Boguet, Henri (ca. 1550–1619)
Grand Justice of the district of Saint Claude in Burgundy,
France, during the seventeenth-century European witchcraft
mania. He was the author of a work full of ferocious zeal against
sorcerers.
This book, entitled Discours des sorciers, was published at the
beginning of the seventeenth century and was later burned because
of the inhumanities crowding its pages, but it went into
12 editions in two decades. The book is a compilation of procedures
for judging sorcerers and their alleged acts, most of
which the author himself presided over. They exhibit the most
incredible absurdities and criminal credulity.
Its pages contain the proceedings against little Louise Maillat,
who at the age of eight was said to be possessed of eight demons;
Françoise Secretain, a sorceress who had meetings with
said demons and who had the Devil for her lover; and the sorcerers
Gros-Jacques and Willirmoz. Claude Gailiard and Roland
Duvernois and many others figured in the author’s dread
judgments.
Boguet detailed the horrible doings of the witches’ Sabbat,
how the sorcerers caused hail to fall, of which they made a powder
to be used as poison, how they used an unguent to carry
them to Sabbat, how a sorcerer was able to slay anyone by
means of a mere breath, and, when arraigned before a judge,
they could not shed tears. He described Devil’s mark found on
their skins, of how all sorcerers and magicians possess the
power to change their forms into those of wolves, and how for
these offences they were burned at the stake without sacrament,
so that they were destroyed body and soul.
The work ended with instructions to the judges of cases of
sorcery, which is often known as the Code des sorciers.
Sources
Boguet, Henri. Discours des sorciers. Translated as Examen of
Witches. New York Barnes & Noble, 1971.