It is sometimes seen as Germany’s ‘other Hallowe’en’. The pagan origins of Walpurgis Night 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. Hulton Archive / Getty Images. 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. 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). By Jed – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, Link, By Axel Hindemith – Own work, Public Domain, Link. The cruelty of Europe's witch trials Archaic trial methods: the 'swimming test' Witch trials were seen as formal "legal" processes. The legend behind this wall is that God and the Devil were fighting for ownership of the Earth. They … Be aware that there were thousands of German witches executed during the Medieval and Early Modern Era whose names were never recorded. In the 11th century attitudes toward witchcraft … The legend of Walpurga Hausmannin is one of the scariest witch stories in the world. 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. 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! 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 Available anytime, anywhere, on any device. She was accused of Hexerei (witchcraft), Vampirismus (vampirism) and Kindermord (child murder). 37 miles) of Berlin. However, if one really wants to see where hatred and fear of witchcraft begins, one need only look at German history. Walpurgisnacht is a modern-day celebration of spring, celebrated in Germany on April 30th. Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. For instance, the popular, modern-day kids’ cartoon called Bibi Blocksberg, which tells the stories of a young German witch. German Witchcraft and Witches. 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. Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. She was burned at the stake and her ashes were thrown into a stream. The Roßtrappe is a 403 metre-high cliff in the Harz mountains. © 2021 Transparent Language, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 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. She lived in Dillingen an der Donau in Bayern (Bavaria), where she worked as a Hebamme (midwife). Bis dann (until then)! 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. 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. 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. rzburg witch trials), which took place between 1626 and 1631. Here they would dance and fly above the mountains on their broomsticks to welcome in the new season. 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. 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. Recently I gave you the creepy story of Walpurga Hausmannin, one of Germany’s most famous witches from the 16th Century. I haven’t been to the Hartz mountain region of Germany but it looks like a place we’ll worth a visit. A FEW centuries ago in Europe, the fear of witchcraft led to witch hunts and executions. According to folklore, the place known as Hexentanzplatz was the original location where witches gathered on April 30th to celebrate the arrival of spring. Walpurgisnacht costume. When you think of famous witch trials, the countries that often spring to mind are the United States and the United Kingdom. A sculpture of a witch at the Hexentanzplatz. 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. Walpurga was a widow. Before she was executed, her right hand was cut off – this was the hand she had made her Eid (oath) with as a midwife. Tamara Hinson embraces her spooky side in time for Halloween on a hike through Harz National Park. She and her horse made it successfully to the other side, while the giant, Bodo, fell to his death. There was an attempted murder of a poor elderly spinster suspected of witchcraft in Germany as late as 1976. In a bizarre claim the SS division alleged the witches had been of "pure German blood". These occurred largely in France, Germany, northern Italy, Switzerland, and the Low Countries —Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Walpurga was tortured continuously while she was in prison, all the way up to her execution. Most of the accusations took place in parts of what are now Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, then the Holy Roman Empire. 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. Walpurga was very poor, so she agreed. The Hexentanzplatz (see above) and the Roßtrappe are separated by a big gorge. Merga Bien. You can get a gondola up to the Hexentanzplatz, which gives you incredible views of the mountains and valleys below. I am also a fitness instructor & personal trainer. Thank you! The Hexentanzplatz (‘Witches’ Dance Floor’) is in a place called Thale, high up in the Harz mountains. So with Germany having such a huge history of, to kill babies, animals and harvests with. | Europe, News, Paganism, Witchcraft, World @Alan Buckley Thanks Alan. 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 … 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 … In early modern Europe, Protestantism emerged as the first truly viable challenger to the Catholic church’s hold on the population. 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. German & Swiss Witch Bloodlines. Did British witches work magic to keep Hitler out of England?. Walpurgisnacht is a modern-day celebration of spring, celebrated in Germany on April 30th. 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