Peter Stumpp: The Werewolf of Bedburg

In The Knave of Harts, a collection of satirical poems penned by Samuel Rowlands, the English poet makes an allusion to a certain German called Peter Stumpp who was executed for being a werewolf.

A German (called Peter Stumpe) by charme
Of an inchanted Girdle, did much harme,
Transform'd himselfe into a Wolfeish shape,
And in a wood did many yeeres escape
The hand of Iustice, till the Hang-man met him,
And from a Wolfe, did with an halter fet him:
Thus counterfaiting shapes haue had ill lucke,
Witnesse Acteon when he plaid the Bucke.

In the year this literary work was published, 1612, Peter Stumpp’s story was widely known throughout Europe. However, as the centuries passed, this tale gradually faded into obscurity, and any written accounts about this unfortunate man became lost to the annals of history.

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Composite woodcut print by Lukas Mayer of the execution of Peter Stumpp.


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