Marie-Madeleine-Marguerite d'Aubray

Ayanna Smith

“So many of us are doing it, but only I get caught!”

In 1630, Marie-Madeleine-Marguerite d’Aubray was born. Her father was a well-known bureaucrat who came from a respected family. Marie’s family was rich; there was no doubt that she would live in comfort for her whole life.

Marie grew up with two brothers and was the oldest among her siblings. She wasn’t exactly a very memorable child, but her behavior was considered very odd. She chose not to join other children in “silly” games; instead, she would sit away and observe.

As she got older, she began to refuse to learn her prayers or spend her mornings in church. Religion didn’t interest her.

In 1651, Marie married a nobleman called Antoine Gobelin de Brinvilliers. He was a much older man who, even on their wedding night, seemed to like the company of his mistresses more than his new wife.

Antoine was a terrible husband; he spent his days gambling and sipping champagne. He left her alone and bored, and she hated boredom. But despite all his flaws, he did give Marie something special. He introduced her to one of his friends, Godin de Sante Croix.

Marie and Godin fell in love, and contrary to what one might’ve expected, Antoine wasn’t angry that his wife began an affair with this man. No. In fact, he was absolutely pleased. He now had more time collecting mistresses and racking up debts. In fact, his gambling obsession got so bad, that he eventually fled the country because he couldn’t pay the money he owed. He left Marie alone, but not completely alone. She still had Godin.

Marie kept flaunting her affair with Godin, and eventually word got out to her brothers. They were livid. The pair arrived at Marie’s home and begged her to leave the man. Marie refused. Her brothers began threatening her, but she wasn’t scared. She laughed in their faces and shut the door.

The pair went to their father and explained the situation. Their father said he would take care of their sister.

A while later, police arrested Godin. Marie shouted and protested, but there was nothing she could do.

Godin spent three months in prison, and during that time, his roommate taught him all about different toxins and poisons.

Finally, Godin was released. The couple got back together and behaved like saints.

Marie would make daily visits to a hospital, and Godin attended church. They stopped attending parties and instead remained home. They spent their time working side by side in the new laboratory Marie paid for.

The thing was, Marie wanted to make her father and brothers pay for what they had done to her and the man she loved. She planned on taking away both their lives and their fortunes.

Marie and Godin got to work mixing various combinations of poisons and toxins, and just like usual, Marie visited the hospital daily. She always brought sweets with her, and she tested different doses of poison through these sweets. She was masterfully brewing a combination of poison, and it took her years to perfect the dosage.

At the same time, Marie began begging her father for forgiveness. The two eventually got extremely close. So close, that when her father fell ill and decided to retire, he invited her to be at his bedside. All of a sudden, her father’s condition worsened, and it continued to worsen even faster. Soon after, he died, and a similar fate befell her two brothers.

She devised the perfect plan to murder her family and got away with it.

For the next decade, Marie lived a good, quiet life and Godin continued his experiments with his poisons. Her affair with Godin diminished and the two drifted out of touch.

In 1672, Godin was found dead in his laboratory. He died looking for a poison so dangerous that just one touch of it would kill someone.

After his death, his home was examined, and a strange locked box was found.

On this box, a letter sat asking whoever may have found it to give it to Marie or burn it, but the individual who found the box opened it, and took a long look inside.

Inside that red box, police found tiny bottles filled with arsenic and letters detailing the formula for poison that Marie and Godin had spent years developing.

Word reached Marie that Godin had died and a suspicious box was found in his possession, so she fled the country. She escaped to a few cities until she found refuge in Antwerp. She lived in exile for around three years, but she was eventually caught by the French police.

When she was caught, she attempted suicide, but unable to kill herself, Marie was brought to Paris to be questioned.

Marie was tortured into confession, and between bouts of water torture, she managed to say something. Something that left law enforcement stumbling.

“So many of us are doing it, but only I get caught!”

The chilling thing is, she was right.

Chaos was about to hit the French court of Louis XIV; this happening led to over 315 arrests. Apparently, poisoning was a common approach to getting rid of enemies and rivals back then. Well, that sure is disturbing.


After spending some more time reading about the life and crimes of Marie, I’ve come across a few articles which state that Godin de Sante Croix died of natural causes. So, I’m not entirely sure of the cause of his death.