Episode 384:

This One’s for Steven

The Death of Billie Carleton


Leonarda Cianciulli, the “Soap-Maker of Correggio”


Episode 384: This One’s for Steven

This week, Georgia covers the overdose death of Billie Carleton and Karen tells the story of Leonarda Cianciulli, the “Soap-Maker of Correggio.”

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The Death of Billie Carleton

The Death of Billie Carleton Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by Fabrizio Conti on Unsplash

Other Images:

1. Billie Carlton in her dress for the Great Victory Ball


"Seventeen days after World War One had ended, a young pretty actress called Billie Carleton had a starring role at the huge Victory Ball held at the Albert Hall on 28th November 1918. One newspaper described her appearance:

It seemed that every man there wished to dance with her. Her costume was extraordinary and daring to the utmost, but so attractive and refined was her face that it never occurred to any one to be shocked. The costume consisted almost entirely of transparent black georgette.

Just a few months previously Tatler magazine had described one of her appearances on a London stage, saying that she had:

Cleverness, temperament and charm. Not enough of the first, and perhaps too much of the latter.

Carleton was well on the way to becoming a big star by now but her career was continually being held back by what was becoming a rather obvious and large drug habit. And, unfortunately, the girl with too much charm and the daring costume was found dead in her Savoy Hotel suite by her maid the morning after the Victory ball. She was just 22 years old.

A gold box containing cocaine was found at her bedside and at the inquest it was suggested that she had died of ‘cocaine poisoning’. Although it was more likely that a combination of cocaine and some kind of depressant helped end her short life..."

Source: “Chinatown, the Death of Billie Carleton and the ‘Brilliant’ Chang” by Rob Baker (Another Nickel in the Machine)

Leonarda Cianciulli, the “Soap-Maker of Correggio”

Leonarda Cianciulli, the “Soap-Maker of Correggio” Notes:

Other Images: 

1. Leonarda Cianciulli mugshot


"Before she was known as “The Soap-Maker of Correggio” who killed three women and turned their remains into soap and teacakes, Leonarda Cianciulli was a devoted Italian mother who wanted to keep her son safe during World War II.

Her story begins at the turn of the 20th century. While she was married, she got pregnant 17 times. Of those 17 times, three of the pregnancies were lost due to miscarriages, and 10 of the children died in their youth.

So when it came to her four surviving children, they couldn’t have asked for a more protective mother.

In 1939, Cianciulli’s son Giuseppe Pansardi — her eldest son and favorite child — announced that he was going to enlist in the Italian Army. Like many Italians during that time, he wanted to do his part in the World War II effort.

This announcement, combined with her belief in superstitions, set the wheels in motion for Leonarda Cianciulli to become one of the most infamous female serial killers of the 20th century..."

Source: “How Serial Killer Leonarda Cianciulli Made Her Victims Into Soap And Teacakes” by Katie Serena (All That’s Interesting) 2021