The Last Witch of Langenburg: Murder in a German Villages


On the night of the festive holiday of Shrove Tuesday in 1672 Anna Fessler died after eating one of her neighbor’s buttery cakes. Could it have been poisoned? Drawing on vivid court documents, eyewitness accounts and an early autopsy report, this book the story to life again. Exploring one of Europe’s last witch panics, "The Last Witch of Langenburg" unravels why neighbors and the court magistrates became convinced that Fessler’s neighbor Anna Schmieg was a witch—one of several in the area—ensnared by the devil. Once arrested Schmieg, the wife of the local miller, and her daughter were caught up in a high stakes drama that led to charges of sorcery and witchcraft against the entire Schmieg family and others. This book shows how ordinary events became diabolical ones, leading magistrates to torture and turn a daughter against her mother, and in so doing portrays a entire society as witch beliefs lost their credibility.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Robisheaux, T

Published Date

  • 2009

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 978-0-393-06551-0