Bluebeard: Brave Warrior, Brutal Psychopath
Joan of Arc’s close companion on the battlefield, one of the wealthiest and most respected men in France, became a notorious serial killer, nicknamed Bluebeard, who performed bizarre sexual rituals, brutal mutilations and murders on hundreds of children. How could this happen to Baron Gilles de Rais, a Marshal of France, a renowned intellectual, a paragon of the high medieval prince, almost Renaissance in his talents and accomplishments?
There is no clear explanation. There is only speculation. Yet historic evidence indicates strongly de Rais, a returning soldier, suffered from severe PTSD, which perhaps triggered his latent psychopathy. His extreme depravity, his shocking fall from grace and explosive end add fuel to the precept that the barbarity of war turned this celebrated hero into a monster.