Joseph Glanvill was an English philosopher, born in 1636 and educated at Oxford University.
He was raised in a very strict Puritan family and later he became a skeptic and defender of the reality of witchcraft and ghosts.
He was a self-styled apologist who initiated psychical research and inspired many occultists, writers, and poets.
In 1681 he wrote, “Sadducismus Triumphatus” in which he affirmed the existence of witches and criticized the skepticism about their existence.
He described witches as creatures with evil powers and abilities to do magic. He argued about the preexistence of the soul and its immortality.
In the book, he had written the story of the Drummer of Tedworth, based on a report from 1661.
According to the report, a local landowner, John Mompesson, accused an unlicensed vagrant drummer, William Drury, of collecting money by treachery.
Mompesson won the lawsuit against Drury and the local bailiff gave the drum to Mompesson.
Soon, he reported complaints about hearing drumming noises in the house during the evenings. So, it was assumed that all that noise was Drury’s fault and he was convicted again but this time for witchcraft.
Following these reports, in 1663, Glanvill went to the house and claimed that he had heard mysterious scratching noises from the children’s room.
When he used the story as an apology of his beliefs on witches and witchcraft, Glanvill was confronted by many scholars who proposed logical explanations of the event.
For example, in 1881, Amos Norton Craft argued that Mompesson had servants in his house who empathized with Drury because he was a gypsy who was falsely accused.
So they might had made all that noise to scare Mompesson thus made him believe that he couldn’t get rid of the drumming if he got rid of the man.
Moreover, “Sadducismus Triumphatus” was the inspiration for the 1693 book by Cotton Mather- “Wonders of the Invisible World” in which he justified the Salem witch trials.
It also inspired Francis Hutchinson in 1718 to write his book “A Historical Essay Concerning Witchcraft”.
Later, Glanvill was quoted by Edgar Allan Poe in his short stories “Ligeia” and “A Descent into the Maelström”, in Aleister Crowley’s book “Diary of a Drug Fiend” and in the short stories “The Lottery and Other Stories” by Shirley Jackson.