Job Fincelius  relates the sad story of a farmer of Pavia, who, as a wolf, fell upon many men in the open country and tore them to pieces.
After much trouble the maniac was caught, and he then assured his captors that the only difference which existed between himself and a natural wolf, was that in a true wolf the hair grew outward, whilst in him it struck inward.
In order to put this assertion to the proof, the magistrates, themselves most certainly cruel and bloodthirsty wolves, cut off his arms and legs; the poor wretch died of the mutilation.
This took place in 1541.
The idea of the skin being reversed is a very ancient one: versipellis occurs as a name of hamrammr. Fincelius relates also that, in 1542, there was such a multitude of were-wolves about Constantinople that the Emperor, accompanied by his guard, left the city to give them a severe correction, and slew one hundred and fifty of them. Spranger speaks of three young ladies who attacked a labourer, under the form of cats, and were wounded by him.
They were found bleeding in their beds next morning. Majolus relates that a man afflicted with lycanthropy was brought to Pomponatius.
The poor fellow had been found buried in hay, and when people approached, he called to them to flee, as he was a were wolf, and would rend them.
The country-folk wanted to flay him, to discover whether the hair grew inwards, but Pomponatius rescued the man and cured him. Bodin tells some were-wolf stories on good authority; it is a pity that the good authorities of Bodin were such liars, but that, by the way.
He says that the Royal Procurator-General Bourdin had assured him that he had shot a wolf, and that the arrow had stuck in the beast’s thigh.
A few hours after, the arrow was found in the thigh of a man in bed.
In Vernon, about the year 1566, the witches and warlocks gathered in great multitudes, under the shape of cats.
Four or five men were attacked in a lone place by a number of these beasts.
The men stood their ground with the utmost heroism, succeeded in slaying one puss, and in wounding many others.
Next day a number of wounded women were found in the town, and they gave the judge an accurate account of all the circumstances connected with their wounding. Bodin quotes Pierre Marner, the author of a treatise on sorcerers, as having witnessed in Savoy the transformation of men into wolves.
Nynauld  relates that in a village of Switzerland, near Lucerne, a peasant was attacked by a wolf, whilst he was hewing timber; he defended himself, and smote off a fore-leg of the beast.
The moment that the blood began to flow the wolf’s form changed. . . [NYNAULD, _De la Lycanthropie_.
Paris, 1615, p. 52.] An evidence that beasts are transformed witches is to be found in their having no tails.
When the devil takes human form, however, he keeps his club-foot of the Satyr, as a token by which he may be recognized.
So animals deficient in caudal appendages are to be avoided, as they are witches in disguise.
The Thingwald should consider the case of the Manx cats in its next session. Forestus, in his chapter on maladies of the brain, relates a circumstance which came under his own observation, in the middle of the sixteenth century, at Alcmaar in the Netherlands.
A peasant there was attacked every spring with a fit of insanity; under the influence of this he rushed about the churchyard, ran into the church, jumped over the benches, danced, was filled with fury, climbed up, descended, and never remained quiet.
He carried a long staff in his hand, with which he drove away the dogs, which flew at him and wounded him, so that his thighs were covered with scars.
His face was pale, his eyes deep sunk in their sockets.
Forestus pronounces the man to be a lycanthropist, but he does not say that the poor fellow believed himself to be transformed into a wolf.
In reference to this case, however, he mentions that of a Spanish nobleman who believed himself to be changed into a bear, and who wandered filled with fury among the woods. Donatus of Altomare [De Medend.
Corp] affirms that he saw a man in the streets of Naples, surrounded by a ring of people, who in his were-wolf frenzy had dug up a corpse and was carrying off the leg upon his shoulders.
This was in the middle of the sixteenth century. CHAPTER VI – A CHAMBER OF HORRORS Pierre Bourgot and Michel Verdung–‘Me Hermit of S.
Bonnot—The Gandillon Family–Thievenne Paget–The Tailor of Châlons–Roulet. IN December, 1521, the Inquisitor-General for the diocese of Besançon, Boin by name, heard a case of a sufficiently terrible nature to produce a profound sensation of alarm in the neighbourhood.
Two men were under accusation of witchcraft and cannibalism.
Their names were Pierre Bourgot, or Peter the Great, as the people had nicknamed him from his stature, and Michel Verdung.
Peter had not been long under trial, before he volunteered a full confession of his crimes.
It amounted to this:– About nineteen years before, on the occasion of a New Year’s market at Poligny, a terrible storm had broken over the country, and among other mischiefs done by it, was the scattering of Pierre’s flock. “In vain,” said the prisoner, “did I labour, in company with other peasants, to find the sheep and bring them together.
I went everywhere in search of them. “Then there rode up three black horsemen, and the last said to me: ‘Whither away? you seem to be in trouble?’ “I related to him my misfortune with my flock.
He bade me pluck up my spirits, and promised that his master would henceforth take charge of and protect my flock., if I would only rely upon him.
He told me, as well, that I should find my strayed sheep very shortly, and he promised to provide me with money.
We agreed to meet again in four or five days.
My flock I soon found collected together.
At my second meeting I learned of the stranger that he was a servant of the devil.
I forswore God and our Lady and all saints and dwellers in Paradise.
I renounced Christianity, kissed his left hand, which was black and ice-cold as that of a corpse.
Then I fell on my knees and gave in my allegiance to Satan.
I remained in the service of the devil for two years, and never entered a church before the end of mass, or at all events till the holy water had been sprinkled, according to the desire of my master, whose name I afterwards learned was Moyset. “All anxiety about my flock was removed, for the devil had undertaken to protect it and to keep off the wolves. “This freedom from care, however, made me begin to tire of the devil’s service, and I recommenced my attendance at church, till I was brought back into obedience to the evil one by Michel Verdung, when I renewed my compact on the understanding that I should be supplied with money. “In a wood near Chastel Charnon we met with many others whom I did not recognize; we danced, and each had in his or her hand a green taper with a blue flame.
Still under the delusion that I should obtain money, Michel persuaded me to move with the greatest celerity, and in order to do this, after I had stripped myself, he smeared me with a salve, and I believed myself then to be transformed into a wolf.
I was at first somewhat horrified at my four wolf’s feet, and the fur with which I was covered all at once, but I found that I could now travel with the speed of the wind.
This could not have taken place without the help of our powerful master, who was present during our excursion, though I did not perceive him till I had recovered my human form.
Michel did the same as myself. “When we had been one or two hours in this condition of metamorphosis, Michel smeared us again, and quick as thought we resumed our human forms.
The salve was given us by our masters; to me it was given by Moyset, to Michel by his own master, Guillemin.” Pierre declared that he felt no exhaustion after his excursions though the judge inquired particularly whether he felt that prostration after his unusual exertion, of which witches usually complained.
Indeed the exhaustion consequent on a were-wolf raid was so great that the lycanthropist was often confined to his bed for days, and could hardly move hand or foot, much in the same way as the berserkir and ham rammir in the North were utterly prostrated after their fit had left them. In one of his were-wolf runs, Pierre fell upon a boy of six or seven years old, with his teeth, intending to rend and devour him, but the lad screamed so loud that he was obliged to beat a retreat to his clothes, and smear himself again, in order to recover his form and escape detection.
He and Michel, however, one day tore to pieces a woman as she was gathering peas; and a M.
De Chusnée, who came to her rescue, was attacked by them and killed. On another occasion they fell upon a little girl of four years old, and ate her up, with the exception of one arm.
Michel thought the flesh most delicious. Another girl was strangled by them, and her blood lapped up.
Of a third they ate merely a portion of the stomach.
One evening at dusk, Pierre leaped over a garden wall, and came upon a little maiden of nine years old, engaged upon the weeding of the garden beds.
She fell on her knees and entreated Pierre to spare her; but he snapped the neck, and left her a corpse, lying among her flowers.
On this occasion he does not seem to have been in his wolf’s shape.
He fell upon a goat which he found in the field of Pierre Lerugen, and bit it in the throat, but he killed it with a knife. Michel was transformed in his clothes into a wolf, but Pierre was obliged to strip, and the metamorphosis could not take place with him unless he were stark naked. He was unable to account for the manner in which the hair vanished then he recovered his natural condition. The statements of Pierre Bourgot were fully corroborated by Michel Verdung. Towards the close of the autumn of 1573, the peasants of the neighbourhood of Dôle, in Franche Comté, were authorized by the Court of Parliament at Dôle, to hunt down the were-wolves which infested the country.
The authorization was as follows:– “According to the advertisement made to the sovereign Court of Parliament at Dole, that, in the territories of Espagny, Salvange, Courchapon, and the neighbouring villages, has often been seen and met, for some time past, a were-wolf, who, it is said, has already seized and carried off several little children, so that they have not been seen since, and since he has attacked and done injury in the country to some horsemen, who kept him of only with great difficulty and danger to their persons: the said Court, desiring to prevent any greater danger, has permitted, and does permit, those who are abiding or dwelling in the said places and others, notwithstanding all edicts concerning the chase, to assemble with pikes, halberts, arquebuses, and sticks, to chase and to pursue the said were-wolf in every place where they may find or seize him; to tie and to kill, without incurring any pains or penalties. . . .
Given at the meeting of the said Court, on the thirteenth day of the month September, 1573.” It was some time, however, before the loup-garou was caught. In a retired spot near Amanges, half shrouded in trees, stood a small hovel of the rudest construction; its roof was of turf, and its walls were blotched with lichen.
The garden to this cot was run to waste, and the fence round it broken through.
As the hovel was far from any road, and was only reached by a path over moorland and through forest, it was seldom visited, and the couple who lived in it were not such as would make many friends.
The man, Gilles Garnier, was a sombre, ill-looking fellow, who walked in a stooping attitude, and whose pale face, livid complexion, and deep-set eyes under a pair of coarse and bushy brows, which met across the forehead, were sufficient to repel any one from seeking his acquaintance.
Gilles seldom spoke, and when he did it was in the broadest patois of his country.
His long grey beard and retiring habits procured for him the name of the Hermit of St.
Bonnot, though no one for a moment attributed to him any extraordinary amount of sanctity. — Eight days after the feast of All Saints, again in the form of a were-wolf, he had seized another girl, near the meadow land of La Pouppe, on the territory of Athume and Chastenoy, and was on the point of slaying and devouring her, when three persons came up, and he was compelled to escape.
On the fourteenth day after All Saints, also as a wolf, he had attacked a boy of ten years old, a mile from Dôle, between Gredisans and Menoté, and had strangled him.
On that occasion he had eaten all the flesh off his legs and arms, and had also devoured a great part of the belly; one of the legs he had rent completely from the trunk with his fangs. On the Friday before the last feast of S.
Bartholomew, he had seized a boy of twelve or thirteen, under a large pear-trees near the wood of the village Perrouze, and had drawn him into the thicket and killed him, intending to eat him as he had eaten the other children, but the approach of men hindered him from fulfilling his intention.
The boy was, however, quite dead, and the men who came up declared that Gilles appeared as a man and not as a wolf.
The hermit of S.
Bonnot was sentenced to be dragged to the place of public execution, and there to be burned alive, a sentence which was rigorously carried out. In this instance the poor maniac fully believed that actual transformation into a wolf took place; he was apparently perfectly reasonable on other points, and quite conscious of the acts he had committed. We come now to a more remarkable circumstance, the affliction of a whole family with the same form of insanity.
Our information is derived from Boguet’s Discours de Sorciers, 1603-1610. Pernette Gandillon was a poor girl in the Jura, who in 1598 ran about the country on all fours, in the belief that she was a wolf.
One day as she was ranging the country in a fit of lycanthropic madness, she came upon two children who were plucking wild strawberries.
Filled with a sudden passion for blood, she flew at the little girl and would have brought her down, had not her brother, a lad of four years old, defended her lustily with a knife.
Pernette, however, wrenched the weapon from his tiny hand, flung him down and gashed his throat, so that he died of the wound.
Pernette was tom to pieces by the people in their rage and horror. Directly after, Pierre, the brother of Pernette Gandillon, was accused of witchcraft.
He was charged with having led children to the sabbath, having made hail, and having run about the country in the form of a wolf.
The transformation was effected by means of a salve which he had received from the devil.
He had on one occasion assumed the form of a hare, but usually he appeared as a wolf, and his skin became covered with shaggy grey hair.
He readily acknowledged that the charges brought against him were well founded, and he allowed that he had, during the period of his transformation, fallen on, and devoured, both beasts and human beings.
When he desired to recover his true form, he rolled himself in the dewy grass.
His son Georges asserted that he had also been anointed with the salve, and had gone to the sabbath in the shape of a wolf.
According to his own testimony, he had fallen upon two goats in one of his expeditions. One Maundy-Thursday night he had lain for three hours in his bed in a cataleptic state, and at the end of that time had sprung out of bed.
During this period he had been in the form of a wolf to the witches’ sabbath. His sister Antoinnette confessed that she had made hail, and that she had sold herself to the devil, who had appeared to her in the shape of a black he-goat.
She had been to the sabbath on several occasions. Pierre and Georges in prison behaved as maniacs, running on all fours about their cells and howling dismally.
Their faces, arms, and legs were frightfully scarred with the wounds they had received from dogs when they had been on their raids.
Boguet accounts for the transformation not taking place, by the fact of their not having the necessary salves by them. All three, Pierre, Georges, and Antoinnette, were hung and burned. Thievenne Paget, who was a witch of the most unmistakable character, was also frequently changed into a she-wolf, according to her own confession, in which state she had often accompanied the devil over hill and dale, slaying cattle, and falling on and devouring children.
The same thing may be said of Clauda Isan Prost, a lame woman, Clauda Isan Guillaume, and Isan Roquet, who owned to the murder of five children. On the 14th of December, in the same year as the execution of the Gandillon family (1598), a tailor of Châlons was sentenced to the flames by the Parliament of Paris for lycanthropy.
This wretched man had decoyed children into his shop, or attacked them in the gloaming — S.
Jerome, by the way, brought a sweeping charge against the Scots.
He visited Gaul in his youth, about 880, and he writes:–“When I was a young man in Gaul, I may have seen the Attacotti, a British people who live upon human flesh; and when they find herds of pigs, droves of cattle, or flocks of sheep in the woods, they cut off the haunches of the men and the breasts of the women, and these they regard as great dainties;” in other words they prefer the shepherd to his flock.
Gibbon who quotes this passage says on it: “If in the neighbourhood of the commercial and literary town of Glasgow, a race of cannibals has really existed, we may contemplate, in the period of the Scottish history, the opposite extremes of savage and civilized life.
Such reflections tend to enlarge the circle of our ideas, and to encourage the pleasing hope that New Zealand may produce in a future age, the Hume of the Southern hemisphere.” If traditions of were-wolves are scanty in England, it is quite the reverse if we cross the water. In the south of France, it is still believed that fate has destined certain men to be lycanthropists–that they are transformed into wolves at full moon.
The desire to run comes upon them at night.
They leave their beds, jump out of a window, and plunge into a fountain.
After the bath, they come out covered with dense fur, walking on all fours, and commence a raid over fields and meadows, through woods and villages, biting all beasts and human beings that come in their way.
At the approach of dawn, they return to the spring, plunge into it, lose their furry skins, and regain their deserted beds.
Sometimes the loup-garou is said to appear under the form of a white dog, or to be loaded with chains; but there is probably a confusion of ideas between the were-wolf and the church-dog, bar-ghest, pad-foit, wush-hound, or by whatever name the animal supposed to haunt a churchyard is designated. In the Périgord, the were-wolf is called louléerou.
Certain men, especially bastards, are obliged at each full moon to transform themselves into these diabolic beasts. It is always at night that the fit comes on.
The lycanthropist dashes out of a window, springs into a well, and, after having struggled in the water for a few moments, rises from it, dripping, and invested with a goatskin which the devil has given him.
In this condition, the louléerous run upon four legs, pass the night in ranging over the country, and in biting and devouring all the dogs they meet.
At break of day they lay aside their goatskins and return home.
Often they are ill in consequence of having eaten tough old hounds, and they vomit up their undigested paws.
One great nuisance to them is the fact that they may be wounded or killed in their louléerou state.
With the first effusion of blood their diabolic covering vanishes, and they are recognized, to the disgrace of their families. A were-wolf may easily be detected, even when devoid of his skin; for his hands are broad, and his fingers short, and there are always some hairs in the hollow of his hand. In Normandy, those who are doomed to be loups-garoux, clothe themselves every evening with a skin called their hère or hure, which is a loan from the devil.
When they run in their transformed state, the evil one accompanies them and scourges them at the foot of every cross they pass.
The only way in which a werewolf can be liberated from this cruel bondage, is by stabbing him three times in the forehead with a knife.
However, some people less addicted to allopathic treatment, consider that three drops of blood drawn by a needle, will be sufficient to procure release. According to an opinion of the vulgar in the same province, theloup-garou is sometimes a metamorphosis forced upon the body of a damned person, who, after having been tormented in his grave, has torn his way out of it.
The first stage in the process consists in his devouring the cerecloth which enveloped his face; then his moans andmuffled howls ring from the tomb, through the gloom of night, the earth of the grave begins to heave, and at last, with a scream,surrounded by a phosphorescent glare, and exhaling a ftid odour, he bursts away as a wolf. In Le Bessin, they attribute to sorcerers the power of metamorphosingcertain men into beasts, but the form of a dog is that principally affected by them. In Norway it is believed that there are persons who can assume theform of a wolf or a bear (Huse-björn), and again resume their own; this property is either imparted to them by the Trollmen, or thosepossessing it are themselves Trolls. In a hamlet in the midst of a forest, there dwelt a cottager namedLasse, and his wife.
One day he went out in the forest to fell a tree,but had forgot to cross himself and say his paternoster, so that sometroll or wolf-witch (varga mor) obtained power over him and transformed him into a wolf.
His wife mourned him for many years, but,one Christmas-eve, there came a beggar-woman, very poor and ragged, tothe door, and the good woman of the house took her in, fed her well,and entreated her kindly.
At her departure the beggar-woman said thatthe wife would probably see her husband again, as he was not dead, but was wandering in the forest as a wolf.
Towards night-fall the wife went to her pantry to place in it a piece of meat for the morrow, when, on turning to go out, she perceived a wolf standing before her, raising itself with its paws on the pantry steps, regarding her with sorrowful and hungry looks.
Seeing this she exclaimed, “If I were surethat thou wert my own Lasse, I would give thee a bit of meat.” At that instant the wolf-skin fell off, and her husband stood before her in the clothes he wore on the unlucky morning when she had last beheldhim. Finns, Lapps, and Russians are held in particular aversion, because the Swedes believe that they have power to change people into wild beasts.
During the last year of the war with Russia, when Calmar wasoverrun with an unusual number of wolves, it was generally said thatthe Russians had transformed their Swedish prisoners into wolves, andsent them home to invest the country. In Denmark the following stories are told:– A man, who from his childhood had been a were-wolf, when returning one night with his wife from a merrymaking, observed that the hour was at hand when the evil usually came upon him; giving therefore the reins to his wife, he descended from the vehicle, saying to her, “If anything comes to thee, only strike at it with thine apron.” He then withdrew, but immediately after, the woman, as she was sitting in thevehicle, was attached by a were-wolf.
She did as the man had enjoined her, and struck it with her apron, from which it rived a portion, and then ran away.
After some time the man returned, holding in his mouth the rent portion of his wife’s apron, on seeing which, she cried outin terror,–“Good Lord, man, why, thou art a were-wolf!” “Thank thee, wife,” said he, “now I am free.” And from that time he was no more afflicted. If a female at midnight stretches between four sticks the membrane which envelopes the foal when it is brought forth, and creeps throughit, naked, she will bear children without pain; but all the boys willbe were-wolves, and all the girls maras.
By day the were-wolf has the human form, though he may be known by the meeting of his eyebrows above the nose.
At a certain time of the night he has the form of a dog on three legs.
It is only when another person tells him that he is a were-wolf, or reproaches him with being such, that a man can be freed from the ban. According to a Danish popular song, a hero transformed by his step-mother into a bear, fights with a knight:– For ’tis she who bath bewitched me, A woman false and fell, Bound an iron girdle round me, If thou can’st not break this belt, Knight, I’ll thee destroy! * * * * The noble made the Christian sign, The girdle snapped, the bear was changed, And see! he was a lusty knight, His father’s realm regained. Kjæmpeviser, p. 147. — Again, a third class of persons are cruel and bloodthirsty, because in them bloodthirstiness is a raging insatiable passion.
In a civilized country those possessed by this passion are forced to control it through fear of the consequences, or to gratify it upon the brute creation.
But in earlier days, when feudal lords were supreme in their domains, there have been frightful instances of their excesses, and the extent to which some of the Roman emperors indulged their passion for blood is matter of history. Gall gives several authentic instances of bloodthirstiness. [Sur les Fonctions du Cerveau] A Dutch priest had such a desire to kill and to see killed, that he became chaplain to a regiment that he might have the satisfaction of seeing deaths occurring wholesale in engagements.
The same man kept a large collection of various kinds of domestic animals, that he might be able to torture their young.
He killed the animals for his kitchen, and was acquainted with all the hangmen in the country, who sent him notice of executions, and he would walk for days that he might have the gratification of seeing a man executed. In the field of battle the passion is variously developed; some feel positive delight in slaying, others are indifferent.
An old soldier, who had been in Waterloo, informed me that to his mind there was no pleasure equal to running a man through the body, and that he could lie awake at night musing on the pleasurable sensations afforded him by that act. Highwaymen are frequently not content with robbery, but manifest a bloody inclination to torment and kill.
John Rosbeck, for instance, is well known to have invented and exercised the most atrocious cruelties, merely that he might witness the sufferings of his victims, who were especially women and children.
Neither fear nor torture could break him of the dreadful passion till he was executed. Gall tells of a violin-player, who, being arrested, confessed to thirty-four murders, all of which he had committed, not from enmity or intent to rob, but solely because it afforded him an intense pleasure to kill. Spurzheim [Doctrine of the Mind] tells of a priest at Strasbourg, who, though rich, and uninfluenced by envy or revenge, from exactly the same motive, killed three persons. Gall relates the case of a brother of the Duke of Bourbon, Condé, Count of Charlois, who, from infancy, had an inveterate pleasure in torturing animals: growing older, he lived to shed the blood of human beings, and to exercise various kinds of cruelty.
He also murdered many from no other motive, and shot at slaters for the pleasure of seeing them fall from the roofs of houses. Louis XI.
Of France caused the death of 4,000 people during his reign; he used to watch their executions from a neighbouring lattice.
He had gibbets placed outside his own palace, and himself conducted the executions. It must not be supposed that cruelty exists merely in the coarse and rude; it is quite as frequently observed in the refined and educated.
Among the former it is manifest chiefly in insensibility to the sufferings of others; in the latter it appears as a passion, the indulgence of which causes intense pleasure. Those bloody tyrants, Nero and Caligula, Alexander Borgia, and Robespierre, whose highest enjoyment consisted in witnessing the agonies of their fellow-men, were full of delicate sensibilities and great refinement of taste and manner. I have seen an accomplished young woman of considerable refinement and of a highly strung nervous temperament, string flies with her needle on a piece of thread, and watch complacently their flutterings.
Cruelty may remain latent till, by some accident.
It is aroused, and then it will break forth in a devouring flame.
It is the same with the passion for blood as with the passions of love and hate; we have no conception of the violence with which they can rage till circumstances occur which call them into action.
Love or hate will be dominant in a breast which has been in serenity, till suddenly the spark falls, passion blazes forth, and the serenity of the quiet breast is shattered for ever.
A word, a glance, a touch, are sufficient to fire the magazine of passion in the heart, and to desolate for ever an existence.
It is the same with bloodthirstiness.
It may lurk in the deeps of some heart very dear to us.
It may smoulder in the bosom which is most cherished by us, and we may be perfectly unconscious of its existence there.
Perhaps circumstances will not cause its development; perhaps moral principle may have bound it down with fetters it can never break. Michael Wagener [Beitrage zur philosophischen Anthropologie, Wien, 1796.] relates a horrible story which occurred in Hungary, suppressing the name of the person, as it was that of a still powerful family in the country.
It illustrates what I have been saying, and shows how trifling a matter may develope the passion in its most hideous proportions. “Elizabeth —— was wont to dress well in order to please her husband, and she spent half the day over her toilet.
On one occasion, a lady’s-maid saw something wrong in her head-dress, and as a recompence for observing it, received such a severe box on the ears that the blood gushed from her nose, and spirted on to her mistress’s face.
When the blood drops were washed off her face, her skin appeared much more beautiful–whiter and more transparent on the spots where the blood had been. “Elizabeth formed the resolution to bathe her face and her whole body in human blood so as to enhance her beauty.
Two old women and a certain Fitzko assisted her in her undertaking.
This monster used to kill the luckless victim, and the old women caught the blood, in which Elizabeth was wont to bathe at the hour of four in the morning.
After the bath she appeared more beautiful than before. “She continued this habit after the death of her husband (1604) in the hopes of gaining new suitors.
The unhappy girls who were allured to the castle, under the plea that they were to be taken into service there, were locked up in a cellar.
Here they were beaten till their bodies were swollen.
Elizabeth not unfrequently tortured the victims herself; often she changed their clothes which dripped with blood, and then renewed her cruelties.
The swollen bodies were then cut up with razors. “Occasionally she had the girls burned, and then cut up, but the great majority were beaten to death. “At last her cruelty became so great, that she would stick needles into those who sat with her in a carriage, especially if they were of her own sex.
One of her servant-girls she stripped naked, smeared her with honey, and so drove her out of the house. “When she was ill, and could not indulge her cruelty, she bit a person who came near her sick bed as though she were a wild beast. “She caused, in all, the death of 650 girls, some in Tscheita, on the neutral ground, where she had a cellar constructed for the purpose; others in different localities; for murder and bloodshed became with her a necessity. “When at last the parents of the lost children could no longer be cajoled, the castle was seized, and the traces of the murders were discovered.
Her accomplices were executed, and she was imprisoned for life.” An equally remarkable example will be found in the account of the Mareschal de Retz given at some length in the sequel.
He vas an accomplished man, a scholar, an able general, and a courtier; but suddenly the impulse to murder and destroy came upon him whilst sitting in the library reading Suetonius; he yielded to the impulse, and became one of the greatest monsters of cruelty the world has produced. — Hallucination may also be produced by artificial means, and there are evidences afforded by the confessions of those tried for lycanthropy, that these artificial means were employed by them.
I refer to the salve so frequently mentioned in witch and were-wolf trials.
The following passage is from the charming Golden Ass of Apuleius; it proves that salves were extensively used by witches for the purpose of transformation, even in his day:– “Fotis showed me a crack in the door, and bade me look through it, upon which I looked and saw Pamphile first divest herself of all her garments, and then, having unlocked a chest, take from it several little boxes, and open one of the latter, which contained a certain ointment.
Rubbing this ointment a good while previously between the palms of her hands, she anointed her whole body, from the very nails of her toes to the hair on the crown of her head, and when she was anointed all over, she whispered many magic words to a lamp, as if she were talking to it.
Then she began to move her arms, first with tremulous jerks, and afterwards by a gentle undulating motion, till a glittering, downy surface by degrees overspread her body, feathers and strong quills burst forth suddenly, her nose became a hard crooked beak, her toes changed to curved talons, and Pamphile was no longer Pamphile, but it was an owl I saw before me.
And now, uttering a harsh, querulous scream, leaping from the ground by little and little, in order to try her powers, and presently poising herself aloft on her pinions, she stretched forth her wings on either Side to their full extent, and flew straight away. “Having now been actually a witness of the performance of the magical art, and of the metamorphosis of Pamphile, I remained for some time in a stupefied state of astonishment. . . .
At last, after I had rubbed my eyes some time, had recovered a little from the amazement and abstraction of mind, and begun to feel a consciousness of the reality of things about me, I took hold of the hand of Fotis and said,–‘Sweet damsel, bring me, I beseech thee, a portion of the ointment with which thy mistress hath just now anointed, and when thou hast made me a bird, I will be thy slave, and even wait upon thee like a winged Cupid.’ Accordingly she crept gently into the apartment, quickly returned with the box of ointment, hastily placed it in my hands, and then immediately departed. “Elated to an extraordinary degree at the sight of the precious treasure, I kissed the box several times successively; and uttering repeated aspirations in hopes of a prosperous flight, I stripped off my clothes as quick as possible, dipped my fingers greedily into the box, and having thence extracted a good large lump of ointment, rubbed it all over my body and limbs.
When I was thoroughly anointed, I swung my arms up and down, in imitation of the movement of a bird’s pinions, and continued to do so a little while, when instead of any perceptible token of feathers or wings making their appearance, my own thin skin, alas! grew into a hard leathern hide, covered with bristly hair, my fingers and toes disappeared, the palms of my hands and the soles of my feet became four solid hoofs, and from the end of my spine a long tail projected.
My face was enormous, my mouth wide, my nostrils gaping, my lips pendulous, and I had a pair of immoderately long, rough, hairy ears.
In short, when I came to contemplate my transformation to its full extent, I found that, instea of a bird, I had become–an ASS.” Of what these magical salves were composed we know.
They were composed of narcotics, to wit, Solanum somniferum, aconite, hyoscyamus, belladonna, opium, acorus vulgaris, sium.
These were boiled down with oil, or the fat of little children who were murdered for the purpose.
The blood of a bat was added, but its effects could have been nil.
To these may have been added other foreign narcotics, the names of which have not transpired. Whatever may have been the cause of the hallucination, it is not surprising that the lycanthropist should have imagined himself transformed into a beast.
The cases I have instanced are those of shepherds, who were by nature of their employment, brought into collision with wolves; and it is not surprising that these persons, in a condition liable to hallucinations, should imagine themselves to be transformed into wild beasts, and that their minds reverting to the injuries sustained from these animals, they should, in their state of temporary insanity, accuse themselves of the acts of rapacity committed by the beasts into which they believed themselves to be transformed.
It is a well-known fact that men, whose minds are unhinged, will deliver themselves up to justice, accusing themselves of having committed crimes which have actually taken place, and it is only on investigation that their self-accusation proves to be false; and yet they will describe the circumstances with the greatest minuteness, and be thoroughly convinced of their own criminality.
I need give but a single instance. In the war of the French Revolution, the Hermione frigate was commanded by Capt.
Pigot, a harsh man and a severe commander.
His crew mutinied, and carried the ship into an enemy’s port, having murdered the captain and several of the officers, under circumstances of extreme barbarity.
One midshipman escaped, by whom many of the criminals, who were afterwards taken and delivered over to justice, one by one, were identified.
Finlayson, the Government actuary, who at that time held an official situation in the Admiralty, states:–“In my own experience I have known, on separate occasions, more than six sailors who voluntarily confessed to having struck the first blow at Capt.
These men detailed all the horrid circumstances of the mutiny with extreme minuteness and perfect accuracy; nevertheless, not one of them had ever been in the ship, nor had so much as seen Capt.
Pigot in their lives.
They had obtained by tradition, from their messmates, the particulars of the story.
When long on a foreign station, hungering and thirsting for home, their minds became enfeebled; at length they actually believed themselves guilty of the crime over which they had so long brooded, and submitted with a gloomy pleasure to being sent to England in irons, for judgment.
At the Admiralty we were always able to detect and establish their innocence, in defiance of their own solemn asseverations.”–(London Judicial Gazette, January, 1803.) CHAPTER X – MYTHOLOGICAL ORIGIN OF THE WERE-WOLF MYTH — was a steady, hardworking lad.
One day Messieurs Gilles de Sillé and Roger de Briqueville entered the shop to purchase a pair of hunting gloves.
They asked if little Gendron might take a message for them to the castle.
Hilaire readily consented, and the boy received beforehand the payment for going–a gold angelus, and he started, promising to be back directly.
But he had never returned.
That evening Hiliare and his wife, observing Gilles de Sillé and Roger de Briqueville returning to the castle, ran to them and asked what had become of the apprentice.
They replied that they had no notion of where he was, as they had been absent hunting, but that it was possible he might have been sent to Tiffauges, another castle of De Retz. Guillaume Hilaire, whose depositions were more grave and explicit than the others, positively asserted that Jean Dujardin, valet to Roger de Briqueville had told him he knew of a cask secreted in the castle, full of children’s corpses.
He said that he had often heard people say that children were enticed to the château and then murdered, but had treated it as an idle tale.
He said, moreover, that the marshal was not accused of having any hand in the murders, but that his servants were supposed to be guilty. Jean Gendron himself deposed to the loss of his son, and he added that his was not the only child which had vanished mysteriously at Machecoul.
He knew of thirty that had disappeared. Jean Chipholon, elder and junior, Jean Aubin, and Clement Doré, all inhabitants of the parish of Thomage, deposed that they had known a poor man of the same parish, named Mathelin Thomas, who had lost his son, aged twelve, and that he had died of grief in consequence. Jeanne Rouen, of Machecoul, who for nine years had been in a state of uncertainty whether her son were alive or dead, deposed that the child had been carried off whilst keeping sheep.
She had thought that he had been devoured of wolves, but two women of Machecoul, now deceased, had seen Gilles de Sillé approach the little shepherd, speak to him, and point to the castle.
Shortly after the lad had walked off in that direction.
The husband of Jeanne Rouen went to the château to inquire after his son, but could obtain no information.
When next Gilles de Sillé appeared in the town, the disconsolate mother entreated him to restore her child to her.
Gilles replied that he knew nothing about him, as he had been to the king at Amboise. Jeanne, widow of Aymery Hedelin, living at Machecoul, had also lost, eight years before, a little child as he had pursued some butterflies into the wood.
At the same time four other children had been carried off, those of Gendron, Rouen, and Macé Sorin.
She said that the story circulated through the country was, that Gilles de Sillé stole children to make them over to the English, in order to obtain the ransom of his brother who was a captive.
But she added that this report was traced to the servants of Sillé, and that it was propagated by them. One of the last children to disappear was that of Noël Aise, living in the parish of S.
Croix. A man from Tiffauges had said to her (Jeanne Hedelin) that for one child stolen at Machecoul, there were seven carried away at Tiffauges. Macé Sorin confirmed the deposition of the widow Hedelin., and repeated the circumstances connected with the loss of the children of Châtellier, Rouen, Gendron, and Lebarbier. Perrine Rondeau had entered the castle with the company of Jean Labbé.
She had entered a stable, and had found a heap of ashes and powder, which had a sickly and peculiar smell.
At the bottom of a trough she had found a child’s shirt covered with blood. Several inhabitants of the bourg of Fresnay, to wit, Perrot, Parqueteau, Jean Soreau, Catherine Degrépie, Gilles Garnier, Perrine Viellard, Marguerite Rediern, Marie Carfin, Jeanne Laudais, said that they had heard Guillaume Hamelin, last Easter, lamenting the loss of two children. Isabeau, wife of Guillaume Hamelin, confirmed these depositions, saving that she had lost them seven years before.
She had at that time four children; the eldest aged fifteen, the youngest aged seven, went together to Machecoul to buy some bread, but they did not return.
She sat up for them all night and next morning.
She heard that another child had been lost, the son of Michaut Bonnel of S.
Ciré de Retz. Guillemette, wife of Michaut Bonnel, said that her son had been carried off whilst guarding cows. Guillaume Rodigo and his wife, living at Bourg-neuf-en-Retz, deposed that on the eve of last S.
Bartholomew’s day, the Sire do Retz lodged with Guillaume Plumet in his village. Pontou, who accompanied the marshal, saw a lad of fifteen, named Bernard Lecanino, servant to Rodigo, standing at the door of his house.
The lad could not speak much French, but only bas-Breton.
Pontou beckoned to him and spoke to him in a low tone.
That evening, at ten o’clock, Bernard left his master’s house, Rodigo and his wife being absent.
The servant maid, who saw him go out, called to him that the supper table was not yet cleared, but he paid no attention to what she said.
Rodigo, annoyed at the loss of his servant, asked some of the marshal’s men what had become of him.
They replied mockingly that they knew nothing of the little Breton, but that he had probably been sent to Tiffauges to be trained as page to their lord. Marguerite Sorain, the chambermaid alluded to above, confirmed the statement of Rodigo, adding that Pontou had entered the house and spoken with Bernard.
Guillaume Plumet and wife confirmed what Rodigo and Sorain had said. Thomas Aysée and wife deposed to the loss of their son, aged ten, who had gone to beg at the gate of the castle of Machecoul; and a little girl had seen him drawn by an offer of meat into the château. Jamette, wife of Eustache Drouet of S.
Léger, had sent two sons, one aged ten, the other seven, to the castle to obtain alms.
They had not been seen since. On the 2nd October the commissioners sat again, and the charges became graver, and the servants of the marshal became more and more implicated. — CHAPTER XII – THE MARÉCHAL DE RETZ.–II.
THE TRIAL. On the 10th October, Nicolas Chateau, notary of the duke, went to the Château of Bouffay, to read to the prisoner the summons to appear in person on the morrow before Messire de l’Hospital, President of Brittany, Seneschal of Rennes, and Chief Justice of the Duchy of Brittany. The Sire de Retz, who believed himself already a novice in the Carmelite order, had dressed in white, and was engaged in singing litanies.
When the summons had been read, he ordered a page to give the notary wine and cake, and then he returned to his prayers with every appearance of compunction and piety. On the morrow Jean Labbé and four soldiers conducted him to the hall of justice.
He asked for Pontou and Henriet to accompany him, but this was not permitted. He was adorned with all his military insignia, as though to impose on his judges; he had around his neck massive chains of gold, and several collars of knightly orders.
His costume, with the exception of his purpoint, was white, in token of his repentance.
His purpoint was of pearl-grey silk, studded with gold stars, and girded around his waist by a scarlet belt, from which dangled a poignard in scarlet velvet sheath.
His collar, cufs, and the edging of his purpoint were of white ermine, his little round cap or chapel was white, surrounded with a belt of ermine–a fur which only the great feudal lords of Brittany had a right to wear.
All the rest of his dress, to the shoes which were long and pointed, was white. No one at a first glance would have thought the Sire do Retz to be by nature so cruel and vicious as he was supposed to be.
On the contrary, his physiognomy was calm and phlegmatic, somewhat pale, and expressive of melancholy.
His hair and moustache were light brown, and his beard was clipped to a point.
This beard, which resembled no other beard, was black, but under certain lights it assumed a blue hue, and it was this peculiarity which obtained for the Sire do Retz the surname of Blue-beard, a name which has attached to him in popular romance, at the same time that his story has undergone strange metamorphoses. But on closer examination of the countenance of Gilles de Retz, contraction in the muscles of the face, nervous quivering of the mouth, spasmodic twitchings of the brows, and above all, the sinister expression of the eyes, showed that there was something strange and frightful in the man.
At intervals he ground his teeth like a wild beast preparing to dash upon his prey, and then his lips became so contracted, as they were drawn in and glued, as it were, to his teeth, that their very colour was indiscernible. At times also his eyes became fixed, and the pupils dilated to such an extent, with a sombre fire quivering in them, that the iris seemed to fill the whole orbit, which became circular, and sank back into the head.
At these moments his complexion became livid and cadaverous; his brow, especially just over the nose, was covered with deep wrinkles, and his beard appeared to bristle, and to assume its bluish hues.
But, after a few moments, his features became again serene, with a sweet smile reposing upon them, and his expression relaxed into a vague and tender melancholy. “Messires,” said he, saluting his judges, “I pray you to expedite my matter, and despatch as speedily as possible my unfortunate case; for I am peculiarly anxious to consecrate myself to the service of God, who has pardoned my great sins.
I shall not fail, I assure you, to endow several of the churches in Nantes, and I shall distribute the greater portion of my goods among the poor, to secure the salvation of my soul.” — In the meantime, the sentence had been executed upon Pontou and Henriet; they were hung and burned to dust.
Their ashes were cast to the winds; whilst in the Carmelite church of Our Lady were celebrated with pomp the obsequies of the very high, very powerful, very illustrious Seigneur Gilles de Laval, Sire de Retz, late Chamberlain of King Charles VII., and Marshal of France! CHAPTER XIV – A GALICIAN WERE-WOLF The inhabitants of Austrian Galicia are quiet, inoffensive people, take them as a whole.
The Jews, who number a twelfth of the population, are the most intelligent, energetic, and certainly the most money-making individuals in the province, though the Poles proper, or Mazurs, are not devoid of natural parts. Perhaps as remarkable a phenomenon as any other in that kingdom—for kingdom of Waldimir it was–is the enormous numerical preponderance of the nobility over the untitled.
In 1837 the proportions stood thus: 32,190 nobles to 2,076 tradesmen. The average of execution for crime is nine a year, out of a population of four and a half millions,–by no means a high figure, considering the peremptory way in which justice is dealt forth in that province.
Yet, in the most quiet and well-disposed neighbourhoods, occasionally the most startling atrocities are committed, occurring when least expected, and sometimes perpetrated by the very person who is least suspected. Just sixteen years ago there happened in the circle of Tornow, in Western Galicia-the province is divided into nine circles-a circumstance which will probably furnish the grandames with a story for their firesides, during their bitter Galician winters, for many a long year. In the circle of Tornow, in the lordship of Parkost, is a little hamlet called Polomyja, consisting of eight hovels and a Jewish tavern.
The inhabitants are mostly woodcutters, hewing down the firs of the dense forest in which their village is situated, and conveying them to the nearest water, down which they are floated to the Vistula.
Each tenant pays no rent for his cottage and pitch of field, but is bound to work a fixed number of days for his landlord: a practice universal in Galicia, and often productive of much discontent and injustice, as the proprietor exacts labour from his tenant on those days when the harvest has to be got in, or the land is m best condition for tillage, and just when the peasant would gladly be engaged upon his own small plot.
Money is scarce in the province, and this is accordingly the only way in which the landlord can be sure of his dues. Most of the villagers of Polomyja are miserably poor; but by cultivating a little maize, and keeping a few fowls or a pig, they scrape together sufficient to sustain life.
During the summer the men collect resin from the pines, from each of which, once in twelve Years, they strip a slip of bark, leaving the resin to exude and trickle into a small earthenware jar at its roots; and, during the winter, as already stated, they fell the trees and roll them down to the river. Polomyja is not a cheerful spot–nested among dense masses of pine, which shed a gloom over the little hamlet; yet, on a fine day, it is pleasant enough for the old women to sit at their cottage doors, scenting that matchless pine fragrance, sweeter than the balm of the Spice Islands, for there is nothing cloying in that exquisite and exhilarating odour; listening to the harp-like thrill of the breeze in the old grey tree-tops, and knitting quietly at long stockings, whilst their little grandchildren romp in the heather and tufted fern. Towards evening, too, there is something indescribably beautiful in the firwood.
The sun dives among the trees, and paints their boles with patches of luminous saffron, or falling over a level clearing, glorifies it with its orange dye, so visibly contrasting with the blue-purple shadow on the western rim of unreclaimed forest, deep and luscious as the bloom on a plum.
The birds then are hastening to their nests, a ger-falcon, high overhead, is kindled with sunlight; capering and gambolling among the branches, the merry squirrel skips home for the night. — He said nothing to his bride till next evening when supper was laid, and she declined to eat; then he insisted on her partaking, and when she positively refused, he exclaimed wrathfully,–“Yes, you keep your appetite for your feast with the ghouls!” Nadilla was silent; she turned pale and trembled, and without a word sought her bed.
At midnight she rose, fell on her husband with her nails and teeth, tore his throat, and having opened a vein, attempted to suck his blood; but Abul-Hassan springing to his feet threw her down, and with a blow killed her.
She was buried next day. Three days after, at midnight, she re-appeared, attacked her husband again, and again attempted to suck his blood.
He fled from her, and on the morrow opened her tomb, burned her to ashes, and cast them into the Tigris. This story connects the ghoul with the vampire.
As will be seen by a former chapter, the were-wolf and the vampire are closely related. That the ancients held the same belief that the witches violate corpses, is evident from the third episode in the Golden Ass of Apuleius.
I will only quote the words of the crier:– “I pray thee, tell me,” replied I, “of what kind are the duties attached to this funeral guardianship?” “Duties!” quoth the crier; “why, keep wide awake all night, with thine eyes fixed steadily upon the corpse, neither winking nor blinking, nor looking to the right nor looking to the left, either to one side or the other, be it even little; for the witches, infamous wretches that they are! can slip out of their skins in an instant and change themselves into the form of any animal they have a mind; and then they crawl along so slyly, that the eyes of justice, nay, the eyes of the sun himself, are not keen enough to perceive them.
At all events, their wicked devices are infinite in number and variety; and whether it be in the shape of a bird, or a dog, or a mouse, or even of a common house-fly, that they exercise their dire incantations, if thou art not vigilant in the extreme, they will deceive thee one way or other, and overwhelm thee with sleep; nevertheless, as regards the reward, ’twill be from four to six aurei; nor, although ’tis a perilous service, wilt thou receive more.
Nay, hold! I had almost forgotten to give thee a necessary caution.
Clearly understand, that it the corpse be not restored to the relatives entire, the deficient pieces of flesh torn off by the teeth of the witches must be replaced from the face of the sleepy guardian.” Here we have the rending of corpses connected with change of form. Marcassus relates that after a long war in Syria, during the night, troops of lamias, female evil spirits, appeared upon the field of battle, unearthing the hastily buried bodies of the soldiers, and devouring the flesh off their bones.
They were pursued and fired upon, and some young men succeeded in killing a considerable number; but during the day they had all of them the forms of wolves or hyænas.
That there is a foundation of truth in these horrible stories, and that it is quite possible for a human being to be possessed of a depraved appetite for rending corpses, is proved by an extraordinary case brought before a court-martial in Paris, so late as July 10th, 1849. The details are given with fulness in the Annales Medico-psychologiques for that month and year.
They are too revolting for reproduction.
I will, however, give an outline of this remarkable case. In the autumn of 1848, several of the cemeteries in the neighbourhood of Paris were found to have been entered during the night, and graves to have been rifled.
The deeds were not those of medical students, for the bodies had not been carried of, but were found lying about the tombs in fragments.
It was at first supposed that the perpetration of these outrages must have been a wild beast, but footprints in the soft earth left no doubt that it was a man.
Close watch was kept at Père la Chaise; but after a few corpses had been mangled there, the outrages ceased. In the winter, another cemetery was ravaged, and it was not till March in 1849, that a spring gun which had been set in the cemetery of S.
Parnasse, went off during the night, and warned the guardians of the place that the mysterious visitor had fallen into their trap.
They rushed to the spot, only to see a dark figure in a military mantle leap the wall, and disappear in the gloom.
Marks of blood, however, gave evidence that he had been hit by the gun when it had discharged.
At the same time, a fragment of blue cloth, torn from the mantle, was obtained, and afforded a clue towards the identification of the ravisher of the tombs. On the following day, the police went from barrack to barrack, inquiring whether officer or man were suffering from a gun-shot wound.
By this means they discovered the person.
He was a junior officer in the 1st Infantry regiment, of the name of Bertrand. He was taken to the hospital to be cured of his wound, and on his recovery, he was tried by court-martial. His history was this. He had been educated in the theological seminary of Langres, till, at the age of twenty, he entered the army.
He was a young man of retiring habits, frank and cheerful to his comrades, so as to be greatly beloved by them, of feminine delicacy and refinement, and subject to fits of depression and melancholy.
In February, 1847, as he was walking with a friend in the country, he came to a churchyard, the gate of which stood open.
The day before a woman had been buried, but the sexton had not completed filling in the grave, and he had been engaged upon it on the present occasion, when a storm of rain had driven him to shelter.
Bertrand noticed the spade and pick lying beside the grave, and–to use his own words:–“A cette vue des idées noires me vinrent, j’eus comme un violent mal de tête, mon cur battait avec force, je no me possédais plus.” He managed by some excuse to get rid of his companion, and then returning to the churchyard, he caught up a spade and began to dig into the grave. “Soon I dragged the corpse out of the earth, and I began to hash it with the spade, without well knowing what I was about.
A labourer saw me, and I laid myself flat on the ground till he was out of sight, and then I cast the body back into the grave.
I then went away, bathed in a cold sweat, to a little grove, where I reposed for several hours, notwithstanding the cold rain which fell, in a condition of complete exhaustion.
When I rose, my limbs were as if broken, and my head weak.
The same prostration and sensation followed each attack. Two days after, I returned to the cemetery, and opened the grave with my hands.
My hands bled, but I did not feel the pain; I tore the corpse to shreds, and flung it back into the pit.” He had no further attack for four months, till his regiment came to Paris.
As he was one day walking in the gloomy, shadowy, alleys of Père la Chaise, the same feeling came over him like a flood.
In the night he climbed the wall, and dug up a little girl of seven years old.
He tore her in half.
A few days later, he opened the grave of a woman who had died in childbirth, and had lain in the grave for thirteen days.
On the 16th November, he dug up an old woman of fifty, and, ripping her to pieces, rolled among the fragments.
He did the same to another corpse on the 12th December.
These are only a few of the numerous cases of violation of tombs to which he owned.
It was on the night of the 15th March that the spring-gun shot him. Bertrand declared at his trial, that whilst he was in the hospital he had not felt any desire to renew his attempts, and that he considered himself cured of his horrible propensities, for he had seen men dying in the beds around him, and now: “Je suis guéri, car aujourd’hui j’ai peur d’un mort.” The fits of exhaustion which followed his accesses are very remarkable, as they precisely resemble those which followed the berserkir rages of the Northmen, and the expeditions of the Lycanthropists. The case of M.
Bertrand is indubitably most singular and anomalous; it scarcely bears the character of insanity, but seems to point rather to a species of diabolical possession.
At first the accesses chiefly followed upon his drinking wine, but after a while they came upon him without exciting cause.
The manner in which he mutilated the dead was different.
Some he chopped with the spade, others he tore and ripped with his teeth and nails.
Sometimes he tore the mouth open and rent the face back to the ears, he opened the stomachs, and pulled off the limbs.
Although he dug up the bodies of several men he felt no inclination to mutilate them, whereas he delighted in rending female corpses.
He was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment. CHAPTER XVI – A SERMON ON WERE-WOLVES THE following curious specimen of a late mediæval sermon is taken from the old German edition of the discourses of Dr.
Johann Geiler von Keysersperg, a famous preacher in Strasbourg.
The volume is entitled: “Die Emeis, Dis ist das Büch von der Omeissen, und durch Herr der Künnig ich diente gern.
Und sagt von Eigenschafft der Omeissen, und gibt underweisung von der Unholden oder Hexen, und von Gespenst, der Geist, und von dem Wütenden Heer Wunderbarlich.” This strange series of sermons was preached at Strasbourg in the year 1508, and was taken down and written out by a barefooted friar, Johann Pauli, and by him published in 1517.
The doctor died on Mid-Lent Sunday, 1510.
There is a Latin edition of his sermons, but whether of the same series or not I cannot tell, as I have been unable to obtain a sight of the volume.
The German edition is illustrated with bold and clever woodcuts.
Among other, there are representations of the Witches’ Sabbath, the Wild Huntsman, and a Werewolf attacking a Man.
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