Apish Pranks In Weobley Parish

“There is a farm in Burton, a village in the parish of Weobley, which Mr William Bridges, a linen draper of London, has in mortgage from one Thomas Tomkyns, a decayed yeoman. This farm was taken in by lease of Mrs Elizabeth Bridges, about Michaelmas 1669. Soon after this tenant was entered on the farm, some familiar began to act apish pranks by knocking boldly at the door in the dark of the evening, and the like early in the morning, but nobody to be seen. The stools and forms [benches] were thrown into disorder, heaps of malt and vetches mingled, a mow of pulse and pease likewise; loaves of bread on a table carried into another room, or hid in tubs covered with cloths; cabbage plants dug up and replanted in various patterns; a half-roasted pig demolished except for the bones; some cattle died and among others a sow leaped up and danced in strange postures, and at last fell down dead.”

Account of a seventeenth century poltergeist, quoted in Peter Ackroyd, The English Ghost : Spectres Through Time (2010)

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