The Sacrament

The earliest example of the religious services occurs in 1324 in the trial of Lady Alice Kyteler: 'In rifeling the closet of the ladie, they found a Wafer of sacramentall bread, hauing the diuels name stamped thereon in stead of Jesus Christ.'[1] According to Boguet (1589) the Devil did not always perform the religious service himself, but mass was celebrated by a priest among his followers; this custom is found in all countries and seems to have been as common as that the Devil himself should perform the service.

'Celuy, qui est commis à faire l'office, est reuestu d'vne chappe noire sans croix, & apres auoir mis de l'eau dans le calice, it tourne le doz à l'autel, & puis esleue vn rond de raue teinte en noir, au lieu de l'hostie, & lors tous les Sorciers crient à haute voix, Maistre, aide nous. Le Diable en mesme temps pisse dans vn trou à terre, & fait de l'eau beniste de son vrine, de laquelle celuy, qui dit la messe, arrouse tous les assistans auec vn asperges noir.'[2]

The Devil of the Basses Pyrénées (1609) performed the religious ceremony himself:

'Il s'habille en Prestre pour dire Messe, laquelle it fait semblant de celebrer auec mille fourbes & souplesses, auprés d'vn arbre, ou parfois auprés d'vn rocher, dressant quelque forme d'autel sur des colones infernales, & sur iceluy sans dire le Confiteor, ny l'Alleluya, tournant les feuillets d'vn certain liure qu'il a en main, it commence à marmoter quelques mots de la Messe, & arriuant à l'offertoire it s'assiet, & toute l'assemblee le vient adorer le baisant sous la queuë, & allumant des chandelles noires: Puis luy baisent la main gauche, tremblans auec mille angoisses, & luy offrent du pain, des ^ufs, & de l'argent: & la Royne du Sabbat les reçoit, laquelle est assise à son costé gauche, & en sa main gauche elle tient vne paix ou platine, dans laquelle est grauee l'effigie de Lucifer, laquelle on ne baise qu'aprés l'auoir premierement baisée à elle. Puis it se met à prescher, son subiect est communément de la vaine gloire. . . . Il finit son sermon, & continue ses autres ceremonies, leuant vne certaine Hostie laquelle est noire & ronde, auec sa figure imprimée au dessus: &

disant ces paroles, Cecy est mon corps, it leue l'Hostie sur ses cornes & à cette esleuatiô tous ceux de l'assemblee I'adore{n}t

en disant ces mots, Aquerra Goity, Aquerra Beyty, Aquerra Goity, Aquerra Beyty, qui veut dire, Cabron arriba, Cabron abaro, de mesme en font its au Calice repetant ces mots, iusqu'à ce qu'il a vuidé tout ce qui est dans iceluy. Puis toute l'assemblee enuironnant l'autel en forme de croissant ou demy-lune, prosternez par terre, it leur fait vn autre sermon, puis leur baille à communier par ordre, donnant à chacun vn petit morceau de l'hostie, & pour leur donner moyen de l'aualer aisément, il leur donne deux gorgees de quelque medicine infernale, & certain breuuage de si mauuais goust & odeur, que l'aualant its suent, & neantmoins it est si froid, ou'il leur gele le corps, les nerfs, & les mouelles. Puis il s'accouple auec elles, & leur commande d'en faire de mesme, si bien qu'ils commettent mille incestes & autres pechez contre nature. Puis it les inuite à se mettre à table.'[1]

At Aix in 1610 Magdalene de Demandouls 'said that that accursed Magician Lewes [Gaufredy] did first inuent the saying of Masse at the Sabbaths, and did really consecrate and present the sacrifice to Lucifer. . . . She also related, that the said Magician did sprinkle the consecrated wine vpon all the company, at which time euery one cryeth, Sanguis eius super nos & filios nosotros.'[2]

Lord Fountainhall remarks, 'In 1670 we heard that the Devil appeared in the shape of a Minister, in the copper mines of Sweden, and attempted the same villainous apery.'[3] The Scotch witches, like the Swedish, performed the rite after the manner of the Reformed Churches. In 1678

'the devill had a great meeting of witches in Loudian, where, among others, was a warlock who formerly had been admitted to the ministrie in the presbyterian tymes, and when the bishops came in, conformed with them. But being found flagitious and wicked, was deposed by them, and now he turnes a preacher under the devill of hellish doctrine; for the devill at this tyme preaches to his witches really (if I may so term it) the doctrine of the infernall pitt, viz. blasphemies against God and his son Christ. Among other things, he told them that they were more happy in him than they could be in God; him they saw, but God they could not see; and in mockrie of Christ and his holy ordinance of the sacrament

2. Michaelis, Hist., p. 337. The use of this phrase suggests that the sprinkling was a fertility rite.

of his supper, he gives the sacrament to them, bidding them eat it and to drink it in remembrance of himself. This villan was assisting to Sathan in this action, and in preaching.'[1]

Fountainhall in writing of the same convention of witches says that the Devil 'adventured to give them the communion or holy sacrament, the bread was like wafers, the drink was sometimes blood sometimes black moss-water. He preached and most blasphemously mocked them, if they offered to trust in God who left them miserable in the world, and neither he nor his Son Jesus Christ ever appeared to them when they called on them, as he had, who would not cheat them.'[2]

The Abbé Guibourg (1679), head of the Paris witches, 'a fait chez la Voisin, revêtu d'aube, d'étole et de manipule, une conjuration.'[3] The same Abbé celebrated mass more than once over the body of a woman and with the blood of a child, sacrificed for the occasion, in the chalice (see section on Sacrifice). The woman, who served as the altar for these masses, was always nude, and was the person for whose benefit the ceremony was performed. Marguerite Montvoisin makes this clear:

'It est vrai aussi qu'une sage-femme qui demeurait au coin de la rue des Deux-Portes, distilla aussi les entrailles d'un enfant dont la mère y avait accouché. . . . Avant la distillation, les entrailles de l'enfant et l'arrière-faix de la mère avaient été portés à Saint-Denis, à Guibourg, par sa mère, la sage-femme et la mère de l'enfant, sur le ventre de laquelle sa mère, à son retour, lui dit que Guibourg avait dit la messe.'[4]

Guibourg acknowledged that, besides the one just quoted, he celebrated three masses in this way. At the first he used a conjuration. 'It dit la deuxième messe dans une masure sur les remparts de Saint-Denis, sur la même femme, avec les mêmes cérémonies. . . . Dit la troisième à Paris chez la Voisin sur la même femme.'[5] The woman mentioned in Guibourg's confession was Madame de Montespan herself. The following conjuration was used at the first mass:

'sur le ventre d'une femme': 'Astaroth, Asmodée, princes d'amitié, je vous conjure d'accepter le sacrifice que je vous

présente de cet enfant pour les choses que je vous demande, qui sont l'amitié du Roi, de Mgr le Dauphin me soit continuée et être honorée des princes et princesses de la cour, que rien ne me soit dénié de tout ce que je demanderai au Roi, tant pour mes parents que serviteurs.'[1]

A very interesting case is that of the Rev. George Burroughs in New England (1692):

'He was Accused by Eight of the Confessing Witches, as being an Head Actor at some of their Hellish Randezvouses, and one who had the promise of being a King in Satan's kingdom, now going to be Erected. . . . One Lacy testify'd that she and the prisoner [Martha Carrier] were once Bodily present at a Witch-meeting in Salem Village; and that she knew the prisoner to be a Witch, and to have been at a Diabolical sacrament. . . . Another Lacy testify'd that the prisoner was at the Witch-meeting, in Salem Village , where they had Bread and Wine Administred unto them. . . . Deliverance Hobbs affirmed that this [Bridget] Bishop was at a General Meeting of the Witches, in a Field at Salem-Village, and there partook of a Diabolical Sacrament in Bread and Wine then administred.'[2]

Hutchinson had access to the same records and gives the same evidence, though even more strongly: 'Richard Carrier affirmed to the jury that he saw Mr. George Burroughs at the witch meeting at the village and saw him administer the sacrament. Mary Lacy, senr . and her daughter Mary affirmed that Mr. George Burroughs was at the witch meetings with witch sacrements, and that she knows Mr. Burroughs to be of the company of witches.'[3] John Hale has a similar record: 'This D. H. [Deliverance Hobbs] confessed she was at a Witch Meeting at Salem Village. . . . And the said G. B. preached to them, and such a Woman was their Deacon, and there they had a Sacrament.'[4] Abigail Williams said 'that the Witches had a Sacrament that day at an house in the Village, and that they had Red Bread and Red Drink .'[5] With the evidence before him Mather seems justified in saying that the witches had 'their Diabolical Sacraments, imitating the Baptism and the Supper of our Lord'.[6]

3. J. Hutchinson, Hist. Of Massachusetts Bay, ii, p. 55.

5. Increase Mather, p. 210.

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