The Cheats and Illusions of Romish Priests and Exorcists. Discover'd in the History of the Devils of Loudun: Being an Account of the Pretended Possession of the Ursuline Nuns and of the Condemnation and Punishment of Urban Grandier a Parson of the Same Town. Anonymous, Nicholas AUBIN, Devils of Loudun.
The Cheats and Illusions of Romish Priests and Exorcists. Discover'd in the History of the Devils of Loudun: Being an Account of the Pretended Possession of the Ursuline Nuns and of the Condemnation and Punishment of Urban Grandier a Parson of the Same Town.

The Cheats and Illusions of Romish Priests and Exorcists. Discover'd in the History of the Devils of Loudun: Being an Account of the Pretended Possession of the Ursuline Nuns and of the Condemnation and Punishment of Urban Grandier a Parson of the Same Town.

London: Printed for W. Turner, and R. Bassett, 1703. First English Language Edition. Hardcover. (viii) 331pp. (vpp. publisher's adverts). Later (19th cent.?) brown quarter leather over marbled paper boards, gilt stamped leather title label and gilt decorations between raised bands on spine. Marbled endpapers. An early account of one of the most famous incidents of alleged bewitchment or demonic possession. It occurred in the 1630s in a convent in the French town of Loudun where a group of Ursuline nuns were supposedly possessed by a variety of demons, including Asmodeus, Astaroth, Behemot, Isacaaron, Naphthalim, Zabulon, and others. The incident was blamed on the fiendish practices of a charismatic Jesuit, Father Urbain Grandier, who had arrived in Loudun in 1617 and come to serve as the convent's spiritual director. Grandier was tried and convicted "of the crime of magic, maleficia, and of causing demoniacal possession" by a panel of Catholic judges, and sentenced to be tortured, and then burned alive. Despite brutal torture Grandier refused to confess and his death caused considerable controversy, with some Catholics defending it as a just exercise of the powers of the Church in defence of their flock, whilst many Protestants and others deplored it as an example of misguided Catholic brutality and bigotry. The anonymous author of this work, Nicolas Aubin, was a Protestant pastor in Loudun, whose "Histoire des diables de Loudun" (Amsterdam, 1693) was one of the first substantial accounts of the events. "The Cheats and Illusions of Romish Priests and Exorcists" comprises the first English translation of Aubin's "History" along with a new Epistle Dedicatory to the Archbishop of Canterbury, in which the publisher makes clear that this English language edition was published to bear witness to "the Malice and Revengeful Spirit of Popish Priests." The publishers details in full as per. the title page: "Printed for W. Turner, at the Angel at Lincolns-Inn Back-Gate, and R. Bassett, at the Mitre by the Inner-Temple-Gate in Fleet-Street." A little rubbing to the points and edges, a hint of very pale foxing throughout, still a tight, clean, VG+ copy of a rare work. Item #45789

Price: $985.00