The true legend of the bloodthirsty beasts of Gévaudan

Kane Khanh | Archeaology
December 2, 2023

“It looks like a wolf, but it’s as big as a calf and much stronger…”. Those are the first descriptions of the beast of Gévaudan!

The bloodthirsty beasts of Gévaudan

From 1764 to 1767, in the history of the Gévaudan region, southern France, about 100-200 children, young men and women were killed. People in the area believed that the “beasts” hiding in the nearby forest were the culprits. The series of attacks that took place have been confirmed by many historical documents.

The true legend of the bloodthirsty beasts of Gévaudan

Illustration. The giant beast of Gesvaudan.

Historians believe that these “beasts” were hybrids of wolves and domestic dogs. Accordingly, people describe that they have a wolf-like appearance but are much larger, about the size of a calf. In addition, the “beasts” are very wise and not afraid of guns or bows.

From the statistics kept, in just 3 short years, they attacked and left nearly 200 people dead or missing. Mysterious disappearances and the sudden discovery of intact bodies have sparked fear and obsession throughout a large area.

This nightmare was so scary that some people at that time did not consider “beasts” to be wolves or ferocious beasts, but considered them to be demons on earth because they were too wise, brutal, and not afraid of guns!

But what’s scarier is….

In 2002, John DC Linnell and his colleagues published a statistic about wolf attacks on people from the 18th century to the end of the 20th century. Of course, “beast” attacks were also listed. to this list.

What is more surprising and also more terrifying is that from those statistics, one can see that: Victims of attacks by “beasts” are often much older than victims of attacks by wolves. much. Even the “beast”‘s attack rate on adults is 6 times higher than that of wolves, while the attack rate on children is only 1/3.

The true legend of the bloodthirsty beasts of Gévaudan

This story was built into a statue to be passed down. Illustration

In fact, victims of adult age certainly have much greater strength, intelligence and agility than children in situations that require survival efforts. So while wolves often focus on weak, unprotected prey, their choice of “beasts” is completely different.

The fact that they confidently attack large, self-protecting prey has partly shown that the rumors about their appearance are not all false. Because the size and strength of the prey killed will tell you the size and strength of the hunter. Just like elephants, hippos, and giraffes are prey for lions, not leopards or wild dogs.

Simply because they cannot afford it! And that makes the “beast” even more different!

Ruthless attacks

Up to 95% of the “beast” attacks in the Gesvaudan region took place in the 3 years from 1764-1767. It not only brought terror to the people in the area but was also a nightmare for the wolves themselves. During that time, many hunters and farmers with guns were mobilized, and hundreds of wolves were killed to try to pacify the people.

However, wolves keep dying, people are still mysteriously missing! King Louis XV continuously received new reports of attacks. By the end of 1764, people even had to send a team of soldiers in the hope of quelling the “beast” problem. During 3 months of searching and searching, that army still could not find any clues of the attackers!

In December of that year, a strange event took place that further aroused the fear of the wise and fearless “beast” of guns and bullets!

The true legend of the bloodthirsty beasts of Gévaudan

Image of the Gesvaudan beast jumping out from the bushes and standing on two legs. Illustration.

One day when the army was fully equipped with weapons on patrol, suddenly, a “beast” (said to be giant according to descriptions) rushed out as fast as electricity from the bushes along the road. But more terrifying, it stood on two legs for a moment right in front of the commanding captain and then sped away before everyone could recover.

Then 3 months later, the best wolf hunter in France at that time, Martin Denneval, was sent here to assist. But not long after, the initial confidence gradually disappeared and was replaced by the confession that the “beasts” were not wolves but a pack of strange, ferocious and extremely cunning animals!

By September 1765, a lieutenant was said to have eliminated this threat. However, things still continue. By March 1767, up to 15 people were still attacked and torn to pieces mercilessly. But after 1767, the “beasts” gradually disappeared after poisoned bait was placed on a large scale.

The true origin of the terrifying “beast”.

To this day, no one can confirm for sure where the “beast” came from and what species it is exactly. However, there are many assumptions made.

French zoologist Michel Louis has investigated and studied many historical documents, and concluded that they are a hybrid between wolves and domestic dogs, most likely carefully trained to attack animals. People. However, not many people agree with this answer.

The true legend of the bloodthirsty beasts of Gévaudan

Besides, many other experts are more in agreement with the following plan. Accordingly, France in the early 18th century had a lot of wolves (recorded statistics were about 10,000 animals), it was very likely that they had rabies on a large scale, were infected and when they broke out, they attacked frantically. human work.

Although it is much more reasonable than zoologist Michel’s conclusion, it still does not completely explain it as the issue of the size of the “beast” is still a big question mark.

Up to now we can only be sure of one thing: between 1764 and 1767, a “force” actually appeared with terrifying power capable of taking the lives of nearly 200 innocent people. sin.