Under the guise of a sorcerer and cannibal
The date of birth of one of the sixteenth century’s most terrible and dangerous German criminals is unknown. Based on the memories of contemporaries, we can conclude that Peter Nirs (according to another version - Nirsch) killed, dismembered and prepared potions from his victims, starting from the late fifties - early sixties. His cruelty struck and scared.
Thanks to cruelty, composure and determination, Nirs gathered around him the same bandits. Of these, he chose his assistant - a certain Sumer. This gang traveled through the German lands in search of profit. Sometimes the gang broke up into several groups, and then reunited on the orders of Nirs. Here is what the historian Wiltenburg wrote: “Of course, the profession of plunder demanded some kind of organization. It was in places outside the cities that these groups operated, especially in forests and mountains, as well as along forest roads. It is reported that a gang led by Nirs and Schumer began their criminal journey in Alsace, but when they became twenty-four people in the Pfalzburg region, they split up in groups to rob and kill in different places. ”
According to the researchers, a special “work” style of Peter appeared thanks to the mentor - the robber Martin Stayer (according to another version - to Steyer). Martin also led a gang of roving criminals who were disguised as shepherds. For more than two decades, they terrified travelers and residents of small villages. But in the early seventies of the sixteenth century, Stayer and his accomplices (about fifty "shepherds") were caught. During the torture, Martin confessed to the robbery and murder of several dozen people. According to some historians, Stier’s bandits were in fact originally shepherds, but then they retrained: “Far from civilized society and alone with animals ... they turn into animals themselves.” All the bandits, of course, were executed. After the death of his mentor, Nirs picks up the "baton".
There is evidence that Nirsa and part of his bandits managed to catch in 1577 year. During interrogation and torture in Gersbach, Peter confessed that he counted seventy-five victims. Of course, he was immediately sentenced to death. But ... somehow Peter managed to escape. But the fate of the other criminals remained unknown. But, most likely, they were not as lucky as their leader.
According to legend, when Nirs and Sumer reached one of the many forests of the Palatinate, they met the devil. During the conversation, the criminals shared with him their plans regarding robberies and murders. The devil liked the robbers, and he endowed them with certain supernatural powers that worked on human blood. One of these abilities was the ability to become invisible. But in order to turn this trick, you must always carry a bag with magical artifacts. By the way, after that, Sumer disappears. According to one of the versions, Nirs “paid off” for his superpowers.
Legend claims that when Nirsa was caught in 1577, he managed to regain the gift of the devil with cunning and, having become invisible, escaped. It also tells about what was in that bag. Its main treasure is some amulets that Nirs made from still unborn human children. Therefore, when the power of the artifact began to end, he attacked pregnant women and cut out the fruit with a knife. And during the manufacture of amulets, Peter read the spell, after which he ate the heart of the child. In the course was also the flesh of the baby. Nirs made special candles from it. According to legend, their light did not wake people. Therefore, the offender could safely rob rich houses.
In addition, according to legend, Peter was able to turn into animals or objects. For example, it was said that once during a chase, he turned into a stone to hide. Another time - in a tree. There have been cases when a thug took the form of a cat, dog or goat.
But Nirs resorted to transformation only in emergency cases. It seems that it took too much power from him, besides, the owner from the underworld demanded fresh human blood instead. Therefore, most often the robber resorted to disguise. He had a whole collection of different costumes as well as masks. According to legend, Peter also made masks from human skin, so that they look more natural and natural. He could become a soldier or even a leper - depending on the situation. But in any case, Nirs always carried a lot of money with him, two pistols, a two-handed sword and a treasured bag.
In one of the old German songs dedicated to this robber and a sorcerer, his appearance is described: old, with two crooked fingers on his hand and a long scar on his chin. It also tells how Nirs was nevertheless caught. The robber drove into the town of Neumark, where he decided to stay a few days. Therefore, he settled in the hotel "Bell". Before leaving, he went to a local bathhouse and, surprisingly, did not take with him a bag with amulets. By that time, the terrible glory of Nirsa had reached the most remote and deaf German villages. As soon as he appeared in Neumark, the inhabitants understood who was in front of them. However, no one has attempted to detain the sorcerer and robber - people felt superstitious fear in front of him. Therefore, Peter, feeling completely safe, walked through the city in the open. Visitors to the bath also recognized him, of course. People looked at the cannibal killer in dismay, and someone suddenly noticed the missing bag. These residents of Neumark and decided to take advantage. Two quietly slipped out of the bath, headed for the hotel. The owner of the "Bell" opened the door leading to the room Nirsa. Literally a minute later, the contents of the bag - human limbs and the hearts of unborn children - became the property of the town residents. People were scared, but among them there were several brave souls who decided to catch Peter. Soon, eight men broke into the bathhouse and twisted the gangster. Nirs didn’t even think to resist or somehow justify himself. He confessed to his atrocities and waited for the trial.
The trial of the Inquisition was swift. During the interrogation (read - torture), Nirs confessed to the killing of about five hundred people, twenty-four of whom are pregnant women. In addition, he told about the meeting with the devil and how he shared with him recipes for various spells and potions that worked on the basis of the flesh of unborn children.
Nirsa was publicly tortured for three days. On the first day, the inquisitors used ticks to tear out pieces of flesh from his body. On the second, the gangster’s feet were doused with boiling oil, after which they were roasted over a fire. On the third day of 16 September of 1581, the cannibal wizard bones were broken on the wheel. All this time, Peter was not only alive, he was conscious. Therefore, according to legend, when the executioner began to dismember him, the gangster called for the help of his master from the underworld. But he never showed up.
"The Case of Poisons"
Approximately in 1640, the future main figure of the “poison case” Catherine Monvoisin was born. There is practically no information about her childhood and youth. Catherine will "emerge" at an older age, when she marries a certain Parisian, Montvoisin. According to some information, he was a jeweler, according to others - a simple worker. After a short time, Catherine gave birth to a daughter. But marital happiness turned out to be fleeting. Her husband died suddenly. Having become a widow, a woman was faced with an unexpected problem — the lack of money. And then she decided to turn her passion into a source of income. Catherine Monvoisin became a fortune teller. Women came to her small salon to find out their fate. Fortune-telling on cards and palms did not bring as much money as Catherine would have liked. Since her passion for luxury and entertainment exceeded reasonable limits, finances were barely enough to make ends meet.
Then she took up the second job - midwives. True, this "business" had to be conducted illegally. But the client has always been enough. After some time, Catherine decided that all this is not enough. After consulting with her lover Adam Kure-Lesage, she decided to become a real sorceress. Here the knowledge gained from the father - the alchemist. Of course, Katrin was not going to look for the philosopher's stone. She began to prepare various potions and potions, thus turning them into gold coins. Quickly the fame of the sorceress, who was selling love potions and also poisons, spread all over Paris. A queue of inconsolable women lined up to the sorceress (most often, clients were well-to-do individuals) who dreamed of returning her husband or poisoning a rival. The people are poisons of Madame Monvoisin called "powder for inheritance." In addition, the woman often arranged this show with calls of devils or a shower of the dead. None of the clients even had the idea of quackery, Monvoisin had the reputation of being a real witch.
But once Catherine realized that all this was not enough for her. In addition, several other witches appeared in Paris selling poison. And although Monvoisin has already earned herself a certain status, it was not so easy to withstand the competition. And then she decided in parallel with the manufacture of poisons and potions to find the coveted elixir of eternal youth. And as a basis the sorceress took the placenta - the “clothes” of the child who is in the womb of the mother. Since she did not abandon the work of the midwife, the “material” for the first experiments was, as they say, at hand. And the experiments exceeded all expectations. Catherine was convinced that she had chosen the right path. Rich clients did not spare any money for the sake of beauty and youth. The number of people who wanted to get the elixir increased. And for further work (to put the production of the drug on stream) she needed more and more human embryos.
The sorceress found a way out of a difficult situation. She paid pregnant beggar, and they, in turn, abandoned their child in favor of Monvoisin. When it was a certain time, Catherine called artificial birth, providing herself with the necessary "raw materials."
The process of making the elixir included a terrible ritual - the black mass. But it was impossible to spend it alone, so the woman asked for help. Her associates in black magic have become ... Abbots Mariette, Lemenian, Tournai, Davo and Gibur. The first three clerics were only assistants. But Davo supplied her with human fat for making candles necessary for the ritual. As for Gibur, he was preparing "special" cachets. Traditionally, these thin sheets of dough, decorated with images of Christian symbolism, but the abbot replaced them with pictures from the underworld. In addition, he was preparing them from a test with an admixture of flesh and blood of babies, as well as human waste products. Surprisingly, this particular product was in great demand.
Among the clients of Madame Monvoisin was full of the elite of French society. For example, Madame de Vivon, who was the sister-in-law of the official favorite of the king Madame de Montespan. The Countess of Soissons (the niece of Cardinal Mazarin) and the Duchess of Bouillon (another relative of Mazarin) were also mentioned. Flashing even the name of Marshal of Luxembourg, who also needed the help of a sorceress ...
It was the connection with the Versailles courtiers and played a cruel joke with Catherine. Once Marquis Brenvillier (the famous poisoner, with whom the police began to investigate the "case of poisons" - the largest at that time in France) let out a conversation about the witch who committed black masses. After a short time, Madame Monvoisin was arrested. The case was of such scope that Louis the Fourteenth urgently established a tribunal for cases of poisoning - the Chamber of Fire. Madame Monvoisin was accused of witchcraft, collusion with the devil and numerous murders. In the courtyard of her garden were found the remains of about two thousand children. And although Catherine denied everything, on February 22, 1680, she was burned at Greve Square.
Appeared before the court and her assistants. Abbots Mariette and Lemenyan were accused of blasphemy and aiding the devil. They, of course, also executed. Tournais with Davo also received a death sentence. First, in addition to charges of witchcraft and collusion with Satan, they also caught pedophilia. Not escaped the penalty and "baker" Gibur.
In addition to them, the Marshal of Luxembourg and both relatives of Mazarin reported to the Fire Chamber. But they managed to avoid execution. Although Countess Soissons was forced to leave France. And Madame Montespan, also involved in that scandal, the king spared. After all, she was the mother of his younger children ...
The "Poison Case" had a wide public resonance and had long stirred the minds of both ordinary French and high society representatives.