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duke ludwig
execution day
great grandmother
little brother
sexual relations
A Day In The Life Of A Witch
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A Day In the Life Of A Witch

Anna Maria Ludwig, my ancestral great grandmother, lived in the village of Kleinheubach am Main, southeast of Frankfurt, Germany. My family had been caught up in the Erbach witch persecutions which were overseen by the owner of her village, Duke Ludwig Erbach. In all, forty-eight citizens of the village were accused of witchcraft and either executed, died in jail as a result of the torture or fled the area before arrest.

The Charges

Anna Maria was charged on the 17th of July 1629 with letting herself be drawn into witchcraft, renouncing God, allowing herself to be bought in Satan’s name, joining in devil’s play, participating in witch dances and covens and having sexual relations with her brother who wore the devil’s mask. Anna Maria had to listen to the screams of her mother and little brother before she, herself, was tortured. Unfortunately, Anna Maria’s mother and younger brother Stefan had been tortured earlier and Stefan had made this statement in his pain delirium. This series of charges had come from other tortured and then convicted citizens. Five accusations from others were needed to complete the charge of witchcraft. Torture assured they were forthcoming and victims would say anything to end the pain.

Execution Day

Anna Maria was scheduled to be executed on the 14th of August 1629, the same day as her mother, Maria, and younger brother Stefan. Anna Maria’s father, Marx, had been able to flee before his arrest. Shortly be his execution, Stefan wrote a letter to his wife stating that what he said about his sister, Anna Maria, was not true,and said only due to the torture and asked for her forgiveness. Because of this, Anna Maria was not found guilty. Despite this, she was still to be executed.

Escape

Early in the morning of her execution day, Anna Maria escaped jail (even though pregnant), climbed over a wall and made it to the Main River where a boat was waiting to take her to the opposite shore. It was a different principality so she should have been safe. As she fled, she knew that behind her, her mother and brother were being taken by a slow oxen cart to the execution gallows. There, they were being beheaded and their bodies burnt to ashes. Anna Maria made her way to Frankfurt but was taken into custody and held until that city decided to send her back to the Duke. Because of her brother’s letter, it was decided that she would be retried but more enlightened minds suggested her release. The Duke succumbed and allowed her release into her husband’s care as long she paid the costs of her incarceration, promised to keep the peace, stand ready for retrial and refrain from any witch activities. Even all of this was only part of the full story.

Her Death

In fear of her safety, Anna Maria moved from Kleinheubach to Miltenburg, where she died alone on Christmas day, 1646. Her grown children stayed with their father in Kleinheubach. None of the family had done anything to bring all of this on. They were caught up in the pogrom like dust before the broom. Generations of my family were completely wiped and if Anna Maria’s child had not already been born, many thousands of Germans, Canadians and Americans would never have existed. Such were a few days in the life of the last witch of Kleinheubach.


Street Talk

Thanks Dave for joining my Tribe and following me! I just read this short article about your ancestral great-grandmother and want to thank you for reminding us of the brutal world that our ancestors lived in - may we always remember our history and vow to never let such to happen again. I really worry about history and believe it is a great teacher left largely unattended. I am going to see about downloading The Lost Heretic to my ipad!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

I hope you enjoy it, Vivian and I totally agree about history. Unfortunately, we see much of it through the eyes of the culprits who perpetuated the wrongs. After travelling to my ancestral village, I found much more and most of it even more horrific than I already knew. As you said, brutal times. Regards

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks, Eugene. Creepy too seeing as how it is true. I actually stood on the very spot where at least ten of my ancestors were beheaded and burned. Very profound!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Great stuff !

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks, Shawn

Reply
  about 8 years ago

I am gonna check this book out. Great article Dave!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

I am definitely going to get your book on Kindle! Sounds very entertaining! Thanks for sharing!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks, Joyce and hope you enjoy it.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

I am sure I will. As soon as I fire my Kindle up again I am running over to Amazon and get it! I will give you a review after I read it, okay?

  
  about 8 years ago

Sounds great Joyce and thanks. Blood of the Witches is the non-fictional account. The Last Heretic is a semi-fictional account. The Last Heretic is more popular as I was able to use artistic license. But, it you want the true account, you will enjoy Blood of the Witches. The name comes from those of us who are descended from the witches and carry their blood in our veins. Regards

  
  about 8 years ago

Okay. Does that one come in Kindle format too?

  
  about 8 years ago

Yes, all my books are available on Kindle.

  
  about 8 years ago

Dave, you definitely have to have a little 'warlock' in your blood after such an illustrious ancestor! Well written article.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks, Lewis. Some have asked me about my Salem handle. Actually, it has nothing to do with witchcraft. When I created a WA account and needed a nickname, I chose Salem as I happen to live on Salem Terrace. (thought perhaps that way I could remember it) I used to sell some of my wood turnings at a local market and made friends with the couple selling next to me. I gave one of my books to the lady named Patrice. She happened to be descended from Mary Esty, who was one of the victims hung for witchcraft in Salem. So, here were two people that ended up selling at the same market and both had great grandmothers who were convicted of witchcraft. I have a copy of her great grandmother Mary Esty) pleading for her life and I also have one of my great grandmother Anna Maria Ludwig) pleading for her life. They always say it is a small world.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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