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Swiss Pardon Europe's Last Executed Witch

Housemaid accused of casting spells was beheaded in 1782
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2008 4:56 AM CDT
Swiss Pardon Europe's Last Executed Witch
Documents, paintings, engravings, illustrations and torture instruments are displayed at the Anna Goeldi Musueum in Mollis, Switzerland.    (AP Photo/Keystone, Steffen Schmidt, File)

(Newser) – It's 226 years too late to restore her head to her body but the Swiss have decided to restore the good name of convicted witch Anna Goeldi, the Independent reports. Goeldi, the last person in Europe to be executed for witchcraft, was tortured and killed after being accused of casting spells to make a young girl convulse and spit pins.

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The government of a Swiss canton voted unanimously to exonerate Goeldi—despite opposition from church authorities—and deemed her a victim of "judicial murder." A local journalist had pushed to clear Goeldi's name after discovering that the alleged enchantress was apparently a victim of a conspiracy between authorities and her wealthy employer, who plotted to cover up his affair with her. Thousands of women were killed as witches in Europe. (Read more Switzerland stories.)

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