An extraordinary tale of passion, intrigue, and revenge. A Case of Witchcraft is the true story of Urban Grandier, a seventeenth-century priest who was accused and found guilty of sorcery. Although popularized by Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudun, the story has never been told in its entirety. Robert Rapley provides a compelling new interpretation of the case, revealing startling evidence of a secret conspiracy to destroy the priest that went as high as Louis XIII.
As a Catholic priest, Grandier was an influential figure in the Loudun community and local government. A brilliant speaker, he was popular with his parishioners. But he had enemies, including Cardinal Richelieu and the king, who was trying to wrest political autonomy from local governors and centralize power in Paris. Grandier supported the governor of Loudun and therefore was seen as an enemy of the Crown. In addition, the debonair priest's romantic intrigues brought him into conflict with some of the town's most influential power brokers.
When a nearby convent of Ursuline nuns began experiencing strange visions and hallucinations, Grandier's enemies seized the opportunity to orchestrate his downfall. These mass possessions, which despite exorcism spread through the convent, were regarded as witchcraft and Grandier was accused of having caused them. Condemned by Richelieu and Louis XIII, Grandier was tortured and burned at the stake for his alleged crimes, but maintained his innocence to the end.
This tale of conspiracy, corruption, and mass hysteria provides a fascinating exploration of human behaviour and community dynamics.