Infernal Illustrations: The Curse of Christoph Haizmann

In August of 1677, the Bavarian constabulary encountered anguished artisan Christoph Haizmann, illustrator of the infernal. The purportedly possessed painter pleaded with the police for protection from forces not yet known and phantoms unseen.

According to the testimony, the curse of the craftsman began nine years prior to the night of August 29th, when Haizmann was strick with a sickness of the soul. Christoph claims the beast bedeviled him in the guise of a burgher (medieval middle class) with a black hound at his side. Black hounds have been omens associated with occult occurrences throughout antiquity (Read more- Western Werewolfery: A Brief Lineage of Lycanthropy).

The devil appeared to Christoph in a time when the man was most vulnerable. Shortly after the passing of his father, the serpent did slither into the subconscious of Haizmann. Christoph commits his curse to the canvas in the following statement:


He (Satan) would help me out of my distress if I were willing to subscribe myself in ink to him to be his son; he would assist and help me in every way possible.


It was during this visitation that Hazimann, bound by blood, entered in his agreement with Apollyon. In the years following, Christoph would be physiologically plagued by his pact with the Prince of Darkness. Sinister shapes, hellish hallucinations, filled with the stench of burning flesh. Haizmann chronicles visions of a cauldron from which seeped the screams of seared souls. On the rim of the cauldron sat an Imp, whose job was to pour sulfur and pitch over the pit.

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The infernal illustrations bombarded Christoph and when the ninth and final year of his diabolical deal came to pass, he sought absolution with the authorities. The magistrate ordered the madman to a local monastery in Mariazell. Within the shrine, the estranged Hazimann would undergo a number of exorcisms. According to the priests, the Virgin Mary herself is said to have recovered the pact.

Despite the confidence of the clergy, Christoph Haizmann continued to be maligned by the monstrous visage of Mephistopheles. In less than a year’s time, the horrified Haizmann would return to the holy hermitage in hopes of spiritual and mental salvation. It is said during this visit, the Virgin Mary ripped up the pact in its entirety.

His curse yet to be cured, he would commit himself to reside within the walls of the monastery permanently. Unfortunately for Christoph Haizmann, the talons of the Dragon would torment his dreams until the time of his death in the year 1700.

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An account of Haizmann’s curious calamity and enigmatic exorcisms was uncovered by researcher Dr. Rudolf Payer-Thurn and sent to Sigmund Freud for further analysis into the psyche of the possessed. The Curse of Chrisoph Haizmann appears within the pages of Freud’s “Eine Teufelsneurose im siebzehnten Jahrhundert” (A devil Neurosis of the Seventeenth Century) . These accounts would become known as the Mariazell Papers, considered essential material in Freudian psychoanalysis to this day.

For more information on the Curse of Christoph Haizmann read: The Encylopedia of Demons and Demonology

Read more within the Hall of Heresy on Monsters, Madness and Magic here: Henry Boguet: The Burner of Burgandy