The Pappenheimer consisted of father Paulus, mother Anna, sons Jacob and Gumpprecht, and the youngest son, ten year old Hoel. They belonged to the lower class in German society, and were originally beggars from Schwabia.
They were pointed out by an arrested thief, and arrested in the middle of the night, taken from their beds a brought to jail, accused of having assisted the thief in murdering pregnant women in the purpose of making candles out of their unbaptized fetuses. On order of the duke Maximilian I (Elector of Bavaria), they were taken to Münich, exposed to a torture so fierce that they confessed everything they were questioned about. They were made responsible for every unsolved crime that had occurred in Bavaria in the later years and confessed to hundreds of thefts and murders. They admitted sorcery and pointed out over four hundred accomplices; at times, the torture was so painful that they mentioned ninety nine names at the same occasion to be granted a pause in the pain.
The parents and the eldest sons were to be executed together with two other men. The bodies of the men were torn six times each with irons, Anna's breasts were cut off and rubbed in the faces of her adult sons, the skeletons of the men were broken on the wheel, the father was subjected to impalement on a pike, and finally, they were burned at the stake. All this took place in front of the youngest son, ten year old Hoel, who was to witness the execution of his family; he had been brought along on the horse of the sheriff, who was to write down his reactions. In December 1600, six more people were burned at the stake in Münich, among then, the ten year old Hoel.