Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Papin sisters

So the dissertation is finally moving along. I went back and began at the beginning, which is always a good thing. I'm analyzing the actual testimony of Christine and Lea to see where there are gaps in their statements that may have drawn in other writers. Here's a bit of what I've found about the crime scene, just for a taste of what I'm dealing with. Get a load of this stuff:

Physical evidence:

Two photos extant of the crime scene. Show weapons still on the ground. Notes and a diagram identify the various hubris surrounding the bodies: keys, handbags, hairpins, an eye, a package of soap, broken plates, buttons, skin, a bracelet, a hat, dried flowers, part of a wig, a comb, a knife, a chain, socks and gloves.

Medical report of Dr. Chartier:

Madame : At the morgue, part of an ear (determined to be that of Madame Lancelin) and two eyeballs are resting “dans le tour de cou” – they had been found under the body when it was lifted and put there by the attendants moving the body. Madame is practically scalped. Much description of damage done to the face…no longer recognizable. Arms not injured. hands are still in gloves, are cut and bones are broken. Watch stopped at 7:22. Right hand is more injured than the left.

Mademoiselle : Watch stopped at 7:47. Face equally unrecognizable. Left eye found on staircase. Skin sliced in the form of a V on upper lip and right cheek. Skull fractured and brain matter coming out. Left hand, holding brown hair. Right hand, palm sliced open. Thigh sliced after death. Several cuts through the muscle. She had her period, wearing “une garniture tachée de sang.” Left leg cut through to the bone. Pants pulled down by the killers and shirt pulled up.

Christine's (pictured at right above) testimony:

They left the house before dark – I don’t know exactly what time it was. They didn’t give us any work to do and we had already been working very hard. The iron blew out; I had just picked it up from being fixed. When they got home, around 5h 30, I told Madame I was unable to iron because the iron was broken again. When I told her that, she acted as if she were about to attack me. Seeing that she was going to jump on me I lunged at her face and pulled out her eyes with my fingers. When I say it was Madame I attacked, I was wrong – it was Mademoiselle whom I attacked and pulled out her eyes. During this time Léa jumped on Madame and also pulled out her eyes. They fell down and I went to the kitchen to get a hammer and a kitchen knife.

I closed and locked the doors downstairs because I wanted the police to find the bodies, not out patron. We washed our hands, which were very bloody, in the kitchen, and took off our bloody clothes. We put on a nightgown and locked the door and got in the same bed, where you found us.

I do not regret what happened, in other words, I can’t tell you if I do or not. I would rather have the skin of my mistresses than for them to have mine and my sister’s. I didn’t plan the crime, and I didn’t hate her, but “je n’admets pas le geste qu’elle eut ce soir…à mon égard.”

Léa (pictured at left):

My employers left the house around 3:30, they left us alone with my sister. She ironed and I cleaned. Before leaving they did not scold us, there was no discussion at all. They came home around 6h or 6h 30.

Here Lea refuses to continue; the investigators read her sister's statement to her.

Everything that my sister told you is exact, the crimes happened exactly as she told you. My role in this affair is absolutely that which she indicated. … No more than my sister, I haven’t the least regret of the criminal act we committed. Like my sister, I would rather have the skin of my employers than that they have mine.

When asked “Before you hit your employers, were you and your sister hit by them?” she replies: "They didn’t hit us, they only made a gesture as if they were about to strike us. I repeat, I would rather have had their skin than that they have mine and, I repeat again, I have no regret.”

Some kind of case. It's a creepy world out there.


Kenzie said...

I love how in the midst of all the items lying on the floor, random body parts are listed as well. As if it's all nonshalaunt (I really have no idea how to spell that, I even looked it up.) there's soap and a knife and an eye and .... lol.

That whole story sounds amazingly interesting. I love murders! (I'll probably get locked up now for saying that... )

Julie said...

Totally, Kenzer...some keys and a packet of gum and an eye...

And if they lock you up I'm a-comin' to get you out! ;-)

Anonymous said...

No problem with some people being murdered,no,killed.We have always done killed,it is in our nature.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one that thinks these two "sisters" look like 2 dudes! Especially the older one. Look at the forehead brow bones and chin/ jaw line. Way to prominent to be a female. Would also explain the power exerted behind the brutality of the murders

Sam Winter said...

Can you find a full medical report about the murdered Lancelin women? How times they got stabbed and how blows they suffered to their heads and faces? I can't find any complete book of the Papin Sisters and their crime. Also, what are the full names of the victims? Their ages? What are their maiden names?