The Beast of Gévaudan (French: La Bête du Gévaudan) is the historical name associated with the man-eating gray wolf, dog
or wolfdog which terrorized the former province of Gévaudan (modern-day département of Lozère and part of Haute-Loire),
in the Margeride Mountains in south-central France between 1764 and 1767.The attacks, which covered an area stretching 90
by 80 kilometres (56 by 50 mi), were said to have been committed by a beast or beasts that had formidable teeth and
immense tails according to contemporary eyewitnesses.
Victims were often killed by having their throats torn out. The Kingdom of France used a considerable amount of manpower
and money to hunt the animals; including the resources of several nobles, soldiers, civilians, and a number of royal
The number of victims differs according to sources. In 1987, one study estimated there had been 210 attacks.
The killing of the creature that eventually marked the end of the attacks is credited to a local hunter named Jean
Chastel, who shot it during a hunt organized by a local nobleman, the Marquis d'Apcher, on June 19, 1767. Writers later
introduced the idea that Chastel shot the creature with a blessed silver bullet of his own manufacture and upon being
opened, the animal's stomach was shown to contain human remains.
According to modern scholars, public hysteria at the time of the attacks contributed to widespread myths that
supernatural beasts roamed Gévaudan, but deaths attributed to a beast were more likely the work of a number of wolves or
packs of wolves. In 2001 the French naturalist Michel Louis proposed that the red-colored mastiff belonging to Jean
Chastel sired the beast and its resistance to bullets may have been due to it wearing the armoured hide of a young boar
thus also accounting for the unusual colour.The problem of attacks by wolves in those years was very serious, not only in
France but throughout Europe, with tens of thousands of deaths in the eighteenth century alone.