The mysterious “Beast of Benaïs” that terrorized France

Everyone knows the famous “Beast of Gévodan”, the monster that became a myth and caused terror in the 18th century around Marvejol (Lozère). A century earlier, the west of Touraine also had its own “beast”, much more deadly than the Gévodan, as it killed twice as many victims in eighteen months!

The first known manifestation of this “Beast of Benais,” as it was later called, occurred on February 19, 1693. On that day the body of little Pierre Boireau, a 9-year-old boy, was found, badly mauled.

At the time, this accident, almost common in this region of forests and swamps, where wolves abound, seemed almost normal… But a few days later, a little farther north, near Continvoir, the brutally mutilated body of a 7-year-old girl, Antoinette Doriant, was discovered. Then, soon afterward, there were reports of other victims, here and there, in the parishes surrounding the forest of Benaïs…

This time there was no doubt: all these tragedies were caused by a “monstrous beast. In fact, eyewitnesses everywhere claimed to have seen him and described him in great detail. In most people’s minds he was necessarily an evil creature!

The various hunts that were organized had little effect, and as the weeks passed, the list of unfortunate victims grew longer and longer. No one dared to go out into the village, much less into the woods…

At the end of November 1693 there was even a real massacre: the “beast” struck on the 18th in Lange, on the 19th in Bourgeois, on the 22nd in Continvoir, on the 23rd again in Bourgeois, on the 25th in Restigny, on the 26th in Bain, on the 27th again in Bourgeois…

The arrival of Lange paid dearly to the “monster”: in three days (November 29-30 and December 1) the “beast” killed three people. Two weeks later he did it again, all in the same Lange, killing three more people!

Desperate, the people of the region no longer knew which saint to turn to. Under the guidance of local clergy, they multiplied their processions and prayers.

Finally, Heaven, which had long remained deaf, seemed to finally hear them. At the beginning of August the massacre ceased, although no one knows why.

Then we can try to summarize.

The parish priest of Varennes gave the figure of 250 victims of the Beast of Benais. The Beast of Gideon, on the other hand, numbered only one hundred victims over a period of three years, that is, an average of “only” three victims per month!

So why didn’t the Beast of Benaize achieve the fame that the Beast of Zhevodan did? Perhaps it was wrong to appear too early, at a time when news was still hard to spread…

In any case, we still don’t know what this famous “beast” really was. From the descriptions of eyewitnesses who saw it and survived, we can make a general impression of its appearance – a huge beast in its appearance similar to a wolf.

Who knows what it really was – a werewolf, an alien hound “Chupacabra” or just some wolf mutated to unimaginable size…

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