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Philip LeMarchand (1717 - ?)

(Biography excerpted from "Tucker's Encyclopedia of Mass Murderers")

Philip LeMarchand, at the height of his career, Painted this self portrait allegedly using not oil, but human fat as it's base. 

The original disappeared in World War II.
Click here for larger picture.

Amidst this notoriety, LeMarchand fled Europe without selling his home. Apparently certain that the authorities were closing in on him, LeMarchand discarded his already floundering career.  The exact charges which would have been brought against him are unknown, for most legal records regarding LeMarchand were either expunged after his disappearance, or destroyed in the early part of World War Two.  LeMarchand, like Moses the lawgiver found his name struck from most records.

Almost all of the information we have is based on rumor and speculation.  Nearly all his architectural creations were destroyed during World War II, and very few records remain documenting the events in his life.

We do know that he was educated at the Academie Royale de Pienture et Sculpture in Paris in the early seventeen hundreds, that he was a Freemason, that he moved to New York to pursue "more loftier pursuits than the mundane and oppressive tedium of a drafting table," that he later entered a competition to design the President's House, and that he had a devoted interest in the occult.

It is this association between Philip LeMarchand and the occult, that has resulted in his infamy. It was LeMarchand's interest in the supernatural which directly influenced the creation of his multitude of highly sought after puzzle boxes, which are rumored to either reveal great secrets and pleasures when solved, or death and the atrocities of Hell, depending on who you listen to.

Leviathan's White House

Leviathan's White House

Late Architecture

LeMarchand's New York Country Estate

LeMarchand scholars have proposed that this half-plate daguerreotype of a country estate in Manhattan was taken by Philip LeMarchand himself in the late 1790's using techniques unwillingly taught to him by Francois Tiphaigne de la Roche.  If this theory is correct, it would make this the oldest photograph ever taken.

LeMarchand instructed Dr. Tiphaigne to keep the method a secret, but Tiphaigne later wrote a fictional book on the subject called "Giphantie."  In the story, "the people of an imaginary wonderland" could fix perfectly reflected images onto a canvas coated with a "sticky substance."  The canvas would not only represent the mirror image, but after it dried, the image would remain.

Eighteenth Century New York City Map
"L" marks the spot of the LeMarchand Estate

In 1797, human remains were found on Philip LeMarchand's property.  Authorities raided the ice house on LeMarchand's small estate located near the stream known as Minetta Brook. 

Neighboring farms reported unnatural fluids and odors contaminating the brook from a stream which ran out of the ice house.  Local Native Americans called the brook "Mannette," which was translated as "Devil's Water."  The Dutch called the water Mintje Kill, meaning small stream.  Debate continues on whether the creek still exists as an underground stream.

The raid uncovered between 12 and 20+ bodies and stores of human fat.  LeMarchand's three servants reported their Master away, attending to business abroad.

The servants were hanged by the authorities beyond the shallow ravine between LeMarchand's farm and Minetta Brook on a great elm tree which became known as the Hangman's Elm.  At 340 years old, it is the oldest tree in New York City.

The Common Council of New York burned down LeMarchand's home to the ground as an "abode of evil."  The land was used for a new potter's field, or public burial ground used mainly for burying unknown or indigent people when they died.  The cemetery was closed in 1825.

To this day, the remains of more than 20,000 bodies rest under Washington Square Park.  Legend also has it that the Potter's Field was the site of public gallows during the same time period.  In 1826, the burial ground was turned into a military parade ground.

The Cult Of Joseph "Chain Of Souls"

As to whether or not LeMarchand made his peace with God, that is the biggest enigma remaining. Who knows what the consequences of solving it will bring? We know that in order for LeMarchand to create his boxes, he needed human fat, lots of it, so therefore he had to murder a great deal. This he must have done quietly, taking only people whose absence would go unnoticed, for we have no records of any European manhunt during the time he returned to France.