Thuridur Olafsdottir

Last updated

Thuridur Olafsdottir (Icelandic: Þuríður Ólafsdóttir; died 1678) was an alleged Icelandic witch. She was executed for sorcery by burning together with her son Jon Tordarson. She was the only woman who is confirmed to have been executed for witchcraft on Iceland.

Contents

Thuridur Olafsdottir left Skagafjörður in Norðurland with her son Jon Tordarson for Vestfjord in 1677. In their new parish, her son boasted that his mother could walk on water, which gave them a rumor of sorcery. When the vicar's wife Helga Halldorsdottir in Selárdalur fell sick, they were suspected of having caused it by the use of magic. They were sentenced guilty as charged and executed by burning, as was the method of execution for witchcraft on Iceland.

The most detailed information about the case is from the Mælifellsannáll :

"Þuríður Ólafsdóttir and her son Jon was burned in Vestfjord; they were accused of magic ( galdur ); the woman had lived in Skagafjörður (in Nordland) all her life and never dealt with galdur. As all paupers she had left for the West in the spring of 1677 with her son Jon, of whom little is known other than he neither had a rumor of having dealt with galdur. He allegedly claimed, that she had passed all the waterfalls in Nordland without horse nor boat, only by the help of galdur, and she must therefore have had knowledge in sorcery. People believed his lies and they were later arrested and burnt, something he did not believe would happen." [1]

The Eyrarannáll chronicle noted: "two relations from Nordland, Þuríður and her son Jon Tordarson, were burned for having put illness upon Helga Halldorsdottir i Selardal". [2]

The case is somewhat unusual: of the 120 witch trials held on Iceland between 1625 and 1686, only ten were against women, [3] and though two women are traditionally considered to have been executed for this crime, the execution of Thuridur Olafsdottir is the only execution of witchcraft confirmed to have been performed.

See also

Notes

  1. Ankarloo, Bengt & Henningsen, Gustav (red.), Skrifter. Bd 13, Häxornas Europa 1400-1700 : historiska och antropologiska studier, Nerenius & Santérus, Stockholm, 1987
  2. Ankarloo, Bengt & Henningsen, Gustav (red.), Skrifter. Bd 13, Häxornas Europa 1400-1700 : historiska och antropologiska studier, Nerenius & Santérus, Stockholm, 1987
  3. Ankarloo, Bengt & Henningsen, Gustav (red.), Skrifter. Bd 13, Häxornas Europa 1400-1700 : historiska och antropologiska studier, Nerenius & Santérus, Stockholm, 1987

Sources

Related Research Articles

Henricus Eolenius, was an alleged Finnish sorcerer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Werewolf witch trials</span> Historical witch trials combined with werewolf trials

Werewolf witch trials were witch trials combined with werewolf trials. Belief in werewolves developed parallel to the belief in European witches, in the course of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. Like the witchcraft trials as a whole, the trial of supposed werewolves emerged in what is now Switzerland during the Valais witch trials in the early 15th century and spread throughout Europe in the 16th, peaking in the 17th and subsiding by the 18th century. The persecution of werewolves and the associated folklore is an integral part of the "witch-hunt" phenomenon, albeit a marginal one, accusations of lycanthropy involved in only a small fraction of witchcraft trials.

The Kirkjuból witch trial was a witch trial that took place in Kirkjuból in 1656, in what is today Ísafjörður, in Iceland. It is the most famous witch trial in Iceland.

The Põlula witch trials took place in the manor Põlula in Estonia in 1542. It centered around the noblewoman Anna Zoyge, who was accused by her husband Johann Meckes of having murdered her father-in-law with the assistance of five accomplices, who were all executed for witchcraft.

Klemus Bjarnason was the last person to have been condemned to death for witchcraft on Iceland.

Jón lærði Guðmundsson was an Icelandic autodidact, poet, and alleged sorcerer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Witch trials in France</span>

The Witch trials in France are poorly documented, mainly because a lot of the documents of former witch trials have not been preserved, and no number can therefore be given for the executions of witch trials in France or the true extent of them. While there is much secondary information about witch trials in France, the poor state of documentation often makes them hard to confirm.

The Witch trials in Portugal were perhaps the fewest in all of Europe. Similar to the Spanish Inquisition in neighboring Spain, the Portuguese Inquisition preferred to focus on the persecution of heresy and did not consider witchcraft to be a priority. In contrast to the Spanish Inquisition, however, the Portuguese Inquisition was much more efficient in preventing secular courts from conducting witch trials, and therefore almost managed to keep Portugal free from witch trials. Only seven people are known to have been executed for sorcery in Portugal.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Witch trials in Iceland</span> Historic aspect of criminal justice in Iceland

The Witch trials in Iceland were conducted by the Danish authorities, who introduced the belief in witchcraft as well as the Danish Witchcraft Act in the 17th century, and then stopped the persecutions. Similar to the case of Witch trials in Latvia and Estonia, the witch trials were introduced by a foreign elite power in an area with weak Christianity, in order to ensure religious conformity. Iceland was uncommon for Europe in that magic as such was viewed favorably on the island, and the majority of those executed were men, which it had in common with only the witch trials in Finland.

Margrét Þórðardóttir, known in folklore under her sobriquet Galdra-Manga ('Sorcery-Manga'), was an Icelandic woman, known for being persecuted for witchcraft. She has been incorrectly referred to as one of only two women executed for sorcery in Iceland and is the subject of folktales.

The Witch trials in the Spanish Netherlands were among the more intense witch-hunts, along with those of the Holy Roman Empire and France. In an area recently affected by a religious war, the Spanish Inquisition encouraged witch trials as a method to ensure religious conformity. In this, it was similar to the Witch trials in Latvia and Estonia.

The witch trials in Norway were the most intense among the Nordic countries. There seems to be around an estimated 277 to 350 executions between 1561 and 1760. Norway was in a union with Denmark during this period, and the witch trials were conducted by instructions from Copenhagen. The authorities and the clergy conducted the trials using demonology handbooks and used interrogation techniques and sometimes torture. After a guilty verdict, the condemned was forced to expose accomplices and commonly deaths occurred due to torture or prison. Witch trials were in decline by the 1670s as judicial and investigative methods were improved. A Norwegian law from 1687 maintained the death penalty for witchcraft, and the last person to be sentenced guilty of witchcraft in Norway was Birgitte Haldorsdatter in 1715. The Witchcraft Act was formally in place until 1842.

Witch trials in Latvia and Estonia were mainly conducted by the Baltic German elite of clergy, nobility and burghers against the indigenous peasantry in order to persecute Paganism by use of Christian demonology and witchcraft ideology. In this aspect, they are similar to the Witch trials in Iceland. They are badly documented, as many would have been conducted by the private estate courts of the landlords, which did not preserve any court protocols.

The Witch trials in Finland were conducted in connection to Sweden and were relatively few with the exception of the 1660s and 1670s, when a big witch hunt affected both Finland and Sweden. Finland differed from most of Europe in that an uncommonly large part of the accused were men, which it had in common with the witch trials in Iceland. Most of the people accused in Finland were men, so called "wise men" hired to perform magic by people. From 1674 to 1678, a real witch hysteria broke out in Ostrobothnia, during which twenty women and two men were executed.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Witch trials in England</span>

In England, witch trials were conducted from the 15th century until the 18th century. They are estimated to have resulted in the death of perhaps 500 people, 90 percent of whom were women. The witch hunt was at its most intense stage during the English Civil War (1642–1651) and the Puritan era of the mid-17th century.

The Witch trials in the Italian states of present-day Italy are a complicated issue. Witch trials could be managed by a number of different secular courts as well as by the Roman Inquisition, and documentation has been only partially preserved in either case. A further complication is the fact that Italy was politically split between a number of different states during the time period in which the witch trials occurred; and that historiography has traditionally separated the history of Northern Italy and Southern Italy. All of these issues complicate the research of witch trials in present-day Italy, and the estimations of the intensity and number of executions has varied between hundreds to thousands of victims.

Beata Persdotter also known as Beata Pietarintytär and Beata Pitarintytär was a Finnish merchant daughter from Pedersöre in Österbotten. She was the last person in Finland to be sentenced to death for sorcery, though the sentence was never carried out.

Luís de la Penha, was a Portuguese occultist who was executed for sorcery by the Portuguese Inquisition for having called upon Satan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kastelholm witch trials</span>

The Kastelholm witch trials, which took place in Kastelholm on Åland between 1665 and 1668, were the biggest witch trial in the history of Finland. It was also almost unique in its character for Finland, where witch trials were normally small, with a single and often male defendant accused of sorcery. In contrast, the Kastelholm witch trials were a mass trial where several women were accused of attending a witches' Sabbath and making a pact with the Devil in the manner of contemporary continental witchcraft demonology, and in both instances it was almost unique for Finland, where only the Österbotten witch trials of 1674-1678 were similar to it. It resulted in the execution of six women.

Sveinn Arnason was an Icelandic man who was executed for witchcraft. He was the last person executed for witchcraft in Iceland.