The Horrific Crimes of Gilles de Rais Revisited: Life of a Serial Killer of the Middle Ages

| March 17, 2016


The Horrific Crimes of Gilles de Rais Revisited: Life of a Serial Killer of the Middle Ages

Gille de Rais has been described as one of the most horrific serial killer of the Middle Ages or was he? Revisiting Gilles de Rais crimes.

La Roche-Bernard, France. September, 1438

Peronne Loessart knew that she should feel honored, both for herself and on her young son’s behalf. But she was still in a state of unease bordering on fear.

The Baron de Rais and his entourage were in her town, stopping at the hotel of Jean Colin, which was in the immediate neighborhood of Madame Loessart’s home. One of the Baron’s men, a man named Poitou, had spied her ten-year-old son and approached her about engaging the boy as his page.

Young Loessart often drew such attention. He was an uncommonly beautiful child, with golden hair and expressive blue eyes. But this was the first time that he had come to the notice of a potential patron.

Poitou, whose real name was Étienne Corrillaut, went to Madame Loessart and offered her four pounds for the boy’s services, with an added bonus of one hundred sous for a new dress. He also promised to continue the child’s education at a prestigious institution.

Although distressed at the thought of being parted from her son, Madame Loessart finally agreed. She knew that he had limited opportunities for advancement in La Roche-Bernard. Poitou also gave her his word that the boy would be well provided for.

She believed it. Gilles de Rais was the Marshal of France, a great man who had helped Jeanne d’Arc bring about the victory at Orléans. A regal escort preceded him wherever he went and trumpeters announced his presence at each destination. His ostentatious display of wealth and pageantry turned heads and inspired both awe and adoration. Now her son would have the chance to benefit from such glory.

A pony was purchased from the hotel owner for the boy to ride, and the Baron’s entourage left for his castle at Machecoul the following day. There was probably a tearful goodbye, accompanied by promises to send messages and see each other soon.

Despite the excellent opportunity she appeared to be giving her son, Madame Loessart remained anxious. Perhaps separation anxiety was taking hold. Maybe the rumors that had been circulating lately now seemed more plausible. Whatever the reason, she suddenly ran after the departing party.

One of the Baron’s servants intercepted the distraught woman and held her back, reminding her that a bargain had been struck. Gilles de Rais did not respond to her pleas. Instead, he spoke to the servant restraining her.

“He (the child) is well chosen. He is as beautiful as an angel.”

Finally Madame Loessart calmed down, and the Baron’s party resumed its journey.

Two years passed. The Baron’s servants passed through the village once during that time, although young Loessart was not with them. On demanding news of her son, the men informed her that the boy was either at Tiffauges or Pouzauges. The truth was that he was long dead.

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