Køge Huskors Memorial – Køge, Denmark - Atlas Obscura

Køge Huskors Memorial

Køge, Denmark

This marker commemorates a long-lasting historical haunting and demonic possession that led to one of Denmark's worst witch trials. 


An unusual memorial can be found on the wall outside a shop in downtown Køge, Denmark, with a cryptic text that reads: “HERE OCCURRED THE KØGE HUSKORS 1608-1615.” This plaque commemorates a case of demonic possession and haunting, and its tragic aftermath.

In the early 1600s, this location was the home of the wealthy merchant Hans Bartskær. His wife Anne wrote about the extensive supernatural events that took place in their home. She named the phenomenon Køge Huskors, literally “House Cross,” referring to the suffering, or cross, her household had to bear.

The alleged hauntings, which began in 1608, included strange clucking noises, a toad on tall legs, and violent convulsions suffered by their foster son, who claimed Satan was tormenting him. Lasting nearly seven years, these events caused significant distress to the Bartskær family. They also drew considerable attention, including a report by the Catholic Church that is still held in the Vatican archives today. After years of bizarre and frightening occurrences, the Bartskær couple accused Johanne Thomes, their temperamental neighbor, of sorcery and sending the devil into their home.

In 1612, the witch trial against Johanne began, with the Bartskær family and other residents testifying about misfortunes they attributed to her. Under duress, Johanne confessed to witchcraft and implicated four others. At least 15 women, including Johanne and her alleged accomplices, were eventually sentenced to the stake and executed in a process marked by intense fear and superstition. This left a lasting mark on Køge, commemorated by the plaque, which was installed in 1911 and remembered in local history, literature, and plays.

Know Before You Go

The memorial sign is located on the exterior wall of the Rokkjær clothing shop facing the pedestrian street Nørregade, opposite the public restrooms, in central Køge.

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June 14, 2024

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