Hekserij in Goeree

Refomation and Witchcraft

Westdorp's Take

Schelhaas's rebuttal

Jacob Cats

René's Synopsis
Witchcraft in Goeree

Rene Luijkenaar

In this article I attempt to present the story of the Goedereede witch trials in plain language and in chronological order and reconcile all accounts represented by the links above in one narrative.

Job marries Ninge

Job Michiels was a farmer of Goedereede, born ca 1525. He leased land around there between 1543 and 1568. His wife Ninge Dimmensdr was born ca 1530. The daughter of Dimmen Cornelisz and Martijntje, Ninge had an older sister Eeuwoutje Dimmensdr, a younger sister Lena Dimmensdr and an older brother Cornelis Dimmensz who later came to call himself Rootsant, and a halfsister Joosgen Dircx Costers by her Mother. Ninge and Job had four children together. Pieter Jobsz was their oldest son, his descendants would eventually go by the last name Hoeck. Next came Dimmen Jobsz who married Grietje Willems. Their oldest daughter was Leuntje Jobsdr. She married Job Gerrits. The youngest daughter Maartje Jobsdr married Leendert Haene.

Widowed

Job Michiels died shortly after 1568. After being widowed Ninge Dimmensdr lived on a farm in Ouddorp continuing to hold her husband's leases from 1569 to 1582. Her oldest son Pieter Jobsz took over the leases in 1583 and held them until 1589.

Accusations

In 1581 the sister of Pauwel Aertsz, Prosecutor of Goedereede lent her goat to Lena Dimmensdr. On its return, she was no longer able to make butter from the milk. Pauwel had Lena milk the goat and make butter of it. Lena suspiciously succeeded. The same year Lenaert Jacobs Leerecop complained Ninge Dimmensdr gave him a major pain but nothing was done about it but she was being watched.

In July 1584 Ninge's grandson Leunis Cornelisz said that he'd seen Grandma with a man in red clothes and horse's hooves for feet.

Shortly after this Lenaert Jacobs swore to the pains Ninge gave him back in 1581, she and another woman, Willempgen Jans, were picked up on suspicion of witchcraft June 29, 1585. Ninge was questioned the next day, witnesses were called. She admitted and then denied bewitching her son. She claimed not remembering things that happened decades ago. New charges were brought June 11, which she denied. She didn't remember. Under torture on the darkest day of the year she implicated her sister Lena.

Lena was arrested on December 22, 1585. She confessed the devil had visited her, propositioned her, made a sign on her forehead and ultimately slept with her. The devil had told her his name was Jacob and lived in Sommelsdijk. Jacob gave her a magic powder to turn herself into a cat to frighten folks. Lena also confessed to pulling the third hair from Cornelis Lauwe's wheat for seven years. The judges convicted her of witchcraft. She escaped from prison to drown herself in Goedereede harbour.The prosecutor had her lifeless body burned.

Lawyer Jacob Cats intervened on Pieternelle's behalf and she regained her liberty. Ninge did not share her luck. she had also supposedly bewitched her youngest son Dimmen Jobsz. The long time widow was paid a final visit in prison by her oldest son Pieter Jobsz. January 12, 1586 she admitted hexing Jacob Heynese. She was burned at the stake January 22, 1586 in Goedereede along with Willempgen Jansdr.

Because both of her sisters had been burned at the stake Eeuwoutje Dimmensdr was also regarded with suspicion. Her name came up in a hearing for Adriane Jansdr. With scant evidence the crippled 67 year-old was jailed May, 1592. She was heard by the judge from Voorne July 29, 1592. She said that she didn't remember anything about the supposed events. She was interrogated again July 30. She stayed in jail four months more. The prosecutor's request to have her tortured was denied for lack of evidence. Eleven months later more witnesses were called but no new evidence was found. Her husband sought justice through the Court of Holland, explaining she was blameless and the prosecutor had jailed her since May the previous year without evidence.The court declared that without evidence her freedom should be granted. The prosecutor requested again that she be tortured based on previous statements he deemed sufficient. This request was eventually granted by Goedereede officials. Before subjecting Eeuwoutje to the torture rack, the executioner kept her awake for nine days and nights. She admitted to associating with the devil, then denied it again. There is no record of the outcome but Eeuwoutje was likely freed.