Thaumatographia Pneumatica

Cotton Mather

The Second Example

In the town of Groton, one Elizabeth Knapp was taken (October, 1671) after a very strange manner, sometimes weeping, sometimes laughing, sometimes roaring with violent agitations, crying out, "Money! Money!" Her tongue would be for many hours together drawn like a semi-circle up to the roof of her mouth so that no fingers applied unto it could remove it. Six men were scarce able to hold her in some of her fits; she would skip about the house, yelling and howling and looking hideously.

On December 17 -- her tongue being drawn out of her mouth to an extraordinary length -- a daemon began manifestly to speak in her, for many words were distinctly uttered wherein are the labial letters, without any motion of her lips at all. Words also were uttered from her throat sometimes when her mouth was wholly shut, and sometimes words were uttered when her mouth was wide open but no organs of speech used therein.

The chief things that the daemon spoke were horrid railings against the godly minister of the town, but sometimes he [the daemon] likewise belched out most nefandous blasphemies against the God of heaven. And one thing about this young woman was yet more particularly remarkable: She cried out in her fits that a certain woman in the neighborhood appeared unto her and was the only cause of her affliction.

The woman thus cried out upon was doubtless an holy, devout, and virtuous person and she, by the advice of her friends, visited the afflicted. The possessed creature -- though she was in one of her fits and had her eyes wholly shut -- when this innocent woman was coming, she discovered herself wonderfully sensible of it and was in grievous agonies at her approaches. But this innocent woman, thus accused and abused by a malicious devil, prayed earnestly with, as well as for, this possessed creature, whereupon, coming to herself, she confessed that she had been deluded by Satan and compelled by him unreasonably to think and speak evil of a good neighbor without cause.

After this there was no complaint of such an one's apparition, but she said some devil, in the shape of divers, did very diversely and cruelly torment her, and then told her it was not he, but they, that were her tormentors.