Spirited Away

Kidnapped; allured. Kidnappers who beguiled orphans, apprentices, and others on board ship in order to sell them to planters in Barbadoes and Virginia, were called “spirits.” Mr. Doyle (English in America, p. 512) finds the word used in this sense in official papers as early an 1657. (Notes and Queries, 17th December, 1892.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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