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Interesting article that dates back to 1765, France. It is the tale of the Beast of Gevaudan. An aggressive creature that terrorized the country side for nine months and was allegedly responsible for the deaths of 63 men, women and children. The description of the creature calls to mind images of the dogman or werewolf, but what I found interesting was an eyewitness saying it had the head of a man. Could it be an aggressive primate?? Or is it the legendary "Dogman"??
See article below.
THE CONSTITUTION: ATLANTA, GA
SUNDAY. JUNE 22, 1890-
A TERROR. A Strange Wild Animal That Killed Sixty Three Persons Within Nine Months-
From The St. Louie Republic. In March,1764, a frightful creature, which Pierre Despire says was a mixture of man, bear and wild boar, made its appearance near Gevaudan, in France. During the summer several provinces were terrorired by the awful deeds of the uncanny creature, which, notwithstanding its many depredations, managed to keep out of sight until about the middle of the December following, when a peasant woman claimed to have met a monstrosity of the most frightful kind, having the body of an alligator, the tail of a lion, the claws of a wolf and the horrid, mocking laugh of a famishing hyena.
According to this woman's story the beast had the head of a man with the skin so tightly drawn over it as to give it the appearance of a death head, the eyes being so deeply sunk in their sockets as to be invisible, although the creature stood directly in front of her. The woman told her story in the village but was disbelieved until the following morning, when it was ascertained that two little girls and a boy, who had gone to a pasture with some goats, were missing. In the afternoon of the following day the head of the boy was found in a ravine. No other trace of their whereabouts was ever discovered.
The people were now completely panic-stricken; they would search for the creature only in squads of twelve or more, fearing to separate lest the brute would devour them. The legislature of Languedoc offered 3,000 livres for the animal's head, actually sending out a detachment of mounted soldiers in search of it. In January, 1765, only about three weeks after the boy and the little girls were killed by the thing, it attacked. some children who were herding sheep in the mountains, but all escaped, perhaps by the brute taking a feast of mutton instead.
The day but one following it appeared again, this time carrying off one of the children. It was next heard of in the vicinity of Mezel, where it carried off one woman and several children, besides as an old account says, "taking the head clean off of a man." The Gazette de France published a full account of these ravages in February,17651, and the, king offered 6,000 livres to the person or persons that would capture it. Captain Duhamel, of the dragoons, organized a general hunt, dressed his men as women, and had them attended by children. The hunt was a failure, and the desolater kept up his ravages during the spring and summer of 1765, until September 20th of that year, when it was killed by Sieur Reinhardt.
No one was allowed to see the creature except the mounted guards under the duke of Orleans. It is believed even to this day that it was a creature unknown and unheard of, notwithstanding two reports, one of which said it was a black lion, the other that it was a Russian wolf, neither of which seem likely when it is known that it killed and carried off no less than sixtythree men, women and children, from December, 1764 to September, 1765.