The Beast of Languedoc


The first attack took place in 1764. Louis XV, the most bored monarch of Europe, had sent his dragoons to help the peasants with the problem. The soldiers rode out in search of the monster, but came back empty-handed. The beast continued to ravage the local women. Next, the king’s first rifle, Francois Antoine, was dispatched to investigate what appeared to be the crimes of a serial-killer, skillfully hidden behind the appearances of a cross-bred animal. Antoine immediately arrested the forestry person and killed a large wolf whom he stuffed and sent to Versailles.

This has stopped the acts of gory violence in the region. But then the forester, Jean Castel, was released, and the theater of cruelty re-kindled. By 1765 the toll of murdered women and children climbed up to a hundred. And only when Castel’s own sweet-heart became a victim of the beast, and the repentant forester killed the half-wolf, which first walked toward him, then sat there, waiting to be shot, do we finally see the end of the story.   

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