011- PTB Discusses Leonarda Cianciulli, How to make soap, and Shyloh's safety
Born in Montella Italy in the 1920’s. As a young child tried to commit suicide twice. She married Raffaele Pansardi and in 1930 they moved to Correggio where she opened a small shop. She was very popular and well-respected within her neighborhood. She had 17 pregnancies, three of which resulted in miscarriages and ten died as kids. Only four survived to adulthood.
In 1939 her eldest son Giuseppe, was to be enlisted in the military to serve in WWII. Giuseppe was her favorite child and Cianciulli wanted to save him. She went to see a fortune teller to figure out how to save him who told her “In your right hand I see prison and in your left a criminal asylum.” She took this to mean that she needed human sacrifice to save her son.
Her first victim was Faustina Setti. She invited Setti over under the guise of finding her a husband. Cianciulli had Setti write letters to her family, telling them that she would be leaving to visit her potential husband. Then, she subdued Setti with drugged wine and murdered her with an axe.
She cut Setti into 9 pieces and gathered her blood. Below is Cianciulli’s statement for what she did to the body:
“I threw the pieces into a pot, added seven kilos of caustic soda, which I had bought to make soap, and stirred the mixture until the pieces dissolved in a thick, dark mush that I poured into several buckets and emptied in a nearby septic tank. As for the blood in the basin, I waited until it had coagulated, dried it in the oven, ground it and mixed it with flour, sugar, chocolate, milk, and eggs, as well as a bit of margarine, kneading all the ingredients together. I made lots of crunchy tea cakes and served them to the ladies who came to visit, though Giuseppe and I also ate them.”
Cianciulli then took Setti’s life savings, which she would have received for setting the woman up with a husband.
Victim two was Francesca Soavi. Cianciulli took the same steps as she did with Setti- she told Soavi that she had found her a teaching job, had her write letters and then murdered her and baked her into teacakes.
Her mistake was with her third victim, Virginia Cacioppo. Cacioppo was a retired soprano and Cianciulli promised her a job. Her mistake was that Cacioppo’s sister in law was curious and caught on, telling the police what she knew and eventually leading them to Cianciulli’s door. She denied it until the police began to suspect her son, Giuseppe, at which point she confessed.
After a short trial she was sentenced to 33 years and spent three in an asylum. During her final year in prison she died of a cerebral apoplexy. This was in 1970 at age 79.
A link to the John Oliver The Wax and the Furious.