Waddell's Annals of Augusta County, Virginia, from 1726 to 1871



The subject we now approach demands a new chapter, if not a whole chapter. But yet an apology, or at least a precedent, is required for introducing it. Therefore, we shall first give a brief account of some wonderful occurrences a hundred and ten years earlier, in England, citing Southey’s Life of Wesley as our authority.

The Rev. Samuel Wesley was a minister of the church of England. His son, John, the founder of the Methodist church, was, at the time referred to, a boy at school, away from home.

On the night of December 2, 1715, Mr. Wesley’s servants in the dining room, were frightened by dismal groans as of a person at the point of death. Strange noises were shortly heard over the house, and outside as well as in,—rapping with a stick, rattling among bottles, footsteps of a man going up and down stairs, the rocking of a cradle, and gobbling of a turkey cock. Every time the noises began, the house dog appeared more terrified than any of the children. For two weeks Mr. Wesley did not hear the noises, and when his wife told him of them he was angry and said: “Suky, I am ashamed of you: these boys and girls frighten each other; but you are a woman of sense, and should know better. Let me hear of it no more.” That evening, however, at family prayer, when Mr. Wesley began the prayer for the King, a knocking began all around the room, and a thundering knock attended the Amen. “The Ghost” was evidently a Jacobite, and so was Mrs. Wesley.—She never would say Amen to the prayer for King William.

On one occasion, while the noise was going on, Mr. Wesley sternly addressed “the spirit,” saying: “Thou deaf and dumb devil, why dost thou frighten these children that cannot answer for themselves? Come to me in my study, that am a man!” Instantly there was a knocking as if it would shiver a board in pieces. The Rev. Mr. Toole, another minister of the church of England, was present at the time. The next evening, as Mr. Wesley attempted to go into his study, the door was thrust back with such violence as almost to throw him down. At another time, his trencher (a wooden plate) danced upon the table without anybody touching it.

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