This is the Truth Behind All of the Famous Myths We Hear About
This is the Truth Behind All of the Famous Myths We Hear About

This is the Truth Behind All of the Famous Myths We Hear About

Khalid Elhassan - September 1, 2019

This is the Truth Behind All of the Famous Myths We Hear About
‘Gilles de Rais, Marechal de France’, by Eloi Firmin Feron. Wikimedia

The Beginning of the Fall

Gilles de Rais had inherited huge landholdings and estates from both his father and maternal grandfather. He then married a rich heiress, and that fortunate match brought him even more extensive holdings, and made him one of France’s greatest land owners. With so much wealth and property at his disposal, Rais hung up his spurs, sword, and shield, and retired from the military in 1434. However, it soon became clear that while Rais had been extremely good at fighting and managing fighting men in combat, he was simply nowhere near as good at managing money. It did not take him long to dissipate his fabulous wealth with a lavish lifestyle that rivaled that of the king who, unlike Rais, had an entire country that he could tax in order to refill his coffers.

Alchemy, Satanism and True Nature

Within just one year of Rais’ retirement, he had managed to lose most of his lands. Indeed, he was so inept at managing money and his estates, that his family secured a decree from the French king, forbidding Rais from mortgaging what was left of his property. So to raise more cash, Rais fell in with some charlatans, who got him hooked on alchemy – the medieval version of the Nigerian Prince scam. Rais began sinking both his time and whatever money he could get a hold of, to invest in “research” that he was promised would lead to the discovery of a way to turn base metals into gold. He also turned to Satanism, hoping to gain knowledge, power, and riches, by summoning the devil. That was not the worst of it, however: another thing that Rais turned to was the serial rape, torture, and murder of children.

This is the Truth Behind All of the Famous Myths We Hear About
Gilles de Rais murdering victims. Pintrest

Becoming the Origin of Bluebeard

In 1440, an increasingly erratic Rais de Gilles got into a dispute with local church figures. A hot headed aristocrat, hopped up on machismo and unused to having his wishes denied, Rais escalated things, until he ended up kidnapping a priest. That triggered an ecclesiastical investigation, that unearthed some pretty horrific stuff. It turned out that the once celebrated national hero had been murdering children – mostly boys, but also the occasional girl – by the dozens. His standard operating procedure had been to lure children from peasant or lower class families to his castle with gifts, such as candies, toys, or clothing. He would initially put them at their ease, feed and pamper them, before leading them to a bedroom where Rais and his accomplices would seize their victims.

A Grisly Truth

As he confessed in his subsequent trial, Rais got a sadistic kick out of watching his victims’ fear, when he explained just what it was that he had in store for them. What was in store for them was nothing good – but we can skip the gory details. Suffice it to say that it involved torture and sodomy, and ended with the child’s murder, usually via decapitation. The victims and their clothing would then be burned in the fireplace, and their ashes dumped in a moat. After Gilles confessed to his crimes, he and he and his accomplices were condemned to death. He was executed on October 26th, 1440, by burning and hanging, simultaneously. His infamy inspired the fairy tale of Bluebeard, about a wealthy serial wife killer.


Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Ancient History Encyclopedia – Semiramis

Ancient Origins – The Search for El Dorado, the Lost City of Gold

Archaeology Archive, September 23rd, 1998 – King Arthur Was Real?

Atlas Obscura – The Modern Movement to Exonerate a Notorious Medieval Serial Killer

Encyclopedia Britannica – Semiramis

In Santorini – Atlantis and Santorini

Live Science – Santa Claus: The Real Man Behind the Myth

Museum of Hoaxes – Patagonian Giants

National Geographic History Magazine, February 5th, 2019 – Who Was the Real Robin Hood?

Quartz, February 17th, 2012 – The Cottingley Fairy Hoax of 1917 is a Case Study of How Smart People Lose Control of the Truth

Ranker – 12 Characters From Ancient Mythology That Might Have Actually Existed in History

Saint Mary’s University History Media – From Prestigious Noble to Child Serial Killer: Gilles de Rais

Telegraph, The, July 11th, 2010 – Historians Locate King Arthur‘s Round Table

Wikipedia – Midas