Ancient history

Micah Chauderon

Last updated:2022-07-25

Youth and first cases with the law

Legitimate daughter born between 1602 or 1603 in Boëge, Michée Chauderon has lived in the Republic of Geneva since 1620. Single, she works as a servant. She is also a healer, both known and feared, because she has the recipe for a soup that purifies embodied evil. On December 14, 1639, then aged thirty-seven, she learned that she was five and a half months pregnant with the valet Jean Pelliget (who died during the last harvest). She was therefore immediately imprisoned in the Bishop's prison. Two days later, she is incriminated for "bawdiness", namely what concerns illegitimate births, or relationships outside marriage. Indeed, she is suspected of having had sex with Louis Ducret when they only planned to get married. On December 21, the two “laughers” were condemned to ask forgiveness from God and the Lordship on their knees, in addition to having to pay a fine and be banished from the city. Louis Ducret and Michée Chauderon will finally marry in the region of Thonon; they will lose their only child who was to be born in April 1640.

Micah Chauderon accused of witchcraft

Widowed in 1646 on the death of Louis Ducret, then aged forty-four, Michée Chauderon became both washerwoman and healer. It is six years later that she finds herself in court again, accused this time of having given herself to the Devil. According to the testimony of women, she intoxicated two supposedly possessed girls with wine and peas stained with magic powder. After these accusations, Michée Chauderon was arrested, then imprisoned for witchcraft in the prison of the Bishopric. The inquisitorial trial took place from March 3 to April 6, 1652, during which the accused answered 296 questions about the devil and the “magical remedies” attributed to him. She begins by denying the facts and any connection with evil forces. Expertise is carried out with the victim and the accused, looking for some proof of demonic presence. Michée Chauderon's body is scrutinized in the hope of discovering spots, warts, or other suspicious marks that would reveal the presence of Satan; the attention of the experts is then retained on the right breast, insensitive to needle pricks. Despite the accused's persistence in denying, the justice system is intransigent and condemns Michée Chauderon to death, the offense of witchcraft being capital.

Memory of the Last Witch

After his execution, the page of the great witch hunt is turned in Geneva. The trial of Micah officially marks the end of the inquisition in Geneva. Emblematic figure in the canton, it is in truth, Voltaire who universalizes the famous cause of "the witch" in his writings by using surnames such as Michée Chaudron, Michelle Chaudron, or Michelle Chaudron.

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