GREAT WOLVES IN FRENCH HISTORY
By Johnnie JungleGuts
Many scientists and crypto-zoologists now believe that the man-eating wolves from the late medieval and early modern period of France were actually wolf/dog hybrids whose complimentary genetics created a much larger animal. These giant wolves were psychologically inclined to attack humans over cattle and livestock. The heterosis hypothesis ( a theory that when some species interbreed a larger species is created) and studies of wolf/dog packs in Russia add validity to this argument.
Other scientists believe that the wide availability of fire-arms in the modern period of France eliminated wolves that were inclined to attack humans from the gene pool. However, the story that mutant hellhounds were terrorizing the French country side is certainly a juicy one, and the hazy histories that surround many of these man-eaters makes their legends even more colorful.
Much of the information in this expose is taken from Wolf-Hunting in France in the Reign of Louis XV by Richard Thomas as well as from other dubious sources on the internet. One of the most fun parts about these stories is that they’re probably not quite true.
NAME: Cortaud and the wolves of Paris
ALLEGED KILL COUNT: 60
Cortaud was the leader of a wolf pack that brutalized the streets of Paris in the harsh winter of 1450. Legend has it that a trained leopard was used to kill Cortaud but failed. Cortaud was a large wolf with a tail that had been somehow reduced to a stub. This is where he got his name, since Cortaud means “bob-tail” in French.
NAME: Wolf of Ansbach
ALLEGED KILL COUNT: Unknown
This wolf was believed to be a werewolf and reincarnation of the recently deceased Burgermeister (town master) who was known for being excessively cruel to the people. It went on a deadly killing spree until it was trapped in a well by hunters and slain. After its carcass was paraded through the town, the people of Ansbach severed its muzzle and dressed it in a mask, wig, and beard (to resemble the Burgermeister) and then hung it from a gallows in the public square.
NAME: The Beasts of Gevaudan
ALLEGED KILL COUNT: 25 women, 68 children, and 6 men
Probably the most notorious group of legendary French wolves, one was found to measured five and a half feet in length and weighed in at around 130 lbs. One wolf was killed by a hunter named Jean Chastel with two silver bullets melted from a medal depicting the Virgin Mary after he had allegedly lured the wolf into his sights by praying in front of an open bible. Some also claimed that Castel was in coercion with the animal and had trained it to kill so that he could later slay the animal and achieve fame.
NAME: Wolf of Soissons
ALLEGED KILL COUNT: 4
This wolf went on a brief but deadly two day killing spree which started with the murder and partial consumption of a pregnant woman. Although several villagers attempted to remove the surviving infant from the dead mother’s womb, the baby was finished off when the group trying to save it was attacked by the same wolf not three hundred yards from it’s first kill. The wolf of Soissons then went on a two day killing spree during which it injured eighteen people, and managed to overpower four armed men who were attempting to ambush it.
NAME: Wolves of Perigord
ALLEGED KILL COUNT: 18
Louis XV offered exemption from milita service and a handsome reward for the destruction of these wolves. A female wolf from this group was discovered to have two rows of teeth. This may have been a mutation due to wolf/dog hybridization.
NAME: Wolf of Sarlat
ALLEGED KILL COUNT: wounded 17
This individual wolf was rare in that it was known for attacking grown men, while the other wolves preferred women and children. It would often stand on it’s hind legs to reach the faces and necks of taller prey. It was noted that it had some features similar to a greyhound and a fox, suggesting some hybridization.
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