The artifact pictured left is a pamphlet dated August 22, 1678, entitled The Mowing-Devil: Or Strange NEWS out of Hertford-shire. It takes the form of a primitive news report, which started life as a woodcut – a type of early printing plate created by carving into a wooden block and then inking it.
The image depicts a demon, scythe in hand, felling crop stems in what seems like a systematic fashion. The accompanying text reads:
Being a True Relation of a Farmer, who Bargaining with a Poor Mower, about the Cutting down Three Half Acres of Oats; upon the Mower's asking too much, the Farmer swore That the Devil should Mow it rather than He: And so it fell out, that very Night, the Crop of Oats shew'd as if it had been all of a flame; but next Morning appear'd so neatly Mow'd by the Devil, or some Infernal Spirit, that no Mortal Man was able to do the like.
Also, How the said Oats ly now in the Field, and the Owner has not Power to fetch them away.