Two hundred and fifty years ago, from June 1746 to June 1767, a savage and unknown beast raged in Gévaudan and the edge of southern Auvergne, killing around eighty people, women and children, and wounding at least as many, terrorizing the local population. This story had a major impact at the time, the press spreading and popularizing it while the clergy and government also got involved. Since the 20th century, the mystery has focused on the nature of the beast and numerous contradictory theories have emerged.
By placing the story of the beast within the context of French history, by presenting information based on contemporary facts judged reliable, by expanding documentary sources to includes hunting techniques at the end of the 18th century, and by comparing this affair to other cases of predatory beasts up to today, the goal of this book is to propose a theory that can solve the mystery.
Illustrated with many graphics and maps, this book begins by tracing the story of the beast from several vantage points: historical context, the attacks, the hunts, the reaction of the public, and the wounded.
Then, the author proceeds to a methodical analysis of the enigma in order to propose, in accordance with the facts, an answer to the following questions: “What was the beast?” and “Where did it come from?”
Year of publication of the presented edition : 2022 (January, 13) (305 pages)
Editor : Les trois colonnes
The author :
Xavier Paul was born in Pas-de-Calais, quite far from Gévaudan. For more than twenty years, he has spent most of his free time in Haute-Loire near Saugues in the house of his wife Marie-Christine. He was therefore able to discover and fall in love with this region. Curious, methodical, passionate about history, he became interested in the affair of the beast, intrigued and surprised by the diversity of theories surrounding it. When he retired, and because there cannot be multiple truths, the author wanted to forgo prejudices in order to deepen his understanding and present his analysis.