There are many horror stories happening everywhere around the world, and nowadays at least we have more technologies at our disposal in order to prevent some of them. If we just think about the Watts family that was hugely publicized in 2018, people were able to see everything as almost as it was happening. With the body cam of the cop that arrived just moments after the murders had happened, with the neighbor’s house cameras, everybody watching the story unfold knew that Chris Watts, the murderous father, was the prime suspect.
However, what happens if we go back in time, in the year 1775 to be precise? No cameras, no internet, no smartphones, no TV news, it’s hard to imagine how we can still talk about a woman who mutilated dozens of her slaves in her household more than 2 centuries ago. Her name was Marie Delphine LaLaurie, and her story is more than terrifying.
Who was Madame Lalaurie?
Born in New Orleans as Marie Delphine Macarty on March 19th, 1787, she had 3 different husbands. Two of them died of unknown causes, and since they were quite wealthy, Madame LaLaurie gained an impressive fortune. Her third husband was Leonard LaLaurie, just so you know where the name comes from.
With all her money and her slaves, Madame Marie LaLaurie had bought the now-famous house lot on 1140 Royal Street in 1831, which many people believe to be haunted nowadays. In most social circles at the time, Madame LaLaurie had a nice reputation. People were talking highly of her as a sweet and lovable person, and as long as you had equal or similar status in society, she would be kind to you (of course!).
All that being said, it was a different story when it came to ‘taking care’ of her slaves with a minimum of humanity. It was reported by a few neighbors that they saw her running on the rooftop at some point after a 12-year-old girl slave and that the poor child fell to her death. The LaLaurie family was trying to cover up the story but authorities found the child’s dead body in a well a few days later.
How many slaves did Madame LaLaurie own in total?
At the time of the incident on the rooftop, madame LaLaurie had 9 slaves. However, the LaLauries were forced to pay a fine of $300 on top of selling all their slaves. That didn’t change anything because Marie Delphine LaLaurie asked wealthy members of the family to buy all the slaves back and return them to her.
What happened to Madame LaLaurie slaves?
In 1834, a fire was initiated voluntarily by a woman who had been chained to the stove. While she was forced to cook for the family, she tried to commit suicide and kill the others at the same time. However, firefighters arrived and were able to contain the fire. The woman in question was asked some questions, and she said that she would rather die than go back to the attic of LaLaurie’s house. From there, authorities were wondering why the slave woman was so scared of going back there.
After the LaLauries told the authorities that they didn’t have the key to the upper room, the police and firefighters decided to break down the door. What they found that day was horrifying, to say the least! At least 7 slaves were found, mutilated, bruised, and chained by iron collars to the walls and ceiling.
After inspecting the giant household, more dead bodies were found, making both Madame Delphine and her husband serial murderers.
What happened after dead bodies were found in LaLaurie’s house?
The word had spread like a raging fire across town, and a very angry mob suddenly attacked the LaLauries house. However, the latter was already empty, as Madame LaLaurie had escaped with her daughter and traveled to Paris. Thereafter, Delphine died in Paris in 1849 at the age of 62, and we don’t really know what happened to her husband who literally disappeared. Moreover, what happened to her daughter is not very well documented either, unfortunately.
How many children did LaLaurie have?
After her 3 marriages, Madame LaLaurie had 5 children and had to raise them all by herself. In 1832, she had filed a petition for separation as she was claiming that her husband was beating her. Many people think that this is a lie and that she was just descending into madness and taking out her frustrations on her slaves.
Mister LaLaurie was a doctor who studied medicine at the Sorbonne in Paris. It is believed that Madame was using drugs on her slaves that were provided by her husband. These drugs helped her in keeping the upper hand on her slaves, as she was mistreating them day after day, and sometimes, literally killing them.
Is there a TV show or a movie telling the story of Madame LaLaurie?
Yes, you can watch actress Kathy Bates portraying the deranged and murderous Madame in her household. If you are interested, you would need to watch the 2014 3rd season of the American Horror Story series, simply named Coven. However, take note that only a brief glimpse of the horrors that happened over there is shown during this episode.
Can you visit LaLaurie’s house in New Orleans?
Although the house has been shown in many ghost hunting series and documentaries, it is not possible to visit it anymore. In 2013, the house was purchased by an oil tycoon from Texas and since then, it is forbidden to visit the famous household. Furthermore, it is claimed that every time some tourists are gathering below their balcony, the man in question and his wife living there just take their things and go inside without saying anything.
In conclusion, what happened there was pretty horrific and is obviously the source of inspiration for many legends and stories. That said, we have to not forget that many people were mutilated and murdered for real in this place and that living there must feel weird or even a bit frightening.