Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Aucamville Project 13: Accursed Houses

Aucamville has been around a long time.  Bronze coins found here attest to a Gallo-Roman presence.  I'm not sure exactly if this is early or late Gallo-Roman, but if we just leave it in the air we can still safely say the village is between 1500 and 2000 years old!

Who know what weird things have gone down in these past two millennia?  Is it at all surprising that the village features at least one haunted house?  What surprises me is that there aren't more legends of hauntings and weird happenings.

The house isn't actually tilted, the spirits have fuggered the image!
This house was apparently used as a barracks by the German Army during the occupation.  It's a grand house and now in a total state of decay.  It's quite dangerous and threatens to collapse into its large basement any time now.  I'm surprised I hadn't heard of this until just the other day, but apparently villagers swear it's haunted.  No apparitions or cold gusts of wind, though.  Just the sound of boots, dead German soldiers, tramping through the ruins.  I've cruised by this place in the dead of night, three sheets to the wind and haven't heard any tramping boots.  Just one latched shutter somehow got open and hasn't budged since.  But rest assured!  I'm on the case, Egon.

And there is another house, which isn't said to be haunted....but to my mind it is.  Just across the road from where I live there is a handsome house which has been empty since I moved here in 2007.  It's progressively fallen into greater disrepair; in 2005 there was a fire and for a short while some people seemed to be actively dismantling it, although that seems to have ceased.  It used to be a rather elegant tavern named the "auberge de Tail"  but people now call it the "Auberge Rouge" or "Red Tavern."  "Red" as in "Blood"....

L'Auberge Rouge
The full story is a bit hazy, but for an unknown period of time a homeless guy by the name of Georges Haurdine lived and worked at the auberge.  Proprietor Altobella Capelleri had lured him to the auberge with promises of work, room, and board, but neglected to mention the regular beatings.  Described as "slow", Haurdine was exploited by Capelleri, and through a combination of intimidation and violence she was able to keep him like a slave.  Apparently a "family friend" was filmed raping him on several occasions and there were even rumors of sadistic parties involving public officials, but that seems par for the course in France.  Not the parties, but the rumors.  Not so surprising when you consider that this is the country which gave us Gilles de Rais and the Marquis de Sade.  Unlike Gilles de Rais, however, these tales were (probably) either deliberately fabricated to smear the political class or got mixed up in the popular imagination with the "Affaire Alègre" in which Toulousain serial killer Patrice Alègre claimed he organised S+M orgies for public officials and killed on their instructions to cover things up.  Eyes Wide Shut, wot?

Mr Haurdin's body was never found.  As the story goes he was beaten and left for dead by Capelleri herself.  She then had her husband and son bring the body to the pigs, then afterward to a well, where it lay rotting for 6 months.  Unhappy with the progress of decomposition, they retrieved the body, burnt it in the tavern's kitchen chimney and then disposed of the ashes in various trashcans throughout Toulouse.

Maybe the house isn't haunted....but I certainly am....

An earlier article with a few remarks on the Capelleri story.


  1. Here's the story of an accursed house and a sadistic slave-owner that reminded me of the Capelleri Affair.


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