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the following questions : ' Had she learnt sorcery
directly from the devil himself, or from his mates ;
did she know any other witches or sorcerers ; when
had the devil solemnised his wedding with her ; what
was the name of this devil ; had she had children
by him ; how often had she ridden on the fork and what
persons had been with her at the witch-dances ; how
many tempests and hailstorms had she raised,' and
so forth. Further, each one had to ' confess ' whether
she could change herself into a cat, or a dog or any
other animal, how many children she had killed, cut
up, eaten the flesh of, drunk the blood of, kept the
legs and arms for purposes of witchcraft.- The seventy-
year-old woman, Anna Ottin of Zeilitzheim, confessed
that she had committed over 100 murders and begged
that, as she was old and feeble, she might be allowed
three days' respite, when she would tax her memory
and tell of each separate crime in detail. ' This request
was granted her, but on the third day when they
wanted to summon her again she had died in gaol.'
Another witch, who had been several times tortured
but had always recanted everything after being set free,
was finally, after still severer treatment, brought to
confess that * she had dug up the bodies of sixteen
children, boiled them and made witch salve out of

' Zivo Hexenzeitung, die erste aus dem Bislhumh Wiirzburg : trie der
Bischof das Hexenhrennenim Franc^:p.nlandeangefangen, tfcc, TiilMiigcn, 1616.
See Gcirres, iv''. 643-644.

- See Jager, 10 ff.


thoir fat ; lior own tliroe children she had smeared
so that they had become lame. She had always flown
through the chimney to the dances, where the piper,
sitting in the middle of the hme trees, had piped the
time, *' Pfeifen wir den Firlefanz, den Bm-lebanz."
Such dances took place four times in the' year. On
the Thursday, a w^eek previous, she had been to con-
fession and to Conmiunion, but had removed the
Blessed Sacrament from her mouth and hidden it in her
bosom, afterwards allowing it to be subjected to inde-
scribable indignities, &c., &c.' ^ The peasant Lienhart
Schranz said in 1616 at ZeiUtzheim, after an application
of the * Boot,' that the devil had repeatedly come to
him in the shape of a w^oman and committed immorality
with him ; whenever he had ridden out with the devil
on a stick, the devil had ahvays sat in front and he
himself behind ; once, in company w4th the devil and
several women, he had eaten fish in a cellar, the fish
being quite putrid. -

In a chronicle of the family of Langhans at Zeil
in Lower Franconia, it is related that, ' In the year
1616 and on St. John's Day they began seizing and
imprisoning witches and evil spirits, and Ehzabeth
Bucklin, Hans Buckel's wife, was the fiist arrested.
On November 26 nine w^omen of the place were burnt
here at Zeil as witches, this being the first burning.
On March 6, 1617, there was another witch-burning and
four were burnt. On April 13 Anna Riithsin was burnt ;
she was the housewife of Paulus Weyer, who had hung
himself in prison on accomit of sorcery. On June 26
another sorcerer and three sorceresses were burnt. On
August 7 a witch or a sorceress died in prison, and

' See Jsiger, 18, 22. - Buchinger, 237-238.


was afterwards burnt. On August 22 they burnt here
at Zeil eleven more witches who were executed by
the new Master Endressen von Eltan (Eltmann). On
September 27 they burnt an old sorceress who had
died in prison from her great sufferings. On October 4
three evil beings or sorcerers were burnt and on December
18, six more.' ^

With their temporal goods the ' witches ' had to
satisfy the cupidity of their judges. Prisoners from
whom money could be got were treated more leniently ;
the poorer ones had to undergo the worst agonies of
torture in order that the judges might be able to charge
' cauterisation costs.' The criminal judge Centgraf
Hausherr von Gerolzhofen, who distinguished himself
especially in this scandalous work, was taken of? in
1618 to Wiirzburg, where he hanged himself in prison.-

As in the AViirzburg district, so, too, in the diocese
of Bamberg, after the second decade of the seventeenth
century, witch-trials became appalhngly frequent.
Among the gruesome deeds of witches the Bamberg
auxihary bishop, Frederick Forner, includes especially
the ' witch mass.' All the witches who w^ere put
to death in the Bamberg district in 1612 had ' con-
fessed ' that at their gatherings one of the devils went
through a mock celebration of the sacrifice of the
Mass, making an offering generally under a gallows-
tree, to the chief of the devils, and handing round to
the witches a host made of burning pitch and a chahce
of liquid brimstone which burnt like hell-fire through
their entrails." In 1617, 102 witches were burnt alive
in Hallstadt alone between August 16, 1617, and

' Archiv fiir Unterfranken, 10, Heft i. 143-144.

- Jager, 28-29. •' PanopUa, 13.


Februai'v 7, 1618, and thirteen of them on the same
day.' Against a witch in Kronaeh who had been
subjected in 1617, on the ground of quite trivial state-
ments, to repeated torture of tlie cruelest description,
the judge brought the charge, considered specially
blackening, of having shed no tears during the process
of torture and of having ' an ugly and horribly distorted
face.' - At a Bamberg trial in 1614 a woman, sixty-four
years old, after being subjected to the thumbscrew and
the * Boot,' was set for three-quarters of an hour on
the * Bock.' When she dropped down dead of the agony,
the commissioners reported that ' the woman, questioned
under the three grades of torture, had thoroughly
purged herself of the imputation, and so fully estab-
lished her innocence that, had death not thus
overtaken her, she would have been instantly acquitted.
The poor woman was therefore to be allowed Christian
burial, and in order to ward of! public talk a certificate
was to be given to her husband and children.' ^ This
certificate was to be an_atonement for the ' legal
muider ' !

In the town of Ellingen belonging to the Teutonic
Order, in 1590, no less than 1500 witches were burnt
to death ; and at Ellwangen,^- in the one year 1612,
actually 167, who were prepared for death by the
Jesuits ; in Westerstetten near EUwangen 300 people
were burnt within two years. '^

^ Wittmann, Bamberger Hexenjustiz, 177-183.

- Horst, Zauherhihliothek, ii. 218-232.

•' Wittmann, Bamberger Hexenjustiz, 181.

•* Journal von und fiir Franken, i. 294. ** See Beck in the Wurttem-
bergische Vierteljahrshefte fiir Landesgesch. 1883 and 1884.. vi. 247, 396 if.,
vii. 76 ff.

° Litkrae annuae S. J. ad annum, 1612 (Lugduni, 1618), p. 252, and
ad annum, 1613-1614 (Lugduni, 1619), p. 242 ff.


These trials and executions lasted on till 1617,
and then there came a pause, not indeed for lack of
dehnquents, but because the courts were tired of the
business. 1

Several other districts in the Breisgau, Baden, and
Alsace ' were also in very bad repute on account of
witchcraft and all sorts of devil's arts/ ~ In the Breisgau,
so it was announced in a ' Neue Zeitung und wahre
Geschichte ' of 1576, ' in some towns and villages as
many as 136 witches had been caught and burnt to
death ' ; another ' Neue Zeitung ' of the same year
puts the number at fifty-five.-^ In Freiburg a female
vagrant from Switzerland was executed in 1546 ; in 1599
the town tribmial condemned eighteen citizens to be

' Kropf, i. 65. In the trial for witchcraft to which the astronomer
Kepler's mother was subjected (of which we shall speak later on) one of the
accusers said that ' proofs against witches were not necessary because their
iniquities were carried on in secret ; in the Ellwangen district more than 100
witches had been bm-nt without the accusations against them being
verified.' von Breitschwevt, 113. At Dillingen in 1587 the Jesuits j)re-
pared seven witches for death. Agricola, i. 314.

2 ** Hermann's pamphlet. Die Hexen von Baden-Baden (Karlsruhe,
1890), in spite of the sub-title, Nach den OriginalaJcien des allgem. GrossJi.
Landesarchivs in Karlsruhe, has no scientific value whatever, as it gives
neither quotations nor exact references to the minutes used, but simply
works up the matter into the form of a ' spicy pamphlet ' for the ' cultm-ed
classes,' By what spirit the author was influenced is clearly shown by
his attack against ' Messrs. Janssen & Co.,' who are said to have asserted
(p. 5) that ' witch-trials first became possible through Luther's ascribing
so great power to the devil. Before Luther's time protection and con-
solation were found in the Catholic Chui'ch against Satan ; but since the
reformation had declared this church to be itself a stronghold of Satan, the
ancient German fear of God changed into fear of the devil, and this new
creed was the fruitful soil from which witch -trials sprang up.' From ^^•hat
source this ' historian ' has derived his knowledge of Janssen, he unfortun-
ately does not reveal.

•' Weller, Annalcn, i. Abt. ii. 244, Nos. 230 and 231. Wcller, Zeiliingen,
Nos. 460 and 461. Goedeke, Grundriss, ii. 313, No. m.

426 jiis^TDin- OF Till-: (.;kkmax I'EorLE

burnt at the stake.' In the years 1557 to 1603, in the
tlistrict of Ortenau, twenty-eight people were burnt,
amongst them six in the hamlet of Appenweier on June
22 and August 11, 1595.- After the year 1597 witch-
burnings began to be very frequent in the imperial
city of Oflfenburg, where the magistracy were against
their will forced by discontented burghers to official
interference. ' The poor vine-dressers,' said a foreman
of this guild once to the men, ' must insist on the
removal of a certain number of women in order to effect
a final riddance of caterpillars and vermin.' On one
occasion some shght mischief done to a field was enough
to cause disastrous persecution of the female sex."^
In Ersingen and Bilfingen, where in the years 1573 and
1576 several witches were executed, the magistrate,
the court, and the parish begged the Margrave Chris-
topher of Baden, in the name of God, to rid them of the
multitude of wicked women who were doing so much
injury by laming and kilHng cattle. At Ersingen a midwife
came under such strong suspicion of sorcery that no
pastor would any longer baptise a child in her presence. ^
In the Httle town of Waldsee in 1581 four witches

' H. Schreiber, ' Die Hexenprozesse zu Freiburg, &c.,' in Freiburger
Adresshxlender, 1836, p. 43 fF. Baader, Qesch. von Freiburg, ii. 70, 92. In
1613 a iiniversity student was denounced to the senate by a parish-priest as
a ' Hexenmeister ' (n-itch-master) and expelled from the university.
Schreiber, Universitdt Freiburg, ii. 125.

2 Volk, 23-24.

■'' Volk, 32-51. The clergy were in no way to blame for the persecutions.
' In our cases,' says Volk, 102-103, ' it was in no way the clergy who forced
on the trials. Glaubensverfolgung never appears.' ' It may be safeh'
asserted that at Offenburg there has never been any collusion between the
leaders of the witch -persecutions and the clergy. If ever the latter inter-
fered it was only with benevolent efforts to diminish the sufferings of the
imhappy victims.'

^ PHiiger, Gesch. von Pforzheim, 212.


were burnt on May 3 and 12, and five on July 5 ;
in 1585 four were burnt on July 5 and three on August
21 ; in 1586, three on March 9, five on May 22 and
eight in October and November, i

When in Schlettstadt, where ' in the memory of
man and longer, nobody had ever been put to death
for sorcery," - four people were condemned to the stake
in 1570, Reinhard Lutz thought it proper to recount
in detail how a multitude of people, certainly several
thousands, who had flocked thither from numerous
quarters, witnessed this gruesome and terrible spectacle,
and how busy and eager the executioner's boys had been
in carrying bundles of straw, in stirring up the fire
and in other services, so that to numbers of people it
seemed as if the helhsh volcano of which the poets write
were flaming and blazing before their eyes. Afterwards
the whole multitude of them, together with the learned
gentlemen, both the burgomasters and the smug burghers,
went home again, and in order that the sentence might
be thoroughly well executed the bonfires were not
allowed to go out until the victims had been reduced to
powder and ashes. One of these witches had saucily
invited the above-mentioned gentlemen to attend at
the Last Judgment.^

' Haas, 84-87.

* ** According to J. Klele, Hexenwesen und Hexenprozesse in der
ehemaligen Reichsladl und Landvogtei Hagenau (Hagcnau, 1893), p. 15,
witch-persecution was not known in Alsaco till the sixteenth century.

•' In the Theatrum de veneficis, 1-11, Riezler, p. 144, supposes that
Reinhard Lutz was Protestant pastor at Schlettstadt, but he has here quite
overlooked the fact that, according to Paulus (R. Lutz in Diozesanarchiv
fiir Schwaben, 1895, No. 6), Lutz was undoubtedly the Catholic priest at
Schlettstadt. Lutz, however, as Paulus has again recently ))ointod out in
the Kniholik, 1900, ii. 470, is an example of tlie influence which Luther's
Table Talk had even in Catholic circles. At the very beginning of his

1:^8 lllSTOKV OF Tllb: (JER.MAN tkople

During the years 1586-1597 thirty-seven witches at
Kufac'h and about two liundred at St. Amarin were led
to oxocution.' In the registers of baptisms and deaths
of tlie Protestant church at Buchsweiler there are
some still unprinted reports of witch- trials which
took place there in the years 1569-1609.- A chronicle
of the little town of Thami tells that ' In the
winter months of 1572 they burnt here four so-called
witches, and executions of this sort went on till
1620, so that within forty-eight years in this place
alone 152 people, partly of this town and partly from
the surrounding districts, were arrested, tortured and
burnt to death, some with, some without, any penitence.
Of all these only eight were men. During this period
executions of this sort became so common that, in
Alsace, Suabia, and the Breisgau alone, 800 persons
were burnt to death, and it ahnost seemed as if the
more such witches and sorcerers were burnt the more
fresh ones sprang up from their ashes. ^ In the one
year, 1608, from May to July, seventeen witches were
burnt at Thann. Not seldom from five to eight were
sent to the stake in one day ; amongst them were aged
women of ninety-two and ninety-three.^

Many of the condemned while on the way to the place
of execution were at every 100 or 1000 steps tweaked
with red-hot pincers, or they were fastened to the tails
of wild horses and thus dragged along to the stake. ^

pamphlet Lutz quotes a passage from the Table Talk in which the Witten-
berg innovator says that 'it is just that witches should be punished in body
and life.'

' R3U33, Justice CrimineUe, 268 ; of. Reuss, La sorcellerie, 11.

- Contributed by Fr. Lempfrid. ^ Stober, 307-308.

^ Reuss, La sorcellerie, 90, 192-194.

^ Stober, 280. Reuss, La sorcellerie, 117, 192.


Just as the executioner Remigius, from Lorraine,
could tell from bis own experience how even children
at the ages of seven to twelve were often instructed
in all the arts of sorcery/ so, too, in Alsace was the
same experience met with. At Amanweiler in 1572
an eight-year-old child, and at Cohnar in the same
year a girl of twelve ' confessed ' to having done very
serious damage by their magic arts.-

One of the most notoriously ill-famed judges, the

' See above ,p. 400.

- Reuss, La sorcellerie, 80. ' Such young witch-fry as this carried on its
devilish work almost everywhere.' At Hildesheim in 1615 a boy was
burnt who ' confessed ' that he had assumed the form of a cat ; and a girl who,
by anointing herself with a devil's salve made of the corpses of children,
could render herself invisible. Neiies vaterldnd Archiv. (Jahrg. 1825),
vol. ii. 272. Zeitschr. des Harzvereins, iii. 323. The Cronstadt pastor
Marcus Fuchs recounted with horror how in 1615 a girl of from 10 to 12
years old raised a hailstorm, and on being asked by her father from whom
she had learnt such an art, mentioned her mother as her instructress.
The father himself handed the culprits over to justice and both of them
were burnt to death, besides a great multitude of magicians and witches,
' whom the mother and daughter had denounced as their accomplices in a
criminal attempt to destroy the whole of Hungary and Transylvania by
hailstorms.' ' Thus through the depositions of this ghl an unspeakable
calamity was averted, for had the matter not been discovered, in a short
time,' so the narrator declares, ' there would not have been an atom left of
all the crops, fruits, and vines in Transylvania and Hungary.' Miiller,
Beitrage, 32. \^'^len, in 1595, at Utrecht a girl of 17 was burnt as a witch,
her three brothers, aged 8, 13, and 14, were obUged to be present at the
execution as accomplices in their sister's guilt, were birched till they bled
and then put in prison. Scheltema, 255-256 ; Bckkcr, iv. 235. ** Riezler
says (p. 202) : ' Among the accused at a trial, of whicli the minutes are extant
among the acts of the Ingolstadt Stadholder (in the Munich imperial
archives), were a girl of 12 and a boy of 9, the children of a soldier in the
IngoLstadt Lifeguards and of a witch who was executed. By birching
them it was eUcited that they could ride in the air, that they had learnt
it from their mother, that each possessed his or her own fork, and each
smeared it for him or herself. As, however, the fuller statements of
these two children did not in the least tally, distressing confusion and
perplexity arose in the college of judges.'


* ^lalefizmeistcr ' Baltliasar Ross, in the diocese of
FuUla, luontioned by name 205 people whom he had
brought to justice in the years 1603-1605. lie invented

* torments unheard of before/ and even such * confes-
sions ' of the accused, as showed themselves in the
course of the trial to be evident untruths and absurdities,
were used by him as grounds for a death sentence.
Thus one of the witches said on the rack that she had
used one of the unbaptised children of a widow for
her salve or ointment, and yet this widow had never
brought a dead child into the world nor had any one
of her children died before baptism. Secondly, ' she
had killed her first husband by sorcery,' and yet it
was known through the whole diocese of Fulda that
this man had been killed five years before by a wagon
loaded with wine barrels, which had gone 'over his
body. Another witch * confessed ' on the rack that
she had killed her two children by sorcery and caused
the white horse of a peasant to die, and yet both her
children were ahve and no white horse had died. A
third confessed herself guilty of the death of an inn-
keeper, and yet this innkeeper was standing alive
before the court when this same false statement was
read out prior to the execution. ' All three witches had
to die on the ground of their statements.' Ross,
moreover, carried on such an iniquitous trade in ex-
torting money at the trials, that in 1606 he was thrown
into prison, and after twelve years of terrible confinement
he was beheaded in 1618.^

' Malkmus, Fuldaer AnekdotenbilcJilein (P\ilda, 1875), pp. 101-151. Cf.
Soldan-Heppe, ii. 55-59. The name of this witch-judge was Ross, not, as
generally written, Russ or Voss ; cf. Mitteil. des Vereins fiir Gesch. und
Alterlumskunde in Frankfort am Main, vi. 36.


The earliest cases of witch-burning in ecclesiastical
territories ajDpear to have been in the archdioceses of
Treves and Mayence.

A Mayence chronicle of 1612 cites John Adam von
Bicken, whose tenure of office began in 1601, as the
first archbishop who ' set about in good earnest to
uproot the horrible abomination of sorcery and witch-
craft, and caused numbers of people at Aschaffenburg
and other places, who were infected with this vice, to
be punished with death by fire/ ^ Nevertheless perse-
cutions had already occurred earlier in the archdiocese,
especially in the Mayence Odenwald, since 1593. At
that time the whole population broke out in stormy
agitation which had, no doubt, for its immediate aim
the rooting out of all the ' supposed diabolical vermin,^
but which was also connected with the discontent at the
general miserable material conditions of the country.
What the ' secular magistrates ' were chiefly bent on in
this persecution of witches is seen from the following
order issued by them : ' people were not to make so much
fuss, but above all to confiscate the property.' Hence
a curious complaint : ' If everything is taken away
from the people,' said two Mayence noblemen, in a
petition addressed to the Elector concerning the be-
haviour of these officials, ' nothing will be left over
for us (the nobles).' The whole body of burghers
of the town of Buclien sent in to the territorial lord
a petition drawn up by the notary of Baron Hans
von Riidt, begging that ' the dear ruler appointed by
God, and gifted by God with a keen understanding,

' Meyntzische Chronicle (Franckfurt, at C. Coilhoys's, 1612), p. 141 ;
that ' 1601 ' should be read there instead of ' 1604 ' has aheady been
remarked by Stieve {Die Politik Bayerns, ii. 680, n. 1).


would decree salutarv punishment against the sorcerers
who were given over to Satan incarnate.' In proof
tliat such people were present in large numbers it was
stated that ' a gate-keeper had heard in the suburb
a noise of jumping and dancing, and such an uproar
as though all the pots and pans in the place were being
smashed up, and then a terrible rainstorm had followed ;
a burgher who was coming out of a public-house at
midnight had seen everything dancing around him,
and a multitude of devihsh wizard-fry in human form,
clad in black, dancing and jumping about in the street,
and it was Satan himself who, in defiance of all the
decrees of ecclesiastical and secular rulers, had organised
all this commotion for no other purpose than to augment
his kingdom by means of such damnable pleasures.'
Thereupon followed, forthwith, imprisonment and tor-
turing of ' witches.' One of them was accused of
having bewitched a fiddlestick into a cow. Those who
would not ' let loose with their speech ' were, according
to the orders of the Mayence magistrates, ' first to have
screws and thumb-irons apphed to them, and then to be
tortured with other instruments ; as, however, in all
probabihty, these people had invisible spirits with them,
and w^ere incited by the wicked enemy, ecclesiastics
were to take measures against these devihsh misleaders.'
When the chief official reported one day that he had
had ' five more burnt,' he was praised by the magistrates
for his zeal, although he had not once mentioned the
names of the unhappy victims.

In 1602 there arose an uproar in Buchen in which
two women suspected of witchcraft were seized by
the populace and maltreated and dragged of! to the
town hall. As the magistracy did not comply with


the request that they should be burnt, but contented
themselves with throwing five of the ringleaders into the
tower and sentencing them to pay a heavy fine, an
urgent petition was addressed to the Elector, with the
most serious complaints against the magistrates, and
imploring the destruction of ' the horrible tyramiy
of Satan.' The Elector, however, did not attend
to the petition but, on the contrary, gave orders that
the burghers who had brought the document to Mayence
should be put in custody and made to swear that they
would not move in the matter again. ^ At Miltenberg
in the years 1615-1617 a witch-persecution was set on foot.-
In 1603 there appeared at Frankfort-on-the-Maine
a ' Wahrhaftige Zeitmig ' about several witches who
had lately been burnt in the diocese of Mayence, and all
the harm they had done and ' confessed to.' •' ' The
terrible multitudes of witches,' wrote the Jesuits
from Aschaffenburg in 1612, ' fill all here with horror ' ;
many of them had been stirred to repentance by the
zealous exhortations of these Jesuits. The Elector
prescribed a three days' fast and a solemn procession
in order to avert all these abominations.'* For the
Lohr district the secular magistrates of Mayence had
decreed in 1576 that ' henceforth no more women were

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