THE BEAST OF GÉVAUDAN
The story of the «Beast of Gévaudan» was undoubtedly one of the strangest of our country. At the time of Louis XV, from 1764 to 1767, a very ferocious «beast» killed over a hundred people, mostly children. The whole episode began in 1764 in Gévaudan (Lozčre) the first victim being a girl of 14 years old followed by others a few weeks later. As the number of cases increased Captain Duhamel, with 56 sabre carriers began to hunt it. However when these forces headed northwards the beast struck in the east, and if they moved towards the east the beast struck in the North. The king then decided to use armed forces and sent 20,000 hunters out, but to no avail. It began to be said that it was the Devil in person. Then in 1765 a large wolf was slain and sent to Paris. There was a general sigh of relief, but not for long: three months later there were new victims. The «beast» was therefore not dead, and became almost legendary. There was a general feeling of fear until on 19th June 1767, a certain Joan Chastel, nicknamed «the magician», killed the beast with a blessed bullet.
The body was then exhibited to the public for some time before being sent to Paris, where it arrived fifty days later in such a decomposed state, that it was buried with great haste. So that no researcher had the chance to examine or identify it, and this «beast» still remains a mystery today.