QUESTION X. CONTINUED . . . .
But it may be further objected as follows: that according to this the devil
cannot present to a man the appearance of anything new in respect of things
seen. It is to be said that a new thing can be understood in two ways. In
once way it may be entirely new both in itself and its beginnings; and in
this sense the devil cannot present anything new to a man's sense of vision:
for he cannot cause one who is born blind to imagine colours, or a deaf man
to imagine sounds. In another sense, a thing may be new as to the
composition of its whole; as we may say that it is an imaginatively new
thing if a man imagines that he sees mountain of gold, which he never saw;
for he has seen gold, and he has seen a mountain, and can by some natural
operation imagine the phantasm of a mountain of gold. And in this way the
devil can present a new thing to the imagination.
Page 2 of 2
What is to be Thought of Wolves which sometimes Seize and Eat
Men and Children out of their Cradles: whether this also is a Glamour
caused by Witches.
There is incidentally a question concerning wolves, which sometimes snatch
men and children out of their houses and eat them, and run about with such
astuteness that by no skill or strength can they be hurt or captured. It is
to be said that this sometimes has a natural cause, but is sometimes due to
a glamour, when it is effected by witches. And as to the first, Blessed
Albertus in his book On Animals says that it can arise from five
causes. Sometimes on account of great famine, when stags and other beasts
have come near to men. Sometimes on account of the fierceness of their
strength, as in the case of dogs in cold regions. But this is nothing to the
point; and we say that such things are caused by an illusion of devils, when
God punishes some nation for sin. See Leviticus xxvi: If ye do not my
commandments, I will send the beasts of the field against you, who shall
consume you and your flocks. And again Deuteronomy xxxii: I will also
send the teeth of beast upon them, etc.
As to the question whether they are true wolves, or devils appearing in that
shape, we say that they are true wolves, but are possessed by devils; and
they are so roused up in two ways. It may happen without the operation of
witches: and so it was in the case of the two-and-forty boys who were
devoured by two bears coming out of the woods, because they mocked the
prophet Elisaus, saying, Go up, thou bald head, etc. Also in the case of the
lion which slew the prophet who would not perform the commandment of God
(III. Kings xiii). And it is told that a Bishop of Vienna ordered
the minor Litanies to be solemnly chanted on certain days before the Feast
of the Ascension, because wolves were entering the city and publicly
But in another way it may be an illusion caused by witches. For William of
Paris tells of a certain man who thought that he was turned into
a wolf, and at certain times went hiding
among the caves. For there he went at a certain time, and though he remained
there all the time stationary, he believed that he was a wolf which went
about devouring children; and though the devil, having possessed a wolf, was
really doing this, he erroneously thought that he was prowling about in his
sleep. And he was for so long thus out of his senses that he was at last
found lying in the wood raving. The devil delights in such things, and
caused the illusion of the pagans who believed that men and old women were
changed into beasts. From this it is seen that such things only happen by
the permission of God along and through the operation of devils, and not
through any natural defect; since by no art or strength can such wolves be
injured or captured. In this connexion also Vincent of Beauvais (in Spec.
Hist., VI, 40) tells that in Gaul, before the Incarnation of Christ,
and before the Punic War, a wolf snatched a sentry's sword out of its
This chapter was transcribed by Wicasta Lovelace.
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