I only saw Tibb a few sundry times over the next five or six years. He always came at the Daylight Gate and asked what I bid.
“Naught,” said I, for I wanted nothing from him yet.
Then one Sabbeth morn he appeared in the likeness of a brown dog, jumped straight in my lap, and suckled from a spot beneath my left arm. It hurt like the devil and I cried out, “Jesus! Save us all!”
Then I fell into a madness, or so they tell me.
All I recall is wandering in purgatory for nigh-on eight weeks, while the spirits of darkness whispered their secrets and my true self came to the fore.
I awoke no longer as Elizabeth Southerns. I’d become the wise Old Demdike.
From my voluntarie Confession and Examination (April 2, 1612)
” . . . the speediest way to take a mans life away by Witchcraft, is to make a Picture of Clay, like unto the shape of the person whom they meane to kill,& dry it thorowly: and when they would have them to be ill in any one place more then the other; then take a Thorne or Pinne, and pricke it in that part of the Picture you would so have to be ill: and when you would have any part of the Body to consume away, then take that part of the Picture, and burne it. And when you would have the whole body to consume away, then take the remnant of the sayd Picture, and burne it: and so thereupon by that meanes, the body shall die.”
Source: Potts, Thomas. The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster, 1613.
I tell folk we hail from a long line of cunning folk, that our roots stretch all the way back to the Druids. They baptized me Elizabeth Southerns as a bairn but everyone calls me Old Demdike – the local name for a wise woman.
Come to me with your dreams and I’ll make you a potion. Bring me your nightmares, I’ll chase them away with a charm. If ye labor in vain I’ll aid in the birthing, and chant in your milk on the midnight air. But cross me and mine at your peril, for there’s none can curse as good or foul as our lot.
We all live together at Malkin Tower in Blacko, a cottage in the shadow of the hill that’s seen better days. There’s my cock-eyed lass Squinting Lizzie, widowed a good few years back from John Device. And the three of her brood that survive: Jim, a moonstruck lad as daft as a brush; Ali, the minx who started this witch hunting lark; and bonny wee Jenny.
Jenny’s the viper in our midst. She tattled to Justice Nowell about our doings and now a dozen of us are standing trial for murder on the lies that spewed from her gob. Who’d have ever thought a nine year old cur would bring down the mighty Demdike?