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The Source:

Josef Zukal:
"Magia posthuma auf der Herrschaft Groß-Herrlitz im 18. Jahrhunderte"
in: "Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Kulturgeschichte Österreichisch-Schlesiens", Troppau, 1907/1908

The Case:

The short but rather interesting article by Josef Zukal is about various cases of "magia posthuma" as he calls it, which have all taken place in villages within the "Herrschaft Groß-Herrlitz", close to Troppau. Here is one of the cases:

"Hierauf folgt ein mehr als zehnjährige Ruhepause, bis wieder den 10. Mai 1723 dem Dechant aufgetragen wird 'den Leichnam der Dorothea Lichtblauin aus Seitendorf ausgraben, untersuchen und bei Wahrnehmung gewisser Zeichen (inventis debitis signis) über die Friedhofsmauer werfen zu lassen, sonach aber dem weltlichen Arm als der Bestattung unwürdig zu übergeben'."

which more or less translates into:

"Then follows a 10-year-long period of peace, until on 10 May 1723 the 'Dechant' is ordered to dig up the corpse of Dorothea Lichtblauin from Seitendorf, examine it, and if certain signs (inventis debitis signis) are found, to have it thrown over the cemetery wall, after which it should be handed over to the worldly authorities as unworthy of burial."

Perhaps you are wondering what a "Dechant" is. I certainly was and had to look it up. It can have various meanings, but in our case the "Dechant" seems to be something like the Head of the administrative department of the Church.

The Date:

We have been given the year of 1723.

The Place:

Seitendorf is a small place in the Czech Republic. It has been renamed to Horni Zivotice, and can be found about halfway between Bruntal and Opava. Groß-Herrlitz, by the way, is now called Velké Heraltice.

Possible Follow-Up:

By all means, go get yourself a copy of Josef Zukal's short but interesting article which has much more information than you can find here.

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

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