Not long before the French Revolution a mysterious 'beast' was responsible for a huge number of bloody attacks in Margeride, in Haut Gévaudan and in Haute Auvergne. Between 1764 and 1767, a hundred or so women and children - boys and girls - were set upon and killed, often while watching over their animals.
This savage creature is not itself a matter of legend - its atrocities are reliably documented. However there are so many mysterious aspects to the case that it has proved a fertile ground for the most extraordinary tales. Was it a hyena, or an unusual breed of wolf, trained by a sorcerer? Was it a werewolf? Or a psychopath with a craving for blood? Was it an animal entirely alien to the region - a tigron (a cross between a tiger and a lion), a lynx, a wolverine, a baboon ....?
Sorting fact from fiction, and setting the events in their true context, the author (who is a native of the area where the beast was active - Aumont and Lozère - and who has already demonstrated his credentials as a historian with 'Ce tant rude Gévaudan') throws a good deal of light on this sombre incident. This allows the reader to draw sensible conclusions on the basis of informed opinion.
Attractively presented, with an abundance of well-chosen illustrations, this is an enthralling book.
Year of publication of the presented edition : 1987
Editor : Published by the author
The author :
Félix Buffière (1914-2004) was a writer, professor of Greek language at the Catholic Institute of Toulouse. He was a Hellenist, a world-renowned Homer specialist. He signed with his surname as well as the pseudonym Jean-Philippe Aniel scholarly works on the Greek world and editions and translations of Greek authors. Under his surname, he published works on Gévaudan.