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Osschaert

by Micha F. Lindemans

A spirit which haunted the town of Hamme, near Dendermonde in Belgium. The spirit was apparently beneficial to good Christians but punished the wicked and forced many into the path of righteousness. His usual abode was a place where the chapel of Twee Bruggen now stands. He would clamber on the shoulders of those who passed through his territory and carry him around until the bearer arrived at a crossway over which the spirit was unable to pass or when they encountered an image of the Virgin Mary. Those who had a heavy burden on their conscience suffered the most of Osschaert's riding for he pressed them with an intolerable weight and struck his claws deep into their flesh, burning their necks with his hellish fiery breath.

A pious priest, concerned about the misery inflicted by the spirit on his flock, resolved to drive him away by exorcism. The spirit was banished for ninety-nine years to the sea-shore.


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