Whether we are talking about the animal, the sender of anonymous letters or their representations in the cinema, the “crows” are never adorable and reassuring little beings. They freak, freak, and freak again! And it’s not this top that will prove otherwise… The crows (defined here as author of anonymous letters) in famous court cases make these stories even more murky than they already are. I let you judge for yourself! I warn you, it’s chilling.
1. The Raven of Tulle
The affair is a hundred years old: between 1917 and 1922, 110 anonymous letters, signed with the “tiger’s eye”, shook the town of Tulle. Some residents are accused of adultery, others are slandered. Say like that, it does not seem very serious … In reality, these writings have caused many suicides. Creepy. Their author? Angele Laval.
When she was tried in 1922, the daily “Le Matin” covered the case. The journalist then describes the accused as “small, a little chubby, a little packed, similar, under her mourning clothes, to a poor funeral bird which has folded its wings. We are not yet talking about a “raven”, but the description is equivocal. When twenty years later, Henri-Georges Clouzot decides to adapt the affair to the cinema, he baptizes his film The crow, based on the article in the “Morning”. Yes Jamie, that’s where the expression comes from!
2. Little Gregory
We all know this sordid story, which is still being talked about almost 40 years after the fact. Grégory was a 4-year-old boy, found bound hand and foot, drowned in the Vologne river, a few hours after his disappearance. HORRIBLE. While we still do not know who the murderer is, we know that a crow harassed the Villemin family for a long time, before and even after the tragedy. Among these odious letters, one even claims the murder of the young man with the words “I hope you die of grief, the chief. It’s not your money that can give you back your son. This is my revenge, poor bastard. If the story has long remained at a standstill, an expert report in “stylometry” carried out in 2021 estimates that this crow could be… Jacqueline Jacob, the great-aunt of the victim. Nothing certain for the moment: this technique does not provide proof, only presumptions.
3. The Sodder Kids
This horrific case is one of the great historical mysteries that will surely never be solved. In summary, on Christmas Eve 1945, 5 children from a family of 10 disappeared in a fire. The bodies are never found and disturbing elements suggest that they could have been kidnapped. If we take the term “raven” in the sense of “anonymous informer” then there are more than one in this case! In 1967, the family received a letter. Inside, someone claims to know Louis (one of the missing children), and identifies him as Houston. When the family finds the man in question, he completely denies this identity. They also received a photo of a young man, billed as Louis, with no return address on the envelope. The only words written were “Louis Sodder.” I love Brother Frankie. Little boys. A90132 or 35”. Weird. Frankie does not exist, and the text looks like a coded language… Anyway, the parents died without ever finding their children. So, reality or malicious letters to give hope to survivors? The mystery still remains unsolved.
4. Lucas Tronche
Lucas Tronche, a 15-year-old young man, disappeared in March 2015, when he was supposed to go to the swimming pool. The remains of his body were unfortunately identified in the summer of 2021, on the slope of a cliff, just 1 km from the family home. If the circumstances of his death are still unknown, a man has already been tried in this case… Simon Robbes, a 59-year-old man from Valentin, had fun writing a dozen anonymous letters to the parents of the victim. Inside, no insults or threats: the man claims to be in a relationship with Lucas, he reassures the parents, promising them that the teenager is still alive. Immense pain, of course, when they realize the hoax, and all their hopes crumble. In 2017, the crow was sentenced to two years in prison for “premeditated violence”.
5. The Clearstream case
It’s a bit of a technical thing. In May 2004, Judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke received a first anonymous letter. It contains a list of names, registered in bank registers for holding secret accounts. Among the names mentioned: that of Nicolas Sarkozy. OUCH. Blow to the future president! In reality, these registers are fakes and the story was fabricated from scratch by a small group of politicians wanting to manipulate justice, a few years before the new presidential elections (2007.) Jean-Louis Gergorin, director of a branch of EADS (European Aeronautic Defense and Space company, now “Airbus”), confessed to being one of the crows. For his part, Imad Lahoud, scientific director at the EADS research center, denies his involvement. Dominique de Villepin has long been accused of having orchestrated this masquerade, but was finally released in 2010.
6. The Romanée-Conti affair
At the start of 2010, the managers of one of the most prestigious wine estates in the world received a series of anonymous letters a few days apart. The crow is also a blackmailer, since he threatens to poison the vines if the sum of one million euros is not paid to him. To prove his determination, the alleged author of the letters had drilled two vines and poured liquid into them. During a fictitious ransom delivery, in February of the same year, the crow, Jacques Soltys, was arrested. A sad ending for this story: the accused killed himself by hanging in his cell at least in July, before his trial took place. His son, Cédric, was sentenced to two years in prison for complicity.
7. The Anaïs Guillaume case
Anaïs Guillaume, a 21-year-old farmer, disappeared in April 2013. Six years later, her lover, Philippe Gillet, was convicted of her murder. But the trial was relaunched shortly after… At the end of October 2019, an anonymous letter arrived at the office of the investigating judges, as well as at the defendant’s lawyer. It can read ” The culprits of Anaïs’ disappearance are still at large. Anaïs was alive until April 2016“, “ She was buried with quicklime » under a pile of manure, or even « the car plates and the mobile phone are in the river at the bottom of his little meadow “. The body was found at this exact location. A twist: it was Philippe Gillet who gave this letter to his daughter and asked him to post it. Despite a hazardous justification, new elements are held against him (such as the purchase of 50kg of lime the day before the disappearance…). Finally convicted at the end of the second trial in April 2021, the man is serving a thirty-year prison sentence for murder.
8. The Zodiac Killer
California, USA, late 1960s. An unidentified serial killer commits at least five murders, two attempts and one kidnapping. In addition to committing such atrocities, the man enjoys writing to the press to praise his actions. In all, 16 letters, all signed with a symbol close to a Celtic cross were sent. Symbol also found engraved with a knife on the vehicle of one of his victims. Brrrr it’s blood-curdling! In his final anonymous letter, addressed this time to the police, he declares that he is still at large (no, without dec? ), affirms that he will never be arrested (well, for the moment, on that, he does not wasn’t wrong…) and asks for a film to be made about his life (no, but it’s going to be fine, yes?? Don’t you want us to sanctify you either?). The worst thing is that he obtained this will: these actions will have inspired cinema at least three times (Inspector Harry, The Zodiac Awakens and Seven.)
9. The Circleville Letters
We stay in the USA, heading for Circleville, Ohio. In 1976, the calm and tranquility of this small town were disturbed by the receipt of numerous sinister letters, sent to several inhabitants, by an unknown author. Only indication: the stamp on the envelopes, attesting that they are sent from Columbus (about 50km away). Among the victims: Mary Gillipsie, a school bus driver. She is accused of adultery with Gordon Massie, principal of the school which employs her. The author summons her to stay away from the man, if she does not want reprisals. He specifies that he has observed him, that he knows his comings and goings, and the faces of his children. Scary. Her letters multiplied, then were also addressed to the husband, who ended up dying in strange conditions. A man will also be imprisoned (wrongly?) In total, Mary will have received around forty letters like these between 1976 and 1983. The crow has never been formally identified. Not crazy all that!
10. The crow that revives the Dupont de Ligonnès affair
We no longer introduce you to Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès! This is THE affair that has been agitating France since 2011, when the man, accused of having killed his wife and four children, disappeared from all radars. Four years later, a journalist receives an anonymous letter, dated July 11, 2015 in Nantes. Inside: a photo of two of the four children. On the back, the inscription ” I’m still alive. From there until this time. “Disturbing detail: the picture seems to have come out of a family album and has never been published in the press before. Even today, the mystery remains intact. Contrary to what Le Parisien said in 2019 (well yeah, I almost laughed a little, anyway!) Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès was never found. The investigation is continuing.