The year was 1612 and a teenager locally known as Alizon Device got into an argument with a pedlar called John Law.
Alizon Device and her family were well known in the Pendle Hill area in Lancashire as ‘cunning folk’ people who practiced charms and enchantments as a way to ward off evil or help other villagers, for a price. Alizon asked him for some pins and Law refused.
Harsh words were exchanged and the two parted ways. Alizon looked back in time to see Law fall to the ground (possibly tripping over) but he managed to heave himself to his feet and stumble to the nearest inn.
It was in the inn however when things began to get serious for Alizon, John began to complain of a prickling sensation in his right arm and within three days he was unable to move or speak (probably a stroke).
Alizon and her family were reported to Rodger Nowell, the local magistrate, on the 30th March 1612, where Alizon confessed that she had sold her soul to the devil and told him to lame Law.
Why she did this, we are unsure, possible because she genuinely believed in her own powers.
She also admitted that her mother, Elizabeth Device had a mark on her body, which Norwell took as a sign Elizabeth had been marked by the devil from where he drank her blood. Alizon was then questioned about Anne Chattox, the matriarch of another family in the Pendle area, involved in witchcraft.
This became an opportunity for revenge, the Device family had been quarrelling with the Chattox family since approximately 1601, when a member of the Chattox family broke into the Device family home and stole goods worth up to £1 and of murdering her father via witchcraft.
Additionally money could be made from offering charms and spells to frightened villagers in times of need, so this was a clever way of eliminating the competition.