Did he really do that?

August 13, 2013


OgreDid ogres exist? Some say that the legend derives from a real person. Gilles de Retz

Gilles de Montmorency-Laval (also known as Gilles de Retz) (1404–1440), Baron de Rais, was a Breton knight, a leader in the French army and a companion-in-arms of Joan of Arc. He is best known by his reputation and conviction as a prolific serial killer of children.

A member of the House of Montmorency-Laval, Gilles de Rais grew up under the tutelage of his maternal grandfather and increased his fortune by marriage. He earned the favour of the Duke of Brittany and was admitted to the French court. From 1427 to 1435, Gilles served as a commander in the Royal Army, and fought alongside Joan of Arc against the English and their Burgundian allies during the Hundred Years’ War, for which he was appointed Marshal of France.

In 1434/1435, he retired from military life, depleted his wealth by staging an extravagant theatrical spectacle of his own composition and dabbled in the occult. After 1432 Gilles engaged in a series of child murders, his victims possibly numbering in the hundreds. The killings came to an end in 1440 when a violent dispute with a clergyman led to an ecclesiastical investigation which brought Gilles’ crimes to light. At his trial the parents of missing children in the surrounding area and Gilles’ own confederates in crime testified against him. Gilles was condemned to death and hanged at Nantes on 26 October 1440.

To this day there is some controversy regarding his guilt or innocence.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: