“The Amber Witch” by Wilhelm Meinhold

"The Amber Witch" by Wilhelm Meinhold

"Johannes Wilhelm Meinhold pretended that The Amber Witch, a great favorite of the Pre-Raphaelites, was the true story of a seventeenth-century minister’s daughter falsely accused of witchcraft. Meinhold claimed he found the minister’s manuscript in the refuse of an old church. When the book received critical attention, Meinhold admitted to the hoax, but audiences didn’t believe him at first.

Oscar Wilde described this as "Favorite romantic reading when a boy." And, horror fans may understand why it was a Wilde favorite. Set in the Thirty Years War in what is now Germany, The Amber Witch claims to be a clergyman's manuscript found in an old church. It tells the tale of Maria Schweider, a clergyman's daughter who has been accused of witchcraft. Maria has a deposit of amber. Is this, the nobleman Wittich Appelman asks, the source of the power that has caused all the evil hereabouts? Maria is put on trial. The stake is prepared. A torch burns bright. But Maria and her lover know she is not the real witch. And so does the real witch!"