Garnier, Gilles (1873) French WEREWOLF. Garnier, Gilles (1873) French WEREWOLF. Gilles Garnier, also known as “the hermit of St. Bonnot,” was an ugly recluse shunned by others. He lived with his wife, Apolline, in an inaccessible, turf-roofed, and rudely constructed hovel near Amanges, France.
In autumn 1873 a werewolf was said to have carried off several small children in the area of Dole. The court parliament at Dole issued a proclamation authorizing the peasants to hunt the creature down.
Initially, Garnier was not a suspect, despite his odd appearance and manner. He had bushy EYEBROWS that met, a pale face with livid complexion, a long gray beard, and a stooping walk. He seldom spoke to others.
On November 8, 1873, a girl was attacked by a wolf. Her screams attracted some of the peasants. When they reached her, they saw a ferocious wolf and the wounded girl trying to defend herself. The appearance of the peasants frightened off the wolf, who ran into the forest. Several peasants said they thought they had recognized the features of the hermit in the creature.
A few days later, on November 14, a 10-year-old boy went missing. Garnier was arrested and put on trial. Both he and his wife confessed to his being a werewolf, and their testimony was corroborated by witnesses.
Garnier confessed to taking the form of a wolf and attacking and slaying a number of children. On the last day of Michelmas, he attacked and killed a 12-year-old girl. He carted her body into the woods, stripped off her clothing, and gnawed her arms and legs. He thought the ﬂesh so tasty that he took some of it home to his wife for her enjoyment.
Eight days later, he seized another girl but did not kill her, for he was surprised by three persons, and he ﬂed. But soon he attacked a 10-year-old boy and strangled him to death. He ate the arms and legs, tearing one leg completely off with his fangs, and also ate most of the boy’s belly.
Garnier’s next victim was a boy of 12 or 13, whom he seized and killed. He intended to take the body into the woods to eat, but once again the appearance of peasants frightened him off. Those men testified at Garnier’s trial that they had seen him in human form and not a wolf form.
Garnier was convicted and sentenced to be dragged to the place of public execution, where he was burned alive. See also SHAPE-SHIFTING.
- Baring-Gould, Sabine. The Book of Werewolves. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1865.
- Otten, Charlotte F., ed. A Lycanthropy Reader: Werewolves in Western Culture. New York: Dorset Press, 1989.
From: the Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters – Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley -a leading expert on the paranormal -Copyright © 2005 by Visionary Living, Inc.