Archive for January 16th, 2016

1630: Christina Plum, at the stake, in Cologne

1 comment January 16th, 2016 Headsman

On this date in 1630, the city of Cologne burned Christina Plum.

This aptly-named fruit vendor was a real peach. During Cologne’s 1627-1630 witch hunt, Plum in 1629 denounced a bushel of Cologne’s leading citizens for devilry. While threatening established elites with torture and the stake certainly seems downright bananas with benefit of hindsight, the free city had in 1627 burned an influential woman — and possibly Germany’s first female postmaster — named Katharina Henot. Indeed, it was Plum’s contention that such varied characters as the wife of the Burgermeister, the pastor of St. Alban’s Church, and Katharina Henot’s brother had all been keeping regular dates at the late Katharina’s Black Sabbath orgies.

The city was at that moment facing intense pressure by the Archbishop of Cologne Ferdinand of Bavaria — an imperial elector and enthusiastic hammer of witches — to root out Satan’s earthly minions. It was not at all past thinking that Plum’s accusations could have cut a swath through the city’s upper crust.

Instead, they destroyed the credibility of the witch hunts.

After unsuccessfully pressuring Plum to just pipe down and go away, the city had her arrested as a witch. After all, how did she know so much about who was going to the orgies? And, as was almost inevitable in such cases, the consequent interrogation proved sufficiently vigorous to force a confession from the woman’s lips.

In 1631, as the witch fever abated in Cologne, and elsewhere throughout Germany, the Cologne-educated jurist Friedrich Spee published one of the seminal takedowns of witch-hunting, Cautio Criminalis. (Spee himself lost a kinswoman to the Hexenprozesse.)

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 17th Century,Burned,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Execution,Germany,History,Political Expedience,Power,Public Executions,Torture,Witchcraft,Women

Tags: , , , , , ,




Execution Playing Cards

Exclusively available on this site: our one-of-a-kind custom playing card deck.

Every card features a historical execution from England, France, Germany, or Russia!

Recent Comments

  • Donna Finnegan: Kathleen Jukes. My family are also related to Richard. We are trying to work out where in our...
  • Anthony: Delaware never used a lethal injection machine. While they had bought one in 1987 when they first ordered a...
  • Curt Kastens: You can add Walterr Süskind. According to the German Wikipedia he died in Auschwitz on Feb. 28 1945....
  • Jeanne C: So true ….many angry about what he did …understandably …but I beleive this man did accept...
  • anders: Bimcclur says: 14 March, 2017 at 11:40 pm This is a Timely movie. Resist unjust & evil regimes. Do what...