Malleus Maleficarum, usually translated as The Hammer of Witches, is the best known treatise on witchcraft.

It was written by the German Catholic clergyman Heinrich Kramer, and first published in the German city of Speyer in 1486. It has been described as the compendium of literature in demonology of the 15th century. 

The top theologians of the Inquisition at the Faculty of Cologne condemned the book as recommending unethical and illegal procedures, as well as being inconsistent with Catholic doctrines of demonology. The Malleus elevates sorcery to the criminal status of heresy, and recommends that secular courts prosecute it as such. 

The Malleus suggests torture to effectively obtain confessions, and the death penalty as the only certain remedy against the evils of witchcraft. At the time of its publication, heretics were frequently sentenced to be burned alive at the stake, and the Malleus encouraged the same treatment of witches.

Despite its condemnation by the clergy, the book enjoyed a period of popularity among literate laymen.


00:00 – Introduction

27:45 – The Bull of Innocent the 8th

36:32 – Question I. Whether the Belief that there are such Beings as Witches is so Essential a Part of the Catholic Faith that Obstinacy to maintain the Opposite Opinion manifestly savours of Heresy

1:29:46 – Question II. If it be in Accordance with the Catholic Faith to maintain that in Order to bring about some Effect of Magic, the Devil must intimately co-operate with the Witch, or whether one without the other, that is to say, the Devil without the Witch, or conversely, could produce such an Effect.

2:13:42 – Question III. Whether Children can be Generated by Incubi and Succubi

2:45:58 – Question IV. By which Devils are the Operations of Incubus and Succubus Practised?

3:00:10 – Question V. What is the Source of the Increase of Works of Witchcraft? Whence comes it that the Practice of Witchcraft hath so notably increased?

3:48:20 – Question VI. Concerning Witches who copulate with Devils. Why is it that Women are chiefly addicted to Evil Superstitions?

4:21:46 – Question VII. Whether Witches can Sway the Minds of Men to Love or Hatred

4:50:46 – Question VIII. Whether Witches can Hebetate the Powers of Generation or Obstruct the Venereal Act

5:07:11 – Question IX. Whether Witches may work some Prestidigitatory Illusion so that the Male Organ appears to be entirely removed and separate from the Body

5:23:33 – Question X. Whether Witches can by some Glamour Change Men into Beasts

5:45:48 – Question XI. That Witches who are Midwives in Various Ways Kill the Child Conceived in the Womb, and Procure an Abortion; or if they do not this, Offer New-born Children to Devils page

5:49:49 – Question XII. Whether the Permission of Almighty God is an

Accompaniment of Witchcraft

6:09:38 – Question XIII. Herein is set forth the Question concerning the Two Divine Permissions which God justly allows, namely, that the Devil, the Author of all Evil, should Sin, and that our First Parents should Fall, from which Origins the Works of Witches are justly suffered to take place

Solutions of the Arguments.

6:21:47 – Question XIV. The Enormity of Witches is Considered, and it is shown that the Whole Matter should be rightly Set Forth and Declared

6:40:01 – Question XV. It is Shown that, on Account of the Sins of Witches, the Innocent are often Bewitched, yea, Sometimes

even for their Own Sins

6:51:33 – Question XVI. The Foregoing Truths are Set out in Particular; this by a Comparison of the Works of Witches with Other Baleful Superstitions

7:02:56 – Question XVII. A Comparison of their crimes under Fourteen Heads, with the Sins of the Devils of all and every Kind

7:10:30 – Question XVIII. Here follows the Method of Preaching against and Controverting Five Arguments of Laymen and Lewd Folk, which seem to be Variously Approved, that God does not Allow so Great Power to the Devil and Witches as is Involved in the Performance of such Mighty Works of Witchcraft


7:29:46 – QUESTION I

Of those against whom the Power of Witches availeth not at all

8:03:44 – Chapter I. Of the several Methods by which Devils through Witches Entice and Allure the Innocent to the Increase of that Horrid Craft and Company

8:15:58 – Chapter II. Of the Way whereby a Formal Pact with Evil is made

8:40:07 – Chapter III. How they are Transported from Place to Place

9:03:00 – Chapter IV. Here follows the Way whereby Witches copulate with those Devils known as Incubi

9:30:10 – Chapter V. Witches commonly perform their Spells through the Sacraments of the Church. And how they Impair the Powers of Generation, and how they may Cause other Ills to happen to God’s Creatures of all Kinds. But herein we except the Question of the Influence of the Stars

9:44:20 – Chapter VI. How Witches Impede and Prevent the Power of Procreation

9:49:28 – Chapter VII. How, as it were, they Deprive Man of his Virile Member

10:05:44 – Chapter VIII. Of the Manner whereby they Change Men into the Shapes of Beasts

10:15:07 – Chapter IX. How Devils may enter the Human Body and the Head without doing any Hurt, when they cause such Metamorphosis by Means of Prestidigitation

10:34:15 – Chapter X. Of the Method by which Devils through the Operations of Witches sometimes actually possess Men

11:00:11 – Chapter XI. Of the Method by which they can Inflict Every Sort of Infirmity, generally Ills of the Graver Kind

11:16:17 – Chapter XII. Of the Way how in particular they Afflict Men with Other Like Infirmities

11:27:15 – Chapter XIII. How Witch Midwives commit most Horrid Crimes when they either Kill Children or Offer them to Devils in most Accursed Wise

11:49:02 – Chapter XIV.  Here followeth how Witches Injure Cattle in Various Ways

11:59:52 – Chapter XV. How they Raise and Stir up Hailstorms and Tempests, and Cause Lightning to Blast both Men and Beasts

12:12:48 – Chapter XVI. Of Three Ways in which Men and not Women may be Discovered to be Addicted to Witchcraft: Divided into Three Heads: and First of the Witchcraft of Archers



12:39:38 – Introduction, wherein is Set Forth the Difficulty of this Question.

13:19:06 – Chapter I. The Remedies prescribed by Holy Church against Incubus and Succubus Devils

13:35:47 – Chapter II. Remedies prescribed for Those who are Bewitched by the Limitation of the Generative Power

13:47:25 – Chapter III. Remedies prescribed for those who are Bewitched by being Inflamed with Inordinate Love or Extraordinary Hatred

14:02:02 – Chapter IV. Remedies prescribed for those who by Prestidigitatory Art have lost their Virile Members or have seemingly been Transformed into the Shapes of Beasts

14:11:08 – Chapter V. Prescribed Remedies for those who are obsessed owing to some Spell

14:29:05 – Chapter VI. Prescribed Remedies, to wit, the Lawful Exorcisms of the Church, for all Sorts of Infirmities and Ills due to ‘Witchcraft; and the Method of Exorcising those who are Bewitched

15:13:16 – Chapter VII. Remedies prescribed against Hailstorms, and for Animals that are Bewitched

15:29:00 – Chapter VIII. Certain Remedies prescribed against those Dark and Horrid Harms with which Devils may Afflict Men


15:37:25 – QUESTION I. General and Introductory

Who are the Fit and Proper Judges in the Trial of Witches


16:32:32 – Question I. The Method of Initiating a Process

16:43:16 – Question II. Of the Number of the Witnesses

16:47:58 – Question III. Of the Solemn Adjuration and Re-examination of Witnesses

16:49:14 – Question IV. Of the Quality and Condition of Witnesses

16:51:45 – Question V. Whether Mortal Enemies may be Admitted as Witnesses


16:54:55 – Question VI. How the Trial is to be Proceeded with and Continued. And how the Witnesses are to be Examined in the Presence of Four Other Persons, and how the Accused is to be Questioned in Two Ways

17:08:12 – Question VII. In Which Various Doubts are Set Forth with Regard to the Foregoing Questions and Negative Answers. Whether the Accused is to be Imprisoned, and when she is to be considered as Manifestly Taken in the Foul Heresy of Witchcraft. This is the Second Action

17:13:45 – Question VIII. Which Follows from the Preceding Question, Whether the Witch is to be Imprisoned, and of the Method of Taking her. This is the Third Action of the Judge

17:21:11 – Question IX. What is to be done after the Arrest, and whether the Names of the Witnesses should be made Known to the Accused. This is the Fourth Action

17:28:32 – Question X. What Kind of Defence may be Allowed, and of the Appointment of an Advocate. This is the Fifth Action

17:33:30 – Question XI. What Course the Advocate should Adopt when the Names of the Witnesses are not Revealed to him. The Sixth Action

17:42:20 – Question XII. Of the Same Matter, Declaring more Particularly how the Question of Personal Enmity is to be Investigated. The Seventh Action.

17:51:18 – Question XIII. Of the Points to be Observed by the Judge before the Formal Examination in the Place of Detention and Torture. This is the Eighth Action

18:01:52 – Question XIV. Of the Method of Sentencing the Accused to be Questioned, and How she must be Questioned on the First Day, and Whether she may be Promised her Life. The Ninth Action

18:10:01 – Question XV. Of the Continuing of the Torture, and of the Devices and Signs by which the Judge can Recognize a Witch; and how he ought to Protect himself from their Spells. Also how they are to be Shaved in those Parts where they use to Conceal the Devil’s Masks and Tokens; together with the due Setting Forth of Various Means of Overcoming their Obstinacy in Keeping Silence and Refusal to Confess. And it is the Tenth Action

18:28:05 – Question XVI. Of the fit Time and of the Method of the Second Examination. And it is the Eleventh Action, concerning the Final Precautions to be Observed by the Judge


18:36:35 – Which is the last Part of this Work. How the Process is to be Concluded by the Pronouncement of a Definite and Just Sentence

18:37:46 – Question XVII. Of Common Purgation, and especially of the Trial by Red-hot Iron, to which Witches Appeal

18:49:06 – Question XVIII. Of the Manner of Pronouncing a Sentence which is Final and Definitive

18:54:49 – Question XIX. Of the Various Degrees of Overt Suspicion which render the Accused liable to be Sentenced

19:12:47 – Question XX. Of the First Method of Pronouncing Sentence

19:17:35 -Question XXI. Of the Second Method of Pronouncing Sentence, when the Accused is no more than Defamed

19:23:47 – Question XXII. Of the Third Kind of Sentence, to be Pronounced on one who is Defamed, and who is to be put to the Question

19:32:32 – Question XXIII. The Fourth Method of Sentencing, in the Case of one Accused upon a Light Suspicion page

19:38:42 – Question XXIV. The Fifth Manner of Sentence, in the Case of one under Strong Suspicion

19:48:04 – Question XXV. The Sixth Kind of Sentence, in the Case of one who is Gravely Suspect

20:01:13 – Question XXVI. The Method of passing Sentence upon one who is both Suspect and Defamed

20:09:04 – Question XXVII. The Method of passing Sentence upon one who hath Confessed to Heresy, but is not Penitent

20:17:37 – Question XXVIII. The Method of passing Sentence upon one who hath Confessed to Heresy but is Relapsed, Albeit now Penitent

20:29:34 – Question XXIX. The Method of passing Sentence upon one who hath Confessed to Heresy but is Impenitent, although not Relapsed

20:34:21 – Question XXX. Of One who has Confessed to Heresy, is Relapsed, and is also Impenitent page

20:39:57 – Question XXXI. Of One Taken and Convicted, but Denying Everything

20:51:53 – Question XXXII. Of One who is Convicted but who hath Fled or who Contumaciously Absents himself

21:05:50 – Question XXXIII. Of the Method of passing Sentence upon one who has been Accused by another Witch, who has been or is to be Burned at the Stake

21:20:13 – Question XXXIV. Of the Method of passing Sentence upon a Witch who Annuls Spells wrought by Witchcraft; and of Witch Midwives and Archer-Wizards

21:35:54 – Question XXXV. Finally, of the Method of passing Sentence upon Witches who Enter or Cause to be Entered an Appeal, whether such be Frivolous or Legitimate and Just