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Big Bad Voodoo

France’s Beast of Gévaudan

69 posts in this topic

I think I inherited some bad genes.

And I am not proud of it, not at all.

But I am glad ......... they made me a fighter.

I don't buy superstitious crap.

===

And yes, I am sorry if I offended anyone.

Sorry, but not truelly.

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This beast is as unique as Okapi is. It's a canine beast with feline-like proportions (such animals existed during Prehistoric times). Pliny the Elder who is a quite reliable source refers to it as Leucrotta or Crocotta, that it looks like a cross between a hyena and a lioness and is able to mimick human speech just like Margay's cat does when trying to attract capuchin monkeys. Don't know if the beast is a French native but I found some reference of it coming from the Middle East (Turkey and Lebanon) :

From a Roman poet, Oppian of Apamea :

The third species inhabits the mountains of Taurus and Cilicia—an animal superior to the race of wolves, named the Golden, of prodigious strength, and able to resist the unspent brass and the pointed iron. He dreads the rising of the dog-star,and during the prevalence of its heat, lies concealed in his shady cavern. (Cynegetica, Book Third)

Comment from a forum posted in 2006 :

I was in the Middle East (Lebanon) a year ago and heard a story about some animal attaking cattle and people. They called it sheeb. After laughing at everybody who mentioned the story of the sheeb, "something" attaked a person I knew very well. People descibed the animal/beast as a very large animal (almost as big as a tiger), and that looks like a huge wolf with tiger traits. They said it was very smart and hard to hunt. After 6 months of terror, they were able to kill it, but I did not get to see it (I had left the country).

I did some research and discovered in an Arabic Encyclopedia that a Sheeb is a cross between a wolf and a hyena. It is described as a very aggressive animal, stronger than a wolf and smarter than a hyena. It is said that the cross is very rare and hard to replicate. The similarities between what is described in this forum and the pictures of La Bete make me believe that it must be the same animal.

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Thanks for posting a fascinating link. Their are some accounts from 18th century of Dire Wolves in the Carpathian mountains. Dire Wolves are believed to have gone extinct after the last ice age ( everyone say Coelacanth ) The description of this beast in Gévaudan sounds very much like a Dire .

wolf-skullcomp.jpg?w=640

250px-Canis_dirus_La_Brea.jpg

6dire-wolf-labrea2005.jpg

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I'm resurrecting this thread, as I thoroughly love this subject.

The Beast was not a dire, nor in my opinion any other cryptid or extinct predator.

Information on the Beast in English is scarce, but in Europe - France, more specifically - it's all there for those who wanna read up on it. Two "Beasts" were slain. One by Antoine De Beauterne, arguably not the real Beast but rather a large wolf (it was killed in a neighboring area, to boot, some ways off from the depredations of our La Bete), and then the true Beast, shot in the neck by Jean Chastel and finished off by hunting dogs. A fellow named Marin conducted the autopsy, who also performed the autopsy on Beauterene's Beast. He was inconclusive as to its true identity, but did determine that it was definitely canine, and in his opinion was a wolf-dog hybrid of unknown breed. The full measurements of this Beast are available on the web. Marin based his wolf-dog opinion based on the size of the head, the presence of a white, heart-shaped patch of fur on its chest (common in dogs, not in wolves), a long tail, and unusually long claws. These traits manifest in wolf-dog hybrids, and hybrids are known to be larger than wolves and behave unpredictably. One could easily become a maneater.

The Wolf of Sarlat, as well as the Wolves of Périgord, are known to be wolf-dog hybrids who terrorized France in the same decade as the Beast of Gevaudan.

But the Beast of Gevaudan stands out. It wasn't like these other maneaters. It survived Duhamel and his dragoons, the great wolf-hunter Deneval, and left countless dead bodies in its wake. It fought ravenously against armed peasantry - men even, at times - and withstood, on ocassion, being shot at extremely close range while taking only minimal damage. Additionally, the Beast was able to rend off limbs with ease, and one of its trademarks was the decapitation of its victims. Neither a wolf nor a dog has that level of bite force... only a hyena does.

Which leads us to the hyena theory. It being a hyena contradicts aspects of the Marin report such as the dentition and the white patch of fur on the chest. Hyenas have 34 teeth while wolves have 42. The Beast had, I believe, 40 (I may be wrong, been a while since I read the report). That aside, hyenas lack dewclaws, and there was no mention of dewclaws being present in the autopsy. The black stripe down the back that was the most established, well known feature of the Beast is easily attributable to the Striped Hyena. No dog or wolf would have that. Moreover, Hyena proportions are consistent with the measurements in the report. The Beast was said to have made noises reminescent of a demonic laugh, or a neighing horse. Hyenas laugh, don't they? During one attack on a mother protecting her children from the Beast, a local farm-dog came to the rescue anda took a bite into its neck. What happened next? The farm dog whimpered and ran off. Why would this happen? Hyenas emit a rancid odor out their ass not unlike a skunk when threatened. To top it all off, the Museum of History in Paris, France has a log archiving the submission of "The Beast of Gevaudan" in 1766 at the time when Chastel's Beast was slain, which their personal taxidermists positively identified as a Striped Hyena.

20083304.JPG

With the exception of the white patch on the chest, it's a match.

What do I think it was? I'm not sure.

I'm split 50/50 on either wolf-dog or hyena.

If it was a wolf-dog, I believe its mother was a wolf and its father was either an Irish Wolfhound or a Dogue de Bordeaux. I'm more partial to the Dogue theory. And it was probably armed in boar hide as was customary for 17th and 18th century war-dogs. This would explain its resiliency to gunshots. It would also account for the black stripe on its back (characteristic of boars). Something like this:

gevaudan1.jpg

If it was a Hyena, it was loosed from a menagerie. But whose? Probably Count de Moranges, who throughout the reign of La Bete, pranced around Gevaudan organizing hunts against it and proclaiming that it WAS a hyena. He was the premiere aristocrat in Gevaudan, and he had associations with the Chastels. The Chastels are highly culpable suspects in involvement with the Beast. Antoine de Chastel, son of Jean Chastel (who shot the Beast), was for a time employed by the Count as a caretaker in his menagerie of exotic animals. The Chastel family were avid dog-trainers and wolf-hunters who had an affinity for the wilds and who lived on the fringes of society. They even got in a clash with Antoine de Beauterne's men during the course of a hunt, and were subsequently thrown in jail. And you know what happened, then? The killings suddenly stopped, that is up until they were released again...

Jean Chastel only took action and killed the Beast when it nearly took the life of his woman. And it took him all of about a week to do what France's best couldn't accomplish in years. The Beast walked right up to him during a hunt, stood there subordinately and he shot it. Seems fishy, doesn't it?

I have another theory that it was an African Hunting Dog, the Lycaon. They actually fit the bill to a T. The Lycaon measures up exactly to the autopsy proportions, /would/ have the white patch, makes the bizarre noises La Bete reportedly made, has red eyes as recorded in the autopsy, has four toes without dewclaws, has 42 teeth like a wolf, is known to have a short, compact rib-cage like in the autopsy to enable faster turning, and some have the black stripe on the nape. The African Hunting dog is really the best match, but they tend to range on the small side. However, well nourished they can reach the size of the Beast. The Lycaon, like the hyena would have been accessible by the Chastels in a menagerie. And let's examine the way La Bete killed: Wagged its tail during attacks, and ate its victims alive. The African Hunting Dog does these things! I have a video of a lone African Hunting Dog bringing down an Impala and devouring it alive, if anyone wants a gander. It's very brutal, and the whole time, the dog is prancing around excitedly wagging its tail. Ya, so did the Beast of Gevaudan.

lycaon11.jpg

Note the black stripe beginning on the head (in this particular Lycaon, it's not as prominent as in others), the heart-shaped patch of white on the chest, the mottled fur color (this was noted in the Marin report), the white tipped tail (also a characteristic of La Bete, which would not be found in wolves, dogs or hyenas), and the fact that its hind legs are longer than its forelimbs. This was also characteristic of the Beast.

So what was it?

Wolf, Wolf-Dog Hybrid, Hyena or Lycaon? Bleh. There's just so many contradictions, a solid conclusion is ultimately impossible.

It was simply a Beast.

Edited by La Bete Feroce

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I wonder what happened to the beast's remains?

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If the Beast had really 40 teeth like you said, then you can put away the Wolf-dog hybrid hypothesis, because one of the best way to identify an animal is to look at its dentition. Besides an anonymous author of the 18th century named it with the genus Lycopardus, which translates as "Panther-Wolf", consistent with what I mentioned before. There was an extinct group of canid called Hemicyonid whose members quite fit the bill IMO given that they were described to show tiger-like proportions and dog-like teeth !

Edited by Thegreatsilence

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I have personaly gotten to interact with wolf-dog hybrids, Not all of them are aggressive. Their characteristics are determined by both parents, so it's possible that the wolf-dog hybrid that your grandfather owned could have an ancestry that contains a bloodline from a domestic dog known for violence. That's why most breeders don't use pitbulls and the such, normaly they use german shephereds and malimutes.

As a side note to this, dogs tend to take on the personalities of their owners. If the owner is angry and violent, the dog will be too. Pit bulls have a bad rap but they are one of the most loving & protective breeds. It's the morons who kick, hit & yell at them that cause them to become aggressive and give the breed a bad name.
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As a side note to this, dogs tend to take on the personalities of their owners. If the owner is angry and violent, the dog will be too. Pit bulls have a bad rap but they are one of the most loving & protective breeds. It's the morons who kick, hit & yell at them that cause them to become aggressive and give the breed a bad name.

Bang on there, Ive met jack russels that are far more savage than any pit bull. Its all to do with the upbringing imo.

Edit: Random small font size.

Edited by WGH
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@ TheGreatSilence, I've heard the bear dog theory but I don't feel it fits. The entire ordeal wreaks of human involvement, from the pattern of attacks based on date and location, to the lull in killings during the Chastels' imprisonment, and up to the very death of the Beast itself. This suggests a known animal capable of being trained to kill. For me, this whittles down the options to either a hyena or wolf-dog hybrid. The Marin report supports wolf-dog, while the museum of history in Paris claims that they did in fact receive the body in 1766, and identified it as a striped hyena. So you have two reputable sources conflicting with one another... Now, we do however know that the Beast had a mate who was present at several attacks. The chances of two hyenas is slim, but a large wolf-dog could have a female wolf for a companion.

Edited by La Bete Feroce

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IMO I think Chastel was used as a scapegoat because he owned a red-coloured mastiff. Now the Beast was mostly described with this color. And a mastiff is not an agile animal.

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The way the people in the 18th century depicted the Beast did not resemble a hyena or an African wild dog.

I also have serious doubts it was a still living member of the tens of millions extinct Hemicyonids. There would have to be a breeding population for that to be possible.

I am convinced it was either a large wolf, or a wolf-dog hybrid.

Raise such a hybrid like my grandfather did, and you will create a true monster, like AshenPhoenix suggested.

Wolf-dog hybrids already have conflicting instincts, and they need a strong, determined, mentally stable, patient, NON-agressive, NON-violent and steady person to raise them.

Gevaudan_Beast.jpg

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Just for extra, lol:

I think it was 78' or 79' of the past century when I was on a holiday in southern France. At some moment I wanted to buy a souvenir, entered a small shop and wandered around to find something nice.

Then my eyes fell on this wallet which had - I thought - the image of a dog on it:

Wallet.jpg

Wallet2.jpg

Years later I found out it this wasn't just some dog, but that it was the "Beast of Gévaudan". The village I had visited (forgot the name) was a stone's throw away from Gévaudan.

Someone was interested in my wallet: I finally found the name of the village where I bought it, 35 years ago: Saint Flour.

It's very close to (in fact just outside and north of) the department of Gévaudan, or Lozère as it is called nowadays.

Looks like a place many tourists will visit before they set out to the Lozère department on their quest for the Beast of Gévaudan.

+++

EDIT:

Another thing: it wasn't 78 or 79 of the past century I was there, it was August 1977... two months after my father had died of cancer. The holiday had been planned long before, and we (my brother, his wife and I) went anyway because we really needed a break from all the stress and sorrow.

EDIT:

It just now dawned on me.... I have mentioned my father in this thread and the 'doggy' he once got when he was a kid. And two months after he died i bought some stupid souvenir that had a depiction of a vicious wolf-dog hybrid.

.

Edited by Abramelin

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That third picture is of Antoine De Beauterne's kill, which was most definitely a wolf, albeit a large and impressive one. Whether or not it was involved in any of the attacks whatsoever is a point of contention; he killed it in a neighboring area a ways off from Gevaudan, once the Chastel family had been imprisoned and the killings had stopped. He probably figured the real Beast had died of natural causes or some ****, and so therefore bagged the biggest ****in' wolf he could find and ran back to Paris with it to collect the bounty. And it worked. Well, wrong wolf, dip****. The Chastels got out, and the killings resumed with full force all over again, but as far as France was concerned the Beast was dead and the media lost interest on reporting new attacks.

I'll post a few pictures that do highlight hyena characteristics:

tumblr_m8pdhqMaTf1rwpzb0o1_500.jpg

werewolf-2a3.jpg

2119213_f260.jpg

tumblr_m6fiq8ARXH1r6ti0go2_500.jpg

beast_jouve.jpg

What it says: “The furious beast that is supposed to be a hyena.” The text tells of two peasants who were made into national heroes for fighting the beast—a twelve-year-old boy who led an attack on the creature on January 12, 1765, and a mother who managed to wrest her six-year-old son, still living, away from the beast on March 12, 1765. (The child later died of his injuries.)

Bestie_von_G%C3%A9vaudan6.jpg

The creature's death caused understandable jubilation in the afflicted peasant communities. The hunters who had run it down paraded its putrefying remains through the region for the next two weeks before delivering it to the royal court in Versailles. By this time it stank so badly that the king ordered it to be disposed of immediately. Buried in an unknown location, the remains have never been recovered, sparking more than two centuries of speculation about the creature's identity.

In 1960, after studying a notary report prepared by two surgeons who had examined the carcass in the 1700s, one authority determined that the creature's teeth were purely wolflike. But during the summer of 1997, discussion of the fur of the Beast of Gevaudan resurfaced. Franz Jullien, a taxidermist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, discovered that a stuffed specimen similar to the Beast of Gevaudan that had been shot by Jean Chastel had been kept in the collections of the museum from 1766 to 1819. It had been definitely identified, a fact that all researchers had overlooked. It was a striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena).

Novelist Henri Pourrat and naturalist Gerard Menatory had already proposed the hyena hypothesis, based on historical accounts, since Ancaine Chastel (Jean Chastel's son) reportedly possessed such an animal in his menagerie, a hypothesis now supported by a zoologist's identification. While Jullien's rediscovery must be congratulated, questions remain about the role of the Chastels as creators of a false story involving an escaped hyena in order to cover the rumors of one of the Chastels being a serial killer.

What do I think? I like the wolf-dog theory. I think it fits. I think it is plausible with or without human culpability. But since when can wolf-dogs rend people limb from limb and decapitate them? Since when do wolf-dogs make laughing noises? Since when do wolf-dogs have black stripes on their backs, stripes and spots? Why were wolf-hounds bred and trained to kill wolves afraid to tangle with the Beast, and ended up battered and beaten on the few times that they did? The Wolf-Dog theory has holes in it. That's why this **** is so perplexing to this day.

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There was a very nice documentary on this a while ago on NatGeo .. IMO it was the Chupacabra ;)

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It was a History channel documentary, and although I seriously loathe their monster quest approach to it, they did arrive at the hyena conclusion based on the damage output of the Beast, the trainability and intelligence of hyenas, and the archive of a hyena being logged into the Natural Museum of History in Paris in 1766 as the Beast of Gevaudan.

Edited by La Bete Feroce
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it wasnt a dog, it wasnt a wolf, it wasnt a hyena. it was a beast!!!

it was a beast that comes straight from hell. its a helldog!

okay, jokes aside,

i remember there was a story from thailand/china/japanese, i forgot, but there is a hog thats as big as a rhino and been killing villagers and even been worshipped as sacred.

so dont underestimate a wolf, beast of gevaudan can be an overgrown wolf.

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it wasnt a dog, it wasnt a wolf, it wasnt a hyena. it was a beast!!!

it was a beast that comes straight from hell. its a helldog!

okay, jokes aside,

i remember there was a story from thailand/china/japanese, i forgot, but there is a hog thats as big as a rhino and been killing villagers and even been worshipped as sacred.

so dont underestimate a wolf, beast of gevaudan can be an overgrown wolf.

Or it could have just simply been a wolf.

Folks forget that wolf predation against humans in Europe was a fairly common occurrence back in those days.

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I've presented an enormity of evidence conclusively obliterating the idea that the Beast was an ordinary wolf. It wasn't a wolf and that's a fact. Many of the confirmed "wolf" man-eaters in Europe had features suggesting wolf-dog hybridization, identified after they were killed. The Wolves of Périgord and the Wolf of Sarlat, which acted concurrent to the Beast of Gevaudan's depredations in nearby regions, were wolf-dog hybrids. Natural, 100% wolves tend to shy away from humans. It's the hybrids that stir the pot. Yes, wolf predation and aggression on humans was more intensified in earlier centures, but usually this coincided with times of war, when the wolves would scavenge the battlefields to devour the dead, in turn giving them a taste for human flesh. There was no such time of warfare prior to the events in Gevaudan in the 1770s. The Marin report, that is, the actual autopsy of the Beast, POSITIVELY identified that it was /not/ an ordinary wolf. I will quote it:

"... we did represent this animal that we appeared to be a wolf." But extraordinary and quite different by its figure and proportions of the wolves that are seen in this country. It is what we have certified more than three hundred connaisseuses people we have actually pointed that this animal has resemblance to Wolf by the tail and behind his head as described by the following proportions, is monstrous! His eyes have a membrane singular which starts from the lower part of the orbit from to le gre de animal cover the globe of the eye. His neck is covered with a very thick hair a reddish grey crossed a few black bands; there on the chest a large white mark shaped heart, its paws have four toes armed with large nails (1) which extend much more those of ordinary wolves, they have as well as the legs, that its very large, especially those front, the color of those of the deer, it we published a remarkable observation because in the opinion of these same hunterspeople connaisseuses and all hunters it has never seen the Wolves of the same colors. It still appeared about to observe that his side do not resemble those of the Wolf which gave this animal freedom to turn easily, rather than the sides of the wolves being obliquely asked do not allow them this facility.
"The upper jaw is lined with six incisors teeth." The sixth being longer than the others: two large straps or hooks away from the incisors and the height of one inch four lines with a diameter of six lines: three molars with a pretty small and two large, a fourth larger than the others and that molar almost joined the fifth and penultimate that is divided into two parts which one extends out perpendicular and the other lengthens horizontally in the Interior of the Palace, and finally a molar sixth. The lower jaw is lined with twenty-two teeth, namely six incisors, and on each side a strap similar to the superior, seven molars, the first very small and far away from the thong, the following three are larger and similar to the 2 ° and 3 ° molar upper, the fifth big and long is divided into three parts, of which the anterior is shorter", the sixth pretty large has two eminences anterior and lateral, the seventh is very small (1) and almost equal."(....) "
-"Mr of the M ** (+) fit review." He observed that the head was monstrous, a shape square, much wider and longer than that of ordinary wolves, the snout is a little obtuse, straight and wide ears at their base, black eyes and covered with a membrane projecting very singular.

It was an extension of the lower muscles of the eye. These membranes were used to cover him at will 2 orbits, is falling and slipping under the eyelids.

Opening of the hangover was very large, incisive teeth similar to those of a dog, the tight, uneven, teeth pass very wide and short, topped with a hair rough, extremely long and bushy, with black transverse band down to shoulders, the train from behind quite a wolf-like, except the huge size, the legs of front shorter than those from behindmore levrettées than those of a regular Wolf, covered, as well as the front of the head of a fawn, ras and smooth hair, specifically the color of those of a deer, the hair of the body strong thick and long, a mottled grayish color of black.

"The animal was on the chest a large white spot in the perfect shape of a heart." (...)

"We took the resolution of the décharner to keep his skeleton". (...)

What we noticed with astonishment, is the head. After raising the common integument, we saw a bone Ridge that was beginning to the occipital bone. She had about 15 lines of height and ended marginally on the front end, always decreasing. We removed a mass of muscular flesh weighing more than 6 pounds which covered the parietals.

These muscles were completing their lower jaw and eye sockets."When all of these fleshy parts were removed, this head, so monstrous in the natural state, offered only a bone box a little bigger than the fist." (...)

of Langeac, this July 6, 1767

The autopsy is describing the result of wolf-dog hybridization. It had canine dentition. The lower body resembled a wolf, the front resembled a dog. Its rib cage was different than a wolf's. Its coloring was different than a wolf's. It had a squarish, more box-like head resembling a dog but an elongated snout, reminiscent of a greyhound or, in my opinion, a Charnaigre. A Charnaigre was a European hunting dog around during the time of these events. They were incredibly fast, agile, and could leap astounding distances.They pretty much disappeared around the 19th century. Here is a picture:

Charnaigre.JPG

And here is La Bete du Gevaudan, the ferocious Beast.

la_b%C3%AAte_gevaudan_color.jpg

See the resemblance?

The Beast was NOT a wolf. Fact. Autopsy proves that. Now which do you trust, the Marin Report suggesting a wolf-dog, or the Natural Museum of History in Paris which has a log of receiving the body of the Beast of Gevaudan in 1766, and that they identified it as a Striped Hyena? That's up to you.

It was either a.) a wolf-dog hybrid

or b.) a striped hyena.

Simple as that.

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I'm not suggesting that it was w werewolf, but has anyone ever taken the dates of the attacks and compared it to the lunar cycles at that time to see if the attacks fell on or near Full Moons?

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I wonder what happened to the beast's remains?

The carcass went on display and began to stink horribly due to poor taxidermy methods. So it was buried in a location which is unknown to today.

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So its bones must be buried somewhere then. There must be a record of the location in some archive somewhere.

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Beneath one of the gardens of Versailles !

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Any info on that?

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That third picture is of Antoine De Beauterne's kill, which was most definitely a wolf, albeit a large and impressive one. Whether or not it was involved in any of the attacks whatsoever is a point of contention; he killed it in a neighboring area a ways off from Gevaudan, once the Chastel family had been imprisoned and the killings had stopped. He probably figured the real Beast had died of natural causes or some ****, and so therefore bagged the biggest ****in' wolf he could find and ran back to Paris with it to collect the bounty. And it worked. Well, wrong wolf, dip****. The Chastels got out, and the killings resumed with full force all over again, but as far as France was concerned the Beast was dead and the media lost interest on reporting new attacks.

I'll post a few pictures that do highlight hyena characteristics:

tumblr_m8pdhqMaTf1rwpzb0o1_500.jpg

werewolf-2a3.jpg

2119213_f260.jpg

tumblr_m6fiq8ARXH1r6ti0go2_500.jpg

beast_jouve.jpg

What it says: “The furious beast that is supposed to be a hyena.” The text tells of two peasants who were made into national heroes for fighting the beast—a twelve-year-old boy who led an attack on the creature on January 12, 1765, and a mother who managed to wrest her six-year-old son, still living, away from the beast on March 12, 1765. (The child later died of his injuries.)

Bestie_von_G%C3%A9vaudan6.jpg

What do I think? I like the wolf-dog theory. I think it fits. I think it is plausible with or without human culpability. But since when can wolf-dogs rend people limb from limb and decapitate them? Since when do wolf-dogs make laughing noises? Since when do wolf-dogs have black stripes on their backs, stripes and spots? Why were wolf-hounds bred and trained to kill wolves afraid to tangle with the Beast, and ended up battered and beaten on the few times that they did? The Wolf-Dog theory has holes in it. That's why this **** is so perplexing to this day.

The spots and stripes could have come from the dog parent (Dalmatian?).

Not every wolf-dog hybrid is huge, but this one may have been, and if it was at least as vicious and huge as the one my grandfather raised, it could have been able to decapitate its victims. I posted earlier that the dog of my grandfather/father killed cows, and ripped them apart. This was not your average doggy.

The laughing sounds: wolves are quite vocal animals and different from dogs, and god knows how a badly raised hybrid sounds like.

Not saying it could not have been a hyena (it seems very plausible to me), but one thing a spotted hyena does not have is a long tail.

Tanzania%20-%20Ngorongoro%20-%20Hyena.jpg

.

Edited by Abramelin

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