Dragoon Captain Jacques Duhamel laughed saying werewolves were wife’s tales and stories from superstitions, but Portefaix hand carried a petition from the villagers to King Louis IX at Versailles.
The King order the dragoons to search the surrounding mountains. After the soldiers left, the beast began a murderous rampage during the years of 1765-1767. These years are called “the time of death” in the mountains.
Parish records show daily attacks, Housewives and children were the preferred victims.
A posse of several hundred armed men were assembled by The Marquis D’Apcher. They tracked the monster for days before they surrounded the werewolf in a grove of trees lay Le Serge D’Auvert. The monster charged the armed men after dusk. Jean Chastel said he’d moved from the group to read his prayer book. He glanced up and saw the beast coming at him.
Chastel said he’d prepared according to ancient traditions. His double-barreled musket was loaded with bullets made from a silver chalice that had been blessed by a priest. The first bullet hit the monster in the chest; he let out a howl and charged his attacker. Chastel aimed the next shot at the beast’s heart.
The werewolf dropped dead with the silver bullet in its heart.
The debate about what the beast of Le Gevaudan since the day it was killed. Some researchers think it might have been a rare leopard, others think it was a large wild boar with deadly tusks and dark, tough bristles. Chastel says of his trophy kill, it had peculiar feet, pointy ears and covered with hair. Others in the hunting party claim it was a true werewolf, half man and half wolf.
The carcass of a large wolf was paraded through some villages as proof of the beast’s death. This is known for certain. Abbe Pourcher of St. Martin de Bourchauz parish recorded statements from survivors, and interviewed members of the hunting posse. In his final report he wrote he remains mystified by the true identity of the beast of Le Gevaudan. He also noted that certain rumor had a large wolf was paraded through the village streets because the actual carcass was too terrifying to display.
If you’re interested: tourists can still see Abbe Pourcher’s records and view the double-barreled musket that finally killed the beast. You can also view cemetery and municipal records that attest to hundreds of deaths by the monster’s hands.
**This month’s Full Moon is called Corn Moon.**