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Jean Grenier, Werewolf of France
In the spring of 1603, 13-year-old Marguerite Poirier of Gascony was attacked by a creature during a full moon.
Marguerite was tending cattle when the wolf-like creature came out of the woods and tore her clothing with its sharp teeth. She was able to avoid being bitten by protecting herself with a pointed iron staff.
A young boy of the same age as Marguerite, Jean Grenier, made the claim in the village “that it was he who had attacked Marguerite, as a wolf.” He continued that he would have “torn her limb from limb as he had already eaten three or four children.”
Grenier worked as a servant for a local farmer. An 18-year-old female co-worker of Grenier’s, Jeanne Gaboriaut, came forth with information about a conversation she had previously conducted with him. He had told her that he was a “priest’s bastard,” when she asked him the identity of his father. He further said that he wore a wolf’s pelt given to him by a man named Pierre Labourat.
Grenier would wear the pelt and run through the “woods and fields as a wolf.” He said that he belonged to a “coven” of nine werewolves who chased the moon and hunted during the night.
Grenier also told Ms. Gaboriaut that he “lusted for the flesh of small children, which were tender, plump and rare.” He said that he was hungry when in the wolf’s shape and often killed dogs to drink their blood while it was still hot, but it was “not as delicious to his taste as that of young children.”
By the end of May of that year, Grenier had been arrested. He confessed to vicious and monstrous crimes. He also told an interesting tale of actually being the son of Pierre Grenier, rather than a “priest’s bastard.” He father was cruel and abused the boy, so he ran away.
One evening while herding cows, a young man introduced him to a tall dark man, dressed in dark clothing and riding a black charger. He lived in the woods and was known as the lord of the forest. The dark man dismounted from his horse upon meeting Grenier, and kissed him on the mouth.
Grenier soon joined the wolves to run through the country by the light of the moon wearing a wolf’s skin. His first kill was on the first Friday of March 1603, when he killed and ate a little three-year-old girl. He went on to describe many similar attacks that were corroborated by witnesses and victims. One report said that he admitted eating more than 50 children.
The judge in charge of the case sent Grenier to a monastery in Bordeaux for the rest of his life. The judge visited him there in 1610, and described him as “lean and gaunt,” with glaring deep-set black eyes, long sharp fang-like teeth and claws for hands. He would fall upon “all fours,” and moved with greater ease then than when attempting to walk upright. He still insisted that he was a lycanthrope.
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