Dr Fian Takes A Trip
(11) Item, filed for being coming forth of Patrick Humphery’s son’s house in the mill undernight from his supper, and passing to Tranent on horseback and a man with him: by his devilish craft raised up four candles upon the horses two lugs (ears) and another candle upon the staff which the man had in his hand, and gave such light as if it had been daylight. Like as the said candles returned with the said man while his homecoming, and caused him fall dead at his entress (entrance) within the house. (1)
At A Roads End It’s Walking Spanish Down the Hall
At all which torments notwithstanding the doctor never shrunk any whit, neither would he confess it the sooner for all the tortures inflicted upon him. Then he with all convenient speed, by commandment, conveyed again to the torment of the boots, wherein he continued a long time and did abide so many blows in them that his legs were crushed and beaten together as small as might be, and the bones and flesh so bruised that the blood and marrow spouted forth in great abundance, whereby they were made unserviceable forever. And notwithstanding all these grievous pains and cruel torments he would not confess anything; so deeply had the devil entered into his heart, that he utterly denied all that he had before avouched, and would say nothing thereunto but this: that what he had done and said before was only done and said for fear of pains which he had endured (2)
(1) Dittay (Trail record) of Doctor John Fian.
(2) News From Scotland, Declaring the Damnable Life and Death of Doctor Fian, A Notable Sorcerer, Who Was Burned at Edinburgh in January Last, 1591
L Normand & G. Roberts (ed.), Witchcraft in Early Modern Scotland: James V.I’s Demonology and the North Berwick Witches
‘The News From Scotland’, a contemporary account that dramatized select events depicted in the legal records of the accused in the North Berwick Witchcraft trails, was issued when the witch hunt was still ongoing and contains an image of this event but does not include the narrative. Few posts down the line will examine some of the interests of natural historians of the period and imagine how Doctor Fian’s lawyer could have refuted the tale as perfectly natural. Was interesting to see Karl’s post pop up at the same time (see post below this) as I was chewing though this one (for other reasons) his example has a text without an image (or so far at least) this an image with no text.
Dr Fians torture with the boots and final days of confinement are not mentioned in any other sources other than The News From Scotland.