27 January 1889
A curiously unpleasant peasant superstition has just been revealed at a trial in Southern Russia, which ended in the conviction of four peasants for the murder of a girl 11 years old. The superstition recalls that about thieves' candles narrated in connection with the Whitechapel murders. These peasants, it seems, were believers in the superstition that candles made of human fat rendered the bearers invisible. To obtain these articles they first attempted to murder a boy in a forest. They next tried to kill an old peasant, thirdly a Russian clergyman, and being disturbed on all three occasions they at last succeeded in murdering Sukena Cherkaschina. With the fat from the child's body they made candles, and with their help attempted to commit a robbery. The light of the candles betrayed their doings, and on being arrested they confessed everything. The evidence in court showed the belief in the thieves' candle superstition to be widespread in Russia.