torn asunder by torture

July 23, 2017

In another little town not far from here, when a poor woman who had been imprisoned on suspicion of maleficium could not be induced by any torture to confess to some crime, a priest approached her with coaxing words, urging that she not allow herself any longer to be thus torn asunder by torture. She should just confess quietly to some failing, and he promised that would purify her from maleficium with holy water, and that he would restore her to God as good as new. Thus prompted by the priest and deceived by his blandishments, she admitted that she had perchance perpetrated some evils of this nature. She hoped that in this way she would escape as the priest had persuaded her. But on the grounds of such a confession, falsely and cunningly obtained by coaxing, she was sentenced to be sacrificed to Vulcan’s fires. Hearing the unexpected sentence, the poor woman admonished the unhearing judges: “See how you are killing me.”

Johann Weyer
De praestigiis daemonum

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