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November 5, 2013

The French Werewolf of 1764

In several past columns I have featured some of the strange creatures that may or may not roam various areas of the world. There is one that in the past created a panic in France in the 1760s. This was a large wolf-like animal that killed a number of people and became known as the Beast of Gevaudon.

It all began in 1764 when the peasants living in the Le Gevaudon region of south central France reported what they claimed to be a “loupe garou” or werewolf that began to attack people.

It was said to be larger than a wolf with a large head and mouth to match full of large, sharp teeth. As people began to be killed and eaten, many of whom were children that were out tending sheep, panic soon occurred. The word spread that while it had been shot at several times, it could not be killed and must be a feared “loupe garou.”

Eventually it got so bad that King Louis XV of France sent a troop of cavalry to Le Gevaudon to see if they could track down and kill this terrible beast. The soldiers saw and shot at it several times, but failed to kill this animal even though they claimed to have hit it a number of times.

A huge reward was placed on this creature and this lured many hunters out into the countryside to kill the beast. Several claimed they had shot it, but had not been able to kill it, and the killings continued.

Several wolves were killed, but the attacks continued. This story became an international sensation and one English paper even went so far so to say it could be a new species unknown to science.

Finally a hunter, Jean Chastel, using a silver bullet did kill a strange looking creature. When its stomach was cut open the remains of a child was found sequestered inside.

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