Did You Know…Gilles de Rais, child Serial Killer

Did you know… on September 15 1440 Gilles de Montmorency-Laval, Baron de Rais, was taken into custody  along with two of his bodyservents for the murder of anywhere up to 400 children over the course of nine years.
He was convicted of the murders using the testimonies of witnesses and the uncovered bodies of some of his victims, and he and his bodyservents were executed on October 23 1440.
Gilles is thought to be the original inspiration for the tail of Bluebeard. He also fought beside Joan of Ark during several of her campaigns against England and their Allies

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Below are the confessions against de Rais as taken from Wikipedia. They are disturbing and graphic, please don’t not read it if you feel they may upset you.

 

 

In his 1971 biography of Gilles de Rais, Jean Benedetti tells how the children who fell into Rais’s hands were put to death:

[The boy] was pampered and dressed in better clothes than he had ever known. The evening began with a large meal and heavy drinking, particularly hippocras, which acted as a stimulant. The boy was then taken to an upper room to which only Gilles and his immediate circle were admitted. There he was confronted with the true nature of his situation. The shock thus produced on the boy was an initial source of pleasure for Gilles.[29]

Gilles’ bodyservant Étienne Corrillaut, known as Poitou, was an accomplice in many of the crimes and testified that his master stripped the child naked and hung him with ropes from a hook to prevent him from crying out, then masturbated upon the child’s belly or thighs. If the victim was a boy he would touch his genitals (particularly testicles) and buttocks. Taking the victim down, Rais comforted the child and assured him he only wanted to play with him. Gilles then either killed the child himself or had the child killed by his cousin Gilles de Sillé, Poitou or another bodyservant called Henriet.[30] The victims were killed by decapitation, cutting of their throats, dismemberment, or breaking of their necks with a stick. A short, thick, double-edged sword called a braquemard was kept at hand for the murders.[30] Poitou further testified that Rais sometimes abused the victims (whether boys or girls) before wounding them and at other times after the victim had been slashed in the throat or decapitated. According to Poitou, Rais disdained the victim’s sexual organs, and took “infinitely more pleasure in debauching himself in this manner … than in using their natural orifice, in the normal manner.”[30]

In his own confession, Gilles testified that “when the said children were dead, he kissed them and those who had the most handsome limbs and heads he held up to admire them, and had their bodies cruelly cut open and took delight at the sight of their inner organs; and very often when the children were dying he sat on their stomachs and took pleasure in seeing them die and laughed”.[31]

Poitou testified that he and Henriet burned the bodies in the fireplace in Gilles’ room. The clothes of the victim were placed into the fire piece by piece so they burned slowly and the smell was minimized. The ashes were then thrown into the cesspit, the moat, or other hiding places.[31] The last recorded murder was of the son of Éonnet de Villeblanche and his wife Macée. Poitou paid 20 sous to have a page’s doublet made for the victim, who was then assaulted, murdered and incinerated in August 1440.[32]

 

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