10 Creepy Memorials Of The Witches Of Europe

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Witches, or people accused of being witches, were a common enemy in the vast swaths of Europe between 1500 and 1700. The last recorded woman accused of being a witch, Anna Goldï, was beheaded in 1782. His supposed crime was the murder of a child, since it is highly likely that his child died in a natural way. She was a servant and had been romantically involved with her employer, who later accused her of witchcraft to conveniently bury the incident.

Witchcraft was a general accusation leveled against anyone who caused unease in a deeply religious and misguided society. Whether you’re working with herbal medicine, staying single, refusing the advances of a powerful man, or your baby is dead, you better be scared. You could be next.

Both Protestant and Catholic countries judged “witches” with great fervor. Germany has recorded the highest number of executions, possibly due to the book’s popularity Malleus Maleficarum by two German scholars. He proclaimed the need to educate readers on how to spot, torture and slaughter witches – terrifying reading indeed.

We’ll now look at 10 places where you can revisit this chilling story across Europe, paying homage to the unfortunate people accused of witchcraft during a particularly dark time.

Related: These 10 Women Were Convicted Of Witchcraft For The Most Ridiculous Reasons

ten Castlehill in Edinburgh, Scotland

Agnes Sampson was a highly respected midwife and healer in her community in the late 1500s. King James VI of Scotland (later King James I of England), the ruler at the time, waged a brutal crusade against women, calling many witches. His fear and obsession was sparked when his ship was ravaged by storms while on a voyage to marry his new queen. He became quite convinced that it was the work of witches and dark spirits. Many women have been blamed for orchestrating this storm through supernatural means, and Agnes was one of them.

During brutal torture, Agnes confessed to the charges against her. She was later burned at the stake at Castlehill. Today you can see a memorial to her and many other murdered women at the Witch’s Fountain in Edinburgh.[1]

9 Würzberg, Germany

Considered the location of the most brutal witch hunt in Europe, this Bavarian town is the scene of hundreds of executions. In 1626, the harvest of that year was wiped out by an unexpected frost. Of course these days you would just resent the unpredictable weather patterns of climate change, but then it had to be the witches!

In a series of trials by the hastily formed committee of witches, hundreds of men, women and children were murdered. Due to the ruthless torture techniques, many victims offered the names of other “witches” indiscriminately, causing the accusations to spread like wildfire.

Today, Würzberg is a charming city with little evidence of such a damning past. You have to scratch below the surface for clues to this period of history as there are no overt monuments or plaques.[2]

8 Colchester, England

A well-known and terrifying figure from England’s witch trial period was Matthew Hopkins, nicknamed the Witchfinder General. He was personally responsible for around 300 trials and 100 executions, usually seeking out easily demonized targets such as people from lower social classes. He was rewarded financially for his efforts which undeniably fueled his crusade.

General Hopkins, a witch-seeker, tortured many of his victims in Colchester Castle. This well-preserved Norman castle stands today, and in recent times they have unveiled a plaque in memory of the many victims. Visitors can tour the castle and its dank dungeons to see the windowless cells where these poor souls were held and tortured.[3]

seven Pramnik, Poland

Although Poland is not one of the countries with the highest rate of witch trials and executions, it has had many incidents in which people have been accused and killed. Although it was one of the first countries to ban the persecution of people for “witchcraft”, many districts have blatantly ignored this law.

Near Krakow in Poland you will find the small village of Prąmnik. Here stands a well-preserved medieval watermill in which a haunting story happened. Zofia Konstancja and Agnieszka Michałowska were two very unlucky village women who were accused of using witchcraft to damage the farmland that was part of the mill. Several monks also reported that women harmed them, although records from this time are sparse. Kasina Wielka’s witch trial for the accused took place in September 1634.

Pramnik’s mill still exists in Prądnik Czerwony in Krakow on Dominikana Street. You can feel the dark history if you visit this mill, with the building giving off an eerie feeling as it looms above you.[4]

6 Pendle, England

Lancashire in England is home to some of the UK’s most notorious witch trials. The prejudices of the time viewed the inhabitants of this northern region as savage and indomitable, perhaps giving the persecutors additional fuel when they sentenced its people to death.

Of the 10 women charged, seven came from two local families headed by matriarchs. Also well-known herbalists, they had a business selling remedies and tinctures. The infamous trial took place in August 1612, and none of the defendants were allowed to defend or testify on their behalf.

Tourists will find a plethora of tributes to these accused women, including a walking trail dedicated to them, complete with statues, and a museum that delves deep into the well-recorded history of witch trials in the area.[5]

5 Vardo, Norway

A historic fishing village in the far northeast of Norway is the setting where more than 90 people accused of witchcraft were executed in cold blood. Many of the accused were indigenous Sami, mostly women, and many were convicted by their neighbors or their husbands. While recorded history at this time was vague, reported charges included poisoning livestock, causing storms, and communicating directly with Satan.

The city of Vardø marked this terrible time in history by commissioning world-renowned artist Louise Bourgeois and renowned architect Peter Zumthor to create the Steilneset Memorial. The memorial building and breathtaking sculpture are both visually arresting and thought provoking as they commemorate those killed and provide a moment of reflection.[6]

4 Zugarramurdi, Spain

Although witch trials were not on the agenda of the Spanish Inquisition, that does not mean that the Spanish people escaped unscathed. The Basque witch trials attempted to snuff out the pagan roots of the Basque country, led by Pierre de Lancre, a judge from French Basque territory who had 80 people burned at the stake.

The Zugarramurdi Witch Cave is a natural tunnel where the Inquisition believed witches gathered to commune with nature and its spirits. These days you can visit this impressive natural wonder and marvel at the dark period of its history. The Museum of Witchcraft in this area of ​​Xareta reframes the idea of ​​witchcraft and delves into many Basque myths and legends.[7]

3 Triora, Italy

Located on the border of Piedmont, Triora is a picturesque village with five fortresses. Known as the city of bread, it was once a hugely important place due to grain production. One year, in the 17th century, crops were destroyed due to extreme heat. Now, knowing the trend of witch trials at the time, it’s easy to see where this leads…

A priest of the Inquisition visited Triora during this time of distress, speaking of sorcery and sorcery. After being thrown into a state of frenzy, the villagers turned against each other and it was the poorer women whose fate was decided. To learn more and pay their respects to the victims, visitors can browse the local museum, where fascinating original documents can be seen.[8]

2 Torsaker, Sweden

Home to the largest witch trial in Swedish recorded history, Torsåker saw 71 defendants beheaded and burned in one day. This frenzied bloodshed began when the local minister was ordered by his superiors to eliminate witches from his parish.

His method was to have two young church boys stand by the door as church members streamed in, looking for an invisible mark of the devil on their foreheads. Although it sounds like a myth, it was later told and recorded by the grandson of one of the defendants. Today, a large memorial stone marks the location of this macabre piece of human history.[9]

1 Fulda, Germany

The abbot of the Fulda monastery, Balthasar von Dernbach, strongly supported the thorough investigation into witchcraft in the town. He claimed to clear the area of ​​inappropriate things, using violent force to extract “confessions”. A famous case is that of a pregnant woman, Merga Bien, who was burned at the stake while pregnant, after being accused of murdering her second husband. Finally, this terrible era of witch hunts ended with the death of Dernbach.

In the city today, a tasteful stone monument mourns the murders of those innocent people accused of witchcraft and sorcery.[10]

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