Little Demon in the City of Light

The Eiffel Tower lit up at night
Steven Levingston
4
Saturday, Aug 4, 2018

In Paris in the late 1800s, with hypnotism as a popular form of entertainment, a strange murder case captivated the world. Gabrielle Bompard claims to have been hypnotized on numerous occasions since childhood, and everyone from her lovers to her family doctor concur that she is very susceptible to suggestion. When she is captured after having worked with Michel Eyraud, kills a man, and then lives on the run, her defense is that she can not be held responsible for her part in the crime, because, not only was the murder Eyraud's idea, but he had a hypnotic power over her, and she was not a willing participant. This results in a sensational trial, with experts attempting to convince a jury that either hypnotism played a role, or that a person, even under the influence of hypnotism, would not actually commit such a heinous crime unwillingly.

The science behind hypnotism as it relates to neuroscience and the treatment of some ailments, such as women deemed "hysterics," is outlined in the explanation of how it fits into this case. Anyone interested in true crime, hypnotism, forensic science, or even just the drama involved in the crime and aftermath, may appreciate the story of the Little Demon in the City of Light.

Admittedly, I picked up this book in part because the title is similar to The Devil in the White City. The story behind the crime is pretty fascinating and it is, in fact, of a similar fashion.

Jackie S.

Written by Jackie S.