witchcraft

Agnes Bernauer Trial and Death

Agnes Bernauer Trial and Death

On October 12, 1435, Agnes Bernauer, the mistress and perhaps also the first wife of Albert, later Albert III, Duke of Bavaria, was condemned for witchcraft and drowned in the Danube. Her life and death have been depicted in numerous literary works, the most well known being Friedrich Hebbel‘s tragedy of the same name. Agnes Bernauer, often called “the Bernauerin”, was probably born around 1410. Nothing is known of her…
The Marquise de Brinvillier and the Affair of the Poisons

The Marquise de Brinvillier and the Affair of the Poisons

On July 16, 1676, French aristocrat Marie-Madeleine Marguerite d’Aubray, Marquise de Brinvilliers was found guilty of murder, convicted on the strength of letters written by her dead lover and a confession obtained by torture. Her trial and the scandal which followed it launched the notourious Affair of the Poisons, which saw several French aristocrats charged with witchcraft and poisoning. We’ve already had a focus on Catherine Deshayes Monvoisin, aka La Voisin,…
Peter Stumpp – the Werewolf of Bedburg

Peter Stumpp – the Werewolf of Bedburg

On October 28, 1589, Rhenish farmer Peter Stumpp was declared guilty of having practized black magic, being a serial killer, a cannibal, and most of all being a Werewolf. It was one of the most lurid and famous werewolf trials of history. The sources in Peter Stumpp vary, and around 1590 a pamhlet of 16 pages has been published in London as a translation of a German print, however, no copies of…
The Salem Witch Trials

The Salem Witch Trials

On September 19, 1692, Giles Corey, who was accused of witchcraft along with his wife Martha Corey during the Salem Witch Trials, was subjected to pressing in an effort to force him to plead, but instead he died after two days of torture. The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. The trials…
The Last German Lawsuit on Witchcraft

The Last German Lawsuit on Witchcraft

Leaflet about the Burning of a Witch, 1533 On April 4, 1775, Anna Schwegelin is the last woman to be tried for witchcraft in a German court. Although she was sentenced to death by decapitation, the judgement was never executed. The classical period of witchhunts in Europe and North America falls into the Early Modern period or about 1480 to 1750, spanning the upheavals of the Reformation and the Thirty…
The Affair of the Poisons

The Affair of the Poisons

Catherine Deshayes, “La Voisin”, On February 22, 1680, Catherine Deshayes Monvoisin, aka La Voisin, was sentenced to death for witchcraft and poisoning, and burned at the stake. This Affair of the Poisons (L’affaire des poisons) was a major murder scandal in France which took place in 1677–1682, during the reign of King Louis XIV. During it, a number of prominent members of the aristocracy were implicated and sentenced on charges…
Friedrich Spee and the Cautio Criminalis

Friedrich Spee and the Cautio Criminalis

Friedrich Spee (1591-1635) On February 25, 1591, German Jesuit and poet Friedrich Spee was born, who is best known for his book Cautio Criminalis, in which he argued publicly against the trials for witchcraft and against torture in general. He was one of the noblest and most attractive figures of the awful era of the Thirty Years’ War. Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld was born to a noble family at Kaiserswerth…
The Case of the Last Condemned Witch – Anna Göldi

The Case of the Last Condemned Witch – Anna Göldi

Recreated Portrait of Anna Göldi by Patrick Lo Giudice(via http://www.walter-hauser.ch/) On June 13th 1782, the maidservant Anna Göldi from the tiny Swiss canton Glarus was executed by the sword as being one of the very last women in Europe condemned for witchcraft. Concerning her case also for the very first time the term ‘judicial murder’ has been coined. Anna Göldi came from a poor background and for seventeen years, she…
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