Legend: The Witcher “Lauterfresser”

The Lauterfresser tells the story of Matheus Perger, who was executed as a witcher in Rio di Pusteria in the 17th century

There are several stories about the Lauterfresser. It is a fact that Matheus Perger was given the name because he preferred to eat liquid food ("lauter" is South Tyrolean dialect and means liquid) and was burned in 1645 on the place of execution between Spinga and Rio di Pusteria. Because of some tricks with which he annoyed some people, the Lauterfresser was said to have witchcraft powers. He also worked as an astrologer and learned to read at the cemetery by reading the names of acquaintances from the gravestones, so that he soon had the reputation of being in league with dark forces. Several tricks have been attributed to the Lauterfresser.

He is said to have once met a man at the Schwarzer Adler inn in Bressanone. Knowing the girl who brought the food, he had agreed that he would simply turn his hat around, and the girl would reply that everything was already paid for. The Lauterfresser and his friend feasted on good food and lots of wine. When the man at the next table saw that he turned his hat around and - miraculously - everything seemed to be paid for, he tried the same thing in the next inn. But of course it didn't work, so he was chucked out of the inn on his ear. Another time he gave a calf to a vessel maker who had only one jar left because everything else was broken. He was supposed to sell it to a butcher in Bressanone. No sooner said than done...

But when the butcher turned around, the calf had disappeared. There are also legends surrounding his death: He is said to have waited for his death in the dungeon of Rodengo Castle. Twice he is said to have disappeared from the executioner until he died the death by burning. On the way to the execution he is said to have declared: "It's going to be a hot day today!"

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