In the annals of historical monsters, there is a special, sadistic space for Gilles de Rais. A former military hero who fought alongside Joan of Arc, de Rais was at one time the richest man in Europe. But beneath his wealth and accolades was a grisly personal pursuit – the torture and murder of young children.
What did Gilles de Rais do? He killed an estimated 140 children during his bloody escapades in 15th-century France. His victims were often poor youths whom he would lure to his manse with the promise of fine clothing and high-end cuisine. As soon as his young victims were at ease, de Rais would impose his sick, twisted will upon them.
He was eventually caught and hanged for his crimes, but while he freely marauded and murdered, he took his violence to bold heights. These Gilles de Rais facts, stories, and unspeakably dark penchants are sure to shock you.
A common thread throughout Gilles de Rais's murders was the act of forcefully sodomizing his victims. An eager necrophile, he carried out this heinous act both before and after the death of the children he lured back to his manse. Though he primarily kidnapped and killed young boys, he also snatched the occasional girl, whom he would sodomize just the same, citing a disdain for her "natural vessel" as his reasoning. It's said that de Rais thoroughly enjoyed the act of completely degrading his young victims, and it was a source of great sexual satisfaction for the affluent sadist.
A killer with an insatiable appetite, de Rais would often begin his ritualistic killings by providing kidnapped children with clothes and finery like they had never seen before and plying them with alcohol. Then, he would strip them and hang them from the ceiling until they lost consciousness, eventually taking them down and assuring them he meant no harm – after masturbating on their bodies among other unspeakable acts. From there, the children were violently sexually assaulted before mercifully being decapitated or having their throats cut, ear to ear.
Sometimes, he kidnapped his victims in pairs of two, so that one would have to watch as the other went through this horrific process.
A pure sexual sadist, Gilles de Rais got supreme enjoyment out of imposing sexual hell on his victims. He would frequently bind his young male victims and masturbate onto their stomachs and thighs before killing them. He also employed this practice on his occasional young female victims in bizarre ways, frequently rubbing himself between their thighs, citing that he found "more pleasure and less pain than acting in nature." Occasionally, after they had been killed and partially disemboweled, he would ejaculate into their entrails.
After kidnapping, pampering, and treating his victims to an exquisite meal and expensive alcohol, de Rais would take a violent turn and put his victims through a living nightmare. After violently raping and torturing his victims with a variety of implements, he would, of course, be compelled to kill them for fear of word getting out about his violent proclivities.
Though he used various methods of accomplishing the murder of his captives, his most common way of snuffing out life was decapitation. De Rais even had a special sword called a braquemard that he would use to saw off the heads of his victims, who were often still alive when the blade entered their throats.