Saturday, December 16, 2023

The Soap Lady

 Author: Nyree Hardwick

Imagine you are invited to a popular older woman’s house. Say you have been looking for a job or love and she says she found you someone, but you must go quite a distance away just to meet them. Here’s the kicker, she tells you to promise her not to tell a living soul about where you’re going or what she has told you. All of a sudden… you pass out and then? You’re dead. This was how it was for the victims of “The Soap Lady”

According to many sources and records, Leonarda was both a mother and a wife to 18 children. She had become very superstitious over the years, having believed her mother cursed her and her marriage out of spite since she refused to marry the man who her parents wanted her to. She also believed this due to them not giving her marriage their blessing. After this, she had gotten arrested for fraud and her home was destroyed by one of today’s deadliest earthquakes. 

Now, it wasn’t as bad at first but due to her getting pregnant 17 times, having 3 miscarriages, and losing 10 of her children from a young age. Due to this she went and spoke to a fortune teller in hopes that everything would turn up but instead was told that in her right hand they saw prison and in her left they saw an insane asylum. That didn’t drive her off the edge though, what drove her off the edge was when her eldest and favorite son came to her and told her that he was going to join the war. All her effort to protect her children was going to fail if he went to war so she did one thing in hopes to protect him. Blood sacrifices. 

This was how “The Soap Lady” came to be, she went and collected three women. Managed to trick them and turned two of them into tea cakes while she turned the last one into tea cakes and soap before going on about how sweet they each were. She even went as far as to demonstrate how she did it seeing as the police had begun to assume her son, who she had been trying to protect, was the one who murdered those woman. Just like the fortune teller told her, she was arrested and sent to prison as well a insane asylum for her crimes and died there as well.

Works cited:

Serena, Katie “Serial Killer Leaonarda Cianciulli: Turning People Into Soap” Topic. August 2022. Accessed 29 Oct. 2023.

M, Pilar. “Serial Killer Leonarda Cianciulli: Turning People into Soap” The Crime Wire. August 12, 2022. Accessed 29 Oct. 2023.

The Infographics Show. “Leonarda Cianciulli AKA The Human Flesh Soap Maker” Youtube. May 4, 2018. Accessed 29 Oct. 2023.

Eniqma. “Leonarda Cianciulli | True Crime Story of the Soapmaker of Correggio” Youtube. July 30, 2022. Accessed 29 Oct. 2023.

Rowlatt, Justin. “Sodium: Getting Rid of Dirt – and Murder Victims.” BBC. May 3, 2014.  Accessed 29 Oct. 2023.

Links for Further Research:

1.      The Crime Wire,, A clear view of ‘The Soap Lady’ and how she killed and used her victims as well as her reason for doing such things.

1.      Museo Criminologico, The Correggio soap-maker - Mucri - Criminology Museum (, It gives you the quotes of what Leonarda said about each of her victims when she was on trial.

1.      All That’s Interesting,  Meet Leonarda Cianciulli, Italy's Infamous Female Serial Killer (, It gives more of an insight on her backstory.

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