Fencing Practice February 24

There will be fencing practice as usual this week at the Chinese Church starting at 2 PM.

Next week, March 3 we will be at Broken Plow for our monthly crossover muster.

I will need another marshal to run practice in my stead for the weeks of March 10 and 17 as I will be away at Gulf Wars, if you are willing to run practice one or both of those weeks let me know as soon as possible, thank you.

jorundr

Archery Potluck!

A message from our Bowman, Godfrey de Bayeux.

Hello BMDL! 
I would like to invite you all to the indoor ranges of Chieftan Archery for an afternoon of revelry, potluck, and archery on Sunday, February 24th, from Noon – 4pm.

Chieftan Archery Club Address:
4711 Leechburg Rd, New Kensington, PA


The building has a full kitchen and restrooms available. Please bring a dish to share!
Garb is encouraged, but not a requirement.
Range fees are $5 for non-members and $3 for members of Chieftan Archery club. There is no fee if you do not wish to shoot. 
Please note that crossbows are allowed at the range, but you must shoot at the target backs provided by the barony.
Beginner? No problem! We’ll teach you how!

Come shake off the winter rust and start your archery season off with a thwack!

Any questions, please feel free to ask or pm me!

Yours in service,
Godfrey de Bayeux

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

On behalf of Yuengerz of House Clovenshield:

Greetings, I am pleased to inform you all that the BMDL has once again been invited to marche in the Pittsburgh St Patrick’s Day Parade. Grab your garb, don your armor and come down to help represent the Barony.
The float is still the same as above (upgrade ideas always welcome). We march, we show off our garb and our crafts and when the parade slows up a bit, our armored fighters give the crowds a heck of a display. Last year the AE Crowned Prince fought almost every step of the way and the crowds went crazy.
We start on Liberty Ave, the exact cross street will be given to us in about 2 weeks. The route is about 1 1/2 miles to the Blvd at Stanwix.
There is space on the trailer so you don’t have to walk the whole way.
Children are welcome. Boffers, too.
Garb is required. Armor is optimal. Fighting demos in front of hundreds of rowdy spectators is quite the rush.

Come on and join the fun.

Also, for those who use the Facebook, Yuengerz has created an event here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/2173090882944669/

In Mentem Insania: Christman Gnipperteinga

Erschröckliche newe eytung Von einem Mörder Christman genandt

Between 1568 and 1581, Christman Genipperteinga (also Gniperdoliga and  Gnipperdinga) killed 964 people in between Bergkessel and Frassberg. He lived in a series of underground caves and passages that stretched between the two cities. He was able to make himself invisible and engaged in sexual congress with dwarven artificers who were associates of Satan himself. He kept a sex slave for seven years, killed all six of their children in infancy, and when she eventually escaped from his evil she led the local constabulary to his hideout where they arrested him. Before hauling him away, they confiscated his detailed diary describing his plan to kill 1000 people to satisfy the Devil and sentenced him to die by being broken on “the wheel”, where he lasted for nine days.

Or, Christman Genipperteinga was nothing more than a run of the mill highwayman (among several highwaymen in the same area) who was incredibly good at overstating his abilities and crimes.

Or, Genipperteinga never existed at all.

The only piece of information that we have on Genipperteinga comes from a single source, a pamphlet published by Caspar Herber in 1581 entitled “Erschröckliche newe eytung Von einem Mörder Christman genandt” (reprinted by Johann Scheibel in 1847) which roughly translates to “Terrible new tidings of a murderer, Christman Genandt”. It reads, in part; 

“On June 17, 1581, the executioner finally executed the sentence in Bernkastel-Kues. A heavy cart-wheel smashes the bones of the robber and murderer, Christman Gnieperdoliga. This ends a series of murders that began 13 years earlier and is unique in European history: 964 people are said to be murdered by Gnieperdoliga.”

According to Herber’s pamphlet, Genipperteinga was born in Kerpen (about 30 kilmeters from Cologne), however, there are no records in Kerpen that confirms this. Now, that being said, doesn’t necessarily mean that Genipperteinga wasn’t real. Unfortunately, there are more than a few records that were lost during two world wars, so the lack of records isn’t necessarily proof that he wasn’t a real person.

What we do know is that there were traveling bands of robbers as well as individual highwaymen that were active in the same area. It’s not out of the question that he may have been one of those and was either rather prolific or was really good at telling embellished tales of his exploits.

Terribly, the most believable part of this whole story is the sex slave that he kept for seven years. There have been multiple cases of abducted women who remain with their captors for years and years, despite abuse and physical torture. For example Colleen Stan (the “Girl in a Box”) or, more recently Jaycee Dugard. The woman that he kept as a slave was supposedly the dauther of a local cooper. Gneipperteinga kept her chained in his network of caves (that were reportedly decorated as you would a home) and, in order to keep her from trying to escape, told her that he was a crazy murderer that killed a person or two every single week and would not hesitate to kill her and/or her family. His slave eventually talked him into allowing her to see her family, which, again, is not unheard of in kidnapping cases.

The reason that he would allow her to leave is that he believed that he had enough control over her that it wasn’t a risk. She, of course, used the opportunity to tell her family just who had taken her and they alerted the police, where she led them to Gneipperteinga, ending his murder spree.

Why it’s difficult to believe that the extent of his crimes are real are many. Starting with the 964 murders. That breaks down to roughly 6 murders per month, which is not an unreasonable number, however, with other criminal activity and the existence of an organized constabulary there would be some record somewhere of people finding a body or two every week for thirteen years. The stories of Gneipperteinga are very specific to this one area, the sheer volume of the killing would have been recorded elsewhere by someone. That’s a crazy number of bodies dropping for that information to not travel elsewhere in Europe.

The pamphlet itself is pretty questionable. It was produced shortly after the introduction of the printing press and people were willing to print anything that would convince people to buy their printed material. There were no laws restricting what you could and could not print. Libel laws didn’t exist. This is a great story – it’s terrifying and would absolutely be something that people would pay to read.

The execution itself is also difficult to believe. Execution by being broken on the wheel is brutal. The person is tied spread-eagled atop a large wheel in such a position where their arms and legs are between the spokes. They are then beaten with a club or an iron cudgel. The gaps in the wheel allowing for the limbs to give way and break. They don’t stop when they break your bones, they keep going until you die. Nine days under this torture, even with “fortifying drinks”, is an impossible length of time to survive this. It is, however, an excellent way to drive home just how monstrous Gneipperteinga was, true or not.

Another theory is that Genipperteinga was not a singular person. The person that was put to death for these crimes may have just been one of a number of robbers in that area. This dude was probably embellishing his criminal activities in general, particularly as an intimidation move towards his slave. She turned him in and recounted what she knew to the local authorities and any corroboration of her story, even so much as an unsolved murder, would be taken as proof. While there was basic criminological knowledge, the local law enforcement would not be launching a massive investigation to delve into the truth of this person’s crimes, they just wanted him off the streets.

Germanic folklore is full of murderous figures, there’s even a statue in Bern, Switzerland of the “Kindlifresserbrunnen” (“The Child Eater”) that is believed to be a possible representation of a Krampus character or even an interpretation of the Greek Cronus, who devoured his children to avoid being overthrown.

The Kindlifresserbrunnen

The idea of a person like Genipperteinga existed isn’t completely far-fetched in the realm of fairy tales or morality tales. A read through The Brothers Grimm provides you with similar ideas.

Legend or not Genipperteinga is a fascinating tale. It has devil worship, service to Satan, murder, sex slaves, an underground network of caves used to travel in secrecy, and a satisfying conclusion where justice is done and the monster is destroyed.

New Arts and Sciences Minister

Greetings all! I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself to those that I don’t know yet. I’m Isabel Fleuretan and have been selected as the new A&S Minister for BMDL. First, I’d like to thank The Honorable Lady Elss of Augsburg for her service as A&S Minister. She did a phenomenal job and has left big shoes to fill. I’d also like to thank Shonagon Ishiyama Gen’tarou Yori’ie for his service as deputy and his previous service as A&S Minister. You both have shaped the arts and sciences in the barony and leave a legacy to live up to.
I consider the most important duty of this office to be acting as a liaison between those that want to learn and those that can teach. If there is anything that I can do to help you learn or teach A&S within the barony or just within the SCA in general, please reach out to me at ansminister@debatablelands.org .
In the coming weeks, I’ll be looking to get some new A&S scheduled activities up and running. I’ll also be looking to recruit a deputy. If you are interested in learning something in particular, interested in teaching something in particular, or are interested in learning what it is to be an officer or deputy within the barony, please send me a note.

Fight Practice February 10

Hello.
There will be fight practice on February 10, at the Pittsburgh Chinese Church, from 2 til 6 PM. Loaner armor will be available.
Also, I am looking for information about who will be available next weekend. Aedult Swim will be held on Saturday the 16th, and I suspect that a lot of the fighters will be attending that. Please let me know if you would want to attend fight practice on February 17. If enough people are interested, practice will be held as usual.
Robert

New Column: In Mentem Insania

“Fear is a wonderful thing, in small doses. You ride the ghost train into the darkness, knowing that eventually the doors will open and you will step out into the daylight once again.” -Neil Gaiman

As many of you may already know, in the last year or two there has been a surge of true crime podcasts. Some deal primarily with true crime, others address other things such as legends, cults, cryptids, and UFOlogy.

History is full of stories of killers, madmen, and nightmarish beasts. As a longtime reader of true crime I have been interested in these kinds of stories. In talking with others, I’ve found that I’m not alone in this interest. This has led to the creation of a monthly column, “In Mentem Insania”.
Each month, on the 15th of the month, I will focus on an aspect of medieval true crime, legends, cults, and oddities. This includes: Erzebeth Bathory, Christman Gniepperteinga, Gilles de Rais, the Fehmgerichte in Westphalia, and the draugr.

If you have heard about something that might be an interesting topic for this column, please contact me at inmenteminsania@jennstrobel.com. I’m very open to pretty much anything that falls into the “scary and odd” range and happened between the dawn of time and 1600.