Pierre Etienne Gadois (~1630-1714), a master armorer and gunsmith, was an older brother of my seventh great grandfather Jean-Baptiste Gadois. Uncle Pierre’s first wife, Marie Pontonnier, was apparently much sought after and had chosen Pierre over another suitor, a soldier named René Besnard dit Bourjoly. Angry at being rejected, René swore revenge, casting a spell over the couple by secretly knotting a cord three times during the wedding ceremony, supposedly rendering the marriage childless so long as the knots remained tied.
Of course, there’s not much satisfaction in casting a successful spell unless you can tell someone about it, and René did. So when Marie failed to become pregnant by the end of her first year of marriage, René found himself on trial for sorcery – which carried the possible penalty of hanging. Unfortunately for René, his vigorous denials were countered by the testimony of several witnesses to his boasts, and the trial ended with his being sentenced to imprisonment and subsequent banishment from Montréal. (But at least he wasn’t hanged! As one of my sisters commented, things might have gone differently for him had he been a woman.)
After an additional three-year waiting period as specified by canon law, the marriage of Pierre and Marie, still childless, was annulled. Pierre then married Jeanne Bénard – who bore him fourteen children. Meanwhile, Marie, widowed after a brief second marriage to Pierre Martin dit La Rivière, who was decapitated in an attack by the Iroquois (sadly not an uncommon occurrence at that time), gave birth seven months later to her husband's posthumous child. She was then married for a third time, to Honoré Langlois dit Lachapelle et Croustille, with whom she produced ten more children.
So both Pierre and Marie were clearly able to have children (lots of them!), just not with each other.
Did René’s curse have anything to do with it?!