In early-modern times the persons accused of witchcraft were put to various ordeals that were to prove their guilt or innocence. In Western Europe the most widespread in early-modern times were the ordeals by water, fire, tears, weighing and pricking. In the 16th-17th century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the most widespread ordeal was that by water, the so-called ducking of witches, which the people of that period thought to be the best means of discovering a witch or her accomplices in a village or a country town. The present contribution presents, among other things, the story of the ducking of teenage children, an ordeal that was to prove whether water indeed gave the answer whether the person accused of witchcraft actually practiced it. This ducking of teenagers took place during a trial in Mlotkowo village (Northern Great Poland) in 1692. The course this trial took is presented, since this is the only such case in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in early-modern times.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.