Title: The Curse: A Shocking True Story of Superstition, Human Sacrifice, and Cannibalism
Author: Ryan Green
Narrator: Steve White
In 1894, Leonarda Cianciulla was born into an abusive household. As a young girl, she attempted suicide twice to rid herself of the misery. After decades of abuse, Leonarda sought stability and married Raffaele Pansardi. Her mother did not approve and conveyed her anger in the strongest possible sense. She cursed the marriage.
Leonarda believed that her mother’s words had power and they haunted her for the rest of her life. Following the curse, Leonarda experienced fits and seizures, was imprisoned for fraud, lost her home to an earthquake, had three miscarriages and lost 10 children due to ill health in their youth. Her fears were exacerbated when she visited a Romani fortune teller who informed her, “In one hand I can see prison. In the other, a mental asylum.”
In 1939, Leonarda’s eldest son, Giuseppe, informed her that he was going to join the Army. As one of only four remaining children, she needed to protect him at all costs. She decided that the only way to do that was through the most extreme means – human sacrifice.
The Curse is a chilling account of one of the most brutal and bizarre true-crime stories in history. Ryan Green’s riveting narrative draws the listener into the real-live horror experienced by the victims and has all the elements of a classic thriller.
Caution: This book contains descriptive accounts of abuse and violence. If you are especially sensitive to this material, it might be advisable not to listen.
Leonarda Cianciulla was a different kind of killer. She lived her life terrified by superstitions. That fear eventually drove her to murder.
Like most serial killers, Leonarda had an awful childhood. To me though, she wasn’t like other serial killers. She didn’t kill for joy, but rather to placate the belief that if she killed someone, she would be able to keep her children safe. It’s too bad her story occurred before mental illness aware was a thing because I think it would’ve been interesting to study her mind and see everything she had going on.
Narration by Steve White is perfect as always.
This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.