Saturday, July 21, 2018

Loudun Witch Trials

        Similar to the Salem Witch Trials, the Loudun Witch Trials was yet another case of paranormal mass hysteria. There are two different stories about this particular case, but each one deals with the supposed demon-possession of the nuns of the parish of St-Pierre-du-Marche, and one Urbain Grandier, who was the center of it all. Grandier was appointed priest of the parish. He was wealthy and attractive, and although he was well-liked by many of the girls in the town, he wasn’t too accepted by some other members of the clergy. In one story, the members of the clergy who sought to have Grandier removed from the parish approach the nuns and ask them to act as if they were bewitched by Grandier in order to have him removed. In the other story, the nuns and the parish’s Mother Superior claimed that they were possessed and having sexual dreams about Grandier. Regardless of the story, both stories were seen as an opportunity to have Grandier removed from his position as priest of the parish. When Grandier attempted to get himself out of this little jam he was in, calling in help from doctors and the like, the situation blew up. Exorcisms occurred, people who proclaimed they were possessed even named the demons that were influencing them. And in the end, Grandier was incarcerated and eventually executed for his supposed crimes. Interestingly enough, the possessions didn’t end even after his death. So maybe he really wasn’t the cause of it all. But who can say?



  1. I always found that the Salem Witch Trials were an interesting topic of discussion about the hysteria that took place during the 1600s. I felt bad for the innocent people (mostly women and girls), who were accused of conspiring with the devil, when in reality they were not. The Salem Witch Trials were a good example of the band wagon effect and how a society thinks, when most of its members are uneducated.

  2. The witch trials and accusations of possession have always been interesting to me because of how many people believed in it. With no evidence, many people were murdered simply because one person accused them of something. It just shows us how vastly times have changed, it is hard to believe these horrid events occurred only a few hundred years ago.

  3. Hello,
    I found this quite interesting and my theories on the subject are fueled by the words “wealthy and attractive”. If there was ever a clearer motive than that as to why someone would want to target him than I’m not sure what it is. When I think more deeply as to why these possessions “continued” even after his death – I’m still not shocked. If I relate this situation to the Salem witch trial than it shouldn’t be too hard to see this as a classic case of “a web of lies”. Once you’re in too deep, anyone questioning the validity of the situation must be targeted in order to ensure their silence. Also, imagine the position of church leaders approving this. There really must have been no room in their minds to slow down once they had already made considerable errors. This is like the heuristic “theory induced blindness”. As they had already accepted the theory as a tool in there thinking thus making it incredibly difficult to accept that previously their thinking had been absurd

  4. I enjoyed reading your post because I have never heard of the Loudun Witch Trials. It is so tragic how many innocent people were killed during the Salem Witch Trials.