Frederic Remington "Moonlight Wolf", C. 1909
It is a very brief item. Almost unnoticeable if you scan through faded print too quickly:
“A Letter from Nantes, dated July 19, says,
“Yesterday evening about eight o’clock, a wild
beast devoured two girls,one about twelve, and
the other seven years of age, the daughters of a
farmer in the Commune of Chevroliere. The
animal immediately after took shelter in the fo-
rest of Faudiere. It appeared to be larger than
a wolf, had a snout about a foot long, and a very
formidable set of teeth.”
The account has no thrills or high drama. Everything is stated precisely. I have heard the line "ill educated French peasants" used too many times to explain such incidents away. Peasant or of "higher standing" -all knew what a wolf looked like and the assumption here is that we are only reading about a small part of the incident. The locals knew where the animal had taken shelter and had quite obviously seen it -they were able to state that it was bigger than a wolf and that it had a long snout with a "formidable set of teeth" -indicating that someone got close enough.
What is bigger than a wolf with a long snout and took the time to kill and (partially?) devour two young girls? Believe me, I would like to say a starving or, maybe, rabies infected wolf. I covered the history of French wolf accounts in The Red Paper (I) Canids. Again and again there are accounts of people being very familiar with wolves so to say a French person at this time would see a wolf and not be able to identify it is like saying someone sees a fox and is dumb-founded.
Having proven beyond any real doubt just what The Beast of Gevaudan and the Girt Dog of Ennerdale (read Some Things Strange And Sinister) had been, I tried long and hard to identify or even get additional information on a French case of 1800. If any existing or would-be investigator of the mysterious could come up with more than a non-French speaking / reading English idiot (me) could then I would give a big cheer.
I have now continuously searched the internet since 2008, originally once a week and then once a month but all I came up with was my account of what happened. I have scoured as many of the newspaper titles as I can from the United Kingdom at that time. However, in the early days news was received in letter form from Englishmen or travellers abroad –everything from food shortages, crime and much more.
It may well be that some other newspaper also published a piece on this but it is more than likely only one did!
However, things to consider: the news of the attack had reached Nantes and was obviously reported on if a correspondent considered it newsworthy enough to go through the rigmarole of sending a letter from France to inform the Caledonian Mercury about it. One assumes (hopes) that there is some archival record in Chevroliere or, if not, then, hopefully in Nantes?
We even have the date of the attack -18th July, 1830. So one assumes that anything in print appeared after the 18th, including news of any possible hunts or the burial of the victims.
This is where French researchers who know the newspaper / local record system can help.
So, if not a wolf, just what was The Beast Of Faudiere?
1. The Caledonian Mercury,2nd August,1800
2. Some More Things Strange & Sinister http://www.lulu.com/shop/terry-hooper-scharf/some-more-things-strange-sinister/paperback/product-18763730.html