Thaumatographia Pneumatica

Cotton Mather

The Fifth Example

On June 11, 1682, showers of stone were thrown by an invisible hand upon the house of George Walton at Portsmouth. Whereupon the people going out found the gate wrung off the hinges and stones flying and falling thick about them and striking of them seemingly with a great force, but really effected 'em no more than if a soft touch were given them.

The glass windows were broken to pieces by stones that came not from without but from from within, and other instruments were in like manner hurled about. Nine of the stones they took up, whereof some were as hot as if they came out of the fire, and, marking them, they laid them on the table, but in a little while they found some of them again flying about.

The spit was carried up the chimney and, coming down with the point forward, stuck in the back-log from whence one of the company, removing it, it was, by an invisible hand, thrown out at the window.

This disturbance continued from day to day and sometimes a dismal, hollow whistling would be heard, and sometimes the trotting and snorting of a horse, but nothing to be seen.

The man went up the great bay in a boat unto a farm he had there, but there the stones found him out, and carrying from the house to the boat a stirrup-iron, the iron came jingling after him through the woods as far as his house and at last went away and was heard of no more. The anchor leaped overboard several times and stopped the boat.

A cheese was taken out of the press and crumbled all over the floor; a piece of iron stuck in the wall and a kettle hung thereupon. Several cocks of hay, mowed near the house, were taken up and hung upon the trees, and others made into small whisps and scattered about the house.

The man was much hurt by some of the stones. He was a Quaker and suspected that a woman, who charged him with injustice in detaining some land from her, did by withcraft occasion these preternatural occurrences.

However, at last, they came unto an end.