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Leornarda Cianciulli (1894 – 1970) was also known as the Soap-Maker of Correggio.

Her story is not for the faint of heart. You’ve been warned.

Leonarda had a very troubled life BEFORE she carried out some of the grossest crimes I’ve ever heard of. She attempted suicide twice as a young girl, and spent time in prison for fraud. After moving to Lacedonia, Italy with her husband in 1930, her home was destroyed by an earthquake. Oddly enough- after all that, she opened up a shop in Correggio and earned the reputation of a nice, gentle mother and neighbor.

While married, she had 17 pregnancies. Three were miscarriages, and ten died as babies. Apparently, a fortune teller had told her that she would have many children- but all of them would die. A palm reader told her that she saw a prison and an asylum in her future.

So… here’s where it gets INSANE. Like, so-gross-don’t-read-this-while-eating insane.

Her oldest son, Giuseppe, joined the Italian Army just before WWII. Leonarda believed that in order to guarantee his safety, she’d have to offer up human sacrifices. Her first victim, Faustina Setti was drugged, then butchered with an axe. But Leonarda saved her blood. In her own words (yes, Leonarda penned a memoir):

“I threw the pieces into a pot, added seven kilos of caustic soda, which I had bought to make soap, and stirred the whole 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.”

The next victim was Francesca Soavi. She was also drugged then butchered as was Virginia Cacioppo. Leonarda also wrote:

“She ended up in the pot, like the other two…her flesh was fat and white, when it had melted I added a bottle of cologne, and after a long time on the boil I was able to make some most acceptable creamy soap. I gave bars to neighbours and acquaintances. The cakes, too, were better: that woman was really sweet”

My stomach is turning.

She was tried and convicted for all three murders- but only sentenced to 30 years in prison and 3 years in an asylum (palm reader had that nailed).

If you care to see the pot in which her victims were boiled- you can visit the Criminological Museum in Rome. http://www.museocriminologico.it

If you can read Italian- her memoir can be purchased on Amazon here: