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The Source:

Bertout:
"Arrest de la Cour de Parlement de Roüen contre Mathurin Picard & Thomas Boullé deuement attains & convaincus des crimes de Magie, Sortilege, Sacrileges, Impietez & cas abominables comis contre la Majesté divine, & autres mentionnez au Procez"
printed by David du Petit Val & Iean Vixet, Rouen, France, 1647

The Case:

Actually it is Montague Summers who mentions "a horrid record of diabolism, demoniac masses, lust and blasphemy". He also informs us that "on 21 August, 1647, Thomas Boullé, a notorious Satanist, was burnt alive in the market-square at Rouen, and what is very notable the body of Mathurin Picard who had died five years before, and who had been buried near the choir grille in the chapel of the Fransiscan nuns which was so fearfully haunted, was disinterred, being found (so it is said) intact. In any case it was burned to ashes in the same fire as consumed the wretched Boullé and it seems probable that the corpse was incinerated to put an end to the vampirish attacks upon the cloister."

Please note that it is not me, but the great Montague Summers who talks about "vampirish attacks". Now who are we to argue with that ?

Now it so happens that quite a bit has been written about the happenings in the Monastère de Sainct Louys de Louviers. The complete story is quite complex as there was also a number of nuns involved, some of whom had to face trial as well. Interesting as it may be, I am not going to give you that story as you can easily find it elsewhere. However, I do have a copy of the "Arrest de la Cour" mentioned above, made up on the 21st of August, 1647 in Rouen and signed by a certain Bertout, who appears to have been the "Conseiller Secretaire du Roy et de ses Finances". Let us see if it has further information about the vampirish side of the case.

According to the "Arrest" the nuns indeed were troubled by manifestations that seemed to have their source within the grave of Mathurin Picard. In 1643, despite the protests from the Picard family, the corpse was exhumed and examined several times by various official investigators. And - like Summers has it - the body was said to be intact. By the way - interesting detail - did I mention that both Boullé and Picard happened to be priests ?

As to the end of Thomas Boullé and Mathurin Picard (or rather his corpse), the Court decided that they should both be taken through all of the main streets and squares of Rouen. In front of the main Cathedral door, Boullé, on bare feet, wearing only a shirt and with a noose around his neck, would have to ask God, the King, and the Court, to forgive his sins. Then on they would go to the Old Market Place where both would be burned to ashes that were to be scattered by the wind. And that is what has happened.

The Date:

It seems pretty clear that 1647 is the year when Picard's body was disinterred for the last time and ordered to be cremated.

The Place:

The town of Rouen can be found NorthWest of Paris, on the road to Le Havre. As to Louviers, it can be found South of Rouen.

Possible Follow-Up:

Check out Summers' rendering of the fact. Find and read the "Arrest de la Cour de Parlement de Roüen" mentioned above. And - seeing as how it is a well-known case - let's see what else you can dig up about it...

© 2012 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last changed July 2012

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