A história

As Missas Negras de La Voisin: como uma caixa da fortuna se tornou uma assassina na corte real francesa

As Missas Negras de La Voisin: como uma caixa da fortuna se tornou uma assassina na corte real francesa


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Catherine Monvoisin era uma mulher com uma história sombria. Sua vida influenciou o mundo do ocultismo e a corte de Luís XIV, um famoso rei cujo palácio de ouro lhe trouxe fama imortal e inúmeros amantes. Seus dons espirituais a tornaram uma mulher rica e poderosa, mas quando a vida da senhora conhecida como La Voisin combinou-se com intrigas e escândalos na Corte Real Francesa, não havia como ter um final feliz.

Uma mulher como nenhuma outra?

Catherine Deshayes nasceu por volta de 1640. Quando ela era jovem, ela se casou com Antoine Monvoisin. Monvoisin tinha uma joalheria em Paris, mas a vida não lhe trazia boa sorte nos negócios. Ele faliu e sua esposa decidiu cuidar do orçamento da família por conta própria. Ela deve ter sido uma mulher bem-educada, pois tinha alguns conhecimentos médicos. Catherine era parteira e também fazia abortos às mulheres.

Além disso, Catarina tornou-se conhecida na cidade como uma talentosa vidente e adivinhadora. Eventualmente, esses presentes a levaram a se tornar uma das pessoas mais místicas e fascinantes da segunda metade da Paris do século 17.

Impressão do século 17 do retrato de Catherine Deshayes nas mãos de um demônio alado.

As habilidades espirituais de Catherine tornaram-se cada vez mais admiradas, especialmente porque ela alegou que seus poderes eram um presente de Deus. Ela disse às pessoas que adquiriu seu presente quando tinha nove anos. Catherine também estudou muitas outras disciplinas e ganhou alguns conhecimentos sobre fisiologia. No entanto, ela baseou seu trabalho médico nas informações que obteve ao ler rostos e mãos e prever o futuro.

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Quando Catherine alcançou sucesso financeiro suficiente, ela criou uma atmosfera mística especial em seu local de trabalho. Sabe-se que ela gastou 1.500 libras para comprar um manto de veludo vermelho carmesim bordado com imagens de águias em fios de ouro. Ela gastou muito dinheiro em sua imagem - mas o investimento funcionou aumentando seu número de clientes também.

Em 1665, um sacerdote da ordem de São Vicente de Paulo e da Congregação da Missão questionou suas habilidades. No entanto, Catherine (agora conhecida como “La Voisin”) era inteligente e ficou na frente dos professores da Universidade da Sorbonne e explicou como seus dons funcionavam. Ela foi libertada por suas habilidades em retórica e seu desempenho impressionante na frente de seus críticos. Com o tempo, ela aprimorou seus rituais e acrescentou uma “missa negra” ao seu conjunto de habilidades - na qual era usada como um altar vivo para os espíritos que estavam sendo adorados.

Catherine Monvoisin e o padre Étienne Guibourg celebrando uma "Missa Negra" para a amante do Rei Luís XIV da França, Madame de Montespan (deitada no altar). (1895) Por Henry de Malvost.

O poder da bruxa

La Voisin logo se tornou uma figura muito popular na corte do rei. Muitas pessoas importantes pediram-lhe ajuda, conselhos e procedimentos médicos secretos. Alguns de seus clientes foram: François Henri de Montmorency-Bouteville, (o Duque de Luxemburgo), Françoise-Athénaďs de Rochechouart Montespan, (a marquesa de Montespan e amante do rei), Olympe Mancini (a condessa de Soissons), sua irmã Marie Anne Mancini (a duquesa de Bouillon) e a condessa de Gramont (conhecida como "La Belle Hamilton").

Catherine Monvoisin foi inteligente o suficiente para sobreviver à maioria das opressões e críticas. Mas quando ela se envolveu em um caso que foi um dos maiores escândalos da vida de Luís XIV, sua vida também foi colocada em perigo.

Retrato de Madame de Montespan. (1640-1707)

Tudo começou quando La Voisin foi contratado por Madame de Montespan para realizar missas negras. Em 1667, as cerimônias ocorreram em uma casa na Rue de la Tanniere. Não se sabe se o rei participava desses rituais, embora rumores sugerissem que seu poder vinha do diabo. Uma testemunha das massas negras sugeriu que Montespan estava tentando encontrar uma maneira de garantir o amor de Luís XIV. Durante uma das reuniões, Montespan recebeu uma poção especial e afrodisíaco - que ela posteriormente usou para drogar o rei.

Uma relação próxima com Montespan causou mais problemas para La Voisin. O amante frustrado do rei ficou tão obcecado por ele que ela teria preferido vê-lo morto do que por outra mulher. Quando o rei se apaixonou por Angelique de Fontanges em 1679, Montespan pediu a La Voisin que matasse os amantes. Catherine discordou no início, mas parece que com o tempo ela aceitou a proposta furiosa de Montespan. La Voisin criou um veneno e um plano. No entanto, as coisas não correram como ela esperava.

Retratos de Luís XIV de 1701 por Hyacinthe Rigaud e Marie Angélique de Scorailles, duquesa de Fontanges (data desconhecida).

Infelizmente para ela, a cunhada de Luís (a duquesa d'Orleans) foi envenenada. Além disso, muitos outros inimigos e rivais dos clientes de Catarina também foram mortos com o veneno. La Voisin foi acusada dos crimes, mas durante as horas de tortura ela nunca admitiu os nomes de seus clientes nem disse a seus perseguidores quem eram as pessoas que compareciam às suas missas negras. Acredita-se que ela esteve envolvida na morte de 1.000 a 2.500 pessoas.

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Ao mesmo tempo, Montespan ainda era uma das pessoas de maior confiança na corte do rei. Ele não a conectou com as mortes de forma alguma. Há até evidências de que ela foi uma das conselheiras do rei durante o julgamento. Montespan quase foi libertada de seu envolvimento no crime, mas em julho de 1680 a filha de Catarina, Marguerite, provou que Montespan era um dos clientes de sua mãe. O rei não acreditou imediatamente na história de Marguerite. Como Louis escreveu em sua carta a La Reynie em Lille, 2 de agosto de 1680:

“'Tendo visto as declarações de Marguerite Monvoisin, prisioneira no meu Château de Vincennes, feitas no dia 12 do mês passado, e o exame a que você a sujeitou no dia 26 do mesmo mês, escrevo esta carta para informá-lo de que minha intenção é que V. Exa. dedique todo o cuidado possível para elucidar os fatos contidos nas ditas declarações e exames; que você deve se lembrar de ter escrito em memoriais separados as respostas, confrontos e tudo o que diz respeito ao relatório que pode ser feito a seguir sobre as referidas declarações e exames (para os juízes), e que, entretanto, você adia o relato à minha Câmara real, em sessão no Arsenal, os depoimentos de Romani e Bertrand até que você receba minhas ordens. Louis."

Torre de Menagem do Castelo de Vincennes, do canto sudeste do fosso. (Pierre Camateros / CC BY SA 2.5 )

A morte de uma assassina

Catarina foi queimada na fogueira da Place de Greve, no coração de Paris, em 22 de fevereiro de 1680. É incerto o que aconteceu com sua filha Margarida. O rei ou um de seus favoritos a salvou? Ou ela foi condenada à morte por assassinato nas ruas escuras de Paris?

A resposta a esta pergunta é desconhecida. No entanto, as lendas sobre sua mãe infame continuaram muito depois da morte de La Voisin. Quanto a Montespan - ela morreu em maio de 1707 como uma mulher de 65 anos e nunca foi acusada pelo crime que cometeu com La Voisin.

‘A Execução de Catherine Deshayes.’ ( A história desconhecida da misandria )


Caso dos Venenos

o Caso dos Venenos (l'affaire des venenos) foi um grande escândalo de assassinato na França durante o reinado do rei Luís XIV. Entre 1677 e 1682, vários membros proeminentes da aristocracia foram implicados e condenados por envenenamento e bruxaria. O escândalo atingiu o círculo interno do rei. Isso levou à execução de 36 pessoas. [1]


Missas Negras, alguém?

La Voisin inventou ou empregou pós mágicos feitos de verbena, mosca espanhola (cantáridas) ou sangue menstrual e logo organizou missas negras para seus clientes ricos que obviamente queriam o anonimato. Correram rumores de que a própria amante real Mme de Montespan participou da missa. Se fosse verdade, ela estaria deitada em uma mesa com uma tigela na qual o sangue de um bebê era derramado gota a gota. La Voisin até se beneficiou da ajuda de um padre e de um abade.

Suponha que você queira se livrar de alguém, seja um marido, um parente, um inimigo ou um concorrente ou um amante comprometedor, La Voisin poderia resolver seu problema.


A missa negra satânica: investigando sua história secreta

Acredito que esta seja a transcrição do documentário criado por The Paranormal Scholar. Eu tinha o vídeo incorporado neste site desde 2017, mas desde então foi definido como privado. Enviei um e-mail para & # 8220Laura & # 8221 para ver se ele foi carregado em outro lugar, mas ainda não tive notícias dela.

De qualquer forma, não é um documentário de curta duração ruim, ela toca em Anton Lavey (Howard Stanton Levey), uma pessoa que muitas pessoas não levaram a sério. O material que ela menciona sobre os borboritos e a França dos séculos 17 e 18 é bom & # 8230

A Igreja Católica considera a Missa o seu sacramento mais importante. No entanto, desde os primórdios do Cristianismo, houve aqueles que se desviaram da ortodoxia, saboreando nas trevas e nas delícias sobrenaturais.

A divergência dos grupos heréticos em relação ao ritual tradicional culminou no nascimento da Missa Negra, uma paródia da Missa Católica que se diz ser baseada na adoração ao Diabo.

As origens da Missa Negra são obscuras. Um dos primeiros grupos conhecidos a praticar uma versão distorcida da missa foram os borboritas. Seus rituais eram altamente sexuais. A fofoca sobre suas práticas depravadas circulou descontroladamente no Oriente naquela época. O testemunho de um autor contemporâneo até sugere que eles extrairiam fetos de mulheres que haviam sido fecundadas durante rituais anteriores e consumiriam o feto como uma variante horrível da Eucaristia.

Embora os borboritas possam não ter se oferecido abertamente a Satanás, suas práticas ajudariam a formar o legado da Missa Negra. Em 1608, um autor italiano, Francesco Guazzo, produziu um manual de caçadores de bruxas chamado Compendium Maleficarum. Considerado na época como o manuscrito autorizado sobre bruxaria, ele descreve as bruxas como os agentes de Lúcifer, que inverteu a missa cristã e roubou hóstias consagradas da Igreja para profaná-las. Essa cerimônia era conhecida como o sábado das bruxas e acreditava-se que era praticada por muitos séculos para fins diabólicos. Fomes terríveis, pragas e guerras incessantes foram atribuídas às bruxas. Uma das crenças mais monstruosas sobre o sábado das bruxas era que a carne humana, de preferência de crianças não batizadas, era consumida em nome do Diabo. É na história da França do século 17 que se podem encontrar alguns dos primeiros relatos sólidos de rituais satânicos organizados.

La Voisin, uma cartomante francesa, envenenadora e feiticeira professa, era conhecida por ter matado entre 1000 a 2.500 pessoas nas Missas Negras. La Voisin entreteve convidados poderosos. As estrelas mais ricas e brilhantes da corte francesa visitariam a notória cartomante para pedir que ela sussurrasse no ouvido do Diabo em nome deles. Um exemplo foi Madame de Montespan, que contratou la Voisin para conduzir várias Missas Negras a fim de garantir o amor do Rei da França. Em um ano, Montespan era a amante real oficial de Luís XIV & # 8217. A Missa Negra de La Voisin usou um altar feminino nu, em zombaria da sacralidade do altar cristão. A mulher ficava deitada nua com um cálice na barriga nua, enquanto segurava duas velas pretas em cada um dos braços estendidos. Tal aspecto se tornaria uma característica permanente das futuras missas satânicas. O poder do sangue também foi uma característica importante da Missa Negra. La Voisin teria muitas crianças raptadas para serem sacrificadas. Um atendente de la Voisin foi descoberto por ter enterrado os cadáveres de 2.500 crianças. Uma confissão no julgamento posterior de la Voisin fornece este relato arrepiante das Missas Negras realizadas por Madame de Montespan por volta de 1672:

Embora la Voisin tenha tido um destino terrível na fogueira da pira de execução em 1680, seu legado sombrio continuaria. No século 18 e na época do infame Marquês de Sade, o conhecimento da missa cristã invertida e os rituais sexualizados eram comuns na França. Os escritos de Sade popularizaram noções de sacramentos católicos sendo pervertidos. Uma cena entre sua heroína, Juliette, e o papa em seu livro Juliette de 1797, tornou-se algo semelhante a uma Missa Negra, com a figura feminina nua sendo mais uma vez parodiada contra a santidade do altar cristão. Outros autores seguiriam o exemplo, incluindo o autor francês de La-Bas, que se traduz em The Damned, em 1891.

A descrição da Missa Negra contida no romance foi alegada como tendo sido baseada em eventos satânicos reais em Paris durante aqueles anos. O encontro clandestino do romance ocorre em um convento abandonado e é frequentado por satanistas que são membros respeitáveis ​​da comunidade, incluindo um professor da Escola de Medicina.

À medida que a era moderna se aproximava, os satanistas pareciam sair das sombras escuras da história e se oferecer à atenção do público. Este foi o caso em 1966 com o estabelecimento da Igreja de Satanás, uma organização internacional fundada por Anton LaVey. Basta consultar seu site para se tornar um membro e ter acesso a recursos satânicos, incluindo áudio, vídeo e ensaios. Foi com o estabelecimento da Igreja de Satanás que surgiu o primeiro conjunto de instruções escritas sobre como realizar uma Missa Negra. Mais uma vez de natureza sexual, a Missa Negra da Igreja de Satanás defendeu, em forma de transcrição, a profanação de uma hóstia feita para simbolizar a Eucaristia e a zombaria da Igreja Católica. No entanto, sua validade pode ser questionada.

Aparecendo pela primeira vez em LaVey’s 1972 & # 8216Satanic Rituals & # 8217, pouca menção é dada às origens do texto francês histórico, La Messe Noire, no qual a Missa Negra é supostamente baseada. O texto original em si nunca apareceu, com o ritual apenas sendo mencionado por um outro livro, igualmente duvidoso. Depois de toda uma história de obscuridade, parece improvável que os satanistas revelem tudo agora.

Nos dias modernos, tem havido uma série de acusações feitas contra os ricos e famosos por sua suspeita de envolvimento em práticas satânicas. Alguns dos testemunhos mais terríveis foram contra o notório pedófilo britânico e apresentador de TV infantil Jimmy Savile. Aqueles que foram agredidos quando crianças enquanto estavam no hospital, disseram que foram forçados a participar de uma cerimônia semelhante à Missa Negra. Savile e outros foram descritos como vestindo mantos com capuz e máscaras, cantando o latim Ave Satanus enquanto abusavam sexualmente de suas vítimas à luz de velas cave do hospital. Cinco anos após o ataque ao hospital, ele é conhecido por ter abusado de outra vítima durante outro ritual escuro realizado em uma casa em Londres, no qual Savile atuou como mestre de cerimônias. A mulher tinha 21 anos na época e, como tal, foi capaz de fornecer mais detalhes em seu testemunho, deixando poucas dúvidas de que esta era realmente uma missa negra satânica. Houve mais relatos da participação de Savile em reuniões clandestinas com o tema satânico envolvendo celebridades e dignitários locais. Muitos ficaram chocados com a capacidade de Savile de manter o abuso sexual de seu filho em segredo por quase cinquenta anos, enquanto se misturava com a realeza e outras pessoas no topo da sociedade. Na verdade, muitos daqueles que foram corajosos o suficiente para informar o público sobre o escândalo de Savile agora perderam seus empregos. Tal encobrimento levanta a questão de por que essas pessoas o protegem, a menos que também sejam afiliadas às suas práticas satânicas?

Histórias semelhantes podem ser encontradas em todo o mundo. Nos EUA, o denunciante do FBI Ted Gunderson relatou que há pelo menos 3 milhões de satanistas praticantes em toda a América. Gunderson acreditava que existem redes secretas de grupos poderosos que sequestram crianças e as sujeitam a abusos rituais satânicos e subsequente sacrifício humano nas Missas Negras. Na época de sua aposentadoria em 1979, Gunderson era o chefe do FBI de Los Angeles, tornando-o uma fonte altamente confiável. As acusações nos dias modernos estão envoltas em conspiração e segredo. Se tais alegações forem verdadeiras, eles estariam continuando um padrão secular de movimentos satânicos secretos operando nas sombras da sociedade.

Um lugar, entretanto, que pratica abertamente sua própria versão da Missa Negra nos dias modernos é a cidade mexicana de Catemaco. Desde a década de 1970, na primeira sexta-feira de cada março, a cidade à beira do lago torna-se destino de milhares de peregrinos. Os atos realizados na reunião anual são uma mistura incômoda de rito católico e crenças e rituais pré-hispânicos. Quando entrevistado em 2015, o xamã chefe Enrique Verdon explicou a natureza sincrética do ritual dizendo que a “magia negra vem da cultura olmeca nativa americana” e que ele e outros “são especialistas em invocar o diabo e seu poder sombrio”. Testemunhas oculares do evento descreveram cenas brutais de sacrifício de animais em massa, levando um turista a afirmar que “O próximo passo seria o sacrifício humano [...] e eu francamente acho que essas pessoas fizeram isso.” Após os sacrifícios, os xamãs ficam diante de cruzes invertidas e um grande pentagrama em chamas, antes de tentar invocar o demônio por meio de seus cantos. O que se segue é o juramento no sentido de que suas almas agora pertenciam a Satanás. No auge do ritual, o comitê de xamãs grita "Salve Lúcifer!" enquanto o sangue das ofertas de sacrifício é derramado sobre uma estátua do Diabo.

Ao escrever em 1924, Aleister Crowley, renomado estudioso e mágico, afirmou que “o sangue é a vida”. Essa noção permeou a Missa Negra por séculos, desde o início do Cristianismo até os dias atuais. Ao fazer um sacrifício de sangue, os satanistas acreditam que há uma liberação de energia. Este poder não apenas ligará os participantes do ritual ao Diabo, mas permitirá que eles se alinhem com o poder de Satanás, que pode então ser usado para realizar suas intenções.

Em última análise, o objetivo da Missa Negra é provar que os agentes de Satanás farão o que quiserem na Terra sem uma consciência moral.


O fim do julgamento

La Voisin foi condenado à morte por bruxaria e envenenamento, e queimado na fogueira em 22 de fevereiro de 1680. O marechal Montmorency-Bouteville foi brevemente preso em 1680, mas mais tarde foi libertado e se tornou capitão da guarda. O ministro Jean-Baptiste Colbert ajudou a abafar as coisas.

De La Reynie restabeleceu o tribunal especial, o Chambre Ardente (& # 8220 tribunal de queima & # 8221) para julgar casos de envenenamento e bruxaria. Ele investigou uma série de casos, incluindo muitos ligados a nobres e cortesãos na corte do rei. Ao longo dos anos, o tribunal condenou 34 pessoas à morte por envenenamento ou feitiçaria. Dois morreram sob tortura e vários cortesãos foram exilados. O tribunal foi abolido em 1682, porque o rei não podia arriscar a publicidade de tal escândalo. A isso, o chefe de polícia Reynie disse, & # 8220a enormidade de seus crimes provou sua salvaguarda. & # 8221


Aqua Tofana, também vendido sob o rótulo “Maná de São Nicolau de Bari”. Os historiadores suspeitam que a mistura destinada a funcionar lentamente ao longo do tempo, com várias ingestões, teria contido arsênico, chumbo e beladona.

Uma das prisioneiras mais prolíficas da história foi Giulia Tofana. Ela nasceu em Palermo, Itália, em 1620. Giulia tinha apenas 13 anos quando sua mãe, Thofania d’Adamo, foi executada por assassinar seu marido. Alguns estudiosos acreditam que essa experiência inicial pode ter sido o catalisador que a impeliu para uma vida de crime.

Guilia encontrou trabalho vendendo cosméticos. Essa ocupação a colocava em contato com boticários e clientes mulheres. As mulheres confidenciaram a ela sobre seus casamentos sem amor e maridos abusivos. O divórcio não era uma possibilidade naquela época, então a única maneira de sair do casamento era a morte.

Quer ela tenha obtido a receita para seu famoso Aqua Tofana de sua mãe ou inventado ela mesma, Guilia logo se tornou muito rica vendendo-o para clientes que procuravam o que é eufemisticamente conhecido como "um divórcio italiano". A receita não é mais conhecida, mas relatos indicaram que ela era inodora, incolor, insípida e eficaz com apenas três pequenas doses. A dificuldade em detectá-lo possibilitou que seus clientes matassem sem serem pegos.

“Não havia uma senhora em Nápoles que não tivesse um pouco disso espalhado abertamente em sua toalete entre seus perfumes. Só ela conhece o frasco e pode distingui-lo. ” - das cartas de Ferdinando Galiani, 1805

O fim chegou para Tofana quando um cliente expôs sua operação às autoridades. Sob tortura, ela confessou o envenenamento de 600 homens apenas em Roma entre 1633 e 1651. Os oficiais papais a executaram no Campo de 'Fiori, junto com sua filha Girolama Spera e três ajudantes, em julho de 1659.


As Missas Negras de La Voisin: como uma caixa da fortuna se tornou uma assassina na corte real francesa - História

Entre 1759 e 1760, todos os cães nas ruas de Londres foram destruídos com uma recompensa de dois xelins cada por causa do medo da raiva. O primeiro surto de raiva em grande escala ocorreu na Francônia em 1271, quando lobos raivosos invadiram a cidade e mataram 30 pessoas com a infecção. Em 1804, um único lobo raivoso desceu das montanhas em Crema, Itália, e espalhou a doença para 13 pessoas, que morreram de hidrofobia. Um surto peruano do vírus ocorreu em 1803, matando 42 pessoas em 90 dias. Angola foi devastada pela raiva em 2009, matando 83 crianças.


Minha irmã foi mordida por um cachorro quando era pequena. Ela estava sentada na varanda calçando patins quando um vira-lata apareceu e mordeu sua perna. Eles não conseguiram encontrar o cachorro por um tempo e ela teve que começar a tomar as vacinas contra a raiva. Ela descreveu as injeções para mim, como eles usaram uma agulha longa e a enfiaram em seu estômago. Ela acabou recebendo metade dos tiros porque eles finalmente encontraram o cachorro, mataram-no e cortaram sua cabeça e determinaram que não era raivoso. Isso foi o suficiente para colocar em mim o medo da raiva. Comecei a carregar pedras comigo sempre que tinha que andar pela vizinhança.
Uma vez eu estava andando com meu irmão por uma calçada e um cara abriu a porta e dois pit bulls vieram correndo em nossa direção. Preguei o cão líder em cima da noggin com uma pedra e ele soltou um grito e correu de volta para sua casa. O outro cachorro, vendo dor em seu futuro, também recuou. O dono começou a me xingar, mas eu não dei a mínima, pelo menos não fui mordido. Na parte de trás, vi os dois cães espiando pela janela para nós.


Histastrophe!

Que lindo palácio você tem, seria uma pena se houvesse bruxas

Agora, a maioria de nós está presa dentro de casa esperando o mundo se acalmar. Ou talvez estejamos freneticamente enlouquecidos comprando todo o papel higiênico por algum motivo. De qualquer forma, é provável que todos nós estejamos todos sentindo um pouco de pânico agora sobre se nós (ou alguém que amamos) vamos pegar uma praga viral. Ou talvez estejamos até preocupados com a ideia de não sermos capazes de limpar nosso traseiro adequadamente. O mundo passou por muitos surtos de histeria em massa em seus numerosos ciclos ao redor do sol. Escolher apenas um sobre o qual escrever enquanto estou em casa esperando para jogar Animal Crossing e tentando não pensar se Idris Elba está bem não é pouca coisa. Eu imagino, por que não escolher um que seja menos provável de se repetir como um evento epidêmico em escala global nos dias de hoje? A menos que você pense que corremos o risco de conspirações regicidas, cultos de massas negras, ligas de bruxas coniventes e muito veneno & # 8211, então feche seu navegador e encontre outra coisa para se distrair devido à notoriedade da famosa bruxa francesa La Voisin pode ser ainda mais indutor de pânico para você.

O ano é 1675 e a França está experimentando atualmente uma espécie de Idade de Ouro sob o reinado do Rei Luís XIV, também apropriadamente conhecido como & # 8216O Rei Sol & # 8217. Desde que se tornou o monarca da França aos extremamente preocupantes 4 anos de idade, Luís supervisionou a construção do Palácio de Versalhes, estabeleceu o domínio absoluto para si e para a monarquia e garantiu o lugar da França no cenário mundial como uma superpotência global. Provando o contra-argumento à afirmação de qualquer idiota que só sabe sobre as Guerras Mundiais e acredita que a França sempre perde sob o rei Luís XIV, a França realmente foi (e ainda é) incrível. Mas Luís XIV já era rei há muito tempo neste ponto, e absorvendo o tipo de estilo de vida pródigo e auto-idolatria a que estava acostumado em todo o seu reinado, transformou Luís em uma espécie de saco de sujeira mulherengo. Todos nós conhecemos o tipo.

Você pode negar a glória de um rei que usa salto ?!

Assim, enquanto o rei Luís XIV provavelmente estava brincando com cortesãs e trancado em seu Palácio de Versalhes, alguns anos antes uma mulher chamada Madame de Brinvilliers foi julgada por conspirar com seu amante para matar seu pai e irmãos por veneno para que ela pudesse garantir a herança de sua propriedade de família & # 8217s. Além desse plano engenhoso, ela também aparentemente andava por hospitais envenenando pessoas pobres para se divertir, porque ela era exatamente esse tipo de distorcida. Desnecessário dizer que desde o advento do envenenamento de maridos foi aperfeiçoado como ciência graças a Giulia Tofana e agora a infâmia do caso Brinvilliers & # 8211 todos os tipos de homens (e pessoas pobres, eu acho) tinham medo de serem envenenados por dinheiro ou poder . Incluindo o rei. Anos antes, sua prima (e cunhada) Henrietta da Inglaterra morreu aos 26 anos em circunstâncias misteriosas, reclamando de dores de estômago e problemas digestivos & # 8211; ela bebeu um copo de água de chicória e gritou em agonia, declarando que ela foi envenenada antes de chutar o balde. E enquanto o público se revoltava e entrava em pânico com o aumento dessas tramas de envenenamento e # 8211, surgiram outros rumores de bruxas raptando crianças para serem usadas em missas negras. Isso não foi na Idade Média, logo após a publicação de Malleus Maleficarum em 1487 e lutando contra a Peste Negra um século antes, mas a séria preocupação de uma insurgência de bruxas adoradoras do diabo decididas a corromper o mundo ainda fornecia uma crosta agradável e torrada de preocupação genuína no sanduíche de histeria em massa no século 17. Quaisquer que sejam suas crenças sobre a mania da feitiçaria, e eu certamente caio no lado de ser principalmente um caso de misoginia generalizada. mais suspeito agora) e ordenou uma investigação imediata da Polícia de Paris.

A & # 8216Black Missa & # 8217 é apenas uma missa católica invertida. Normalmente satânicas, mas nem sempre, as missas negras têm o objetivo de zombar / profanar o catolicismo e podem ser tão simples quanto usar uma Eucaristia consagrada de formas obscenas, como esfregar partes do corpo que fariam corar a Virgem Maria. Algumas dessas massas paródias eram inocentes o suficiente, como a Festa dos Tolos, mas para uma visão mais contextual de um ritual maligno administrado por bruxas, por favor, veja o final do filme Suspiria.

Uma década antes, Catherine Montvoisin ou La Voisin, como veio a ser conhecida, foi confrontada por um júri de professores da Universidade da Sorbonne, onde foi questionada sobre a validade de sua prática de adivinhação como adivinhadora. Ela ganhou. La Voisin começou seu negócio depois que a carreira de seu inútil marido como joalheiro e comerciante de seda faliu completamente. Ela foi forçada a encontrar uma maneira de sustentar seu marido, filhos e sua mãe sozinha. No início, ela começou a oferecer seus serviços na leitura da palma da mão e depois também no meio da esposa ajudando no parto (ou aborto). Sua reputação em ambos os serviços aumentou e ela conquistou muitos clientes. Quando ela começou a notar padrões semelhantes nos desejos e vontades das pessoas que via, ela percebeu que havia outra oportunidade de lucrar. A maioria de seus clientes veio até ela com três coisas & # 8211desejando que alguém (em particular, geralmente) se apaixonasse com eles, um membro da família morreria para que eles pudessem herdar, ou um marido que morreria para que eles pudessem se casar novamente.

& # 8220Paris está cheio desse tipo de coisa e há um número infinito de pessoas engajadas nesse comércio maligno. & # 8221 & # 8211 La Voisin, conforme citado durante um drinque com seus interrogadores.

La Voisin começou a imaginar maneiras de vender produtos para seus clientes, a fim de ajudá-los nesses desejos. A princípio, inocentemente, ela dizia que esses sonhos se tornariam realidade se Deus quisesse e que se eles visitassem a igreja, orassem aos santos ou comprassem um amuleto especial dela, seu desejo provavelmente aconteceria. Com o passar dos anos, seus serviços passaram a vender missas rituais, afrodisíacos ou poções do amor e venenos para fazer o trabalho. Alguns de seus serviços mais generosos também incluíam loções destinadas a deixar a pele bonita e feitiços entoados para aumentar o tamanho dos seios. Então, basicamente, La Voisin foi a versão bem-sucedida do século 17 de um e-mail de spam moderno & # 8216aumente o tamanho do seu pênis & # 8217.

A famosa receita da Poção do Amor de La Voisin & # 8217s supostamente incluía pó de ossos de sapos, dentes de toupeira, moscas espanholas, limalha de ferro, sangue humano, pó de múmia e pó de restos mortais humanos, entre outras coisas & # 8230

Parece que La Voisin foi uma peça de trabalho, como imaginamos todas as bruxas cacarejando em suas poções. Mas sua fama e notoriedade lhe trouxeram uma quantidade de prestígio que se tornou um convite para ingressar nos escalões superiores da elite parisiense. Ela era conhecida por ter muitos deles como clientes e os entretinha em seu luxuoso jardim à noite com música de violino. Claro, ela era um pouco alcoólatra, mas estava vivendo isso & # 8211 e também particularmente com uma comitiva de cavalheiros visitantes que incluía um carrasco, um visconde, um alquimista, um arquiteto e um mágico que estava ansiosamente obcecado por ela e desejava para desligar seu marido para que ele pudesse chegar ainda mais perto. Ao mesmo tempo, La Voisin também manteve o hábito de ir à igreja regularmente. Então, ela provavelmente se parecia mais com uma vilã da Disney apenas na arrogância.

La Voisin seja como, & # 8216O quê? Estes não são & # 8217m meus! & # 8217

Foi precisamente essa reputação que trouxe La Voisin, talvez seu cliente mais controverso até então, & # 8211Re Luís XIV & # 8217s, a futura amante, Madame de Montespan.

Já flutuando sobre a corte de Luís XIV & # 8217 com a intenção de destituir sua amante atual, Louise de La Valliere, Madame de Montespan estava tendo problemas para garantir o afeto exclusivo do rei & # 8217s. Por isso, ela procurou os serviços do famoso La Voisin para ajudar. With the goal in mind of winning the King’s love, Montespan allegedly partook in a black mass arranged by La Voisin and her associates where it was said that Madame de Montespan was the naked alter piece herself in which the ritual took place. Then, she was given La Voisin’s love potion concoction which she used to slip into King Louis’ wine and food when they met together for meals. Either Montespan dazzled the king with her award winning charm or the black magic did the trick, but she soon became King Louis’ maitresse-en-titre or official mistress. Montespan was so pleased with La Voisin’s services in this regard that she continued to employ her for years after with any relationship issues she would inevitably encounter with the King. When Louis’ wandering eye sought the comforts of another consort, Montespan would have La Voisin mix her another love potion to keep the King’s favor.

Portrait of Madame de Montespan, something tells me she didn’t really need the black magic…

However, by 1677, Madame de Montespan realized that tactic wasn’t enough to keep the King from sleeping around–so she went with the oldie but goodie threat of murder if he ever so much as thought of leaving her. King Louis XIV’s dick shrugged off this threat, however, and entered into a relationship with Angelique de Fontages in 1679.

Madame de Montespan was furious and apparently fully intent on keeping her promise to murder the King for his senseless debauchery when it no longer favored her. She approached La Voisin with the proposition of killing the King of France for his insolence, to which La Voisin supposedly hesitated on accepting–was quite a big job, after-all. And not many were all that successful in king killing outside of an episode of Game of Thrones. La Voisin was eventually convinced and took the conspiracy to her friend and colleague Catherine Trianon. A group was formed consisting of the two witches and two men who all agreed, despite any misgivings from those who insisted they had a Han Solo-esque ‘very bad feeling about this’, that the plan would be to administer poison to the King. They agreed that the best way to do this would be to poison a petition and hand deliver it to the King who would come in contact with the murder weapon by holding it in his own hands.

Let’s be honest, one of these people is probably a witch

And so on March 5th, 1679, La Voisin went to the royal court of King Louis XIV in saint-Germain to deliver the homicidal petition herself in person. Unfortunately, the conspirators had not planned for the likely occurrence of the King canceling a number of the petitions because there were too many already and would have likely preferred to spend his time elsewhere (probably with Angelique de Fontages). La Voisin wasn’t disheartened by this change in events. She gave the petition to her daughter to burn, as it was incriminating evidence of their conspiracy, and decided that she would meet up with Catherine Trianon tomorrow to figure out a new plan.

She never made it that far.

Remember that investigation King Louis XIV had ordered to uncover the secret cult of withcraft working undetected in Paris? The police force had been working tirelessly to apprehend any accused of witchcraft and, in doing so, had discovered a network of witches that had been operating like a criminal enterprise. Under torture, they had picked up a slew of fortune-tellers, alchemists, and others by name. Witches were telling on other witches and the threads seemed to point to all corners of Paris. And some were even stupid enough to declare their business openly at parties like La Voisin’s arch nemesis Marie Bosse did. Drunkenly, she told anyone who would listen that she was so rich from selling poisons to the French elite that she could retire. It didn’t take long for the Parisian Police to haul Marie Bosse in for questioning, and she took a particular satisfaction in naming her enemy and associating La Voisin with all kinds of evil magic and crimes including accusing her of aborting fetuses and sacrificing them in rituals. It was also Marie Bosse who gave the police force the solid tip of a ring of poisoners existing in Paris. Thanks to Marie Bosse, La Voisin was arrested after attending mass before she could meet with Catherine Trianon to devise a plan B to assassinate the King.

I’m so sick of these mother f’ing witches in my mother f’in Paris. – Paris Police Chief Gabriel-Nicolas de la Reynie, probably

Funnily enough, even though the police force was grateful to apprehend the most notorious poisoner and practitioner of witchcraft in Paris at the time, they were also a bit terrified to interrogate her. It seemed more to do with her ability to incriminate much of French high society with her association, however, rather than any real fear of black magic retaliation. They were under orders not to subject her to torture and instead, knowing her propensity to getting drunk, plied her with alcohol to get her to confess to her crimes. At first, La Voisin was quick to throw her enemy Marie Bosse under the carriage, insisting that she had referred all clients wishing to buy poison to her–but eventually, her frequent intoxication led to La Voisin naming other practitioners in the network and detailed some of her career in which her services were given to members of the royal court. La Voisin never admitted to being involved with Madame de Montespan, however, and denied having her as a client. She also denied participating in black masses, using poisons, or any of that baby fetus codswallop Marie Bosse had accused her of. Nevertheless, La Voisin was put on trial, convicted of witchcraft, and burned at the stake on February 22nd, 1680. But not before reportedly trying to kick away the hay that was piled around the stake, cunning to the last.

Idk, the Feast of Fools looks like a good time…

Though much of The Affair of Poisons and Montespan’s involvement or the extent of La Voisin’s crimes had yet to be proven, months after the execution the daughter of La Voisin came forward and detailed her mother’s working relationship with Madame de Montespan as well as the plot to kill King Louis XIV. This was apparently enough for the King and he hastily closed the investigation, sealed the testimonies, and ordered all further suspects to rot in jail forever. It is estimated that there were nearly 500 suspects, around 200 arrests, and 36 executions before the investigation had been closed. Madame de Montespan was never formerly charged, but she was sent off to exile in a Parisian convent and given quite a hefty allowance. Though the rumors and accusations would always follow her, she spent her remaining years as a supporter of charities and a patron of the arts.

As for King Louis XIV of France, he would continue to live on for many years after. Having been fortunate enough to evade a plot to kill him, it seemed he had little more run in with witches or murderous mistresses and passed away at the age of 76 after a long and fruitful reign . But, as we all know with the approaching 18th century–the descendants of his French Monarchy would not be so lucky, the guillotine awaits.

Ravaisson, Francois . Archives de la Bastille by François Ravaisson, 1870–1874, volume VI. Retrieved from:http://www.angelfire.com/az3/synagogasatanae/zacharias.htm

Herman, Eleanor. Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge. 2011.

Somerset, Anne. The Affair of the Poisons Murder, Infanticide, and Satanism at the Court of Louis XIV. St. Martins Press, 2004.


Catherine Monvoisin and the Affair of the Poisons

Nothing makes history trickier to investigate than the whiff of scandal. Coverups and spin aren’t modern inventions, and when it makes every source you have unreliable then getting to the truth of the matter becomes all but impossible. So in today’s article all we can do is to report both the rumours and the official version and let you draw your own conclusions about Madame Monvoisin and the Affair of the Poisons.

The Pont Neuf in Paris in the 1660s.

Catherine Monvoisin’s early days are sparsely documented, but we know she was born around 1640 and probably in Paris. Her maiden name was Catherine Deshayes, and her family were poor. From an early age she was fascinated with fortune-telling, learning palmistry at the age of nine. She had a talent for “cold reading”, the ability to read somebody’s cues as she told their fortune and convince them that she knew things that she could not normally have known.

Catherine was married in her teens to a jeweler named Antoine Monvoisin, and they would go on to have at least three children. Their eldest was a daughter named Marguerite who was born in 1658. Unfortunately Antoine’s business failed, and the family fell on hard times. In order to support them Catherine drew on her childhood interests and lifelong hobby, and began telling fortunes for money.

Catherine’s main form of fortune-telling was reading palms, sometimes called chiromancy. This was considered a “pagan superstition” by the Catholic Church, but many people at the time believed there was a science behind it. It provided the ideal ground for her to use her cold reading skills, and she soon became very successful. As a professional alias (and a pun on her name) she adopted the friendly title of “The Neighbour” or in French La Voisin.

As with all such female fortunetellers, Catherine found that she was often visited by women with the problem of an illegitimate child on the way. Abortion was illegal in France at the time, of course, leaving women no option but to turn to shady characters like Catherine for assistance. Sometimes she gave them an abortion, sometimes she would deliver the child for them and then have it secretly adopted or otherwise dealt with. Either way, her utter discretion in these matters was probably a major factor in how she began to get more and more high-profile clients, including several from the nobility.

A rich lady visiting a fortune teller. Painting by Jakob Samuel Beck.

In the mid 1660s Catherine had become famous enough as a fortune teller that she was challenged by a priest over them. Rather than back down, Catherine chose to defend herself before the professors at the Sorbonne theological college. This college was well known for challenging “heretical” views (mostly Protestantism), but Catherine showed her mettle before them. She was an intelligent woman, far from what they had expected. Her spirited defence of the “science” behind her palm reading and her affirmation that any spiritual powers she possessed were gifts from God was enough to convince them to let her go. They were satisfied that she was not a heretic. Mas eles estavam errados.

By this time Catherine had graduating from telling fortunes to offering her clients a way to change those fortunes. This started out benignly enough telling them to pray to a certain saint for assistance or similar. However as Catherine became more involved with the “occult community” of Paris (most notably “Adam Lesage”, a self-professed magician) this began to change. Another common problem among her visitors was the desire for someone to fall in love with them, and Catherine began selling magic charms and special powders to aid them in this. In 1667 she was asked to do this on a major scale. Someone wanted her to help them become the lover of the King.

Madame Françoise-Athénaïs de Montespan being handed a bow and arrow by Cupid to win the King’s love. Painted by Pierre Mignard.

The “someone” was Marquise Françoise-Athénaïs de Montespan, though it was her companion Claude des Oeillets (a former actress) who approached La Voisin. The king was Louis XIV, the “Sun King” who had risen from a child who was used as a puppet monarch to become the first truly absolute ruler in French history. He was one of the most powerful men in the world, and to become his mistress there was nothing Madame de Montespan wouldn’t do. Even if it meant literally selling her soul to Satan himself.

The first ceremony for Francoise took place in Catherine’s house. An abbot named Mariotte presided, with Lesage and Catherine assisting. After prayers to Satan, a drug was prepared and given to Madame de Montespan to use on the king. Whether it gave her the confidence she needed to win him or whether it did contain some aphrodisiac ingredients, in a short time Francoise was the king’s new mistress. This success boosted La Voisin to new heights. Soon she had escalated into producing full Black Masses for her clients in order to win them lovers and marriages, among other things.

The best account of one of these “masses” comes from 1673, when Madame de Montespan returned. The king’s affections were wavering, and she had decided a Satanic boost was needed. According to Étienne Guibourg, the priest who performed the ceremony, they laid a black cloth on an altar. Francoise then lay down on it, face up and completely naked. (According to some accounts she forced her maid Claude to do this instead.) As the priest intoned a blasphemous version of the liturgy, an infant was brought to the altar. The priest laid the chalice on the naked woman’s belly. Catherine then cut the infant’s throat and let it pour into the chalice, spilling out onto the woman’s body. She threw the body into a nearby furnace as the priest raised the chalice and completed the ritual.

An 1895 engraving by Henry de Malvost showing the Black Mass being celebrated on Madame de Montespan.

Whether this was a genuine human sacrifice or just clever stage managing in a dark candle-lit room is hard to tell. Catherine’s daughter later testified that she bought pigeons for her mother and saw her cut their throats and collect the blood. She also said that the “altar” was simply a mattress on some chairs, with stools to the side for the candles. On the other hand at least one of the priests involved seems to have believed there was power involved and tried to use a Black Mass to prevent a friend’s mistress from conceiving. (It didn’t work.)

By the 1670s La Voisin had branched out into another line of work: poisoning. Her knowledge of chemistry, network of clients and reputation for discretion gave her the perfect alley for distribution of this type of substance. Soon she was at the centre of a network of distributors, a sisterhood of fortune tellers and backroom medics with a lethal sideline. Though their noble clients got the highest profile, they most commonly sold their poison to women trapped in abusive marriages who would find no relief from the legal system.

The poison they were distributing is unknown, but it’s likely to have been similar to one known as “Aqua Tofana”. This was a recipe that had been developed by an Italian woman named Giulia Tofana thirty or forty years earlier. The primary ingredient was arsenic, which was such a common poison that it was sometimes called “inheritance powder”. The gradual sickness it caused was perfect for allaying suspicions and for allowing the poisoner to manage the time of death. Other ingredients included belladonna and lead, resulting in a tasteless poison that looked like simple water and left the doctors of the time none the wiser.

Claude des Oeillets, Madame de Montespan’s friend and another of Louis’ “conquests”.

Marital fidelity seems to have been in short supply in 17th century France. The king, of course, usually had multiple mistresses competing (sometimes murderously) for his affections. He treated them all with a shocking callousness, casting them aside at a whim and bedding anyone who caught his eye. (Claude, for example, had a daughter who was almost certainly the king’s child.) The marriage of the Monvoisins was equally unfaithful Catherine had at least six lovers including her assistant Adam Lesage. Adam once tried to convince Catherine to poison her husband to get him out of the way, but Catherine decided against it.

It was the poisons that would lead to La Voisin’s downfall, through a path that began with a man who died in an accident in 1672. The dead man was Captain Godin de Sainte-Croix, an officer in the French army. In 1663 Godin had an affair with another man’s wife, Marie-Madeleine de Brinvilliers. Her father found out about the affair and had Godin imprisoned using a “lettre de cachet”. This was a French legal device where the king could order anyone imprisoned indefinitely without trial, something which nobles like Marie’s father could petition for him to do. Justice, under the French monarchy, was strictly optional when it came to punishment.

In prison Godin became friendly with an Italian alchemist named Exili. Exili taught the eager Godin about alchemy, including how it could be used to create poisons. When Godin was set free, he passed this knowledge on to Marie and soon they took their revenge on her father. His death was followed by that of her two brothers, which left her free to inherit the family fortune. (She later said that the real motive for killing her brothers was that they had sexually abused her when she was a child.) With her effectively separated from her husband, the two lovers were free to enjoy their lives together.

Marie de Brinvilliers.

Unfortunately for Marie, Godin was paranoid. Afraid that she might poison him as well, he left a full sealed confession among his papers. It was labeled “to be opened if I die before Madame de Brinvilliers”. Since he died in debt his effects were seized by his creditors, who opened the confession and read it. Marie managed to escape arrest and fled to London, then moved to the Netherlands before settling in Belgium. There she was tricked, kidnapped and illegally extradited back to France for trial. In July of 1676 she was tortured into confessing, and on the strength of that confession she was executed.

Whether Marie was actually guilty or not is sometimes debated. The sole evidence against her was the word of a dead man and a confession tortured out of her. What is true is that her conviction, and the idea that three aristocrats had been murdered without anyone realising, was enough to set off a panic among the upper classes. When a fortune teller named Magdelaine de La Grange was arrested for forging a will, she tried to bargain for her freedom by claiming that she had information about crimes of “national importance”. Though she didn’t have any tangible information to share, her testimony was what began the official investigation that became known as la Chambre Ardente – the Burning Court. [1]

Over the next couple of years, the Court (led by Gabriel-Nicolas de la Reynie) swept up alchemists, fortune tellers and others on the fringes of society who could be suspected of using poison. One of these was Louis de Vanens, who was suspected of selling poison that was used to murder the Duke of Savoy (one of the highest noblemen in the land). Though they became convinced there was a secret organisation to these poison-sellers, they had no luck in cracking it open. Then in 1679 they hit the jackpot when they arrested a poisoner named Marie Bosse.

Gabriel-Nicolas de la Reynie, organiser of the Burning Court and founder of the first real police force in European history. Painting by Nicolas Mignard.

Marie was arrested after she got drunk at a party and started boasting that she had become so rich by selling poisons to the aristocracy that she would soon be able to retire. One of the guests informed on her to the police, who set up a sting to buy poison from her. Once they had verified the deadliness of what she sold them, they swooped in and arrested her. (Allegedly when they arrested her she was in the middle of incestual relations with her two sons and her daughter.)

Marie was tortured into a confession which gave up the entire organisation of poison sellers in Paris, and which place Catherine Monvoisin right in the centre of it. La Reynie hesitated to arrest her, as he knew that she was connected to some very powerful people at court. He finally arrested her in March of 1679. In doing so he may well have prevented her from carrying out the most high profile poisoning of her career: that of Louis XIV himself.

Madame de Montespan had always said that she would kill the king if he abandoned her, or so it was claimed later. (It’s worth noting that this plot is the sketchiest part of some very sketchy history, and it may be that none of this is true at all.) At the time it looked like he might be about to set her aside and replace her with a young girl named Angelique de Scorailles. (Angelique did die the following year, possibly due to complications from childbirth or pneumonia. Of course, rumours said she was poisoned.) The alleged plot of Catherine and her accomplices was to present a petition to the king which had been treated with a contact poison. Her initial attempt was foiled because there were too many other petitioners for the poisoned one to be presented directly to the king. She was allegedly on her way to plan a new attempt when she was arrested.

This 1680 drawing by Antoine Coypel of a demon holding a mirror for Catherine is the only contemporary picture of her that exists.

Initially Catherine tried to defend herself by claiming that Marie Bosse had made the accusations against her in order to save her own skin by denouncing a rival. (This was undercut in May of 1679, two months after Catherine was arrested, when Marie and her children were all executed.) Catherine’s maid Margot, who had also been arrested, warned the investigators that they were playing with fire. The arrest of Catherine Monvoisin, she said, would impact on people “at all levels of society”. That convinced La Reynie to tread carefully, though he was quick enough to scoop up all of Catherine’s associates. Then he started figuring out exactly what he had.

Though an authorisation was issued to torture Catherine for information, it never seems to have actually been used. Perhaps La Reynie was worried about what she might say or he was aware of how unreliable information gained that way could be. Instead he took advantage of Catherine’s functional alcoholism and had his interrogators make sure she was permanently inebriated. It paid off initially she stuck to her story that she had sent anyone trying to buy poison to Marie Bosse but soon she was naming names. The first people she named were minor nobles who received minor sentences something which began leading people to denounce the court as a farce. In response Louis XIV declared in December of 1679 that the investigators should spare nobody, regardless of rank. It was a declaration he would regret.

Catherine Monvoisin went on trial in February of 1880. It was a very short trial, even given the amount of evidence against her. After the inevitable guilty verdict, a warrant was issued that she should be tortured to produce a confirmatory confession before the death sentence was carried out. However though the official records say that this was done, accounts at the time say that the order was ignored. The authorities were still doing their best to keep Madame de Montespan’s name out of these events, and had no wish to provoke an indiscreet confession.

“The Execution of Catherine Deshayes”, colourised version of an old woodcut. Fonte

Catherine was executed less than a week after her trial, burned alive in the Place de Grève. She did not go quietly to meet her fate. The night before she persuaded her guards to let her drink her fill and eat a hearty last meal, and it’s possible that as she was dressed in white and taken to her execution she was still quite tipsy. A priest tried to persuade her to confess, but she violently repulsed him. At the execution ground she had to be dragged, fighting every step of the way, to the stake. As the fire was lit she did her best to kick the burning straw away from herself, but it was all in vain. Soon the fires flared up, and when it died down she was dead.

The death of Catherine did not bring an end to the investigation of the poisoning ring, of course. In fact it seems to have intensified it. In part this was due to her daughter Marguerite, who seems to have realised that she would have to work hard to avoid following her mother to the scaffold. She and her brothers (who were living with their father) had initially not been arrested, but shortly before her mother’s trial the authorities had swept them up. This might have been part of the attempt to wrap up the investigation. If so, it failed. The arrest of Marguerite was about to begin a new and even darker phase of the affair.

Marguerite’s confession soon began to paint a picture that was even darker than the Burning Court had expected. The tale of black masses and human sacrifices that unfolded shocked them, but it also seems to have convinced them that Marguerite had played no part in the affair. Those she named (Francoise Filastre, Adam Lesage and Etienne Guiborg among them) were soon confirming the story.

Louis XIV. Louis the Great. The Sun King. The true villain of the piece.

As soon as Madame de Montespan’s name entered the picture, matters took a different turn. It was one thing that she might have used magic to ensnare the king’s interest, but the idea that she had tried to have the Queen to be set aside and for her to marry the king was unthinkable. But she was the mother of recognised and legitimised royal children, and for that reason alone she could not be caught up in this. In addition she was far from the only noble implicated. Olympia Mancini, the head of the queen’s household and the most senior female non-Royal at court was the most notable of those implicated. With such explosive accusations being leveled, it soon became clear that Louis’ declaration of disregard for rank was just empty words.

Instead, the Poison Case Investigation became the Poison Case Coverup. The records of the trial were burned (though the interrogation records from the Bastille survived and allow historians to reconstruct the events). Those who could be safely executed on other charges (like Francoise Filastre) were put to death, but it was decided that none of the others could be allowed to go free. Instead Louis issued a great number of the infamous lettres de cachet. Anyone even slightly implicated was to be imprisoned for the rest of their lives.

That included Marguerite Monvoisin, even though the investigators concluded that she was innocent of wrongdoing. Minor details like that barely mattered in the court of the Sun King. She was imprisoned on the island of Belle-Île-en-Mer off the coast of Brittany, along with Margot the maidservant and Catherine Trianon among others. They were guarded only by women (to prevent them from seducing their jailers and escaping) but they were otherwise permitted to live under house arrest in the Palace Royal on the island. Catherine Trianon committed suicide in 1681, but the fate of the others (along with the men perpetually imprisoned, like Adam and Etienne) is unknown. When the king of France sought to make you disappear, you disappeared.

Anna Brewster as Madame de Montespan and Suzanne Clement as Madame Agathe (a character based on Catherine) in the BBC show “Versailles”. Fonte

As for those he could not make disappear, the Affair of the Poisons still marked a permanent downturn in their fortunes. Francoise de Montespan fell from the king’s favour, of course, but he still had to pay visits to her in order to maintain the pretence of a relationship and to “disprove” the rumours. Ten years later she was finally sent to retire to a convent, though her children were all given marriages and dowries suitable for royal princesses. Several other nobles, such as Olympia Mancini, were forced to flee the country. Her son Eugene was rejected from the French army because of this he emigrated to Austria where he became possibly the single greatest general of 17th century Europe. In fact his military genius is often credited with preventing Louis XIV from achieving control of Europe in the decades that followed.

The Affair of the Poisons soon entered into popular French folklore as an example of the perfidy and perversity of the upper classes, along with their tendency to protect their own. Louis XIV sought to suppress the truth but he didn’t realise that in doing so he was creating more fertile ground for the legend It became part of the history fueled a growing discontent among the people of France that would explode into revolution a century later. In the years since it has become the subject of novels, plays and films. La Voisin, it seems, refuses to be forgotten.

Images via wikimedia except where stated.

[1] The original Chambre Ardente was a nickname of the special court used at one time to prosecute heretics. Though it had been suspended over a century earlier, it was this legislation that was used to establish the new Burning Court.


The Surprising Historical Significance of Fortune-Telling

In 1786, 14-year-old Marie Anne Lenormand ran away from the convent school where she was raised. Lenormand set off to Paris on her own, where she learned the art of cartomancy—divination using a deck of cards. She worked for 40 years as a cartomancer and fortune-teller, advising Joséphine de Beauharnais (Napoleon’s wife), Robespierre, Marat, and other important figures on their fates.

Thirty years later, when Lenormand was 44 years old, she met with a young Frances, Lady Shelley, a socialite, aristocrat, and friend of the Duke of Wellington. The two met in Lenormand’s luxurious boudoir, but, as Shelley recounts in her diary, she was soon drawn into Lenormand’s cabinet d’étude to have her fortune read. Lenormand asked her date of birth, then the first letter of her name, the first letter of her birthplace, and then her favorite animal, color, and number. “After about a quarter of an hour of this mummery, during which time she had arranged all the cards in order upon the table, she made an examination of my head,” Shelley wrote. “Suddenly she began, in a sort of measured prose, and with great rapidity and distinct articulation, to describe my character and past life, in which she was so accurate and so successful, even to minute particulars, that I was spellbound at the manner in which she had discovered all she knew.”

What made Lenormand rich in eighteenth-century France—and what has made fortune-telling and games of chance mainstays of human society for more than six millennia—is that sometimes the possibility proposed by the fortune-teller is, in fact, perfectly spot-on. Sometimes what is predicted happens sometimes our lottery ticket is the winner sometimes we beat the odds. Games of chance point toward the correct value just often enough to keep us intrigued. In so doing, they have acted as social and political tools that play upon some of our greatest aspirations—that we’ll catch a “big break,” or that the poor can suddenly become rich. “Ability,” Napoleon famously said, “is of little account without opportunity.”

Upon Lenormand’s death at the age of 71, her nephew, a devout Catholic, inherited her possessions and extensive capital, valued at an estimated 500,000 francs. He pocketed the cash and burned all of her cards, crystals, and fortune-telling paraphernalia, according to Michael Dummett, a former professor of logic at Oxford, who co-wrote a book on the subject. Yet Lenormand’s legacy has persisted, particularly via Lenormand cards, an altered set of tarot cards commonly used by contemporary fortune-tellers.

Like Lenormand’s nephew, most Catholics in the region despised fortune games, which represented unknowability in a supposedly all-knowable world, one in which God pulls the strings. No A Consolação da Filosofia, Boethius introduces a character called Lady Philosophy who explains that “chance” is “an empty word…what room can there be for random events since God keeps all things in order?” Similarly, in Chaucer’s “The Knight’s Tale,” the first of The Canterbury Tales, Theseus reminds his subjects after a series of misfortunes that “the First Mover of the First Cause” determines all outcomes in accordance with an overarching plan. This is the same notion that Voltaire would later satirize in Cândido. The wise man, Voltaire argued, realizes that a reversal of fortune is not part of a divine plan, but rather a kind of horrible happenstance that sometimes befalls one, based on no wish or advice of divine beings.

By providing an alternative to God’s omniscience, fortune-telling menaced the legitimacy of religion: Foreknowledge was the exclusive realm of God, and claims from anyone else—cartomancers or fortune-tellers, for instance—were a threat.

But there’s an acute irony to be found in the similarities between fortune-telling apparatus and Catholicism itself. Tarot cards, with their amalgam of ancient mythologies and pagan beliefs, can be viewed as a bridge toward Catholicism. The patron saints and icons of Catholicism, each of whom has defining characteristics, occupations, and symbols, mirror the characters of the tarot. For instance, in the Catholic faith there is the Archangel Gabriel. His symbol: archangel. His patronage: telecommunication workers and stamp collectors. His attributes: carries a trumpet is clothed in white and blue. In standard tarot decks, there is the High Priestess. Her symbol: Holy Mother Church. Her patronage: a link to the subconscious. Her attributes: wears a Papal tiara is clothed in white and blue.

What is perhaps most salient within the history of fortune-telling is the way it both reifies and subverts capitalist economics. Its subversion can be seen when one thinks of the ideological scandal that would ensue if one indeed had the ability to predict the outcome of the lottery, a feature of most capitalist societies. The capitalist ethos of self-mastery is undermined by the possibility of luck leading to success without proportional labor. As a result, games of luck tend to be sidelined in capitalist societies, looked down upon as pastimes of the poor and lazy.

“Patience, and shuffle the cards,” Cervantes wrote in Don Quixote. This notion serves as the foundation for the American myth of self-made success: One must trabalhar for success, but at the same time, anyone can achieve it. The American myth of the self-made man therefore creates a double bind: One must work, but one might also get lucky. As a result, those in inferior socioeconomic positions can feel that they still have the possibility of ascending by means of luck, while those in superior socioeconomic positions can feel deserving of their success as a result of their supposed hard work.

Through games of luck comes the notion of the “big break,” an idea that has been fundamental to diffusing socioeconomic frustrations for centuries, first observed by Louis Hartz in The Liberal Tradition in America. In the many hundreds of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European stories and fairy tales first told by the lower classes, one finds that the peasants never look to alter the royal system that oppresses them rather, a happy ending occurs when the peasant himself becomes the king through a series of chance events. That’s to say, the occurrence of “big breaks,” however seldom, is enough to keep the masses contented with an unjust social system they angle to be at the top of the current society, rather than looking to do away with the society entirely.

What has proven trickier for social elites to justify are the games of chance that are fundamental to their own success, the modern stock market being the quintessential example. How does a capitalist society make playing the stock market look like labor, so that the high earnings that often come from it appear to be derived from proportional work? How do the affluent “cleanse” their earnings, overcoming the taint of chance through the appearance of work, thereby conferring moral legitimacy on their positions of power? The elite solution has been to disguise the stock market as a place of complex probabilities and algorithms rather than what it fundamentally is: luck. It is chance rebranded as morally righteous labor.

While lotteries and games of chance have often been a vehicle for the elite to extract money from the less-informed masses without upsetting them (a disguised regressive tax, as pointed out by the sociologist Roberto Garvia), in certain circumstances, lotteries have also been used as a political tool—a patronage benefit for the politically useful.

Although lotteries in Europe date back to the sixteenth century, it was later, in 1694, that a “lottery craze” swept through Europe, according to Roger Pearson, a French historian at Oxford. This craze followed a familiar pattern: democratic possibility (anyone could theoretically become rich) mixed with aristocratic reality (those who already had access to capital and political connections stood a significantly better chance of winning). In a peculiar turn, it was Voltaire who saw that, for various reasons, the prize in each Parisian district was greater than the total cost of all its lottery tickets. By buying up as many bonds as possible from the Paris mayor’s office, he stood to win the lottery with near certainty e make out with more money than he’d put in.

In his autobiographical Historical Commentary on the Works of the Author of La Henriade, Voltaire wrote, “The authorities issued tickets in exchange for Hôtel de Ville bonds, and winning lots were paid in cash and all in such a way that any group of people who had bought all the tickets stood to win a million francs.”

But it wasn’t just his craftiness that helped Voltaire in his “infamous lottery and market speculation,” as referred to by the historian W. Johnson in “Voltaire after 300 Years” it was his connections as well. As Pearson has pointed out: “Clearly [Voltaire] had an understanding of sorts with the notaries appointed to sell the tickets, and it seems that he did not have to pay the full price of the tickets, so certain were he and his associates—and perhaps the notaries selling the tickets, presumably cut in on the action—of winning.”

Voltaire, therefore, exploited his political connections and presumably bribed the notaries—two groups of people who were surely more willing to work with him given his fame—in order to win what eventually amounted to be about 7.5 million francs, an exorbitant sum that allowed him never to work, to buy up châteaux, and generally live as a king might. It is hard to understate the extent to which there was a double standard in games of chance: The poor who engage in games of chance are looked down upon, whereas the well-known had games of chance intentionally turned toward their advantage.

But what, ultimately, is chance? What is this unpredictable, unknowable element that beguiled Frances, Lady Shelley, Marat, Robespierre, and Lenormand’s other patrons?

Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle declares that, “Everything in the world looks coincidental by any current observation method, since any law or principle is expressed only probabilistically. No one can say whether a thing has absolute inevitability.” In this sense, a fortune-telling is simply an exhibition of one of many possibilities, rather than the absolute truth. It is, therefore, never really wrong, and although it affects core tenants of society—religion, economics—it is only ever absolutely correct by chance.


Massa negra

The Black Mass was the product of the creative imagination of medieval inquisitors. In the fifteenth century, the Spanish Inquisition turned its attention toward stamping out witchcraft (surviving remnants of pre-Christian Paganism), which was redefined as the worship of Satan (rather than the older Pagan pantheon). At the time, the Inquisition was limited in its task to the suppression of heresy (non-Orthodox forms of Christian belief) and apostasy (rejection of Christianity by former believers). Paganism, as another religion altogether, was outside its purview, hence the redefinition. Satanism, as the worship of the Christian antideity, clearly would qualify as apostasy.

Having created the image of an anti-Christianity, the inquisitors slowly built up a picture of what Satanists would do, centered upon the desecration and parody of Christian worship. The mass, the central act of Roman Catholic worship, would obviously be the target of Satanic abuse. Elements of the 𠇋lack” or satanic mass might include the desecration of a stolen communion wafer, nudity, sexual acts, the sacrifice of an infant, the saying of the Lord’s Prayer backward, and acknowledgment of Satan. The climax of the mass might be the invocation and appearance of Satan himself. Under torture, a variety of accused witches confessed to participation in such actions. The primary textbook offering a summary of Satanism was The Witches Hammer (Malleus Maleficarum) written by two Dominican inquisitors, Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger (1436�), and published in 1486.

It is to be noted that there is no acceptable evidence of an actual Black Mass being held until the seventeenth century. During the reign of Louis XIV (1638�), a fortune teller named Catherine Deshayes (d. 1680), popularly known as La Voisin, conspired with a libertine priest known as Abbé Guiborg to work magic on behalf of various people in the French court who wished to keep their place close to the king. In the process, Black Masses were conducted (some of which included one of the king’s mistresses as an altar). When these were discovered, the inroads of La Voisin into the court threatened to bring down the government, and the affair was largely hushed up, with trials held in secret and key people being either executed or banished.

Black Masses reappeared at the end of the nineteenth century, again in France, where J. K. Huysmans founded possibly the first of the modern Satanic groups. Huysmans authored a book, La-Bas (Down There), which included a detailed account of a Black Mass and would become a source book for future Satanic groups. However, few appeared to have picked up on the Satanic idea until the 1960s. In 1966, San Franciscan Anton LaVey (1930�) announced a new era of Satan and the formation of the Church of Satan. The church espoused LaVey’s ideal of a set of anti-Christian values such as individualism, selfishness, and the expression of human drives suppressed by the church.

In 1969, LaVey published The Satanic Bible, the primary book guiding the Church of Satan. It included guidelines for holding a Black Mass. During the first decade of the church, Black Masses were held to the entertainment of the news media, some being attended by celebrities. LaVey’s masses emphasized the sexual aspects, but given the church’s teachings about being law-abiding, they eschewed any taking of life. The church and its several offshoots continue to practice a Black Mass.

Satanism, both of the LaVey variety or its more informal variety, has been an extremely rare phenomenon. The Church of Satan never had more than 2,000 active members and was largely gutted in the mid-1970s, when a number of leaders left and its groups (called grottos) largely dissolved. With the exception of the Temple of Set, which counts its membership in the hundreds, the groups that have come out of the Church of Satan have been very small and ephemeral.

On very rare occasions, informal Satanic groups have formed and, during their short life, committed one or more homicides. However, the threat from Satanism remains largely an imagined phenomenon propagated by a small number of conservative Christian church leaders. In 2004 an Italian heavy metal rock band called the Beasts of Satan were accused of killing two of its teenage members in an act of human sacrifice. In response, a prominent Roman Catholic University, the Regina Apostolorum, introduced a course on Satanism and the occult into its curriculum.


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