Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Burgomaster Werewolf

Here’s a werewolf tale that’ll turn your stomach. I know it did mine.

It was in Germany in 1685 that many women, children, and pets were being savagely killed by what many people in the area was reporting to be a wolf. Because the burgomaster (which is the mayor of a certain municipality in Germany) had just died, and because he was greatly despised among those he ruled, the townsfolk automatically assumed that this killer wolf must be a werewolf. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Some local hunters took up their rifles and went on the hunt for this cruel animal that was killing their women and children. They searched hard and long, and eventually they found the wolf. They chased the wolf quite far, until some of the hunters had the bright idea to chase the wolf into a well. Not a bad idea, really, if you’re trying to get rid of a werewolf. What are they going to do to you in there, unless it happens to be an exceptional climber of stone?

But this wolf apparently didn’t climb stone and who knows if he ever even had a chance. Once he was trapped in the well, the hunters killed him. After they killed the wolf, they pulled the dead body out of the well and dressed him up in a suit the color of flesh and put a mask on his face to resemble the Burgomaster. They also put one of the Burgomaster’s wigs on the wolf and fashioned a beard that looked like that of their deceased mayor.

But if that wasn’t bad enough, they then hung the dead (and embarrassingly dressed) wolf out on a spear. This was supposedly, not so all the townspeople could learn a lesson, but so that they could prove that werewolves really did exist. But I’m not so sure that they proved their point. I mean, if they “assumed” it was a werewolf, then they really couldn’t have been able to tell just by looking at it, could they? And even though you might be somewhat safe with a werewolf in a well, I still doubt that you’d be able to kill it.

– Kate

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