fasting and pRAYER but was not present so as to avoid personal "glory."
The possession of the seven Lancashire children had already led to the execution of Edmund Hartley—origi-nally brought in to cure the children but eventually found to be the witch responsible—but the children were still having fits and convulsions. Assisted by Derbyshire minister George More, Darrell exorcised the children in one afternoon, emphasizing that the greatest value of such Puritan exorcisms was in refuting the claim by the Papists that theirs was the only true Church, since they could cast out devils.
Darrell's last case, the exorcism of William Sommers, began in November 1597. Sommers, aged 20, suffered fits and had a lump the size of an egg which ran about his body. His behavior was obscene, including bestiality with a dog in front of onlookers. Darrell exorcised him in front of 150 witnesses, but Sommers suffered repossessions, eventually naming witches responsible. Although Sommers did not react consistently to the various witches' presence, Darrell had all 13 arrested. All but two were released, but Darrell claimed that Sommers's accusations were correct, and that Sommers could probably find all the witches in England. Eventually, one of the accused witch's powerful families charged Sommers with witchcraft, and Sommers confessed to having simulated his fits.
Fearful of the effect that talk of witchcraft had on the people, as well as the increasing power of the Puritans, or Calvinists, the Archbishop of Canterbury moved against Darrell. Katherine Wright and Thomas Darling were summoned as witnesses against Darrell and joined Sommers in confessing fraud. Wright and Sommers even accused Darrell of teaching them how to contrive fits. Based mainly on Sommers's detailed accusations, the ecclesiastical court found Darrell to be a counterfeit and deposed him from the ministry in May 1599. Darrell languished in prison for several months but was never really sentenced.
As a result of Darrell's conviction, the Anglican Church of England passed Canon 72 of the Episcopal Church, forbidding exorcism as a formal ritual. Some Anglican priests today practice exorcism on an informal basis with the approval of their bishops. See possession.
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