A blog about the history, geography, and mythology of the Nordic countries.
Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Finland, and their associated territories.
Iceland’s remote location did not save it from the craze of witch trials that swept Europe and North America in the 17th century. However, in Iceland the majority of individuals tried and convicted of witchcraft during this time were men.
Between 1625 and 1683 there are records of around 130 witch trials held in Icelandic courts accusing nearly 170 individuals. Only 21 individuals were convicted and put to death, of them only one was a woman, although it is estimated that a quarter of the cases ended with a sentence of whipping.
Of these trials, the most famous is that of a father and son both named Jón Jónsson. The two men were accused of using witchcraft to cause the suffering illness of pastor Jón Magnusson. Both men confessed to the crimes, and when the pastor’s suffering did not ease after their deaths he accused the Jónssons’ daughter/sister of the crime. The woman was taken to trial but the charges were dismissed.