10 Bizarre Supernatural Stories From 17th-Century Britain

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Great Britain is no stranger to the paranormal. Supernatural stories abound in every part of its history, and there’s plenty of strangeness to be had today as well.

In the 17th century, the supernatural was apparently everywhere in the British Isles. A number of writers of the time, such as demonologist Richard Bovet and philosopher Henry More, collected contemporary accounts to prove that atheism was wrong. Nowadays, these “true” accounts read as ridiculous, but many of them are certainly worth remembering for their creativity and weirdness.

10.The Ghost Of Dunty Porteous

Sometime in the late 17th century, a miller named Dunty Porteous was imprisoned by Sir Alexander Jardine in his tower in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. Porteous was being held on suspicion of arson, and Jardine completely forgot about his prisoner one day when he had to make a last-minute trip to Edinburgh. By the time Jardine returned, Porteous had starved to death in his cell.

After Porteous was discovered dead, his ghost began to haunt the tower, running and screaming about how hungry he was. To stop the ghost from tormenting him and his family, Jardine called for an exorcism. The exorcism was a success, trapping Porteous’s ghost in the dungeon, but the spell only worked so long as a specific Bible was kept in the tower.

Over time, the Bible fell apart and was sent to Edinburgh to be rebounded. Sure enough, with the Bible gone, Porteous’s ghost escaped from the tower and attacked the Jardine family while they were sleeping in their new home. Fortunately, things went back to normal as soon as the Bible was returned to the tower.

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