First, the rain came. For nine months. The people complained and prayed. Then the heat came, for eleven months, she was unusually strong, “glowing and terrible,” as a chronicler in the year 1540 reported, with temperatures well over 40 degrees. In Italy, it was already warmer in the Winter than it normally is in the height of summer. All the lakes dried up, and in Basel one could cross in some Places the Rhine on foot, forests burned, fields, stunted Crops were lost, cattle dead in the pastures, in Europe, thousands of people, many collapsed working in the field of thirst and ten, the food prices shot up, murder and mayhem were the result.

In more than 300 Chronicles is described by Europe’s largest natural disaster in detail. The meteorological phenomenon exceeded all of the later heat of the summer by far.

a witch had to be responsible!

Since it was at the time, that everything in life has a meaning and a certain logic follows, they looked for a cause. Who was responsible? Who the hell had sinned? Who had used Satan as a tool for “weather magic”? This had to be a witch who was familiar with black magic.

The choice fell on the 50-year-old Prista Frühbottin. You consorted with people on the margins of society, making it one of the usual Suspects. 29. June, 1540, she was arrested in Wittenberg due to alleged “weather magic” and the Poison of the pastures together with their son. They were victims of the then-popular witch trials. Together with two other “devious bachelor” was forged to oak beams. They were geschmäucht “and abgedörrt” until only a pile of ash remained.

“God’s punishment for the contempt of his love that word,”

The alleged “Weather witch” gained a certain notoriety. Even Martin Luther is mentioned in a letter to his wife and called to the witch-burning “is nothing New, because even in this Land of the devil is raging,” and described the execution as “God’s punishment for the contempt of his love word”.

It lasted for 473 years, until the Council of the city of Wittenburg Prista Frühbottin and your family rehabilitated.

Claude Cueni (63) is a writer and lives in Basel. He writes every second Friday of the VIEWS.