For this years Halloween, we won’t speak about ghosts or mythical creatures but about the true monsters of our society, serial killers. France had their own batch of serial killers but some of them became infamous for their crimes. Here are, the worst French serial killers:
- Gilles de Rais: One of the oldest serial killers (1440) is also one of the most frightening. This anti-ecclesiastical nobleman, in addition to being accused of murders and rapes, was suspected of taking part in satanic rituals, demon invocations and pacts with the devil. In the end, he had been responsible for multiple massacres including the one in Saint-Etienne-de-Mer-Morte and of more than 150 murders. One weird thing to add, he was also a fellow soldier of Joan D’Arc.
- Henri Désiré Landru, “The Blue-Beard of Gambais”: The infamous Landru was from a modest background who started his criminal career as con artist. Later, he was arrested for the murder of 11 women. By making them believe that he had a lot of money, he invited them to a villa outside of Paris. There, he was gouging them to get their bank account access… Then he was killing his victims, cutting them in pieces and burning their body to leave no trace. We will later discover that he was suffering from schizophrenia and pathological mythomania.
- Patrice Allègre: Born in 1968, he was the child of a complicated family. He will fall quickly into delinquency. In the streets at 13 years old, he commited his first sexual assault at 16. Later, he identifies his victims though his line of work as barman in the bars of Toulouse. Following his arrest in 1997, the trial will be long and complicated after discovering his implication in a huge criminal ring. The number of his victims is really hard to determine and goes from 5 to… 191 victims according to a former officer of Gendarmerie.
- Francis Heaulme, “the backpacker of crime”: Born in 1959, he sees his alcoholic father as a monster and his mother as a saint. Affected by the syndrome of Klinefelter which physically and intellectually handicaps him. The death of his mother is the trigger of his murderous intent. He commits his first murder 3 weeks after her death. Later on, he hits the road on foot and travels throughout France committing multiple murders. Because he can’t drive, he often brings others with him, them sexually assaulting the victim and him killing her. Arrested on January 7, 1992, he will acknowledge his crimes but will mix up the crimes and dates to cover his tracks. He killed at least 11 people.
- Ludivine Chambet, “the poisoner of Chambery”: A more recent story (2012-2013) that drew a lot of attention. A 34 year old healthcare assistant had been found guilty of the murders of 10 people and guilty of attempted murder on 3 more. She quickly confessed that she wanted to “alleviate them, ease them”. To help solve this investigation, 2 colleges of psychiatrists tried to discover the motives of the young woman but the case is complex. Ludivine Chambet does not have any mental illness but suffers from a post-traumatic shock after the death of her mother. Projecting the image of her dying mother on her victims, she was trying to help her again and again. Finally, she was sentenced to 25 years of prison.
Serial killers are insignificant number of people in the world but all of them marked history. They are the source of numerous horrific stories and horror movies like Friday the 13th, Halloween or the famous Hannibal Lecter.