Born in 1540 to a farmer and craftsman in the village of Binsfeld, Peter Binsfeld was considered a gifted child by a local abbot and sent to Rome for study. Upon returning home, he was a prominent figure in many campaigns against the Protestant Movement in the late 16th Century. He was soon made the auxiliary bishop of Treves (Trier).

Becoming a well-known writer of theology, Binsfeld was also one of the most prominent witch-hunters of the 16th Century. The region of Treves was riddled with failed crops and it was blamed on witchcraft. He was a primary figure in the 306 Witchcraft trials between 1587 and 1594. As a result, he wrote the De confessionibus maleficorum et sagarum (‘Of the Confessions of Warlocks and Witches’), this book discussed the confessions of alleged witches, and claimed that even if the confessions were produced by torture, they should still be believed. It also promoted denouncement, in which over 6000 people were denounced in the Treves Trials.

Binsfeld did not believe girls under the age of 12 and boys under the age of 14 could be tried for witchcraft. Despite being a commonly held belief of other witch-hunters at the time, he did not believe in the Witch’s Mark or that witches had the ability of shapeshifting.

In 1589, Binsfeld organized a list of seven demons and their associated sin, laying out the structure of the Princes of Hell.

Lucifer: Pride
Mammon: Greed
Asmodeus: Lust
Leviathan: Envy
Beelzebub: Gluttony
Satan: Wrath
Belphegor: Sloth

The exact year of Binsfeld’s death is unknown, either 1598 or 1603, but he died in Treves after falling victim to the Bubonic Plague.