Jacques Roulet: Werewolf, or Just Plain Crazy?
This werewolf story comes to us from a little town outside of Angers, France, and took place in 1598. It was at that time that two hunters came upon the dead body of a 15 year old boy. This wasn’t just a corpse though. The body was incredibly mutilated, surrounded and laying in its own blood. From a distance, the hunters saw that there were two wolves feasting on the corpse. But as the men walked a bit closer, the wolves ran off into the thicket nearby.
The men ran into the woods to chase the wolves, following the bloody tracks in hope this would lead them to the wolves. Instead, it led to a man who sat crouched nearby, hiding under some bushes. The man was half-naked and was shivering uncontrollably. He was also covered in blood, particularly his hands, which were completely red from the amount of blood on them and also had small shreds of flesh hanging from them.
The man in the bushes was immediately taken into the authorities, being cast immediately under suspicion for the death of the 15 year old boy. When he was taken into the Lieutenant Criminel of Angers, they took samples out from under his long, claw-like fingernails which was later confirmed to be human flesh. The man immediately admitted to being Jacques Roulet, but it took a little while longer and, some say, a bit of torture to get the truth out of him that he was in fact a werewolf.
While he was being held for questioning, Jacques Roulet claimed that he had been a werewolf ever since drinking a salve his parents had given him years before. He also said that his brother, Jean, and his cousin, Julien, were also werewolves and that the three of them would often go out hunting women and children together.
The Lieutenant Criminel of Angers sentenced Roulet to death on the grounds of murder, werewolfism, and cannibalism. Roulet appealed to the Parliament of Paris and his sentence was revoked. Instead, Jacques Roulet was sentenced to two years in a mental institution on the grounds that his testimony was taken under duress and during a time that Jacques Roulet was not of a sound mind to give it.
So, was Jacques Roulet really a werewolf? Or was he just plain crazy?