The Weekly Witch – Zofia Baranowa, Lublin 1643

This case begins with her second session of torture. She recanted all that she had said previously, claiming that she was scared.

On 19th October 1643 she underwent torture once more. She was asked where she had learnt witchcraft and she denied that she knew anything how to harm barrels. A snake was found with her children.

Her first husband (Szydlowski) had died a few years previously and had beaten her. After he died she began to have sex with a man she didn’t know, who was cold and smelly. She saw him when she drank but no one else sees him. He told her to call him Paweł, which was her brother’s name. When she masturbated him, his sperm was on her hand. She became pregnant by him and then had a miscarriage. Paweł had ugly hands, horns and a hairy head. She dreamt of him appearing in the form of her husband who insisted that he was alive. When she was in the brothel he visited her as well and had sex with her but did not pay her.

When she went to confession he prevented her from saying anything. He appeared again and she went for a drink with him. She did this because she had not wed her current (second) husband of her own freewill and did not like him. As the cock crowed, Paweł’s eyes disappeared and he had no nostrils, then he disappeared. Sometimes he appeared in the guise of her first husband. Paweł appeared on the roof in golden chains and asked her to come with him to Lwów. When she refused, he spat at her and punched her. He began to come more often and they drank together. Often he or others beat her.

On the next day, 20th October 1643 she underwent further torture. When she slept in the prison, something fell and when she said ‘Jesus’, something grabbed her in the eyes and ordered her to stab herself with a needle.

She continued with her confession: Immediately after the death of her husband, she always went to the forest and there they had sex. Paweł came to her at night and ordered her to renounce the Host, the Virgin Mary and God. When he came to her in prison, she said she would make a pact with him when she left prison. Then she admitted that she had renounced God and regretted it. Paweł promised her a good life but then he beat her. His visits took place in the wood at the waxing and the waning of the moon. She lived in disharmony with her current husband, who also liked to beat her, but she gained strength from her devil. Then she saw, as in a dream, at the cemetery that there were always people there when the Devil appeared to her. When she had been transported there they played on the pipes as if drunk and they danced.

She filtered herbs for a woman for different illnesses and throughout these cures the Devil was with her. A woman taught her to bake bread saying special words, which would cause someone to die.

She was sentenced to a beating.


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