, to make them beleeve that it was some good spirite that appeared to them then, ether to forewarne them of the death of their friend; or else to discover unto them, the will of the defunct, or what was the way of his slauchter, as is written in the booke of the histories Prodigious. And this way hee easelie deceived the Gentiles, because they knew not God: and to that same effect is it, that he now appeares in that maner to some ignorant Christians. For he dare not so illude anie that knoweth that, neither can the spirite of the defunct returne to his friend, or yet an Angell use such formes.
PHI. And are not our war-woolfes one sorte of these spirits also, that hauntes and troubles some houses or dwelling places?
EPI. There hath indeede bene an old opinion of such like thinges; for by the Greekes they were called λυκανθρωποι which signifieth men-woolfes. But to tell you simplie my opinion in this, if anie such thing hath bene, I take it to have proceeded but of a naturall super-abundance of Melancholie, which as wee reade, that it hath made some thinke themselves Pitchers, and some horses, and some one kinde of beast or other: so suppose I that it hath so viciat the imagination and memorie of some, as per lucida interualla, it hath so highlie occupyed them, that they have thought themselves verrie Woolfes indeede at these times: and so have counterfeited their actiones in goeing on their handes and feete, preassing to devoure women and barnes, fighting and p.62 snatching with all the towne dogges, and in using such like other bruitish actiones, and so to become beastes by a strong apprehension, as Nebucad-netzar was seuen yeares: Dan. 4 but as to their having and hyding of their hard & schellie sloughes, I take that to be but eiked, by uncertaine report, the author of all lyes.