GILLES DE RAIS, Born 1404; died 1440
– During his time, France was at war with England over the rightful heir to the French throne.
– Gilles de Rais was an intelligent child, speaking fluent Latin, and divided his time between French military discipline and intellectual development. His parents died in 1415, and him and his brother were taken under the care of their grandfather.
– It was his grandfather who attempted to marry a 12 year old Gilles de Rais with a 4 year old girl—Jeanne Paynel. One of the richest heiresses in Normady. The plan failed, as did another, until the grandfather finally married him to a heiress of Brittany.
– From 1427 Gilles de Rais served as a commander in the Royal Army.
– He was a Breton knight, a leader in the French army, and a companion-in-arms of Joan of Arc. He fought alongside Joan of Arc.
– It is believed Gilles de Rais was the inspiration for the fairy tale – Bluebeard, by Charles Perrault.
– When he retired in 1434/35, he wasted all his money dabbling in the occult, and holding extravagant theatrical spectacles on his own composition.
– His focus turned to finding people who knew alchemy and demon summoning. But after trying to summon a demon named Barron, and nothing manifested itself, he grew despondent.
– He was dedicated to finding the secret of the Philosophers’’ Stone, which would give him eternal life – through blood. It is from this stage that his reputation turned bad.
– He experimented on children, the numbers he tortured and killed were possibly in the hundreds. He used their blood in his experiments.
– Only in 1440 was his serial killing spree stopped. After investigation, he confessed his atrocities. It is said one of the judges pulled a curtain over a nearby painting of Jesus as Gilles de Rais described his debauchery.
– He was sentenced to death by hanging.
Until next time…
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