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Demonology and Witchcraft - "Less we forget"


Nicholas Remy



Written and compiled by George Knowles

Nicholas Remy was one of a number of French magistrates who gained notoriety as ruthless Inquisitors and Witch-hunters during the infamous Witch perscecutions of the 14th - 17th centuries.  Remy was the author of Daemonolatreiae (Demonolatry) first published in Lyons in 1595.  This was one of a chain of books written in the wake of the infamous Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of Witches) of 1486 intended to inflame the witchcraft delusion.  The Daemonolatreiae was reprinted several times, translated into German and eventually replaced the Malleus Maleficarum as the most recognized handbook of witch-hunters in Europe.  Remy’s claim to fame as an expert ‘witch-hunter’ is made on the book’s title page, in which he boasts to have personally condemned and burned 900 witches.


Daemonolatreiae (Demonolatry)

Remy is thought to have been born around 1530 (?) at Charmes, in the Départment des Vosges, Lorraine.  His family had long been known in the Province and came from a branch of the ancient House of St. Remegio of Chalons sue Marne from approx 1254.  One ancestor Pierre Remy of Lorraine had been a Treasurer for Charles IV, King of France from 1322 to 1328.  His father Gérard Remy was the Provost of Charmes, while his uncle was Lieutenant General of Vosges.  With a family tradition of lawyers, it was only natural for Remy himself to enter the legal profession.  While studying law at the University of Toulouse, he met and studied with another notorious ‘witch-hunter’ Jean Bodin.

After finishing his studies at Toulouse in 1563, Remy spent the next few years practicing law in Paris.  In 1566 he inherited the ‘Manor of Rosieres’ from his mother, which had belonged to her mother the ‘Marchioness de Busancy’.  In 1570 on the retirement of his uncle, Remy left Paris to take up his position and replace him as Lieutenant General of Vosges, at the sametime he was appointed by the Church to serve the Inquisition at tribunals in Alsace.  There he gained his first hands-on experience at prosecuting and condemning witches.  In 1575 he was appointed Privy Counsellor and Secretary to his Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Lorraine.  At about this time Remy married, first to N. Pouletier about whom little is known, then to Anne Marchand his second wife and started a family.  He is thought to have fathered at least seven children.

By 1581 Remy had been made State Attorney of Lorraine and Sheriff of the Court of Nancy, from where he started on his reign of terror and “Purge of Witches”.  One incident in particular seems to have triggared his intense hatered of witches.  A year later in 1582 his eldest son was supposedly killed in a street accident after being cursed by an old beggar woman, one who Remy had earlier refused to give alms.  He successfully prosecuted the woman as a witch for alledgily bewitching his son, and had her put to death by burning.  Over the next 10 years from 1582 – 1592 Remy alledges that he condemned another 900 witches to a similar fate.

Remy was a Roman Catholic and did his work with the blessings of the Church, utterly believing in what he was doing.  He saw every ‘witch’ as an agent of the devil that needed to be exterminated, and considered it justice done when they burned at the stake.  According to Remy, the Devil could appear in the shape of a black man or animal, one that liked to part take in Black Masses.  The demons could also have sexual relationships with women, and in cases were they did not agree, would rape them.  He became a blood Inquisitor and coldly boasted of the torture he forced on witches to make them confess.

He quickly gained a fearsome reputation due to the methods he used, his hatred against those accused of witchcraft was such that he even had children as young as 6 or 7 stripped and scourged while they walked around the stake used to burn their parents.  His imagination in the use of cruelty knew no bounds, and earned him the nickname of the ‘Torquemada of Lorraine’.  Despite his growing evil reputation, on the 09th August 1583 Remy was enobled as “Seigneur de Rosieres-en-Blois et du Breuil”, by ‘letters patent’ of the Grand Duke of Lorraine, this was verified on the 06th March 1584.  As a nobleman, this gave Remy the right to bear a ‘Coat of Arms’, which he had emblazoned with the motto:  Semper Fidelus (Always Faithful).

In 1591 Remy was elevated to Attorney General of Lorraine, and in that position he was able to influence and override local magistrates he thought were too lenient in their dealings with witches, thus maintaining his hatred for witches and his reputation as a cruel and fanatic witch hunter.  When an outbreak of the plague entered the province of Nancy in 1592 Remy retired from office and moved to the country.  There he wrote his infamous book Daemonolatreiae, based on his ten year campaign against witchcraft.

The book is devided into three sections, the first section is a study of Satanism, in which he decribes satanic pacts, feasting, dancing and the sexual orgies that took place at the witches sabbats.  He goes on to describe how the devil drew people into his service, first with cajoling and promises of wealth, love and power.  If that did not draw people to him, the devil would then resort to threats of disaster and horrible death.  The second section of the book is an account of witches activities, with much to do about their sex lives.  The third section contains notes and case details of his many trials.  While he claims to have condemned 900 witches, he cites only 128 cases here, however his figures and the names he gives cannot be authenticated, for most of the trial records of that period have been lost.  Speculation has it that Remy may have borrowed the records to compile his book and failed to return them??

Toward the end of his life Remy wrote another book the Historie of Lorraine, a small treatise about Rene II (1474-1508), which was published posthumously at Pont a Mausson in 1617, but this gained little historical merit.  His only success was his Daemonolatreiae, which was immensely popular in his day, and went through 8 editions including two translations into German.  Together with the works of his contemporary Jean Bodin, to some extent Remy’s book replaced the infamous Malleus Maleficarum as a leading authoritative guide to witch-hunting.

While he was responsible for the lives of so many innocent victims of witchcraft, and his book continued to influence the lives of others.  Remy lived out the rest of his own life in the comfort of his estate, where he continued in the service of the Grand Duke of Lorraine.  There he died in 1612, still secure in the righteousness of his murderous career as a ‘witch-hunter’.



The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology - by Rossell Hope Robbins

The Encyclopedia of Witches &Witchcraft  - by Rosemary Ellen Guiley.

Website Sources:  

Plus many other websites.

Written and compiled 01st April 2007

 Updated 06th March 2020 © George Knowles




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Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:


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A "Who's Who" of Witches, Pagans and other associated People

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Remembered at Samhain

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Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others


Abramelin the Mage /  Agrippa Aidan A KellyAlbertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” Aleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” /  Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” /  Alison Harlow /   Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda MetteyyaAllan Kardec (Spiritism) /  Alphonsus de SpinaAmber KAnn Moura /  Anna FranklinAnodea JudithAnton Szandor LaVey /  Arnold CrowtherArthur Edward Waite /  Austin Osman SpareBalthasar Bekker /  Biddy EarlyBarbara Vickers /  Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel /  Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke Cecil Hugh WilliamsonCharles Godfrey Leland /   Charles WaltonChristopher PenczakChristina Oakley Harrington Cornelius Loos /  Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" /  Dion Fortune /  Dolores Aschroft-NowickiDonald Michael Kraig Doreen ValienteDorothy MorrisonDr. John Dee & Edward Kelly /  Dr. Leo Louis Martello /  Edain McCoy /  Edward FitchEleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” Eliphas Levi /  Ernest Thompson Seton /  Ernest Westlake /  Fiona Horne /   Frederick McLaren Adams - Feraferia Friedrich von Spee /  Francis Barrett /  Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca /  Gerald B. Gardner - The father of contemporary Witchcraft /  Gwydion Pendderwen Hans HolzerHelen Duncan /   Herman Slater - Horrible Herman /  Heinrich KramerIsaac Bonewits Israel RegardieIvo Domínguez Jr. /  Jack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick /  James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches /  Janet Farrar and Gavin BoneJean Bodin Jessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” / Johann Weyer  / Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" /   Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim  -  the “Hexenbrenner” (witch burner) /  John Belham-Payne John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" /  John Gerard /  John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred /  John Michael Greer /  John Score /  Joseph “Bearwalker” Wilson /  Joseph John Campbell /  Karl von Eckartshausen Lady Gwen Thompson - and "The Rede of the Wiccae" /   Laurie Cabot  - "the Official Witch of Salem" /  Lewis SpenceLodovico Maria Sinistrari Ludwig LavaterMadeline Montalban and the Order of the Morning Star /  Margaret Alice MurrayMargot AdlerMichael Howard and the UK "Cauldron Magazine" /  Margaret St. Clair - the “Sign of the Labrys” /  Marie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" /  Marion WeinsteinMartin Antoine Del Rio Matthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” /   Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" /  Michael A. Aquino - and The Temple of Set /  Monique WilsonMontague Summers /  Nicholas CulpeperNicholas RemyM. R. SellarsMrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" /  Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning GloryOld Dorothy Clutterbuck /  Old George PickingillOlivia Durdin-Robertson - co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis /  Paddy SladePamela Colman-SmithParacelsus /  Patricia CrowtherPatricia Monaghan /  Patricia “Trish” TelescoPaul Foster Case and the “Builders of the Adytum” mystery school /  Peter Binsfeld /  Philip HeseltonRaven GrimassiRaymond Buckland /  Reginald Scot /  Richard BaxterRobert CochraneRobert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" /  Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” /  Rossell Hope Robbins /   Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) /  Rudolf SteinerSabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" /  Scott CunninghamSelena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" /  Silver RavenwolfSir Francis Dashwood /  Sir James George Frazer and the " The Golden Bough"S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” /  Starhawk /  Stewart Farrar /  Sybil LeekTed Andrews The Mather Family - (includes:  Richard Mather, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather ) /   Thomas AdyT. Thorn CoyleVera ChapmanVictor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" /  Vivianne CrowleyWalter Brown GibsonWalter Ernest ButlerWilliam Butler YeatsZsuzsanna Budapest /  



Many of the above biographies are briefs and far from complete.  If you know about any of these individuals and can help with additional information, please contact me privately at my email address below.  Many thanks for reading  :-)



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