Nicolas de Montmorency, Manna absconditum, seu Spiritualis dulcedinis. Apud Petrum Henningium (Peter Henning), 1616.
Not an inherently spooky book, Manna Absconditum seu Spiritualis Dulcedinis (Hidden Manna, or Spiritual Sweetness) is a series of prayers, contemplations, and holy exercises, compiled by Nicolas de Montmorency.
Nicolas demonstrated his piousness in 1604 by also founding a Bridgettine convent in Lille, in what was the the Spanish Netherlands. Lovely. Picturesque.
In 1611, a group of nuns were said to be possessed by demons in Aix-en-Provence. A young noble woman, Madeleine de Demandolx, confessed a sultry intimacy with the local priest, Father Gaufridi. She was sent to a convent in Aix where she began to exhibit signs of possession, which spread to other nuns. Exorcists were called in to no avail. Gaufridi was sent to the Inquisition in Avignon & ultimately signed a confession & was executed. Madeleine & the other nuns were immediately released of their demons (such as, maybe for example the demon of lust?). But the witch & demon hunt was already ablaze.
In 1612 or 1613, the nuns at Nicolas de Montmorency’s convent began reporting spectral visions & demonic voices. They blamed the very holy & devout Sister Marie de Sains. She was summoned & confessed. Oh boy did she confess: on Mondays & Tuesdays she & the nuns she had bewitched had some ritual sex, with each other & some demons; devil worship & sodomy on Thursdays; more wild sex throughout the week, some child murder; potion concocting with Satan; some signing; & rest on Sunday.
Her confession was an exact copy of Madeleine’s description of the satanic acts she was bewitched into performing in Aix, nearly 1000 kilometers away.
Ultimately the acts described by Marie in Lille were so wildly unbelievable that she was more or less dismissed as being insane and incarcerated rather than executed.
Within 5 years of this wild happening at his convent, Nicolas de Montmorency died. This book was published a year before his death; the original readers would likely have had this infamous possession incident in the back of their minds, as they practiced their holy exercises.