Flying with the Devil or with the Mind? September 16, 2015Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback
This account dates to southern England and 1873, but to judge from some dating clues in the texts the old man who wrote this extract was probably a boy in the early part of the nineteenth century when he heard the story: perhaps in the 1810s or 1820s? It sounds, meanwhile, as if James Carter, the victim, lived into his eighties or nineties and perhaps died early mid nineteenth century. Beach has recently become interested in flying and would love to know whether there are other flying accounts of this kind from witnesses (rather than ‘tradition’) or better from victims: drbeachcombing At yahoo DOT com
Frightening simpletons seems to have been one of [the Devil’s] favourite pastimes. Thus an old man named James Carter used to relate with a perfect confidence in its truth that, when he was young man, he went one Sunday morning into the woods along with a companion to gather sticks, and whilst he was occupied in this employment the devil suddenly snatched him up into the air, flew away with him, and set him down in a distant part of the wood. When I was a boy I have often heard him tell the tale, and I used to ask him what the devil looked like. To which he would reply, ‘I did not see him’; then I asked. ‘What did he feel like’, to which he would answer, ‘I did not feel him’. Then I rejoined, ‘if you did not see or feel anything how did you know it was the devil’ to which he would reply, ‘What else could it be but the devil?’ To this I remarked, ‘I did not see that’, when he would triumphantly say, ‘then if it worn’t the devil I should like you to tell what it wor.’ This was a clencher, and would have been a puzzler to a Philadelphia lawyer; so that I was obliged to knock under and give up the dispute. The old man must have lived about 70 years after this occurrence, and continued to the last to affirm the truth of his relation.
It would be interesting to know whether the man had or not the sensation of flying. A few years ago Beach experienced a series of memory blackouts: one of the incidents probably explained the disappearance of a lot of money that then appeared in another part of the house. Scary things. Did James Carter have a blackout and just find himself a mile further into the wood?