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delusion lately fell in my way, which I shall relate as a curious fact, which I have myself authenticated.
“ The wife of a respectable rabbi, some little time ago, exhibited
symptoms of mania, for which I was in the first place consulted. I had already visited her twice; but on paying my third visit, I found that the patient had been removed from her own dwelling, and conveyed into the Jewish Hospital, where she was placed under the care, not of Dr. Fränkel, the Jewish physician, but under that of a Mahomedan sorcerer, who had already commenced his magical operations. On remonstrating with the husband on the folly of the proceedings, and of the injury it might be attended with to his wife, he replied, that his wife's family had obliged him to give his consent, in the belief that she was possessed by an evil spirit, and that medical treatment could be of no service to her. I observed to him, that his applying to a Mahomedan sorcerer would not only be useless for his wife's recovery, but that to make use of sorcery in any way, was expressly prohibited by the Mosaic law. He admitted the truth of what I said, but declared that he could not now interfere, as his wife was in the hands of her family, who were resolved to proceed in the course they had adopted.”
A Sorcerer's Method of Casting out an Evil
Spirit. “ Feeling a curiosity to see the process of casting out an evil spirit, I expressed a wish to be allowed to see the patient, to which the husband immediately assented. On arriving at the Jewish
Hospital, I found the patient (the only one I saw in the establishment) seated on the floor in a room, attended by three females. Unfortunately, the sorcerer was gone, having just paid his visit. The poor woman had been rather roughly handled. Several buckets of cold water had been thrown over her; at the same time the sorcerer recited certain prayers, or, I rather imagine,
Cabbalistic conjurations, in which he called upon the evil spirit, commanding it not to come out by the head, or the eyes, nose, mouth, ears, or any of the upper parts of the body, for fear that by so doing he might tear or injure some important organ ; but that he should make his exit by the great toe of the foot, as being the most convenient and least dangerous passage for him. Not content with uttering these conjurations viva voce, he had written down certain formulas on papers, which he had folded up and attached to the head, the breast, under the arms, &c., in order to stop the exit of the spirit at those parts; but on the nail of the great toe, he had written certain characters, which were to draw and entice him in that direction. Having finished his manipulations, he had left the poor woman, who looked exceedingly wild and disturbed, to wait the operation of the charms with which he had armed her at all points. This process, it seemed, was to be repeated daily for nine days; at the end of which the sorcerer affirmed that the patient would be delivered of the evil spirit, and be restored to health as before.
“ The nine days passed away, but the spirit did not seem inclined to dislodge, as the poor woman continued just as bad as before. The
husband then intreated me to take her once more under my care. On seeing her, I found that her bodily health was very much disordered, and that she required medical treatment. She very sensibly improved by these means, and at the end of ten days was so much restored to her usual state, that I discontinued my visits.
“ I am in hopes that not the least useful result of this case will be, to open the eyes of the family and persons interested, and to shake their belief in the efficacy of charms and sortileges."
PSALM XC. 9.
I thought of life, of human life,
The fleeting years of man;
That waste our little span :
I thought how sweet our life appears,
In lovely infant form ;
I found a fatal worm :
I thought of life in childhood's day,
And counted o'er its joys;
How soon each pleasure cloys!
fail, To think that childhood has its pangs, its bitterness and gall.
I thought of life, in female charms,
In loveliness arrayed ;
I looked, and lo! in death's cold arms
The beauteous form was laid : I thought of life, and whilst I thought, a bitter tear
was shed, For memory told me of the loved, the lovely and the dead.
I thought of life in manhood's pride,
In wealth and pomp and power,
The phantom of an hour :
I thought of life, when feeble age
Bent tottering o'er the grave,
Their former wretched slave :
and few, Are spent in joys that cannot last, when death appears in view.
I thought of life, when I beheld
The Christian's dying bed,
When life's poor joys had fled:
such bliss; “Oh, may his happy death be mine, and my last end like his."
I thought of life in endless day,
In realms of light and love,
And join the hosts above:
more annoy, The peaceful, holy, happy life of everlasting joy.*
* From Poetical Meditations and Hymns.
Macintosh, Printer, Great New-street, London.