Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Peter Binsfeld (c. 1545 - 1598 or 1603) was a Suffragan Bishop of Trier and a witch hunter who wrote the treatise De confessionibus maleficorum et sagarum, "The Confession of Warlocks and Witches", translated into several languages (Trier, 1589). This work discussed the confessions of alleged witches, and claimed that even if such confessions were produced by torture, they should still be believed. He also encouraged denouncements.
He thought that girls under age twelve and boys under age fourteen could not be considerer guilty of practising witchcraft, but due to the precocity of some children the law should not be completely strict. This point of view can be considered as moderate, taking into account that other inquisitors had condemned to be burnt at the stake children between two and five years of age.
Contrarily to other authors of the same time, Binsfeld doubted that people could change shape into animals and of the validity of the diabolical mark.
See also Binsfeld's classification of demons.
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