Abel de la Rue (d. 1582) was a French sorcerer believed to be under the inﬂuence of a demon in the form of a black dog. Living in Coulommiers, France, he was also known as “The Smasher.”
Abel was placed in a Franciscan monastery by his mother. He became enraged at the instructor of novices for beating him, and he plotted revenge. At his trial, Abel confessed that a black spaniel appeared to him and promised to help him and always go to his aid if he would surrender himself to the dog.
In 1582, Abel was arrested on charges of sorcery and spell casting, which he admitted. The demon never made good on his promise of rescue. Abel was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged and garroted and his body burned. He was executed on July 20, 1582.
This Article has been revised to reflect the following Correction: Correction: Sep. 10, 2019 This article misstated the name of the demoniac. His name is “de la Rue” en not “de Larue.”
- Plancy, Collin de. Dictionary of Witchcraft. Edited and translated by Wade Baskin. Originally published as Dictionary of Demonology. New York: Philosophical Library, 1965.