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History of Jeanne Panne

Jeanne was the daughter of Jan de Deyster and Cathelijne Goossen. It is not unimportant to mention that Jan de Deyster was designated as a magician in Sint-Joris.
Jeanne de Deyster marries with Jan Panne in 1617. Jan Panne was a baker and had a shop in the Sinte-Mariestraat, the present Recollettenstraat. It was a fertile marriage. Jeanne bore eleven children.
Jeanne was not uneducated. She was a smart trader who did not consider a tax evasion on wheat as a major offence.
Her husband died when she was in her early fifties. She lost ten of her children, they all died a natural death. In 1650 only Joorkin was still alive. Nature had not spoiled her either. She had birthmarks at the temples and at her thigh, her body showed traces of abscesses and under her right eyebrow she had a "red round spot".
In 1648, Jeanne Panne was just about to remarry Frans de la Banst from Pervijze. The banns had already been taken out and the turtledoves celebrated this with candlelight. She got up and without saying a word she went to her shop in the dark, staying there for a while. She came back in the room and stammered to her fiancée that the spirit of her late husband would make her dumb, if she should get married again. The wedding did not take place.
There is no doubt that Jan Jacobs and the mother of Ryckewaert Schroo accused Jeanne Panne to be a witch. Both Ryckewaert Schroo and the daughter of Jan died (both ill) after a visit of Jeanne.
After her arrest on 10th May 1650 the mayor and the municipal councils sent her to the rack. Before she was put in the collar on 12th May, she was examined by a certain master Andries “exploicteur criminele der stede Brugge”, who found a red spot under her right eyebrow being insensitive to the needle stitches he gave her. The stigma diabolicum, the sign that Jeanne Panne had closed a pact with the devil, was found. After a last attempt to exorcize her, Jeanne is placed into the collar at 11.00 in the evening.
After she had sworn on the Holy Cross to renounce to the devil and begged for the grace of God, Jeanne Panne was freed from the collar on 13th May 1650. On the 14th she confirmed “libre ende buuten torture” her confessions. Still on the same day she was condemned to the stake. The verdict was carried out on 16th May 1650. The costs of the trial were charged to the condemned woman and her properties were confiscated.


Historic Evocation