Every country in the world has its share of criminal cases that have not yet been closed. In particular, there is a story in France that seems to raise doubts in people’s minds to such an extent that it is not really known whether it is real or whether it is part of urban legend. We will detail the case of Rue des Marmousets, an unsolved criminal case that was solved at the same time.
It was in 1612 in Paris, when a chronicle of Jacques du Breul, a prior of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, was published, that the dossier was born. Indeed, he recounted in the latter, that acts of an unprecedented monstrosity were allegedly committed on rue des Marmousets around 1384. He says that at that time a barber and a pastry chef both allegedly carried out several murders. Indeed, while one was in charge of executing and skinning his clients (mostly students) in his hair salon, the other took care to prepare pate en croute made from human flesh.
All his horrible acts were possible because the two murderers were neighbours. There was a hatch in the barber’s living room that was directly connected to his neighbour’s cellar, the pastry chef, so that he could get the “necessary ingredients” for his recipe. Subsequently, the pastry chef allegedly admitted that human meat was softer than animal meat.
The most disturbing thing about this case is that the pies from the pastry shop were a real success. It would even seem that King Charles VI was crazy about it. The King of France and the people of Paris were far from suspecting that they consumed human meat.
For 3 years, the two accomplices continued their bloody little business until the day they were unmasked. Indeed, in 1387, a dog of one of their many victims reportedly kept barking in the direction of the pastry shop. The maréchaussée (ancestor of the gendarmerie), finding this strange and suspicious, decided to enter the place and caught the two men in action red-handed. She arrested them.
The two men were sentenced to death by the Court of Parliament to be burned alive in iron cages. It also ordered the immediate destruction of the pie maker’s shop, and it would have subsequently demanded that a sort of pyramid with a column be built instead in order to remember this bloody serial murder case in 1536.
A question then arises: why do we say it is an unsolved criminal case if both murderers have been tried and executed? And also why do we say that this is nothing more than an urban legend?
As mentioned above, the facts that have been reported, although they have been documented by many historians, are not really taken seriously by the authorities, as no documents, period testimonies or expert reports have been found to confirm the serial murders in the rue des Marmousets.
Are we to conclude that this criminal case is a mere invention? It is difficult to find an answer because over time this issue has become an urban legend. Moreover, for the anecdote, there is an equivalent of the myth of rue des Marmousets in our English neighbours. Indeed, it is the legend of Sweeney Todd, a 19th century London barber who allegedly committed several murders with the help of his mistress and prepared treats with human flesh.
Image credit on the front page: by Bernard Vassor