September 10, 2019 Forthcoming
Reference - 176 Pages
ISBN 9781138324008 - CAT# K392135
The Great Nightmen Conspiracy explores the little known magico-religious history of 18th century Denmark.
Essential tasks carried out by the nightmen, such as dealing with carcasses and assisting with executions, generated contempt from the rest of society, but also led to the nightmen becoming deeply feared because of the dark and magical forces associated with their occupation. The discovery of a dead peasant at the edge of the fjord on 4th December 1734 led to the arrest of the nightmen Mikkel and Hans in the nearby market town of Kalundborg on Zealand. In court their interrogation focused not on the suspected murder but on thefts of livestock, immorality and other provocations committed by these socially ostracised nightmen. The court case became the largest of its time, implicating nightmen across half of Zealand and exposing divisions within society. This book uses a minutely researched set of incidents centering on the Danish ‘pariah caste’ of nightmen to bring to light this unknown magico-religious side of Denmark.
Through microhistorical methodology, The Great Nightmen Conspiracy presents a detailed insight into the lives of the nightmen in Kalundborg and the society that constructed their alienation. It is ideal for academics and postgraduate students of microhistory and urban history.
Introduction; Part one; 1: The missing peasant; 2: The nightmen conspiracy; 3: The prosecutor Niels Lind; Part two; 4: Dishonour as a profession; 5: Dishonour and magic; 6: The case of Morten Tailor; 7: The nightmen and the Christian community; 8: The sad tale of Hans Møller; 9: The Zealand underworld; 10: A den of thieves – the nightmen’s story; Part three; 11: In the dungeon: torture and escape; 12: The final sentence and its execution; 13: Niels Lind’s last battle with merchant Borthig; 14: What later befell the nightman family; Afterword