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The Gauffridy case: the Devil still haunts Notre-Dame-des-Accoules church

The bell-tower | Charliemoon / CC-BY-SA
Sorcery Parish church Louis Gauffridy Notre-Dame-des-Accoules church

Notre-Dame de las Accoas, the primitive church, was destroyed during the Revolution: the bell-tower is still standing, which dates back to the 11th century!

In this tower they used to keep a big bell known as the Sauveterre. They rang it to call city’s general assemblies.

But one man was famous, in les Accoules... Mr Gauffridy, a famous priest because he was involved in a strange anecdote... a true sorcery story that ended pretty bad!

Accoules' priest

Our story began at the end of the 16th century: Louis Gauffridy was born in 1580. He was son of a shepherd, raised by his uncle Christophe Gauffridy, priest in Pourrières.

Louis has been immersed in religion since he was young. He soon became priest in Marseille, in the church of the Accoules.

He was a respected man, who loved life, food... and women. The feeling was mutual!

Because of that... one day, he was at his uncle's house. He found a small and strange book, and he red it.

When he finished it, the Devil suddenly appeared! Gauffridy had invoked him: he could ask him what he wanted...

What did the priest want? All the most beautiful ladies! So he signed a pact with the Devil, with his own blood, and... each time he would "blow" on a woman, she would fall in love with him!

The pretty Madeleine Demandolx

At the same time, Louis became the confessor and the teacher of the young lady Madeleine, lord Demandolx’s daughter.

She went to the convent when she was 10, but she had strange and odd behaviours in public...

Well, nothing very alarming, in fact... until she became restless, with epilepsy crisis. Her parents decided to repatriate her at their house, so she could have rest.

Gauffridy, as a thoughtful confessor, came to see her every day: they fell in love. A priest people said he was the most handsome man in Marseille!

Madeleine soon recovered: she could come back to her convent. But, soon, she get visions, she shivered, she told she was afraid of the Devil, who wanted to take her away.

She even whispered Gauffridy’s name in her delirium, that devil who tortured her again and again by sending her devils, at night!

For want of tormented her from afar, Louis sent her fiery letters. But Madeleine soon charged Gauffridy with possession: she explained she was forced to sign 8 pacts with the devil, with his own blood.

He also took her away to go to witches Sabbath...

Aix-en-Provence parliament and Dominican brother Michaelis (also member of the Inquisition in Avignon) took on the case. And this last one tried to exorcise Madeleine.

A sorcery’s case

Meanwhile, they arrested Louis. He seemed astounded, stunned by what Madeleine said!

But when judges examined him, they discovered suspicious scars on his skin... Devil’s marks?

During the trial, Madeleine accused Gauffridy, then she retracted. Louis denied everything, but charges were too serious, so he gave up.

Our priest was condemned on April 30th 1611 for sorcery crimes, to be "burnt alive on the stake, until his body and bone are consumed, so his ashes could be thrown away..."

They took him in front of cathedral Saint-Sauveur, in Aix-en-Provence, bare-naked, to ask forgiveness to God. Then, they took him on place des Prêcheurs to be executed...

Madeleine Demandolx was acquitted after Gauffridy’s death: she told she was liberated from her devils!

But people treated her like a witch, a very odd woman... She left Marseille and founded a convent in a place called Font-Obscure ("Dark Fountain").

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!