Pretending to be bewitched

Confession of Thomas Paman. (Catalogue ref: SP 16/161 f. 89)

Sometimes, people would pretend to be bewitched for their own benefit. In this source Thomas Paman explains his motivations for pretending to be bewitched, and what happened during the course of his supposed bewitchment, 28 February, 1629


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  1. Newmarket The 28 of February 1629
  2. Thomas Paman says
  3. That having long since, some two years gone, some displeasure that he could
  4. not have such means from his father, as he thought he lacked, paying commonly
  5. freely when he was in any company, and having often times threatened upon
  6. any discontent between his parents and himself, that he would not
  7. stay with them, be gone to the low countries or the like (upon the
  8. persuasion of some other fellows) he found himself somewhat ill
  9. in his body, Thursday last was a month, and being not open in his body
  10. thirteen days, his brother went to the physician Mr Ayers in
  11. Bury St Edmonds, the day before Candlemas day. But with all his
  12. ill disposition of his body, his minds being not better disposed, resolved
  13. to deceive his father, and to fain himself Frantic [ill with anxiety], in hope
  14. his father should allow him better maintenance or portion for his
  15. marriage, which he intended with one Elizabeth Waller at
  16. Putnam in Suffolk. To whom he was going, when he
  17. found himself ill (promise being past betwixt them both)
  18. for which match his father was not forward. And being
  19. thus visited in his fained [pretend] disease by divers some whereof did say they
  20. did think he was bewitched, by name one William Owens and
  21. Ambrose Evered, Roger Mountagne and the wife of William Owens
  22. (the first day of his fainting) thereby he took occasion to
  23. change his first project, and to keep them in their opinion to be
  24. bewitched, and having continued so till about Tuesday next after
  25. Candlemas day [Christian holiday on February 2 to mark presentation of child Jesus into the temple] till faining to be dumb, he heard his brother and
  26. divers others say, It would be good, the Justices of peace should

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  1. be acquainted with all, he thereupon did write the letter to Sir Martin
  2. And after counterfeited [pretended] to be not able to write anymore some
  3. 48 hours. As before he counterfeited to be dumb unless when some
  4. fits were upon him, then he spoke and barked like a dog. The which
  5. when he saw and heard the people to marvel at, he was much pleased
  6. with all. Amongst them the wench that watched him (Anne
  7. Coward) told him, that she was once High Whirled [spun] into a ditch of
  8. water by the spirit. Whereby he took occasion to go the strong on
  9. in that faining &c. Now upon Thursday last was seven-
  10. night, about ten of the clock in the night he let himself
  11. fall out of his bed, to make them that did think and say he
  12. was bewitched (for others were that said he did but counterfeit)
  13. the more assured in their opinions. And Friday the next
  14. day after Alice Read (before called Alice Bird) came in
  15. by the means of Sir Martin Stoutville, to see what he then
  16. would do. Some of the standers by saying, the witch was come,
  17. and the wench that help him, wishing she might not come at him,
  18. for she could kill him, his brother and others saying, it was
  19. her pleasure she should come to him, and many others
  20. saying, that he would tear her and the like speeches. He
  21. thereby induced, came out of his bed and laid hold on her, pulling
  22. her down and pulled off her headgear, and so was taken from
  23. her and laid a bed again. Now being seen for to come
  24. hither, he fell sore afraid, but those that were about him
  25. persuaded him to fear nothing, but to stand to it, to the truth, to
  26. his own and then the two women, Elizabeth Bird and her
  27. daughter, and the old woman’s mother and grandmother


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  1. were suspected to be witches (those that said so are John
  2. Parmen & his eldest son John Parman, and others) he came hither
  3. this morning in his bed, without his clothes finding himself weary
  4. and sore, and his keeper saying that he could not suffer his clothes
  5. which his father would have had him put on. And this (he sayeth)
  6. is the plain truth, for the doing whereof he heartily craves
  7. pardon of God and the King promising never to do the like again
  8. but heartily repairing to become a new man. In witness
  9. here of he himself adds this much. That he will
  10. for ever confess that before written, and I do promise
  11. to use the best means that I can to the uttermost of my
  12. poor power to make her recompense for this wrong
  13. By me
  14. Thomas Paman
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