Peter Stubb

Smith, Elder & Co., London

Another case was that of Peter Stubb near Cologne, in 1573. His confession came after he was tortured on the rack. He started the “wicked art”, as he called it, at the age of 12. He claimed the Devil had given him a magic belt that enabled him to change into a robust wolf.

He terrorized the countryside feeding on livestock, 13 children, two pregnant women, tearing the fetuses from the wombs and eating them. He also confessed to having incest with his daughter and having various mistresses. His sexual appetite remained unsatisfied, so the Devil sent him a succubus.

His escapades went on for 25 years until hunters tracked him down as a wolf, and he was recognized after slipping off the belt. The judges couldn’t find the girdle where Stubb, but they explained this by saying it had “gone to the Devil whence it came, so that it was not to be found.”

Though his case was unproved, Stubb was nastily executed for the crime of lycanthropy: he was sentenced to have the flesh pulled off his bones in ten places with red-hot pincers, then to have his legs and arms broken with a wooden axe; finally to be beheaded and burned. His daughter and one mistress were judged to be accessories to his horrible killings and all were burned to death.

Read the testimony of George Bores

  • Source: Montague Summers, The Werewolf (New York: E. P. Dutton & Company, 1934), pp. 253-259. Summers’ source is a black-letter pamphlet printed in London in 1590. Only two copies of this pamphlet are known to exist, one in the British Museum and one in the Lambeth Library.
  • Peeter (also spelled Peter) Stubbe’s family name is variously recorded as Stub, Stubbe, Stube, Stump, or Stumpf.