Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gaetana Stimoli, Sicilian Female Serial Killer Murders 23 Children Out of “Revenge” - 1895

NOTE: The correct spelling appears to be "Stimoli," rather than "Stomoli."


EXCERPT (Article 1 of 5): And now, when one “irresponsible delinquent” [Callisto Grandi] has finally been acknowledged to be such and detained in an asylum, we are startled by an infanticidal outbreak of appalling cold-bloodedness – twenty-three children poisoned by one of those semi-lunatics who pose as “witches.” At Aderno, in the province of Catania in Sicily, a woman thirty-three years of age, Gaetana Stimoli by name, made it a practice to allure little children to her den with sweatmeats, after which she gave them a drink of wine containing undiluted phosphoric acid. The victims barely got home when they were seized with agonising pains, in which they died. The woman, having been arrested, at first denied her guilt, but then made a full confession, from which it appeared that, having lost two children of her own, she believed their death had been caused by incantation – “erano stato strogati” (they had been bewitched) was her expression — and to avenge them she poisoned the children of others! The woman’s den was minutely searched and found to contain all the armoury or “stock-in-trade” of witchcraft, phosphorus included, while at the necropsy of her victims the evidence of poisoning by phosphoric acid was fully made out. The incident has created a profound impression throughout the kingdom, where similar cases (one victim having been boiled to death in a cauldron containing so-called “medicinal” herbs) are reported from nearly every province. The public are gradually becoming aware that Italy’s expensive and ineffectual penal system is one gigantic illustration of “beginning at the wrong end,” and that some such educational system as that which her medico-psychologists recommend can alone protect her from the homicidal explosions by which her daily life is periodically saddened.

[“Rome. An Epidemic of Infanticide.” The Lancet (London, England), Oct. 19, 1895, p. 1012]


FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 5): Catania, Sicily, Oct. 13.— A woman known as Gaetana Stomoli has been arrested for the wholesale poisoning of children with phosphorus. She administered the poison by mixing it with wine and prevailing upon the children to drink the mixture. Her victims already number 23. It is stated that they all died in fearful agony.

The woman has confessed to having committed the deed, and offered as an explanation that she wanted revenge for the death of two of her own children, who had been bewitched. A crowd of people attempted to lynch the unnatural wretch, and were prevented with great difficulty.
[“Poisoned 23 Children. - A Woman Arrested In Sicily For Wholesale Poisoning – She Confesses.” syndicated, Evening Democrat (Warren, Pa.), Oct. 13, 1895, p. 1]


FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 5): Palermo – A woman has been arrested at Aderno, 17 miles southwest of Catania, on the charge of poisoning children. After her arrest she confessed that she had poisoned 23 children, her object being to avenge the death of her 2 sons, whose taking off she declared was due to witchcraft by the relatives of the child victims. The bodies of 10 have been found in the places where she said she caused them to be buried. The woman is not believed to have been alone in the crime and 7 persons who are supposed to have been her accomplices are also under arrest.

[“Hideous Poisoner – Of 23 Children for Revenge Upon Those Thought to be Guilty of Witchcraft in Italy.” The Reading Eagle (Pa.), Oct. 12, 1895, p. 3]


FULL TEXT (Article 4 of 5) (translated from German): Recently we reported on the horrible crimes of a woman from the village of Aderno on the Aetna, Gaetana Stimoli, who had delivered twenty-three children from the world by means of poison.

Italian newspapers now bring details that make this case a sensational one as could possibly be.

The couple Stimoli lived in happy, carefree marriage, from which two children sprouted, but which were carried away by a plague on the same day.

The death of the two children made a deep impression on the mother, who from that moment on, hated all mothers who had children.

With a fiendish cold-bloodedness, she now made a plan to send all the children who came in her path to their death.

A doctor was called and he stated that in recent times many other children were suffering from the same symptoms and had died.

An investigation led to the track of the criminal, who was arrested along with her husband.

The last of her victims was her sister's only child.

As the crowd tried to enter the prison and lynch the poisoner, the woman was brought to Catania.

Here she made an attempt to cut open her veins with a broken windowpane.

Whether the woman is insane, as alleged, will be determined by the medical examination.

[“The Female Poisoner of Aderno.” Salzburger Volksblatt (Salzburg, Austria), 29. Oktober 1895, p. 3]


FULL TEXT (Article 5 of 5) (Translated from French): Witchcraft, bewitchment, old errors have disappeared. Prerhaps, we are told, in some isolated village we might still find some traces of these superstitions of another age when a beggar of bad fame is accused of casting a spell over the flocks, such a crazy poor woman has the reputation of possessing wonderful secrets for the cure of diseases which medical art is powerless to relieve. But if one thus sees some unjust persecutions, and if the bonesetter and the wise women sometimes give the doctor formidable competition, the consequences of these ridiculous prejudices are not really serious and it would be useless and untimely to react against them other than by some police measures concerning the illegal practice of medicine and the protection of individuals.

The horrible event which has just taken place in Sicily, in a locality of the province of Catania, which “Le Temps” has pointed out a few days ago, proves that this opinion is false and that it would be urgent, on the contrary, to employ all legal and moral means to destroy the superstitions that still envenom the minds of the ignorant populations of the countryside. In the locality of Aderno, the mortality of children aged four to six increased for some time in frightening proportion. For no reason, the unfortunate little Adernesiens were seized with sudden vomiting and atrocious pains; they lost their speech and died in a few moments. The carelessness of the parents, who often found it useless to call the doctor, and the insufficiency of the doctor when he was called, made one believe for a long time in natural deaths, in a mysterious and terrible malady which mercilessly slaughtered Aderno’s childhood.

This massacre of Innocents could have continued and lasted indefinitely if, one day, the dose of poison had been less strong, one of the poor victims would have miraculously escaped the fate that awaited him. The little boy had severe pains, repeated vomiting but did not die. The parents, frightened and seeing that all hope was not lost, sent for the doctor who saved the child, and found that he had been poisoned by carramuni, a poisonous plant whose scientific name escapes me. A juice is extracted which has the color and the density of the milk and has strong toxic properties.

Poisoning, once recognized and proven, investigations were made by the judicial authority. It was discovered that the symptoms of the other children who had previously died, were identical to those of the victim of today. From there to conclude to a series of crimes there was only one step. The child who had escaped death was questioned. He said that a woman named Gaetana Stimoli had attracted her to her home with sweet words and the promise of delicacies. After having stuffed her with sweets, she had made him drink a kind of sweet wine. The effects of this new acqua tofana had been almost immediate. On leaving the hateful hag, the toddler had been seized with terrible pain. The facts were clear and the crime obvious. Gaetana Stimoli and her husband were immediately arrested. All gentle enjoyed a bad reputation and passed for practicing the art of witchcraft. We found in them all the engines of their culpable profession. When she saw herself uncovered, the woman tried to kill herself by beating her belly with a broken bottle. She was conducted to the gendarmerie barracks through the shouting of the crowd who wanted to do justice to the miserable poisoner. The parents of the dead children intended to use the right of retaliation. It was with a thousand pains that they managed to snatch from their hands the prey they coveted, and to carry it secretly to the prisons of Catania.

Gaetana Stimoli, questioned by the examining magistrate, began to deny her crimes, then, seeing that her denials were useless, she ends up confessing everything with a revolting cynicism. Yes, she poisoned the children already twenty-three had died from her hand and one of the last was the son of her sister. She hated them all and continued her infamous work to the end. All the children of Aderno were to die; she had condemned them; the mothers had to see their little ones die. She had lost hers. And she had lost them because a spell had been cast. She knew that this witch had told her so. Only one thing could console her revenge not only on the guilty ones, but on all those who, happier than she, had preserved their children. And to be more sure of taking revenge quickly, leaving aside the spell, the result of which is long overdue, she had resorted to poison. Mixing phosphorus with the juice of carramuni, she had composed a deadly wood, with which she smeared sweets and mingled with the wine destined for her victims. When she met a child, she quickly urged him to come to her home and, speculating on the innocent greed of this age, tempted him by the promise of sweets she held in reserve. The poor little ones accepted and ate their death without suspecting it.

Never did remorse stop the hateful woman in her destructive and hateful work. The pain of losing her children had turned into a furious urge against other mothers. To exculpate herself and not to bear sole responsibility for her horrible crimes, Gaetana Stimoli said that, having witnessed the death of four of her children and seeing the fifth patient, she had addressed in her despair a famous magician of the country, who possessed, according to popular belief, the power to break all evil spells. A bad luck spell had obviously been cast on the children. The gossips affirmed it. It was necessary for him to make a conjure. The magic conjurer confirmed the unhappy woman in her inept superstition and managed to extort enough money from her with the promise of saving the sick child.

The poisoner of Catania will remain among the most sinister figures of the criminal women. Twenty years ago in Switzerland, a well-respected sick nurse, Mlle. Jeanneret, was also caught in homicidal mania. She poisoned sixteen of her patients with belladonna, and if a futile incident had not aroused the suspicions of one of the medical assistants, she would have continued quietly to suppress the patients entrusted to her. She treated them with solicitude, but as soon as an improvement appeared in their state, she quickly intervened with her small vial. A force pushed her to which she could not resist. But the patient Swiss woman took several years to perpetrate her crimes, while the fiery Sicilian killed in less than a month its twenty-three small victims. Then, at Mlle Jeanneret’s, it was a special cerebral organization, a personal poisoning mania. Aderno’s crimes are more frightening because they reveal a general state of mind in these ignorant populations.

But the little boy died. Gaetana, furious and desperate, summoned the mage to return the money. Naturally, he refused. If he had not managed to break the spell, it was because a mage more powerful than him had bewitched the child. To calm his legitimate grief, there remained only one means of revenge for magic; and he was ready to enfranchise him. Poison was the best and safest weapon. Gaetana’s hateful soul, exasperated by suffering, was fertile ground where criminal councils were to bear quick and terrifying fruits. The odious woman threw herself passionately into poisoning; she brought an abominable ardor and an infernal and hypocritical audacity, caressing her victims, promising them gifts, knowing not to arouse suspicion in the minds of mothers.

At Aderno the emotion is great. Several people involved in witchcraft were arrested as accomplices of the accused. To hear the details of these monstrous crimes against so many innocent beings, one would think oneself back to the Middle Ages, to its terrifying visions, to its implacable vengeance, to its mysteries, to its diabolical evocations.

These crazy beliefs in witchcraft and sorcery do not always bring such abominable results, but they produce in those who practice them a moral imbalance whose consequences can be dangerous. And these superstitions are not limited to the isolated villages of the wild Sicily. Last year, in Rome, a young woman, daughter of innkeepers at her ease, married to one of the administrators of one of the newspapers of the capital, suddenly fell into deep melancholy. She thought herself persecuted, surrounded by enemies. The doctor called understood nothing of this mysterious evil. “I am the victim of a curse,” she repeated incessantly, “I confessed to a false priest; I only have to die. She was made to change her air, hoping to cure her. On the contrary, she worsened, and one fine day fell into the water. She was retrieved, and more and more convinced that she was under the spell of some kind of curse, she went to consult a mage. The latter declared that indeed he had been cursed and promised to break the spell. “It is at this time,” said he to him, “in this church, you hear Mass; a woman from Ciocciara was sitting behind you; it was she who made the move. The young woman believed in the impostures of the magician, as in the words of the Gospel. She swallowed all the drugs he ordered, and was cured by a miracle! She is naturally more convinced than ever of these crazy imaginations, and as she has children, she will teach them the nonsense that led Gaetana Stimoli to the dungeons of Catania. TH.

[“The female poisoner of children,” Le Temps (Paris, France), 28 Octobre 1895, p. 5; author: “T.H.”]


FULL TEXT: Vor Kurzem berichteten wir über die grauenvollen Verbrechen einer Frau aus dem Orte Aderno am Aetna,Gaetana Stimoli, welche dreiundzwanzig Kinder durch Gift aus der Welt geschafft hatte.

Italienische Blätter bringen nun Einzelheiten, welche diesen Fall zu einemnoch sensationelleren machen, als er an und für sich ist.

Das Ehepaar Stimoli lebte in glücklicher, sorgenloser Ehe, welcher zwei Kinder entsprossen, die jedoch durch eine Seuche an einem und demselben Tage dahingerafft wurden.

Der Tod der beiden Kleinen machte auf die Mutter einen sotiefen Eindruck, daß sie von nun ab alle Mütter, die Kinder hatten, haßte.

Mit einer teuflischen Kalt blütigkeit faßte sie nun den Plan, alle Kinder, welche ihr in den Weg kommen, den ihrigen in den Tod nachzuschicken.

Diesem Saft mischte sie eine Quantität Phosphor bei. Jedes Kind, das sie traf, lud siezusich ein, gabihmgutzuessen und zuletzt einen Schluck Wein, der mit dem Gift versetzt war.

Sie sammelte große Mengen einer Pflanze, die im Volksmunde “carramuni” heißt, und in der Blüthe einen milchweißen, dickflüssigen, stark giftigen Stoff enthält.

She collected large quantities of a plant, which in the vernacular is called "carramuni", and whose flower contains a milk-white, viscous, highly toxic substance.

To this juice she mixed in a quantity of phosphorus. Every child she met invited her, gave her food, and finally a sip of wine mixed with the poison.

Die armen Kleinen verließen das Haus ver giftet und starben meist schon nach wenigen Stunden.

The poor little ones left the house poisoned and usually died within a few hours.

Bis zum dreiundzwanzigsten Morde war die Frau bereits gekommen, als die Sache entdeckt wurde. Eines von den Kindern starb nämlich nicht, sondern erkrankte unter Vergiftungsanzeichen.

Ein Arzt wurde gerufen und konstatirte, daß in der letzten Zeit viele andere Kinder unter denselben Erscheinungen enkrankt und gestorben waren.

Eine Untersuchung führte auf die Spur der Verbrecherin, welche mit ihrem Gatten verhaftet wurde.

Das letzte ihrer Opfer war daseinzige Kind ihrer Schwester.

Dadie Menge Ver suche machte,in das Gefängniß einzudringen und die Giftmischerin zu lynchen, wurde das Weib nach Catania gebracht.

Hier machte sie den Versuch, sich mittelst einer zerbrochenen Fensterscheibe die Puls adern aufzuschneiden.

Ob die Frau wahnsinnig ist, wie behauptet wird, wird durch die gerichtsärztliche Untersuchung festgestellt werden.

[“Die Giftmischerin von Aderno.” Salzburger Volksblatt (Salzburg, Austria), 29. Oktober 1895, p. 3]


FULL TEXT: La sorcellerie, l’envoûtement, vieilles erreurs disparues. C’est à peine, dira-t-on, si dans certaines bourgades isolées on trouve encoro quelques traces de ces superstitions d’un autre âge tel mendiant de mauvaise renommée est accusé de jeter un sort sur les troupeaux, telle pauvresse un peu folle a la réputation de posséder de merveilleux secrets pour la guérison de maladies que l’art médical est impuissant à soulager. Mais si l’on voit ainsi quelques persécutions injustes et si le rebouteux et les bonnes femmes font parfois au médecin une concurrence redoutable, les conséquences de ces préjugés ridicules sont sans gravité réelle et il serait inutile et inopportun de réagir contre eux autrement que par quelques mesures de police concernant l’exercice illégal de la médecine et la protection des individus.

Le fait horrible qui vient de se passer en Sicile, dans une localité de la province de Catane que le Temps a signalé il y a quelques jours prouve que cette opinion est fausse et qu’il serait urgent, au contraire, d’employer tous les moyens légaux et moraux pour détruire les superstitions qui enveniment encore l’esprit des populations ignorantes des campagnes. Dans la localité d’Aderno, la mortalité des enfants do quatre à six ans augmentait depuis quelque temps dans desproportions effrayantes. Sans raison aucune, les malheureux petits Adernesiens étaient saisis de vomissements soudains, do douleurs atroces; ils perdaient la parole et mouraient en peu d’instants. L’incurie des parents qui souvent trouvaient inutile d’appeler le médecin et l’insuffisance de celui-ci lorsqu’il était appelé firent en sorte que l’on crut longtemps à des morts naturelles, à une maladie mystérieuse et terrible qui s’abattait sans miséricorde sur l’enfance d’Aderno.

Ce massacre des Innocents aurait pu continuer et durer indéfiniment si, un jour, la dose de poison ayant été moins forte, une des pauvres victimes n’eût échappé par miracle au sort qui l’attendait. Le petit garçon eut des douleurs violentes, des vomissements répétés mais ne mourut pas. Les parents, effrayés et voyant que tout espoir n’était pas perdu, firent chercher le médecin qui sauva l’enfant et constata qu’il avait été empoisonné par le carramuni, plante vénéneuse dont le nom scientifique m’échappe. On en extrait un suc qui a la couleur et la densité du lait et possède de fortes propriétés toxiques.

L’empoisonnement, une fois reconnu et avéré, des investigations furent faites par l’autorité judiciaire. Elle découvrit que les symptômes des autres enfants, morts précédemment, étaient identiques à ceux de la victime d’aujourd’hui. De là à conclure à une série de crimes il n’y avait qu’un pas. L’enfant qui avait échappé à la mort fut interrogé. Il raconta qu’une femme nommée Gaetana Stimoli l’avait attiré chez elle par de douces paroles et la promesse de gourmandises. Après l’avoir bourré de bonbons, elle lui avait fait boire une sorte de vin douçàtre. Les effets de cette nouvelle acqua tofana avaient été presque immédiats. En sortant de chez l’odieuse mégère, le bambin avait été saisi de douleurs atroces. Les faits étaient clairs et le crime évident. Gaetana Stimoli et son mari furent immédiatement arrêtés. Tous doux jouissaient d’une mauvaise réputation et passaient pour exercer l’art de la sorcellerie. On trouva chez eux tous les engins de leur coupable métier. En se voyant découverte, la femme tenta de se suicider en se frappant le ventre avec une bouteille cassée. On la conduisit à la caserne de gendarmerie à travers les vociférations de la foule qui voulait faire justice séance tenante de la misérable empoisonneuse. Les parents des enfants morts entendaient user du droit de représailles. C’est avec mille peines qu’on parvint à arracher de leurs mains la proie qu’ils convoitaient, et à la transporter en secret dans les prisons de Catane.

Gaetana Stimoli, interrogée par le juge instructeur commença à nier ses crimes, puis, voyant que ses dénégations étaient inutiles, elle finit par tout avouer avec un révoltant cynisme. Oui, elle empoisonnait les enfants déjà vingt-trois étaient morts de sa main et un des derniers était le fils de sa sœur. Elle les haïssait tous et aurait continué son œuvre infâme jusqu’au bout. Tous les enfants d’Aderno devaient mourir; elle les avait condamnés, il fallait que les mères vissent mourir leurs petits. Elle avait bien perdu les siens. Et elle les avait perdus, parce qu’on leur avait jeté un sort. Elle le savait telle ou telle sorcière le lui avait affirmé. Une seule chose pouvait la consoler la vengeance non seulement sur les coupables, mais sur tous ceux qui, plus heureux qu’elle, avaient conservé leurs enfants. Et pour être plus sûre de se venger vite laissant do côté l’envoûtement dont le résultat se fait attendre, elle avait eu recours au poison. Mélangeant du phosphore au suc du carramuni, elle en avait composé une bois-meurtrière dont elle enduisait des bonbons et qu’elle mêlait au vin destiné à ses victimes. Lorsqu’elle rencontrait un enfant, vite elle l’engageait à venir chez elle et, spéculant sur la gourmandise innocente de cet âge, le tentait par la promesse de douceurs qu’elle tenait en réserve. Les pauvres petits acceptaient et mangeaient leur mort sans s’en douter.

Jamais un remords n’arrêta l’odieuse femme dans son œuvre destructive et haineuse. La douleur d’avoir perdu ses enfants s’était changée en envie furieuse contre les autres mères. Pour se disculper et ne pas porter seule la responsabilité do ses horribles crimes, Gaetana Stimoli raconta qu’ayant assisté à la mort de quatre de ses enfants et voyant le cinquième malade elle s’était adressée dans son désespoir à un célèbre mage de la contrée qui possédait, suivant la croyance populaire, le pouvoir de rompre tous les maléfices. Un mauvais sort avait évidemment été jeté sur ses enfants. Les commères l’affirmaient. Il s’agissait de le conjurer. Le mage confirma la malheureuse dans son inepte superstition et réussit à lui extorquer d’assez fortes sommes d’argent avec la promesse de sauver l’enfant malade.

Mais le petit garçon mourut. Gaetana, furieuse et désespérée, alla sommer le mage de lui restituer l’argent déboursé. Naturellement, celui-ci refusa. S’il n’avait pas réussi à rompre l’enchantement, c’est qu’un mage plus puissant que lui avait envoûté l’enfant. Pour calmer sa légitime douleur, il ne restait à la magie qu’un moyen la vengeance; et il était prêt à lui enfaciliter les moyens. Le poison étaitl’arme la meilleure et la plus sûre. L’âme haineuse de Gaetana, exaspérée par la souffrance, était un terrain fertile où les conseils criminels devaient porter des fruits rapides et terrifiants. L’odieuse femme se jeta avec passion dans l’empoisonnement; elle y apporta une abominable ardeur et une infernale et hypocrite audace, caressant ses victimes, leur promettant des cadeaux, sachant n’éveiller aucun soupçon dans l’esprit des mères.

A Aderno l’émotion est grande. Plusieurs personnes s’occupant de sorcellerie ont été arrêtées comme complices de l’accusée. A entendre les détails de ces crimes monstrueux contre tant d’êtres innocents, on se croirait revenu au moyen âge, à ses visions terrifiantes, à ses implacables vengeances, à ses mystères, à ses diaboliques évocations.

L’empoisonneuse de Catane restera parmi les plus sinistres figures des femmes criminelles. Il y a vingt ans en Suisse, une garde malade fort respectée, Mlle Jeanneret, fut prise également de la manie homicide. Elle empoisonna seize de ses malades avec de la belladone, et si un incident futile n’avait pas éveillé les soupçons d’un des médecins assistants, elle aurait continué tranquillement à supprimer les malades qui lui étaient confiés. Elle les soignait avec sollicitude, mais à peine une amélioration se manifestait-elle dans leur état, vite elle intervenait avec sa petite fiole. Une force la poussait à laquelle elle ne pouvait résister. Mais la placide Helvétienne mit plusieurs années à perpétrer ses forfaits, tandis que la fougueuse Sicilienne tua en moins d’un mois ses vingt-trois petites victimes. Puis, chez Mlle Jeanneret, il s’agissait d’une organisation cérébrale spéciale, d’une manie d’empoisonnement, toute personnelle. Les crimes d’Aderno sont plus effrayants, car ils révèlent un état d’esprit général dans ces populations ignorantes.

Ces folles croyances à l’envoûtement et à la sorcellerie n’amènent pas toujours d’aussi abominables résultats, mais elles produisent chez ceux qui les pratiquent un déséquilibre moral dont les conséquences peuvent être dangereuses. Et ces superstitions ne se limitent pas aux bourgades isolées de la sauvage Sicile. L’an dernier, à Rome, une jeune femme, fille d’aubergistes à leur aise, mariée à l’un des administrateurs d’un des journaux de la capitale, tomba tout à coup dans une mélancolie profonde. Elle se croyait persécutée, entourée d’ennemis. Le médecin appelé ne comprenait rien à ce mal mystérieux. « Je suis victime d’un maléfice, répétait-elle sans cesse, je me suis confessée à un faux prêtre; il ne me reste qu’à mourir. » On lui fit changer d’air espérant la guérir. Elle empira au contraire, et un beau jour se jeta à l’eau. On la repêcha, et toujours plus persuadée qu’elle était sous l’empire d’un envoûtement quelconque, elle alla consulter un mage. Celui-ci déclara qu’en effet on lui avait jeté un mauvais sort et promit de rompre l’enchantement. « C’est à telle époque, lui dit-il, dans telle église, vous entendiez la messe; une ciocciara était assise derrière vous c’est elle qui a fait le coup. » La jeune femme crut aux impostures du mage comme à parole d’Evangile elle avala toutes les drogues qu’il lui ordonna et se trouva guérie par miracle! Elle est naturellement plus persuadée que jamais de ces folles imaginations, et comme elle a des enfants, elle leur enseignera les billevesées qui ont conduit Gaetana Stimoli dans les cachots de Catane. TH.

[“L’empoisonneuse d’enfants,” Le Temps (Paris, France), 28 Octobre 1895, p. 5; author: “T.H.”]


EXCERPT: Come l'idea di una subita malia possa per vendetta trascinare ai più gravi reati di sangue, è pure dimostrato da quanto avvenne nell'antunno 1895 in Adernò (Catania). Dieci ragazzi, intorno ai dieci anni, morirono in breve tempo per causa ignota. Si venne a scoprire ch'erano stati tutti avvelenati da certa Gaetana Stimoli, che volle in questo modo vendicare un figlio ch'essa credette morto in causa di stregonerie. La terribile madre comparve alle Assise di Catania: i periti la ritennero inferma di mente e quindi irresponsabile; lo stesso Pubblico Ministero ammise il vizio parziale di mente; i giurati esclusero qualsiasi alterazione mentale e la condannarono a trent'anni di reclusione, con soddisfazione del pubblico, dissero i giornali di quei giorni; di quel pubblico, aggiungo io, ch'era animato dallo stesso spirito di vendetta che aveva trascinata quella disgraziata al suo pazzesco reato.

Se a tanto può condurre la vendetta per malìa subita, come debbono apparire pericolosi coloro che coi loro consulti mantengono vive queste superstizioni fra il credulo popolino!

[Salvatore Ottolenghi, La suggestione e le facoltà psichiche occulte in rapporto alla pratica Legali e Medico-Forense, Fratelli Boca, Torino, 1900, p. 377]

Four other cases involving poisonous flowers:
1897 – Azalai Maria Jager – Hodmezovassarhely, Hungary – belladonna
1900 “The Rouge Husband Poisoners” Liget, Hungary – datura, angel’s trumpet
1905 – Malvina Roester – Kristyor, Romania (“Hungary) – rose bay leaves
1909 – Frau Szari Grosskanizsalich, Vorhahre, Somogy Cty, Hungary – black henbane





For more Real Life Ogresses see: Ogresses: Female Serial Killers of the Children of Others

[9840-1/7/19; 10,657-10/6/21]

1 comment:

  1. a very informative blog. I had never heard of many of these people