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Broadside story concerning a man who became possessed by an evil spirit


This story begins: 'An account of the strange and wonderful manner in which John Fox, who some time ago lived near Nottingham, was sorely afflicted with an Evil Spirit, that threw him into fits, deprived him of the power of speech, spoke within him, and endeavoured to baffle the efforts of the Ministers who attended him, whose names are here mentioned; also an account how he was at length relieved, after remaining three years dumb, and lived a virtuous and religious life.' Although no date of publication is included, the sheet was published by T. Duncan of Glasgow.

This broadside tells the story of John Fox from Nottingham, who, according to local ministers, was possessed by the devil for a short period, before he was finally cured. Despite what the writer claims, however, it is far more likely that poor Fox suffered some sort of mental breakdown, than the devil took over control of his soul. Indeed, it is interesting to note that rather than calling a doctor to treat Fox, he was instead treated by a collection of religious ministers. During a supernatural age such as this one, however, the fate of a person's soul was considered of vital importance - hence the emphasis on Fox's return to the path of religious righteousness following his miraculous cure.

Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.

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Probable period of publication: 1810-1830   shelfmark: APS.3.83.18
Broadside story concerning a man who became possessed by an evil spirit
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