Gray Wolf

Peter Stumpp — The Execution of a Werewolf

When witch trials happened werewolves became part of it. Many witches thought to be werewolves worked for the devil. One of them was Peter Stumpp.

Werewolves From Antiquity

*** Contains historical imagery and details of medieval torture.
For Mature Audiences only. ***

The werewolves were born of legends and folklore back in the Ancient Times and survived through all the centuries, wars and time. Throughout history, professors and scientists have discovered records of witch trials, and through those, werewolves.

One of them seemed to have been the center of all attraction, Peter Stumpp, the execution of a werewolf from hell.

London Pamphlet

Peter Stumpp’s birth date might be unknown, but his life has been well recorded.

He was born in the village of Epprath close to Bedburg. Despite the original article of the time in Renaissance Germany missing or destroyed by wars and time, some London pamphlet remained from 1590. One is displayed at the British Museum while the other copy that survived is at Lambeth Library.

Lukas Mayer 1589 - Hinrichtung - Peter Stumpp
Lukas Mayer 1589 – Hinrichtung – Peter Stumpp


Over time, information has been added from diaries belonging to Hermann von Weinsberg who was a Cologne alderman. Illustrated broadsheets were also added from southern Germany.

Many speculate that it was inspired or based on the German version of the London pamphlet of 1590. There were also contemporary references by Edward Fairfax, an English translator, due to his firsthand account on witch trials and one of his own daughters in the year 1621.

Entertainment in Times of War

Peter Stumpp, a surname given to him following an injury that had him lose his left hand, was formerly known as Ubel Griswold among many other names.

The German man was a wealthy farmer, widower as of the 1580 years and raised two children, one was a young boy while he also had a fifteen-year-old daughter, Sybil.

It was noted by witnesses of the multiple crimes, that the wolf committing the crimes was missing its left forepaw just like the rich farmer.

Of course, this caught the attention of the village that once was Protestant but was then converted to Catholicism due to the internal warfare of Electorate of Cologne. The war itself brought armies of both sides that resulted in the spreading of the plague.

Abandoned Castle
Abandoned Castle


Most of Stumpp’s crimes were recorded to have happened between 1582 and 1589, which happened during the internal war.

The villagers already under much stress, a fatal disease taking over their homes and invading everything they ever owned. They might have needed distraction provided by one prosperous widowed farmer.

However, it is believed that Peter Stumpp remained Protestant and raised his children as such. Catholics were not very patient with stubborn people at the time.

They might have used those werewolf accusations as a pretext to execute Stumpp and make an example out of him.

Gray Wolf
Gray Wolf


What supports the claim is the fact that nobility was present when the trial and execution took place.

Aristocrats wouldn’t have bothered with the persecution of a Protestant or a lycanthrope for that matter as they wouldn’t even lift a finger for a witch trial, but a werewolf accused of many brutal crimes caught their full attention.

That’s when the trial of Peter Stumpp brought the witch and werewolf trials to its apotheosis.

A trial of a Cannibal

It was in the year 1589 that Peter Stumpp was brought to trial. Many would not recover from the terror he was put through. The accusations alone were horrifying.

But his punishment was equally dreadful and never left the mind of those who witnessed them. After all, they are well described in the London pamphlets that survived and no one would forget such a horrifying scenery.

Black Magic - John Dee and Edward Keeley
Black Magic – John Dee and Edward Keeley


Stumpp confessed that he practiced Black Magic and spoke to the devil himself. Hell gave him a paranormal belt capable of metamorphosing him into a giant wolf capable of inhuman strength.

When wearing the belt, he would become a lycanthrope, but once removed, Stumpp would recover his human appearance. Of course, such a belt was never found again.

“The likeness of a greedy, devouring wolf, strong and mighty, with eyes great and large, which in the night sparkled like fire, a mouth great and wide, with most sharp and cruel teeth, a huge body, and mighty paws.”

Peter Stumpp, Werewolf Trial of 1589

Peter Stumpp even confessed having eaten his own boy. He had been accused of incestuous activities with his own daughter.

But records don’t seem to show he had confessed to that particular crime as he had a mistress at the time. However, he did affirm having sexual intercourse with a succubus (demon woman) sent to him by the devil.

It was said that for 25 years (1564-1589), Stumpp had been a bloodsucking creature feeding off the flesh of livestock.

He even confessed having gorged himself in the bodies of men, women and even those who were pregnant eating their fetuses that he would rip from the womb.

“… ate their hearts paint and raw” later translated, “… dainty morsels.”

Peter Stumpp, Werewolf Trial of 1589
Torture Rack

However, do not forget that those were confessed under torture. Peter Stumpp was recorded to have been stretched on a rack and that was done before further torture even started with the interrogation.

Halloween Execution

It was on October 31st, 1589 that Peter Stumpp was executed in manners worthy of a Stephen King novel.

Both his daughter and mistress were flayed and strangled to death. Stumpp, with his own eyes, had to watch his own daughter die afore he would be tortured in front a crowd eager to see him suffer for his crimes.

Tied up to a breaking wheel, the flesh was torn from his body in ten places with red-hot pincers. His arms and legs then suffered the same fate. To ensure Stumpp would not come back from the grave, his legs were then broken with the blunt side of ax heads.

This horrifying scene, enough to give nightmares to the most insensitive out there, was ended by the decapitation of Peter Stumpp. Then, his body along with those of his daughter and mistress, were burned on a pyre.

Torture Wheel - Städtisches Museum Zittau
Torture Wheel – Städtisches Museum Zittau

The event was meant to be a warning to everyone who was a werewolf by the authorities of the time.

A pole was placed with the wheel and displayed the drawing of a wolf. At the very top, the head of Peter Stumpp served as the most horrifying warning to all werewolves to beware of their inevitable fate.

Going down in history

The trial of Peter Stumpp is considered one of the most brutal of all times. When doing my research, I couldn’t agree more. It is very disturbing to read about our own kin capable of such inhuman acts.

I agree that at the time they might not have known that werewolves weren’t real, or what if they were?


We most certainly either scare them to never come forward again or they became extinct. Either way, Peter Stumpp might have confessed things he had never done just for the torture to end.

After all, the belt was never found, and he never confessed having touched one hair of his daughter’s head. History change either you are the conqueror or the conquered. It is very disturbing what one could say when put through torture created from the hands of pure nightmarish thoughts.

Peter Stumpp now is part of history, many know his name in the paranormal community as the one true werewolf. He had made his place not only in music but literature and inspired more than one in many artistic and literature field.

I just somehow hope that he found peace because I had never read such a horrible history before.

It really makes me wish we could just erase all the torture and accept that some people were just meant to be different, werewolf or not. Because somehow, I doubt that Peter Stumpp was as horrible as he confessed he was.

After all, those confessions were not written by his hand but one of his torturers.

The OCD Vampire,
Alexa Wayne

7 thoughts on “Peter Stumpp — The Execution of a Werewolf

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