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The Beast of Gevaudan Caused Panic and Controversy

image Image credit: Project Haunted House Presents

France experienced a panic in the 1760s when there were a numerous deaths associated to animal attacks credited to a mythical creature known as the Beast of Gevaudan.

Folklore has distorted the facts so much that what the animal really looked like is not determinable. Some locals of the former Gevaudan area think that it was a type of werewolf or shape shifting sorcerer that became the creature so he could eat flesh.

Researchers of the beast of Gevaudan believe that there were a minimum of two creatures which can be credited to the wide variations of descriptions. That is providing that the people were not so panicked that they incorporated figments of their imagination into the descriptions. Things such as the fur coloration and size of the Beast varied greatly.

The beast was said to have patches that were white and black in color without any red and at other times it did not have any of these colors in its fur. There are numerous variations of what the creature looked like although the consistent descriptions can be used to gain an idea of what the Gevaudan beast looked like.

The beast of Gevaudan that was reported by several witnesses in France was supposedly four times larger than a horse resembling a panther, wolf, bear and hyena combination. Large teeth lined the animal’s snout that resembled a pig or wolf depending on who provided the description. The beast had a strong, long neck and a tail that was described as long, thick and strong that it utilized like a weapon to knock down victims. People reported that the tail of the beast hit them with incredible force. The feet were either claws, hoof tipped digits or cloven hooves depending on the witness.

Witness reported that the Beast of Gevaudan tore the throat out of its victims to kill them. There were several people that formed a group and went out to hunt the animal which was usually solitary or roamed with a smaller female creature that did not attack.

The beast of Gevaudan was witnessed performing its first attack on the 1st of June during 1764 when a woman spotted a large creature charge at her only to be scared off by bulls. 14-year old Jeanne Boulet was the first actual victim when she was killed on the 30th of June close to the Les Hubacs village close to Langogne where the first would be victim had escaped. Reportedly the beast preferred to attack people instead of animals since it reportedly attacked people in the same field as cattle on numerous occassions.

The sightings of the beast of Gevaudan have been credited to wolf attacks being exaggerated and God’s punishment. Other explanations are that domestic dogs breed with wild wolfs because of the coloration and size. Cryptozoologists are having trouble coming up with an answer that satisfies curiosity of what the beast was or if there was an actual beast of Gevaudan due to the folklore that had added to its incredible legend.