This is the mask of unbridled terror — the heinous masquerade of the depraved individual known as “The Beast of Jersey,” who perpetrated a decade-long reign of loathsome terror upon unsuspecting innocents.
Clad in a woman’s black wig atop a chillingly disfigured rubber mask — an inhuman visage that would give even Leatherface nightmares — Edward Paisnel bowed to Satan. And then, under the damnable spell of a full moon, this hideous apparition of pure evil crept forth to perform unspeakable acts of abomination.
On the Island of Jersey, in the British Channel off the coast of Normandy, Paisnel preyed on small children for a period of eleven years — from 1960 to 1971 — before his capture.
During the sensational trial, prosecutors said that the seemingly-normal Paisnel would become a beast incarnate, the ultimate Boogeyman. In the eerie glow of a full moon, he sought helpless victims, all young boys and girls. Creeping into darkened homes, he would snatch the terrified children right from their beds. After tethering a noose around their necks, he subjected them to his sick desires.
During the trial, it was revealed that Paisnel had modeled himself on the infamous Gilles De Rais — a notorious 15th Century French nobleman and occultist who was the likely the inspiration for the famous legend of “Bluebeard.” After luring children to his castle, Gilles allegedly offered them to the Devil as human sacrifices.
Police said that Paisnel, a builder, had constructed a shrine to Satan in a cloistered ramshackle barn. Behind heavy red curtains was large altar festooned with occult symbols and other arcane items. It is believed he would sacrifice small animals, and in a creepy blood ceremony, prepare for a loathsome night’s work.
According to witnesses, Paisnel had led a Jekyll & Hyde existence for decades. By day, he was an exemplary builder and a pillar of local society; townspeople knew him as “Ted.” Both he and his wife Joan took in orphan children to their home in Grouville. Paisnel had even implored local police to capture the vile fiend responsible for the grisly attacks.
But at night, Jekyll became Hyde… in all his hideousness.
Finally, after a decade of inflicting untold suffering and torment, Paisnel’s vile spree ended. After stealing a car to prepare for his next hateful attack, Paisnel had come across a police roadblock investigating an unrelated murder.
Panicking, and believing that they were looking for him, he ran the roadblock and sped through a red light. After a high-speed chase down country lanes, Paisnel was pulled over.
According to police, Paisnel was wearing his best “Beast” apparel: a long overcoat with inch-long nails studding the lapels and shoulders. Around both his wrists were nail-studded bracelets. Cops found a woman’s black wig, and in the lining of his coat, the hideous rubber mask. After a brief struggle with officers, he was arrested.
“I had had nightmares about him,” Detective-Inspector George Shutler said. “It was a tremendous relief to know he had been caught.”
In December 1971, Paisnel was convicted on 13 counts of assault, rape and sodomy, and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He died in 1994 on the Isle of Wight.
According to reports, The Beast of Jersey may also have been responsible for a number of missing children cases that police still classify as “unsolved.” In 2008, Paisnel was linked to the discovery of a child’s skull, found during the excavation of a former orphanage where “Uncle Ted” was known to hand out sweets and dress as Father Christmas.