During the early twentieth century, several prominent fraud trials that featured mediums as defendants captured public attention in Germany. Of particular note were the trials of the “flower medium” Anna Rothe in 1902 and the criminal-telepath Else Günther-Geffers in 1928, which were given substantial coverage in the German daily press. While these sensational trials focused the public on the question of the reality of mediumistic phenomena and psychical researchers on discovering the mechanism by which mediums achieved their supernormal feats, a small number of jurists and criminologists used such cases to explore the nature of female criminality. Among them was the criminologist Erich Wulffen, whose books Psychologie des Verbrechers (Psychology of the criminal) and Das Weib als Sexualverbrecherin (Woman as sexual criminal) used Rothe and Günther-Geffers as examples of a particular type of criminal: the hysterical female swindler.

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