Testimony of John Louder v. Bridget Bishop


Around 1684, John Louder (32 years old) was living with Mr. John and Susannah Gedney, whose property adjoined Bridget Bishops. There was some controversy with Bishop's fowls roaming into the Gedney's orchard. One night, John Louder felt a great weight upon his chest and woke to see Bridget Bishop sitting on his stomach. She grabbed hold of his throat and almost choked Louder, who had no strength to resist her.

Some time after this, Louder was in his orchard with Susannah, who accosted Bishop's about her torture of Louder. Bishop denied the story and Louder affirmed to her face that it was true, upon which Bishop threatened Louder. 

Louder soon became ill, and while recovering one Sunday afternoon, he saw a black pig in his room (despite the door being shut). It came towards him and as he went to kick it, the pig vanished. A black creature then jumped into the window; it had the body of a monkey, the feet and claws of a cock, and the face of a man. It claimed to be a messenger sent to him and that if he would be ruled by the creature, he would want for nothing in this world. Louder tried to kill the devil by clapping his hand on it, but there was no substance. It then jumped out the window again, only to come in by the porch, despite the doors being shut. Again, he urged Louder to take his council, at which point Louder took a stick and attempted to strike it. The stick breaks and the creature vanishes. Louder goes out the back door and sees Bishop in her orchard going towards her house.  He had no power to set one foot forward so he went back inside and shut the door. Again, the little creature appeared, ready to fly at him. Louder cried that the "whole armor of god be between me and you", so it sprang back and flew away over the apple trees. 

On her trial, Bishop denied that she even knew Louder, despite her orchard joining his. 

John Louder of Salem Aged aboute thurtey two Yeares, Testifieth 
and sayth that aboute seaven or Eight yeares since I then Liveing w'th 
M'r John Gedney in Salem and haveing had some Controversy with 
Bridgett Bushop the wife of Edw'd Bushop of Salem Sawyer aboate 
her fowles that used to Come into our orchard or garden. Some little 
tyme after which, I goeing well to bed; aboute the dead of the night 
 felt a great weight upon my Breast and awakening looked and it 
being bright moon: light did clearely see s'd Bridget Bushop -- or her 
likeness sitting upon my stomake and puting my Armes of of the 
bed to free myselfe from that great oppression she presently layd 
hold of my throat and almost Choa[ ] mee and I had noe strenth 
or power in my hands to resist or help my selfe, and in this Condittion 
she held mee to almost day, some tyme after this, my Mistress 
Susannah Gedney was in our orchard and I was then with her. and 
s'd #[s'd]Bridget Bushop being then in her Orchard w'ch was next ad- 
joyneing to ours my Mistress told s'd Bridget. that I said or afirmed 
that she cume one night & satt upon my brest as afores'd which she 
denyed and I Afirmed to her face to be tru and that I did plainely 
 see her. upon w'ch discourse with her she Threatened mee. And 
some tyme after that I being not very well stayed at #[w]home on a Lords 
day and on the after noon of s'd day the dores being shutt I did see a 
black pig in the Roome Comeing towards mee soe I went towards itt 
to kick it and it vanished away

Immediately after I satt down in a Narrow Bar and did see a 
black thing Jump into the window and came & stood Just before my 
face, upon the bar the body of itt looked like a Munky only the feete 
ware like a Cocks feete w'th Claws and the face somewhat more like 
a mans than a Munkies. and I being greatly affrighted not being able 
to speake or help my selfe by Reason of feare I suppose, soe the thing 
spake to mee and said I am a Messenger sent to y'u for I understand 
you are trobled in mind, and if you will be Ruled by mee you shall 
want for Nothing in this world upon which I Endeavered to clap my 
hands upon itt, and sayd You devill I will Kill you. but could feale 
noe substance and itt Jumped out of the window againe. and Imediatly 
Came in by the porch althow the dores ware shutt. and sayd you 
had Better take my Councill, where upon I strook at it with a stick 
butt strook the Groundsill and broak the stick, (Reverse)but felt noe Substance, 
and that arme with which I strook was presently disenabled, then it 
vanished away and I opened the back dore and Went out and goeing 
towards the house End I Espied s'd Bridget Bushop in her orchard 
goeing towards her house, and seing her had not power to set one 
foote forward but returned in againe and goeing to shutt the dore. I 
Againe did see that or the like creture that I before did see within 
dores, in such a posture as it seemed to be agoeing to fly at mee, up- 
on which I cryed. out; the whole armor of god be between mee and 
 You. soe itt sprang back and flew over the apple tree flinging the 
dust w'th its feet against my stomake, upon which I was struck dumb 
and soe Continued for aboute three days tyme and also shook many 
of the apples of, from the tree w'ch it flu over:

John louder apearid before us this 2. dy of June 1692 
and one the oath that he had taken did owne this testimony to be the 
 truth before us the Jarris of Inquest

Jurat in Curia 

(Reverse) Evidences ag't Br. Bishop. 
Jn'o Loader 

+ On her Tryall Bridget Bishop alias Olliver denied that she knew this 
deponent though the orchard of this depon't & the orchard of s'd 
Bishop Joined & they often had difference for Some yeares together 
John Loader