The Exorcism of John Darrell
The most well-known and widely-discussed cases of possession in England occurred in the last fifteen years of the 17th century and involved a Church of England minister of Puritan leanings named John Darrell. The chapter gives an account of the possession of the thirteen-year-old Thomas Darling, and this account is structured around the experience of voices. On his return home from a wood where he had got lost, Darling had begun to experience agues and distempered visions of green cats. Responding to suggestions that his malady might not be physical but demonic, Darling concocted a preposterous story about having met in the woods an old woman named Alice Gooderidge, who comes under local suspicion of being a witch. Thomas claims that Alice cursed him, because he accidentally broke wind in her presence.
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