There are literally hundreds of web pages about Gilles de Rais and more are being made every day. Many of them are lurid and inaccurate, cutting and pasting phrases from other sources which may or may not be reliable. How can you tell the good ones from the bad?
There are certain errors which are frequently made by cut-and-paste web sites. For some reason, the date of Gilles's death is commonly given as October 25th - actually the day he was sentenced. Presumably one person initially made this slip and others copied it without researching the facts.
It is claimed that he had a blue beard, which is a myth - there is no contemporary portrait of him and descriptions are vague and general. An unusually-coloured beard would certainly have been remarked upon!
Often his date of birth is given - usually as November 15th, which was when his brother was born. Weirdly, although the month can vary, the date is always given as the 15th. In fact, the date of Gilles de Rais's birth is not known.
But by far the commonest error is that he was hanged and burned, or often just burned. He was not. His body was removed from the flames and laid to rest with full honours in the church of Notre Dame des Carmes in Nantes, among the heroes of Brittany.
This post is illustrated with the final frames of an Eddie Newell cartoon, written by Steve Vance. In this case the error was not accidental, as the bibliography for the cartoon cites biographies by Jean Benedetti and Leonard Wolf. Giving Vance the benefit of the doubt, it seems probable that this change was made for dramatic effect. As a rule, however, it is an attempt to gloss over the final privileges granted to Gilles - the grand procession to the gallows with the people praying for his soul, the entombment in sanctified ground - because these sit uneasily with his reputation as evil child-killer. It was a cynical gesture on the part of his judges to allow his body to be removed from the flames because as a convicted practitioner of black magic he should have been burned to ashes in order to destroy the physical integrity of his body. He should certainly not have been allowed to rest in a tomb inside a church. But then, neither his judges nor the people who wept and prayed for his salvation ever believed him to be a heretic, a sorcerer or a murderer.