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John Jenkin Devil Summoner


Wirt Sykes in his British Goblins (1881) gives the following account of a devil summoning ceremony performed by a schoolmaster and renowned conjurer named John Jenkin in Pembrokeshire.

'One of his scholars who had a curiosity to see the devil made bold to ask the master to assist him to that entertainment. 'May see him' said the master, 'if thou hast the courage for it. Still' he added, 'I do not choose to call him till I have employment for him.' So the boy waited; and not long after a man came to the master saying he had lost some money, and wished to be told who had stolen it. 'Now,' the master said to the scholar, 'I have some business for him.' At night they went into the wood together and drew a circle, which they entered, and the schoolmaster called one of the spirits of evil by its name. Presently they saw a light in the sky, which shot like lightning down to the circle, and turned round about it. The conjuror asked it who had stolen the man's money; the spirit did not know, and it disappeared. Then the schoolmaster called another evil spirit by its name; and presently they saw the resemblance of a bull flying through the air towards them, so swiftly and fiercely as if it would go through them; and it also turned about the circle. But the conjuror asked it in vain who had the stolen money. 'I must call still another,' said he. The schoolboy was now almost dead with fear, and the conjuror considerately waited till he was somewhat revived before calling the third spirit. But when he did call, there came out of the wood a spirit dressed in white, and went about the circle. 'Ah' said the schoolmaster, 'we shall now hear something from this.' And sure enough 'this' told the conjuror (in a language the boy could not understand) where the money was, and all about it. Then it vanished in red fire; and that boy 'has never been well since, the effect of the great fright still cleaving to him.'

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