At the High Commission in 1598–9, John Darrell was convicted of conducting fraudulent exorcisms and stripped of his ministry. However, the High Commission was not done with him yet. Wading into the ongoing demonological pamphlet conflict, the clergyman Samuel Harsnett launched a vicious polemical attack on Darrell’s exorcism ministry. In late 1599, Harsnett published A Discouery of the Fraudulent Practises of Iohn Darrell and Darrell swiftly issued a reply with A Detection of That Sinnful, Shameful, Lying, and Ridiculous Discours of Samuel Harsnett the following year.

This chapter delves into the intellectual debates that unfolded between Harsnett and Darrell following the High Commission. Throughout their polemical works, Darrell and Harsnett discussed the nature of post-apostolic miracles, the continued manifestation of demonic possession and witchcraft, along with the application of exorcism. The primary concern of this chapter is the conflicting demonological models that Darrell and Harsnett formulated, an aspect that has been overlooked in the Darrell Controversy scholarship. Their discourse had a profound impact on demonological and ecclesiastical policy in the early seventeenth century. Consequently, the Darrell and Harsnett debates unfold at a critical point in the history of the Church of England in that they reveal the central points of contention within English Protestant doctrine and the unstable nature of English demonism.