OLD DEMDIKE – A WITCH’S TESTIMONY
July 18, 2018
My Devil Tibb: Part One
I first met Tibb nigh-on twenty years ago, near Gouldshey stone-pit. He came to me in the shape of a lad, dressed up all fancy in a black and brown coat. I thought he was some young master who’d got himself lost ’til he beckoned me over and demanded, “Give me thy soul!”
“Why would I do that?” I asked him, staring at the face of a fallen angel.
“If ye do, thou can have all thy wants,” says he.
I thought on his words and requested he utter his name.
“Tibb,” he told me – and I knew then it was a spirit or devil stood afore me.
I pondered the offer. Such a promise was mighty tempting indeed – and so I verily agreed.
July 11, 2018
The Witch Sermon
This is what they’re saying about our lot in church:
“His Majesty King James has made it a sacred duty to identify and eradicate all witchcraft, sorcery and enchantment as quickly as possible. While there has always been a need to guard against the satanic powers of the witch, it is my sad duty to inform you that there are still those who walk among us who have been seduced by the Evil One. These are not simple cunning folk we speak of – they are, in fact, demon worshipers!
We are talking about the wild women who use magic and spells instead of prayer, who consort with the powers of evil, pretending to heal and do good. Well rest assured that Thy God doth drive them out before thee, that they might be recognized and defeated. God commands that all practitioners of the black arts be put to death, for the Bible states Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
Though we have won several recent battles against Satan, all the learned men agree that the witches of England are still multiplying. The reason for this is the prior leniency of judges and the irrational arguments of sceptics. We know that the Prince of Darkness is hell bent on recovering his lost empire, and that every night these creatures – these hags – anoint themselves with devil’s grease made from the boiled fat of murdered infants. Then they slip under cracks, up chimneys, through keyholes and, mounted on broomsticks or spindles, travel to wicked sabbats throughout the land.
Signs of bewitchment include sickness, child loss, and finding reptiles, flies, and cockroaches in your houses. Look for marks on the body where the witch gives suckle to diabolical familiar spirits. Prick these warts and teats, they cause no pain and neither will a drop of blood be shed, for witches are made of wood and that is why they float on water. They are unable to recite the Lord’s Prayer. Remember, my fellow Christians, to disbelieve in the existence of witches is the greatest heresy. This dangerous scepticism must be stilted, and those who defend the evildoers are equally guilty. So when we go from hence let us be vigilant and prepared. May the Lord God guide us in our duties. Amen.”
(Blackest of Magic)
July 04, 2018
“If you’re feelin’ lost and fussin’ o’er the best path to take,
follow the first animal ye spot
(be it a hare, bird, cat, insect or mouse).
When it fades from view follow the next creature that crosses your path.
Then the next. And the next. And so on, ’til they lead
to where your destiny lies.
Look with faithful eyes and you’ll soon see
what answer doth await thee!”
June 27, 2018
The Eternal Battle
In our hearts we are two:
sound and rotten – bonny and ugly.
The left foot may lead us to evil –
The right foot may take us to good –
Each soul must choose its own path.
June 20, 2018
Most folk don’t know much about my best mate, Kate Hewitt. Everyone round here calls her Mouldheel’s Wife as she’s wed to John Hewitt of Colne. He’s a weaver in Waterside – a slippery knave, and not much to look at either. I know he bulks out his cloth with tallow. You can tell from the shine, even afore the mould starts growing. And each time there’s an official complaint they’ve to pack up shop and move on.
For a while they lived here, in Barley. It was years ago, when all our bairns were just scraps. That’s when Kate came and asked me to cure her rabbits. She raises them like chickens until they’re firm and plump and then wrings their necks for market. But that year summat made the whole bunch sick, and it was a couple of weeks afore I worked out a cure. Then she was that glad I’d saved the kits, she invited our lot to supper – treated us more decent than anyone outside of the clan ever had – and we became friends.
When me and Ali were arrested, Lizzie invited Kate (and her neighbor Alice Gray) to the Good Friday gathering at Malkin Tower, to see if they’d any suggestions for getting us free. They came on Alice’s ponies, which is likely why she was asked along in the first place. I don’t know much about Goodwife Gray, except for the rumor a while back that she fell out with some lot at Folds Farm and was accused of putting their young lass in hanck. Now I’m told both women have been arrested, I’ll warrant on account of some old scores that needed settling.
I hope they put Kate in the Well Tower so we can find out what’s been going on out there. It won’t seem quite so grim if my mate’s in here with us too.
June 13, 2018
In the beginning of all things
wisdom and knowledge were with the hill.
June 06, 2018
The traditions of the Goddess are handed down from mother to daughter.
May 30, 2018
We never pray against a soul – but if we’ve aught against folk
then we ourselves take vengeance!
Picture: Gerard van Honthorst
May 23, 2018
Mad Martha Roby’s as bony and brown as any Romany I ever laid eyes on, though she’s riddled with the Pox. She and her lass Belle live rough in a cave, some place at the back of Fell Woods. Belle’s the young slattern Our Jim took a fancy to.
I know Martha can’t show her face in town – been banned ever since she caught the French Disease off some soldier a good few years back – so they scrape by from begging. Then Belle got hired by the swineherd at Roughlee Hall and filches the best scraps of meat from the pigs. But since she’s been sent to the castle alongside Jim, I wonder how Martha’s coping.
Ali’s got no time for either of them. She says Martha’s moonstruck – away with the fairies – as mad as the locals claim. And Belle’s a simple soul. Ali hates how free that wench is with her favors. She’ll lift her smock for aught that’s shiny or worth eating. But they don’t get Ali that cheap!
(Picture: Matthijs Maris)
May 16, 2018
I hear tell they’ve also arrested the Bulcocks – Jane her lad Big John, of Moss End Farm. They’re not down here with our lot either, so they must’ve bartered the mistress’ fancy broach for finer lodgings. That diamond pin will like be the death of them both. It certainly caught our Jenny’s green eye, and earned her a rare old thrashing.
Still, that light-fingered lassie did find out summat I never knew. Turns out, Mistress Bulcock’s great granddad was a knight, made Lord of the Realm for his service to the old King Henry. That’s how they got the diamond – for saving His Majesty’s life in the Battle of the Spurs at Guinegate. After Jane’s grandma died whelping their only daughter, he re-wed. But when he passed away afore his new wife, everything went to her side of the family, except the farm. And the pin Jane got as a keep-sake.
Now our Jenny loves aught shiny. She couldn’t keep her grubby paws off that broach, and a whole heap of bother it caused. They took pity on the lass being just a bairn – but if me or Lizzie or Jim had filched summat that costly we’d have swung from the nearest crossbeam for sure.
Yet here they are in the castle accused as witches! I’ve never heard aught so daft in all my born days. Jane Bulcock was one of my patrons, aye, but a wise woman herself? It’s utter nonsense. Then again, happen the jailers are merely baiting us. Let’s wait up and see.
Pssst! Wear silver today for good luck.