Gilles de Rais: Innocent???

Was Gilles de Rais innocent

  • Yes

    Votes: 3 14.3%
  • No

    Votes: 8 38.1%
  • Impossible to tell

    Votes: 10 47.6%

  • Total voters
    21
Mar 2010
9,842
#1
I recently came across a theory that Gilles de Rais is innocent of the many child murder crimes of which he was accused.

The main theory seems to be that the man who ordered his prosecution the Duke of Brittany inherited all his lands upon his death. No children's bodies where found in his castle, and he only confessed to his crimes because he knew he was going to be executed and didn't want to be excommunicated.

Now this seems to be real cherry picking of facts, yes the Duke of Brittany did inherit his lands after his death, but he was also the only person who could bring such a charge against Gilles de Rais.

Secondly although no bodies were found in his castle they were able to uncover around 40 bodies.

Thirdly the many peasants who claimed to have there children disappear at Gilles de Rais castle can't all have been making it up.

What are your thoughts??

Is Gilles de Rais suffering from a case of The Richard the Third's, people trying blindly to say he was a good guy in spite of all the evidence against him or was he really innocent.
 
Oct 2011
7,650
MARE PACIFICVM
#2
I'm at work right now, and can't give an extensive answer, but what I can say is that I would be totally and completely shocked if it turned out he was innocent. There are simply too many arrows pointing in the direction of guilt.
 
Jan 2015
1,309
meo
#3
I'm at work right now, and can't give an extensive answer, but what I can say is that I would be totally and completely shocked if it turned out he was innocent. There are simply too many arrows pointing in the direction of guilt.
I bet 5 dollars that everyone who witnessed the burn of Joan all called her "filthy witch". Does that make her a real witch?

And to be fair, it's not the first time or the last time someone (from France no less) pulled that trick to take over the victim's possessions. It has been done so many times in history that I wont be surprised if he turns out to be innocent.
 
Last edited:
Apr 2009
4,428
Alabama, USA
#4
I recently came across a theory that Gilles de Rais is innocent of the many child murder crimes of which he was accused.

The main theory seems to be that the man who ordered his prosecution the Duke of Brittany inherited all his lands upon his death. No children's bodies where found in his castle, and he only confessed to his crimes because he knew he was going to be executed and didn't want to be excommunicated.

Now this seems to be real cherry picking of facts, yes the Duke of Brittany did inherit his lands after his death, but he was also the only person who could bring such a charge against Gilles de Rais.

Secondly although no bodies were found in his castle they were able to uncover around 40 bodies.

Thirdly the many peasants who claimed to have there children disappear at Gilles de Rais castle can't all have been making it up.

What are your thoughts??

Is Gilles de Rais suffering from a case of The Richard the Third's, people trying blindly to say he was a good guy in spite of all the evidence against him or was he really innocent.
I'm at work now so I can't do much but when I have time I'll be sure to look into this and post my thoughts. Question: how old were the bodies discovered? It could be they were just there by circumstance.

Very interesting case here.
 
Oct 2011
7,650
MARE PACIFICVM
#5
I think the first order of business would be to examine Gilles de Rais' confession. He never denied his crimes, and was even able to give specific numbers of how many children he'd killed when pressed.
 
Apr 2009
4,428
Alabama, USA
#6
I think the first order of business would be to examine Gilles de Rais' confession. He never denied his crimes, and was even able to give specific numbers of how many children he'd killed when pressed.
Yes, that would be the obvious; get his statement first. I would also think it'd be best to get the statements of those who questioned him and those who stood to gain with his death. I'm just thinking this through as an armchair, amateur detective. :] Y'know, innocent until proven guilty and all.
 
Oct 2011
7,650
MARE PACIFICVM
#8
Fair point. But in never denying his crimes, could it be that de Rais was just trying to avoid torture?
Well he clearly had a few screws loose, but he was devoutly religious when he wasn't committing child rape and murder. He seems to have believed that his behavior was the result of a demon which he carried. I think his confession was a last attempt to save his soul and avoid excommunication.
 
Jun 2014
1,221
VA
#9
Fair point. But in never denying his crimes, could it be that de Rais was just trying to avoid torture?
The authorities made it explicit he would be tortured into confessing if he didn't do it voluntarily, the court only cancelled the procedure because he confessed (Benediti).

Evidence of guilt is frankly underwhelming, the secular authority stood to gain all of his lands and the church stood to lose a a troublesome nobleman who wouldn't agree that on secular issues.

The claims made against him are the definition of ridiculous when it isn't dealing with child rape. It is claimed he summoned a demon for instance, it is claimed he engaged in the dark arts....(demon summoning according to the priest).

We can't know his guilt or innocence we could however say that there was a lot of testimony but said testimony could very easily be conjured up by a duke with estates to gain (you could find identical testimony from every blood libel case of Jewish raping and killing christian children to make their bread).

It would be very easy to believe guilt had the prosecution not gone for all the occult nonsense, nonsense used against Jews to by the way (eating the blood of christian children in motza has similar occultist claim from the exact same medieval christian authorities).

I voted we can't know, but we definitely know he was railroaded by a court system that considered justice and fair enforcement of law and an order other then I despotically command and despise merchants to be blashphemy and evil.

ETA you could read the confession of the witch who caused the storm that attacked the King of Scotland's ship, and all sorts of other torture related confessions. You could for example learn the Black Death was a conspiracy of Jews poisoning wells....

The man knew what he was accused of, knew the chance of survival was below zero percent and knew that a court room in his context was at best a horrible sick joke so decided to die without being tortured first. There is a wonderful reason why a modern court room will without exception toss a confession gained under torture or threat of torture.

That the evidence sucks for the prosecution doesn't prove innocence but it definitely shows doubt.
 
Last edited:
Jun 2014
1,221
VA
#10
Well he clearly had a few screws loose, but he was devoutly religious when he wasn't committing child rape and murder. He seems to have believed that his behavior was the result of a demon which he carried. I think his confession was a last attempt to save his soul and avoid excommunication.
Unlikely, if you believe the trial evidence he was actively consorting with satan for most of his adult life and actively renounced god.

If you don't believe it what exactly is the proof he was raping and murdering children?
 

Similar History Discussions