Search results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 20 items for :

  • Manchester Religious Studies x
Clear All
The first child-witch in Rothenburg, 1587

to investigate it threatened – albeit usually only fleetingly – to produce verdicts of guilt against alleged witches, and even to foster larger-scale episodes of witch-hunting. This happened for the first time in Rothenburg in 1587, when a six-year-old boy called Hans Gackstatt from the hinterland village of Hilgartshausen, told a tale of nocturnal flight to a witches’ dance which started an investigation of dubious legality and physical severity against his mother and himself from which other inhabitants of Hilgartshausen were not initially entirely safe. The

in Witchcraft narratives in Germany
Elite beliefs about witchcraft and magic

the causing of harm by magical means; the making of pacts with the devil; and the flight to and attendance at witches’ dances, or sabbats. Broadly speaking, Rothenburg’s councillors and their advisers thought that witches really could cause harm by magical means and make pacts with the devil, although they were far less sure about whether sabbats existed in reality or were imaginary delusions. Of most importance to their handling and resolution of witchcraft cases, however, were their doubts about how effectively specific individuals could be proven guilty of any of

in Witchcraft narratives in Germany
The Catholic challenge during the Thirty Years’ War

4 ‘When will the burning start here?’: the Catholic challenge during the Thirty Years’ War The authorities in Rothenburg were spared another problematic encounter with a self-confessed child-witch until 1627, when thirteen-year-old Margaretha Hörber from the hinterland village of Gebsattel began claiming that she had been seduced into witchcraft and taken to witches’ dances by older women. As befitted a teenager, her story was more detailed than that told by six-year-old Hans Gackstatt in 1587, particularly in terms of her descriptions of the witches’ dance and

in Witchcraft narratives in Germany

involve dancing, drumming, and extraordinary efforts on behalf of the saint that resulted in participants achieving alternate states of consciousness. These states played an important role in individual spirituality – one that has sometimes been overlooked by researchers. In my fieldwork, I observed that some individuals were deeply and spiritually attracted to religiosity. These people often became involved in religious

in Witchcraft Continued
Open Access (free)

legal procedure in the handling of witch-trials, a factor which was also of paramount importance in explaining the relative paucity of witch-trials in other parts of Germany.3 Torture was used with restraint and often not at all in the Rothenburg trials, thus ensuring that all accused (as opposed to self-confessed) witches were able to maintain their denials of guilt. Serious legal action was never taken against those individuals accused by self-confessed witches of having been seen at witches’ dances. This was due partly to an elite scepticism about the reality

in Witchcraft narratives in Germany

knowledge of elsewhere, either in the Rev. Nicholson’s reports or the court documents. All of these stories parallel aspects of English witchcraft tradition: Izzard is said, for example, to have bewitched the wife of her creditor, the innkeeper and grocer, ‘making her go through all sorts of queer antics, even to dancing on the tea table among the cups and saucers’ ( Magic dancing; Enchanted persons dance until released ; Witch

in Witchcraft Continued
Open Access (free)
Agency and selfhood at stake

. Junius denied this charge in its entirety, along with another concerning a ‘witch-dance’ in the Hauptsmor (Hamptsmoor) forest made by a woman named Elsse, wife or perhaps daughter of Hopffen (‘Hopffens Elsse’). Having been left to think for two nights on the charges made against him by his supposed accomplices, Junius was again interrogated on Friday of that same week (30 June 1628). He was admonished to confess, but refused

in Male witches in early modern Europe
Gender and contemporary fantasies of witchcraft

interrogators then demanded whether her mother had taught her anything? Magdalena hesitated again, but then said that her mother (who had died three months earlier) had told her that she must murder her children and that she had also killed the twins she had had in 1627 by crushing their temples. Her mother had also taken her to witches’ dances on a fire-iron but infrequently, as Magdalena had been unenthusiastic about attending. She was again asked about the death of her baby by her first husband but insisted that it had died of convulsions. When asked how she could have

in Witchcraft narratives in Germany
Open Access (free)

their relationship with the devil. Elite belief in the witches’ dance, or sabbat, as a gathering of witches overseen by the devil was easily incorporated into extant popular beliefs about night-flying women and was first formally encountered in Rothenburg in a story of witchcraft told by sixyear-old Hans Gackstatt in 1587.29 The idea that witchcraft was a form of heresy, involving the giving of one’s soul to the devil, influenced popular belief more slowly and patchily, however, emerging in attenuated form for the first time in a story of witchcraft told by thirteen

in Witchcraft narratives in Germany

, Abundia, Satia, Holda, Perchta, and others, all supervised processions of night-traveling women, exactly as did Diana. Neither is it entirely certain just what these beings and their followers were wont to do on their evening rides. Some accounts suggest simply that they rode to some gathering place where they danced and feasted, and then returned home. In the thirteenth century, however,William of Paris (d. 1249), added that Domina Abundia and her ladies were believed to enter houses at night and bring abundance and riches when they found offerings prepared for them.45

in The Malleus Maleficarum and the construction of witchcraft