In 1275, Toulouse, France becomes the location of the first documented death of an individual accused of being a witch , all after an inquisitor passed a judicial sentence condemning the woman. It is said that she ‘confessed’ to having a “monster” child after she had sex with an evil spirit, amongst other things. The woman’s name was Hugues de Baniol. In this article, you will encounter some of the major players in reeling in ‘suspected’ witches.
1300-30: In Europe, witch trials begin to sweep over the country.
1334: A rather large trial consisting of witches takes place in Toulouse, France, where more than 60 accused were brought in for judgment. The final verdict saw eight transferred over to the state for the punishment of burning, while the rest were simply imprisoned. No one escaped a consequence.
1374: According to Pope Gregory XI, all magic is not possible unless you have the help of a demon on your side. This act made the practice open to prosecution for heresy.
1400: A secular judge by the name of Peter de Gruyeres is behind the rulings of several different witch trials in Bern, Switzerland.
1435-50: A steep increase in the number of witch trials taking place during this time period is seen.
1484: With Pope Innocent VIII publishing materials that name witchcraft the worst of all possible heresies, it is now seen have being connected to Satanism. He also gives the OK for Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger (Dominican inquisitors at the time) for the prosecution of anyone (regardless of their class or type of crime they have committed).
1486: Kramer and Sprenger publish a book called Malleus maleficarum (which translates into “The Hammer of Witches”). The information inside was not too good for the female population, as the authors blamed witchcraft on women. The book was lucky enough to go through many different reprints with the latest advancements in the printing press boosting the popularity in the publication. Unfortunately, all of this played a significant role in pushing an increase in witch hunting. This would last over the course of the next two centuries. Until the 18th century rolled around, the book was seen as a standard “handbook” regarding witchcraft.
1524: Como, Italy approves a slew of witchcraft charges, which lead to the deaths of nearly 1,000 people by way of executions.
1530’s: Mexico starts to see people being prosecuted for witchcraft.
1572: The fear and desire to contain witchcraft grew. Nowadays, you start to see people burning for witchcraft for simply telling someone’s fortune. All of this came about after a Protestant ruler of Saxony created such a penalty.
1580-1630: If there were ever a time when witch hunts were at its worst, it is between 1580 and 1630.
1583: In Osnabruck, Germany, more than 120 people were burned for being a witch in a time period that stretched across three months.