Creepy Wikipedia: Christine And Lea Papin, The Murderous Maids Of France

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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.

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The Most Dangerous Games: Charlotte’s Web

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Previously: The Red Book Game.

(By request.)

The game Charlotte’s Web — not to be confused with the children’s book, although that’s undoubtedly where it got its name — seems to have been born out of the Three Kings era of Reddit; indeed, at the time of this writing, it was posted three years ago at both the NoSleep subreddit (where Three Kings was originally posted) and on r/threekings, which grew out of the titular game’s popularity. The NoSleep post has a few updates, one of which was an experience story, and one of which was a warning to not, under any circumstances, play the game.

Somewhat ominously, the Redditor who made all those posts has since deleted their account.

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‘Mommy Dead And Dearest’: Further Reading On Gypsy Rose Blancharde, Dee Dee Blancharde, And Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy

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I jettisoned cable a couple of years ago, so sometimes I miss what’s going on in the world of broadcast television. As such, I didn’t realize that HBO was airing a documentary about Gypsy Rose Blancharde and the killing of her mother, Dee Dee Blancharde, until after it had already happened. I’m quite familiar with the case already, having been following it for almost two years now; however, word on the street is that Mommy Dead and Dearest, directed by Erin Lee Carr, is quite an exceptional examination of the story, so I’m looking forward to giving it a watch once I’m able to get my hands on it.

In the week since the documentary aired, it’s occurred to me that it might be useful to put together a roundup of further reading (and listening, in one case) for those interested in finding out more about the case. If that’s you, then you might find the below worth a look.

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‘The Creepypasta Collection, Volume 2’ Edited By MrCreepyPasta Takes Online Horror Offline (Review)

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Creepypasta fascinates me for a variety of reasons, one of which is this: It’s no longer confined to the internet. The short story collection The Creepypasta Collection, Volume 2, edited by YouTube favorite MrCreepyPasta, recently hit shelves, so when a copy of it landed in my inbox, I was happy to check it out. In some respects, I’m sort of surprised that collections like this one haven’t become more common — although in others ways, perhaps that’s understandable. Authorship when it comes to creepypasta can be… tricky.

We’ll get to that in a bit, though. First, some details and my thoughts on this particular collection:

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Take The Ghost In My Machine’s Reader Survey & Help Me Expand The Site

Say hello to The Ghost In My Machine Reader Survey!

In what is hopefully good news to at least some of you, The Ghost In My Machine is in the (very) early stages of an expansion. I’m hoping to broaden the scope of what I cover on the site, as well as to post more frequently (and maybe move away from the land of out-of-the-box free WordPress templates and into custom design territory) — and while I’ve got plenty of ideas for how to accomplish these goals, I also want to hear from you, Gentle Readers. Because what better way to find out what your audience is most interested in than, y’know, actually asking them?

Accordingly, I’ve put together a brief Reader Survey using Google Forms. The survey might look a little intimidating, but it’s not really – I promise! There are only seven questions, six of them are simple check-the-boxes questions, and the only question that’s open-ended is optional. If you’ve got five minutes or so, it’d be a huge help if you could fill it out.

Take The Ghost In My Machine’s Reader Survey here. And my thanks in advance!

[Photo via mandyxclear/Flickr]

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The Body Of Serial Killer H. H. Holmes Will Be Exhumed, Laying To Rest Whether The Devil In The White City Faked His Own Death

I’m a little late to the party on this one, but it’s too good to pass up, so here we are: A team of researchers is about to exhume the body of H. H. Holmes. Holmes, whose real name was Herman Webster Mudgett, was born in Gilmanton, New Hampshire on May 16, 1861; he would go on to become one of the most notorious serial killers of all time, dispatching his victims in an intricate death trap of a building in Chicago, Ill. known as the “Murder Castle” during the years surrounding the 1893 World’s Fair. Holmes was caught on Nov. 17, 1894 in Boston, Mass., tried in October of 1895 for the murder of Benjamin Pitezel, found guilty and sentenced to death — at which point he confessed to 27 murders, although only nine have been verified — and executed by hanging on May 7, 1896. However, a rumor has persisted for more than a century that Holmes didn’t actually die in 1896 — that he somehow escaped the hangman’s noose, faking his own death and running away to South America. With the exhumation, his descendants are hoping to put the rumor to rest once and for all, and honestly, I can’t blame them. I mean, how bananas must it be to know that you’re related to H. H. Holmes?

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Unresolved: Who Killed Sister Cathy? Baltimore, Archbishop Keough High School & The Murder Of Catherine Cesnik

Previously: Unfavorable Semicircle.

The story starts with a disappearance, and ends with a murder. Or does it? There was also a scandal, and abuse, and many secrets — some of which have since come to light, but some of which have remained shrouded in darkness. The murder is part of it, of course, but after all these years, the case still lacks a satisfactory conclusion. Among the many questions that have been left unanswered is this: Who killed Sister Cathy?

If you’re a regular reader of The Ghost In My Machine, I’d be willing to bet that you’ve already heard of the upcoming Netflix docuseries The Keepers. As indicated by the success of 2015’s Making A Murderer, an examination of the Steven Avery case which was 10 years in the making, as well as HBO’s The Jinx, also released in 2015 and which led to the arrest of Robert Durst, and the first season of the podcast Serial, about the murder of Hae Min Lee and released in 2014, public interest in true crime is at a high; as such, it’s to be expected that documentaries like The Keepers would continue the trend. Directed by Ryan White, this one will examine the 1969 disappearance and murder of Sister Catherine “Cathy” Cesnik, a nun who taught English and Drama at Baltimore’s Archbishop Keough High School — a disappearance and murder which have gone unsolved nearly 50 years later.

Since The Keepers is due to hit Netflix in just a few days — May 19, to be precise — now seems like a good time to revisit what we know.

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