Sidonia the Sorceress

Sidonia von Borcke (1548–1620) was a Pomeranian noble woman tried and executed for witchcraft. In posthumous legends, she was depicted as femme fatale and entered English literature as Sidonia the Sorceress. 


In July 1619, Sidonia von Borcke were arrested and accused of witchcraft. On 18 November 1619, Sidonia von Borcke was transferred to a prison in Stettin. In December, 72 charges were formulated. Some of the most important ones were «knowledge of future and distant events», «sexual contacts with the devil, who allegedly materialized in pets such as von Borcke’s cat Chim», «magical practices like praying the “Judas psalm” and crossing brooms under the kitchen’s table.» 

In January, about fifty witnesses were questioned, and Sidonia von Borcke was appointed a defender, Elias Pauli. On 28 June, the Magdeburg court permitted the Stettin court to use torture. When torture was applied on 28 July, Sidona von Borcke confessed, and the verdict read death by dragging to the execution site, rupturing four times with pliers, and finally burning. When Sidonia von Borcken revoked her confession, she was tortured anew on 16 August. The final verdict of 1 September 1620 read death by decapitation and burning of the body. The verdict was carried out in Stettin, outside the mill gate. The exact date of her death is uncertain.
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