La Bete du Gevaudan was a real wolf-like monster living in the Auvergne from 1764 to 1767. She killed about one hundred people. Prowling Catholic pre-Revolutionary France, she spread terror among the aristocrats and peasants of the beautiful Auvergne countryside. Her story beats most mystery novels in false trails, horror and atmosphere. The big difference is La Bete was real, not fiction, and leaves for ever the unanswered question, "What was she?" All efforts to stop her failed and she became infamous throughout France. The king - Louis XV - took a personal interest in her activities and how to destroy her. Many explanations - alien, prehistoric beast, mutant etc. - were put forward at the time and during the two centuries since but none have ever been widely accepted. A mass of evidence remains that La Bete did exist and was not just a legend. Compared with other monster mysteries she is unique, leaving graves, witnessed parish records, and archives of official documents, many of them included in this book, proving her real and guilty beyond doubt. Read Pourcher's book carefully and draw your own conclusions. Even if you arrive at a conventional solution to the mystery, doubts might linger as darkness falls. If twigs crack, don't whistle.
This is the true story, so far as it can be reconstructed, of the beast of the Gevaudan, and how it terrorized an entire countryside for years during the 18th century, killing scores of men, women, and children but ignoring the domestic animals.
In a brilliant, original rendition, Monsters of the Gévaudan revisits a spellbinding French tale that has captivated imaginations for over two hundred years, and offers the definitive explanation of the strange events that underlie this timeless story. In 1764 a peasant girl was killed and partially eaten while tending a flock of sheep. Eventually, over a hundred victims fell prey to a mysterious creature, or creatures, whose cunning and deadly efficiency terrorized the region and mesmerized Europe. The fearsome aggressor quickly took on mythic status, and the beast of the Gévaudan passed into French folklore. What species was this killer, why did it decapitate so many of its victims, and why did it prefer the flesh of women and children? Why did contemporaries assume that the beast was anything but a wolf, or a pack of wolves, as authorities eventually claimed, and why is the tale so often ignored in histories of the ancien régime? Smith finds the answer to these last two questions in an accident of timing. The beast was bound to be perceived as strange and anomalous because its ravages coincided with the emergence of modernity itself. Expertly situated within the social, intellectual, cultural, and political currents of French life in the 1760s, Monsters of the Gévaudan will engage a wide range of readers with both its recasting of the beast narrative and its compelling insights into the allure of the monstrous in historical memory.
This is a true story, happened in France in the XVIII century. It talks about the hunt, lasted for a good four years, against a mysterious anthropophagous beast, which plunged into terror the poor people of the Gevaudan and of the Auvergne, today Lozere. This is the story of the men in charge of killing what was simply nicknamed the Beast, of the strategies which were carried out, of the beatings that were made even with dozens of thousands of men and many packs of dogs, of the long posts in the wild mountains of that area with such a terrible climate, so described: "Nine months of winter, three months of hell." In spite of the soldiers and the famous hunters sent by the King of France, the monstrous beast continued committing slaughters most of all of women and children, attacking hundreds of times and making at least 131 victims, many of which were devoured. Only after years of terror the Beast was finally killed and they were able to ascertain which species it belonged to.
A global survey of unknown creatures reported by thousands of eyewitnesses--creatures that have either been verified, refuted, or are still being examined by scientific researchers. * Nearly 100 entries on the full range of cryptids, organized into categories of types of animals * Primary sources, including eyewitness accounts of sightings of undocumented creatures * Sketches of reported hidden animals and photographs of real species uncovered in the pursuit of cryptids * A "Who's Who" in cryptozoology with brief biographies of major figures in the field * A wide-ranging bibliography of print and online resources for further exploration * A comprehensive index of animals (real and speculative), people, places, and discoveries
Religion, Culture, and the Monstrous explores the intersection of monster theory and religious studies. Within these chapters lurk a gamut of strange and demonic creatures from the Bronze Age to contemporary popular culture, illuminating how monsters reflect cultural ways of seeing the world and exist in surplus of named categories.