1440 — Gilles de Rais is executed for his crimes

Gilles de Rais first came to prominence as a wealthy nobleman who was one of Jeann D’Arc’s greatest allies, fighting alongside her in battle and helping her politically. But after her burning at the stake, he seems to have lost his way. He spent much of his fortune on self-indulgence and dissipation, and his early high moral standing was slowly but surely tarnished. In particular, he became interested in occultism and did not conceal his contempt for the Church – and that was an enemy he could ill-afford to make.

In 1440, he was arrested and charged with many crimes, including the murder of numerous children belonging to his subjects. De Rais confessed to many of the charges, and witnesses gave lurid testimony. He was hanged above a fire, although his corpse was cut down for burial before it was consumed in the flames.

Gilles de Rais’s trial and execution have been the subject of considerable speculation over the years. His guilt and the veracity of his confession have both been questioned, particularly in light of the fact that there was little evidence other than testimony that is similarly questionable, and the fact that his prosecutors were the Church (of which he was a known critic) and the nobleman who stood to inherit de Rais’ property. Event today, whether as a serial killer or a victim of the Church, he remains a puzzling enigma.

Referenced in:
Gilles de Rais — Brodequin
Into the Crypt of Rays — Celtic Frost
Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder — Cradle of Filth
Morbid Glory (Gilles de Rais 1404-1440) — Ancient Rites

1614 – Countess Elizabeth Báthory dies

The heroine and role model of every goth woman who ever aspired to the title of Queen Bitch, Countess Elisabet Báthory was a Hungarian noblewoman most famous for bathing in the blood of virgins in order to preserve her youthful appearance.

It’s unlikely that Bathory ever actually bathed so, but it is certain that she numbers among the most prolific serial killers of all time, and is possibly the most prolific of female serial killers known to history. Most of her victims were indeed young women (although their virginity or otherwise is a question unlikely ever to be answered).

In 1610, she was arrested along with four of her servants. Three of the servants were later convicted and executed, with the fourh being sentenced to life imprisonment. Bathory herself was never convicted, but remained under the house arrest that had been instituted from the first. Four years later, it appears that she starved herself to death.

Referenced in:

Elizabeth – Kamelot
Love – Unusual Suspect
Countess Bathory – Venom
Báthory Aria – Cradle of Filth
Venus in Fear – Cradle of Filth
Elisabeth Bathory – Dissection
Elisabeth Bathory – Tormentor
Bathory’s Sainthood – Boy Sets Fire
Woman of Dark Desires – Bathory
Once Upon Atrocity – Cradle of Filth
Desire in Violent Overture – Cradle of Filth
The Twisted Nails of Faith – Cradle of Filth
Beneath The Howling Stars – Cradle of Filth
Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids – Cradle of Filth
Portrait of the Dead Countess – Cradle of Filth
Thirteen Autumns and a Widow” – Cradle of Filth
Lustmord and Wargasm (The Lick of Carnivorous Winds) – Cradle of Filth