I recently returned from a trip to my favourite city, San Francisco. I particularly love the hippy neighborhood the Haight. I like to spend time there with the spirits of Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia and Jimi Hendrix. I was interested to then see this video about hotels haunted by celebrity ghosts, among them the hotel in Los Angeles where Joplin lost her life to a drug overdose.
One of my favourite true crime shows is Investigation Discovery’s See No Evil. I like experiencing a true crime narrative through recorded evidence, and this show is always packed with security camera videos, recordings of police interviews, and audio clips like emergency calls or tapped phone calls.
The scariest and most unique aspect of this show is that the crimes happen to very charming, innocent people who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. In most of the cases, because the violence was so random, finding leads outside of the victim’s social circle made it nearly impossible to identify a suspect. But, with the ever-seeing eye of CCTV, police are able to patch together very accurate timelines for the crimes.
Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and it makes the terror of the show’s case files that much worse. Could happen to anyone at any time. I find myself hoping to be on camera when I’m in random places. If I’m going to be assaulted, I sure hope the attacker could be identified.
“Most famously, the fairies were wrongly fingered as the chief suspect in the disappearance of Bridget Cleary, a 26-year-old cooper’s wife, in 1895. According to the transcript from the Irish Crime Records, which is kept in the National Archives, she went missing on the night of March 15. She had been killed by her husband Michael Cleary, her father Patrick Boland, her aunt Mary Kennedy, her cousins Patrick, William, James and Michael Kennedy, and John Dunne, and two men named William Ahern and William Simpson, and her body secretly buried. One week later, after an extensive search, her body was found by police about three quarters of a mile from her house.“After Bridget became seriously ill, her family said that she had been abducted by the fairies and replaced with a fairy changeling. To drive the changeling away, they tortured her over a number of nights. Bridget died of her injuries. It was a most extraordinary and unusual case, particularly because folk custom and legend about fairy changelings clearly indicated that fairy changelings should never be harmed, only threatened: if the fairies had the real person with them, they may retaliate harshly if the humans harmed the changeling they had left behind.”
(Paris vers 1640-Paris 1680).
Fille de M. Deshayes et épouse d’Antoine Monvoisin, elle était à la fois sage-femme, avorteuse, devineresse et sorcière. Consultée par des personnes de haut rang, elle fut compromise dans l’affaire des Poisons, condamnée par la Chambre ardente et brûlée vive (22 février 1680).
– from Larousse
Catherine Monvoisin (maiden name Catherine Deshayes, and popularly known as “La Voisin”), was a French sorceress, who was one of the chief personages in the infamous “affaire des poisons” which disgraced the reign of Louis XIV.
Her husband, Monvoisin, was an unsuccessful jeweller, and she took to practising divination techniques such as chiromancy and face-reading in order to retrieve her and her husband’s fortunes. She gradually added the practice of witchcraft, in which she had the help of a renegade priest, Etienne Guibourg, whose part was the celebration of the “black mass,” a parody of the Christian mass.
La Voisin was eventually caught up in the Poison Affair (“L’affaire des poisons”), a murder scandal in France during the reign of King Louis XIV which launched a period of hysterical pursuit of murder suspects, during which a number of prominent people and members of the aristocracy were implicated and sentenced for poisoning and witchcraft.
The furor began in 1675 after the trial of Marie-Madeleine-Marguerite d’Aubray, the Marquise de Brinvilliers, who was forced to confess to poisoning her father and siblings. She was sentenced to death and, after torture with the water cure (being forced to drink sixteen pints of water), was beheaded and burned at the stake. This case drew attention to a number of other mysterious deaths, and many fortune-tellers and alchemists suspected of selling not only divinations, séances and aphrodisiacs, but also “inheritance powders” (i.e. poison), were rounded up and tried.
La Voisin’s testimony implicated a number of important individuals in the French court, particularly the king’s mistress, the Marquise de Montespan, who she claimed had bought aphrodisiacs and performed black masses with her in order to gain the king’s favour. La Voisin was convicted of witchcraft and poisoning and was burned in public on the Place de Grève in the centre of Paris in 1680.
– from Witchcraft and Witches
If you want to have an experience of true horror, watch this video:
And then listen to this podcast:
I was hanging out with Satan’s Niece this past week, and she was telling me some intriguing true crime stories that she had learned from a podcast called Sword and Scale. I checked it out and listened to a podcast about the background and trial of a murder of a successful executive who was killed by her angry, recently separated husband. The podcast’s mix of narrative told by an expert with sound clips from individuals touched by the crime was well done. I’ll be making a point to listen to more!