1655: Grete Adrian, Ruethen witch

Add comment July 5th, 2013 Headsman

On this date in 1655, Grete Adrian heard her final condemnation as a witch, then was ushered to the marketplace of Ruethen where she was beheaded and burned.

A remarried widow, Grete was the daughter of a woman who in her own day had been suspected of witchcraft; Grete had lost siblings to witch-hunts during the recent Thirty Years War.

The family history with devilry would help to implicate her when allegations arose that she had produced milk by conjuration and turned into a wolf to kill a neighbor’s horse. Grete didn’t stand up to the torture very long; within a couple of days she agreed that she had taken the devil as a lover, cast malevolent spells, attended witches’ covens, and all the usual Hexenprozesse stuff. All she asked was for quick execution.

In 2011, schoolchildren from Ruethen’s Friedrich-Spee-School — its namesake was a noted critic of torture and witch trials in the 17th century — successfully petitioned local authorities to issue a blanket posthumous pardon for 169 men, women and children executed for witchcraft between 1573 and 1660 … Grete Adrian included.

On this day..

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

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