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The Source:

Albert Hellwig:
"Deutscher Volksglaube vor Gericht"
in: "Archiv für Religionswissenschaft" (nr.18), Verlag B.G. Teubner, Leipzig, 1915

The Case:

At the end of June 1913, four workers, 2 from Polchau, 2 from Putzig, were questioned about their illegal activities within the Catholic churchyard of Putzig. This according to their confession is the story:

About two-and-a-half year ago the mother of two of the men had died. After she had been buried no less than seven of her relatives had died. Rumours started that the dead woman had found no rest in her grave and was now destroying the rest of the family. Several people had suggested that the only way to stop this would be to decapitate the woman and put her head at her feet. At first the men had not believed those tales, but at last they gave in. They took the train to Putzig and went to the churchyard. They had previously arranged that the two other men would help them, and it was them who brought the equipment like spades and lights and who did the digging. The coffin was opened and the woman's head was chopped off with a spade. It was put at the feet of the corpse. The coffin was closed again and reburied.

The dead woman's last surviving son declared: "Despite the fact that at first I did not believe that our actions would have a result, I am now convinced that I have saved my life by having the head chopped off. Immediately the next day I found how the weakness passed out of my body and right now I feel completely different from how I felt before."

On 30 September 1913 the "Landesgericht Danzig" sentenced one of the men to 6 weeks in prison. The others received sentences of one month each.

The Date:

The event is reported to have taken place in June 1913.

The Place:

"Putzig" has been renamed to "Puck" and can be found on the coast of the Baltic Sea, North of Gdynia.

Possible Follow-Up:

I have given you my source: Albert Hellwig's "Deutscher Volksglaube vor Gericht". Go find it, read it, and take it from there...

© 2012 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed January 2012

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