Demonic Possession in 17th-Century Canada

When strange signs appeared in the sky over Quebec in 1660, the French settlers started to worry about evil forces in their midst. Then, a teenaged servant called Barbe Hallay started to act as if she were possessed by demons. She accused a local miller of bewitching her and, the following year, he was imprisoned and executed. Priests and nuns tried to drive the demons away - but in the end it was something else that worked.

In this episode of Not Just the Tudors, Professor Suzannah Lipscomb talks to Dr. Mairi Cowan, author of The Possession of Barbe Hallay: Diabolical Arts and Daily Life in Early Canada, a fascinating account of a case of demonic possession in early modern North America.

This episode was edited by Anisha Deva and produced by Rob Weinberg.

The subject of this podcast was suggested by listener Mike Old, a descendent of Barbe Hallay. If you have an idea for an episode, please send it via our Twitter feed @NotJustTudors or by email to

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