Incubus

   Quite recently  a priest met up with me. He said, "Sir unless you help a wretched and afflicted man, It is all over for me and I am done for-- because I am wasting away." Do you see how emaciated I am, how feeble? My thin skin barely covers me, whereas I am Usually plump and rather good-looking and in good health. Now I seem a gruesome specter, the empty image of a man." 
      "What is tormenting you," I said, "And what do you suppose to be the cause of your affliction." 
      "I will tell you frankly," he said, " and you will be amazed. Almost every night a woman, not unknown to me, slides onto my breast and presses me with great force, and constricts my air passage so that I can hardly breathe. Indeed, when I wish to cry out, she stops up the channel for my voice, and though I try to raise my voice, I cannot. Nor can I free my  hands, to ward off the attack, or my feet, to take flight. She keeps me bound and chained." 
      "Well now, there is nothing remarkable in what you say," I replied with a gentle laugh (for I knew from his description that it was a case of Incubus). "It is pure imagination, simple illusion." 
      Without further delay, he said, "Imagination and illusion it assuredly is not! So help me god, what I describe I have seen with my own eyes, encountered with my own hands. While awake and in full possession of my faculties, I see her before me, I receive her assault, and I attempt to struggle against her. But because of my weakness, my fear, my distress, and the force that she brings to bear against me I accomplish nothing. Therefore, I have run madly hither and thither, asking everyone whether he can help a person who is perishing wretchedly. I consulted a Franciscan Friar...He merely advised me to pray earnestly to Almighty God (whom I had already wearied with prayers) that He deign to avert this troublesome vexation. Then I went to an old woman who was popularly reported to be a "cunning wise woman" or witch. She told me how, at daybreak, right after urinating, I should stop up the chamber pot with my right boot, and on that very day the woman who was working the evil--the malefica,--would visit me. Although the scheme seemed pointless to me and I was not a little deterred from trying it by my religious beliefs, nevertheless, overcome by my powerlessness and by the weariness that resulted from my long struggles, I did make the attempt. And, by Jove, the predictions came true. Coming to my house the malefica complained of terrible bladder pains; but neither by threats nor entreaties could I get her to agree not to visit me repeatedly at night in frightful form. She has continued her long-standing habits implacably, and has decided to finish me off for good with gruesome torment." 
      Scarce any line of reasoning enabled me to recall this man from his madness, but after our second or third meeting, he became more cheerful and began to acknowledge his illness and to conceive a hope of regaining his health.

A man afflicted in the night by Johann Weyer De Praestigus Daemonum, Edited by George Mora M.D. Translated by John Shea (Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, Binghamton, New York, 1991) pp. 232-3. 

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