An 18th Century Beast!

An 18th Century Beast!
Above: An illustration of the "Beast of Gévaudan" stuffed and displayed at Versailles.

In 1764, the south east of France was terrorized by an unsightly beast. Said to be as big as a horse and broad as a bull, the Beast of Gévaudan was said to be an enormous wolf that attacked and killed hundreds of villagers over a three year period in the region. The carnage caused by the beast even brought the attention of the crown, with Louis XV calling in professional hunters to deal with it.

François Antoine, one such hunter, eventually caught and killed what is believed to have been the animal, a 5 and a half foot long wolf weighing over 130 pounds. The wolf was stuffed and displayed at Versailles, but some killings still continued.

How did the Beast of Gévaudan kill so many people? Well, while Antoine find a very large wolf, it's likely it wasn't the only creature attacking travelers and townsfolk. With other canids, boars, bears, and perhaps even a lion roaming the countryside at the time, the "Beast of Gévaudan" may have been imagined as a single source of fear during a time of mass panic. We're just happy to live in a time without as many wild wolf attacks!