The story takes place in Lindheim, a small town and castle in the district of today's Hesse, during the mid of the 17th century. As the governing nobles of the castle are noticing that certain inhabitants of Lindheim accuse each other of witchcraft, the Noble von Rosenbach introduces a new Police Regulation to fight this. The recently appointed Bailiff Geis encourages him to take this step, mentioning among others that fines and compensations from sentenced persons can contribute to the repairing costs of the castle's war damages. Geis sees also a great opportunity to enrich himself with the belongings of the victims and is establishing a witch court, with his own person as judge and some of his assistants as jury.
Quite a number of innocent persons are being executed as a result of forced concessions and false witnesses.
As soon as victims have been executed by hanging, beheading or burning, the bailiff is confiscating their properties.
Geis' eagerness takes such an extent that he also accuses leading families in Lindheim. The family of the Miller Johannes Schüler is being afflicted in a cruellest way and many other inhabitants of Lindheim become victims before Geis is being stopped by the nobles of the castle.