[A4] "City Police," Spirit of the Times, Jan. 8, 1842: Remarkable Case of Witchcraft


City Police—Friday, January 7—Remarkable case of Witchcraft.—I am aware that some people don't believe in witches, but “facts is facts” and I hope no one will presume to doubt my veracity; if they do, I can prove what I am about to tell by the affidavit of a dozen witnesses; guess that will upset your incredulity.

 About 12 o'clock last night, a watchman passing down South street, saw an old woman walking with a cane; it was pretty dark and he found it difficult to get a good look at her; however, he saw she had more beard on her upper lip than ladies commonly carry, and she seemed to get along much more briskly than old women who walk with sticks generally do.  As she trotted along, she muttered curses to herself and acted so deucedly queer that the watchman became alarmed, tried to say a prayer, but could recollect nothing but "Here I lay me down to sleep," (a very common and convenient prayer for watchmen,) and having uttered that devout ejaculation, he tremulously ordered the beldam to stop.—"Stop what?" say she.  "Stop yourself, madam."—Here the old woman made a mysterious reply in which the words "nose" and "stopper" only were audible.  I think it likely that she intended to make a comparison between Watchy's proboscis and a tobacco stopper; though the proboscis alluded to is as large as a medium-sized powder-horn.  The officer arrested her forthwith, asking her how she dared, being a female, to carry such a mustache, when several of his young friends, supposed to be males, had been cultivating for years and couldn't raise a lip ornament one quarter as large.  She had nothing to say in her vindication and was locked up.  This morning she was put in the dock; but while the officer's back was turned for two minutes, she disappeared—vanished—melted into air; when he came back, she was gone!  Soon after, when the business of the day was about to commence, a large gray cat jumped out of that part of the dock where the old woman had been seated, made two or three supernatural bounds and escaped through a door which had just been opened.  Now if that cat was not the old woman transformed—I'm no sage, nor saint either.  A clear case of witchcraft as any on record!  Twenty spectators at least can testify to the appearance of the big gray cat, and the watchman declared that its eyes were precisely like those of the old hag who had been his prisoner.  Could any thing be more unequivocal?

Wm. Thomas, a young colored speculator was found with a couple of fur caps, supposed to be abstractions.  No one came to claim them, and Bill was remanded for another hearing.

Thomas Findley, genteel looking white man, caught in South street, below Tenth, with several pair of silver colored candlesticks, &c, tied up in two handkerchiefs and partially concealed under his cloak; tried to drop the plunder and escape, but could not effect it.  Examination postponed.

Toney Blink.