Investigation agency of Serge Senik "ODIN"


Eugene-Franois Vidocq

about Vidoc


Dear guests of our site, as promised, I am posting an article on the site about Vidoc - the famous French detective and adventurer.The article was a bit delayed, because I had to process a lot of information and read several books. And you know, they were very interesting. I advise you to read them. These books are memoirs written personally by the hero of the article.At any time there lived people who were gifted more than others, with more energy and greater inclinations. Such people, depending on which path their fate pushes, become heroes or villains, but in any case they leave a mark. In any case, these adventurers and romantics are far from the vulgar routine of gray everyday life. For such people, sitting in offices from 0900 to 1800 is the worst thing you can think of in life. And we can only envy them, secretly admiring them, but not able to break our cozy comfort zone.


So was the hero of our article - Vidoc, the head of the secret police of Paris. A lot of books have been written about his adventures and several films have been shot, but even they cannot cover all the stories of this adventurer.This famous man was born in Arras. In the same place, by the way, another famous Frenchman was born - Maximilian Robespierre. But they never got to know each other. Parents remembered his birthday with a strong thunderstorm, which, following the old Gallic signs, promised the baby a stormy and eventful life.


Biography Eugene Francois Vidocq


However, it turned out that way - the brisk son of a French baker was quickly the most important city bully and bully. His parents did not know what to do with him and how to calm him down. Any punishment and punishment had absolutely zero effect on him. During his childhood, the main character traits of Eugene were manifested: ambition, fearlessness and the ability to get things done by any means.Parents tried to reeducate him through labor, forcing them to deliver fresh bread. But repeatedly, the young adventurer returned home without a single sou in his pocket, saying that the hooligans had taken the money. Father and mother did not even suspect that even older guys were afraid of this scumbag. He needed money to visit a tavern, where you can always have a drink and find an affordable woman, as well as play cards that young Vidok loved very much.Such behavior very soon brought our hero to the “Zugunder”. Having lost to pieces Eugene was put on the “counter” and had to carry money from home in order to pay off his debts. An angry father sent him to a workhouse, essentially a prison for juvenile villains, but his fatherly heart soon forgave his offspring. Father took him home. But the lesson Vidok did not realize and continued to live his old loose life.


America has always attracted him, as a land with great opportunities. One fine day, after seeing where the parents keep their savings - he stole them, intending to flee to such an alluring America - the land of the brave and courageous.But things did not work out as smoothly and evenly as he had expected. At the port of Eugene lured into a tavern, where they got drunk and robbed to the last penny. After all that he had done at home, he did not have the opportunity to return to his hometown, and he decides to get into a wandering circus. For a long time he did not stay there, having left from there with a scandal and got into another booth, namely the puppet theater. Naturally, this was not without scandals.Widoc started twirling adultery with the director's wife. After all these scandals and setbacks, Eugene is still returning to his hometown. Parents, saying another Chinese warning, have forgiven their non-good-natured offspring. But the family idyll was short. Vidok started drinking and walking again, refused to work, dragged himself behind every pretty face, which is why he constantly had problems.But suddenly something came upon him, and he, to the great joy of his parents, announced that he was leaving for the army. Parents sighed with joy, because they did not know how to work on the young rattle.It was in March 1791. Many European powers went to war on the newborn French Republic. Vidok was a pragmatist, and did not try to zealously defend his state, but sensibly considered war an opportunity to distinguish himself. This was a very bold step, since the then wars were not modern local conflicts. In those days, 15-20 thousand dead - this is the price of a battle of local importance. So our young hero had more chances to die, or even worse, become a cripple, and not distinguish himself. But still it was a bold step, and for this he must be respected.The fighting during the engagement of Eugene in the army went sluggishly, and his regiment remained on the RPM in Arras. Vidoc, meanwhile, continued his usual life - he drank heavily, and fought a duel about twenty times, killing three people.


In the fall, his regiment was sent to the front line, where it was completely defeated almost in the first battle. After that, Eugene was transferred from one regiment to another. He fought bravely if he did not sit on guardhouse for various misconduct. Three times the tribunal sentenced him to capital punishment - execution. But seeing Mars kept a brave fighter, and in all cases he happily escaped capital punishment.In 1792, for the difference in battle, he was given the rank of corporal. After 6 months, together with the traitor general, Dumourier goes to the side of Austria. Then, being offended by inattention to his person, he runs back to the French side. And in this case, he went unpunished, although the gallows relied on the defectors.Having eaten forward a lifetime of military romance, Vidok returned to his hometown. He was only eighteen years old, but he had seen as much as some would never see in their entire lives.In France, terror was rampant at that time, and many people were executed every day, often on false testimonies. Heads rolled into baskets every day. Then in France, the expression “sneeze into the basket” appeared, since cruel executions became everyday companions of the French. However, we were distracted, back to our hero.What was happening in the country of Eugene did not care, he delightedly plunged into his old way of life: with dueling, drinking and adultery. One of the girls seduced by him, Marie Chevalier, lied that she was pregnant, and brought Vidok to court. He was forced to marry. But is the family bound to such an adventurer ?! Upon learning that the newly-made wife circled him around the finger, he decides to take revenge on her and fled to the army. The next time he met Marie in 1805 on a divorce procedure.


After the escape, Eugene changed his mind about joining the army and settled in living in the French-occupied Brussels under an assumed name. There, our hero cheated, and later, fleeing from the fools who hungered for his life, he joined the “Wandering Army”. It was a gang of criminals dressed to camouflage in military uniforms.Pretending to be a war hero, he turned his head to an elderly rich woman and later disappeared, not forgetting to grab a tidy sum of 15,000 gold francs from her (something about 300,000 dollars, if you count today's figures). With this money he came to Paris and joyfully plunged into the good old reckless life. True, the money was only enough for two months. When Eugene skipped all the stolen money, he began to wander around with gypsies. Together with them, he ended up in the city of Lille, where he met the local beauty Francine, whom she was very jealous of.Once he severely beat one of her many lovers, for which he was sent to prison. But, not without the help of Francine, he fled from there, managing to lock all his guards in his own cell.

Once on the run, he changed many names and personalities. He pretended to be a monk, a vagabond actor, a military man, a circus performer, or even a police officer. As a result, he was caught and put in hard labor for forging documents and numerous thefts. But this lyceum managed to escape many times, and many times to be caught. As a result, he visited many prisons in France, became closely acquainted with the then criminal world, and gained considerable authority there. For cheeky shoots, French convicts called him the "King of Risk." And it was for what. In the criminal world of France, fables went about him, one more surprising than the other. And that he is a sorcerer, and that he can fly, and other nonsense. But the point was only one thing - in a sharp analytical mind, which meticulously calculated all the shortcomings of the guard.


After the next capture, he was taken to the penal servitude of Toulon, where he spent half a year behind viscous ship ropes. But in the end, he managed to escape from there, having made his way to his native Arras. On the way, he stole clothes from a traveling Englishman and impersonated a foreigner in his hometown, and lived there for quite a while, helping his mother trade in a shop. His father had already died, the brothers and sisters had left, so for a long time he lived in relative peace. But the police finally attacked his trail, and again he had to hit the run.For numerous crimes, he was already sentenced to death in absentia, so he was lucky that Napoleon Bonaparte came to power at that time, who began to massively recruit people in the army. The recruiters did not ask unnecessary questions, and Vidok, as usual under a false name, got into the fleet, where he quickly moved to the team of the famous pirate Jean Barth, who often boarded the ships of His Majesty the English king.


Then Vidok left the fleet, being in the rank of corporal of the cavalry. But he ruined his career by joining some kind of secret society, for which he was expelled from the army without maintenance. Their company was betrayed by a secret agent hiding in their ranks, who handed them over to the authorities. This incident prompted Vidok himself to shut himself up with a secret agent, all the more with his extensive life experience and knowledge of the criminal world it was not difficult.


Our hero celebrated the fortieth anniversary in Paris, with a penny pension and the family of his first wife on his own neck. To raise money, he had to go back to the old craft. He engaged in the purchase of stolen goods, which eventually led him back to prison. There he turned from a criminal into a servant of the law. He wrote a letter to the then chief of the Paris police, Henry, promising to be his source of information. The policeman, of course, did not believe this crook and demanded evidence. The answer was not long in coming. Widoc gave Henri full information about the upcoming robbery of the shop of one wealthy jeweler. The criminals were red-handed at the crime scene.


Henry believed Vidoka, and for several months the newly-made detective went from camera to camera, meticulously collecting information about the criminal world of Paris. The prisoners had no secrets from the “King of Risk” and willingly shared any information, whatever he asked.Without making any records, having a phenomenal memory by nature, he got out of prison, having in his head information about the most dangerous Parisian criminals and their immediate plans.At the insistence of Vidok, a special "Sürte" unit was recruited from the former criminals in the Paris police. Indeed, according to Eugene, no one would catch a thief better than a former thief. He personally selected Vidok to this unit, guided by his principles and disregarding any opinion. It gave very good results. The number of units was only 12 people, but they gave deafening results. In total, 15 killers, more than two hundred various thieves, 37 stolen goods buyers, three hundred tramps were arrested during the unit’s year of operation. In general, our hero’s team rendered France an invaluable service, saving it from more than twenty thousand thieves of all sorts of ranks and specializations.


Former "colleagues" sentenced him to death, but he constantly appeared in slums under various guises, which was a great master. Using this skill, he walked around thieves' taverns, rubbed his trust in local criminals, and they believed him, because he was a great connoisseur of the then thieves' jargon - the so-called Argo. Repeatedly he himself asked for participation in the crime, so that later the villains were taken on a hot one. Over 18 years of activity of his special forces, 17,000 people were arrested, of whom 400 were sentenced to capital punishment.By the way, Vidok caught not only the inhabitants of the public “bottom”, but also the “elite”. So, in the Louvre he was detained by Count de Roussillon, who stuffed his pockets with stolen jewelry. For this, subsequently, he was constantly subjected to obstruction by the "high society".


Enough from the envious of the police, who constantly nauzheny on him. So, after his unit was accused of continuing to engage in pickpocketing, his employees put on white gloves in which the pickpocket would not be able to work. The French police still have them in their dress uniform kit. They symbolize integrity and purity.


Vidoc resigned due to pressure from the new police prefect Delawo, who began to slander Eugene.Pensions were not assigned to him, but the clever adventurer found a way to earn them by selling his memoirs. And he didn’t take up memories, as you see, his life was very stormy. In addition to his memoirs, he wrote several reference books for the then police, in them he described the hierarchy of the then criminals, as well as the dictionary of the French "fen" - "argo".In 1833, he opened a private detective agency, which quickly gained popularity in business investigations. They went to him mainly for this, and not for the search for criminals. Traders contacted him for information about a potential partner, in order to find out if he is a fraudster. Over the year, the number of Vidok customers has reached several thousand. In Paris, businessmen considered it a good practice to contact a detective agency Eugene before concluding a major transaction.


The number of clients from constantly growing, and his detective agency has branches in the province. Now his detectives were also engaged in revealing adultery, since Eugene himself had considerable experience in this.In the detective case, Eugene worked until his death. He died at the age of 81. His last words were: “I would probably become a marshal if I didn’t like wine, women and dueling”.Interestingly, he was sentenced to death by the underworld, he listened to many threats on board in ships, but he never used the guards, but always went to the slums and brothels himself. Well, arrogance is the second happiness, as they say.As you can see, this person was very extraordinary. But only such personalities can leave their mark in history, and nothing else.