« Lore

Episode 183: Suffer the Children

2021-10-18 | 🔗

Some of the most frightening and disturbing stories are the ones that take a different path than we expected. Their horror is in the exceptions, the little things that make them different. But some little things are more difficult to see coming.


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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Have you ever held something? That's priceless as in literally held an object between your fingers that you knew with absolute certainty was valuable beyond measure I have, and I want to tell you about it- No clearly, there are a number of factors that can make something valuable, a great example, be the coin known as the nineteen thirteen liberty had nickel as far as experts know only five, wherever minted, making them incredibly rare, which is why the last time one went up for auction it sold for four point. five million dollars, but some items take things a step further and back in two thousand eighteen, I had a chance to examine one. It was a copy of the declaration of independence.
As a broadside printed in July of seventeen. Seventy six now most of the copies that people talk about were printed by a guy named John Dunlap, and they are the ones that people dream of finding behind framed photos or hidden away in an attic to date. There are twenty six known done, let broadsides so yeah, pretty rare, but then there are the copies made by Boston. Printer is equal. Russell His are all pretty much the same ass. The Dunlap Broadsides, with a big heading, followed by the smaller fond of the main text, except there, are fewer of his making them harder to get. But that day in two thousand eighteen, I got to hold an enigma. It's the only known Russell broadside printed with two portraits at the top just to the left of the heading are too tall ovals each containing a profile view of a man in a uniform and a wig. Why?
Is Israel Putnam a revolutionary war hero known for the battle of Bunker Hill and the other is a guy named George Washington, and if the dates is accurate,
it makes this. The earliest known would cut of Washington to appear in print. So, like I said, priceless humans are very good at assigning value to things more rare, the higher the significance, but truly valuable things have one other quality in common, a dash of the unexpected and when it comes to history. Those are the stories that deserve to be told because they take us off the beaten path, put us off balance and give us a fresh view of something we thought we understood and in the process they offer a perspective. It's more than a little disturbing. I'm Aaron Monkey, and this is lore.
If there's one european power that manage to walk a different path, its Sweden and that's not just because they An inch disdain neutral through both world wars. Centuries ago it the swedish vikings, who are responsible for a lot of early exploration by see us, Your scientists name, Alfred Nobel, gave us dynamite, but also the Nobel Prize, and, of course, we can't forget them, teen seventies pop sensation about not that the country has had the typical european experience. Like all the kingdoms around them day, to suffered through the black death in the mid thirteen hundreds, they battled with neighbours and ruled over some of them for a time, and then they did their fair share of invading as well. But not everything followed the european example,
everywhere you look throughout european history. You can see the scar tissue from which trials, and I know I've covered many. those stories here from different angles, from the biggest and sky went in England, the key players like Matthew, Hopkins and John Kincaid. But what's amazing, is that, despite centuries of panic and tragedy everywhere else, you can't find it equal. In Sweden, the biggest reason probably had to do with the legal system there for a very long time, witchcraft and sorcery weren't considered serious crimes. It wouldn't be until one thousand three hundred and fifty that it was added to the list of capital crimes, but even then the pain, was only enforced in cases where murder was involved two centuries later, though, something changed the sweet Reformation began around one thousand five hundred and twenty seven then, with it, came a newfound hatred toward anything related to witchcraft, but compared to the trials that took place in Scotland and England new wave of fanaticism still didn't move the needle much during the sixteen
Century over one hundred trials took place, but the total number of related deaths was just ten. course. Even one death would have been too many, but ten was a rounding error compared to Scotland. The other outcome of this new surgeon trials was adjustments to the swedish laws concerning witchcraft and by one thousand six hundred and eight a new act was passed that apply the death penalty to all cases. Not the ones ending and murder religious fear lay the groundwork like a summer, drought, turning all the grass to brittle kindling, so they arrive of more strict laws, acted like a spark and, You can imagine it could only and badly it all again with an event that took place in sixteen seventeen in the town of fin spawn far to the north there. The land was ruled over by John, Duke of Ostrogoth IA and his wife, the princess Maria Elizabeth. They were a couple of their time raised in a world with a little more fear and a little less patients, but it was really their private priest who was their darkest weapon. His name was Claudius
and from the moment he settled into his role, working for the Duke and Princess he flexed his ideological muscle early on. He accused the woman of trying to enchant his employers and to defend them. He had her tried, sentenced and executed by burning her at the stick. It said that, as she waited for the flames to find their way from the kindling to her feet, she reached out and grab hold of the priests robes and nearly pulled him into the fire with her. It was only thanks to the quick thinking of the executioner reached out and grasped the priest by the arm, but the man was saved, but it this proof to predict that the witches were far too dangerous to turn a blind eye to so he stepped up his efforts under his influence. The do passed his own regional witchcraft law that superseded the kings effectively entering cheek into the system, to make it easier to hunt and kill them by the time Then spawn which trials came to an end. Nine women had been killed, eight by execution and one due to neglect, while sitting in prison
according to the legends about the trials. That execution was unique among the countless stories I've read over the years and utterly terrifying If the women were led into the forest most likely in the dead of night and roughly guided through the trees until they came to the edge of a cliff, looking over the precipice at the ground, far below the flames of a great bonfire could be seen like up pulsing burning eye and then one by one they were pushed off the rest. Well, you don't need me to tell you how that would end for them? One last legend about the trials, though its said this of the women, managed to escape and ran off into the woods where they found shelter in a deep calves. They turned into their new home over time, the cave,
known as the sorceress torn, and it's been said that those who visit it can still hear the voices of the women crying out. I am innocent. Those who mock the voices they say will fall dead before sunset. Gertrude could walk on water. Least. That's what young Motz Nielsen claimed. It all started with an argument, while the pair were out guarding a flock of sheep one day in one thousand. Six hundred and sixty eight Gertrude spends daughter, who was twelve years old at the time, apparently got in a fight over a piece of bread with nuts who was the couple of years younger than her. She then hit him in the arm and ran off to tend to the sheep leap,
over a stream but from where much sat, that's not what it looked like. No, he was pretty sure that Gertrude walked on the water and he told his father is much. It was a ridiculous story, but the young boys conviction was so powerful that his father took him to see the local priest where they shared his encounter, and that was the beginning of every to follow. Young Gertrude was quickly rounded up and brought in for questioning. I think we need to believe that the interrogation was a frightening experienced thou, because almost instantly Gertrude pass the buck. The only reason she had been able to do it she claimed was because the maid who worked in her home had taught her. How. that made a woman named Margaret John's daughter denied the accusation, but the story was just too vivid to North Gertrude claim that six years earlier, in one thousand, six hundred and sixty four Mart had taken her to an island off the eastern Coast, referred to by locals as bloke
and there they participated in a witches Sabbath and met the devil, who gave her a magic oil that can help her walk on water. It was all fantasy, of course, but in sixteen sixty people weren't so quick to dismiss stories like this. There was the possibility, however, slim, that it could be true, so they listened and then another child came forward boy. name Eric Eriksson, and he backed it all up. He had seen Gertrude and more there at blow Coola, along with other children who had been kidnapped and that seem to be enough for the authorities more. It was hauled into court where Gertrude The other children lined up to give testimony even more its younger sister showed up to contribute at one point. In the trial markets, a grown woman looked around the room and scolded the children, declaring them to be forsaken by God and headed down dark road. When the children cried in response, they earn the court sympathy and when they
pointed to the audience and named other women who had joined market in her witchcraft, the court believe them by the end of the day Ten new suspects from the town of Maura had been added to the list and at sea Rolled out from their by Spain the following year, there were twenty two women in one man defending themselves against accusations of witchcraft and all of them had been accused by children soon, after eighteen of them were sentenced to death and despite the national court, revoking eleven of those sentences, the remain Seven were executed on, may 19th of one thousand six hundred and sixty nine, and I really want to tell you that it was over, but I think you know that it's never that easy. Never that cut and dried social panic, conspiracy theories and dangerous beliefs to fly in the face of common sense have never gone away, and they always seem to gain enough track
to keep going and so did this mess. You see one of the things about the Moura which trials that frustrated. The authorities was how the king had stepped in and committed a number of the sentences. They were afraid of the threat that witchcraft posed to their community and it felt like the crown had ignored those fears. So the local government did something bold. They used their local powers to gain the system forming a which commission. would oversee future trials in their area, and this commission gave them ultimate authority an absolute power no more meddling by outsiders. Their word would be the final word from that point forward, that wasn't the only change you see before or it was essential for the accused to confess to their crime in order for execution to even be an option. So the witchcraft commit in rewrote that law as well, making confession and optional parts of future convictions.
And because even that wasn't enough, they also lifted the rules that forbade torture and there it was a matter of just fifty years. Sweet went from a country seemingly immune to witchcraft panic to a place where the local authorities could send anyone to their death weather were accused by a handful of children or confessed themselves under the threat of torture. The stage was set, the pieces were in place, the crowds were hungry and the tragic events that have come to be known as the great noise we're about to begin. that panic burned through the countryside for eight years. Is what started out as a fabricated story by Gertrude spends daughter had quickly become a regional affair, but by sixteen seventy
for much of the activity was censured in the area around the town of Tor Shokhin, the pre there was a man named Laurentius Harness and he was an up and comer within just a few. he had gone from being a student at university to the top job in the region of a time. The witch panic rolled into town. He was only twenty nine years old full of a lot idealism and enthusiasm bad traits for some one about to overseas and which draws. Or ass, viewed himself as part of a chosen army task by God with fighting the devil. It wasn't it, political view. He picked from a list of possible options. This was his calling and he was passionate about it. that passion is also what made things so bad for everyone else and that included the children one day in the fall of one thousand. Six hundred and seventy four Cornelius assigned two boys to stand outside the church doors with him, as the parishioners entered for the morning service
These were boys who claim to be able to identify witches by invisible marks on their foreheads that only they could see when they spotted one of these visible marks. They would point the person out nay, I would add their name to his growing list of suspects that seem too. Oh smoothly enough for everyone, until one of the women at the boys identified as a which turned out to be horny ass, his wife, according to the records he slapped, the boy who pointed her out, who promptly and conveniently changed his mind, claiming that the sun had blinded him a moment. It wouldn't be the last time that the priest abuse those children either many were beaten to extract confessions, while others were dipped in icy water. He even had some placed in an oven like some sort of twisted reenactment of Hansel and Gretel, telling them that he would make them unless they confessed. Yeah we're, nay us was a monster, there's nothing. I can offer that might change. That
just evil through and through. Most of the confessions and accusations centred around that island I mentioned earlier apply. known by locals as blow cooler. It was there where the devil himself was said to hold court partly because it was so isolated that are required, magical flight to reach the place, and once there the mystery deepened The island was covered with a massive meadow that no one was able to see the end of, but in the centre of that meadow was a wall and a gates and beyond them, a smaller meadow and at the centre of VAT, was a house which contained a long table for gatherings and meals and a number of bedrooms for the devil and his servants. So as the children of Tor Shokhin accused, more and more people have been witches that island came up over and over
getting their stories by October of one thousand six hundred and seventy four over one hundred men and women were on the list and a case officially moved into the courtroom. His only proof that any of it was true where the accusations of the children and the confessions of the suspects all given to him order. It was a moment in time when paranoia lead to the suspension of common sense. No physical. Ever It was necessary because one man's wild and fantastical stories were swallowed by his desperate followers hook line and sinker. It's a powerful example of just how easily a community can be maneuver. laid by nothing more than lies the prey on fear. Some of the accused were acquitted, but it wasn't a lot number. A few other women managed to slip through the executioners grasped by pleading their bellies. In other words, claiming that they were pregnant, but that didn't always work and a few most likely died in jail waiting for their sentence and the date of their execute
and by early sixteen seventy five. The court's lead, of course, by horny ass himself, had made its decision. Seventy one of the accused were found guilty immediately. The sixty five women and six men were marched outside their a group of men from Hound, surrounded them with long pikes and herded them like sheep to a hill side of town known as the mountain of the stake, That was where a massive bonfire waited for them, but before they were burnt each of the convicted were decapitated, then their fair. These were allowed to approach and remove their clothing and valuables before the bodies and heads were tossed unceremoniously into the pile of wood and kindling, and then the fire let it was the largest mass execution in Sweden's history in the largest, execute
and on a single day for any recorded, which trial seventy one life's taken right in front of their families and neighbours I'll because of a rumour all because of fear, commonsense often feels a bit like an oxymoron does, it because it's never is common, as we might hope, there's the logical path, the one that we would assume everyone should take, and then there's The unexpected detour road that usually steers us into the arms of tragedy. In many ways the witch trials from seventeenth century- Sweden are just that more which trials and already shared a number of similar cases with you over the years, but the torch Shokhin, which trials are clearly difference. and there's value in exploring why that is because
if we generalise and simply lump all which trials into a single category. Picking our favorite example the only one we want to hear about, then we ignore Each unique trials contribution to the larger picture? ignore the nuances that teach us more and more about human nature and we, or the many lives that we're lost. The great noise would ravage on for a bit longer, but the tragedy of the tour Shokhin, which trials left a massive wound in the heart of sweet just two years after that horrifying execution, the king or every single priest in the country to stand up at the pulpits and, thank God in front of all their parishioners, that the witches at all been driven out. The message was pretty clear: you can stop accusing people of being which is now because the church has said
they are all gone in a century, since the memory of the great noise has lived on through a unique celebration, known as glad Pask, it's sort of a hybrid Easter and the american idea of Halloween each year in the spring children dress up as Easter witches wearing colorful scarves and red paint on their cheeks, and then go door to door and ass, four candy. At the end of the week, a celebration everything culminates, Vel bore a feast day that ends with a bonfire and the goal, the frightened away, the witches and send them off to the magical island of blue color. But not all kids have had an easy. Remember. The two boys who helped the priest by standing outside his church and identifying suppose it, which is by the envious while marks on their foreheads, they may have operated under orders from her NASS. Then even the threat of physical abuse,
but in the eyes of their community they played a key role in the deaths of their brothers and sisters, their mothers and fathers. They became a pariah hated by almost every one for what they did in others, no record of who was ultimately responsible, We know how their story ends. Each of them died a short while later under mysterious circumstances. All we know is one specific detail recorded for posterity and the pages of history, someone it seems at cut their throats. The role of children in the great noise is unique among stories of which trials
Day and age, when adult males were often the only people with social standing, it's amazing to see just how many lives were lost on the word of minors, but before we call it a day. I want to highlight one specific boy, because his story shows us, aside of which trials that most people have never seen aside. That's dark and evil, and full of so much tragedy stick around after this brief sponsor break to hear all about it. This episode of lore was made possible by one dream: have you ever heard about about anything. I know my days or fear with moments of curiosity and it's such a thrill to learn the answers and the best way to do that. Sign up for Wonderin. That's w o n de? Are I? U am wondering, is my favorite streaming. this and I know, you're, going to love it of how Wonderin puts me in charge of my learning array Video, I watched, was called how the meditate shape the renaissance, which explorers
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as a lifelong lover of puzzles and riddles. I can't say enough good things about what they ve created. It's just so fun to do. These plus part of the proceeds from every box goes to the cold Sound foundation and organization is dedicated to helping with real life cold cases. Right now, you can go to hunt a killer dot com, slash, lore and use the promo code lore for twenty percent off your first box again make sure to use the code law for a twenty percent discount. Do you have what it takes to hunt a killer, Johnny Johann Grease was born in one thousand six hundred and sixty three making him just five years old when the great noise began, which means that by the time it was finished, he had live two thirds of his life under the power of witchcraft panic made an impression on him. Jonathan was the son of a shoemaker from the coastal city of lovely about one.
Miles north of Stockholm. Not much is known about his earliest years, but its clear that the stories of the great noise made their way into his home and something about them. Deeply: connected him every child needs a hero. Someone to look up to and emulate and for Johnny and that hero was becoming more and more common as the great noise spread. came enamoured with the boys who served the priests by pointing out, which is that only they could see or nay us use them. As we already learned but they can be found in many other communities as well. They were known as the tale boys and while their contributions to the witch panic harmed many people, it gave them something valuable, fame being an impressionable naive child Jonathan one and the same thing without ever considering the consequences When the great noise arrived in the Avonlea, he became the star witness. in his finger at a number of women who he claimed were witches and his own mother was one of them. He accused her of abducting him and taking
to the witches island where he met the devil and saw many local women taking part in the witches Sabbath. At accusation led to his mother's execution, one would assume he recognized the mistake he made and changed his ways. But Jonathan wasn't that sort of boy. Instead, he was sent to live with extended family in Stockholm, where he picked right back up where he left off at home, pointing it ran. women in declaring them to be witches. It wasn't long before other children in town were following his example. Jonathan was in fame and recognition for his deceitful work and others wanted a piece of the pie. If Stockholm was unsettled before his arrival. It was soon in chaos, No one was safe and if you happened across John then in the wrong way. You two might find yourself on his list, but, as we have already discussed, the great noise began to die off with the execution of seventy one innocent lives into shook him, there were a handful of
other smaller trials, but it was one final trial that brought it all to an end, a trial right there in Jonathan City of Stockholm, and it involved a woman. They met. mats daughter Malin had the disadvantage of Being an outsider, she was actually a finnish descent and spoke that language better than swedish but she had married a swedish man and they had two children, Anna and Maria. The trouble was their dog you seem to have just as much prejudice against her ass her neighbours in July. one thousand six hundred and seventy six, the girls accused their mother of taking them to witches sabbaths where they were forced to meet the devil. Madeleine was brought in for questioning and told to confess, but she refused and it, to save herself from being seen as a which she tried to recite the apostles creed, but her poor Swedish tripped her Those observing the truth was clear. She was to evil to speak. Those wholly words and look. I could give you
Blow by blow of her interrogation and trial, I could list off all the things that people claimed she had done. But those are things you ve heard For now, situation was just as frustrating and maddening as countless others before and after her, but the one waited differed was the involvement of children and specifically Jonathan Greece. He was there make his claims. Even then, after all those years of the tail boys few are questioning the truth about their accusations. call Jonathan, had to do, was not his head and tell the court that he could see the mark of the devil on her forehead, and that was good enough for them. On July, 16th of one thousand six hundred and seventy six Mallon was found guilty and sentence, Death. After debating the method of execution, they felt she deserved, should they start with torture before decapitated, her and then burning her body, or should they just skip the torture?
gather? They settled on a much more cruel option. Burning her alive now, Mats daughter was the only person burned alive during the great noise, but she died with as much dignity as she could manage. She never confessed. She never bowed to the authorities and according to those who were there, even when the flames had reached her body, she never screamed. and Jonathan Greece. Well, in the aftermath of the panic, it became clear just how much of the blame fell on the shoulders of boys like him, it was their false accusations that emboldened communities to execute innocent people and among that horrible, manipulative group Jonathan, was king, so the authorities did the only thing they could think of dissent.
message to the people that his behavior should never be copied. In November of one thousand six hundred and seventy six Jonathan Grease was executed for his part in the great noise he was hanged, not burned. This episode of war was written and produced by me, Aaron Monkey with research by alley, steed and music by Chad. Lawson Lore is much more than just a podcast, though there is a book series available and bookstores an online and two seasons of the television show on Amazon. Prime video check them both out. If you want more lore in your life, I also make an executive produce a whole bunch of other podcast, all of which I think you'd enjoy
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Transcript generated on 2022-02-22.