Jack Owen Spillman III

In 1995, a young woman in Douglas County, Washington, was unable to get her mother or fourteen-year-old sister, Amanda, to answer the phone. That was unusual, so she went to check on them. The front door was locked, so she went around to a sliding rear door that was always unlocked. Inside the home, she found their bodies. One was in a bedroom and one in the family room, both smeared in a great deal of blood. She ran to a neighbor, who called for help. The responding police officers observed that the victims of this grotesque double homicide had been sexually mutilated in a variety of ways by someone who seemed more animal than human.

As reported by Seattle-area papers, and described in former detective Vernon Geberth’s book on sex-related homicides, the last time the surviving relative had had contact with her mother, Rita, was at 10:00 P.M. the night before. Rita had a boyfriend, but his time was quickly accounted for. Investigators looked inside and around the house for evidence, and an examination of the bodies later at the morgue narrowed the time of death for both to between 11:00 P.M. and 3:00 A.M.

On Amanda’s wrist, a stopped watch indicated that a struggle had occurred around 11:35. She had been stabbed and bludgeoned in the head, then raped, after which the killer had shoved a baseball bat into her vagina. He’d also eviscerated her, placing skin from her genitals onto her face. She lay on her mother’s bed.

Rita, lying on a couch in the family room, had been stabbed thirty-one times and viciously mutilated, her breasts removed and placed near Amanda. Her genital area was excised and stuffed into her mouth, and in a final indignity, her body was posed for exposure. Both victims clearly had suffered before they’d died.

There was no sign of forced entry, so the investigators assumed that the victims had either known their killer or that he’d watched them long enough to know about the rear door. When detectives checked incident reports for the night, they learned that a man garbed in black named Jack Owen Spillman III had been arrested at 2:00 that morning not far from the crime scene, on the suspicion of burglary. A search of the area turned up a bloody knife, and the blood was matched to one of the victims. They also found a witness who had seen the truck near the crime scene at 11:30.

Although Spillman had been released from custody, since they had nothing on him, they watched him while they looked into his background. They noted a record for rape and burglary, along with attempted rape, and he was suspected in the disappearance of the daughter of a woman he’d been living with; the girl was still missing.

While under surveillance, Spillman tossed out an item that, when retrieved, turned out to be a blood-soaked ski mask. The blood would match one of the victims. There was a blood stain near an opening in this mask, as if he’d put his mouth to a wound. (It was later learned that he’d drank Amanda’s blood.)

More questioning of people in the area turned up reports that Spillman had been seen in the vicinity of Amanda’s activities. He was arrested, and his car and residence were searched. More evidence in the form of blood, hair, and fibers turned up to implicate him, and he had no alibi. Spillman was employed as a butcher, according to news report, which explained why the wounds had been so precise and skillful.

He had stalked this family for months, keeping his eye on Amanda, so once he’d pounced, Rita had become an incidental victim. Even so, Spillman had exerted a great deal of rage on her body as well. To avoid the death sentence, as stated in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Spillman confessed to the double homicide and added a third — the missing girl. When she was exhumed, it appeared that she had been buried in precisely the same position as Spillman had left Amanda on the bed.

Geberth indicates that Spillman’s cellmate told authorities that he had “bragged that his ambition was to be the most famous serial murderer in the country.” He thought of himself as a werewolf, he said, and thus stalked “prey” the way a ravenous beast might do. He’d studied other killers to learn how to avoid being caught, such as shaving his body hair. He’d long fantasized about torturing girls and wanted to cut out the heart of a victim to eat it. He also desired to keep his victims in a cave, and complained that his first one had died too fast as he was torturing her with a knife. After burying her in the woods, he apparently exhumed her body several times for sexual purposes. When recounting his blood-thirsty fantasies, Spillman reportedly would grow quite frenzied.

He pled guilty to three counts of aggravated murder and received life in prison.

Spillman is a modern-day case of someone who identifies with a savage beast. Others like him were described during the nineteenth century as psychiatric cases.

Ludwig Tessnow

The murder and dismembering of two young boys in 1901 on the island of Rugen, off the coast of Germany, turned the attention of local authorities toward a strange, reclusive man named Ludwig Tessnow, a carpenter from Baabe. The two boys had failed to return from their play, so a search was organized. It wasn’t long before searchers came across some of their parts, which had been scattered over a wide area in the woods near their home. When their heads were found, the skulls were shattered, and from the eight-year-old, the heart was missing. A blood-stained stone proved to be the murder weapon.

Earlier that day, someone recalled, Tessnow had been talking to them. Authorities went to interview him, but he denied any involvement. Still, they searched his home, which produced recently-laundered clothing that bore suspicious stains. He claimed that they were from wood dye, which he used daily in his profession. There was not much anyone could do to prove otherwise. But then a magistrate recalled a similar crime, also associated with Tessnow.

Three years earlier in Osnabruck, Germany, two young girls had been found in the woods, butchered and disemboweled in the same manner as the boys. The man seen loitering near the woods, his clothing stained, was Tessnow. At that time, too, he had claimed that the stains were from wood dye. So he’d had a ready excuse then, which had worked, and he now knew he had a good cover. It helped him as well when a local farmer reported that a man who looked like Tessnow had fled from his field, leaving behind seven slaughtered sheep. Their legs had been torn or cut off and tossed about the field. Tessnow was brought in for a line-up and the farmer had no trouble picking him out.

Still, the police needed real evidence to tie Tessnow to the murders. Then they heard about the test that biologist Paul Uhlenhuth had developed only four months before that could distinguish blood from other substances (such as wood dye), as well as distinguish animal blood from human. The authorities contacted him and asked him to test Tessnow’s clothing and the blood-stained stone. Uhlenhuth was ready for such a test, and he applied his method to more than one hundred spots. He then announced the results: While he did find wood dye, he also detected traces of both sheep and human blood. They were quite distinct from one another, and his tests proved it.

With this evidence, Tessnow was tried, convicted, and executed.

No one called Tessnow a werewolf, but his compulsive ripping apart of animal and human corpses was similar to the “werewolves” from earlier eras. There was actually a period of time in which such killers were considered fairly common.

Types of Werewolves

Spiritual Werewolves

It is not the physical manifestation of a creature, nor is it a mental condition, but rather more akin to the Dream quests that a shaman may take.

It is believed that the spirit of a person projects apart from the body, and takes the shape of one’s totem animal/spirit.

A Theriomorph is a shapeshifter; a being who can assume an animal as well as a human form. A spiritual theriomorph is someone who at least sees aspects of animals in his or her personality and actions, and those aspects shape who he or she is

Real Werewolves

The second type is the one who achieve the effective physical transformation of man into a wolf. Werewolves are of two sorts: voluntary and involuntary or alpha and beta. Note that this classification is modern and has no historical or cultural background to fund it.

Alpha

Alpha werewolf is the name given to those who have been given the power of shape shifting through the use of ointments or charms or born to a werewolf (heredity).

Passed on from generation to generation, and sometimes skipping one, the hereditary form manifests itself after the person reaches puberty. When using magic, it is quite possible for the creature to perform amazing feats of strength and even call on surnatural and psychic powers.

For those who have acquired the “curse” through their own will, by entering into a pact with the Devil himself, the change can be done at will and even in the absence of a full moon.

 It is said that humans who enter into this pact do so out of desperation and often, in an effort to seek revenge for the death of a loved one.

Beta

Those who have been cursed or bitten by another creature are all involuntary Werewolves. They have little or no control over their changes from Man to Wolf and Wolf to Man, and are subject to phases of the Moon.

The relationship between Alpha and Beta werewolves is a complex one. Once a subject is bitten by a werewolf, his or her life and death are doomed to the werewolf curse. The victim does, however, have some hope – as long as they themselves do not taste of human blood, the curse is reversible.

If the Alpha werewolf is killed – through some action of the Beta – the Beta’s curse is broken. It is important to note that whether the Beta werewolf was bitten by the Alpha werewolf himself or by another Beta, it is the Alpha who must be destroyed – the source of the original tainted blood.

It is also an interesting note that since Betas and Alphas share common blood, an Alpha cannot physically harm a Beta of his own bloodline by his own hans without inflicting the same injury upon himself. However, if a Beta is harmed or killed by another, it does not affect the Alpha.

Vacher the Ripper

By century’s end, in 1897, a tramp named Joseph Vacher, 29, was tried in France for eleven murders. He had been arrested after a seventeen-year-old shepherd was found strangled, stabbed, and with his belly ripped open. Vacher wrote a confession for the judge, claiming that he suffered from an irresistible impulse and had committed murder during frenzies. He thought that, having been bitten by a rabid dog when he was a child, his blood had been poisoned. As his victims died, he said, he drank blood from their necks.

A team of doctors examined the defendant. In the end, because his memory was clear about the crimes and because he had run off, they decided that Vacher had demonstrated sufficient awareness to be judged sane and therefore responsible for what he had done. Yet he had a history of “confused talk,” spells of delirium, persecution mania, and extreme irritability. Indeed, three years earlier he had been treated in an asylum when he’d killed a woman and had sex with her corpse. He also had once removed the genitalia from a boy and from a girl. If anyone had a claim to insanity, he did, but in 1898, at the Ain Assizes, he was convicted, and within two months executed.

Ironically, during Vacher’s spree, Dracula was published in 1897 in England, introducing the shocking image of the predatory life-sucker who commanded wolves and could shift into the shape of one.

Romulus and Remus

According to the roman mythology, the founders of Rome were Romulus and Remus. The twin-brothers were the supposed sons of the god Mars and the priestess Rhea Silvia. The story begins with the deposition of Numitor (their grandfather and king of the ancient Italian city of Alba Longa), by his brother Amulius. Numitor’s daughter, Rhea Silvia, was made a Vestal Virgin by Amulius – which meant that she was made a priestess of the godess Vesta and therefore forbidden to marry. However, the god Mars came to her in her temple and of him she conceived her two sons, romulus and remus.

As soon as they were born, her husband abandoned them in a remote location. This practice was a form of quasi-infanticide tolerated in many ancient cultures, including the Roman and Greek, when children were unwanted. They were unwanted because Amulius, was fearing that the boys would grow up to overthrow him, had them placed in a trough and thrown into the River Tiber. At that time the river was in flood, and when the waters fell, the trough, still containing the two boys, came ashore. They were found by a she-wolf, who instead of killing them, looked after them and fed them with her milk, the she-wolf was helped by a woodpecker who brought them food too. Interesting enough both these animals were sacred to Mars.

Romulus and Remus were then discovered by Faustulus, a shepherd, who brought the children to his home. Faustulus and his wife, Acca Larentia, raised the boys as their own. According to Livy, some said that Loba, wife of Faustulus had suckled them, not a female wolf Indeed, her name meant wolf which was Lupus in Latin. Upon reaching adulthood, Romulus and Remus killed Amulius and reinstated Numitor, their grandfather, as King of Alba Longa, then they decidet to found a town of their own. Romulus and Remus chose the place where the she-wolf had nursed them. Romulus began to build walls on the Palatine Hill, but Remus jeered at them because they were so low. He leaped over them to prove this, and Romulus in anger killed him. Romulus continued the building of the new city, naming it Roma (Rome) after his own name. It’s first citizens were outlaws and fugitives, to whom Romulus gave the settlement on the Capitoline Hill.

There were however not enough wives for all these men, and so Romulus decided to steal women from the Sabines, an Italian tribe. He there proclaimed a festival and invited many Sabines to it. While the attention of the men was elsewhere Romulus’ men rushed in and carried off the women. This was the famous “Rape (carrying off) of the Sabine women”, which later became a subject for painters. The Sabine men were furious and, led by their king Titus Tatius, made war on Romulus. When the fighting had reached its peak the Sabine women, who had grown fond of their Roman husbands, rushed between the ranks and begged both sides to make peace. So the battle was stopped, Romulus and Titus Tatius ruled together over the two peoples until Titus Tatius was killed in battle. For the rest of his life Romulus ruled alone, proving himself a great leader in peace and war. He did not die but disappeared one day in a violent storm. The Romans believing he had been taken up to heaven, worshipped him under the name of Quirinus. He was succeeded by Numa Pompilius.

It seems unlkely that any part of this legend is true. Almost certainly it is a copy of a Greek tale, invented to explain the name of Rome and certain customs. For instance Roman brides were taken from their families on their wedding days with a pretence of force, and this probably accounts for the story of the Sabine women.

Gilles Garnier, Werewolf of Dole

[On the 8th of November, 1573] some peasants of Chastenoy were returning home from their work, through the forest, [when] the screams of a child and the deep baying of a wolf, attracted their notice, and on running in the direction whence the cries sounded, they found a little girl defending herself against a monstrous creature, which was attacking her tooth and nail, and had already wounded her severely in five places. As the peasants came up, the creature fled on all fours into the gloom of the thicket; it was so dark that it could not be identified with certainty, and whilst some affirmed that it was a wolf, others though they had recognized the features of the hermit.

This incident was followed by the disappearance of a boy, on November 15, and shortly after, by the murder of two girls and the slaying of a young boy. The children were presumed to have fallen victim to the loup-garou (Sidky 224).

In the following weeks, the frequency of werewolf’s attacks seems to have increased, and the creature began seeking adult victims. Meanwhile, suspicions about the hermit were heightened. The authorities, alarmed at the number of werewolf attacks, gave permission for the residents of Franche-Comté to hunt the monster that scourged the countryside. The decree issued on December 3, 1573, reads as follows:

According to the advertisement made to the sovereign Court of the Parliament at Dole, that, in the territories of Espagny, Salvange, Courchapon, and the neighbouring villages, has often been seen and met, for some time past, a were-wolf, who, it is said, has already seized and carried off several little children, so that they have not been seen since, and since he had attacked and done injury in the country to some horsemen, who kept him off only with great difficulty and danger to their persons: the said Court, desiring to prevent any greater danger, has permitted, and does permit, those who are abiding or dwelling in the said places and others, notwithstanding all edicts concerning the chase [i.e., a ban on hunting] to assemble with pikes, halberts, arquebuses, and sticks, to chase and to pursue the said were-wolf in every place where they may find or seize him; to tie and to kill, without incurring any pains or penalties (Sidky 225)…..

 
Shortly afterwards, the hermit Gilles Garnier was captured while attacking one of his many victims. Although he was in wolf form during the attack, he was recognized by peasants as the lycanthrope who had murdered several children.

Garnier was described as “a somber, ill-looking fellow, who walked in a stooping attitude, and whose pale face, livid complexion, and deep-set eyes under a pair of coarse and bushy eyebrows, which met across the forehead [one of the signs of werewolfism], were sufficient to repel any one from seeking his acquaintance. Gilles seldom spoke, and when he did it was in the broadest patois [vernacular] of his country. His long gray beard and retiring habits procured him the name the Hermit of St. Bonnot, though no one for a moment attributed to him any extraordinary amount of sanctity” (Sidky 225).

According to one account, during his interrogation, he claimed to have “killed a ten-year-old girl with his teeth and claws, stripped off her clothes and ate part of her” (Guiley 153-154). He took the rest of her flesh home to share with his wife (Sidky 225).

In another account, the indictment read against him by Henri Camus, doctor of laws and counsellor of the king,

was to the effect that he, Gilles Garnier, had seized upon a little girl, twelve years of age, whom he drew into a vineyard and there killed, partly with his teeth and partly with his hands, seeming like wolf’s paws; that from thence he trailed her bleeding body along the ground with his teeth into the wood of La Serre, where he ate the greatest portion of her at one meal, and carried the remainder home to his wife; that upon another occasion, eight days before the festival of All Saints, he was seen to seize another child in his teeth, and would have devoured her had she not been rescued by the country people, and that the said child died a few days afterwards of the injuries he had inflicted; that fifteen days after the same festival of All Saints, being again in the shape of a wolf, he devoured a boy thirteen years of age, having previously torn off his leg and thigh with his teeth, and hid them away for his breakfast on the morrow. He was furthermore indicted for giving way to the same diabolical and unnatural propensities even in his shape of a man, and that he had strangled a boy in a wood with the intention of eating him, which crime he would have effected if he had not been seen by the neighbours and prevented (Mackay 501).
After fifty witnesses had testified against him, Garnier was put to the rack. He confessed to every charge against him and was sentenced to death.

Garnier’s subsequent execution on January 8, 1574 (Sidky 227), offers proof that one does not need a silver bullet to kill a werewolf: he was burned to death at the stake.

History of the Werewolf

A werewolf in folklore and mythology is a person who shapeshifts into a wolf, either purposely, by using magic, or after being placed under a curse. The medieval chronicler Gervase of Tilbury associated the transformation with the appearance of the full moon, but this concept was rarely associated with the werewolf until the idea was picked up by modern fiction writers. Most modern references agree that a werewolf can be killed if shot by a silver bullet, although this is more a reflection of fiction’s influence than an authentic feature of the folk legends. A werewolf allegedly can be killed by complete destruction of heart or brain; silver isn’t necessary.

Many European countries and cultures have stories of werewolves, including France (loup-garou), Greece (lycanthropos), Spain (hombre lobo), Bulgaria (varkolak, vulkodlak), Czech Republic (vlkodlak), Serbia (vukodlak), Russia (oboroten’ , vurdalak), Ukraine (vovkulak(a),vovkun, pereverten’ ), Croatia (vukodlak), Poland (wilkolak), Romania (varcolac), Scotland (werewolf, wulver), England (werwolf), Ireland (faoladh or conriocht), Germany (Werwolf), Denmark/Sweden (Varulv), Galicia(lobisÛn),, Portugal(( lobisomem)) Lithuania (vilkolakis and vilkatlakis), Latvia (vilkatis and vilkacis), Andorra (home llop), Estonia (libahunt), Argentina (lobizon, hombre lobo) and Italy (lupo mannaro). In northern Europe, there are also tales about people changing into animals including bears and wolves.

In Norse mythology, the legends of Ulfhednar (an Old Norse term for a warrior with attributes parallel to those of a berserker, but with a lupine aspect rather than ursine; both terms refer to a special type of warrior capable of performing feats far beyond the abilities of normal people. Historically, this was attributed to possession by the spirit of an animal) mentioned in Haraldskvaeoi and the Volsunga saga may be a source of the werewolf myths. These were vicious fighters analogous to the better known berserker, dressed in wolf hides and said to channel the spirits of these animals, enhancing their own power and ferocity in battle; they were immune to pain and killed viciously in battle, like a wild animal. They are both closely associated with Odin.

In Latvian mythology, the Vilkacis was a person changed into a wolf-like monster, though the Vilkacis was occasionally beneficial.

A closely related set of myths are the skin-walkers. These myths probably have a common base in Proto-Indo-European society, where the class of young, unwed warriors were apparently associated with wolves.

Shape-shifters similar to werewolves are common in myths from all over the world, though most of them involve animal forms other than wolves.

In Greek mythology the story of Lycaon supplies one of the earliest examples of a werewolf legend. According to one form of it Lycaon was transformed into a wolf as a result of eating human flesh; one of those who were present at periodical sacrifice on Mount Lycaon was said to suffer a similar fate.

The Roman Pliny the Elder, quoting Euanthes, says that a man of Anthus’ family was selected by lot and brought to a lake in Arcadia, where he hung his clothing on an ash tree and swam across. This resulted in his being transformed into a wolf, and he wandered in this shape nine years. Then, if he had attacked no human being, he was at liberty to swim back and resume his former shape. Probably the two stories are identical, though we hear nothing of participation in the Lycaean sacrifice by the descendant of Antaeus.

Herodotus in his Histories tells us that the Neuri, a tribe he places to the north-east of Scythia were annually transformed for a few days, and Virgil is familiar with transformation of human beings into wolves. In the novel Satyricon, written about year 60 by Gaius Petronius, one of the characters recites a story about a man who turns into a wolf during a full moon.

There are women, so the Armenian belief runs, who in consequence of deadly sins are condemned to pass seven years in the form of a wolf. A spirit comes to such a woman and brings her a wolf’s skin. He orders her to put it on, and no sooner has she done this than the most frightful wolfish cravings make their appearance and soon get the upper hand. Her better nature conquered, she makes a meal of her own children, one by one, then of her relatives’ children according to the degree of relationship, and finally the children of strangers begin to fall as prey to her. She wanders forth only at night, and doors and locks spring open at her approach. When morning draws near she returns to human form and removes her wolf skin. In these cases the transformation was involuntary or virtually so. But side by side with this belief in involuntary metamorphosis, we find the belief that human beings can change themselves into animals at will and then resume their own form.

France in particular seems to have been infested with werewolves during the 16th century, and the consequent trials were very numerous. In some of the cases – e.g. those of the Gandillon family in the Jura, the tailor of Chalons and Roulet in Angers, all occurring in the year 1598 – there was clear evidence against the accused of murder and cannibalism, but none of association with wolves; in other cases, as that of Gilles Garnier in Dole in 1573, there was clear evidence against some wolf, but none against the accused.

Yet while this lycanthropy fever, both of suspectors and of suspected, was at its height, it was decided in the case of Jean Grenier at Bordeaux in 1603 that lycanthropy was nothing more than an insane delusion. From this time the loup-garou gradually ceased to be regarded as a dangerous heretic, and fell back into his pre-Christian position of being simply a “man-wolf-fiend”.

The lubins or lupins of France were usually female and shy in contrast to the aggressive loup-garous.

In Prussia, Livonia and Lithuania, according to the bishops Olaus Magnus and Majolus, the werwolves were in the 16th century far more destructive than “true and natural wolves”, and their heterodoxy appears from the Catholic bishops’ assertion that they formed “an accursed college” of those “desirous of innovations contrary to the divine law”.

The wolf was still extant in England in 1600, but had become extinct by 1680. At the beginning of the 17th century the punishment of witchcraft was still zealously prosecuted by James I of England, and that pious monarch regarded “warwoolfes” as victims of delusion induced by “a natural superabundance of melancholic”.

Many of the werewolves in European tradition were most innocent and God-fearing persons, who suffered through the witchcraft of others, or simply from an unhappy fate, and who as wolves behaved in a truly touching fashion, fawning upon and protecting their benefactors. In Marie de France’s poem Bisclaveret (c. 1200), the nobleman Bisclavret, for reasons not described in the lai, had to transform into a wolf every week. When his treacherous wife stole his clothing, needed to restore his human form, he escaped the king’s wolf hunt by imploring the king for mercy, and accompanied the king thereafter. His behavior at court was so gentle and harmless than when his wife and her new husband appeared at court, his attack on them was taken as evidence of reason to hate them, and the truth was revealed. Others of this sort were the hero of William and the Werewolf (translated from French into English about 1350), and the numerous princes and princesses, knights and ladies, who appear temporarily in beast form in the German fairy tales, or Marchen.

Indeed, the power of transforming others into wild beasts was attributed not only to malignant sorcerers, but also to Christian saints. Omnes angeli, boni et mali, ex virtute naturali habent potestatem transmutandi corpora nostra (“All angels, good and bad have the power of transmutating our bodies”) was the dictum of St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Patrick transformed Vereticus, a king in Wales, into a wolf; and St. Natalis cursed an illustrious Irish family with the result that each member of it was doomed to be a wolf for seven years. In other tales the divine agency is still more direct, while in Russia, again, men are supposed to become werewolves through incurring the wrath of the devil.

Some werewolf lore is based on documented events. The Beast of Gévaudan was a creature that reportedly terrorized the general area of the former province of Gévaudan, in today’s Lozère département, in the Margeride Mountains in south-central France, in the general timeframe of 1764 to 1767. It was often described as a giant wolf and was said to attack livestock and humans indiscriminately.

In the late 1990s, a string of man-eating wolf attacks were reported in Uttar Pradesh, India. Frightened people claimed, among other things, that the wolves were werewolves.

Beast of Gévaudan

One of the most perplexing cryptozoological mysteries of all time, the Beast of Gévaudan was a cow-sized, wolf-like monster which terrorized the district of Gévaudan (Lozère), France, from 1764 until 1767.

This tiny province, in the Margeride Mountains of south-central France, first became aware of the Beast in June, 1764. That month, a young woman was attacked by a large, wolf-like monster in the Forêt de Merçoire near Langogne. She was one of the few people who survived an encounter with la Bête, a creature which was, peculiarly, referred to in the feminine.

In October of that year, two hunters came across the Beast and shot at it from close range. The Beast was hit a total of four times, but it seemed relatively untouched. A Capt. Duhamel, who commanded nearly 60 soldiers, began his own hunt for La Bête, and on several occasions wounded it–but it was still not killed.

In 1765, King Louis XV himself sent an experienced wolf-hunter named Denneval to Gévaudan to kill the Beast. Before Denneval himself managed to track down the Beast, a man named de la Chaumette saw the Beast near his home, near St.-Chely. He and his two brothers went out to a pasture in hopes of killing the Beast. They shot it twice, but it still didn’t die.

In June, 1765, Denneval gave up his hunt. The previous month, King Louis sent out his chief gun-carrier, Antoine de Beauterne. On September 21, he launched a hunt in the Béal Ravine, near Pommier. He shot what he believed was the Beast. It was an extremely large wolf, 6 feet long. De Beauterne’s kill was preserved up until this century in the Museum of Natural History in Paris.

But the killings still continued. In the summer of 1767, hundreds of peasants made pilgrimages to Notre-Dame de Beaulieu Cathedral near Mount Chauvet to pray for deliverance from the creature, which was widely believed to be either punishment sent by God, or possibly a loup-garou (werewolf). One of the peasants who went to the cathedral was a hermit named Jean Chastel. He had his rifle and three bullets blessed.

On June 19, 1767, an area noble organized a huge hunt, with more than 300 participants. Chastel, at the Sogne d’Aubert, waited for the Beast to appear, praying all the while. When it appeared, he shot it. Finally, it died.

What was the Beast? The French peasants of the area believed it to be some sort of demon, but an English account from about the same time said the Beast was most likely a member of “a new species”, which they said was a hybrid of tiger and hyena. Learned men believed it to have been a wolverine, a bear, or even a baboon.