The Rerrick Apparition: A “True and Attested Account of Satan’s Methods” in #Scotland. #History

The Devil At Work

As the cold, dark nights are upon us, perhaps we may recall one of the more curious incidents in the history of Seventeenth-Century Scotland, the story of an ‘apparition’, ‘spirit’ or devil that plagued a house in Galloway …

ringcroft-of-stockingRing, or Ring-Croft of Stocking

The house at the centre of this story lay at Ring, or ‘Ring-Croft of Stocking’, in Rerrick parish, Kirkcudbrightshire. The house appears to have been abandoned and ‘in ruins’ at some point before the 1840s. Its tenants in 1695 were Andrew Mackie, a stonemason, and his family, but according to the published account, some of its previous tenants may have had some bearing on why the ‘spirit’ appeared, perhaps even a murder. The author clearly thought that what he considered to be witchcraft had brought about the ‘apparition’ and that he was producing a ‘true and attested account of Satan’s methods in this place’, but at one time in the text the ‘spirit’ appears to share a similar, if perhaps deliberately mangled, message to the author that Scotland should to fly to God and repent, repent, repent.

Former Site of Ring-Croft of Stocking

The account of the Rerrick ‘apparition’ was penned by Alexander Telfer, the local minister, apparently in Edinburgh towards the end of December, 1695. Telfer (b.1652-d.1732) had been the chaplain to the family of Sir Thomas Kilpatrick of Closeburn, a known persecutor of Covenanters in Nithsdale, from May, 1687, the time of James VII’s edicts of Toleration, and had been called to Rerrick parish in October, 1688, just a few weeks before the Restoration regime collapsed.

As the local minister, Telfer was clearly not a dispassionate observer of the events surrounding the Rerrick ‘apparition’. As well as investigating and experiencing the ‘spirit’, he was also probably intimately connected to some of the other key witnesses. His second wife was Margaret Cairns, a daughter of David Cairns of Torr. At least three crucial witnesses to the spirit’s actions were from Torr and a fourth was a John Cairns in Hardhills, which lay right next to Torr. Most of the other witnesses, who saw far less of the apparition’s actions, were his ministerial brethren in the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright.

As Telfer freely admits, he wrote his account to challenge the ‘prevailing spirit of atheism’ that had led to ‘the denying of the existence of spirits, either of God or Devils; and consequently a Heaven and Hell’. In that respect, his agenda was similar to George Sinclair’s Satan’s Invisible World Discovered (1685), which had related many stories as proof of Devil’s activities to a sceptical generation, including a similar story set in Galloway of the Glenluce Devil.

However, Telfer had a wider, public intention. He appealed to ‘masters of families’ to conduct ‘private and family prayer’ to assuage the Lord’s wrath and prevent letting ‘Satan loose’ to haunt them. He also appealed to ministers and congregations to guard and wrestle against the Devil’s schemes and spiritual wickednesses, both open and secret, that sought to ‘marr the fruits of the gospel’.

What Telfer wrote chimed with a mood in the newly restored Presbyterian Kirk and the post-Revolution Scottish regime of King William, that their authority was under pressure from dissenters on a number of fronts. On 7 January, the Privy Council awarded the Edinburgh printer, George Mosman, the exclusive publishing rights to Telfer’s account for a year. It would run through two editions in Scotland and a third tailored to the London market.

In what was probably not one of the ironies of History, almost precisely a year after Telfer wrote, Thomas Aikenhead was condemned to death for allegedly claiming that ‘the Holy Scriptures were stuffed with such madness, nonsense, and contradictions, that he admired the stupidity of the world in being so long deluded by them’. On the day after the exclusive rights deal ended, Aikenhead was executed at the Gallowlee between Edinburgh and Leith.

What was the Rerrick Apparition? Just like Telfer and Aikenhead, we may have our own views on the veracity of the story. If you want to in some sense understand what seventeenth-century readers may have made of it, try thinking like both of them.

It is 1696. You walk into a shop in Parliament Close in Edinburgh, pick up a pamphlet and read the title:

A True Relation of an Apparition, Expressions, and Actings, of a Spirit, which infested the House of Andrew Mackie, in Ring-Croft of Stocking, in the Paroch of Rerrick, in the Stewarty of Kirkcudbright, in Scotland, 1695. By Mr Alexander Telfair, Minister of that Paroch; and attested by many other Persons, who were also Eye and Ear Witnesses.

Eph. vi. 11. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil.—Vers. 12. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, and powers, &c.—James iv. 7. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.

Edinburgh: Printed by George Mosman, and are to be sold at his Shop in the Parliament Closs. 1696.

[Publishing Rights]
At Edinburgh, the 7th of January, l696. The Lords of his Majesty Privy-Council do hereby allow George Mosman, stationer in Edinburgh, to print, vend, and sell a book, entituled A True Relation of an Apparition, Expressions, and Actings of a Spirit, which infested the house of Andrew Mackie, in Ring-Croft of Stocking, in the Paroch of Rerrick, in the Stewarty of Kirkcudbright; and discharges any other persons whatsoever to imprint, vend, or sell the said book, for the space of one year after the date hereof, except the said George Mosman and his assegneys, under the penaltie of having the said books confiscate to the use of the said George Mosman, and of paying to him the sum of Fourty Pounds Scots for each transgression, besides the forsaid confiscation toties quoties. Extracted by me,
Gil. Eliot, Cls. Sci. Cons.


I Assure you it is contrare to my genius, (all circumstances being considered), to appear in print to the view of the world, yet these motives have prevailed with me to publish the following Relation, (beside the satisfying of some reverend brethren in the ministry, and several worthy Christians) :—As,

1. The conviction and confutation of that prevailing spirit of atheism and infidelity in our time, denying, both in opinion and practice, the existence of spirits, either of God or Devils; and consequently a Heaven and Hell; and imputing the voices, apparitions, and actings of good or evil spirits to the melancholick disturbance or distemper of the brains and fancies of those who pretend to hear, see, or feel them.

2. To give occasion to all who read this, to bless the Lord, who hath sent a stronger (even Christ Jesus) than the strong man, to bind him, and spoil him of his goods, and to destroy the works of the Devil; and even by these things whereby Satan thinks to propagate his kingdom of darkness, to discover, weaken, and bring it down.

3. To induce all persons, particularly masters of families, to private and family prayer, lest the neglect of it provoke the Lord, not only to pour out his wrath upon them otherwise, but to let Satan loose to haunt their persons and families with audible voices, apparitions, and hurt to their persons and goods.

4. That ministers and congregations, where the gospel is in any measure in purity and power, may be upon their guard to wrestle, according to the word of God, against these, principalities and powers, and spiritual wickednesses, who still seek to marr the success and fruit of the gospel, sometimes by force, and sometimes by fraud, sometimes secretly, and sometimes openly, (tunc tua res agitur, paries cum proximus ardet); and for these ends learn to know his wiles, and put on the whole armour of God, that they may be able to debate with him.

And, 5. That all who are by the goodness of God free from these audible voices, apparitions, or hurts from Satan, may learn to ascribe praise and glory to God, who leads them not into temptation, but delivers them from evil; and that this true and attested account of Satan’s methods in this place may carry the forsaid ends, is the earnest prayer of an weak labourer in the work of the gospel in that place, and your servant for Christ’s sake,

Alexander Telfair. [Minister of Rerrick parish]

Edinburgh, Dec[emb]er. 21, 1695.’

collin-farm-and-mill-by-ringCollin Farm and Mill beside Ring © James Bell and licensed for resue.

A True Relation of an Apparition, Expressions, and Actings of a Spirit, which infested the House of Andrew Mackie, in Ring-Croft of Stocking, in the Paroch of Rerrick, in the Stewart[r]y of Kirkcudbright, in Scotland.

Whereas many are desirous to know the truth of the matter, as to the evil spirit and its actings, that troubleth the family of Andrew Mackie, in Ring-Croft of Stocking, &c., and are lyable to be mis-informed, as I do find by the reports that come to my own ears of that matter; therefore, that satisfaction may be given, and such mistakes may be cured or prevented, I, the minister of the said paroch, (who was present several times, and was witness to many of its actings, and have heard an account of the whole of its methods and actings from the persons present, towards whom, and before whom it did act), have given the ensuing and short account of the whole matter, which I can attest to be the very truth as to that affair; and before I come to the Relation it self, I premise these things with respect to what might have been the occasion and rise of that spirit’s appearing and acting.

1. The said Andrew Mackie being a meason to his employment, ‘tis given out, that when he took the meason-word, he devouted his first child to the Devil; but I am certainly informed he never took the same, and knows not what that word is. He is outwardly moral; there is nothing known to his life and conversation, but honest, civil, and harmless, beyond many of his neighbours; doth delight in the company of the best; and when he was under the trouble of that evil spirit, did pray to the great satisfaction of many. As for his wife and children, none have imputed any thing to them as the rise of it, nor is there any ground, for ought I know, for any to do so.

2. Whereas its given out that a woman, sub malá famá [i.e, a suspected witch by repute], did leave some cloaths in that house, in the custody of the said Andrew Mackie, and died before they were given up to her, and he or his wife should have keeped some of them back from her friends. I did seriously pose both him and his wife upon the matter; they declared they knew not what things were left, being bound up in a sack, but did deliver entirely to her friends all they received from the woman, which I am apt to believe.

3. Whereas one Macknaught, who sometimes before possessed that house, did not thrive in his own person or goods. It seems he had sent his son to a witch-wife, who lived then at the Routing-bridge [i.e., Routin Bridge], in the paroch of Iron-gray, to enquire what might be the cause of the decay of his person and goods. The youth, meeting with some forreign souldiers, went abroad to Flanders [possibly in 1683?], and did not return with an answer. Some years after, there was one John Redick in this paroch, who, having had occasion to go abroad, met with the said young Macknaught in Flanders, and they knowing other, Macknaught enquired after his father and other friends; and finding the said John Redick was to go home, desired him to go to his father, or who ever dwelt in the Ring-croft, and desire them to raise the door-threshold, and search till they found a tooth, and burn it, for none who dwelt in that house would thrive till that was done.

The said John Redick coming home, and finding the old man Macknaught dead, and his wife out of that place, did never mention the matter, nor further mind it, till this trouble was in Andrew Mackie’s family, then he spoke of it, and told the matter to myself. Betwixt Macknaught’s death, and Andrew Mackie’s possession of this house, there was one Thomas Telfair, who possest it some years; what way he heard the report of what the witch-wife had said to Macknaught’s son, I cannot tell; but he searched the door-threshold, and found something like a tooth; did compare it with the tooth of man, horse, nolt, and sheep, (as he said to me), but could not say which it did resemble, only it did resemble a tooth. He did cast it in the fire, where it burnt like a candle, or so much tallow; yet he never knew any trouble about that house by night or by day, before or after, during his possession.

These things premised being suspected to have been the occasion of the trouble, and there being no more known as to them, than what is now declared, I do think the matter still unknown, what may have given an arise thereto. But leaving this I subjoin the matter as follows.

In the moneth of February, 1695, the said Andrew Mackie had some young beasts, which in the night-time were still loosed, and their bindings broken; he taking it to be the unrulyness of the beasts, did make stronger and stronger bindings of withes and other things; but still all were broken. At last he suspected it to be some other thing, whereupon he removed them out of that place; and the first night thereafter, one of them was bound with a hair-tedder to the balk of the house, so strait that the feet of the beast only touched the ground, but could not move no way else, yet it sustained no hurt. An other night, when the family were all sleeping, there was the full of an back-creel of peets set together in midst of the house-floor, and fire put in them; the smoak wakened the family, otherwise the house had been burnt; yet nothing all the while was either seen or heard.

Upon the [Thursday] 7th of March, there were stones thrown in the house in all the places of it; but it could not be discovered from whence they came, what, or who threw them. After this manner it continued till the Sabbath [10 March], now and then throwing both in the night and day; but was busiest throwing in the night-time.

Upon Saturday [9 March], the family being all without, the children coming in saw something, which they thought to be a body sitting by the fire-side, with a blanket (or cloath) about it, whereat they were afraid. The youngest, being a boy about nine or ten years of age, did chide the rest, saying, why are you fear’d? let us saine (or bless) our selves, and then there is no ground to fear’t. He perceived the blanket to be his, and saining (or blessing) himself, ran and pulled the blanket from it, saying, “Be what it will, it hath nothing to do with my blanket;” and then they found it to be a four footed stool set upon the end, and the blanket cast over it.

Upon the Sabbath, being the 11th [should be 10] of March, the crook and pot-clips were taken away, and were awanting four days, and were found at last on a loaft, where they had been sought several times before. This is attested by Charles Macklelane of Colline, and John Cairns in Hardhills.’



‘It was observed, that the stones which hit any person had not half their natural weight; and the throwing was more frequent on the Sabbath than at other times; and especially in time of prayer, above all other times, it was busiest, then throwing most at the person praying. The said Andrew Mackie told the matter to me upon Sabbath after sermon.

Upon the Tuesday [12 March] thereafter I went to the house, did stay a considerable time with them, and prayed twice, and there was no trouble. Then I came out with a resolution to leave the house, and as I was standing speaking to some men at the barn end, I saw two little stones drop down on the croft at a little distance from me; and then immediately some came crying out of the house, that it was become as ill as ever within; whereupon I went into the house again, and as I was at prayer, it threw several stones at me, but they did no hurt, being very small; and after there was no more trouble till the [Monday] 18th day of March, and then it began as before, and threw more frequently greater stones, whose strokes were sorer where they hit; and thus it continued to [Thursday] the 21st.

Then I went to the house, and stayed a great part of the night, but was greatly troubled; stones and several other things were thrown at me; I was struck several times on the sides and shoulders very sharply with a great staff, so that those who were present heard the noise of the strokes. That night it threw off the bed-side, and rapped upon the chists and boards, as one calling for access. This is attested by Charles Macklelane of Colline, William Mackminn, and John Tait in Torr.

That night, as I was once at prayer, leaning on a bedside, I felt something pressing up my arme; I casting my eyes thither, perceived a little white hand and arm, from the elbow down, but presently it evanished. It is to be observed, that, notwithstanding of all that was felt and heard, from the first to the last of this matter, there was never any thing seen, except that hand I saw; and a friend of the said Andrew Mackie’s said, he saw as it were a young man, red faced, with yellow hair, looking in at the window; and other two or three persons, with the said Andrew his children, saw, at several times, as it were a young boy about the age of fourteen years, with gray cloths, and a bonnet on his head, but presently disappeared; as also what the three children saw sitting by the fire-side.

Upon [Friday] the 22d the trouble still increased, both against the family, and against the neighbours who came to visite them, by throwing stones, and beating them with staves; so that some were forced to leave the house before their inclination. This is attested by Charles Macklelane of Colline, and Andrew Tait in Torr.

Some it would have met as they came to the house, and stoned with stones about the yards, and in like manner stoned as they went from the house; of whom Thomas Telfair in Stocking was one.’

[Stocking presumably lay by Stocking Hill beside Ringcroft]

ring-croft-of-stocking-painting“Ring Croft of Stocking”: Pre-1911 Sketch by J. Copland, Dundrennan.

‘It made a little wound on the said Andrew Mackie’s brow; did thrust several times at his shoulder, he not regarding; at last it gripped him so by the hair, that he thought something like nails of fingers scratched his skin. It dragged severals up and down the house by the cloaths. This is attested by Andrew Tait [in Torr].

It gripped one John Keige, miller in Auchincairn, so by the side, that he intreated his neighbours to help, and cryed it would rive the side from him. That night it lifted the cloaths off the children as they were sleeping in bed, and beat them on the hipps as if it had been with one’s hand, so that all who were in the house heard it. The door-barr and other things would go thorrow the house, as if a person had been carrying them in their hand, yet nothing seen doing it. This is attested by John Telfair in Achinleck [i.e., Auchenleck], and others.’

Map of Auchenleck


‘It rattled on the chests and bed-sides with a staff, and made a great noise; and thus it continued by throwing stones, stricking with staves, and rattling in the house, till [Tuesday] the 2d of April. At night it cryed Wisht, wisht, at every sentence in the close of prayer; and it whistled so distinctly, that the dog barked, and ran to the door, as if one had been calling to hound him.

[Wednesday] Aprile 3d, it whistled several times, and cryed Wisht, wisht. This is attested by Andrew Tait [in Torr].

Upon [Thursday] the 4th of Aprile, Charles Macklelane of Colline, landlord, with the said Andrew Mackie, went to a certain number of ministers met at Bu[i]ttle, and gave them an account of the matter, whereupon these ministers made publick prayers for the family; and two of their number, viz. Mr Andrew Ewart, minister of Kells, and Mr John Murdo[ch], minister of Corsmichael, came to the house, and spent that night in fasting and praying; but it was very cruel against them, especially by throwing great stones, some of them about half an stone weight. It wounded Mr Andrew Ewart twice in the head, to the effusion of his blood; it pulled off his wigg in time of prayer, and when he was holding out his napkin betwixt his hands, it cast a stone in the napkin, and therewith threw it from him. It gave Mr John Murdo[ch] several sore strokes, yet the wounds and bruises received did soon cure. There were none in the house that night escaped from some of its fury and cruelty. That night it threw a firie peet amongst the people; but did no hurt, it only disturbed them in time of prayer. And also in the dawning, as they rose from prayer, the stones poured down on all who were in the house to their hurt. This is attested by Mr Andrew Ewart, Mr John Murdo[ch], Charles Macklelane [in Collin], and John Tait [in Torr].

Upon [Friday] the 5th of Aprile, it set some thatch-straw in fire which was in the barneyeard. At night, the house being very throng with neighbours, the stones were still thrown down among them. As the said Andrew Mackie his wife went to bring in some peets for the fire, when she came to the door she found a broad stone to shake under her foot, which she never knew to be loose before; she resolved with herself to see what was beneath it in the morning thereafter.

Upon [Saturday] the 6th of Aprile, when the house was quiet, she went to the stone, and there found seven small bones, with blood, and some flesh, all closed in a piece of old saddled paper; the blood was fresh and bright. The sight whereof troubled her, and being affraid, laid all down again, and ran to Colline his house, being an quarter of an mile distant; but in that time it was worse than ever it was before, by throwing stones and fire-balls in and about the house; but the fire as it lighted did evanish. In that time it threw an hot-stone into the bed betwixt the children, which burnt through the bed-cloaths; and after it was taken out by the man’s eldest son [John], and had lyen on the floor more nor an hour and an half, the said Charles Macklelane of Colline could not hold it in his hand for heat. This is attested be Charles Macklelane.

It thrust an staff thorrow the wall of the house above the children in the bed, shook it over them, and groaned. When Colline came to the house, he went to prayer before he offered to lift the bones. All the while he was at prayer it was most cruel; but as soon as he took up the bones the trouble ceased. (This is attested be Charles Macklelane.) He sent them presently to me [the parish minister]; upon sight whereof I went immediately to the house. While I was at prayer, it threw great stones which hitt me, but they did not hurt; then there was no more trouble that night.

The 7th Aprile, being the Sabbath, it began again and threw stones, and wounded William Macminn, a black-smith, on the head; it cast a plough-sock at him, and also an trough-stone, upwards of three stone weight, which did fall upon his back, yet he was not hurt thereby. Attested by William Macminn [blacksmith in Torr]. It set the house twice in fire, yet there was no hurt done, in respect some neighboures were in the house, who helped to quench it. At night in the twilight as John Mackie, the said Andrew Mackie his eldest son, was coming home, near to the house, there was an extraordinary light fell about him, and went before him to the house with a swift motion. That night it containued after its wonted manner.

[Monday] Aprile 8th. In the morning as Andrew Mackie went down the closs, he found a letter both writen and sealed with blood. It was directed on the back thus: 3 years tho[u] shall have to repent a[-]ne[n]t it well, and within was written: Wo[e] be to the [S]Cottland[.] Repent and tak warning for the Door of hauen ar all Redy bart against the[e.] I am sent for a warning to the[e] to fllee to God[.] yet troublt shallt this man be for tuenty days a[nd] 3[, i.e., until 1 May] r[e]pent repnent [re]pent scotland or els [you] tow shall.

In the midle of the day, the persons alive who lived in that house since it was built, being about twenty-eight years [i.e., in about early 1667], were conveined by appointment of the civil magistrate before Colline, myself [Mr Telfer], and others, and did all touch the bones, in respect there was some suspicion of secret murder committed in the place; but nothing was found to discover the same.

Upon [Tuesday] the 9th of Aprile, the letter and bones were sent to the ministers, who were all occasionally met at Kirkcudbright[, probably at the local presbytery meeting]. They appointed five of their number, viz Mr John Murdo[ch], Mr James Monteith, Mr John Mackmillan [minister of Balmaghie d.1700], Mr Samuel Spalding, and Mr William Falconer, with me [Mr Telfer], to go to the house, and spend so much time in fasting and praying as we were able.

Upon [Wednesday] the 10th of Aprile, we went to the house, and no sooner did I begin to open my mouth, but it threw stones at me, and all within the house, but still worst at him who was at duty. It came often with such force upon the house, that it made all the house shake; it brake an hole thorrow the timber and thatch of the house, and poured in great stones, one whereof, more then an quarter weight, fell upon Mr James Monteith his back, yet he was not hurt. It threw an other with great force at him when he was praying, bigger than a man’s fist, which hitt him on the breast, yet he was neither hurt nor moved thereby. It was thought fit that one of our number, with an other person, should go by turnes and stand under the hole in the outside, so there was no more trouble from that place; but the barne being joyned to the end of the house, it brake down the barne-door and mid-wall, and threw stones up the house, but did no great hurt. It gripped and handled the legs of some, as with a man’s hand; it hoised up the feet of others while standing on the ground; thus it did to William Lennox of Mill-house, myself, and others. In this manner it continued till ten a clock at night; but after that there was no more trouble while we were about the house. This is attested by Mrs James Monteith, John Murdo[ch]. Samuel Spalding, Mr [William] Falconer, William Lennox [in Millhouse], and John Tait [in Torr]. The 11th, 12th, [Friday] 13th, it was worse then ever it was before, for not any who came into the house did escape heavy strocks. There was one Andrew Tait in Torr, as he was coming to stay with the familie all night, by the way his dog catched a thulmard [i.e., a polecat], when he came in he cast it by in the house; thereafter there were other three young men who came in also, and when they were all at prayer the evil spirit beat them with the dead thulmard, and threw it before them. The three who knew it not to be in the house were greatly affrighted, especially one Samuel Thomson, a chapman, whom it also gripped by the side and back, and thrust as if it had been an hand beneath his cloaths, and into his pockets; he was so affrighted that he took sickness immediately. This is attested by Andrew Tait [in Torr].

The 14th, being the Sabbath, it set some straw in fire that was in the barn-yeard, and threw stones while ten a clock at night; it threw an dike-spade at the said Andrew Mackie, with the mouth toward him; but he received no hurt. While an mealsive was tossed up and down the house, the said Andrew Mackie takes hold of it, and as it were with difficulty gets the grip keeped; at last all within the rim is torn out. Thereafter it threw an handful of the sive rolled together at Thomas Robertson in Airds, who was witness to this; yet in all thir actings there was never any thing seen but what I mentioned before.’

Map of Airds

Upon [Monday] the 15th Aprile, William Anderson, a drover, and James Paterson, his son-inlaw, came to the house with Colline in the evening. Colline going home a while within night, the said Andrew Mackie sent his sones to convoy him; as they returned they were cruelly stoned, and the stones rolled amongst their legs, like to break them. Shortly after they came in, it wounded William Anderson on the head, to the great effusion of his blood. In time of prayer it whisled, groaned, and cryed Whisht, whisht. This is attested by John Cairnes [in Hardhills].

[Tuesday] The 16th, it continued whisting, groaning, whisling, and throwing stones in time of prayer; it cryed Bo, bo, and Kick, cuck, and shoke men back and foreward, and hoised them up as if it would lift them off their knees. This is attested by Andrew Tait [in Torr].

The whole family went from the house [Wednesday 17th], and left five honest neighbours to wait on the same all night; but there was no hurt done to them, nor the family where they were, nor to those neighbours who stayed in the said Andrew Mackie his house; only the cattle were cast over other to the hazard of killing them, as they were bound to the stakes, and some of them were loosed. This is attested by John Cairnes [in Hardhills].

Upon [Thursday] the 18th they returned to their house again, and there was no hurt done to them nor their cattle that night, except in a little house where there were some sheep; it coupled them together in paires by the neck with straw ropes, made of an bottle of straw, which it took off an loft in the stable, and carryed to the sheep-house, which is three or four pair of butts distant, and it made more ropes than it needed for binding the sheep, which it left beside the straw in the sheep-house. This is attested by Andrew Tait [in Torr.

Upon [Friday] the 19th it fired the straw in the barn; but Andrew Mackie put it out (being there threshing) without doing any hurt. It shut staves thorrow the wall at him, but did no hurt.

[Saturday] The 20th; it continued throwing stones, whisling and whisting, with all its former words. When it hit any person, and said, Take you that till you get more, that person was sure immediately of an other; but when it said, Take you that, the person got no more for a while. This is attested by John Tait [in Torr].

The 21st, 22d, [Tuesday] 23d, it containued casting stones, beating with staves, and throwing peet-mud in the faces of all in the house, especially in time of prayer, with all its former tricks.

[Wednesday] The 24th being a day of humiliation appointed to be kept in the parish for that cause, all that day, from morning to night, it containued, in a most fearfull manner without intermission, throwing stones with such cruelty and force, that all in the house feared lest they should be killed.

[Thursday] The 25th, it threw stones all night, but did no great hurt.

[Friday] The 26th, it threw stones in the evening, and knocked on a chist several times, as one to have access; and began to speak, and call those who were sitting in the house witches and rukes, and said it would take them to hell. The people then in the house said among themselves, if it had any to speak to it, now it would speak. In the mean time Andrew Mackie was sleeping. They wakened him, and then he hearing it say, “Thou shalt be troubled till Tuesday,” asked, “Who gave the a commission?”
To whom it answered, “God gave me a commission; and I am sent to warn the land to repent; for a judgement is to come, if the land do not quickly repent, and commanded him to reveal it upon his perrill; and if the land did not repent, it said it would go to its father, and get a commission to return with an hundred worse than itself, and would trouble every particular family in the land.”
Andrew Mackie said to those who were with him, “If I should tell this, I would not be believed.”
Then it said, “Fetch betters; fetch the minister of the paroch, and two honest men upon Tuesday’s night, and I shall declare before them what 1 have to say.”
Then it said, “Praise me, and I will whistle to you; worship me, and I will trouble you no more.”
Then Andrew Mackie said, “The Lord, who delivered the three children out of the fiery furnace, deliver me, and mine this night from the temptations of Satan.”
Then it replyed, “You might as well have said, Shadrah, Meshah, and Abednego.”
In the mean time, while Andrew Mackie was speaking, there was one James Telfair in Bu[i]ttle, who was adding a word, to whom it said, “You are basely bred, meddling in other men’s discourse, wherein you are not concerned.”
It likewise said, “Remove your goods, for I will burn the house.”
He answered, “The Lord stop Satan’s fury, and hinder him of his designs.”
Then it said, “I will do it, or you shall guide well.”
All this is attested by John Tait in Torr, and several others who cannot subscribe.

Upon [Saturday] the 27th it set the house seven times in fire. The 28d, being the Sabbath from sun-rising to sun-setting, it still set the house in fire; as it was quenched in one part, instantly it was fired in an other; and in the evening, when it could not get its designs fulfilled in burning the house, it pulled down the end of the house, all the stone-work thereof, so that they could not abide in it any longer, but went and kindled their fire in the stable.

Upon the Sabbath night [of the 28 April], it pulled one of the children out of the bed, gripping him, as he thought, by the craig and shoulders; and took up the block of a tree, as great as a plough-head, and held it above the children, saying, “If I had a commission I would brain them;” thus it expressed itself in the hearing of all who were in the house. Attested by William Mackminn and John Corsby.

The 29th being Munday, it continued setting fire in the house. The said Andrew Mackie finding the house so frequently set in fire, and being weary quenching it, he went and put out all the fire that was about the house, and poured water upon the hearth; yet after it fired the house several times, when there was no fire within an quarter of an mile of the house. This is attested by Charles Macklelane [of Collin] and John Cairnes [in Hardhills]. In the midest of the day, as Andrew Mackie was threshing in the barne, it whispered in the wall, and then cryed “Andrew, Andrew,” but he gave no answer to it. Then with an mister, angry voice, as it were, it said, “Speak;” yet he gave no answer. Then it said, “Be not troubled, you shall have no more trouble, except some casting of stones upon the Twesday to fulfill the promise;” and said, “Take away your straw.” I went to the house about eleven a clock; it fired the house once after I went there. I stayed all night till betwixt three and four in the Twesday’s morning, dureing which time there was no trouble about the house, except two little stones dropped down at the fire-side, as we were sitting down at our first entry. A little after I went away, it began to throw stones as formerly. This is attested by Charles Macklelane [of Collin] and John Tait [in Torr].

Upon Tuesday’s night, being the 30th of April, Charles Macklelane of Colline, with several neighbours, were in the barne. As he was at prayer he observed a black thing in the corner of the barne, and it did increase, as if it would fill the whole house. He could not discern it to have any form, but as if it had been a black cloud; it was affrighting to them all; and then it threw bear-chaff, and other mud upon their faces; and after did grip severals who were in the house by the middle of the body, by the arms and other parts of their bodies so strait, that some said, for five days thereafter they thought they felt these gripps. After an hour or two of the night was thus past, there was no more trouble. This is attested by Charles Macklelane [of Collin], Thomas Mackminn [blacksmith in Torr], Andrew Paline, John Cairns [in Hardhills], and John Tait [in Torr].

Upon Wednesday’s night, being the 1st of May, it fired a little sheep-house; the sheep were got out safe, but the sheep-house was wholly burnt. Since there hath not been any trouble about the house by night nor by day. Now all things aforesaid being of undoubted verity, therefore I conclude with that of the Apostle, 1 Pet. v. 8, Q. “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist, stedfast in the faith.”

This Relation is attested, as to what they particularly saw, heard, and felt, by

Mr Andrew Ewart, Minister at Kells. [And son of MP who suffered under the repression of Charles II.]
Mr James Monteith, Minister at Borg[ue]. [Said to have identified with the Galloway Levellers in 1724.]
Mr John Murdoch, Minister at Corsmichael. [‘probably’ kin of Patrick Murdoch of Cumloden]
Mr Samuel Spalding, Minister at Partan.
Mr William Falconer, Minister at Keltoun [from May, 1695].
Charles Macklelane of Colline.
William Lennox of Millhouse.
Andrew Tait in Torr.
John Tait in Torr.
John Cairns in Hardhills.
William Mackminn [a blacksmith in Torr].
John Corsby.
Thomas Mackminn.
Andrew Paline, &c.


For other wonders of late seventeenth-century Scotland, see here.

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Additional Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free link to this post on Facebook or other social networks or retweet it, but do not reblog in FULL without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine

~ by drmarkjardine on January 12, 2017.

5 Responses to “The Rerrick Apparition: A “True and Attested Account of Satan’s Methods” in #Scotland. #History”

  1. […] is many respects, the Keppoch Devil was similar to the later Rerrick Apparition, detailed reports of which appeared in […]

  2. Full marks for locating the 1851 OS Survey showing ‘Stocking Hill’ – long out of popular usage, as well as the now vanished house marked ‘Ring- in ruins’ some distance away from the traditional site of the Ring Croft house on the crown of the ridge (who would build there?).

    However, the Copeland painting taken from Maxwell Wood’s ‘Witchcraft and Haunting [etc]’ also features as ‘A Wayside Stop’ in his book on smugglers and given that the image does not correspond at all to local topogrpahy, we can safely write it off as a ‘filler’.

    The photo showing ‘Collin Farm and Mill, beside Ring’ is a little astray as there is no Collin Mill. Standing on the site of the left hand house it is long gone, although the hamlet retains the name ‘Collin Mill in local usage, as does Collin Farm on the rise behind, which is known locally as ‘The Mill Farm’, to distinguish it from Mains of Collin Farm up the valley, of which it has long been a subsidiary.

    It is not , of course ‘beside RIng,’ That house, in ruins in the 1840s is also long gone. Known locally as ‘The Ring’an’ [?Ring End] it stood out of frame a couple of hundred yards to the right (west), in the field still known today as the Ring. Hence ‘Ringcroft of Stocking.’

    Over and out

  3. […] The Rerrick Apparition: A “True and Attested Account of Satan’s Methods” in #Scotland. #H… Rerrick Poltergeist 1695 […]

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