Beautiful But Deadly

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Who is this stunning creature I hear you asking well I will tell you and I will also tell you why you really shouldn’t ever contemplate any type of relationship with such a woman.

Shortly before the age of twenty, her first marriage was to a wealthy Austrian banker named Karl Schick, many years her senior. She bore him a son named Lorenzo. Left at home daily while her older husband worked, she began to suspect that her husband was being unfaithful. One evening, in a jealous rage, Renczi poisoned his dinner wine with arsenic and began to tell family, friends, and neighbors that he had abandoned her and their son.After approximately a year of “mourning”, she then declared that she had heard word of her supposedly estranged husband’s death in a car accident.

Shortly after allegedly hearing the news of her first husband’s “automobile accident” Renczi remarried, this time to a man nearer her own age. However, the relationship was a tumultuous one and Renczi was again plagued by the suspicion that her new husband was involved in extramarital affairs. After only months of marriage the man vanished and Renczi then told friends and family that he had abandoned her. After a year had passed, she then claimed to have received a letter from her husband proclaiming his intentions of leaving her forever. This would be her last marriage.

After the wife of one of Renczi’s lovers followed him to Renczi’s residence one evening and the man subsequently never returned home, the police were called to investigate his disappearance. Upon searching Renczi’s wine cellar, they discovered 32 unburied, zinc-lined coffins. Each contained a male corpse in varying stages of decomposition. Renczi was arrested and taken into police custody where she confessed to having poisoned the 32 men with arsenic when she suspected they had been unfaithful to her or when she believed their interest in her was waning. She also confessed to the police that on occasion she liked to sit in her armchair amidst the coffins, surrounded by all of her former suitors.

Renczi also confessed to murdering her two husbands and her son Lorenzo. She told police that one day when her son had come to pay her a visit, he had accidentally discovered the coffins in her wine cellar and threatened to blackmail her and she subsequently poisoned him and disposed of his body. She also feared he would soon leave her to marry someone so she held him in her arms as he lay dying so she would be the last person to hug him.

She was convicted of 35 murders and sentenced to life imprisonment, where she subsequently died. Some have speculated that Renczi’s story may have inspired Joseph Kesselring’s play Arsenic and Old Lace, yet this is incorrect. It was the Amy Archer-Gilligan case which the playwright used as his model.

Although Renczi did not remarry, she spent the next several years carrying out a number of affairs, some clandestine with married men, and others openly. The men came from an array of backgrounds and social positions. All would vanish within months, weeks, and in some cases, even days after becoming romantically involved with her. When connected to men she was openly having an affair with, she would invariably concoct stories of them being “unfaithful” and having “abandoned her”.

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