The beast of Gévaudan
April 5, 2011 9:18 AM Subscribe
WANTED: Known as 'La Bête' but kills under three aliases. Reddish brown with dark ridged stripe down the back. Resembles wolf/hyena but big as a donkey. Long gaping jaw, 6 claws, pointy upright ears and supple furry tail - mobile like a cat's and can knock you over. Cry: more like horse neighing than wolf howling. Last seen by people mostly now dead.Wolf, werewolf, hyena, baboon or mesonychid: In many respects the beast of Gévaudan was like other creatures in the annals of cryptozoology - but for one: historical records indicate that, over a 4 year span, it (or 'they') killed around 100 people - eating most of them.
The story of the beast is well known (and widely elaborated) in France but surprisingly obscure elsewhere. The beast features in some interesting contemporary illustrations. The most likely explanation is probably human predation by wolves (although this does not tally very well with many witness accounts). The closest creature to match those described is probably the (probably long-extinct) mesonichid. La bête was featured in the movie "Brotherhood of Wolves". The region of Gévaudan is now part of modern Lozère -and still serves as home to wolves. There is an official beast website which includes a list of the victims.
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