Gilles Garnier: The Werewolf of Dole
In fact, Gilles Garnier was not a werewolf who happened to rule over the Dole fruit company, –it’s actually a small town in France, in the Franche-Comté Province. At some point during the early 1570s or late 1560s, Garnier lived outside Dole as a hermit, and was eventually married. In the isolated area, he was not used to providing for more people than himself. After a while, children from the town began disappearing, or worse, being discovered mutilated and dissected.
The provincial law authorities and officials believed it was a werewolf, –this being the 16th century and all, –and issued an edict encouraging local citizens to hunt the werewolf. A group of men from a town near Dole discovered what they thought was a werewolf hunched over a child’s body; as they got closer, they realized it was the hermit, Garnier, and captured him. At his trial, Garnier confessed, and told the court that a ghost or demon visited him, and gave him an ointment so that he would be able to transform into a wolf, making it easier to hunt.
Garnier then told the court of his murders; he killed two girls, and two boys, eating their flesh where they fell after strangling them, and in some instances, bringing home pieces of them for his wife. Despite Garnier’s attempt to shift the blame to the devil, and repent by confessing his interaction with a demon, –it was either an attempt to gain favor or the man was insane, –he was found guilty of lycanthropy and witchcraft. The court sentenced him to be burned at the stake.