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LA QUINTRALA – THE CHILEAN SHE-DEVIL

Posted on: April 21, 2015

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Sometimes it would seem that every region on Earth has it’s own legendary she-sadist. Hungary had the Countess Erszebet Bathory (“Countess Dracula”), Russia had Darya Saltykova, New Orleans had Delphine LaLaurie, and Chile had Dona Catalina de los Rios Lisperguer, better known to us as La Quintrala. A classic example of a female psychopath if ever there was one.

Born in 1604 in Santiago, Chile, Catalina was nicknamed “La Quintrala” after a red-flowered mistletoe, because of her fiery red hair, and she would certainly lend credence to the legend that red-heads are not to be messed with. La Quintrala was an outright sadist. She murdered her own father, Don Gonzalo de los Rios, by feeding him with a poisoned chicken. She tortured a lover to death in her own cellar. And when not occupied with killing, she took great pleasure in ferociously flogging her slaves.

There are at least 15 confirmed murders to her name, although it is felt that the true number may well be much higher. For a long time La Quintrala got away with it because of her wealth and her powerful connections. She was the sister-in-law of an influential judge. Any attempts to try and reform her evil ways met with catastrophic failure. She once tried to stab a priest who wanted to redeem her soul.

As time went on La Quintrala seemed to grow increasingly paranoid. She even grew paranoid about a crucifix, claiming that Christ was staring lasciviously at her bosom! The law did finally catch up with her … sort of. She died at the age of 60, in 1665, whilst under house-arrest. On her deathbed she ordered that 20,000 Masses were to be said in her memory. Her house stood empty for many years after her death, as many believed that it was still haunted by her.

As many of us tend to have a fascination with wicked women, La Quintrala has inspired an opera by a Danish composer, Lars Graugaard, and in 1955 Argentina produced a film about her. You can watch this for free on YouTube. It’s an eerily atmospheric number, but it has no English translation or subtitles.

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