Crime and Criminals

France’s First Serial Killer Martin Dumollard

Frances’s first serial killer Martin Dumollard was discovered after he attempted to murder a young servant from Lyons named Marie Pichon. Although the murder happened in France, his story was particularly appealing to people in England and of the incident the Norfolk Chronicle reported:

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The First Morphine Murderer Edme Castaing

The opiate and pain medication morphine began to be marketed to the public in 1817, and, four years later, in 1821, a young man by the name of Edme Samuel Castaing graduated from the School of Medicine in Paris as a physician. He had been an outstanding student during his school years and won many…

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Pierre Poulailler the 18th Century Robber

Despite being a handsome child, Pierre Poulailler acquired a reputation at birth of belonging to the devil. He demonstrated this devilish reputation when, even as a toddler, he behaved incorrigible. At the age of ten, he ran away and became a cabin-boy on a merchant ship, but his sea career did not last long. He…

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The Four Soldiers of the La Rochelle Conspiracy

In 1821, under the Bourbon Restoration, a sergeant-major named Jean-Francois Louis Leclerc Bories was in the 45th regiment. He was also garrisoned at Paris. While there, he was initiated into the society of the Carbonari, a group of secret revolutionary societies originally founded in Italy that influenced secret societies in France.

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Famous 19th Century French Swindler, Anthelme Collet

One of the most audacious and successful nineteenth century swindlers, or as the French say, chevaliers d’industrie, was Anthelme Collet, a man described as a rather “ill-favoured looking fellow.” Collet was born on 10 April 1785, in Belley, a commune in the Ain department in eastern France. By the time he was 35 years old,…

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The Red Inn Affair

The Red Inn, known as l’auberge rouge, became notorious in the nineteenth century after a hostel customer named Jean-Antoine Enjolras was found dead with a smashed skull. Evidence seemed to point to the proprietors of the inn — Pierre and Marie Martin — and their employee, Jean Rochette. Because of that the three were arrested.…

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