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Pyewacket was one of the supposed familiar spirits of an alleged witch accused by the witchfinder general Matthew Hopkins in March 1644 in the town of Manningtree, Essex, England. Hopkins claimed he spied on the witches as they held their meeting close by his house, and heard them mention the name of a local woman. She was arrested and deprived of sleep for four nights, at the end of which she confessed and called out the names of her familiars, describing the forms in which they should appear. They were:

  • Holt, “who came in like a white kittling” (kitten)
  • Jarmara, “who came in like a fat Spaniel without any legs at all” (…ew)
  • Vinegar Tom, “who was like a long-legg’d greyhound, with a head like an Oxe” (don’t think a greyhound can support an ox-head but go off I guess)
  • Sacke and Sugar, “like a black Rabbet” (sacke is a sweet wine like sherry)
  • Newes, “like a Polecat” (A polecat is a ferret or possibly a weasel)
  • Elemanzer, Pyewacket, Peck in the Crown, Grizzel Greedigut, described as imps 

Hopkins claims he and nine other witnesses saw the first five of these, which appeared in the forms described by the witch. Only the first of these was in the form of a cat; the next two were dogs, and the others were a black rabbit and a polecat – so Pyewacket was, presumably, not a cat’s name. As for the other familiars, Hopkins says only that they were such that “no mortall could invent.” The incident is described in Hopkins’s pamphlet “The Discovery of Witches” (1647).

I was informed that Hopkins was paid sixpence per witch he found, and that getting tired of paying his expenses the Crown accused him of witchcraft and had him hanged. (In England Heretics were burned, witches were hanged.) I was supremely disappointed to discover Hopkins lived to the ripe old age of 28 and in fact died in his bed of TB.

I type this here ‘cos if demons and imps are gonna turn up in my life as kittens, bunnies and ferrets, by soul is long gone…

Source: Tales of Necromancy

by cnkguy

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