Tales of History and Imagination

Eccentric tales from History by Simone Whitlow

Five: The Beast of Gevaudan

January 20th, 2021

Today’s tale is set in the former province of Gevaudan in South-Central France. The years between 1764 and 1767, following the bloody, and costly Seven Years War – a Proto World War if ever there was one – which had left deep scars in the psyche of many a European nation – France included- and left many a monarch broke in its’ wake.

An isolated, rugged, rural spot – The terrain rough and mountainous – it is far too rocky to grow much by way of crops. The locals eke out a living in the hills, tending to livestock. From youth, the locals worked alone, out in the elements – constantly on the lookout for wild predators on the lookout for a free meal. Gevaudan is also surrounded by a vast forest; a dangerous and lawless place full of wolves, lurking outlaws, footpads and highwayman. It really is the kind of place you could imagine in the most vicious Grimm Brothers tales.

It’s against this backdrop that La Bete du Gevaudan - the beast of Gevaudan - came roaring into the consciousness of the French.

This week’s episode was originally published October 30th 2019, but has been revamped and rereleased on the blog site today.

You can read the episode here.


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About the Author: Simone Whitlow is a songwriter and musician, formerly with Auckland rock band Ishtar. She is an academic with degrees in history, education and project management. A small, squeaky wheel in a big corporate machine, Simone is a former Mastermind contestant. Transgender, she uses she/her pronouns. Simone speaks no French and apologizes for any mangled pronunciations.


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