Jean Grenier

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During the early spring of the year 1603 there spread through the St

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During the early spring of the year 1603 there spread through the St. Sever districts of Gascony in the extreme south-west of France, the department Landes, a veritable reign of terror. From a number of little hamlets and smaller villages young children had begun to mysteriously disappear off the fields and roads, and no trace could be discovered. In one instance even a babe was stolen from its cradle in a cottage whilst the mother had left it for a short space safe asleep, as she thought. People talked of wolves; others shook their heads and whispered something worse.

The consternation was at its height when the local magistrate advised the puisne Judge of the Barony de la Roche Chalais and de la Chatellenie that information had been laid before him by three witnesses, of whom one – a 13 year-old girl named Marguerite Poirier of the outlaying hamlet of St-Paul in the Parish of Esperons – swore that in full moon she had been attacked by a savage beast, much resembling a wolf. The girl stated that one midday whilst she was watching cattle, a wild beast with rufulous fur, not unlike a huge dog, rushed from the thicket and tore her kirtle with its sharp teeth. She only managed to save herself from being bitten thanks to the fact she was armed with a stout iron pointed staff with which she hardly warded herself. Moreover a lad of thirteen or fourteen years-old, Jean Grenier, was boasting that is was he who attacked Marguerite, as a wolf, and but for her stick he would have torn her limb from limb as he had already eaten three or four children.

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