Todmorden Ghost Busting Wizard Priest Necromancer’s Xmas Advice

Henry Krabtree, also known as Merlinus Rusticus, was a seventeenth century Todmorden curate – but that’s not all. He had a reputation as a ghost buster, necromancer and healer and did battle with weird demons while at the same time writing arch bitchy comments about his congregation in the parish records.

In 1685 he wrote a strange almanac under the pseudonym of Merlinus Rusticus – the Country Merlin. The book mixed geopolitical prophecy inspired by the Biblical book of Daniel with his sage advice for the different months of the year.

Much of the advice was not pretty and involved purging, vomiting and bleeding. However, his advice for December and the Christmas season is simple and worth trying:

DECEMBER: The best Physick this Month is good meat and the strongest Drink you can get, warm Cloaths and moderate exercise, Hunting or Tracing Hares.

There you have it. Todmorden’s Ghost-busting Wizard Priest Necromancer’s guide to December – eat, drink and be merry![i]

[i] For the full life of Henry Krabtree, see Henry Krabtree: Curate of Todmorden, (Paper Portal Publishing, 2019) which includes a full reproduction of his rare almanac. For just the weird bits of Krabtree’s life, see my own Weird Calderdale.

Image from the Wellcome Collection (Creative Commons).

Published by Paul Weatherhead

Author of Weird Calderdale, musician and songwriter

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