Show Notes: The Beast of Gévaudan

Tracy Wilson

An engraving of the Beast. Bibliothèque nationale de France

Nowadays, programs to reintroduce or protect wolves in the United States (and probably elsewhere) stress the idea that healthy wolves do not generally attack human beings. But that was absolutely untrue in early modern Europe, when attacks by both rabid and apparently healthy wolves were common enough that jobs like shepherding were considered to be inherently risky. Wolf attacks were so frequent that it took weeks of injuries and deaths - with almost all the victims being women and children at work outdoors - before the people of the Gévaudan in the south of France realized something horrifying was going on. Between 1764 and 1767, 80 and 113 people died after being bitten, mauled and sometimes partially eaten.

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Episode link: The Beast of Gévaudan

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