Aix-en-Provence possessions

Aix-En-Provence Possessions

Aix-en-Provence possessions

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In 1611 at Aix-en-Provence (South of France), Father Louis Gaufridi was accused of causing demonic possession in the Ursuline nuns at Aix. He was found guilty and burned at the stake atop a pile of bushes, because they burned slower and hotter than logs. This case provided the legal precedent for the conviction and execution of Urbain Grandier at Loudun more than 20 years later. In both cases, sexual themes dominated the manifestations of the possessions.

Diabolical invasion

The first 20–25 years of the 17th century were host to the peak of accusations in France's witchcraft hunt. During this time-frame, the number of cases involving demonic possession, priests and nuns outnumber that of any other period.

Signs of a demon invasion were believed to appear at Aix-en-Provence during the year 1609 through the victim Madeleine de Demandolx de la Palud. Madeleine, a 17-year-old Ursuline nun with a history of emotional instability, was returned often to the care of her parents to recover from attacks of depression. Father Louis Gaufridi was a friend of Madeleine's family and it is believed that he and Madeleine became lovers.

This rumor reached the ears of Sister Catherine de Gaumer, head of the Ursuline convent at Marseilles. She passed the rumor on to Madeleine's mother, and words were conveyed to Father Gaufridi that his attentions should cease immediately.

It was then that Madeleine was admitted to the Ursuline convent at Marseilles, under the direct supervision of Mother de...
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