The Depraved Lieutenant; Gilles deRais

It is a sad but true fact of life that child abuse and neglect exists in our world. An even darker fact is that children often comprise a great many of serial murder victims. Day after day, local and national media services report to the world circumstances surrounding some depraved act committed against a child. Our cell phones even notify us when a child has been victimized. Ironically, many of these predators are people that are considered “pillars of the community” or “stand-up citizens”.

Wayne Williams, the Atlanta child murderer, is the child of 2 career school teachers.

Atlanta Child Murders Wayne Williams

Wayne Williams, Atlanta Child Murderer

 

Growing up in the Dixie Hills neighborhood of southwest Atlanta, Williams was not impoverished. A trusted member of the community, the 23-year-old Williams was arrested on June 21, 1981, for the murders of 27-year-old Nathaniel Cater and 29-year-old Jimmy Ray Payne. Williams first became a suspect in the Atlanta Child Murders during the investigations into those murders. During the two-month trial, prosecutors matched nineteen different sources of fibers from Williams’ home and car environment; his bedspread, bathroom, gloves, clothes, carpets, dog and an unusual carpet fiber to a number of victims whose bodies had been found. Williams also failed three polygraph tests throughout the investigation. On February 27, 1982; Wayne Williams was sentenced to life imprisonment.

 

Another well-known case of child abuse and murder committed by a great American citizen was that of John Wayne Gacy; the Killer Clown. Gacy would perform as a “Pogo the Clown” for fundraising events, parades, and children’s parties, thereby gaining the trust of children and parents alike. The trust he established with his community led to the corpses of 33 teenage boys being found on or near his property. Between 1972 and 1978, John Wayne Gacy sexually assaulted, tortured and murdered at least 33 young men

Killer Clown John Wayne Gacy

Killer Clown John Wayne Gacy

right here in Crook, I mean Cook County, Illinois. Gacy buried 26 of his victims in the crawlspace of his home. Three other victims were buried elsewhere on his property, while the bodies of his last four known victims were discarded in the nearby Des Plaines River. The youngest of Gacy’s known victims was just 14 years old.

 

Child murder is not something new. As long as there have been children, there has been child murder.  Gilles de Rais was born in 1405 to a life of privilege a member of the House of Montmorency-Laval.  Following the deaths of his father and mother in 1415, deRais and his brother were raised by his wealthy maternal grandfather.  Through family wealth, de Rais was well versed in the life of an aristocrat.  As an adult, deRais married Catherine de Thouars of Brittany; a wedding arranged by his grandfather.  This marriage increased deRais’ net worth substantially. From 1427 to 1435, Gilles served as a commander in the Royal Army, distinguishing himself from the troops by exhibiting awe-inspiring bravery and courage.  In 1429, he

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

joined forces with Joan of Arc in some of the campaigns waged against the English as he was present with Joan when the Siege of Orléans ended. He commanded valiantly during the Hundred Years’ War, for which he was appointed Marshal of France. Lauded as a war hero; de Rais’ retired from military life in 1435.

 

It was after his military service when his life made a distinct turn for the bizarre. Fond of the theater, deRais used the last of his fortune to promote and produce a theatrical performance resulting in a flop; to term it mildly. Desperate and distraught about being in financial ruins; deRais turned to the occult for guidance. Seeking any and everyone that studied alchemy, magic and demon summoning so that he may acquire some level of riches despite what may be required of him at a later time.

Bringing his books of magic; François Prelati of Florence, answered Gilles request. The two retreated to the lower hall of his castle at Tiffauges, there they attempted to summon a demon named Barron. Prelati entertained Gilles for hours with stories of his exploits with the demon Barron, ensuring him that the demon would indeed return him to a prosperous state. After three tries and no demon, Prelati; attempting to save face and reputation, reported to Gilles that the demon, Barron was angry and required an offering of children parts for his services.

Gilles deRais’ insatiable desire to regain some semblance of his previous wealth caused him to go mad and commit the unthinkable.  It is said the child murders began at Champtocé-sur-Loire, however, no records exist of his exploits. What is documented is

Gilles deRais

that after Gilles moved to Machecoul, he sodomized then killed, or ordered to be killed countless numbers of children. Gilles would have his most loyal servants procure his victims, seeking out and apprehending unaccompanied children wandering the countryside or nearby villages. Gilles preferred boys, thinking himself a connoisseur of sorts; he would have his servants go out and find the boys with the fairest skin or the sleekest, toned limbs; keeping the most handsome of the decapitated heads and kissing them with the passion of a lover. When boys weren’t available girls would serve as victims. Disgusted by the thought of vaginal intercourse, Gilles would sodomize the girls as he had done to the boys. Oh, and one more note; sodomy would come pre or post mortem.

 

All children taken by Gilles were decapitated, most by braquemard; but periodically he would like to mix it up, depending on his moods and appetite for torture. Sometimes he or his servants used an axe, other times they severed the head from the body with dirks, daggers, and knives. Fascinated with torture and the act of dying, Gilles would stab a child in the neck and watch as the blood streamed down the neck. Mesmerized as he watched the essence of life leave their little bodies, de Rais would masturbate on the child’s bloody belly until he ejaculated. When not seeking sexual satisfaction but just personal pleasure deRais had their bodies cruelly cut open and taking delight at the sight of their inner organs; as the children lay dying, he would sit on their stomachs and laugh as he watched them die. The child murders went on for years with the body count innumerable.

On  May 15, 1440, deRais’ kidnapping of a priest from Church of Saint-Étienne-de-Mer-Morte led to the Bishop of Nantes initiating an investigation. Testimonies from the parents of many of these missing children as well as witnesses convinced the judges that there were adequate grounds for establishing the guilt of the accused.  Area residents testified to children begging for food near Gilles’ castle and never being seen again. Gilles accomplices Poitou and Henriet gave testimony so graphic many attendees were forced to leave the proceedings.  Due to the intensity of the inquiry deRais was compelled to confess to his child murders. The exact number of children murdered at the hand of Gilles is unknown, some number into the high hundreds. For their crimes, Gilles, Poitou, and Henriet were hung then cremated.

Crimes against children are nothing new. Here we have child rape, torture, and murder at its worst. I’ve always felt that there is a special place in hell reserved for those that harm children. Gilles deRais took the lives of 100s of children simply because he could. The fact that he got away with it for as long as he did is inconceivable. Hundreds of children disappeared from a relatively small, sparsely populated rural area. How does this happen? I know that they didn’t have the technological amenities that we have today but damn; kids come up missing, simply vanished and day to day life simply just goes on.

 

The Hills Have Eyes on Scottish Beans and Other Recipes

“Based on a true story” or “Based on actual events” are two phrases that, when added to the synopsis or plot of a production adds intrigue and peaks added interest in the mind of the viewer or reader.  A few of my favorite movies bore this phrase.THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE was inspired by the life and crimes of Ed Gein.

Ed Gein

Ed Gein

The movie CHILD’S PLAY was based upon Robert Eugene Otto’s doll that was said to be possessed. One of my all-time favorite movies is THE HILLS HAVE EYES. Until recently I’d always assumed that the storyline and plot had simply come from the mind of Wes Craven. Imagine the amazement that I felt when I discovered that the events of this movie really happened, mind you it was some 500 years ago, but it HAPPENED.

For those that don’t do horror. THE HILLS HAVE EYES is a movie about a family of mutants that reside in the deserts of New Mexico.  In the movie, it is hinted that the mutated state of this family came as a result of military weapons experiments. As the movie unfolds we soon realize that this mutant family consists of inbred cannibals that make meals out of unsuspecting travelers. For those that haven’t seen the movie I will end my description here but as I said previously, I always assumed that the movie was as fictional as a movie can get. During my nonstop search of the acts of depravity committed by mankind, I found that I had been completely mistaken with my assumptions about this movie.

It seems that some 500 years ago the Bean family lived in Scotland. According to the legend, Alexander “Sawney” Bean was born during the 1500s. His father was what we consider a landscaper in modern terminology. Young Sawney Bean wanted no parts in that manner of work. Considering himself a gentleman of leisure, he wanted a less

Alexander “Sawney” Bean

Alexander “Sawney” Bean with wife shown in the rear carrying human body parts for consumption

strenuous and more lucrative manner of bringing in an income. As a young man, he met and married a sinister woman with the same ideals and lack of morals. Together they procreated and brought forth 14 children into the world. These 14 children became devout practitioners of incest and soon the family expanded to the 48 member clan recorded in history.

As previously stated the couple, unwilling to work in the traditional capacity; raised their family with the same lack of work ethic. Needing housing, the Bean clan took residency in a coastal cave where they lived undiscovered for some twenty-five years. The cave was 200 yards deep and during high tide, the entrance was blocked by water. Needing income and food, the clan developed a plan to satisfy both sets of needs. Under the cover of night, the Bean clan would attack those that journeyed near their lair as their cave remained unseen to most. Unsuspecting travelers were ambushed by the family members and robbed. Clan members would also take their victims deep into their caves where they were killed and cannibalized. Uneaten body parts were either pickled for future use or cast into the nearby lake. It is said that their victim’s number in the thousands as people just disappeared from nearby villages and towns

Local villagers noted the disappearance of travelers but were totally unaware of an entire family living in the cave. As more and more people came up missing searches were organized but few ever noticed the cave and those that did refuse to believe that anything remotely human could live inside of it. During searches, several innocent people were taken into custody and killed in their search for justice. Innkeepers of the area often caught much of the suspicion as they were often the last people to see many of the disappeared. Though others were executed the disappearances did not stop. That was until one night, the Beans attacked a newlywed couple. Unbeknownst to the Beans, the couple rode ahead of a massive wedding party that followed the couple. As they jumped the couple they soon found that the male was a skilled fighter however the wife was fatally wounded during the melee. While attempting to subdue the groom the rest of the wedding party moved forward and witnessed the attack initiated by the Beans. Realizing that they had finally been exposed the clan hastily retreated into the cave.

3several innocent people were taken into custody and killed in their search for justice. Innkeepers of the area often caught much of the suspicion as they were often the last people to see many of the disappeared. Though others were executed the disappearances did not stop. That was until one night, the Beans attacked a newlywed couple. Unbeknownst to the Beans, the couple rode ahead of a massive wedding party that followed the couple. As they jumped the couple they soon found that the male was a skilled fighter however the wife was fatally wounded during the melee. While attempting to subdue the groom the rest of the wedding party moved forward and witnessed the attack initiated by the Beans. Realizing that they had finally been exposed the clan hastily retreated into the cave.

The king soon received a detailed report of the on-goings of the evening. Infuriated, he led a 400 member manhunt into the cave. While there they were shocked to find human remains pickled in mason jars as well as simply cast to the side of the cave interior. Shocked by what they had seen during the manhunt the whole clan was immediately taken into custody. Charged with murder and treason, the clan was executed without a trial. The men had their genitalia cut off, hands and feet severed, and were allowed to bleed to death; the women and children, after watching the men die, were burned alive.

The story of Sawney Bean is one of Scotland’s most shocking and gruesome legends. Over time it has turned into somewhat of an urban legend, a piece of folklore so to speak. The thing is that, while attempting to research and verify the existence of Alexander “Sawney” Bean, actual historical documents, such as newspapers and diaries during the era when Sawney Bean was supposedly active, make no specific mention of him or his clan. However, research did cite several instances of the disappearance of a great many people during the reign of King James VI of Scotland as well as that of James I of England. Furthermore, we do know that cannibalism was not unknown in medieval Scotland. All of these facts lead me to believe that the Bean story may have a basis of truth but the precise dating of events has become obscured over the years. Through research, I found that the Sawney Bean legend closely resembles the story of Christie-Cleek.

Christie-Cleek, whose real name was Andrew Christie, a butcher during the mid-fourteenth century. A severe famine-plagued Scotland in 1340. During this time Christie joined a group of scavengers in the foothills of the Grampians. A member of the party died of starvation; Christie wasted no time in putting his skills to work on the corpse and provided his companions with a hearty meal. Over time the group developed a taste for human flesh and under Christie’s leadership, they began to ambush unsuspecting travelers. Letting nothing go to waste the party would feed on their bodies as well as the bodies of their horses. It is alleged that before attacking, Christie’s apparent weapon of choice was a hook on a rod. Using this he would snatch his victims from their mounts and commence the attack, this implement was the “cleke” (i.e., “crook”) from which his nickname was derived. It is said that no less than thirty riders died at Christie’s hands. Eventually, the company was defeated by the king’s armed forces. Everyone was taken into custody; everyone except for Christie himself, who supposedly escaped and re-entered society under a new name. It is said the man known as Christie-Cleek died many years later, a married man and prosperous merchant.

In our society, the mere thought of cannibalism shocks us to our core, however; we are well aware of the fact that we share this world with all manner of people. History shows us that humans are capable of all manner of atrocities just as we are capable of greatness beyond measure. As I sit and actually think; is it really that big of a stretch to believe that the acts depicted in The Hills Have Eyes really happened somewhere? As I sit and read back over past posts as well as watch the local news, I really must admit to myself; no, not at all.