By Katherine Monroe, student library assistant
Halloween is almost upon us, and the Clark collection is ready to provide you with all of your necessary remedies against any curses you may receive come All Hallow’s Eve. William Drage’s Daimonomageia. A Small Treatise of Sicknesses and Diseases from Witchcraft and Supernatural Causes. Never before, at least in this comprised Order, and general Manner, was the like published. Being useful to others besides Physicians, In that it Confutes Atheistical, Sadducitical, and Sceptical Principles and Imaginations was published in 1665 with the intent to provide anecdotal evidence of witchcraft and necromancy in the world, and how one may hope to survive it.
Are you unsure if you are cursed or merely suffering from the effects of too much candy? Drage gives seven signs that point to sorcery:
- “If the Sick voids things that naturally cannot be bred in the Body, nor put therein from without, distrust Witchcraft…”
- “Strange and wonderful Convulsions, indomitable and inexpressible Torments, with other things preceding, or supervening, gives suspicion of Witchcraft…”
- “If the Sick complaineth of such a Woman or Man suspected for a Witch, and faith, There he (or she) stands; or Now he (or she) comes, though no Body else see anything… Judge this certainly to be by the power of the Devil, and commonly to be administred by Witches through malice, by the performance of foolish Ceremonies…”
- “A fourth sign of Witchcraft is, if the sick Prophesy, and foretel truly things that afterward come to pass, and speak beyond the course of Nature… [If] the Sick fly, or run up the Walls with their Feet uppermost, or leap from one place to another, strongly and fiercely, at a great distance: Be sure it is not naturally…”
- “A fifth Sign of Witchcraft is, If the Sick is twisten, contorted, and his Chin drawn to his Forehead, and neck turned behind him, or face rather… and lye long as if dead…”
- “A great Sign is, If any thing that comes from the Sick be burnt or harmed, and the suspected Woman suffers in such manner… [and] the Sick is eased much and clearly, suspect her for a Witch, and the Disease to be from her…”
- And finally, Drage cautions his readers to remember that “All Diseases that are caused by Nature, may be caused by Witchcraft; But all that are caused by Witchcraft, cannot be caused by Nature.”
So before you take an antacid to relieve your possible chocolate-induced stomach pains, make sure you are not actually suffering the effects of a spell or curse. Drage cautions you not to offend any man or woman suspected of being a necromancer or witch, and to hang rosemary, mistletoe, and ivy around your house, “because the Ancients judged those to defend Houses from evil Spirits.” If, come November 3rd, you are still showing signs of sorcery, or even possession (about which Drage also writes), stop by the Clark and see what else he prescribes in his Daimonomageia. And be careful who you encounter this Halloween season – perhaps not all the wee ghoulies and beasties coming to your door are there for the treats!