The truth often really is stranger than fiction, and the creepy parts of Wikipedia prove it. Weird history, scientific oddities, otherwise unclassifiable Things that you wouldn’t believe actually existed if you hadn’t just spent half an hour reading about them — that’s what The Ghost In My Machine‘s new feature, Creepy Wikipedia, will cover.
I’m still experimenting with the format, so how you see it presented here might change over time; generally speaking, though, Creepy Wikipedia will highlight some of the weirder Wikipedia pages out there — the kinds of unusual things you tend to stumble upon after you’ve fallen down the proverbial rabbit hole and spent too much time jumping from page to page. What I’m trying out first, format-wise, is a short summary of key points, followed by some recommended resources for further reading — Wikipedia, as interesting as it is, may not always be reliable, so it’s often helpful to refer to additional sources. Think of it as a starting point for further, extremely unsettling exploration.
YouTube isn’t the only part of the internet that can get a little weird.
Christine and Léa Papin grew up in a chaotic home near Le Mans, France. There were six years between them — Christine was born on March 8, 1905, and Léa on Sept. 15, 1911 — but they were close; an abusive father and a neglectful mother had made them each other’s lifeline. They had an older sister, too — Emilia, with whom Christine was also close — but when Emilia was finally old enough to work, she chose to become a nun, enraging their mother, who was counting on the income of her three daughters to keep her comfortable. Christine, and later Léa, were put into service as maids, with their pay going to support their mother.
In 1926, both Christine and Léa were employed by the Lancelin household — consisting of retired lawyer René Lancelin, his wife Léonie, and their grown daughter, Geneviève — in Le Mans. The Papin sisters worked there for several years, with Christine as the cook and Léa as the chambermaid — until Feb. 2, 1933.
That was the day they murdered Léonie and Geneviève Lancelin.