Between 1764 and 1767, in the old province of Gévaudan, a mysterious beast spreads terror killing more than a hundred women, children and adolescents. The fierce beast thwarts all traps. The farmers organize; to whom will be able to destroy the beast, the King promises the honors ; the mighty compete for the task. Nothing works until the hunter Jean Chastel shoots down the monster. The putrefied beast is shown to the King who terrified by the foul-smell, orders that the beast be buried, without examining it. Since then, the mystery remains.
What was really "the Beast"?
A family of flesh-eating wolves, a ferocious animal who came from a distant place far from Europe? Or perhaps the results of a crossing between a wolf and a dog, raised and manipulated by perverts? A multitude of books were published, offering the most fantastic theories. The book written and edited in 1889 by Father Pourcher was the oldest. It is also the most complete.
Nowhere to be found for years, it is considered to be by the specialists and all "enthusiasts of the beast" as the inescapable on the question. Pourcher assembled all documents of the era relating to the case.
Through all the pieces that he digged up, we are able to live again the bloody epic: the attacks from the beast, the reports from the witnesses, the heroic acts performed against her (but also the lowness of those who have not seen the beast seeking only the rewards); the hunts conducted by the King's dragons and the hunters who came from everywhere. We can also guess the terrible place the beast took in the imagination of the inhabitants of Gévaudan.
Father Pourcher (1831-1915), priest of the village of Saint-Martin-de-Boubaux in the Cévennes, was the first one to print the book in 1889, using a press he acquired and printing-characters that he carved himself in box wood.
Year of publication of the original edition : 1889 by the abbot Pourcher.
Year of publication of the presented edition : 2006
Editor : Jeanne laffitte
The author :
Pierre Pourcher (1831-1915) was born in Mazet de Jullianges in the north of Lozère. He was parish priest of Saint-Martin de Boubaux, local scholar and famous historian of the 19th century who wrote several historical works on Lozère, in particular on the beast of Gévaudan.
• Priest of the Diocese of Mende (ordained in 1865), diocesan archivist (1900-1910)
• Parish priest of Saint-Martin de Boubaux, Lozère (1872-1900).