Glad you enjoyed the post! While most historians use the range of 40,000 to 100,000 based on public records, up to three times that many people were formally accused of practicing witchcraft. Most of the accusations took place in parts of what are now Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, then the Holy Roman Empire. But as the Catholic Church grew swollen and corrupt, pagans were seen as a threat. @Alan Buckley Thanks Alan. Walpurgisnacht costume. Merga Bien, a rich German heiress, confessed to murdering her 2nd husband and his children by means of witchcraft and to attending a Witches’ Sabbath. Many people dress up as witches and dance on Walpurgisnacht. It is the perfect location for hiking, climbing, birdwatching or skiing, depending on the season. The Bode River that runs through the mountains is named after him, as is the Bode Valley below. Walpurga also confessed other things of a schrecklich (frightful) and gottlos (unholy) nature, such as how she was instructed to kill the babies she delivered, and then use their hair and bones for Zauberei (sorcery). Move over Halloween, it’s nearly time for Walpurgisnacht, Germany’s super-spooky night of the witches! Thank you! Himmler was convinced witches had once been rife … But Germany was actually home to one of the biggest witch trials in all of Europe – the Hexenprozesse in Würzburg (Würzburg witch trials), which took place between 1626 and 1631. The legend of Walpurga Hausmannin is one of the scariest witch stories in the world. In early modern Europe, Protestantism emerged as the first truly viable challenger to the Catholic church’s hold on the population. I'm Constanze and I live in the UK. Recently I gave you the creepy story of Walpurga Hausmannin, one of Germany’s most famous witches from the 16th Century. It is a big tourist attraction now. This was also inspired by the Witches’ Sabbaths in the writings of the 15th and 16th centuries. To get to this place you need to visit Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony Anhalt) in Norddeutschland (northern Germany), and go to a beautiful region called the Harz Mountains. Next time we’ll continue on the witch theme by looking at a specific region in Germany that is associated with witchcraft. It is told as a tale of one of the most horrible killers in German history. Hunting for witches in Germany’s Harz mountains. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device. When you think of famous witch trials, the countries that often spring to mind are the United States and the United Kingdom. It is sometimes seen as Germany’s ‘other Hallowe’en’. A church in Germany is finally apologizing for the indiscriminate killings of 400 suspected “witches” who were tortured and burned at the stake hundreds of years ago. 37 miles) of Berlin. © 2021 Transparent Language, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Very informative and interesting. Die Wolfshäger Hexenbrut tanzt "Schüttle deinen Speck" zu Walpurgis 2016 So with Germany having such a huge history of, to kill babies, animals and harvests with. Witchcraft & Pagan News - A Catholic dioceses in Germany acknowledges its role in deaths of the 400 people who were tortured and executed for "witchcraft" from 1613-1723. Walpurga was very poor, so she agreed. Walpurga also confessed other things of a. Walpurga was tortured continuously while she was in prison, Before she was executed, her right hand was cut off – this was the hand she had made her, t is unclear how much of Walpurga’s story is. In fact, during the period of 1450 – 1750, somewhere between 17,000 and 26,000 people were executed in Germany as part of these witch trials. Walpurga Hausmännin was alive during the 1500s. Check out the names of the German and Swiss witch bloodlines below. Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. The Würzburg witch trial is among the largest Witch trials in the Early Modern period: it was one of the four largest witch trials in Germany alongside the Trier witch trials, the Fulda witch trials, and the Bamberg witch trials. The Bamberg trials was one of the most brutal trials in Germany. German & Swiss Witch Bloodlines. Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Here you will find details of different Hallowe’en celebrations associated with different religions. She and her horse made it successfully to the other side, while the giant, Bodo, fell to his death. Walpurga was tortured continuously while she was in prison, all the way up to her execution. It is unclear how much of Walpurga’s story is Wahrheit (truth) and how much of it is Legende (legend). As competition for religious market share heated up, … The persecution of witches first began under Bishop Johann Gottfried von Aschhausen or the Witch-bishop as he was known who was responsible for sending some 300 witches to death in the … Public Domain, Link. rzburg witch trials), which took place between 1626 and 1631. One day, she said, she went to meet a man for casual sex, but the person who greeted her was actually a Dämon (demon) in disguise. The word Roßtrappe literally means ‘steed clip-clop’, using the words der Ross (steed) and trappen (clip-clop – the sound a horse’s hooves make). She lived in Dillingen an der Donau in Bayern (Bavaria), where she worked as a Hebamme (midwife). To German witches—hexen—the Harz highlands of northern Germany is home, a mountain range steeped in pagan lore. The study views the Catholic and Protestant churches as competing firms, each in the business of supplying a valuable service: Salvation. In the 11th century attitudes toward witchcraft … It also holds an unsolved mystery related to one of the darkest human practices. Witch hunter Balthasar von Dernbach , the prince and abbot of the spire-topped town of Fulda, had embarked on a series of witch trials upon his return from exile in 1602. In Germany, Walpurgisnacht, the night from 30 April to 1 May, is the night when witches are reputed to hold a large celebration on the Brocken and await the arrival of spring. Thank you! According to folklore, the place known as Hexentanzplatz was the original location where witches gathered on April 30th to celebrate the arrival of spring. This trail is 100km long. Walpurgisnacht is a modern-day celebration of spring, celebrated in Germany on April 30th. Her case was significant because she confessed a lot more than she was expected to while being gefoltert (tortured), which gave people at the time a great insight into witchcraft. When Margretha Bittelmayr, the wife of a councillor and town scribe of the prince-bishopric of Eichstätt, was arrested for witchcraft on 15 October 1626, she was in her early fifties.¹ Over the next month, she was interrogated by a team of witch commissioners which had been operating in the principality since about 1614. Persecution of heathens and witches was regular but not widespread in Germany in the medieval period. In fact, during the period of 1450 – 1750, somewhere between 17,000 and 26,000 people were executed in Germany as part of these witch trials. German Witchcraft and Witches. It is sometimes seen as Germany’s ‘other Hallowe’en’. Image via Pixabay. The most credible estimates for the number of executions for witchcraft between 1450-1750 are in the range of 40,000 to 60,ooo people across Europe, with southern and central regions of Germany accounting for between 17,000 and 26,000 executions, as compared to between 5000-6000 executions for all of France, around 1000 executions for England and … According to the story, during the last night of April, witches gather in a place called Hexentazplatz where they dance. April 30th also became a Christian celebration of Saint Walpurga, who it was said could ward off evil spirits. Please check your inbox for your confirmation email. The Hexentanzplatz (‘Witches’ Dance Floor’) is in a place called Thale, high up in the Harz mountains. A sculpture of a witch at the Hexentanzplatz. I'm half English and half German, and have been writing about German language and culture on this blog since 2014. I'm Constanze and I live in the UK. Balthasar von Dernbach, the prince and abbot of the mystical town of Fulda in … This mountain area has been called Roßtrappe ever since. Würzburg, Germany was home to the worst instance of witch hunting: the magistrates of the time determined that most of the town was possessed by the Devil, and condemned hundreds of innocent women to death. Before she was executed, her right hand was cut off – this was the hand she had made her Eid (oath) with as a midwife. This alternative theory comes down to market competition—between churches. However, if one really wants to see where hatred and fear of witchcraft begins, one need only look at German history. According to folklore, the place known as Hexentanzplatz was the original location where witches gathered on April 30th to celebrate the arrival of spring. A FEW centuries ago in Europe, the fear of witchcraft led to witch hunts and executions. The Devil was given a limited amount of time to build a wall that would separate the Earth into two pieces, one for him and one for God, but he ran out of time, so in his anger he smashed up what part of the wall he had made. He promised to rid her from Armut (poverty) if she agreed to sell her soul to the Teufel (devil) and do whatever he asked of her. In fact, during the period of 1450 – 1750, somewhere between 17,000 and 26,000 people were executed in Germany as part of these witch trials. The legend behind this wall is that God and the Devil were fighting for ownership of the Earth. Merga Bien. Jacob Grimm, 1883. Along with celebrating Saint Walpurga, people would make loud noises and light bonfires as ways of keeping the witches away. If you’d like to learn Hallowe’en-related vocabulary instead, see this post: Halloween vocabulary in German. Walpurga was given a Salbe (ointment), which she was instructed to kill babies, animals and harvests with. Perhaps you had a German or Swiss ancestor who was accused and/or executed for witchcraft. The Roßtrappe is a 403 metre-high cliff in the Harz mountains. Guten Tag! Witch-hunting plagued Europe, beginning in the 15th century when the idea that witches worshipped the devil began to take hold. According to the legend, the national park is also the focal point for the Brocken witches. Servus! But one thing’s for sure- it does make a good German Hallowe’en story! Available anytime, anywhere, on any device. You can get a gondola up to the Hexentanzplatz, which gives you incredible views of the mountains and valleys below. Wednesday 28 … Did British witches work magic to keep Hitler out of England?. The cruelty of Europe's witch trials Archaic trial methods: the 'swimming test' Witch trials were seen as formal "legal" processes. She was accused of Hexerei (witchcraft), Vampirismus (vampirism) and Kindermord (child murder). I haven’t been to the Hartz mountain region of Germany but it looks like a place we’ll worth a visit. The pagan origins of Walpurgis Night “Several” witches condemned at Nerac, France, on 26 June, 1619 200 + executed at Labourt, France, in 1619 2 executed at Bedford, England, in 1624 56 executions at Mainz, Germany, between 1626-1629 77 executions at Burgstadt, Germany, between 1626-1629 40 executions at Berndit, Buttan, Ebenheit, Wenchdorf and Heinbach, Germany, between … Bibi’s surname was inspired by the mountain range Blocksberg, more commonly known as Brocken – the highest peak of the Harz mountains, where all of the above takes place! Witchcraft is now something of a joke, except to traditionalist Christians. This left the unusual formation that is the Teufelsmauer, and is the legend of how the Teufelsmauer came to be. Vocabulary from the text, with genders (where applicable): die Hexenprozesse in Würzburg – Würzburg witch trials. I am also a fitness instructor & personal trainer. Another story about this celebration came from Germany. The Heiress Who Stole a Vermeer, Witchcraft in Post-WWII Germany and Other New Books to Read These five November releases may have been lost in the news cycle If you enjoyed this post, you may also like this one: What is Hallowe’en like in Germany? Today, Walpurgisnacht is similar to the Hallowe’en celebrations on October 31st. In Germany, an estimated 40,000 "witches" were burned alive. Please check your inbox for your confirmation email. For all those wondering, who on earth was Saint Walpurga, and what’s the deal with all the pot banging, we take a look at the history of this quirky German celebration. Walpurgisnacht is a modern-day celebration of spring, celebrated in Germany on April 30th. Next time we’ll continue on the witch theme by looking at a specific region in Germany that is associated with witchcraft. By 1940, Hitler had significantly increased Germany’s military presence, which had been diminished following the Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War I.In early May of that year, the German army invaded the Netherlands and began to advance, arcing westward. A rock formation in the Harz mountains near the Hexentanzplatz, the Teufelsmauer (‘Devil’s Wall’) is known for its unusual formation. However, the story seems to be half-truth and half legend. OK, so we’re a bit early, but to prepare for the most gruselig (creepy) time of year, I’ll be bringing you a few posts related to some of the spookier aspects of Germany & German history. So with Germany having such a huge history of Hexerei (witchcraft), what makes Walpurga Hausmännin so special? Here is a video of one such dance: The Harz mountains and the stories attached to them have inspired aspects of modern German culture, too. Many traditionalist Christian groups still believe in the reality of witches and witchcraft. Witchcraft in the Middle Ages was a controversial crime that was equally punishable to poisoning. They … One of the walking trails here is called the Harzer Hexenstieg (‘Harz Witches’ Trail’), which runs through the Harz mountains, and over their highest peak, known as the Brocken. Here there are plenty of hiking trails that can take you to enchanting places with some very interesting stories and legends attached to them, such as: By Unknown – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress‘s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID ppmsca.00496. These occurred largely in France, Germany, northern Italy, Switzerland, and the Low Countries —Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. She was burned at the stake and her ashes were thrown into a stream. Tamara Hinson embraces her spooky side in time for Halloween on a hike through Harz National Park. Their last flight took place on May 4, 1945—when the Night Witches flew within 60 kilometers (approx. The Hexentanzplatz (see above) and the Roßtrappe are separated by a big gorge. Walpurgis Night (in German folklore) the night of 30 April (May Day’s eve), when witches meet on the Brocken mountain and hold revels with their gods…” By Jed – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, Link, By Axel Hindemith – Own work, Public Domain, Link. Walpurga was a widow. In today’s post we’ll continue on the witch theme by talking about a place in Germany that is famous for its association with witchcraft. Here they would dance and fly above the mountains on their broomsticks to welcome in the new season. There is an imprint in the rocks that people believe to be the horse’s footprint from when he jumped across: By Dolos at German Wikipedia – Transferred from de.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain, Link, “There is a mountain very high and bare…whereon it is given out that witches hold their dance on Walpurgis night.” Read on if you’d like to know what she confessed… and know that this next part is not for the faint of heart! GERMANY The Harz Mountains are known for their scenic beauty and a varied landscape of soft, sloping hillsides enriched with steeper ascents and sporadic rock formations. Around the World. In a bizarre claim the SS division alleged the witches had been of "pure German blood". A Catholic diocese in Germany apologized this week for torturing and executing 400 people suspected of being witches between the 1400s and 1700s. If one was accused of witchcraft, the charges could be dropped by a relative’s defense in a trial by combat, or by twelve people … Witchcraft - Witchcraft - The witch hunts: Although accusations of witchcraft in contemporary cultures provide a means to express or resolve social tensions, these accusations had different consequences in premodern Western society where the mixture of irrational fear and a persecuting mentality led to the emergence of the witch hunts. But Germany was actually home to one of the biggest witch trials in all of Europe – the Hexenprozesse in Würzburg (Würzburg witch trials), which took place between 1626 and 1631. Be aware that there were thousands of German witches executed during the Medieval and Early Modern Era whose names were never recorded. Servus! Guten Tag and Happy Hallowe’en! I'm half English and half German, and have been writing about German language and culture on this blog since 2014. Bis dann (until then)! The witch trials in Early Modern Europe included the Basque witch trials in Spain, … At least 600 people were burned as witches in the years 1623-33. “Tens of thousands of people in Europe and European colonies died,” and “millions of others suffered torture, arrest, interrogation, hate, … For instance, the popular, modern-day kids’ cartoon called Bibi Blocksberg, which tells the stories of a young German witch. In pre-Christian times, this was where many pagan ceremonies were held. Hulton Archive / Getty Images. According to legend, a princess called Brunhilda tried to flee forced marriage to a giant called Bodo by taking his horse and leaping across the gorge to safety. There was an attempted murder of a poor elderly spinster suspected of witchcraft in Germany as late as 1976. © 2021 Transparent Language, Inc. All Rights Reserved. I am also a fitness instructor & personal trainer. 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