Violent Religious Nut Orders Followers to Crucify Her
Margaretta Peter was born into a large Swiss family around 1794, and from an early age, displayed remarkable religious zeal. By age six, she was a preaching prodigy who captivated congregations with impassioned sermons, revealing a better grasp of the Bible than many grown ministers. She had a strong personality, and spiritually dominated her family and neighbors, turning them into her disciples.
At age 20, Margaretta announced that she was a prophetess, and established a small congregation in her village. She also took to wandering and preaching, gaining a reputation and following across Switzerland. In 1823, Margaretta began harping on Satan, warning her followers that he was all around them. Soon, she was experiencing prophetic visions of demons taking over the world.
Then one day, she told ten devoted followers to gather weapons and pray, because the final battle between Satan and Jesus was about to begin. On her instructions, they gathered axes and clubs and whatever weapons they could find, and barricaded themselves in a farmhouse attic. She told them that invisible demons had surrounded the house, then shrieked that they had broken in – at which point Margaretta’s followers began wildly swinging their weapons at imaginary devils only she could see.
That went on for hours, during which they destroyed the attic. Then they descended to the ground floor, and began hitting each other, on the theory that pain would ward off the demons. They kept at it until neighbors finally called the police, who arrived to find Margaretta’s followers senseless on the floor, while she continued pummeling them.
The following day, Margaretta told her congregation that more pain was needed to fend off the Devil. She then grabbed an iron wedge and began bludgeoning her brother, while her followers resumed beating each other up. Margaretta then announced that her dead mother’s ghost ordered her to sacrifice herself, but her sister stepped up and insisted that she be sacrificed instead. Margaretta accepted and began beating her sister with the iron wedge. The rest of the congregation joined in, and soon, the sister was dead. When a follower protested, Margaretta assured her that her sister would rise from the dead in three days.
Margaretta then ordered her followers to crucify her. They were reluctant at first, but she assured them that she would return to life in three days. So they made a cross, and with Margaretta urging them on, nailed her to it by her hands, elbows, feet, and breasts. She then ordered them to stab her through the heart. They tried, but couldn’t get it right, so they took a hammer and crowbar and smashed her head.
Then the congregation gathered around the bodies, and prayed while waiting for them to come back to life in three days. Needless to say, three days came and went, but the dead Margaretta and her dead sister stayed dead. Her disciples were tried for murder, and eleven were convicted and given prison sentences ranging from six months to 16 years.