WereWolves-Werewolves’ case

Werewolves’ case

As centuries passed there arrived a point when fanciful stories told to amuse people were replaced by real incidents and real suffering. Suddenly tales such as Stubbe’s started to emerge. It was as if people believed that werewolves were every where. The trial records on lycanthropy revealed an epidemic cases.

In France alone, between 1520 and 1630, some 30.000 individuals had the misfortune to be labeled

werewolves, many of them underwent criminal
investigation and torture, confessed, and suffered a vile death at the stake. For those who escaped such a fate, the trauma of interrogation must have left lifetime scars. Here is collection of some French werewolf trials which have been recorded.

The case of Pierre Burgot and Michel Verdun

The trial of two French peasants in 1521 got wide spread notoriety. Pierre Burgot and Michel Verdum were the convicted werewolves. Nineteen years ago when Burgot was desperately trying to gather his storm frightened sheep, he met with three mysterious black dressed horsemen. One of them assured him the future protection of his sheep and gave him some money as well. In return the stranger just wanted Burgot to obey him as the Lord. Accepting the proposal Burgot agreed to meet again. In the second meeting the so-called Lord announced the full conditions of the deal: Burgot must renounce God, the Holy Virgin, the Company of Heaven, his baptism and also his confirmation. 

As year passed Burgot became reluctant to maintain the pact. Then he was called by Michel Verdum. Verdum demanded him to strip naked and rub a magic ointment on his body. When Burgot obeyed the order, he found his arms and legs had become hairy, his hands reshaped into paws. Verdum changed his shape too and together they ran through the surrounding countryside. They committed various awful crimes. They tore to pieces a seven-year-old boy, killed a woman and abducted a four-year-old girl. The unfortunate girl was fully eaten up by two of them. When they were caught they were duly put to death. Their picture was hung in the local church as a reminder of all the evil deeds that men could commit under the influence of Satan. 


Gilles Garnier, “the hermit of Dole,”

ycanthrope trials increased in the following years. In 1573 werewolf attacks became more apparent. After finding several half-eaten children the authorities of the town Dôle in Frenche-Comté province put a price on werewolves’ head. Two months after the injunction, an alleged werewolf named Gillas Garner was arrested. His victims were nine to twelve-year-old children. He slew them with his paws and teeth. To satisfy his appetite, he ate flesh from their thigh, legs and belly. The story of his crimes and sentencing him to death still survive and have become a folk song. 


Werewolf of Caude

After an interval for a few years the werewolf menace rose again in 1584.This time two alleged werewolves, Pierre Gandillon and his son George were apprehended. They were accused for having murdered and eaten numerous youngsters under the narcotic influence of the salve with which they rubbed their bodies. Again in 1598 Jacques Rollet was tried for killing and eating a boy of fifteen. He was known as the werewolf of Caude. When he was found in the woods, he was half-naked with long matted hair and blood covered hands. He was still holding a lump of flesh. At his trial he described how he had slaughtered various people, including a number of Attorneys, lawyers and bailiffs. Though he was sentenced to death he was later sent to a madhouse. Strangely he stayed there for only two years.


The Tailor

Among other werewolf cases, the story of a tailor stands out for its peculiarity. The alleged werewolf would hide in the forests and lie in wait for a passerby. Whenever he could get a chance, he jumped out and killed the ill-fated man. He had a shop and used it as to bait children. He tempted them into his shop, and then killed them. In his cellars he stored their meat like butchers.Some barrels were used to stack up bones and “other foul and hideous things”. The records accumulated during his trial were so repulsive that the court decided that it would better destroy them. 


The Boy Lycanthrope

There is also a record of a child werewolf. He was Jean Grenier of Aquitaire. His story was more or less like that of Burgot. When his father beat him, he ran away from home and wandered around the countryside. One evening another boy named Pierre La Tihaire took him to the depths of the woods. The Lord of the Jungle was present there. He was a tall black dressed dark man upon a dark horse. The Lord got off his horse and kissed Grenier with icy lips. In the second meeting both of the boys submitted themselves to the Lord of the forest. Their master scratched tattoos on their thighs as brands. He brought out a wine bag and gave them a drink. He also presented them wolf skins and an ointment. The Lord taught them how to rub their bodies with the ointment before putting on the fur.

During their reign of terror fifteen children including one from Grenier’s cradle disappeared. When finally Grenier was caught in 1603, he confessed of eating them all. At that time he was fourteen, physically and mentally retarded.

Taking into account of his age and limited mental capacity, the Judge ordered Grenier to be confined in a cloister for life. There he refused to eat any regular food and devoured offal instead. Seven years later when a man called Pierre de Lancre visited him, he had grown gaunt and lean. His deep-set black eyes burned incessantly. His hands were like claws with bent nails and his teeth were like canines. Apparently he enjoyed hearing about wolves and readily imitated them. After one more year he died, to be remembered forever in the anal of werewolves as the “boy lycanthrope”.

Greiner’s case is among those that contributed to the shift in attitude towards the werewolf phenomenon. The head of the inquest committee who looked into this case found him incapable of rational thought. “The change of shape existed only in the disorganized brain of the insane. Consequently it was not a crime that could be punished”. Judges began to regard werewolf cases with approaching tolerance.

copy rights by Sk. Nur-Ul-Alam 


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