Horrifying History: What They Don’t Teach You in School
When we think about history, especially in the United States, we often end up thinking about dates and battles. What we don’t realize about history is that it is always happening, and the atrocities of the past were oftentimes just as nasty as the atrocities of the world we are living today. In the future, words like Khmer Rouge and Boko Haram will give people chills. Until then, take a look at some of the odd corners of history that simply should not have occurred at all.
Madame Delphine LaLaurie
This woman was by all accounts a respectable woman of New Orleans. She owned slaves, but who didn’t? She was thought to be a little strict, but that wasn’t seen as necessarily a bad thing… Then one day, a young girl who was enslaved in LaLaurie’s home became so afraid of her mistress she ran off the roof and died, and in the investigation that followed, Madame LaLaurie’s attic was uncovered. Take a look at this piece of press from the time found: “seven slaves, more or less horribly mutilated … suspended by the neck, with their limbs apparently stretched and torn from one extremity to the other.”
Further accounts stated that slaves had been chained to appliances, that they had been stitched together, and in some cases, flayed alive and left to die.
LaLaurie’s reputation for cruelty whipped up a mob, and she fled to France, where she died peacefully many years later.
Bathory is known as the female Dracula, but given the horrors of her crimes, perhaps Dracula should be known as the male Bathory! This Hungarian countess was known for her immense beauty, her stunning intelligence, and also her bloodthirsty nature. She was known to hire beautiful young girls into her employ, and on a terrible whim, she would whip them bloody and then hunt them through the forest. Some of them, she bled entirely, in order to bathe in their blood, a restorative she thought would keep her young.
Finally, tired of her depredations, she was bricked into a small room at a nunnery, where she lived out the rest of her meager life.
The Dogs of England
Life during the second World War was not a picnic for anyone, but many feel that one of the cruelest blows struck against the British people was struck by their own government. When the government knew that rationing was going to put severe limits on the food that was available, they knew that pets were a luxury that the people could not afford. Despite knowing how attached people were to their pets, they sent out pamphlets that stated how to carefully and humanely euthanize domestic animals. If you couldn’t pull the trigger yourself, a handy veterinarian might offer road side assistance.
Renaissance Italy’s Living Dead
Renaisssance Italy would sure love to be remembered for amazing art, incredible leaps in science and a time of remarkable growth. However, at the same time, it must be remembered that Italy was also undergoing a remarkable eruption of syphilis. Though this disease is easily diagnosed and cured today, in the Renaissance, it caused the flesh to rot off of the face, often times starting with the tissues of the lips and the nose. People would die of the disease in a matter of months, but long before that happened, they might lose their hands, their feet, their genitals and their ears.
Gilles de Rais, AKA Bluebeard
The murderous Bluebeard of legend (the one who killed all his wives) may have found his birth from the exploits of Gilles de Rais, a man who fought valiantly alongside Joan of Arc during the 100 Years War against England. When he returned from the war, he secluded himself in his castle, and spent the remaining years of his life killing young boys in the most gruesome manner possible. His victims might number as many as 200, and when the people discovered this crime, not even his money or his nobility could save him.