King Louix XIV and the Poison Scandal

23 rue Beauregard Paris 75002

Witches? Curses? Poisons, Black Masses, and Baby Sacrifice during the 17th century reign of King Louis XIV? At this time, witchcraft was considered like sooo old school 15th century and dabbling a bit in the dark arts was generally considered harmless or just nonsense for bored women. Seeking the help of a bit of black magic to concoct love potions or have a fortunes told was something you kept discreet, but no one was going to go after you with a pitchfork for it.

King Louis XIV and his former mistress, Madame du Montespan depicted in the Canal+ series Versailles, 2015

However things got out of control in the 1670’s when numerous nobles of the King’s court were implicated with some pretty gruesome acts of sorcery. It all started in 1670 when the Marquise of Brinvilliers was found guilty of poisoning her father and brothers so she could inherit the family fortune and live happily ever after with her lover. Confessing under the torture we fondly recognize today as waterboarding; she was burned at the stake and then beheaded.

Madame de Brinvilliers being forced to ingest water prior to being beheaded in 1676. She was convicted of poisoning several members of her family in order to get their inheritances. Image by © Stefano Bianchetti/Corbis

Around the same time, the Duchess of Orléan (sister in law to King Louis) Henriette also died suddenly under suspicious circumstances. Whispers began to turn into rumor and the police rounded up many alchemists and fortune tellers who were known to practice the dark arts. Looking for people to blame, the accused were tortured and sang like birds when names were demanded. Unfortunately for the King, this backfired because the names included many prominent members of his court, including his long-time official mistress Athénaïs, the Marquise de Montespan.

Portrait assummed to be of the Marquise de Montespan

According to testimony, she sought out the magic services of the notorious Midwife turned Occultist Catherine “Lavoisin” Deshayes. On several occasions, Montespan was said to have performed Black Masses with Lavoisin at her evil Baby Killing Poison Factory home and other secret locations.

Catherine “Lavoisin” Deshayes

Hoping to revive the King’s fading interest in her, it was claimed that during these ceremonies she would act as an alter; lying naked on a table with a bowl on her stomach, where blood from a murdered baby would be collected. This would then be secretly given to the King to consume, acting as an aphrodisiac. Allegedly.

A Black Mass

Many of the accused claimed to have spoken out falsely during torture, or gave names to avoid a worse fate. In addition, all court documents were eventually destroyed. When everything started to go B-A-N-A-N-S, the King created a special court to expedite the trial and sweep the whole scandal under a rug. Of the 400 people accused, 23 would be banished and 36 executed for witchcraft and murder. On the 22nd of February 1680 at the Place de Grève (Hotel de Ville today) Catherine Lavoisin was burned alive to the delight of a roaring public.

Place du Grève, 1670

Found guilty for practicing black magic and murder, it was said the bodies of more than 2,000 babies were buried in her garden at her home formerly located on 23 rue Beauregard, where she performed abortions and her infamous black masses.

And since nothing cools off an already compromised relationship like rumors of murder conspiracy and Baby Blood Soup, the Affaire des Poisons would mark the beginning of the end of Madame de Montespan’s reign as the King’s Mistress.

3 thoughts on “King Louix XIV and the Poison Scandal

  1. Years ago, I read the book by Frances Mossiker. I actually read it several times. The event is also included in the Angelique series by SergeAnne Golon(husband and wife). I loved learning about it and I love learning the about the history you write….thank you!

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    1. Wait, is this the same Chris from Facebook? How did you find me here?! Lol I purposely have been waiting to share my posts from here until I have it all set up 😆 but oh well, if anyone is going to see the website before it’s perfected, I’m happy you hold the honor!

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      1. It is the Chris from Facebook…. I don’t know how I got here, but I did… I am glad I have the honor.

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