Strange behaviour

Letter about Elizabeth Tibbots. (Catalogue ref: SP 29/317 f.116)

In this letter the account of a woman who has been observed acting incredibly strangely is reported. The author suspects that she has either been bewitched, or is a witch herself. He is certain of what he has seen and that the Devil must be behind her bizarre behaviour, 2 November, 1672.



  1. All our wonder hereabouts is employed at the strange
  2. condition of a maid near us, one Elizabeth
  3. Tibbots of about 18 years of age living with her
  4. uncle, one Thomas Crofts, at a place called Hust
  5. in the parish of Stoneleigh, about two miles hence.
  6. Which maid, for about this 3 weeks past has been
  7. taken with strange fits, in which she has vomited
  8. up several things incredible, as first several
  9. pebble stones near as big as eggs, knives, scissors,
  10. pieces of glass, some of them two or three inches
  11. square, pieces of iron, an iron bullet of
  12. at least 8 inches round and 2 pound & half
  13. weight, a black drinking-pot of near
  14. half a pint, pieces of cloth and wood, a
  15. pocket pistol, a pair of pincers, bottoms
  16. of yarn, and several other things, many
  17. whereof are now at our Mayor’s, and have been
  18. evidently seen to come out of her mouth
  19. by many credible witnesses. Nor should I my
  20. self venture to give you this relation, which
  21. seems so unlike truth, had I not myself
  22. been an eyewitness with my most curious
  23. observation of so much of it, that I am con-
  24. firmed in the belief of the whole. All which is
  25. imputed to some diabolical practices of one
  26. Watson, a strange kind of an empiric [fraud or charlatan] to whom
  27. she was sometime a patient, who had it seems
  28. so wrought with her, as that she had promised him
  29. marriage, and to go with him (though she knew
  30. not whither) but afterwards refused it. Immediately
  31. upon which she fell into those fits. Yet now she has
  32. respites, during which she appears reasonably well, and I


  1. have heard her discourse very rationally of her
  2. self and her condition, a full account whereof would
  3. be too long to give. ‘Tis said
  4. these 4 or 5 days past (in which I have
  5. not seen her) some what appears to her in
  6. the shape of a dog. Now, whether she is bewitched
  7. or whether she be a witch, or whether
  8. the devil be in her, as well as some others
  9. of her sex, I know not, but that what I
  10. have told you seemed to the most vigilant eye
  11. to be infallibly true, is not doubtable. So
  12. that it be not really so, I can only say
  13. the devil’s in it, who, you may perhaps may
  14. fancy to be in him that gives this seemingly
  15. incredible relation. which be pleased to accept
  16. for better for worse.
  17. From
  18. Sir your most obliged humble servant
  19. Ralph Hope


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