The Washington Times-Herald

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November 5, 2013

The French Werewolf of 1764

(Continued)

The killing did stop, but not until over 60 people had been killed, a large total for any animal to have attacked and killed. As can be expected, the animal’s death caused great jubilation and the remains of the creature was on display for several weeks before what was left of it was sent to the king. By the time it reached King Louis it was in such bad condition that it was soon destroyed. However, some of its hair was saved and put in a museum.

Now the story really becomes strange. later examination of the hair by some zoologist said the hair was that of a striped hyena and not found on a wolf. So was it really a hyena, not native to France, instead of a wolf that was native to that section of Europe?

The story now becomes even more puzzling. In 1997 Franz Jullien, a taxidermist at the Museum of Natural History, found that a stuffed animal that had been displayed at the Paris museum and said to resemble the “beast,” and was indeed a striped hyena. Checking further, Jullien found that the Chastel family, remember the hunter that said he killed the creature, was Jean Chastel, the son of Antoine Chastel that had a menagerie that did contain a hyena.

So did the Chastel hyena escape and become a killer or did Jean Chastel kill the hyena to claim the reward that had been placed on the head of the Beast of Gevaudon.

To add to the mystery, the Chastel family was said to have some rather unusual members and could one of them have become a serial killer, and it was him who that killed and ate the victims and the blame placed on wolves or the hyena?

We will now never know, but it does add a new twist to the already gruesome legend of the Beast of Gevaudon.

What do you think? Was it really a rogue wolf, an escaped hyena or a schizophrenic human killer?

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