Häxprocesser i Gävle och Ockelbo på 1600-talet
Sammanfattning: In this C-thesis, I investigate the sudden outbreak of the Swedish witch-hunts during the 17th century, mainly focusing on Gävle and Ockelbo in Gästrikland. To show the extension of the Swedish witch-hunts, I have included an introductory part of the thesis, where this is described. Another important part of the thesis is the one about views upon women and the functions of their bodies, which had to do with female sexuality. Women were indeed considered a threat, by men in powerful positions, and very often it was sheriffs, judges, commanders and governors who most strongly claimed this. People believed that the witches went to Blåkulla, which could be practically anywhere. It could be a mountain, an open area, a rock or a heath. It seems, however, to have been situated far north. My investigation mainly concerns the witch-hunts in Ockelbo and Gävle. During this time, Ockelbo was a small, distant village to which a lot of Finnish immigrants arrived in the early 17th century. In 1674 the vicar of Ockelbo, a man by the name of Tybelius, made known that rumours about witches were going around, and eventually these rumours were all over the area. Tybelius himself questioned the women who were involved. A large number of women lost their lives in Gästrikland. Ockelbo was struck hard by the witch-hunts. No less than 69 people were accused of being involved with the Devil and according to the record 14 of these were in fact executed. This is considered quite a large number, since Ockelbo was such a small village. Gävle came to be known mainly because of the accusations against Katarina Bure, the wife of the vicar, Peder Fontelius. The vicar had, at an early stage, dissociated himself from all sorts of witchcraft, and he was indeed very sceptical of the journeys to Blåkulla. The mayor of Gävle, a man by the name Falck, disliked Fontelius' opinions, which eventually led to the mayor accusing Fontelius' wife, Katarina, of having brought away children to Blåkulla. This was the first known case in Gävle, and it was to be followed by other cases. Children generally played an important role in the witch-hunts, and this was also the case in Gävle. It was not unusual that children testified against their own mothers. One of these children was Johan Johansson Griis, who accused his own mother and sent her to death. He was sent to live with some relatives in Stockholm, where he had soon pointed out a group of innocent women, many of which lost their lives. The witch-hunts lasted for 200 years. In Sweden, approximately 300 people were executed.
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