La bête du Gévaudan 1764-1767

The Beast of Gevaudan terrorizes Auvergne, France.

The Beast is a quadruped about the size of a horse. It reminds witnesses of a bear, hyena, wolf, and panther all at once. It has a long wolf-like or pig-like snout, lined with large teeth. […] The tail somewhat resembles the long tail of a panther, but it is so thick and strong that the Beast uses it as a weapon, knocking men and animals down with it.

At least 162 humans were attacked, 113 killed, by the Beast. King Louis XV sent professional hunters after it, as well as rewarding survivors of attacks who included a group of 8-14 year olds who fought it off with iron tipped spears. The hunters devised a weapon composed of 30 shotguns tied to 30 ropes tied to a calf set up as bait. Jean-Baptiste Duhamel, a dragoon captain, gathered over 20,000 people to search. Someone named Francois Antoine, a ‘royal gun bearer,’ finally killed a creature, a six foot long wolf-like animal that was then stuffed and put on display at Versailles.

However, attacks continued. Another animal was killed by a Jean Chastel, and it is said it’s stomach contained human remains. This particular kill may be the origin of the myth of the silver bullet being the only way to kill a werewolf, as French novelist Abel Chevalley, in his book La bête du Gevaudan, claims Chasten used one.

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