Thaumatographia Pneumatica

Cotton Mather

The Fourth Example

In the year 1683 the house of Nicholas Desborough, at Hartford, was very strangely molested by stones, by pieces of earth, by cobs of Indian corn, and other such things, from an invisible hand, thrown at him, sometimes through the door, sometimes through the window, sometimes down the chimney, and sometimes from the floor of the room (though very close) over his head; and sometimes he met with them in the shop, the yard, the barn, and in the field.

There was no violence in the motion of the things thus thrown by the invisible hand, and though others besides the man happened sometimes to be hit, they were never hurt with them. Only the man himself once had pain given to his arm, and once blood fetched from his leg by these annoyances, and a fire, in an unknown way kindled, consumed no little part of his estate.

This trouble began upon a controversy between Desborough and another person about a chest of clothes which the man apprehended to be unrighteously detained by Desborough, and it endured for divers months, but upon the restoring of the clothes thus detained, the trouble ceased. At Brightling in Sussex in England there happened a tragedy not unlike to this, in the year 1659. 'Tis recorded by Clark in the second volume of his Examples.