The Untold Story of Peter Niers, The Cannibal Magician Who Killed 500 People

by Ezra Buckley on November 6, 2017

The legendary medieval bandit Peter Niers would go down in history as one of Germany’s most reviled criminals, raping and pillaging his way through 16th-century Europe. An alleged murderer of over 500 people, his escapades managed to cover just about every dark theme imaginable: theft, murder, infanticide, black magic, even cannibalism.

A master of disguise with a penchant for escape, the serial killer Niers was rumored to have received the gift of invisibility from the Devil himself, terrorizing an unsuspecting landscape for 15 long years and eventually becoming a folkloric figure. During a time when confessions and torture went hand in hand, his gripping capture led to some hair-raising admissions of fetal murder and one of the most grisly executions in history.

In the birthplace of punishments like the breaking wheel and the rack, “going medieval” on ne’er-do-wells was the law of the land, a reality never more clear than in the 1581 execution of Europe’s greatest bogeyman.

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