This history explores the lives and trials of the accused during Sweden’s seventeenth-century witch hunts.
It may come as a surprise that Sweden had a witch hunt and that it was a precursor to Salem’s witch trials.
Märit Hansdotter and Karl Karlsson lived in an age of war, religious upheaval, and general discord. Their home, Karlsgården, was the site of tremendous heartache, tragedy, love and survival. It overlooked the Ljusnan River on a pilgrimage road between Uppsala and Saint Olaf’s shrine in Norway. Märit was sentenced to death, twice, for things she could not have done. Karl was sentenced to death, twice, for things he might have done.
Tapping into numerous historical sources—most of them unavailable in English—author and historian Charlene Hanson Jordan details the customs, traditions, relationships, and lifestyles of seventeenth-century Sweden while exploring her family’s history and considering the dangers of an imbalance of power between church and state that allowed the development and spreading of an extreme notion about evil.