“Sir, When you can spare room in your Gazette, I think you will not be able to present your readers with an account so extraordinary and surprising, as the following.”

So began the letter, written to the Printer of the Bristol Gazette, from the Reverend William Robert Wake in the Summer of 1788. The account he wrote of was one of possession and exorcism that would spark a controversy and ignite bitter debate over belief versus non-belief, enlightenment versus superstition and materialism versus spiritual salvation. As the debates raged on, the facts fell by the wayside, leaving readers with a story of demonic possession or absurd playacting, depending on individual outlook.

Barry J. (2012) Methodism and Mummery: The Case of George Lukins. In: Witchcraft and Demonology in South-West England, 1640–1789. Palgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic. Palgrave Macmillan, London

Grose, F. (1790) A Provincial Glossary With A Collection Of Local Proverbs And Popular Superstitions, S. Hooper, London

Norman, S. (1788) Authentic anecdotes of George Lukins, the Yatton doemoniac; with a view of the controversy, and a full refutation of the imposture, Bristol

Emory, J (1832) The Journal of the Reverend John Wesley: Sometime Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, Volume 2, J. Emory & B. Waugh, New York.

Young, F (2018) A History of Anglican Exorcism: Deliverance and Demonology in Church Ritual, I.B Tauris & Co. Ltd., London 

R. W. Rev. (1792) A Narrative of the extraordinary case of George Lukins, of Yatton, Somersetshire: who was possessed of evil spirits, for near eighteen years. : Also an account of his remarkable deliverance, in the vestry-room of Temple Church, in the city of Bristol, extracted from the manuscripts of several persons who attended. : To which is prefixed, A letter from the Rev. W.R.W, Bristol.

Salisbury and Winchester Journal – Monday 23 June 1788, p.3

Stamford Mercury – Friday 04 July 1788. P.4

Tyne Mercury; Northumberland and Durham and Cumberland Gazette – Tuesday 19 February 1805 p.2

“Seizure Clusters.” Epilepsy Foundation, 10 May 2008,

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