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The Man With the Deadly Eyes

Did Louis C. Bauduy possess a stare that could kill?

Newspaper drawing of Louis Bauduy



Guy de Maupassant, the French master of short fiction, once wrote a story about a man who possessed a stare that brought death and destruction to all who looked into the man's eyes. While "The Evil Eye" is a fantastic piece of fiction by an iconic 19th century storyteller, the story of Louis Bauduy is even more spectacular because Bauduy was a real person-- who really possessed eyes that could kill.

Louis Bauduy was the son of a prominent St. Louis psychiatrist and, as a young man, was regarded as handsome, well educated and otherwise normal in every way. He left his home and moved to New York for business, where he met and fell in love with a beautiful young woman named Bertha Sayer, who had also recently arrived in New York from St. Louis. They were soon married and rented an apartment at 346 West Fifty-Eighth Street. According to friends, they were a model example of a young married couple.

However, on the evening of Feb. 18, 1904, Louis returned home to his apartment and discovered that his young bride had committed suicide. A revolver was found next to her lifeless body, and a suicide note was found. Bertha's cryptic note explained that she had committed suicide because of "something she could stand no longer".

In time, Louis moved on with his life. His career was going well and once he was completely over mourning the death of his first wife, he met and fell in love with a woman named Rose. They were soon married and life appeared to have opened up a bright new chapter for Louis Bauduy.

But on December 10, 1908, neighbors became alarmed after they smelled gas coming from the apartment of the newlyweds at 146 West Eighty-Third Street. They kicked down the door and found Rose Bauduy dead, with the gas turned on full and the unconscious body of Louis in his bed. Louis would have died, if not for a timely blood transfusion from his brother. Although Rose left no note, she had told her closest friends that life was growing unbearable; that whenever her husband looked at her, she felt as though she couldn't stand it any longer.

Even Louis' friends from Missouri began noticing something strange in the young man's appearance. A childhood friend visiting Louis in New York asked, him, "Louis, what's the matter with you? You've got a queer look about your eyes that it enough to frighten anyone. It's unpleasant and uncanny." Louis had no idea what the friend was talking about, and the friend asked if he was the first person who ever spoke to him about his frightening stare.

"No," Louis answered, "to tell you the truth, you're not the first. Women have told me so-- my two wives have told me so. My stare used to haunt them, they said."

Even though, by this time, Louis was aware that his stare made others uncomfortable, he didn't think it was anything unusual. It would require the attempted suicide of his third wife to drive that point home, to make Louis Bauduy aware that his eyes were not just haunting, but that they were deadly.

In 1910, Louis married Leone Violet Connelly, a pretty twenty-three year old widow. She had a child, and was employed as a manicurist at a New York hotel. She lived with her mother in an uptown apartment. Leone and Louis were married on June 3. Shortly after the wedding, Leone remarked to a friend, "Louis is everything great and good in the world-- when he does not have that awful look about the eyes. He will be all right, I know, for we love each other so much!"

Leone had been warned by Louis prior to the wedding that there was something... unusual... about his gaze, although he kept his previous marriages secret. But the woman who marries a man with hopes of reforming him has a tough road ahead; after a short honeymoon they took up residence on Manhattan Avenue, and it wasn't long before their marriage became strained. Leone was angry about Louis' insistence that he spend his nights someplace else, though Louis tried to explain to his new wife that he simply was afraid of what might happen. On the night of August 12 there was a bitter quarrel and the young bride told Louis to get out and never return. After he had gone, she left the apartment, wandered over to 110th Street and attempted to throw herself in front of a train.

Leone was rescued and taken to the police station, where she once again attempted suicide. This was the story she told to the police:

"When I married my husband I didn't know that he had ever been married before. I loved him and thought that his rather eccentric ways were due to drinking, of which I was sure that I could cure him. But recently I found that this was a thankless task and I began to grow tired of life. I do not know-- or rather I did not not know-- what the impulse was that was urging me on to self-destruction. But the other day when I learned that he had two wives before me, and that both had committed suicide, I seemed to understand the reason for this impulse.

"It was absolutely irresistible. I could not fight against it. I tried to, but something seemed to urge me on, and when he came home last night after several days' absence, and I had seen him for a few hours, the impulse was stronger than ever. Then I sent him away and followed out of the house myself, determined to finish it all."

The policeman asked Leone if she would try to kill herself again if they let her go. "No," replied Mrs. Bauduy, "I don't think so, now that I shall not see Louis again."

One week after his third wife had attempted suicide, Louis C. Bauduy checked into a hotel at Mamaroneck, New York, under an assumed name. He proceeded to his room and shot himself through the head.
For a time the dead man's identity was a mystery, but identification was eventually made by a sister. When word of of Louis Bauduy's suicide reached Leone she tried to kill herself once more by leaping from a window. She was barely restrained from doing so.

And so ends the strange story of the deadly eyes of Louis C. Bauduy. Of course, some skeptics might claim that since everyone has a "type", it's plausible that Louis found himself attracted to women with suicidal tendencies. However, none of the women involved had ever attempted suicide before meeting and falling in love with Louis, yet all had remarked to friends and acquaintances that there was something disconcerting about those eyes. Even Louis' childhood friends noticed that there was something strange in that stare, something they did not notice when Louis was a boy growing up in St. Louis.


 
Sources: 

New York World, Oct. 4, 1910
Danville (KY) Advocate-Messenger, Oct. 4, 1910

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