two elderly widows, Rose Cullender and Amy Denny (Deny / Duny), living in Lowestoft, were accused of witchcraft by their neighbours and faced 13 charges of the bewitching of several young children between the ages of a few months to 18 years old, resulting in one death. * * *The two women were convicted and hanged, and the trial became an important precedent for the Salem witch trials 30 years later. Unfortunately Browne's skepticism failed him in this important instance.
Thomas Browne, the philosopher, physician and author, attended the trial. The reporting of similar events that had occurred in Denmark by someone as eminent as Browne seemed to confirm the guilt of the accused. He also testified that "the young girls accusing Denny and Cullander were afflicted with organic problems, but that they undoubtedly also had been bewitched". He had expressed his belief in the existence of witches twenty years earlier, and that only: "they that doubt of these, do not only deny them, but spirits; and are obliquely, and upon consequence a sort not of infidels, but atheists" in his work Religio Medici, published in 1643:
... how so many learned heads should so farre forget their Metaphysicks, and destroy the ladder and scale of creatures, as to question the existence of Spirits: for my part, I have ever beleeved,and doe now know, that there are Witches ....
The pamphlet describing the trial gives a bit more detail:
There was also Dr. Brown of Norwich, a Person of great knowledge; who after this Evidence given, and upon view of the three persons in Court, was desired to give his Opinion, what he did conceive of them: and he was clearly of Opinion, that the persons were Bewitched; and said, That in Denmark there had been lately a great Discovery of Witches, who used the very same way of Afflicting Persons, by conveying Pins into them, and crooked as these Pins were, with Needles and Nails. And his Opinion was, That the Devil in such cases did work upon the Bodies of Men and Women, upon a Natural Foundation, (that is) to stir up, and excite such humours super-abounding in their Bodies to a great excess, whereby he did in an extraordinary manner Afflict them with such Distempers as their Bodies were most subject to, as particularly appeared in these Children; for he conceived, that these swounding Fits were Natural, and nothing else but that they call the Mother, but only heightned to a great excess by the subtilty of the Devil, co-operating with the Malice of these which we term Witches, at whose Instance he doth these Villanies.Taken from a website devoted to the Lowestoft trial, well worth perusing.