The Great Nightmen Conspiracy explores the little-known magico-religious history of eighteenth-century Denmark.

Essential tasks carried out by the nightmen, such as dealing with carcasses and assisting with executions, generated contempt from the rest of society but also led to the nightmen becoming deeply feared because of the dark and magical forces associated with their occupation. The discovery of a dead peasant at the edge of the fjord on 4 December 1734 led to the arrest of the nightmen Mikkel and Hans in the nearby market town of Kalundborg in Zealand. In court, their interrogation focused not on the suspected murder but on thefts of livestock, immorality and other provocations committed by these socially ostracised nightmen. The court case became the largest of its time, implicating nightmen across half of Zealand and exposing divisions within society. This book uses a minutely researched set of incidents centring on the Danish "pariah caste" of nightmen to bring to light this unknown magico-religious side of Denmark.

Through microhistorical methodology, The Great Nightmen Conspiracy presents a detailed insight into the lives of the nightmen in Kalundborg and the society that constructed their alienation. It is ideal for academics and postgraduate students of microhistory and urban history.

chapter |2 pages


part |1 pages

Part I

chapter 1|8 pages

The missing peasant

chapter 2|13 pages

The nightmen’s conspiracy

chapter 3|20 pages

Prosecutor Niels Lind

part |32 pages

Part II

chapter 4|8 pages

Dishonour as a profession

chapter 5|6 pages

Dishonour and magic

chapter 6|5 pages

The case of Morten Tailor

chapter 7|9 pages

The nightmen and the Christian community

chapter 8|13 pages

The sad tale of Hans Møller

chapter 9|7 pages

The Zealand underworld

chapter 10|14 pages

A den of thieves

The nightmen’s story

part |1 pages

Part III

chapter 11|8 pages

In the dungeon

113Torture and escape

chapter 12|6 pages

The final sentence and its execution

chapter 14|4 pages

What later befell the nightman family

chapter |5 pages