Executions · Germany · Religion

9-year-old burned at the stake for intercourse with the Devil

May 9, 1628
Würzburg, Germany
Johann Bernhard Reichardt, a 9-year-old boy, is burned at the stake with 4 others for being a witch

The boy was suspected by his father to have been involved with witchcraft. He was questioned and confessed to have been “seduce into witchcraft,” denied God, flew to Satanic dances, and engaged in sexual intercourse with the Devil himself. Likely, these words were coerced from the child during “questioning.” It was also a superstitious era, and wishful thinking of children without the sense to carefully chose their wording were punished; one youngster, who said he would sell himself to the Devil in exchange for good dinners and cake every night, was promptly hanged and burned.

Additional information about the other trails in southwest Germany between 1628 and 1631, as well as other witch hunts across continents and centuries, can be read in Witch Hunts in Europe and America: An Encyclopedia by William E. Burns.

(The picture included with the pair of condemned sitting peacefully in a comfortable fire is not that of Reichardt. I could find no images of the boy or his grave.)

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