Truthful and Frightening Description of the many Sorcerers or Witches: An English Translation

Anonymous, Warhafftige und erschreckliche beschreibung von einem zauberer (Stupe Peter genandt) der sich zu einem wehrwolff hat können machen welcher zu Bedbur vier meilen von Cölln gelegen ist gerichtet worden den 31. October dieses 1589. jahrs was böser thaten er begangen hat. Auch wei man hin und wider viel zäuberschen verbrandt hat in diesem 1589. jahre was sie getrieben und bekandt haben männiglich zur trewen warnung geestellet, Köln, Nikolaus Schreiber, 1589.

Truthful and Frightening Description of the many sorcerers or witches, how and why one now and then burned them in this year 1589. What they did and confessed, is put here for everybody as a true warning.


Also about a werewolf who has been judged at Bepper on October 31 of this year 1589, what bad deeds he committed.


Printed by Niclas Schreiber


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Frightening and Truthful Story of the Many Witches or Sorcerers of male as well as female gender, which everywhere, after having confessed misdeed (in the Archbishopry Trier as well as elsewhere), were burned and executed, brought from life to death in this now current year 1589.


It is for everybody without doubt fully and well known that the current hard, afflicted time, and we must not otherwise acknowledge, for that all such appeared on account of our sins comes upon us, and everywhere turmoil and discord and disagreement occurs among the people, such that the father the child, and the child persecutes and disputes father and mother, through it finally will come to the decay of the entire human race, then (I believe) downright no devil is any longer in hell, but they range through the entire world, taint it with the poison of sorcery, as I want to make visible here to the goodhearted reader.


There is in the land in Swabia a city, called Ellwangen, which now in and around the city, daily experienced severe weather, rotting of the grains, tree fruit, and wine, defamation of people, livestock with unheard of illnesses; one diligently sought the source of these, how and wherefrom such might come, until finally God heard the assiduous praying of His people


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and brought such devilish goings-on of the cursed witches and their sorcery to light.


When then there were many witches caught, one sent to the little town named Biberach and had the reporter from there fetched, who had an art about him with which he knew how to make these women had to confess everything goodheartedly without torture, how, what, and with what they did and performed such sorcery. Upon this they first admitted that they had made a pact with the devil, had denied God, His dear Son, and the Holy People, and eventually had mingled with the devil. Among these was a wicked, old woman, who had a beautiful, young daughter, whom she had also introduced to the devilish sorcery (which by her was regarded as an art), and gave her daughter as wife to the wicked enemy, Satan, who in the form of a handsome youth promised himself to the maiden. And when the wedding now was happening, they began to dance, and to the dance many devils came in the form of youths and maidens, a heap of old witches, weird musicians, one had played on a horse’s head, the others on otherwise weird instruments, every maiden danced with her paramour, and after the dance had occurred (as I am supposed to say it in a chaste way), mingled with him. All such things, the old mother herself good-heartedly confessed.


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After that, right away in many pots, they did hard-boil snakes, toads, bones of the dead, and many unknown herbs, to which they now buried these, it is said to have occurred in houses, stables, and barns; things did not go well there, for whoever went over there, young or old, human beings or livestock, they all were received with great pain and woe. In the same way they have also made a magical unction which also was harmful to man and beast, on whomever they smeared the ointment by day or night, became lame from great swelling and became blind, could not have one healthy hour until their last end. As they now confessed all such things, in addition, where they buried the pots, one took them out, and as a proof one burned the pots with the unctions together with the women into powder (as was after all their just reward).


Recently, twelve stately and rich women, of whom one would not have thought it, together with a young boy, whose mother, from whom he had learned such things, all together were burned at a post or column.


At Mergenthal in the little town, also an old woman was caught, who freely confessed that she fornicated with the devil on the chimney, and had done such sorcery for forty one years and during that time had taken the life of eighty children, and upon the devil’s advice had poisoned many young and old people many times


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at weddings, and also caused discord between pious couples, also caused grain, wine and other fruits generally to get spoiled as much as possible, in addition reported that there were no pious midwives to be found around Mergenthal for ten miles, for they all were witches, and bragged, spoke laughingly, if there were that many men who could do sorcery as there are women in the land, they would perform it openly in spite of anyone who might try to stop them. But after her report, one placed glowing pincers on her, cut off her right hand, and finally burned her to powder.


In Walderstatt in Swabia, a half mile from Noerlingen, the grey one had eight witches quickly burned (among them two midwives, who were also tortured with pincers and the right hand cut off), who confessed that they, among other evil deeds, had taken the life of over hundred and forty children.


I cannot tell everything to the good reader, how many of them were also burned in Saxony, Westphalia, and at the Rhine River. In the Archbishopry Trier and at the Mosel very many witches or sorcerers have been burned, among them was also one from the distinguished councils of the Archbishop of Trier, who was very wealthy and rich, by the name of Flade, a doctor of law; this one was taken prisoner


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as a sorcerer for six months, but when he confessed such and one wanted to hold it against him as sorcery, he made a counter-report, that it was simply was magia, in German, black art, and could not be counted as he had proven and done, culpable sorcery, it was all in appropriate nature, and nothing devilish or ungodly, in this way he countered, relaxed, to be relieved of going to prison; however one thought him to be a councilor of the other sorcerers, so this Flade, on May 26, was judged and condemned from life to death on account of sorcery.


In yet another village, situated not far from Trier, on burned many of the women, rich and poor, young and old, in great numbers, as they, very close to the Mosel, in a monastery, named S. Maximin, on the first day of May, lamenting greatly and causing trouble, also wanted to spoil grain and wine, which God however did not want, but brought it to light in this way: One found a woman in the vineyards, who now and then blew away the blossoms. While she now was caught and was asked about why she did such a thing, she freely and openly confessed, that with this she wanted to aggrieve many a pious man (should it be advised/succeeded to them). Thus she was burned with all the others.


There also lived a sorcerer in Bepper, three miles from Cologne, who practiced sorcery for 24 years and was able to change himself into a werewolf, who was caught and tortured, this one has freely admitted that he tore up thirteen little children, 6 and 7 years old, and took the life of two men and one woman; also for 7 years lay in bed with


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his daughter, who was also burned to powder, and he did many other bad deeds. But after jury court, on October 31 at Bepper, one first pinched and tortured him with red-hot pincers, afterwards with a wooden axe or hatchet, one cut apart arm and leg and broke them, finally one cut off his head, burned the body, and made a wooden wolf, placed it on a wheel, and nailed the head on it. Thus this wolf was rewarded.


Therefore let us ask God day and night that He give sense and courage to authorities, that they may pursue and exterminate all witches with their devil’s ghost completely and totally, so that Satan in hell is given resistance, and no longer through such wicked people disturb the pious ones and continue thus how it happened in this 89th year, and may it end with this. Such was written as a warning to the wicked and as comfort to the pious, for such vermin is not useful for anything but to be thrown into the fire. A small treatise was recently released, that hell was too small for the devil, he therefore had gone out to acquire builders in order to enlarge hell. I actually believe that he must have known that so many witches and sorcerers would come there in the 89th year. Instead, may the dear God protect all of us, enlarge Heaven, so that the evil enemy will have no room on earth among the people, but will be pushed down again into the abyss of hell which had been prepared for him in the beginning.




Translation by Gerda Dinwiddie, gerda@alteschrift.com http://www.alteschrift.com

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