Wolves among us: Five real-life werewolves from history

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Dogman accusations weren’t solely unusual in Europe within the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Dogman and witch hysteria type of developed in tandem. Certainly, some individuals have been even accused of each. Such accusations, and the following confessions and executions, have been usually politically expedient. However generally the worry was completely warranted, whether or not the hazard lurked clad within the fur of a wolf or the garments of a person.

Right here, in celebration of Halloween, are 5 of essentially the most well-known werewolves from historical past.

Content material warning: Historical past was terrible. This text touches on homicide, mutilation, torture, incest and animal cruelty.

The Beast of Gévaudan

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seventeenth century woodcut depicting a hunt for the Beast of Gévauda.


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Within the 18th century, the previous French province of Gévaudan was terrorised by the so-called La Bête du Gévaudan (The Beast of Gévaudan). The Beast was first noticed by a girl tending cattle within the forest close to Langogne in June. Her bulls scared it off, however not lengthy after it attacked and killed a 14-year-old woman. Over the following months, sightings and assaults mounted.

Those that had seen the Beast described a big wolf with uncommon purple fur streaked with black. And it was prolific. In response to a 1980 examine, there have been 210 assaults in all, 113 of which have been deadly.

In 1765, King Louis XV decreed that the French state would assist slay the beast.

When the appointed skilled wolf hunters, Jean Charles Marc Antoine Vaumesle d’Enneval and his son Jean-François didn’t kill the Beast, the king despatched Lieutenant of the Hunt François Antoine as an alternative. Antoine slayed three immense gray wolves, but the assaults nonetheless continued.

It wasn’t till an area hunter named Jean Chastel shot a wolf on June 19, 1767 that the assaults have been declared over.

These days, it’s thought that the Beast of Gévaudan wasn’t a single wolf in any respect, however many particular person wolves. When France went on a wolf-killing rampage, these wolves have been slain, one after the other, till none have been left and the assaults abated. Not that killer wolves have been uncommon. In response to historian Jean-Marc Moriceau, some 7,600 individuals have been killed by wolves in France between 1362 and 1918.

The Livonian Dogman

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Dogman devouring youngsters, Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1512.


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Dogman confessions may very well be fairly peculiar. Take Thiess of Kaltenbrun. Dwelling in Swedish Livonia within the seventeenth century, Thiess was broadly believed amongst his neighbours to be a dogman who had dealings with the Satan.

Native authorities did not a lot care. In any case, Thiess was in his eighties. What hurt might he do with just a few tall tales? However once they introduced him in for questioning on an unrelated matter in 1691, he voluntarily started divulging particulars of his dogman life-style… though with many inconsistencies.

In response to his account, Thiess had given up lycanthropy 10 years previous to his look earlier than the judges in 1691. Earlier than that, he and different werewolves would turn into wolves on St Lucia’s Day, Pentecost and Midsummer Evening by donning magical wolf pelts (though he later modified his story and mentioned they simply stripped bare and became wolves).

They’d then maraud the countryside, killing livestock and cooking and consuming them (when requested how wolves cooked meat, he declared they have been nonetheless human, not wolves).

His story solely grew stranger. He claimed that werewolves have been the brokers of God, and would journey to hell to battle the Satan and his witches, bringing again grain and livestock the witches had stolen. Actually, he mentioned, he had performed so only one 12 months earlier, contradicting his earlier declare of getting renounced lycanthropy.

When it was revealed that Thiess was not a religious Lutheran, and certainly practised a type of folks magic involving charms and blessings, the judges ordered Thiess flogged and exiled. What occurred to the horrific chap after that’s unknown.

The Wolf of Ansbach

A wolf in Justice of the Peace’s clothes: 1685 woodcut of the wolf on show.


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In 1685, a wolf was terrorising and killing people within the city of Neuses within the Principality of Ansbach in what’s now Germany. This was commonplace, however the city’s chief Justice of the Peace Michale Leicht, had simply died. He was a merciless and unpopular man, and it was mentioned that the wolf visited Leicht’s residence, so it was solely a small leap for individuals to say the wolf was Leicht, returned as a dogman for his sins.

The wolf’s dying was not terribly eventful. The individuals organised a hunt and chased the wolf right into a properly and killed it. What they did with its physique is fairly macabre, although. They paraded it via the streets, then ready it for show. They lower off its muzzle, dressed it in human garments and positioned a wig on its head and a masks on its face, in order that it resembled Leicht. They then hung the physique from a gibbet so that everybody would possibly benefit from the sight.

After, a while, the wolf was faraway from the gibbet, and its corpse preserved and placed on everlasting show at an area museum. As a result of that is not bizarre or creepy in any respect.

The Dogman of Allariz

Extensively considered Spain’s first ever serial killer, Manuel Blanco Romasanta is uncommon for a dogman, working late within the mid-Nineteenth century.

Truly, Romasanta was an uncommon case in just a few methods. Born in 1809, he had been raised as a woman till in regards to the age of six, at which level docs found he was male. He grew up, married and labored as a tailor. When his spouse died in 1833, he took up the travelling salesman commerce, additionally guiding travellers round Spain and Portugal.

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Nonetheless from the 2004 movie “Romasanta,” starring Julian Sands as Manuel Blanco Romasanta.


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His first recognized homicide was Vicente Fernández, the constable of León. Fernández was discovered lifeless in 1844 after trying to gather a debt from Romasanta. Relatively than face the legislation, Romasanta fled to Portugal.

Throughout this time, he murdered a number of individuals who had employed him as a information. He was not a crafty man. Romasanta was observed promoting their garments, and rumours began to flow into that he was promoting cleaning soap made with human fats. A criticism was lodged and Romasanta was arrested.

He confessed to 13 murders, however right here is the place it will get wolfish. He mentioned he had been cursed with lycanthropy. However upon being requested to exhibit his transformation skills, Romasanta declared that the curse had handed and he was not .

He was truly acquitted of 4 of the deaths. These, forensic examination discovered, had been dedicated by actual wolves. Nevertheless, he was discovered responsible of the remaining. A phrenological examination of Romasanta by docs decided that he had invented his “curse”, and he was sentenced to dying. This was commuted to life imprisonment on the request of a French hypnotist, who believed that Romasanta was struggling a delusion and petitioned a keep of execution in order that he would possibly examine the person.

An 1863 newspaper reported that Romasanta handed away that 12 months in jail from abdomen most cancers.

The Dogman of Bedburg

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Composite woodcut by artist Lukas Mayer depicting the occasions of Stumpp’s torture and execution.


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One of the vital well-known dogman circumstances is Peter Stumpp, a rich farmer accused of being a serial assassin, cannibal and dogman in Rhineland in 1589.

Within the years previous Stumpp’s arrest, the nation city of Bedburg had been plagued with horrors. It began with lifeless and mutilated cattle, however our bodies of townsfolk have been additionally quickly discovered within the fields. Initially, it was thought {that a} wolf or wolves have been attacking, however the creatures evaded seize. Lastly, in 1589, a looking get together managed to nook the wolf with its hounds. When the people approached, they noticed, in keeping with studies, not a wolf in any respect. As an alternative, the hounds had cornered Stumpp.

Probably the most damning piece of proof was that Stumpp’s left hand had been lopped off. The wolf had had its left forepaw lower off. Since wolf and man had the identical damage, wolf and man have to be one and the identical.

Stumpp confessed, however it’s a questionable confession at finest. He had been subjected to torture, together with the rack. He mentioned he’d made a pact with the satan when he was 12. He had been given a magic belt which allowed him to show right into a wolf. He confessed to killing 14 youngsters and a couple of pregnant girls. He ate of their flesh and ravished their our bodies. He killed his personal son, and had a sexual relationship together with his personal daughter.

He was sentenced to die in essentially the most terrible method. He was fastened to a breaking wheel, and had flesh torn from his physique with red-hot pincers. His limbs have been damaged with the blunt aspect of an axe so he may not rise from the grave. Lastly, he was beheaded. His head was positioned on a pole with the figures of a breaking wheel and a wolf on it, as a warning to others.

His daughter and mistress have been additionally flayed, strangled and burned.

It isn’t recognized whether or not the crimes have been really dedicated by Stumpp. On the time, the area was deeply affected by the Cologne Warfare. Stumpp was a Protestant convert, and the area had been seized by the Catholics in 1857. His dying was to the Catholics’ benefit, as his appreciable wealth would fall to them. As well as, Stumpp’s dying might have served as a powerful warning to different Protestants.

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