Anna Goldi: The Last Witch Executed in Europe.
Anna Goldi had a sad and unfortunate life. Born to a poor family in the village of Sennwald in the Sax district of Zurich, from the age of fifteen she worked as a maid in various village houses. Her life was hard but respectable- until Anna fell pregnant at the age of 31. The father, a mercenary left her before the baby was born. Facing life as a poor single mother must have been bad enough. However, on the first night of the baby’s life, it suffocated. Anna was accused of murdering her child. She was judged guilty and tied to the public pillory before being condemned to house arrest for the next six years
However, Anna escaped. She fled to Glarus, a separate canton a days walk away where her sentence had no effect. There Anna continued to work as a maid in various wealthy homes. In 1780, at the age of 46, she took up what would be her last post as a maid to the family of the local judge of the village of Mollis, Johann Jakob Tschudi. One morning, one of Tschudi’s daughters found needles in a drink of milk Anna had prepared. Anna was immediately sacked. Because of the status of the Tschudi’s, she was unable to obtain another position and so forced to leave the area.
Eighteen days after Anna left the Tschudi house, Judge Tschudi’s eight-year-old daughter began to vomit pins. Anna became the prime suspect when the judge accused his former maid of cursing his daughter. It seems that Tschudi had had an affair with the still attractive Anna. However, he was now afraid she would reveal it and ruin his reputation. The Judges’ position ensured that Anna was tried- even though there was absolutely no evidence against her. She denied the charges but eventually was tortured into admitting she had cursed the girl with the devil’s help. So, on June 13, 1782, Anna Goldi was decapitated with a sword in Glarus. She was the last recorded witch to be executed in Europe.
However, even as late as the nineteenth century, witches were still being pursued.