The Witch of Sugny: The Trial of Jeannette Petit

Articles for interrogation of Jennette Petit, prisoner. Exhibited February 19, 1657.

p. 205. I. After giving her name and last name, age, and her residence, asked if she knows why she is imprisoned.

Her name is Jennette Petit, about 75 years old, and knows that she is held for the crime of witchcraft.

II. If she hasn't been suspect of being a witch, by her neighbors, and if they distrust her?

Is well aware that the daughter of Henri le Thellier suspects her for their cow.

III. If it is true that the said Jennette Petit goes often to ask for buttermilk at the house of Henri le Thellier, her neighbor?

Yes.

IV. If, once the daughter of the said Henri refused to give her some, she seemed strongly offended.

Doesn't remember being angry with her.

V. If after that, to avenge this refusal, she didn't dry-up the cow of the said Thellier, and didn't heal it later?

No! (February 21, re-interrogated on this fact as we see later, says that she doesn't know if the cow had dried-up "by her hands".)

VI. That the said Jennette Petit having once breathed or forced her breath into the mouth of Jenne le Bailly, wife of Henri le Thellier, who became ill and died?

Remembers nothing of the sort with regard to the two points in question. (February 21, she acknowledges having breathed on her and making her fall ill and die.)

VII. That Nicolas le Bailly, father of the said Jenne le Baillay for this reason, had attacked the prisoner in front of her door, saying to her: "Eh So! Witch, you don't want to heal my daughter?" to which the prisoner didn't not reply.

Acknowledges this issue.

VIII. That she had cursed and made die Isabelle Mergny, her neighbor, by giving her leeks or else through cakes for the fair.

Indeed gave her some leeks, but hadn't added anything to make her sick.

IX. That it isn't true that the father of the said prisoner had already been suspect of being a witch?

Knows nothing of this point; he was however well thought of by his people.

X. That in passing next to Nicolas le Bailly in the cemetery of Sugny, she elbowed him, which caused him through this harm, a shaking of all his limbs, that he kept until his death?

Acknowledges this issue.

XI. That she harmed the children of Hector Poncelet, making them ill, and furthermore did the same with his livestock.

Completely denies this issue.

XII. That she made sick one of the children of her neighbor Thomas Gerardin, for having cried on her porch.

Denies this as well.

XIII. That when it came out that they wanted to inform against witches, the said Jennette got some advice about the chances of escaping, saying that if she fled, the great Jennette should be on her guard, this referring to Jennette Huart, wife of Jean Robau?

Remembers nothing of the sort.

XIV. That one day, the said prisoner asked alms at the door of Poncelet Robert, it was politely refused by one of his children, against which the prisoner resented and which she threw a poison, which made him dry-up die shortly after?

It was the only time that she goes along with it. She acknowledges this issue.

February 21, 1657, p. 208

Author's remark: The interrogation takes up from the 14 issues above, I don't know why, and continued on 21 others. The prisoner slightly changed her deposition on article V. and completely on article VI, where she () (See here my corrections on these two articles.)

XV. Having been, beaten by the late Nicolas Pierret, her husband, the prisoner fled for safety and hid in his hay in the loft?

Yes.

XVI. Where the devil came to find her and told her that she would marry with him and that he would give her means to live a life of ease?

Yes.

XVII. That she married with the devil and at the same time had an affair with the devil?

Doesn't remember anymore if the devil had an affair with her that time, but remembers having affairs other times and that he arrived when she forgot to cross herself.

XVIII. What was the name of the devil, and what did he call himself?

Belzebuth

XIX. At what locations and places she had danced with devils; name the places, and if it was at Hatterelles, at la Goutelle, and next to the meadow of — (foux?) (au pré du foux), Soffa and other places?

Was at these four places.

XX. That she list those people that she recognized at these dances in Hatterelles and Gout, and if she noticed that Jennette Huart, wife of Jean Robau, the big Marson Huart, her sister, Catherine Robert, wife of Husson Jadin, and Jenne Jadin, her sister in law were there?

(Page 209)
Recognized at these dances, at Goutelle, Jennette Huart, wife of Jean Rabau; Marson Huart, her sister; Catherine Robert, wife of Husson Jadin and Henne Hadin, her sister-in-law, were dancing there, and in addition, two people from Pussemange, which she didn't know their names. It was however, last season. She doesn't know if the two were from Pussemange, but they headed back in that direction.

XXI. She will tell and declare at which time, or year, and at what hour, she had danced at Soffa?

Can't fix the years, nor the days where these dances were, which were done before sunrise.

XXII. Similarly, will try to name those that she noticed being present at the meeting and the dances in the meadow or fields of (foux); to say if there were a lot there and how many more or less?

As it was only once, and so long ago that she has totally forgotten the names of those that were found there.

XXIII. Those that she was able to recognize, those with which she had gone there and returned, and if Catherine Robert, wife of Husson Jadin; Jenne Jadin, her sister in law; Marson Huart; Jennette Huart, wife of Jean Robau; Catherine Robau, her daughter, wife of Hubert Gerardin; Poncelet Huart, of Sugny, and her daughter Jenne Huart, wife Blaise Lamblot, weren't all there?

Saw and recognized at the dance in Soffa, Catherine Robert, wife Husson Jadin; Jenne Jadin, her sister in law; Marson Huart; Jennette Huart, wife of Jean Robau; Catherine Robau, wife of Hubert Gerardin, her daughter, and Jenne Pihart, wife of Jean Mouet.

(page 210)
XXIV. That she should declare other locations and places where she was accustomed to go dance at night, and those that she recognized as being present, and any locations or places whatever they be?

Doesn't remember anything more.

XXV. If she goes to dances by foot or if the evil spirit takes her there and how.

She goes by foot.

XXVI. If at the said dances, when it's over, the devil, their master, doesn't require them to do evil, to harm people or animals, giving them some poison?

Doesn't remember at what moment the devil delivered the poison to her.

XXVII. If it is true that the devil, with which she had been married, advised her to kill Nicolas Pierret, her husband?

It's true.

XXIII. If the devil didn't give her poison for killing her husband?

Yes, in a little potion.

XXIX. Which poison was it; fat or powder, and with what soup, butter or cheese, she had him eat it?

It was a fat, which she had given him in some soft cheese.

XXX. And if the said Nicolas Pieret having eaten it, lived and died shortly afterwords?

He only lasted about fifteen days.

XXXI. If she had received from the devil other poisons and powders and with which she poisoned the Bertholet, who died from it?

Killed him with a poison powder which she mixed with beer.

XXXII. If besides, she didn't kill the child of Bertholet, shortly after the mother?

Yes, but doesn't know anymore what kind of powder.

XXXIII. She will state other persons, men, women or children, she poisoned?

Doesn't remember anymore of them.

XXXIV. Item, will state, more or less, the animals that she had poisoned, and if she had caused the death of Jacques Pierret her nephew, as well as others.

Doesn't remember having caused anyone's animals to die, nor Jacques Pierret or others.

XXXV. Item, if she doesn't still have some poison left, and where she was in the habit of hiding it etc?

States that she has no fat present.
(….)

(page 214)
II. Process of Jenne Pihart, wife of Jean Mouet, prisoner. Exhibited February 21, 1657.

I. After giving her name, age, and her residence, asked if she knows why she is imprisoned?

Says that her name is Jenne Pihart, aged about 45 years, lives in Sugny, and that she knows that she is in prison for the crime of witchcraft.

II. That she has been suspect of being a witch by her neighbors and that they mistrusted her?

Knows that she was suspect of the crime of witchcraft by Jacques Pierret, her neighbor.

III. That the mother of the prisoner was similarly suspect of being a witch?

Only knows that her mother was suspected, knows only that one day she had given a pate to the dog of Jean Dubier, that Dubier had said that his dog died from it, and that her mother (had gotten into arguments over it.)

(page 216)
IV. That she had been called to change the clothing of a child of Jacques Pierret; after undressing the child, she returned to her house, and came back to dress the child, and by the witchery that she put around the said child, he became completely swollen and sick, then died?

It is true that she had changed the clothes of child of Jacques Pierret, but she did him no harm.

V. That she made several animals of Jacques Pierret die, many and diverse times?

Denies formally.

VI. That she gave a beer to Jean Loison of Bagimont to drink, of which he became sick, vomiting, and died about eight days afterwords?

She gave him some, but with good intentions.

VII. That she a bit later, argued with the said Jean Loison, blaming him that his mother had wanted to discourage the marriage of Jean Lamblot of Sugny, her son, with Anne Lambert, niece of the said prisoner?

She indeed blamed his mother for having said that she didn't want Jean Lamblot of Sugny to mix with their race, but it wasn't with animosity. She simply said to him; "I was mad at your mother, who didn't want Jean Lamblot to take my niece, and if I had met her, I would have told her!"

VIII. That often the animals of the said prisoner whisper and low in their stables; state why and how.

Don't understand a word of that.

IX. That in passing next to the goats belonging to Pierre Deu, she blatantly killed them.

Says on her honor, never having caused those goats to die.

X. That the said prisoner went to see the late Anne Piérard, wife of Jacques Lamblot, during her delivery, without being summoned.

Acknowledges that she went to see her, during the delivery, but states that she did her no harm.

XI. That before the evening of the same day, the said Anne Piérard became sick and died of it, by the harm done do her by the prisoner?

Denies absolutely.

XII. That a bit after the death of the said Anne Piérard, her child being brought back to the house of Jean Piérard, his grandfather and Isabelle Mergny, wife of Jean Piérard, his grandmother holding him before the door, the prisoner saw him, and shortly after he was sick?

Denies absolutely.

XIII. The next day, the said Isabelle Mergny, grandmother of the child, in going to mass, closed all the doors of the house where the child was in bed. At her return, she noticed nevertheless that the said prisoner had entered the house, during mass, having made the child swallow gruel, that since then he's been doing better, and getting well?

Denies completely these points.

XIV. That one day, following one of her chickens that went to roost in the stable of Bonne Lambert, she poisoned the calf in the stall, which was doing well before then, and dying the next day?

Acknowledges having gone in the stable but declares never having caused the death of the calf, and the truth should be known.

XV. That one day, she was met at dawn returning to the village, making noise?

It is true that she returned, once, around midnight, with a chariot loaded of bark, but she didn't make any other noise except in passing by.

XVI. That the said prisoner was sent to the house of Jean Jadot, where the children were healthy, and as soon as she left, one of them became ill due to her evil spell and then died?

That's false.

XVII. That she warned Jean Mouet, her husband, that around midnight, that his son was in trouble, and that his cattle were taken in the woods of Mont-Dieu in France?

Simply said one night, to her husband, while it was raining, and while their chariot was delayed and hadn't returned: "We sleep in our bed, while our boys are stuck somewhere, in a hole somewhere"; it wasn't until the next day that they came and said that they had stayed in the woods of Mont-Dieu (small commune du canton de Raucort, known for its luxurious woods.)

XVIII. She will say by whom she had been informed, and by what means?

It was confirmed next day, by Petitjean Renaut; if she had guessed the truth the night before, it was due to the raging weather.

XIX. Will say how it is that she new a head of time about the cattle.

It was obvious.

(The cattle were probably seized by customs or by the forest guards (comme étant en maraude), which happened frequently on the frontier.)

(page 219)
XX. By what method, means or science, she knew the secret of the investigations, and those who have testified against her, and even the contents of the investigation?

She knows nothing about any of it.

XXI. That she returned one day, early morning, with her daughter, completely a wreck from the diabolical dances, by the road or the path of "Aubroyes"?

It is true that one day, she returned from that direction, but had been in search of their horses, which had wandered away; she has never been to diabolical dances.

XXII. That she had remarked to many people that Jennette Huart, wife of Jean Robau, also prisoner for the same crime, had bewitched her then healed her, by means of a certain drug.

Here's the truth: one day, when she was sick, Jennette Huart came bringing her, leaving it on her shelf, a cassette (small cup) containing small white nuts (lumps) like rennet. Alix Millet, wife of Jacques Lambert, living in their bake house, took the cassette, and told her that she should swallow the contents of it, and it would mean her health or her death; she did it and she had an enormous sweat, coming off like a steam above her and around her dress, and she got better.

En foi de quoi, Nous Justice, the following, have signed for the truth of the contents above.

(p. 220) Meeting (Confrontation) of the witnesses charging Jenne Pihart

1- Bonne Lambert, 35th witness, under oath, as well as the prisoner. The latter questioned on the point of knowing if she knows her well, and if she has something against her. Said to know her well, and has nothing to object unless she's mistaken.

The deposition of Bonne Lambert was read; she agrees that she changed the child's clothing’s, but without leaving between undressing and re-dressing; besides, she didn't do anything to the child and didn't know he was sick.

Bonne Lambert maintains the opposite in her presence, says that the next day the child was red, had a swollen throat, and was dead about fifteen days later. On the issue of the animals of Bonne Lambert, the prisoner denies having killed any of them. Bonne Lambert persists.

2nd Nicole Piérard, 46th witness of the investigation. The prisoner objected saying that everyone knows she has bad character. Nicole Piérard was put under oath, and her deposition was read to the accused, who declared to have no memory having giving anything to eat (bouillie=cooked meat) to the child, indeed the opposite.

Nicole Piérard maintains actively the opposite: that she gave him some after entering the house with the other particularities mentioned in her deposition. The prisoner admits to telling the said Nicole Piérard, that Jennette Huart, wife of Jean Robau, had bewitched her. as noted elsewhere in the deposition of Catherine Piérard.

Trial of Jennette Huart

I. After giving her name and her age and her residence, will be asked if she knows the subject of why she is imprisoned?

She is called Jennette Huart, aged more than 60 years, and doesn't know why she is imprisoned.

II. If she hadn't been already apprehended for the same subject; under what conditions she was released.

Says that everyone knows very well why.

If for more than 35 years she hasn't been known as being a sorcerer, and if she is of the race?

Knows that her mother was accused of being a witch, and that they killed her for it; doesn't know if it was true.

IV. That she was accused of the crime by Jenne Carmay, her aunt, executed herself as a witch, and if the mother of the said prisoner hadn't been burnt for the same crime?

Doesn't believe that her aunt Carmay, executed for the same crime, had accused her; for the rest, responds as preceding, that she doesn't know if her mother was a witch.

V. That the witnesses produced in the first preparatory investigation, which took place in the year 1626, without prejudice at the time, she has found to have been charged with touching Jacquette Leverd, by washing the children's clothing and linen of "Robins": and, by this contact, caused him to have a paralysis (preclusion) of his limbs.

Declares that they lie like a dog.
Declare que c'est faux comme chien.

VI. As the prisoner was to marry, Gerard Labroye was courting her. The parents came together to arrange their marriage, but it didn't take place. The same day, having found the said Gerard with the wife of Poncelet Etienne, and going out with he4r, she said to him that he would regret it, thinking that he was the cause that the marriage didn't take place?

That is false; Gerard Labroye was crazy, and died crazy.

VII. In the end, a time later, the said Gerard Labroye was seized by a sickness so hot and violent, that he turned crazy and mad from it?

That's false. She is there for nothing.

VIII. In addition, having caused the death, through satanic venom, a cow belonging to the said Labroye?

That's false; had never caused the death of anyone or any animal.

IX. Item, leaving one day, her house, having had leaned against the stone walls of the garden of Gerard Willeme; then, having returned in great haste to her house, without entering; then, having passed the manure heap of Marson Renault, where there were three goats, that she kicked; and these were knocked down, going against the lattice work in the garden of Jean Pierart?

That is false; has no memory of such goats.

X. And noticing that she was being watched, she passed by the said manure heap, between the goats, and went by them touching the sides of her clothes?

That is false; she didn't see them, much less pushing them into the lattice.

XI. Item, having given to eat a gohier, ou doree de brouet, to Jacquette Baudet, wife of Louis le Vasseur, who, in eating it, because immediately sick?

Denies having given the gohier ou de la doree a Jacquette Baudet, that it was a whore and that she died the death she deserved.

XII. In addition to having given him buttermilk to drink, of which the said Jacquette Baudet became seriously ill and inflicted, and after having endured severe pains, rejected and vomited a variety of worm, even unknown beasts and almost isn’t he shape of salamanders, and had for a time, become numb in his limbs?

It is the sister of the said Jacquette Baudet who had milked one of the cows of the, and who brought the milk; the latter never received it and this couldn't have given it: she repeats besides that the said Jacquette was a whore, and that her sister was insane.

XII. Item, that by the second and last investigation, she was charged by witnesses, that one of the children having had been hit with a wooden shoe by the small boy, brother of Marueriet Mariau, the said prisoner arrived saying to him "Hush Hush, my child; he won't be hitting you much longer; and that soon afterwords, the said boy was sick in one leg and languished, having to crutches for 5 or 6 years, and eventually dying from his sickness?

That is false, and whoever said that is an evil person, and their hair should be pulled out.

XIV. That she had visited Jenne Pihart, wife of Jean Pihart, wife of Jean Mouet, when she was sick, and asked her if she had eaten that which she left on a shelf, and to say what it was?

She wasn't twice in her life in the house of Jenne Pihart: she is a mean woman, and liar, who she saw steal from a table that they made (her undress?) in her presence.

XV. If, one day, having at her dwelling with Henry, their servant, she showed him the small beasts which ran around the house, and the servant didn't see them, she said to him: "There they are! There! Don’t you see them at all?" Say what beasts they were and from where they came?

They are tall tales that she denies; this Henry is a liar, who stole her purse of two patacons (about 5 francs; a little bit of money)

XVI. Itme, having called Jenne Pihart, wife of Jean Mouet, who followed one of the chickens that was going to lay eggs, to help her carrying a vat full of water into her house, and putting it inside, she took the hand on the shoulder of the said Pihart, who became sick (incontinent)?

Replies in closing the yes, mocking and with the head thrown back, that she doesn't know what the said Pihart is trying to say.

XVII. That passing one day in the month of march in front of the door of the barn of Jean Pierart, in which there was a cow (de relai), she coughed and that moment the cow because sick, and died?

If Jean Pierart said that, it's because he is blind; she never did anything wrong to them or their animals.

XVIII. Item, that Jacques Lambert, having received two breads from Jean Robau, of which he found light, he reported them at the said Robau, where finding the prisoner who didn't want to take them back. He (put them on the throat of the oven), and as he walked into the room waiting for Robau, the prisoner threw her hand on the shoulder; he () and he lost use of his arm for an entire year?

That's false; there have to be mean people in the world to say such things. Has no memory that he returned the bread and that she touched him.

XIX. If it is not true that one day, where () for Housson Pierard, someone said: "There is evil () of sorcerers, that have (caste a spell) on that ()." and that the said prisoner noticing that () will say why she said that and ()?

She can have said that there were () without however that there were any in the others; this doesn't mean she's guilty of it.

XX. That approximately five years ago, before her first capture, apprehension and imprisonment, she had argued with the wife of Jean Lamblot, and had through a window, thrown her the finger, threatening her.

That is false; it's the first she ever heard of it.

XXI. And that afterwards, she made a cow sick, drying it of its milk, making it ()?

Says that those are tales.

XXII. And () that, having been sold back to her aunt, Jeanne Carmay, since executed, the said cow got better, and gave milk?

Doesn't know what that is supposed to mean.

XXIII. That she was threatening the wife of Jean Lamblot, that after having hurt her, through her spells, and languishing a long time, she ()?

Says that those are tales; of all of it she knows nothing.

XXIV. That one time was heard at night the said Jennette Huart crying, "Aie! Aie! and help", being alone in the house?

Those are tales.

XXV. She is going to also confess if, one day, after kneeling on the corner of the (), when the weather was mild, she didn't cause a fog, and rose a wind around her, the said wind blowing into the porch of the house of Matheiu Lambert, where there were two girls who were crushing hemp; wind and fog was so bad that they hid behind the pot in which they were processing the said hemp. Will say how she had made the said fog.

Says that as soon as you start reading the article, you know its false.

XXVI. That Marie Leprince in going to mass, with the small daughter of Poncette Labroye, wife of Jacques Lambert, the prisoner asked to the little girl to come with her in the house where she was; she gave the little girl some bread, which seemed to her not good, and she started to languish, for about a year, then died; she was always healthy before eating the bread?

That's false she has no memory of all that, and that it is repeated by people with bad intentions.

XXVII. That one time, during the night, she came in the house of Thomas Gerardin, () of Sugny, where she found petitjean Millart, () of Laviot, who was sitting on a mattress, next to the fire, and to whom she said, "if he wants to sit with her, and those who were with her, she would give him enough money to pay his debts." And () then robbing the stomach with two hands, and came down, and said to him: "That she has taken off the poison, but that he will be a long time ill." The said Petitjean wanted to cry, but the prisoner said to him: "that he wouldn't be able to wake up Thomas Gerardin." She said further, "that there will be soldiers coming to the village, and that she should have three of them, and that if she wasn't in the house before they arrived, she would be in trouble, and put in the hands of the Justice"; she left at the same time the soldiers arrived?

That is false and the witness is an evil man: she didn't even see him; she demands justice, and he should have to ().

XXVIII. If she has at times worn green petticoats and of what material it is made?

She wears sometimes green or blue, she wears what she has.

XXIX. Will say if it is true that the officers of Charleville having sent to Sugny a woman, () Jean Robau(), to have his chariot, Jennette Huart gave for lunch to this woman, who, having eaten her soup, felt ill, and in leaving the village, vomited everything that she had eaten, then eventually getting better.

Remembers nothing of the sort.

Guarlache Mergny, echevin
Jean Dubier, echevin
Thomas Gerardin, greffier(=clerk of the court)

The 16th day of February 1657, she is again interrogated by the high justice of Sugny, and examined () and () the articles of interrogation exhibited the 12th and 14th of February (I don't know why)

1st question?
Knows indeed why she is imprisoned.
2nd?
Knows that she was apprehended for the crime of sortilege, then released and 90 by the Justices.
5th?
Knows indeed that Jacquette Leverd has charged her; but (); if she was sick, it is more herself who (),she is of the race of witches, like herself.
7th?
Knows indeed that labroye was troubled and that he was crazy, but she wasn't the cause of it, and she hadn't touched him.
16th?
She didn't see Jenne Pihart and hadn't touched her; didn’t even help her carry the bucket.
24th?
Never did that, at least ()
25th?
Wasn't () the () of Labroye, and didn't make nor see the fog.

Guarlache, Mergny, echevins
Jean Dubier, echevin
Thomas Gerardin, greffier.

Exhibited February 2, 1657.

I. That once, the night, she started screaming, being in bed with Jean Robau, her husband, with such a force, that the entire house (); will jail what spirit was pushing her and tormenting her?

That is false; nothing of the sort ever happened.

II. That he was () by Jean Robau her husband, that she should confess, which she never agreed.

That is false.

III. That shortly afterwords, came a noise among the (), coming () until the last, () like someone walking with heavy steps?

Doesn't understand a word of it; the are dishonest people, who () these things.

IV. That suddenly, there appeared a terrible beast in the kitchen, big as a beef cattle, which then (escaped) through the back room? There is nothing true to that.

V. That another time, the said Jennette Huart, having a dead child, laying in her bed, and having left the said child in the kitchen, there came a cat with a() and a monstrous look, in the said kitchen. Will say what the form was of this beast, and to what end? Has no idea what is meant by this.

VI. In addition, the prisoner will tell which spirit () that Isabelle Mergny, and ()? Same response.

VII. Will also say who informed her that the cure de Sugny had said, the Sunday behind the church, () the said prisoner having () divine revelation?

Someone told her that the cure had made a nice () in favor of prisoners, but she had forgotten who had told her.

VIII. That she will say () some cries and noises that are produced around her, the past days, () and voices () — she being in prison — in the court of Jean Mozet, during the night?

They weren't produced at one place, much less around her than anywhere else in the Court of Jean Mozet.

IX. That she will say for what reason she was () and (), when they came to talk to her about the witches, that she was as innocent as Jesus Christ and as saintly?

Doesn't know if she said that; if she did, doesn't remember it.

X. That she cast a spell on Jean Laurent of Laviot, who refused to () for her () wheat?

That is false.

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