Gaufridi, Louis (Jean Baptiste) (d. 1611)
French priest burned as a sorcerer at Aix-en-Provence in
1611. He was a cure at Marseilles, where his personality and
manners gained him a footing in high society. He became
friendly with a 14-year-old girl, Madeleine de Demandolx, who
had attended the Ursuline convent school at Aix for two years.
Madeleine fell in love with the personable 34-year-old Gaufridi,
who was already much in demand as a confessor by the
women of the district.
After some gossip, Madeleine entered a convent in 1607,
where she confessed to intimacies with Gaufridi. About two
years later, Madeleine exhibited convulsive fits and claimed visions
of devils. After an unsuccessful exorcism, her symptoms
spread to other nuns at the convent. The girls were removed
and examined by other exorcists. Madeleine accused Gaufridi
of obscene bewitchment. Gaufridi attempted to clear his name,
appealing to the bishop of Marseilles and the pope.
In 1611 the Parliament at Aix held a trial at which Madeleine
was a star witness, exhibiting demoniacal possession and
affirming her lascivious desire for Gaufridi. Meanwhile the unfortunate
priest had spent a year chained in an underground
dungeon with rats. Three devil’s marks were said to have been
found on his body. After torture he confessed to magic, sorcery,
and fornication but later retracted his confession. He was sentenced
to be burned alive on a slow fire. Before this was carried
out, he was tortured so horribly that he was willing to confess
to any atrocity—even eating roasted babies! Before being
burned, he was dragged through the streets. (See also Urbain
Grandier; Loudun, Nuns of; Louviers, Nuns of)