« Supernatural with Ashley Flowers

THE UNKNOWN: The Beast of Gévaudan


From 1764 to 1767, a strange creature terrorized a mountainous French region called the Gévaudan. But though myths and stories surrounding the “Beast” are still around to this day, nobody knows what exactly was roaming through the area… 

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
It's almost all right a passage for a child to be afraid of the monster hiding under their bed, but Nobody knows what the monster actually is some special That may be it's an imaginary representation of separation, anxiety or simply a fear of the dark, but who's to say that because we don't know what it is, that it is a real and that we shouldn't be scared because in the eighteenth century, a monster did attack in an ancient french region called GMO done, and to this day nobody knows Exactly what it wants
This is supernatural power cast original and I'm your host Ashley flowers, every Wednesday I'll be taking a deep dive into a real explain occurrence to try and figure out the truth, you can fly, all episodes of supernatural and all other poor cast originals for free on Spotify this week, we're looking at the beast of James. I'm done from one thousand. Seven hundred and sixty four to one thousand seven hundred and sixty seven, almost three hundred people in the french region of Jabil done were attacked by a serious creature, simply known as the beast. This thing both terrorized and fascinated the likes of shipowners and peasants, the nobility and even the king. But despite the two hundred and two years that have passed, we still don't know exactly what or who was causing all these attacks will have more about the beast: coming up: stay with Us
the story begins at the end of June in seventeen sixty four, when fourteen old John Belay went out to ten her family sheep. Now this An abnormal almost every one in the area is a shepherd or farmer of some kind in the kids are all expected to help with the work in the home. Where the sheep graze outside of a small, isolated region called Vivere, isn't exactly the most dean Europe's place in the world cottages the hillside, in a lush green areas, surrounded by mountains with mass if granted and limestone rock formations sharp the fog gives the landscape and airy quality and makes the mountains look like giants and shit There are wild animals, rapid dogs, coyotes, wolves, nothing and Sperience Shepherd can't handle. But when John doesn't return that night people start to worry and when go out to look for her. What they find is horrifying her by
the is mangled show violently that the cause of death is listed as nothing but by a beast to the villagers. It's a freak accident, nothing to be uniquely afraid of it was sad, but in the eighteenth century, death wasn't necessarily surprising, but on August six the body of a girl from a nearby village of so yea is found, choked and partially eaten, not on like John lay still The villagers think this could be a coincidence, but on August Eighth, there's a third victim a fit. In your old girl. This time, and at the end of the month of fourth, sixteen year old boy, also working in the hills and in September There are four more lethal attacks. This is no longer a string of coincidence is but a lethal pattern the villagers of GMO Don begin to get pretty anxious. This is eight recorded deaths in
he three months that might not see like a lot, but this is a very low population region unaccustomed to having their shepherd attacked in such quick succession plus sheep hurting is the backbone of the Hulu com you they can't afford not to do it, so they out the presence of a dangerous animal at the local parishes or ass to stay home, but the beast heart attack closer and closer to the village, is themselves until an adult woman is killed, just a few steps from her own door. Now some of these attacks our great distances from each other, but the people of the a vote on don't really consider the possibility that it's more than one beast they ve been live, with large animals and these hills for centuries. There is really no reason to suspect that though, animals might have turned into violent people eaters. This is something completely different, as words I'd. Do the local newspapers? Sightings are more frequently reported and
population start to run rampant it's hard to pin the first time the creek. Is identified and described. Some descriptions are bay, people or maybe perhaps too. Terrified to describe. What they are seeing or attacks happened so quickly that they don't get a good look, but here's what we know it attacks both at night. And during the day one describes a sister so utterly terrified. By watching her brother get eaten that she spent three days hidden in some rocks time she was found. She completely lost her grip on reality. Some reports say beast is like a wolf yet not off the size of a donkey, a leopard or small horse its massive clause, six talons and pointy fangs the color, The fur is sometimes described his grey, sometimes reddish, but the most common does after is a unique black strike down its back. Then
are the eyes described as sparkling fight. Harry blood red in color and the smell a smell, so rotten that survivors claim they could smell it. Coming from afar, there is talk of a b able to ban its own body and half or walk on its hind legs or paddled. Large bodies of water. Some people are in finding the victims. Clothing neatly folded, next to their bodies as this Tories get more and more bizarre. The villagers insist that this is no regular animal. This is some beyond normal understanding. Getting worse the people of Gibraltar need help so in steps. The local government, first, a delegate been Etienne. Le phone is appointed to lead the hunt he soon It's a military captain named Jean Baptiste do amount. The first officially endorsed Hunter and together they recruit over a hundred
volunteers to help this is a hunt pretty massive scale. Do then there's no way they won't catch. This thing, so in October of seventeen, sixty four. They take that group to the forest where the boy was last spotted and surround the woods. There's a pretty dense fog here dorms threatened to send them home at any time, and it's not easy to see more than a couple of feet ahead. But despite the conditions they move in slowly guns at the ready. After some time, a creature emerges one, only described as frightening a hunter steps up close, Fires knocking the beast over the, You're thinks he's gotten him a group closes in, but then the beast just gets up and takes off back into the depths of the forest This story is baffling phone and do amount. They attempted throughout the night, but find neither blood nor the beasts body and, as the hunt,
continues. Other volunteers report that, when they shoot at the beast, the bullet doesn't even pierce its skin. It just bounces, ah define death itself by the end of October. Attacks are averaging for a week a massive increase, from the three that occurred in all of August. Not all are dead. There are some survivors with those that survived describe harrowing, Sperience is the phone and do a male are convinced that this creature is something extraordinary and with the help of the local newspapers, speculation, spreads that this is a creature. With semi magical qualities. Then the boy it becomes not just a local phenomenon, but a national obsession throughout the country. People are talking about it. Talking about fighting about it stories of the beast become so popular that word actually gets all the way up to Versailles and into the ear of King Louis, the fifteenth of
wars, Louise determined, to put an end to these killings. So one January, twenty seven- seventeen sixty five here now is a six thousand? Eve reward for the hunter. Who brings him the beast slain now, so thousand leave is a lot of money back then it's almost thirty years salary for most of the peasants of GMO done and for those are already wealthy. There's the glory attached to slay the most fearsome beast in France would be the greatest prize of them all. On top of that by February Seventeen sixty five after five months of hunting the leader: do a mouth lack of success causes him to fall out of favour with the locals, door is wide open for a new hero to emerge. They just someone really brave to walk through it, the the guy to step up its job. Charles DEN Ball, a professional wolf turn from Normandy. He register
but the local leaderless phone and heads to Jack Odin, along with his son and six hunting dogs, thinking that he's gone This I mean he's already killed twelve hundred wolves in his career and his son is a military captain. Some shepherd killing monster, kin, too difficult to handle, but, of course, ass, he runs into a few obstacles. First, there's fighting between him and do a man who is particularly happy about being replaced. Second, Denver It is also absolutely shocked by the regions, geography he hadn't expect. To be so mountainous or the way there to be so brutally treacherous there were. Week, snow storms, rolling blackness, widen tunnels bro. We'll condition to spend days and nights tracking, an animal which again, This isn't just any animal or any wolf. It has to an animal that can survive in ridiculous conditions,
eventually it becomes apparent that involve can't keep up so injured. Of seventeen sixty five just five one after starting he's asked to step down, we don't have, fact numbers here, but it's been about a year since the first killing and Gmos once seen, probably about two hundred attacks. If the French don't kill the beast soon, who's to say, deaths will end up in the thousands and so again they amp up the hunt. The next appointed hunters are the kings, personal gun bearer a man named Francoise Antoine and his son, a cavalry officer now, when swore has all of the equipped. Skills? The guidelines, the impressive track record, even a nephew whose againe keeper and mostly he surpasses a lot of the issues Dunbar had he waits
the storms wins the hearts of the townspeople by setting off a fireworks display and gives arousing speech proclaiming that he will destroy the beast and insects. Number of seventeen sixty five for its? Why does finally shoot down a wolf He and his son take the remains to her side to be examined, and the king is so excited that he declared victory for and swore the people of naval dawn or ecstatic with the beast finally proclaimed dead, Everyone can sleep in peace unfortunate, the announcement is premature. The key Examiner reports that there's no actual evidence that the wolf brought to the palace by Francois had eaten any human flesh at all in December of seventeen sixty five, the beast strikes again for before Christmas. Including one girl who is consumed so thoroughly that her body is deep. Insufficient for burial and over
Next year the beast keeps on his murderous rampage, but under increased pressure from our side, the newspapers slow the reporting. It becomes hard to tell actually how many attacks occur over seventeen sixty six and the presence of James DAWN are left with hardly any further information. All we know is that this creature continues killing in large numbers covering great distances evading bull. And seemingly cheating debt. They dont know what it is: they dont know where it came from, but one man was determined to put a stop to its rampage, no matter what it took, we'll take it to the end of the beasts tear after this hi supernatural listeners I wanted to take a quick break from our episode Oh you about a brand new audio Chuck podcast. That is out right now it's called park. Creditors
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As many as ten a month at this point, its feeling pretty hopeless the boy s reign of terror has spent three years, resulting in deaths or injury of hundreds of people. In June. Seventeen sixty seven, a local marquis decides that he's had enough and spontaneously organizes a group of men to hunt. Among these is a man named John just tell who joins the group alongside two of his sons, soon when they arrive at La Tennessee AIR, which is a big woodland area in J Vous done with chains, thickets tall hills, limestone caverns, the beast could be anywhere at some point just tell splits off from the group. Now he doesn't go far. He Definitely still here the other hunters, but he saw it on his own for a bit wandering smelling the fur trees. Looking for tracks a court.
To one account, he's even praying, and then he hears a rustle in the woods. The beast. It emerges from a dense thicket and according it s, Dell's retelling. It's exactly as described stripe down its fur big glowing eyes and that rotting smell and just still a religious man seems not to be afraid. He even take a moment to finish his prayers like Lou. Have mercy on us. Christ have mercy on us and so on and the beast wheats? But then just l finishes speaking the beast runs charging directly at him, socialist l still calmly pulls out his gun. He ain't fires and then just like that. The beast folk
Ass still and his sons gathered the body and like Francois and Twond beforehand, set off toward french capital to show the keen their kill. After this, the tax, actually do stop people, are celebrating no longer afraid to go outside or head up into the hills or tend to their livestock lie. In Jack. Odin goes back to normal when just tells beast, eventually makes its weight of Versailles. It is so decomposed that nobody can confirm what exactly was over. Time stories of the beast are passed down from generation to generation in Odin and prevailed for centuries to come, but that leaves us to ask what exactly was attacking tiny french countryside are first theory by going back towards the end of seventeen sixty for a few months after the initial killings and look
at an announcement made by a local bishop, now is a guy of importance when he talks, people listen and when the Bishop burst, its word about this man eating beast. He doesn't think it's just a beast. He thing it's some sort, a bad omen in notice to all the parishes under his jurisdiction. He basically names. The attacks on the people of GMO done themselves. He says quote: Divine justice does not permit innocence to suffer the punishment it inflicts always presupposes the air that attracts it. It should be easy for you to see that your misfortunes arise from your own sins He goes on to reference Leviticus and due to rob me saying that this all a result of their spiritual failings to the Bishop beast is nothing more than an act of God. The bishop cites a few quote: sins of the people reach
political wars, neglect of worship, a decline. Sexual morals, all things that, He believes warrants some sort of deathly punishment. He even indeed, of forty hour period of prayer. People renew their commitment to God, they might be spared, but the bishop could have had An ulterior motive for giving this explanation at the time of the beast, the catholic Church, is being challenged by two things. One The rise of protestantism in two a growing subset of members within the church, known as Jesuits both groups, Reckless challenge, more conservative Catholics like the bishop, so in his eyes the calf church is losing a grip on their power over their citizens. It's possible but consciously or subconsciously. When the bishop learned about the attacks, he saw an opportunity to regain control and despite the peasants prayers, the killings only continue
you could say that just tells prayers helped him killed the beast, but likely many before him, rate as well, and this was you coincidence, suit brings us to a host of explanations that developed in the years following the reign of the beast: the first. Perhaps the most obvious is that it to be a normal natural creature. Acting on its own volition and maybe the creature, natural to the world, but unknown sure to the region which brings to theory, to that the beast is in exotic possible escaped from a local menagerie, theory started in the late seventeenth century worldwide. Trade is exploding at this time and with the spy his and jewels and exotic treats kings stories and drawings of unusual animals things the French had never seen before and well before. The attacks by, Beast king Louis great Grandfather starts collecting these animals and become
everyone wants to deal like royalty. This becomes a popular hobby but light with most new activities, there's inherent risks in this case the escape of a violent creature. So, basically the theory is The beast of Jack Odin could have been someone's pet one the animal gets loose and kills people, but the owner doesn't want to come forward because well, He or she doesn't want to be deemed responsible and thrown in jail. So if the beast really is an exotic animal which of them is deadly enough to cause all the killings. Here we turned to a book by s are Schwab and Gustavo Sanchez Ramiro in it wild and Romero suggest all sorts of animals, but could fit the beast monkey. And snow leopards, and even some prehistoric type of creature called a bare dog. Now I don't want it too bogged down with animal anatomy here but of all,
he's animal Schwab and Romero mention our best bet is probably an animal called. The african striped Hyena You might remember one specific detail about the beasts. Fur a distinctive dark stripe down its back and this corruption remains pretty consistent throughout all the sightings. A few things, seem to support the striped Hyena theory. First in nineteen nineties, an employee at the National Museum of Natural history and brands came across a pamphlet from eighteen nineteen describing the animals on display. In one of the museums, past exhibits, one The animals is described as a striped hyena from the east brought to Paris by a menagerie keeper, so it proved moves that hyenas did exist in France, but that's not all the pamphlet goes. On to describe the animal as having in a large number of people in jail Ville, comparing it directly to the beast. Now, it's probably not
this exact animal that was doing the killing, but it means that the strike pain of theory was probably pretty widely accepted in this century. After the attacks that us hyenas have the ability to crush bones and shoe a bit of flesh that others can digest, and the beast was known for literally ripping apart its victims, there's even contemporary accounts of similar attacks, where the animal was known for sure to be a hyena in the eight. In eighties Hyena attacked in Turkey, prompting the gun, and to offer a reward for the slaying of the animal similar to King Louis Leap in anti thirties. Azerbaijan, John Hyena, was said to have entered courtyards just in done any nineteen sixty two nine children were reportedly taken in a period of six weeks in India, a similar rate to the beast. But here's the thing: the Hyena theory doesn't explain something else. We know that most
bullets were unable to pierce its skin. So the question becomes: why on was only Janshah cells bullets able to kill it. Will it turns out that shall stay didn't just use any bullets. He's actually made from silver and not just any silver bullets. Worship. Who is it being made from melted down coins coins with the each of the virgin Mary precious metal blessed by God. It's very possible that are in fact dealing with a wolf, but not just any wolf. No, I know this sounds absolutely crazy, but bear with me the beast would really be a werewolf. This theory was the proposed by newspapers at the time of the killings, but it still holds true today
We have already said that the French were kind of obsessed with exotic animals, but they were, and still are, also really interested in creatures that were mythical answer, key and romantic. Now you might be thinking Well forget about werewolves werewolves only come alive during a full moon and the attacks were all month long, even during the day. So I couldn't possibly be a werewolf, but you'd be wrong earliest known real life werewolf at least alleged werewolf, is man named Peter Stew, but who lived in tenth century Germany. Now there. Legend is that stupid makes a pact with the devil he gives a prosperity for the power to take. The shape of some sort of beast and more easily attack men, women, children, satisfied With this exchange, the devil gives him a girdle one, no iter him into a wolf whenever he desired. Werewolves, don't have to
only come out during a full moon. Nor do they necessarily only attack at night but here's another thing to consider the true medical definition behind werewolves is a time called like hand through which According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica means a man till disorder, in which the patient believes that he is a wolf worse other non human animal. So, basically, there's the myth. Call form of it. A person magically turns into a werewolf, but there's all So the psychiatric version of it were a person Believes in a delusion that they are a werewolf and is basically pretending, which means the werewolf in question will necessarily have to attack in Wolf for and think of the accounts were the victor clothes were found folded next to their dead bodies. I don't you, but I've never seen any animal of any kind that was able to take clothes off of a small child and then fold them now.
After which way you look at it. This act alone suggested. There was something human about the beast: forces us to consider something else in late nineteenth century, a different kind of beast starts appearing, something that is very cable, of stripping down a child and folding close neatly, and I'm talking now a serial killer cereal. There are notorious for being meticulous about what they do in a creepy kind of our historically mad sort of way. Even John Wayne, Gacy would sometimes sneak into the funeral homes of his victims and for their clothes, the sightings, the horrific descriptions, the fur, the things that make youth it's an animal could be explained by vivid imaginations under stress or by something else in tenth century the military often used bearskin to protect dogs in battle, it's very possible that whoever was
find the beast was doing the same thing covering himself in animal skins, kind of like a costume in this, would also explain why some of the bullets completely bounced off its hide or why, after a big blow, the beast was still able to stand up. But if there really was is a human behind the beast, then, who Why? When shall an killed in unknown animal in June? Seventeen sixty seven did the killings end. It might be because just style was more closely connected to the beast than anyone could have imagined. We'll dive into this more right after this now, let's get back to the story it's hard to, pin down a ton of information about Justo, most records he was either a farmer or in innkeeper, basically a peasant
and so it makes sense, then that he will be penned as a sort of hero is the Classic David verse Goliath story, the lowly innkeeper, on the town monster the poor Farmer getting all the riches etc, but into In thirteen a researcher named Phil Barnes and starts looking a little bit closer, he always thought Something was off about the story for wine. How was a poor peasant farmers able to afford silver bullets, so here MAX down all the old signatures of shall styles and he notices something peculiar just still seems to have been signing off on burials, baptisms marriages. All the things that require some one of importance. Not only that but the style of hostile signature suggests a sort of bourgeois upbringing and Barnes and tracks down his family lineage. He figures,
that shall still might have actually descended from nobility, not a poor, innkeeper or farmer at all. Which would explain how he is able to afford those silver bullets, but what's wrong we curious about, shall style is his son Antoine now There's a lot of stories and myths around an twanged pastel, but here's we generally no at some, We in his life, he travels through the Mediterranean. We don't know, Why or how? Presumably there's some family money, but we do know that he eventually ends up on the island of Minorca, where he works as the keeper of a menagerie, and usually gets really interesting Anton supposedly return two Jaber dawn with Hyena its rumoured that he even trained to attack at some point before the killings, big and he set himself up in a makeshift,
home, somewhere, hey way up in the forest Now it's possible that Anton could have set his hyena loose to do the killings, but ass. Turns out aunt. One might have suffered from hyper. Try Kosis a disease that causes excessive wolf like hair growth on the body and face which brings us right back to our werewolf theory and himself could have. Also been doing some of the killings and the stories that had been passed down about the beast. We have an account by a local peasant named big issue that might just confirmed yes, it's early morning, before dawn and big who is taking a walk through the forest, its bright, a form, and he's enjoying the smell of the fir trees and the early morning, peace and quiet when he sees
something strange in the river up ahead, something moving, so he walks towards it and then he realizes that he is an alone. There is a bather in the river a year. Harry man. It's a bit strange then, suddenly the bather spots him bagel phrases for a second. Doesn't know whether to say hello or to turn around, so he simply stops then the man jumps out of the water turns fully into a beast and lunch right at the girl. They go run so fast back to his house that he doesn't even turn around. He shot him of inside terrified of what he thinks he's just seen. He doesn't come out until the next day, but when he does, he says that the Beaver looked right other similar to none other than an twond Just to help
believe what you will about: we're, wolves and men, beasts and packs with the devil, but the theory that and one still was some sort of Harry Serial Killer, looks pretty but if you assume at his father might have played a role in getting his son to stop killing, meaning would be that gene learned of his sons, wrongdoings and fear. His sons in prison make got him to end his gruesome hobby and then killed Sir other animal just to refute any leads. Fortunately, we don't really have any proof for this theory, All we know is that after Janshah style shoots this animal with a silver bullet, the killings and And we don't really know what happened to aunt one after all of this, but some rough. Do show that he might have been married and had a few children of his own. The truth is that even today, it's hard to know exactly what the beast wise
recent researchers have proposed what is probably the best explanation, or at least a theory, for why the beast might have developed an appetite for humans and why was years were especially right for kills in the eighteenth century. An increase in hunting activity d for station and the expansion of agriculture in the region or me space for humans, but it were who's to space for the small wild animals on which wolves normally fed. So it's possible but the wolves might have dug up corpse is in the area bodies left over from famine or disease or war, and all that human flesh helps them develop. An appetite for small chill and who are the primary shepherds in the area. It in total sense that the beast might have just been a pack of wolves in the area Borst to eat whatever They could find in the hills which again happens be humans,
as to why the beast might have eventually gone away. We turn again to the book beast where Wolf serial killers and man eaters by S, our Schwab and Gustavo Sancho Romero Shhh Walden Romero suggest that some, the wolves could have been suffering from a disease called mange which cause skin lesions- an odd patches of here, loss and makes them horrific or even Hyena, looking show old and Romero, suggest that the distinct smell of the beast, with the smell of oral infections, something associated with old age plus the EAST seem to have a preference for eating organs, indicating that they were sick and needed the protein specifically provided in livers and hearts and brains. So if these lives were sick and old man, for a few years. They would have just died, Kate away now.
Still some things that can be explained by the pack of wolves theory, the bullet proof quality of their height the Holding of the clothes the decapitations, so there are still play he of holes, even in this theory, but regardless of what it actually was. The beast became a dark romantic myth to the french Wolf Population in France largely decreased, but the beast of have done haunted. The bedtime stories of children for centuries to come. I ll leave you with this in two thousand seventeen it was reported that wolves have recently been migrating into France from the Italian Alps and Wolf sightings are increasing in the tiny pocket of the country now called Laos AIR, it's very possible that for the poor,
full of D, J Vous done an old enemy has returned thanks. Listening I'll be back next week with another episode you can find all episode of supernatural and all other Parkhurst originals for free on Spotify Spotify has your favorite music, I'm podcast all in one place there, making it easier listen to what everyone here for free on your phone, computer or smart speaker super actual was created by MAX Cutler and Stars, Ashley flowers and his a studios original its executive produced by MAX Cup. Sound designed by carry Murphy with production assistance by IRAN, Shapiro and Karl. Imagine this episode supernatural was written by Stacy Lee Nemea. With writing assistance by drew coal
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Transcript generated on 2020-07-23.