This press cutting is extracted from the Milwaukee Sentinal, 12th April 1936. It deals with an attempt to rehabilitate Gilles de Rais in the mid 1920s, on rather strange grounds. What concerns us here is the final paragraph, which dismisses the claims of Gilles's innocence because he failed to speak the truth at the foot of the gallows.
So did Gilles have nothing more to fear from telling the truth? Not at all. He had made a deal with his judges and if he had gone back on his word and retracted his confession, the consequences for him would have been appalling. He would have been excommunicated on the spot, which to his mind would have consigned him to Hell. Instead of dying the swift death of a cooperative prisoner, his neck broken instantly, he would have been allowed to strangle slowly over the flames which would consume him. Then his ashes would have been thrown into the Loire instead of resting in the cathedral of Notre Dame des Carmes alongside other Breton heroes. From his point of view, as a mediaeval Christian, if he remained silent he would die relatively painlessly and be received into Heaven; if he spoke out he would suffer a prolonged and agonising death that would plunge him into Hell. A last-minute profession of innocence was not an option that a sane man would take.