werewolf, werewolves and lycans

9

Bete de Gevaudon

Back in the 1500s and for centuries after, Europe was plagued by the fear of werewolves. Nearly every country reported werewolf sightings, werewolf deaths and so on. But no country has as many werewolf stories as France, which is where today’s tale hales from.

The story is that of the Bete de Gevaudon, a creature that terrorized the folks who lived high in the Massif Centrale region in 1764. This was a remote mountainous area with scattered communities living among thick forests and woodlands. In the small village of Lagogne, in the Gevaudon, a vicious wolf-like beast suddenly started attacking and killing people who got too close to the forest edge. The death toll quickly reached 11, which included many well-known local workers, and alarm began to spread quickly throughout the village.

Though the deaths were mostly likely caused by a pack of wild wolves, rather than a single creature, the old tales and fears of werewolves took hold of the local’s minds and they believed that the new threat was something supernatural – a werewolf.

Eventually broadsheets and pamphlets began circulating, recounting old folktales and gradually spreading the rumor of a werewolf in town. Many of these printings carried monstrous looking woodcuttings and drawings of a terrifying half-man half-wolf creature. This only made the villagers even more afraid, preying on fears and causing regional hysteria. Also in the pamphlets were garbled accounts of werewolf sightings, usually glimpses in the forests of some strange beast.

One of the reputed accounts came from a woman who, on her way to Mass, saw a beast man in the form of a wolf with brass buttons around the throat, as if the wolfskin were an overcoat that had been buttoned up over a human form. In another reported case, a woodsman saw a large shaggy shape running along the ground on all fours; he said that it had the shape of a man. In yet another account, a woman, also on her way to Mass, was accosted by a large furry man, who walked alongside her, but who instantly vanished as soon as she screamed the name of Christ. This was a sign, she declared, that the creature had either been the Devil or one of his agents. She was sure that it was a werewolf she saw.

Shortly after, the killings stopped and the Bete de Gevaudon was never caught.

Chances are that all of the werewolf sightings were caused by the overactive imaginations of villagers scared by the horrible stories they were hearing and reading. But who knows, maybe one of them really did see a werewolf. Although, giving the superstitious times, I doubt it.

– Moonlight

One of the writers for werewolves.com, as well as vampires.com.

Bete de Gevaudonwerewolf historywerewolf lorewerewolf storywerewolves in france

moonlight • January 10, 2011


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  • Silver Fox

    I think it was the history channel… or maybe Animal Planet… but they did a Documentary style show with a Skeptic and a Believer both working together and looking at the case history of this story.

    It was interesting some of their conclusions they came to, I’m not sure if I agree with all of it, but it was certainly a fresh look at the story and looking at the hard evidence they could unearth.

  • Anuraag jaiswar

    These are very interesting topics. Vampires or werewolves. Why dont they reveal themselves. Ofcours, they’ll b treated like an animal or a superhero if not a monster. And i just wonder what would happen if they learn to control their bad and reveal their good…if they are really there!

  • Andre

    Wow, wow, where are those depictions of half-men half-wolf beasts? I read plenty of the Beast of Gevaudan too and I saw none of such pictures. And the picture in this article is misleading: that’s not the Beast of Gevaudan, that’s a Cynocephaly from the Nueremberg Chronicle.

    • moonlight

      I never saw the pictures, I read about them. And I choose this picture because it’s a woodcutting of a man-beast. I fail to see how that’s misleading. Chill out and back off, if you don’t like what I write then complain to my sources, not to me.

  • Skyler

    it’s interesting to hear werewolf storys from around the world and in my oppinion this is the best website to find old legends and modern thoerys. thank you for posting such cool artilces, this is my #1 favorite website.

    • André

      If this is the best website for such a thing, thats really poor.

      • moonlight

        Really? Then why don’t you create your own werewolf website. You can harass people there.

  • Ulric Helsing

    Interesting. I wonder if that woman going to Mass actually saw a man wearing a wolf hide, seeing as she described buttons on it’s throat. Only question is, why would a man choose to wear such?

  • andy

    I’ve heard this story a lot as a kid. I can relate to this story because in away its like our neighborhood because we talk about this type of thing I don’t know if it’s a werewolf or not. I need help to figure out what it is.