Sex, vampirism, and premium cable: the Francois Bertrand story.Posted: June 24, 2011
You may have noticed that a fair percentage of our posts of late have been about people or things that give us emotional or intellectual boners, like Anne Boleyn or the Middle Ages. Or things that pertain to what’s going on in the “real world,” like the Founding Fathers/Father’s Day week. We think that you like those posts more. Or at least Site Stats tells us so.
Well get ready to be tickled pink, because this post is both TOPICAL and a SHAMELESS PROMOTION OF SOMETHING WE ALREADY LOVE!
Throw your O-negative in the microwave and practice your best Sookie Stackouse gap-toothed shriek, because TRUE BLOOD IS BACK on Sunday night!!!!!!1
LHB, JAF, and I love the ‘Blood. We bonded over many Thursday night True Blood viewings while we were in England, as it was being broadcast on ITV4. They were only on Season 2 (amateurs) but we’d eat our 33p Sainsbury baguettes (discounted after 10 PM) and our Starmix and sip
cheap wine tea and giggle and swoon at Eric Northman’s truly disconcerting grin. I’m a Sam Merlotte kinda lady myself (leave it to me to crush on the nice small business owner with a heart of gold in a show full of sexy and dangerous man candy), but that’s not the point.
The point is that True Blood is one sexy-ass program (with a truly inspired ad campaign, but I digress), because if Victorian literature has taught us anything, it’s that dead men, specifically vampires, want to fuck you and dammit, they’ll find a way to do it despite your best efforts. And we love True Blood. So in our minds sexy television + long, fabled historical and cultural discourse made up largely of allegories for rape or deflowering = BOOM, posted.
Now buttons, I expect you’re thinking that I’m going to write about Vlad the Impaler or Elizabeth Bathory. And to that I say FOR SHAME. Who do you think we are? If you want to know anything about those two, wait until the second week of October (Halloween topicality) and turn on the History Channel. I guarantee you there will be a program on within two hours that mentions one or both of them. And you can take that to the bank.
So instead I’m going to write about an absolutely terrifying, true, and obscure story about a mid-nineteenth century French soldier/necrophiliac.
And listen, I get it. You’re a little puzzled as to how this has anything to do with True Blood. But THINK ABOUT IT, Y’ALL. Sookie and Tara and Hoyt and any other human character that’s fang-bangin’ is essentially a necrophiliac. Also True Blood takes place in Cajun Louisiana which means that the French were there at some point. Bon Temps means “good times” in the French. So it fits. Shut up, it does.
Okay, it’s 1847 Paris. Height of the Gothic era (although no one knows that yet because that’s not how history works, but you get it). It’s a gloomy, dirty city full of prostitutes and can-can girls and poor street painters. Industrialism is booming, there’s a growing bourgeoise blah blah blah basically I imagine that it’s constantly nighttime and the whole city is a redlight district and there are a lot of poor young Frenchies getting their kicks the only way they know how: by boning. And being Frenchies, they’re exponentially better at the boning. It’s genetic or something, I don’t know. It’s the one thing they’ve got.
Anyway, one member of this rising class of disillusioned deviants is 25-year-old soldier Francois Bertrand. Kind of a sexy name right? Yeah, you’re going to feel weird about saying that pretty soon, MRG.
Because….young Fran was a necrophiliac. You probably saw that coming. Since I told you. But this guy was FUCKED UP. I don’t claim to be well versed in the history of necrophilia (and who would want to be) (I feel like I went to high school with some people who probably were) (what if they read this and try to kill me?!) (and then have sex with me?!?!) but I feel like other necrophiliacs were sort of like, “Hey, be cool dude!” That’s how terrifyingly terrible and horrifyingly horrible his behaviors were.
According to an interview he gave upon being court martial-ed, Fran started masturbating when he was three. Three. Years. Old. Then he said that one of his earliest memories was having this overwhelming desire to torture, kill, and rape a room full of naked women. When he realized this wasn’t exactly feasible, or you know, socially acceptable in any way, he started killing farm animals instead. Just to relive the tension. Sort of like how I like to take long showers when I’m stressed about a paper or something. SAME THING. NOT REALLY I’M ALREADY SCARED.
Fast forward a dozen years or so from that idyllic portrait of Franny’s childhood. One day, he and a pal are walking through Pere-Lachaise, which is the largest cemetery in Paris. Which is just where he should fucking be. And Fran notices a grave that’s only half filled (I’m an optimist). And he’s like “Uhh hey dude I gotta go uh wash my cat uh yeah uh I’ll see you later” and leaves, only to return later that day (as in during the day, when there is light and people can see you) with a motherfucking spade so he can dig up the body. Which, thank heavens!, is a lady. A dead lady. Who he went ahead and beat with said spade, and probably jerked off on. In daylight. And he didn’t get caught.
And he kept coming back. He wised up and started returning at night though. I know that it’s a lot of words, but I’m going to let Fran give his own version of events from said court martial here. He did such a great job!
“I enjoyed the dark alleys of this graveyard quite a bit, and I decided to come back for a walk during the night. I entered into the cemetery at 9 PM by climbing the wall. I strolled around for half an hour, my mind filled with black thoughts, then I started to dig a grave with my bare hands; I tore the body into pieces, then I left. It happened in June.
Then came the February 1848 cases. At this period, the regiment started to go on the road, and we only came back in Paris in June. We were camping near a village in the suburbs of Amiens…I climbed out of the camp every night, to go to the Montparnasse Cemetery, where I satisfied my lust.
The first victim of my fury was a young girl whose limbs I scattered after having mutilated her. This desecration took place on July 25, 1848 Ever since then, I only came back twice to that cemetery. The first time, at midnight, under a bright moon, I saw a guard walking down an alley, a pistol in his hand. I was
perched on a tree, near the surrounding wall, ready to climb down into the graveyard; he walked by me, but did not see me. When he was far enough from me, I left without even trying to do a thing. The second time, I dug up the remains of an old woman and a child; I treated them the same way as my other victims. I cannot remember when this happened. The other cases happened in a cemetery where only suicide victims and people who died in hospitals are buried. The first individual that I dug up in this place was a drowned corpse that I disemboweled. It was on July 30. You must notice that I seldom mutilated men. I did not take pleasure from it, whereas I had a great time mutilating the corpses of women. I do not know why.
By November 6, 1848, I dug up and mutilated four bodies, two men and two women. The women were at least 60 years old. I cannot remember the exact dates of these exhumations, but they happened every two weeks.
On November 6, at 10 p.m., someone shot at me while I was climbing the graveyard’s wall. I was not hit. This fact did not discourage me. I laid on the wet ground and slept for at least 2 hours in the winter cold. I then entered the graveyard, where I dug up the body of a drowned woman. I disemboweled her…
At first, I committed these excesses only after drinking a pint of wine, but I never did this again under the influence of alcohol. Simple annoyance was enough to drive me to such extremes.
You could believe that I was also prone to assault living persons, but on the contrary, I was extremely kind to everybody. I wouldn’t hurt a child. So I am sure that I have no enemies. All the non-commissioned officers appreciated my frankness and my cheerfulness.”
Hope you enjoyed that, lovelies. Some notes in conclusion:
– Holy crow, am I going to have a hard time falling asleep tonight.
– Ultimately he’s estimated to have in some way violated fifteen different corpses, usually followed by masturbation and in at least two cases, coitus.
– He was put in an asylum for the rest of his life. I mean, I get that he was crazy. But really, French people? You’ll guillotine Marie Antoinette and her best girlfriends for being rich, and you’ll let this guy go?
– “Simple annoyance?” Like, Jacques didn’t empty the trash, better go fuck a corpse tonight? Pierre left his dishes in the sink? It rained and my beret was ruined?
– And those last two sentences – “Sure, I have sex with dead women. It ain’t nothin’. My boys love me!”
Listen, dears, this post went long and it was sort of way more terrifying than I thought it would be and I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
But it sure as shit makes choosing between that supernatural, oft-shirtless trifecta of hotties in Bon Temps look like a goddamn picnic.