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Cryptozoology Legends

The Beast of Gévaudan

Description of the strange creature

There is a belief that there was a creature that sowed terror in France for the 18th century. This creature was known as the beast of Gévaudan. It was described as a creature with reddish hair, small ears, a long tail and had a dense hair on its head and back. They cataloged him as exceptionally intelligent and hunted people by pouncing on them and hitting them with their claws. This hunt happened in broad daylight and near the farms.


Eyewitness stories

These incidents occur between 1764 and 1767 in a French region known as Gévaudan. It was something so shocking that the king sent troops to attend the situation. On June 30, 1764, a 14-year-old girl known as Jeanne Boulet, was found dead near a small village in the Gévaudan region. He appeared slaughtered and his body partially devoured by some kind of animal.

Since the attacks of wild wild animals was not unusual in that place because in that region lived  wolves or wild dogs, at first they were not so alarmed until the deaths continued one after another.

The administrator of the Diocese of Mende, Ettiense Lafont, asked the authorities for help in face of the alarming situation. Despite the help of the soldiers it was not possible to bring down the beast and on the contrary there were complaints because people alleged abuses and looting from the soldiers towards the inhabitants.

It was said that the beast preferred to attack children and young women. Although it should be clarified that those who took care of the cattle were precisely the minors. No one of the survivors could identify the animal. Its description did not match any known animal.

In the winter there was an increase in attacks and many more victims were beheaded. It was said that the creature could be incorporated into its two hind legs and be in several places at the same time. Although some hunters claimed to have achieved it with their shots there was no effect in the creature. Due to panic, theories of werewolves and witches  that attacked and devoured the victims emerged.

They entrusted the best of France’s hunters, Martin Denneval, to end the terrible creature. There were seven children who survived the attack and one of the most heroic cases was that of Marie – Jeanne Valet, who defended herself from the beast with a spear. The neighbors found the bloodied spear, but there was no trace of the animal. Louis XV ends up relieving Denneval of his mission and instructs Francoise Antoine. He achieves to bring down a large wolf with another 40 shooters. The weight of the animal was 58 kilos.

They declared that the beast of Gévaudan was officially dead. But the attacks did not stop. But there was a change since they no longer occurred in an open field and neither in daylight.

It was then that Louis XV decided to officially close the case since these stories had crossed the country’s borders and were mocking his ineptitude to bring down a single wild animal. Between 1764 and 1767 large numbers of wolves of great size and ferocity were killed in the region of Gévaudan.

There is a historian known as Jay M. Smith who thinks the beast never existed.

Conclusion

If it is a legend or reality, it is something that by now is not yet known what really happened with certainty. But also we actually know taht the events really happened, however, it is unknown if that strange creature really existed or there is another explanation for the events. You can reach your own conclusions.


References

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