from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As a witch in is fairy tales and in late medieval popular belief one with magical powers endowed woman called that black magic can exercise and a compound in the form of a pact or a paramour with demons or the devil , said even more criteria were added.

The term is also used as a derogatory term or swear word for a malicious, quarrelsome, unpleasant or ugly female person.

The first "witches" to appear in literature are the Striges Kirke and Medea , who supposedly could enchant people and animals with magic and poisons.

At the time of the witch hunt , the term witch or sorcerer was occasionally used as a foreign name for women and men who were prosecuted on charges of sorcery ("witchcraft"). Later he became generally accepted, especially in the scientific investigation of the phenomenon of "witch hunt".

For the application of the term to men as "sorcerers" or "sorcerers" see also Witcher .

Hexentanzplatz in Trier (leaflet, 1594)
Witch scene (around 1700)
Anna Vögtlin was burned as a witch in front of the Lower Gate of Willisau (Switzerland), 1447

Methodology and sources of witch research

Elements of different origins have flowed into the ideas about the witch. This generally leads to confusion of terms, since these different currents are not interpreted separately, but also retrospectively into a witch's picture.

  1. First of all, the etymology of the word can be studied. Here you get information about the ideas at a time when the etymological motivation was still alive, roughly estimated up to 1000 AD at the latest. This knowledge may also be used for the West Germanic. In addition, other witch names in the respective languages ​​and context can be analyzed and then used for a comparison.
  2. A second stream comes from fairy tales and legends . But there are also other characters who can take on the role of Grażyna in the same subject , such as giant , ogre or dragon . It is noteworthy that many subjects are widespread throughout Europe or beyond - but always with the regional-typical equivalents of witch or ogre. Fairy tales and legends were also recorded late - they are already influenced by modern ideas about witches and witch trials. Of course, this does not apply to the Greek legends about witches (see below).
  3. Third, there is information about belief in sorcery and the punishment of sorceresses from the Bible, that is, from the Middle East. The ideas are only valid for one region and for the terms in the respective language.
  4. Fourth, there are documents on witch belief from the Middle Ages and modern times, including the files on the witch trials. These sources are influenced by regional folk beliefs, but also by biblical tradition. It should also be noted that the early documents were not written in German or in the respective vernacular. It is sometimes problematic to use the Latin terms malefica a . a. to translate with German witch , while z. B. The wrongdoer would often be much more neutral.


The word "witch"

Albrecht Dürer approx. 1500: The witch
Luis Ricardo Falero 1880: The witch on the Sabbath

The German word witch (to . Mhd hecse , hesse , ahd. Hagzissa , Hagazussa ) is a darkened composition whose relatives only in West Germanic find speaking countries: Central Dutch haghetisse and Old English hægtesse (in Modern English to hag shortened). The exact meaning of the word is unclear; the term is traditionally associated with Old High German hag 'Zaun, Hecke, Gehege'. The basic word is possibly related to Norwegian tysja ' Elbin ' (esp. In hulda - and haugatysja ) and tusul 'ghost', or also to Danish tøs , Swedish tös 'girl' and Norwegian (dialect) Taus 'maid'.

From this point of view, there is no doubt that the term belongs to religion. However, it has not been proven that the term witch (or its predecessor) was a name for people who were active in ritual before Christianization . People with special knowledge ( see: Esotericism ), lower mythical beings or goddesses of pre-Christian or non-Christian religions should also be considered.

If the intention of the term refers to the legs hanging on different sides, the term could be understood metaphorically as a description of a being with one leg in the realm of the living and the other in the realm of the dead. There are also the variants that the profane and the sacred area face each other and thus form the boundary or the here and the hereafter.

Gisela Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg, however, sees - here u. a. based on Mircea Eliade , Erik Noreen , Lily Weiser-Aall , Joseph Hansen ( Zauberwahn, Inquisition and Witch Trial in the Middle Ages , Munich and Leipzig 1900), Hans von Hentig and Jan de Vries - in Old High German hag it is not the fenced hedge , but the individual fence picket , on which the witchcraft rides and which later developed into the typical broom in popular belief. Furthermore, she sees in the cult practices later called witchcraft a Bronze Age , maternal " natural religion " that developed from Stone Age shamanism , and recognizes in hag an anthropological characteristic that is widespread in classical shamanism in Asia and North America, namely the drum beaters that produce trance-producing music , about it literally hot in most languages of the respective cultures, the shaman in this Schlegel into the spirit world ride . From this Stone Age ride on the drumstick , mediated by the Bronze Age maternal religion, which in turn was strongly negatively reinterpreted and opposed by the patriarchal Indo-European tribes that immigrated to Europe from the beginning of the Iron Age , the idea of ​​a mostly female or effeminate magical being riding on a fence picket had emerged developed.

Early use of the word

The persecution of witches initially spread mainly in the francophone-speaking area. In German-speaking countries, the term "Hexereye" first appeared in 1419 in a sorcery trial against a man in Lucerne, Switzerland . However, as early as 1402/03 in an account book from Schaffhausen there was talk of a "hegsen brand", ie burning of witches. The Malleus Maleficarum of the Dominican Heinrich Kramer , called Institoris, calls the witches “maleficae” [pl.] Instead of the male equivalent “malefici” [pl.] Originally “malefactor”, only later “magician”.

The humanist and founder of Bavarian historiography Johannes Aventinus (1477–1534), actually Johannes Turmair, said around 1526 that the term "witch" for the old sorceresses came from the "captain ... Frau Häcs" (variants: Häts, Hets, Hätz ) from, the wife of the legendary King Theuer, brother of King Baier, who was "a great doctor" and leader of the Amazons and is said to have been adored later.

Dealing with the concept of witches in the 20th and 21st centuries

  • 1949: Simone de Beauvoir publishes the work The opposite sex . Customs and sex of women , in which she describes witches as the oldest and most worn of all myths: The man is lured and sucked out by "the worn vocabulary of the feature novels in which the woman is described as a witch, a sorceress". "The corrupt witch opposes the passion of duty, the present moment of the unity of time, she keeps the wanderer away from home, she spreads oblivion over him".
  • 1975: Alice Schwarzer in “The small difference and its big consequences” : Feminists are “man women”, “political fury” and “broken witches ”. “I tried very quickly to undermine the mark as a 'service witch'. For political reasons, but also for private reasons: Such malice hurts despite all knowledge of the motives of the drooling. "
  • Elga Sorge writes the manifesto of the confessing Frauenkirche as a witches' convent .
  • 1975 Emma Bonino , feminist and politician, former EU commissioner , member of the Radical Party in Italy , is appointed by Pope Paul VI. referred to as a witch after she founded the Sterilization and Abortion Information Center .
  • In the 1970s, Italian women demonstrated against the ban on abortion and walked through the street with the words “Tremate, tremate, le streghe son tornate” ( “Trembled, trembled, the witches have returned” ). Silvia Bovenschen is the earliest source for this; in other sources it is dated to the 1960s or 1980s, including the University of Padua. Rome , Milan and the University of Padua are circulating as locations ; the death of a woman as a result of rape is sometimes given as a reason.
  • In 1977 and 1978 there were demonstrations by women against rape in Freiburg and in 1981 in Kassel on Walpurgis Night .
  • The term " witch hunt " is used in the present, in contrast to the historical meaning in the figurative sense, for loud and disproportionate public criticism of a person who has fallen out of favor in public opinion or is disliked for other reasons.

Other names in German

An older German term for the witch is Unholde or Unholdin, male form Unhold . This term also denotes ghosts or generally demonic beings. In southern Germany Drude or Trude and Truderer, Trudner, in northern Germany the Low German expressions Töversche and Töverer (= "magic", cf. Dutch tovenaar , " magician "), Wickersche and Wicker , Galstersche and Galsterer (Middle High German Galster means "magic song", compare Nachti- "gall ") or Böterin and Böter (= healthy "praying", healing ) used ( ethnobotany ).

According to ascribed characteristics and abilities of the witches, the terms were milk standing activist and Milchstehler , Bock horsewoman and Bockreiter , fork rider and fork Reiter , soothsayer , fence riders (túnriđur) and soothsayers , Zeichendeuterin and wizards , coat driver and casing driver , Crystal Seer and Crystal Seer or generally evil people ( Maleficants ) used.

Names in other European languages

As Latin names encounter, also in German sources, among others: lamia (demoness), saga (fortune teller), striga (old witch, Greek στρίγξ " owl "), venefica and veneficus (poisonous, from Latin venenum malum "bad juice", “ Poison ”), maga and magus ( enchanters , derived and reinterpreted from the Persian lean ), malefica and maleficus (“causing harm”), incantatrix and incantator (using a “ spell ”), fascinatrix and fascinator (with the “ evil eye” "bewitching to Greek βάσκανος" jealous speaking , bewitching ") sortilega and sortilegus ( oracles -Deutende) pythonissa (Summoner a" python ", Greek πύθων" Rotten; Totengeist "). More recent formations for the German expressions Gabelreiterin and Gabelreiter seem to be bacularia and bacularius (“ broom ” riders, from Latin baculus “stick”, or “ magic wand ” wearers, to the baculumstick ” of the augurs ); the words do not appear in the Latin Bible ( Vulgate ), and in Middle and New Latin , bacularius is a subsidiary form of baccalarius (dependent peasant; also baccalaureus ). The same applies to herbaria (herbalist, to herba "herb"): herbariae are "herbivorous" animals, herbarius (herbalist) is a neutral term used by the botanist.

The most common names for witches and sorcerers in Italian ( strega / stregone , from striga ) and French ( sorcière / sorcier , from late Latin sortiarius , from Latin sors , "Los, Losorakel," also "fate") go into Latin. back. However, the etymology of Spanish bruja (and Portuguese bruxa , Catalan bruixa ) is unclear ; This word probably comes from a pre-Romanesque substrate language, i.e. from Celtic or Iberian .

The English word witch has been attested in Old English since 890 , initially only as a masculine ( wicce , meaning "witcher"), after 1000 then also as a feminine ( wicca ), although the sources hardly provide any information about which occult skills are attributed to the so-called magicians were. Whether ae. wiccian "magic, witches" is derived from the noun wicce , or whether it is the other way around, is just as uncertain as possible relationships to a whole range of phonetic words in English and its North Sea Germanic neighboring languages. It only seems certain that the verb wikken , which is used in Low German and Frisian, particularly in the sense of “fortune telling”, is originally related to wiccian . Plausible, but at least problematic in terms of phonetic law, is Jacob Grimm 's theory, according to which wiccian ~ wikken not only synonyms, but etymological duplicates of ae. wīglian or nd. wigelen are and with Dutch wichelen (also “fortune telling”) ultimately to the word clan around the common Germanic root word * wīh- “holy, consecrated”, which also got . Weihs and ahd. wīh "holy" (cf. nhd. Weih nachten ), as. wīh and anord. “temple, sanctuary” and ae. wīg ~ wēoh resulted in “idol, idol”; a possible non-Germanic cognate in this case is also the Latin victima "victim." Walter W. Skeat , on the other hand , interpreted wicce / wicca as a syncopated form of the old English word wītega "prophet, seer, fateful man" (also wītiga, wītga ; cf. new English wiseacre " Klugscheißer "), which corresponds to ahd. Wîȥago , from which in turn nhd." Prophecy "(ahd. Wîȥagunga ) has developed. In this case, the root word germ. * Weis (s) a- "wissend" (cf. "weise", "joke") and ultimately idg. * Weis- "see, know", and a direct cognate of wicce / wicca would therefore also be Icelandic vitki (" witcher ", from vita , "to know"), and not least the English word wizard , which came up in the 15th century and initially meant "wise man" or "philosopher", but today it means " Witcher, sorcerer ”, thus representing the male counterpart to the generally female witch .

Real people as objects of speaking about witches

Historical development of belief in witches

An essential element of the belief in witchcraft is that the believer is unwilling to accept the category “ chance ” as an explanation for outstanding events. According to Wolfgang Behringer , it is not so much the belief that witchcraft must be involved here that it is astonishing and in need of explanation than the extent of the “disenchantment” of the modern world, i.e. H. the great degree of willingness to regard the sudden death of an infant as sheer bad luck.

The belief in witches is a pan-European superstition (popular belief), the roots of which lie in the pre-Christian belief in gods. However, it is still widespread in African cultures, animistic religions, etc. This broad correspondence is not noticeable because the names differ from region to region. In the post-Celtic culture, fairies (morganes etc.) are spoken of , who could be good and bad, and in Ireland they were depicted as two-faced. In the post-Germanic area, the term elf primarily stands for a good being, while otherwise (probably as a result of Christian indoctrination) there is the bad witch. The terms fairy and elf were not applied to humans and therefore not the subject of witch hunts. They kept their character as mythical beings.

The fairy-tale stereotype of the witch, namely an old woman riding a broom - and often accompanied by a black bird (probably one of Odin's two ravens ) or a black cat - is derived from the idea of ​​a being that lives together staying in hedges or rather in groves or riding on borders. Probably the stereotype as such is relatively new and is due to illustrations in German fairy tale books, because exact equivalents (apart from the ability to fly) are missing in many places in neighboring countries. The fence post, mostly forked branches, became the witch's broom in the pictorial representation . However, this version was already subject to Christian influence. There are various explanations for the image of the fence rider: it could once have been a kind of archaic (forest) priestesses, on the other hand an abstract image is also sought: beings sitting on fences are on a border of cultivated space to uncultivated nature.

If the hedge can perhaps be identified with the spell that surrounded pre-Christian places of worship and represents a dividing line between the world on this side and the other world, then the witch is a person who can mediate between the two worlds. She has divinatory , but also healing abilities and high knowledge, and thus has the properties of pre-Christian cult bearers.

The meanings oracle-speaking , magician, (clairvoyant) seer and others have always been included in the term witch - all attributes that were also assigned to the Nordic Freya , the Irish Brigid and other archaic goddesses.

One possible origin of the archetype “witch”, if the etymology of the English witch is correct, is a woman with occult or naturopathic knowledge who may have belonged to a priesthood. This is a transfer of the abilities (healing, magic, fortune telling) of the goddess Freya and comparable goddesses in other regions to their priestesses, who acted in the usual way in the early Christian environment for a long time. With the advance of Christianity, pagan teachings and their followers were demonized.

Incidentally, the concept of belief in witches is ambiguous. It not only describes the conviction of the real and threatening existence of witches, as it was rooted in popular belief and could increase as a reaction of the authorities to the witch madness . In addition, he can now describe the (natural religious) beliefs that refer to a pre-Christian understanding and call certain people of both sexes, who supposedly have special skills and knowledge ( see: Esotericism ), as witches.


In the Old Testament of the Bible, sorcery carries the death penalty . Especially the passage ( 2 Mos 22,17  LUT ) - you should not let the sorceresses live - later served the persecutors of the witches as a justification.

In the 13th century BC The Hittite great king Muršili II accused his stepmother and reigning great queen Tawananna of causing both his speech impairment and the death of his wife through witchcraft.

Also in many ancient cults there was already the image of the damaging sorceress and herbalist sorceress. Examples are the characters Kirke and Medea in Greek mythology . Both are powerful sorceresses with herbal knowledge and various magical abilities that they use to help or harm.

The ancient goddess Hecate in particular was strongly associated with the ancient belief in witches. She was originally considered a benevolent and benevolent goddess, but from the 5th century BC onwards she became the patroness of all magical arts. It was believed that she led the sorceresses and taught them their arts. The images of witches in ancient Greece are strongly reminiscent of the images of witches that emerged in the late Middle Ages and early modern times (ability to transform, cast magic, flight of witches, knowledge of herbs, human sacrifice and the abuse of corpses).

In ancient Roman law, damage wizardry (e.g. using escape boards ) was a criminal offense.

Middle Ages and Modern Times

Memorial stone for a witch burning in Eckartsberga in 1563

In the wake of the European Enlightenment , the persecution of witches was seen in many places as an evil to be overcome. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the practice, now condemned as cruel and inhuman persecution of people, was commemorated with the erection of monuments , such as on the outskirts of the Saxon-Anhalt town of Eckartsberga , where a woman accused of witchcraft was killed in flames in 1563.

The city of Schönebeck (Elbe) has been honoring women and girls in the Schönebeck Memorial Park since 2002 who were sentenced to death as “witches” in Schönebeck and Bad Salzelmen and then burned by naming them in a women's village .

Geographical distribution of the witch hunt

The modern witch hunt was mainly concentrated in the territory of the Holy Roman Empire , England , Switzerland , the Netherlands , Lorraine , Scotland and Poland . Historians attribute this fact to the relatively weak position of central government in these countries. Spain , Portugal and Italy were largely spared the phenomenon of the witch hunt. Individual cases are also documented in the American colonies ( Salem witch trials ) and for Finland . In the 17th century almost 140 witch trials were carried out in Finnmark, the first in 1601.


The Night-Hag Visiting Lapland Witches by Johann Heinrich Füssli

From the earliest times the Sami were considered to be particularly magical. Saxo Grammaticus writes:

"Sunt autem Finni ultimi Septentrionis populi, vix quidem habitabilem orbis terrarum partem cultura ac mansione complexi. Acer iisdem telorum est usus. Non alia gens promptiore jaculandi peritia fruitur. Gandibus & latis sagittis dimicant, incantationum studiis incumbunt, veationibus callent. Incerta illis habitatio est, vagaque domus, ubicunque, ferma occupaverint locantibus sedes. Pandis trabibus vecti, conferta nivibus juga percurrunt. "

“The Finns are a people in the far north who live in a hardly habitable part of the world and cultivate the land there. Proficient use of spears is common among them. No other people get better benefit from the practical knowledge of spear throwing. They fight with heavy and thick arrows, they practice magic, they have experience in hunting. Their abode is not fixed and their home is unstable, wherever they take up residence in the wild. When traveling they walk on curved boards through connected mountain ranges full of snow. "

- Adam of Bremen : Saxonis grammatici historiæ Danicæ

and Adam von Bremen writes about Olav the saint:

"Dicunt eum inter cetera virtutum opera magnum Dei zelum habuisse, ut maleficos de terra disperderet, quorum numero cum tota barbaries exundet, praecipue vero Norvegia monstris talibus plena est. Nam et divini et augures et magi et incantatores ceterique satellites antichristi habitant ibi, quorum praestigiis et miraculis infelices animae ludibrio daemonibus habentur. "

“Among other good achievements, he is said to have served God with such zeal that he wiped out the sorcerers from his country, who are more than plentiful in the world of barbarians, but Norway is particularly full of such devil beings. Fortune tellers, bird interpreters, magicians, conjurers and other servants of the Antichrist live here, and their jokes and arts make the unfortunate souls the plaything of evil spirits. "

and about the seeds he writes:

"Omnes vero christianissimi, qui in Norvegia degunt, exceptis illis, qui trans arctoam plagam circa oceanum remoti sunt. Eos adhuc ferunt magicis artibus sive incantationibus in tantum prevalere, ut se scire fateantur, quid a singulis in toto orbe geratur; tum etiam potenti murmure verborum grandia cete maris in littora trahunt, et alia multa, quae de maleficis in Scriptura leguntur omnia illis ex usu facilia sunt. "

“Also, all of Norway's inhabitants are good Christians, with the exception of those who live far north by the ocean. They are said to have such power through magic and incantation that they boast that they know what everyone is doing all over the world. They also use powerful magic formulas to pull large whales out of the sea to the beach, and they are used to doing with ease many other things that are read by magicians in the Scriptures. "

- Adam of Bremen : Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae Pontificum

Sorceresses are already mentioned in the Icelandic sagas. The spell usually referred to causing severe thunderstorms or making clothing that no sword could pierce. How the practices were carried out is almost never described. One of the very rare descriptions concerns the attempt of a woman who knows magic to protect her failing son from persecution by trying to make his opponents go mad.

"Og er þeir bræður komu að mælti Högni: 'Hvað fjanda fer hér að oss er eg veit eigi hvað er?' Þorsteinn svarar: 'Þar fer Ljót kerling og hefir breytilega um búist.' Hún hafði rekið fötin fram yfir Höfuð sér og fór öfug and rétti Höfuðið aftur milli fótanna. Ófagurleger var hennar augnabragð hversu hún gat þeim tröllslega skotið. Þorsteinn mælti til Jökuls: 'Dreptu nú Hrolleif, þess hefir þú lengi fús verið.' Jökull svarar: 'Þess er eg nú albúinn.' Hjó hann þá af honum Höfuðið og bað hann aldrei þrífast. 'Já, já,' sagði Ljót, 'nú lagði allnær að eg mundi vel geta hefnt Hrolleifs sonar míns og eruð þér Ingimundarsynir giftumenn miklir.' Þorsteinn svarar: 'Hvað er nú helst til marks um það?' Hún kvaðst hafa ætlað að snúa þar um landslagi öllu ‚en þér ærðust allir og yrðuð að gjalti eftir á vegum úti með villidırum og svo mundi og gengið hafa ef þér hefið enuyr.

“And when the brothers came over, Högni said: 'What kind of devil is coming up to us there? I do not know what it is.' Thorstein replied: 'Here comes Lyot, the old woman, and has done a strange job.' She had thrown her clothes over her head and was walking backwards and stretching her head back between her legs. The look in their eyes was grayish, as they knew how to shoot it like the trolls. Thorstein called to Jökul: 'Now kill Hrolleif. You burned for a long time.' Jökul replied, 'I'm ready for that,' and cut off his head and wished him the devil. 'Yes, yes,' said Lyot, 'now it was close to the fact that I could have avenged my son Hrolleif. But the Ingimund sons are great lucky men. ' Thorstein replied: 'Why do you mean that?' She said she wanted to overturn the whole country, 'and you would have gotten mad and stayed crazy out with the wild animals. And so it would have happened if you hadn't seen me sooner than I saw you. '"

- Vatnsdœla saga

When the English Mystery and Company of Merchant Adventurers for the Discovery of Regions, Dominions, Islands, and Places unknown tried to find the Northeast Passage to China, they gave up because of pack ice and storms. This experience led the English to claim in the 17th century that there was a plague of witches in the north. One of the entrances to hell was identified on the Domen ridge near Vardö in 1662 (another was the volcano Hekla in Iceland). The mountain was believed to be the gathering place of the witches.


In Elfdal, Dalarne , after the Thirty Years' War, the first witch burning took place on August 25, 1669, which killed 84 adults and 15 children.


There were a total of more than 91 dead after witch trials.

Justification and evaluation of the allegation of witchcraft

Old laws

The sagas already report that witches and wizards are to be punished because they impose their will on others with unauthorized, magical means or intervene in nature in order to harm others. For example, Eiríkr blóðøx is reported to have burned 80 wizards. With the South Germanic peoples, the preparation of potions which cause female sterility was the death penalty. The minimum sentence for poisoning, weathermaking and sorcery was seven years - if this was also connected with service or a pact with evil or at least supernatural powers, it became 10 years. From 800 onwards, the secular power shifted the investigation of these crimes more and more to the church, which subsequently referred to Roman law of the imperial era, according to which the duty to denounce magicians and heretics as hostes publici applies. The Popes of the High Middle Ages, so Innocent III. and especially Gregory IX. , continued this and laid the foundations of the Inquisition until 1233 . This then has nothing to do with the mythological being witch or a person who knows magic; the charge against mortal people consists of the combination of the offenses of apostasy and heresy.

Early modern understanding of witches

"The Witches", woodcut by Hans Baldung (1508)

According to the witch doctrine of the early modern witch theorists, the characteristics of a witch included :

  1. the flight of witches on sticks, animals, demons or with the help of flying ointments
  2. Meet the devil and other witches on the so-called Witches' Sabbath
  3. the pact with the devil
  4. the sexual intercourse with the devil (in the form of incubus and succubus , the so-called vicious Buhlschaft ) and
  5. the magic of damage (cf. the term lumbago ).

These five features formed the elaborate witch's code from around 1400.

The idea of ​​limited goods played a role for the magic of damage: if a farmer's harvest, milk yield or other good falls, the cause is that someone has taken them away by magical means.
Women who had worked in veterinary medicine were also quickly targeted by the persecutors, as it was assumed that they had bewitched the cattle and thus achieved their healing successes (or in the event of failure, one immediately suspected that the treatment was merely drying up the milk etc. should serve).

Women in particular were accused of witchcraft. In part, the church's doctrine of original sin was the reason for this. She suggested that women are particularly receptive to the devil's whisperings. The Witches Hammer claims that women are inherently bad and that the few good women are weak and more easily exposed to the temptations of the devil; it is precisely in their function as midwives that they come into contact with bad juices which spoil them and make them susceptible to the devil's seduction.

Of great importance was the idea of ​​a general witch conspiracy. From the transfer of stereotypes that had been ascribed to the Jews for centuries , the idea of ​​a " Synagoga Satanae " ( synagogue of Satan ), later called "Witches' Sabbath", emerged. It was believed that they were on the trail of an orgiastic meeting at which God and his church were mocked. It was believed that the entire existence of Christianity was threatened by this "witch sect".

This created a mixed new understanding of witches. The decisive characteristic was no longer the damage that the witches cause, but the apostasy and the associated devotion to the devil. Now they were a spiritual danger; the church acted against its apostate believers, following the principles of Augustine of Hippo , with force and fire for the salvation of souls.

21st century

Valuations of the great churches

There were two competing views on witchcraft in the late ancient and early medieval churches. Augustine of Hippo concluded from the physical impossibility of magic to an implicit invitation from the devil to accomplish the otherwise impossible task.

This semiotic view of witchcraft initially took a back seat in favor of a view that was derived from the rules of the Church Fathers on dealing with women who believed they were going out with Diana at night: These women, it said, should be treated with indulgence because since what they thought they were doing was physically impossible, it was based on imagination. The regulations of Charlemagne towards the Saxons are also to be understood.

Later the doctrine of the Devil's Pact was developed. Although it was almost 1,000 years before the organized persecution came about, this is one of the foundations that led to the witch hunt. In the further course of the 15th century, the image of witches consolidated as a witch sect or cult with meetings and rites that were to lead to the assumption of world domination (J. Baptier et al.). This, along with torture as an interrogation method , later led to the accusations exploding. The age of legal witch hunts had begun.

The Roman Catholic Church is hostile to witchcraft, as well as other forms of magic and sorcery. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church , such practices “seriously violate the virtue of worship”, even if they were intended to “bring about health” (CCC 2117). The Evangelical Church evaluates magic as an attempt to “[…] make the divine technically available” and as a violation of the first commandment . "Magic then becomes an illegitimate interference with the absolute freedom of God."

Legal valuations

With the European Enlightenment , criminal offenses that penalize sorcery, magic and the like were abolished. It is therefore generally accepted that the superstitious or unreal attempt is not punishable. However, this result is justified differently in terms of criminal law. "Superstitious" de iure is any behavior in which the perpetrator "trusts in the effectiveness of magical powers which do not exist or which, according to the state of scientific knowledge, cannot be proven".

According to another opinion, the unreal attempt is to be placed on the same level as the grossly incomprehensible attempt. Thereafter, the court according to Section 23 (3) of the Criminal Code refrain from punishing or mitigate the punishment. Harro Otto always wants to refrain from punishment in accordance with the constitutional interpretation of Section 23 (3) StGB. Legal policy demands that the grossly incomprehensible attempt - as well as the unreal attempt - be made completely unpunished, since both are neither punishable nor subject to punishment.

The Austrian Criminal Code stipulates in Section 15 (3): "The attempt and participation in it are not punishable if the completion of the act due to a lack of personal characteristics or circumstances that the law requires of the agent, or according to the type of act or object, on which the act was committed was not possible under any circumstances. ”The corresponding provision of the Swiss Criminal Code reads:“ The perpetrator, due to gross misunderstanding, fails to recognize that the act depends on the type of object or means on or with which he wants to carry it out , cannot reach perfection at all, he remains unpunished. "

Anyone who wanted to convict someone in a constitutional state for “conjuring up an angel of death” would have to prove that

  • conjuring up an angel of death is a criminal offense
  • there are angels (here: angel of death),
  • these are basically controllable by humans and
  • the suspect belongs to the privileged group of people who can do this.

Maximilian Becker illustrates the thesis that lawyers committed to the Enlightenment cannot respond to attempts to harm people through magic by imposing a penalty: “If the A is at home in a holy place at midnight with a full moon If B was lying in bed, and B died of a heart attack a few minutes later, it would not occur to anyone to punish A for a committed homicide. ”Also , do not try this one who is praying for the death of his neighbor to kill, just think he's trying.

Africa and Asia

In 2011, in Saudi Arabia , a woman was beheaded as a "witch" who had claimed that she could cure diseases supernaturally and had been paid for her alleged abilities.

Until 2013 "witchcraft" could be punished by law in Papua New Guinea . Perpetrators who justified assaults on women on the grounds that they had been "bewitched" by them could expect to receive extenuating circumstances from the country's judiciary.

On July 16, 2008, the federal government replied to a major question from members of the Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen parliamentary group on the subject of "Witchcraft and Wizardry in Africa":

In the African countries, which criminalize “witchcraft” and “sorcery”, there is no uniform practice with regard to the application of the corresponding criminal law clauses. In some countries, due to the relevant legal provisions, criminal prosecution generally takes place ( Gabon , Malawi , Namibia , Zambia , Tanzania , Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of the Congo ), in other countries there is no criminal prosecution in most cases, despite the existing legal basis. In a number of countries, acts associated with “witchcraft” and “sorcery” are only punished if they are also criminally relevant, such as murder, assault, disturbance of public order ( Benin , Côte d'Ivoire , Gambia , Guinea Bissau , Cameroon , Cape Verde , Kenya , Nigeria , Senegal , Chad and Uganda ). Ghana and Sudan are special cases . In Ghana, women are persecuted on the basis of arbitrary accusations despite the lack of criminal regulations. Non-governmental organizations estimate the number of women deported to so-called “witch camps” at around 3,000. In Sudan, too, there are occasional riots against women who are accused of “witchcraft” without the state adequately fulfilling its protective function.
The Federal Government takes the view that acts in connection with “witchcraft” and “sorcery”, which constitute an attack on the physical integrity of people, must be prosecuted.

"New Witches"

Wicca ceremony in Avebury (May 2005)

The concept of witch in the European-American cultural area has undergone a fundamental change apart from the mainstream shaped by the Enlightenment . By Margaret Alice Murray's book Witch-Cult in Western Europe of witches term was brought home in a new concept to the public in 1921 (Witch-Cult in Western Europe). With the reception of early research on witch hunts (including Jules Michelet in his less systematic and more intuitive and romantic historical work La Sorcière ) by the alternative scene and the women's movement, in particular the idea that witches were actually wise women who were Rulers were persecuted, the witch's topos offers a wide spectrum of identification for neo-paganism and the esoteric scene .

The term witch is re-understood in a positive way. Nowadays, many women who deal with medicinal herbs and the old European religions call themselves witches.

Mention should be made here especially the Wicca - Religion , which sees itself as a new form of pagan "nature religion" of the witches in the US has many followers and is recognized there as a religion. The Celtic Witches specifically refer to roots in Celtic mythology and religion.

Male witches

Today men sometimes refer to themselves as "witches", but also as sorcerers , wizards or sorcerers.

However, the female and male characteristics do not come from the same historical origin and therefore each evoke different associations.

Witch children (Congo)

The economic and social decline since 2000 has led to the stigmatization of children as witch children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo , but also in Nigeria , Togo , Tanzania and other African countries . These children are ascribed magical abilities with which they are supposed to wield harmful spells . Children stigmatized in this way are often abandoned, persecuted and murdered by their mothers.

Fictional characters in literature, film and folklore

Archetypes of the witch imagination in stories and stagings are the figures of Medea and Kirke from Greco-Roman mythology ( see: Ancient Roots ).


Hansel and Gretel, Ludwig Richter

There are numerous fairy tales of witches in the collection of children's and household tales by the Brothers Grimm . The best known is probably the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel , in which the witch is depicted with all the characteristics that popular belief has ascribed to her. This includes, in particular, the threat to children. The two were supported by their brother Ludwig Grimm , who, as an illustrator, gave the witch its typical appearance.

The literary and cinematic processing of the witch motif are innumerable and range from Shakespeare's Macbeth to Goethe's Faust and Fontane's Die Brück 'am Tay to the Blair Witch Project . The traditional (horror) image of the witch lives on in modern fairy tales like Witches of Eastwick .

In addition, however, there is a new tradition of positive witch images in literature. While the little witch in Otfried Preußler (1957) because of their good deeds will be an outsider, today's children's books know mostly "good" witches ( Bibi , Lisbeth , Zilly , Charmed ) or have good and bad witches alike ( Harry Potter ). The concept of the witch has largely lost its earlier negative meaning.

Proof that the threat could also come from male actors is the fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin . Here the mythical tenor of the fairy tales becomes particularly clear: it is essentially about the human sacrifices in the faith of the farmers. A woman who has become rich through the harvest should give up her child as a sacrifice. This is prevented at the last moment by the fact that the male is called by his name, i.e. is recognized.

The witch often lives in a special witch house. In the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, for example, it is a gingerbread house. The witch Baba Jaga , on the other hand, lives in a house on a chicken leg that can rotate.


Straw witch doll ( spark witch ) at the top of a carnival fire

In the Harz , where the witches' meeting on the Blocksberg ( Brocken ) was suspected for Walpurgis Night , the belief in witches is still cultivated as a folkloric tradition.

In the area of ​​the Swabian-Alemannic carnival as well as in the Tyrolean carnival , carnival witches appear, which increased explosively in the 20th century, especially in the Swabian-Alemannic region. The extent to which they can be traced back to the witch hunt or the fairytale witch has not been sufficiently clarified in folklore research. As a Mardi Gras bonfire, witch dolls are often burned on Shrove Tuesday or Spark Sunday in effigie of the end of Mardi Gras. A so-called spark fire is a pile of wood with a tree trunk on the top of which hangs a witch's doll ( spark witch), partly filled with gunpowder. When the flames of the spark reach the witch doll, it explodes with a loud resounding, which promises special luck. In Spain, Portugal, Central and South America, such doll burnings, also explosively, are known as Judas burning (sp. Quema do Judas ) around the New Year, but especially before Easter, and are popular in folklore.

In recent times in particular, this has repeatedly led to discussions, since the combination of witches and the pyre is reminiscent of the medieval witch burnings, even if the carnival bonfires basically have nothing to do with it.

See for example

Psychoanalytic Interpretation

The analytical psychology in the tradition of Carl Gustav Jung the legends myths and fairy tales witches occurring in dreams, are considered as an expression of nefasten aspect of the so-called mother archetype , ie the destructive and devouring mother.

Famous (alleged) witches

Authentic people

Bonfire with witch doll, near Görisried (2016)
  • Joan of Arc , burned in Rouen in 1431
  • Margaret Barcley († 1618), a lady from a good Scottish house, was tried, tortured and sentenced as a witch in Irvine, Ayrshire. She was strangled and burned.
  • Sidonie von Borcke (1548–1620) from the Marienfließ monastery was beheaded on September 28, 1620 in front of the mill gate and burned at the stake.
  • Elisabeth von Doberschütz , née von Strantz , wife of the former governor of Neustettin Melchior von Doberschütz , was beheaded and burned on December 17, 1591 at the gates of Szczecin.
  • The "child witch" Agatha Gatter
  • Anna Göldin , executed in Glarus in June 1782 as the last witch (in Switzerland).
  • Maria Holl , (1549–1634), the "witch of Nördlingen", was one of the first women to withstand all the tortures during the witch trial against her in 1593/1594. With her strength she freed the city of Nördlingen from the witch craze. Their persistence led to doubts about the correctness of witch trials and ultimately to a rethinking of the population and the authorities.
  • Hester Jonas , known as "the witch of Neuss", was arrested in 1635, tortured in the witch's chair and beheaded and burned in front of the Neuss windmill on Christmas Eve 1635 at the age of about 64 . The complete protocol of the trial has been preserved in Neuss.
  • Katharina Kepler , mother of Johannes Kepler , released in 1621.
  • Catherine Monvoisin , known as "La Voisin", provided with her Parisian witch circle Madame de Montespan , the mistress of Louis XIV , and his court society with poison and held black masses for a fee . In 1680 she and her supporters were burned on the Place de Grève .
  • Tempel Anneke , real name Anna Roleffes, was one of the last convicted in Braunschweig and "witches" executed there on December 30, 1663 after nine months of imprisonment and numerous interrogations in front of the Wendentor.
  • Anna Schnidenwind , b. Trutt (* around 1688 in Wyhl am Kaiserstuhl; † April 24, 1751 in Endingen am Kaiserstuhl ) was one of the last women to be publicly executed as a witch in Germany.
  • Anna Maria Schwegelin (also: Schwägele, Schwegele, Schwegelin ; * 1729 in Lachen ; † 1781 in captivity in Kempten ) was a maid who was sentenced to death in 1775 as the last "witch" in what is now Germany . In the meantime it has been proven that contrary to the older opinion, the sentence was not carried out and Schwegelin died in captivity.
  • Anna Truels , burned in 1567 on the North Frisian island of Nordstrand
  • Abigail Williams , one of the Salem Witches (USA). Salem is known for the witch trials that took place in 1692 . This fact earned the city the nickname The Witch City .

Fictional witches

Angela Spook , the witch from Düsseldorf's Königsallee , 2008

Witch figures in different cultures

  • Baba Jaga , witch in (East) Slavic mythology and fairy tales
  • Jenny Greenteeth , river witch from English folklore
  • Louhi , witch of the north in the Finnish Kalevala myth
  • Ragana , Lithuanian and Latvian witch
  • Yamauba , Japanese mountain witch
  • Yuki Onna , Japanese snow witch
  • Grýla , Icelandic witch figure

Witches and Witches' Sabbath in world literature


in alphabetical order by authors / editors

  • Gabriele Becker u. a. (Ed.): From the time of desperation. On the genesis and topicality of the witch image . 9th edition. Edition Suhrkamp. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1995, ISBN 3-518-10840-9 .
  • Wolfgang Behringer : Witches and witch trials in Germany. dtv, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-432-02957-9 .
  • Wolfgang Behringer: witch hunt in Bavaria. Folk magic, zeal for faith and reasons of state in the early modern period. Oldenbourg, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-486-53902-7 .
  • Wolfgang Behringer: Witches: Faith, Persecution, Marketing. 6th, revised edition, CH Beck, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-406-41882-2 .
  • Johannes Dillinger : Witches and Magic. A historical introduction. Campus, Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 978-3-593-38302-6 .
  • Peter Dinzelbacher : Saints or Witches? Fates of conspicuous women in the Middle Ages and early modern times. Artemis, Zurich 1995 et al. (Italian and Czech translations)
  • Richard van Dülmen (ed.): Hexenwelten. Magic and Imagination from 16. – 20. Century. Frankfurt am Main 1987.
  • Silvia Federici : Caliban and the witch. Women, the body and the primordial accumulation. Mandelbaum-Verlag, Vienna 2012, ISBN 978-3-85476-615-5 .
  • Marco Frenschkowski : The witches. A cultural and historical analysis. (MarixWissen). Marix, Wiesbaden 2012, ISBN 978-3-86539-965-6 .
  • Gilbert G. Groud : Magic Noire. About belief in witches in Africa. Albin Michel, Paris 2003, ISBN 2-226-13642-8 .
  • Ronald Hutton: The Witch: A History of Fear, from Ancient Times to the Present. Yale University Press, New Haven 2017, ISBN 978-0-300-22904-2 .
  • Eva Labouvie : Against fortune telling, blessing and sorcery. Church attempts to exclude superstition and folk magic since the 16th century. In: Richard van Dülmen (Ed.): Crimes, punishments and social control. (Studies on historical cultural research, Vol. 3). Frankfurt am Main 1990, pp. 15-55.
  • Anita Lackenberger : A devilish work. The tortures of the witch of Vienna, torture protocol 1583. Freya, Unterweitersdorf 1998, ISBN 3-901279-68-7 .
  • Claude Lecouteux: Hagazussa Striga Witch. In: Hessian papers for folk and cultural research. Marburg 1985, 18, ISSN  0175-3479 , pp. 57-70.
  • Monika Lücke , Dietrich Lücke: burned for their magic sake. Hunting of witches in the early modern period in the area of ​​Saxony-Anhalt. Mitteldeutscher Verlag, Halle 2011, ISBN 978-3-89812-828-5 .
  • Friedrich Merzbacher : The witch trials in Franconia. 1957 (= series of publications on Bavarian national history. Volume 56); 2nd, expanded edition: CH Beck, Munich 1970, ISBN 3-406-01982-X , in particular pp. 5–11 ( The concept of witches ).
  • HC Erik Midelfort : Witch Hunting in Southwestern Germany, 1562–1684: The Social and Intellectual Foundations. Stanford University Press, 1972.
  • Ulrich Molitor , Konrad Lautenbach: From monsters and witches. 1489. New into German by Nicolaus Equiamicus. Ubooks, Diedorf 2008, ISBN 978-3-86608-089-8 .
  • NN: witches. In: Lexikon des Mittelalters , IV, 2201–2204.
  • NN: Witches - analyzes, sources, documents. Electronic resource (CD-ROM), Directmedia Publishing , Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-89853-493-6 .
  • Matthias Pöhlmann (ed.): New witches. Between cult, commerce and enchantment. (EZW texts. Vol. 186). Evangelical Central Office for Weltanschauung questions, Berlin 2006, ISSN  0085-0357 .
  • Nicolas Rémy : Daemonolatreia or devil service. U-Books, Diedorf 2009, ISBN 978-3-86608-113-0 .
  • Petra Roeder: Crimen mixtum - allegation of witchcraft. Saxa et Libri. Vol. 7, Emmendingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-940220-13-4 .
  • Sigrid Schade: Damage magic and the magic of the body: witch pictures of the early modern age . Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft , Worms 1983. ISBN 978-3-88462-024-3 .
  • Gerd Schwerhoff : From everyday suspicion to mass persecution. Recent German research on the early modern witchcraft. In: History in Science and Education. Seelze, 46.1995, ISSN  0016-9056 , pp. 359-380.
  • Hans Sebald : Witches then - and now? Umschau, Frankfurt am Main 1987, ISBN 3-524-69063-7 .
  • Rolf Übel : Because of much practiced sorcery and witchcraft. Witch hunt in the south of the Palatinate and in north Alsace. Landau in der Pfalz 2003, ISBN 3-929893-14-2 .
  • Felix Wiedemann: racial mother and rebel. Images of witches in romanticism, folk movement, neo-paganism and feminism. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-8260-3679-8 . (Revised dissertation from Freie Universität Berlin 2006. Study of the history of ideas, about the ideas of "the witches of earlier times" in Germany from Romanticism to today)
  • Felix Wiedemann: Germanic wise woman, priestess, shaman. The image of the witch in neo-paganism . In: Uwe Puschner , G. Ulrich Großmann (Ed.): Völkisch und national. On the topicality of old thought patterns in the 21st century. (= Scientific supplements to the display of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum. Volume 29). Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2009, ISBN 978-3-534-20040-5 , pp. 266-279.

Web links

Commons : Witches  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Witch Creatures  - Sources and Full Texts
Wiktionary: Witch  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Overviews, bibliographies, and general resources
Individual sources

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wolf-Dieter Müller-Jahncke : Witches. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 591 f.
  2. Duden Online http://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/Hexe
  3. Wolfgang Pfeifer et al .: Etymological Dictionary of German . 8th edition. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 2005.
  4. ^ Marlies Philippa et al .: Etymological Woordenboek van het Nederlands, AZ ; Keyword: "heks". Amsterdam University Press, 2003-2009.
  5. Gisela Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg: Tabu Homosexuality - The Story of a Prejudice. S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1978, ISBN 3-10-007302-9 , pp. 84, 259-263.
  6. Heike Albrecht: Hexenglauben, witch hunt, witch madness in Germany in the early modern period. Sociological Analysis Approach. Master's thesis, Diplomica-Verlag, p. 80 ( Google Books ) - with references.
  7. Cf. first record of a witch burning in 1402 in the Schaffhausen City Archives
  8. See Johannes Aventinus: Bavarian Chronicle. Book I, Chapter 65 Von den kriegsweibern (all works 4/1), ed. by Matthias Lexer, Munich: Christian Kaiser 1882, pp. 148–153 (online resource, accessed January 5, 2012); first prints of the manuscripts in Frankfurt by Simon Schard in 1566 and Nikolaus Cisner in 1580. The Greek goddess Hecate or the Germanic gods Teut and Herta can be heard here.
  9. Silvia Bovenschen: The current witch, the historical witch and the witch myth. The witch - the subject of the appropriation of nature and the object of the mastery of nature. In: Gabriele Becker u. a. (Ed.): From the time of desperation. On the genesis and topicality of the witch image. 1995.
  10. Also butter birds , lubricating birds or lard wing because it was believed that witches to steal or poisoning the milk and butter in butterflies can turn.
  11. The Edda (Simrock 1876): Hâvamâl, Odin's rune song
  12. Magic word borrowed from a northern language, such as Thracian or Illyrian; from this the Latin term fascinum " phallus as apotropaic amulet " against the evil eye develops : cf. Julius Pokorny , Indo-European Etymological Dictionary . Bern / Munich 1947–1966, 5th edition. 2005, under the keyword * baba [digital resource].
  13. See e.g. B. if he were also a triple Bacularius or even a Doctor in all seven faculties. In: Christoph Martin Wieland : The adventures of Don Sylvio von Rosalva. (Works, Volume 1). Munich 1964, p. 89.
  14. See Peter Schöffer : Herbarius Latinus . Mainz 1484; Karl Ernst Georges: Latin-German concise dictionary . Vol. I, 2nd digital edition, Berlin 2004, p. 3034.
  15. ^ Article WITCH in: Anatoly Liberman : An Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology: An Introduction . University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis and London 2008, pp. 215-224.
  16. Yvonne Maier, Bettina Rühl: witch hunt in Africa - when belief becomes dangerous . Broadcast of the Bavarian Radio .
  17. Jörg Klinger: Die Hittiter, CH Beck, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-53625-0 , p. 101.
  18. Cf. also Dieter Beckmann, Barbara Beckmann: Alraun, Mugwort and other witch herbs: everyday knowledge of past times. Frankfurt am Main / New York 1990.
  19. Elke Stolze: Schönebeck (Elbe)
  20. Saxonis grammatici Historiæ Danicæ libros XVI. Edited by Stephanus Johannis Stephanius . Sorö 1645. Lib. V, p. 93, lines 3 to 9.
  21. ^ Adam of Bremen: Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum . II, 57. Translation by Werner Trillmich.
  22. ^ Adam of Bremen: Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae Pontificum. Vol. IV, 32nd translation by Werner Trillmich.
  23. Vatnsdœla saga. Cape. 26th
  24. Hansferdinand Döbler: Walpurgis Night and Satanskuss - The story of the witch hunt. Orbis-Verlag, 1977, ISBN 3-572-01237-6 .
  25. Petrissa Rinesch: Veterinary aspects in Austrian witch trials. In: Historia animalium ex ossibus. Contributions to paleoanatomy, archeology, Egyptology, ethnology and the history of veterinary medicine. Festschrift for Angela von den Driesch on her 65th birthday. Rahden Westf 1999, ISBN 3-89646-388-8 .
  26. Evangelical Central Office for Weltanschauung questions: Magic
  27. Hans Kudlich : JZ 2004, 72, 77
  28. cf. Helmut Satzger : The unreal attempt - on the difficulties of criminal law dogmatics, the superstitious attempt to master Legal Education 2013, pp. 1017-1025.
  29. Herzberg, Hoffmann-Holland, in: MüKo-StGB , § 22 Rn. 86; Rengier, AT , § 35 Rn. 13
  30. Basic Course Criminal Law - General Criminal Law, § 18 Rn. 60
  31. Section 15, Paragraph 3 of the Austrian Tax Code
  32. Art 22 para. 2 Swiss Criminal Code
  33. cf. RGSt 33, 321
  34. ^ Maximilian Becker: Absurd contracts. Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck 2013, ISBN 978-3-16-152314-4 , p. 63 f.
  35. ^ Judgment in Saudi Arabia: Woman executed for "witchcraft" . "Spiegel online", December 12, 2011.
  36. Human rights: Papua New Guinea abolishes witchcraft law . Spiegel online , May 29, 2013.
  37. German Bundestag: Printed matter 16/10009: Answer of the Federal Government to the big question of the MPs Volker Beck (Cologne), Josef Philip Winkler, Marieluise Beck (Bremen), other MPs and the parliamentary group BÜNDNIS 90 / DIE GRÜNEN - Drucksache 16/7902 - Ensuring the human right to freedom of religion or belief
  38. cf. exemplary: Gerd Haerkötter, Marlene Haerkötter: Hexenfurz and Teufelsdreck. Herbs of love, healing and poison: witchcraft, recipes and stories (with an appendix Witches today by Elisabeth Haerkötter), 4th edition. Frankfurt am Main 1987.
  39. Deike Diening: Walpurgis Night in the Harz Mountains - When witches and devils pay the tourist tax . tagesspiegel.de, May 1, 2014.
  40. Christian Peter Hansen: The Schleswig Wadden Sea and the Frisian Islands , Glogau 1865, footnote on page 76
  41. Rebekka Rülcker: This is how the witch lives from the Kö . Article from August 23, 2008 in the express.de portal , accessed on August 15, 2013.
  42. N. Kampe, S. Kouschkerian, U.-J. Ruhnau: The "witch from the Kö is dead". In: Rheinische Post , July 22, 2020, p. C3.