Written by Rune Blix Hagen
Department of History and Religious studied
University of Tromsø Arctic University of Norway
Born c. 1610; farmer’s wife sentenced for witchcraft. Probably born at the Nypan (Nypen) farm in Leinstrand Parish, immediately south of Trondheim. Father: Peder at Nypen (?). Mother: unknown. Married to the tenant farmer Ole (Oluf) Olsen Nypan (c. 1602-1670). Died in Trondheim in September 1670. The married couple had at least three children.
Lisbet Nypan is among the very last individuals
who were burnt at the stake in
The witch trial raised against the elderly couple took place during
several meetings in the lower courts. These occurred in the judicial district
of Leinstrand and in
Arguments and hostility arose in connection with payment for Lisbet’s services, something that made the villagers suspicious and led them to believe that Lisbet and Ole Nypan had conjured illness upon them. During the court sessions, Lisbet admitted to having used salt and prayers in God’s name to make people well, but she never used her skills to cast evil upon her neighbors or hurt them in any way. She categorically denied the notion of “sacrilege and extremely sinful prayers” that was obviously suggested by authorities. Lisbet was of the opinion that she and her husband had been subjected to a smear campaign of lies and slander. The local authorities though claimed that her prayers had been used to worship Satan – and not Our Lord.
The couple were admonished to confess under the persuasion of the Leinstrand vicar, Ole Mentsen, and the bailiff, Hans Evertsen Meyer. The couple’s undeviating resolve, with no sign of regret or confession, was certainly regarded as contempt of court and contributed to the severe sentence. This is why the final verdict mentions how they could not make “the right confession” because of their close association to the Devil. Imprisonment and torture did not seem to make any difference either after the sentence.
Judge Willem Knutsen and the court looked upon Lisbet as more
accomplished in sorcery than her husband. Because of this, she was sentenced to
be burned alive at the stake while Ole Nypan was to be beheaded. Hans Mortensen
Wesling, the presiding judge who followed the legal proceedings in
It was not until after Lisbet Nypan’s execution that her fame as a witch
began to grow. None of
In 1962, the writer Torbjørn Prestvik published a dramatized version of
the 1670 witch–trial. He concludes his book by saying that Lisbet
“was a good person who only wanted to help others. And, in the end, she was
burnt at the stake by her contemporaries and maltreated by vicious lies and
folklore for 300 years.” He believed that the time had arrived to clear her
name, and he suggested raising a sculpture of her outside of Nidaros Cathedral
Approximately 70 witchcraft cases have been registered as having taken
place in the two Trøndelag counties between 1580 and 1700. Nearly 15 of these
ended with death sentences where individuals were either beheaded or burnt at
the stake. Lisbet was likely the second-to- the-last person to be burnt at the
stake for witchcraft in Trøndelag. Altogether we have
the names of about 310 persons being executed during the early modern witch
(Photo by Ellen Alm, Oct. 2014)
Akt og Dom i Sagen mod Lisbeth Nypan og hendes Mand Ole Olsøn Nypan angaande Hexeri og Trolldom 1670, Throndhjem, 1881.
Alm, Ellen. Trondheims siste heksebrenning. Trolldomsprosessen mot Finn-Kirsten, Museumsforlaget, Trondheim 2014.
Ewensen, Lorentz, Samlinger af juridiske og historiske Materier, Trundheim 1784-1785.
Hagen, Rune, Hekser – Fra forfølgelse til fortryllelse, Oslo (2003) 2010
Hagen, Rune, ”Nypan, Lisbet Pedersdatter”, Norsk biografisk leksikon Nr.7, Oslo 2003:78
Hagen, Rune Blix, Dei Europeiske Trolldomsprosessane, Det Norge Samlaget: Oslo (2007) 2014 (tredje opplag)
Lauglo, Erling, Leinstrand Bygdebok, Vol. 1, Leinstrand 1957.
Leren, Gudmund, ”Heksebål i Trøndelag. Lisbet Pedersdatter Nypan” in Årbok for Nord-
Trøndelag Historielag, 1965.
Mona, Marte, ”Lisbet Nypan” in Berømte og gløymde Trondheimskvinner,
Nypan, Lisbet Pedersdatter (written by Reidar Th. Christiansen) in NBL1, Vol. X, Oslo 1949.
Prestvik, Torbjørn, Lisbet Nypan, Trondheim 1962.
Robbins, Rossell Hope, The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology,
Øverland, O.A., Lisbet Nypen: en Hekseproces fra Guldalen, Kristiania 1896.
Fakta om trolldomsprosessene i Norge og Europa
27th May 2005 – Sist endret 10/11-2014
Copyright: Rune Blix Hagen 2005-2014