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28 Aug

The serial killer Woman who turned human into soap and tea cakes.


Leonarda Cianciulli was more than she appeared. She wasn't your typical middle-aged woman; however, despite appearing on the surface to be a kind and compassionate individual, she was a vicious killer 

Leonarda Cianciulli, aka "the Soap Lady Killer," in her early years

 And like the majority of serial killers, she had difficulties from a young age. When she was a little girl, she attempted suicide not just once but twice.

She then grew into an adult who was viewed at the time as being highly rebellious. She chose Raffaele Pansardi, a clerk at the registration office, and became his wife instead of consenting to the arranged marriage her parents had planned. Her parents refused to grant their blessing for their 1917 wedding. On the other hand, Leonarda would think that her mother had cursed them out of spite and brought centuries of bad luck to their family.

A Mother's Curse

Leonarda and Raffaele did experience a few bad things. After Leonarda was put in jail in 1927 on fraud-related charges, their house was destroyed by an earthquake three years later. Ten of her pregnancies resulted in kids that died early, while three of her pregnancies resulted in miscarriages. There were seventeen pregnancies, but only four children made it.

She would stop at nothing to keep these four safe. It didn't help that a fortune teller had foretold the deaths of not just some but all of her kids because she was already an extremely superstitious person. While most people would find this upsetting, she developed what you might call a slight paranoia as a result. 



A Horrible Idea

Leonarda's oldest son, Giuseppe, informed her that he intended to enlist in the military when World War II began. Many people think she lost her already fragile mind because of this, among other reasons. Giuseppe, Leonarda's favourite surviving kid, would be in immediate danger, which was extremely painful. She felt especially powerless to safeguard him, much less her other kids, until she had a genuinely horrible thought.

Leonarda eventually concluded that making regular human sacrifices was the best way to ensure their safety as a group. Only then did she begin to have hope that Giuseppe would return home alive and that her children would be safe.


The Murder of Faustina Setti

In order to do this, Leonarda made use of her charm and power. She was well-liked and respected by the inhabitants of Correggio, where she worked in a modest shop. Many sought her counsel and came to her with their problems since she was a poetess and fate teller.

It was almost too easy for her. Who would have the misfortune of passing away first, before the others, in the nearly complete village?

The Perfect Victim

When it came to her chosen victims, Leonarda had a strategy. She reasoned that since they were all older, independent women, they were less likely to go missing. All of the women wished for a life outside of Correggio that was more interesting and satisfying. This made them ideal in Leonarda's eyes. She chose Faustina Setti, a single woman, as her first unwitting victim.

Leonarda thought Faustina might escape without anybody noticing because she had no close relatives. In other words, she would probably not face many consequences for her crime. Leonarda deceived Faustina by claiming to have located the ideal prospective spouse for the woman. However, this individual was in the sizable city of Pola, not their village. She also persuaded Faustina to keep it a secret. Faustina wrote letters explaining her decision to leave instead, which she would mail once she reached Pola.

Murder Technique

Faustina paid Leonarda a considerable quantity of money for her services before she went on her journey. This was made up of her life savings of 3,000 lire, which at the time was equal to $530 and is now almost $9,500. To celebrate, Leonarda handed Faustina a glass of wine. She took it without realizing it was poisoned, and soon after, she passed out.

Then Leonarda assaulted her with an axe before dragging her corpse to the closet. There, Faustina was chopped into precisely nine pieces by Leonarda. She gathered all the blood into a big basin and set it aside to cool.

Lemon Tea Cakes by Leonarda Cianciulli

Lye, a harsh chemical, was added to the pieces of flesh, dissolving them into mush. This was then dumped into a septic tank or, most likely, into the garbage. Leonarda dried Faustina's blood in the oven, then ground it into a scarlet powder when it gradually became cold and thick. Later, the powder was combined with additional components, including flour, eggs, and sugar, and kneaded. Tea cakes were made from dough. These crunchy-textured doughnuts were offered to unsuspecting guests in the same way as Leonarda's family members were.


In other words, Leonarda, her son, and her neighbours ate Faustina over a few days. Faustina had no idea that she would meet this destiny.

The Deaths of Francesca Soavi and Virginia Cacioppo

Unfortunately, one innocent victim was insufficient. Leonarda believed that additional security was necessary for her children's protection. Or maybe at this moment, she started to enjoy killing people, both literally and metaphorically.


Francesca: The Job-Hunter

She then turned her attention to Francesca Soavi, who was looking for a job. At a school in the city of Piacenza, Leonarda informed her that she had exactly the job for her.

Like Faustina, Francesca was instructed to keep her excellent fortune to herself. Instead, she announced her move through letters that she penned and sent from Correggio. She then went to meet Leonarda to present the 3,000 lire due. She was also given a drugged beverage before being cut up and half-consumed.


Virginia: The Opera Singer

The third victim of "The Opera Singer," Leonarda, was a little different, Virginia. Being a renowned opera singer, Virginia Cacioppo had a lovely and stylish voice. She was such an accomplished soprano that it's said she sang on stage in the Piaza della Scala, one of the most renowned theatres in the world.

She was unique in other ways as well, though. Virginia tasted very sweet, Leonarda would later comment. Additionally, her flesh produced excellent soap.

When Leonarda claimed to have found a secretarial job in Florence, Virginia was duped. She promised to go and to keep her plans a secret from everyone. She went to see Leonarda to give her the 50,000 lire she had worked so hard for, but Leonarda poisoned and killed her. She did, however, exploit the body in more ways than one. 

The nine pieces were cooked in a saucepan with lye, but the outcome was excessively white and greasy. Leonarda was motivated by this to boil it while adding some fragrance rather than tossing it. She converted this into soap and distributed it to everyone who would take it. As was her MO, the blood was used to make tea cakes, and Leonarda was particularly happy with how delicious the final result was.


Leonarda's investigation and trial

However, the extra-luxurious soap and extra-delicious pastries had such a price. Before her weird and unexpected departure, Leonarda's residence was where Virginia's sister-in-law last saw her. She gave this information to the police when she went. As a result, an investigation was launched, and Leonarda wasn't very good at concealing the evidence, so she was quickly taken into custody. Prior to her admission, her adored son was also the subject of an investigation. She then explained each one of her crimes matter-of-factly in excruciatingly horrific detail. 

Love and Magic in Mama's Kitchen, a dark comedy, immortalizes her atrocities. A criminal museum displayed the tools she left behind. The idea of a woman and mother killing people, bathing in their blood, and cooking their organs will always be intriguing and horrifying.