In September 1692, Anne Palles was brought before the herredsting (roughly the Danish equivalent of a shire moot) of north Falster, in Denmark. Along with four other women, she had been accused of witchcraft.
Her accuser, a wise woman (=quack) who practiced healing on Falster, had accused Anne of being guilty of the unnatural deaths of some of the cattle belonging to the herredsfoged (roughly the Danish equivalent of a sheriff, or reeve). Anne and her husband had previously lived at the farm where the herredsfoged now lived, and it was alleged that, upon being dispossessed of their farm, Anne had "turned in the gateway and pissed into the yard, pissing all manner of evil into the yard".
Anne was jailed at Nyborg Castle in August 1692, and questioned by the local minister, pastor Gregers Zimmer of Nykøbing, as well as by two other ministers.
In late September, Anne confessed to being a witch and to having "given herself to the Devil, life and soul", and that the Devil came to her in the form of a black cat.
The court pronounced a guilty verdict on November 2, 1692, and the case was immediately continued in the landsting (roughly the Danish equivalent of a regional court of appeals), and continued in the Højesteret (the Danish Supreme Court).
During the Højesteret trial, Anne recanted her confession. Nevertheless, 11 of the 17 judges voted on March 20, 1693 to condemn her to execution by burning at the stake.
Of the other accused women, Anne Kruse, who had died during the trial, was also to be burned; Karen of Lommelev was sentenced to a whipping and exile; Abigael Nielsdatter was exonerated, but was still exiled for her "evil reputation".
After the verdict, Anne's sentence was commuted by King Christian V - in an act of clemency, the king graciously allowed Anne to be beheaded before being burned, so that she wouldn't have to be burned alive.
On April 4, 1693, Anne Palles was beheaded and burned at the stake. Before being beheaded, Anne received half a pot of wine - the expense account for this "last drink", as well as all the other court costs, are to be found in the regional accounts, preserved in the Danish Royal Archives.
- sources: Siden Saxo magazine and the Regional Archives for Sjælland, Lolland-Falster & Bornholm