When she was brought thither and laid before the image of our Lady, her face was wonderfully disfigured, her tongue hanging out and her eyes being in a manner plucked out and laid upon her cheeks: and so, greatly disordered. Then there was a voice heard speaking within her belly, as it had been in a tun, her lips not greatly moving; she all that while continuing by the space of three hours in a trance. The which voice, when it told anything of the joys of heaven, it spake so sweetly and heavenly that every man was ravished with the hearing thereof. And contrary, when it told anything of hell, it spake so horribly and terribly that it put the hearers in a great fear. (From a letter written by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer to Archdeacon Nicholas Hawkins, 1533)
The dull days after Christmas, with the store sales in flood tide, may not have been the most propitious time for a prophet. Commodity idols distracting the attention, hawkers and muzak assailing the ears, credit card bills gnawing at the conscience.