Part II, Question II, Chapter IV

Remedies prescribed for those who by Prestidigitative Art have lost their Virile Members or have seemingly been Transformed into the Shapes of Beasts.

In what has already been written it has clearly enough been shown the remedies which are available for the relief of those who are deluded by a glamour, and think that they have lost their virile member, or have been metamorphosed into animals. For since such men are entirely destitute of Divine grace, according to the essential condition of those who are so bewitched, it is not possible to apply a healing salve while the weapon still remains in the wound. Therefore before all things they must be reconciled to God by a good confession. Again, as was shown in the seventh chapter of the First Question of the Second Part, such members are never actually taken away from the body, but are only hidden by a glamour from the senses of sight and touch. It is clear, too, that those who live in grace are not so easily deluded in this way, either actively or passively, in such a manner, that is, that they seem to lose their members, or that those of others should appear to them to be missing. Therefore the remedy as well as the disease is explained in that chapter, namely, that they should as far as possible come to an amicable agreement with the witch herself.

As to those who think that they have been changed into beasts, it must be known that this kind of witchcraft is more practised in Easter countries than in the West; that is to say, in the East witches more often bewitch other people in this way, but it appears that the witches so transform themselves more frequently in our part of the world; namely, when they change themselves, in full sight, into the shapes of animals, as was told in the eighth chapter. Therefore in their case the remedies to be used are those set out in the Third Part of this work, where we deal with the extermination of witches by the secular arm of the law.

But in the East the following remedy is used for such delusions. For we have learned much of this matter from the Knights of the Order of S. John of Jerusalem in Rhodes; and especially this case which happened in the city of Salamis in the kingdom of Cyprus. For that is a seaport, and once when a vessel was being laden with merchandise suitable for a ship which is sailing into foreign parts, and all her company were providing themselves with victuals, one of them, a strong young man, went to the house of a woman standing outside the city on the seashore, and asked her if she had any eggs to sell. The woman, seeing that he was a strong young man, and a merchant far away from his own country, thought that on that account the people of the city would feel less suspicion if he were to be lost, and said to him: “Wait a little, and I will get you all that you want.” And when she went in and shut the door and kept him waiting, the young man outside began to call out to her to hurry, lest he should miss the ship. Then the woman brought some eggs and gave them to the young man, and told him to hurry back tot he ship in case he should miss it. So he hastened back to the ship, which was anchored by the shore, and before going on board, since the full company of his companions was not yet returned, he decided to eat the eggs there and refresh himself. And behold! an hour later he was made dumb as if he had no power of speech; and, as he afterwards said, he wondered what could have happened to him, but was unable to find out. Yet when he wished to go on board, he was driven off with sticks by those who yet remained ashore, and who all cried out: “Look what this ass is doing! Curse the beast, you are not coming on board.” The young man being thus driven away, and understanding from their words that they thought he was an ass, reflected and began to suspect that he had been bewitched by the woman, especially since he could utter no word, although he understood all that was said. And when, on again trying to board the ship, he was driven off with heavier blows, he was in bitterness of heart compelled to remain and watch the ship sail away. And so, as he ran here and there, since everybody thought he was an ass, he was necessarily treated as such. At last, under compulsion, he went back to the woman’s house, and to keep himself alive served her at her pleasure for three years, doing no work but to bring to the house such necessities as wood and corn, and to carry away what had to be carried away like a beast of burden: the only consolation that was left to him being that although everyone else took him for an ass, the witches themselves, severally and in company, who frequented the house, recognized him as a man, and he could talk and behave with them as a man should.

Now if it is asked how burdens were placed upon him as if he were a beast, we must say that this case is analogous to that of which S. Augustine speaks in his De Ciuitate Dei, Book XVIII, chapter 17, where he tells of the tavern women who changed their guests into beasts of burden; and to that of the father Praestantius, who thought he was a pack-horse and carried corn with other animals. For the delusion caused by this glamour was threefold.

First in its effect on the men who saw the young man not as a man but as an ass; and it is shown above in Chapter VIII how devils can easily cause this. Secondly, those burdens were no illusion; abut when they were beyond the strength of the young man, the devil invisible carried them. Thirdly, that when he was consorting with others, the young man himself considered in his imagination and perceptive faculties at least, which are faculties belonging to the bodily organs, that he was an ass; but not in his reason: for he as not so bound but that he knew himself to be a man, although he was magically deluded into imagining himself a beast. Nabuchodonosor provides an example of the same delusion.

After three years had passed in this way, in the fourth year it happened that the young man went one morning into the city, with the woman following a long way behind; and he passed by a church where Holy Mass was being celebrated, and heard the sacred-bell ring at the elevation of the Host (for in that kingdom the Mass is celebrated according to the Latin, and not according to the Greek rite). And he turned towards the church, and, not daring to enter for fear of being driven off with blows, knelt down outside by bending the knees of his hind legs, and lifted his forelegs, that is, his hands, joined together over his ass’s head, as it was thought to be, and looked upon the elevation of the Sacrament. And when some Genoese merchants saw this prodigy, they followed the ass in astonishment, discussing this marvel among themselves; and behold! the witch came and belaboured the ass with her stick. And because, as we have said, this sort of witchcraft is better known in those parts, at the instance of the merchants the ass and the witch were taken before the judge; where, being questioned and tortured, she confessed her crime and promised to restore the young man to his true shape if she might be allowed to return to her house. So she was dismissed and went back to her house, where the young man was restored to his former shape; and being again arrested, she paid the debt which her crimes merited. And the young man returned joyfully to his own country.

Share Button
Send to KindleSend to Kindle

About Wicasta

Depending upon whom you ask, Wicasta Lovelace is an author, musician, artist, web designer and/or delusional lunatic (which one he is at any given moment depends upon the day of the week, really). You can find him on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. Wicasta is working on several novels and recording music with his band, Windhaven.
No comments yet.

Leave a Reply