Humans have always committed crimes. What can we learn from the criminals and crimes of the past, and have humans gotten better or worse over time?
Did 'Sally Arsenic' Really Poison Her Family?
Sarah Chesham, or “Sally Arsenic” as she became known, was convicted of a single count of poisoning with intent -- the victim, her husband. But the evidence indicates, and the public certainly believed, that she was responsible for several poisoning deaths including two of her children.
La Voisin: Poisoner-for-Hire and Provider of Alleged Sorcery
Catherine Monvoisin, known as "La Voisin," was accused of witchcraft, found guilty, and executed in 1680 when she was about 40 years old. She practiced medicine, specifically midwifery, and performed abortions which were illegal in France at that time. But she was known as the local fortune teller, and was a commissioned poisoner, said to help women trapped in abusive marriages.
Madam de Brinvilliers: The 'Wickedest Woman in the World'
Marie-Madeleine-Marguerite d'Aubray, Marquise de Brinvilliers was found guilty of poisoning her father and two brothers -- and maybe her husband and daughter. Because her conviction was based on the strength of letters written by her dead lover and a confession that was obtained by torture, her guilt remains uncertain.
Catherine de Medici: We Heard She Ate Babies for Breakfast
French Queen Catherine de Medici may or may not have introduced the artichoke to France. And yes, she may be at least partly responsible for starting the French Wars of Religion. But were the accusations Catherine was a homicidal poisoner true?
Marie Besnard: Undertaker's Best Friend?
The most interesting thing about Marie Besnard might not be that she was accused of poisoning about a dozen people. It's that she got away with it -- and got wealthier with each murder.
Sally Bassett: Symbol of Resistance or Murderer?
Sally Basset was an enslaved woman who was executed in 1730 for allegedly attempting to poison her granddaughter’s enslavers. She is known throughout Bermudian folklore, where she is, to many, a hero.