109 Norfolk St. S. Simcoe, ON N3Y 2W3 - (519)426-1583

Dr. Troyer - Legend 2

There are many stories and local legends of Dr. Troyer, the Witch Doctor of Norfolk. The following story is but one, and was first printed in the British Canadian on Mar 2, 2023 in a column headed "The Legends of Long Point #4" by Adele S.

In the zenith of Dr. Troyer's great fame as an excorciser of witches, one of the most diabolical was perpretated by the terrible troupe that it was ever the good man's fortune to encounter.

One day a young man came to the doctor's surgery complaining grievously of the torments he suffered from the depridations of a number of witches who nightly infested his house. He was roused from his sleep by the beating of invisible arms; cold draughts rushed through his apartment, no matter how carefully he closed every crevice against the air; horrible noises, groans and cries made night hideous. The result of all this maltreatment was that young N., from being a sturdy young farmer, was reduced to almost a shadow. He was obliged to neglect his farm and crops, and he was despaired of ever being restored to quiet and happiness.

The doctor assured him of his assistance, and at once began his preparations for excorcising the witches. Being certain that the task would be a difficult one, he provided himself with large quantities of herbs and drugs brought from Germany, a divining rod, incense and a brass censor (like a smudge pot). Equipped with these implements of witch warfare, the doctor and young N. started for the farm of the latter, at which they arrived late in the afternoon.

The doctor at once commenced a survey of the premises, and finally discovered a small knothole in the woodwork of young N.'s room. Here, then, was the entrance and exit of the witches, small as it was, for the doctor knew that these creatures have the power of making themselves as large or as small as possible. Dr. Troyer at once prepared a peg the exact size of the knothole, kindled a small fire of pine twigs on which, now and then, he threw handfuls of herbs and drugs. which burned with a pungent aromatic odor; he drew a circle around the house, put live coals in the censor, and strewed incense on it, and then waited.

It was now nearly evening, and the doctor had just finished all these preparations when, to his horror, he saw his arch enemy Mrs. M. sauntering up the path, looking remarkably pretty, and her whole face radiant with suppressed merriment. With some little difficulty she entered the house, as the charms and incantations of the doctor, of course, impeded her somewhat. Turning to Mrs. N., the mother of the young man, she asked her with a sarcastic laugh, "If mosquitos were so thick that she had to send for Dr. Boyer to raise a smudge, when ordinary ones failed." No answer was made and the witch seated herself, and announced her intention of making a friendly visit.

A couple of hours wore on, Mrs. M. remained, apparently oblivious of the entire silence of her companions. She chattered away, and laughed at the curt replies of the doctor as if they were of the most witty kind. The doctor, nothing daunted, continued his incantations till about nine o'clock, when Mrs. M.'s son appeared on the scene, saying that relatives had arrived from a distant town, and that his mother must return. Very reluctantly, Mrs M. departed, and the doctor breathed freely, but only for a few minutes, for at the gate she began singing a strange song which he recognized as a rallying song of the witches, and he knew that she was signalling her confederates who were lying in ambush. He waited patiently till eleven, the hour at which the witches usually commenced their performances, then he and young N. repaired to the haunted room, extinguished the lights, and waited in darkness and silence.

In a few moments the pow-wow commenced; cold drafts rushed through the room; the window rattled; chains clanked; horrible cries and demonic laughter resounded through the room; then the beating and other maltreatment commenced - for many a day Dr Troyer bore the marks of the blows of the fiends.

At last, as the the clock in the kitchen rang out twelve, the beating ceased, and the rushing and noises too abated. Rising quickly, the doctor inserted the peg in the knothole, hoping thereby to capture Mrs. M. as he knew the queen of the witches usually left the place last. Horrible were the screams that were heard outside and inside the house.. The doctor lit the lamp, and decerned, crouching in one corner, a beautiful girl whom neither he nor his companion had ever seen. She maintained a perfect silence, and young N. took her downstairs, followed by the doctor.

A stormy discussion took place between Mrs. N., her son and the doctor - the two elders wishing to, at once, treat the witch as the doctor's books demanded - but N. interfered, and declared she should remain; that she was too beautiful to be punished. Dr. Troyer departed in a great rage, and for months he would not speak to N. Meanwile, the girl remained at the N's, and enchanted everyone with her beauty and her agreeable ways. She never could be induced to mention where she came from and who she was.

Finally N. married her, and, to the surprise of all who knew the circumstances of her strange appearance, she made an excellent wife and mother. Some good fortune came their way and the N.'s prospered till one unlucky day during some house cleaning, the peg in the knothole was unwittingly removed by one of the children. With a terrible scream the mother vanished and never was again heard of. The chain which bound her to the place was broken, and she returned where she came from. N. mourned sincerely and tried in all ways to find some trace of his phantom wife.

Finally, after some years, he married again, and the trouble was almost forgotten. Sometimes, however, at night, mysterious noises were heard and the next morning traces of some person having been in the house were found; the children's clothes were mended, and many little offices performed. After they were grown, she never appeared. Only a few years since, N. died and his descendants are living in the vicinity of the scene of this remarkable adventure. The story, however, is almost forgotten in the skeptical present and, if remembered, is perhaps laughed at by unbelievers.