Cannibal soldiers...and other happy folks
Couverture Aubazac

Usually I don't promote books unless they give important, or at least interesting info. No matter what some people may think, this book gives many.

Let me first present this book to you because for the author, the case of the Beast is cut in two major parts, where three diferent Beast occured in Gévaudan:

You can guess that I was not convinced by a simple book and as I always tll people to refer to the author when possible, I tool my keyboard and wrote to Mr Aubazac to ask hi ma few questions. But first, I had studied a bit some cannibal cases I found, as Mr Aubazc accuses cannibal soldiers.

Cannibalism is not, as you may know, the fact to turn into a blood-thirsty monster due to a lethal virus. Here we're going to talk about real cannibalism, the thihng that makes any human eat human flesh un purpose. If it's quite impossible to find anything serious about cannibalism on the Internet, I finally found some true stories. Then I started to see how cannibalism works.

There are (only?) two categories:

Anthropophagie
The first one is based on religious beliefs. We all have in mind the Maya civilization and their ritual executions, they are the best representation of that side of cannibalism: eat human's flesh to please a god (usually the heart or liver is eaten), or absorb the strength of an ennemy killed in battle or even scare the survivors. I don't talk about the cases where the sacrifice is all given to the gods (and birds...), but really eating human flesh celebrated in feast and joy as it happened in the islands of Oceania in the 19th century.

Crash Fuerza Aerea

The second category, as it says, is started by the instinct of survival. People in situations where their only option not to die is to eat human flesh, whose closest case took place in the Andes in 1972: a team of rugby going to a match got stucked, after the crash of their plane on a snowy collar lost in the Andes. As they did not have anything to eat and the list of survivors getting thiner and thiner, on the advice of a young doctor, the survivors eate some of the bodies. Their ordeal lasted 72 days.

To that case of survival cannibalism, you must add the many but not official cases of cannibalism on the battlefield. Of course that last case is of big interest for us because it fits exactly our situation. Cannibalism on a battlefield has one firts, big problem: all the material used in battle was brought on the battlefield by animals (horses, donkeys, dogs, birds, etc...) who died as indifferently as men, so there was something else to eat before coming to human. But survival cannibalism isn't logical at all, it is the result of an extreme state of mind. Whether it is the Seven Years war, the One hundred years war, in Russia, scenes of cannibalism took place. However, I haven't found information on what happens once the survival mode is not neccessary anymore. Can the person have a "normal" life anymore ? But there are almost no available or even known studies...

Now this is presented, the audience will choose the credibility that must be given to this "thesis of cannibal soldiers". As for myself, if I don't see as far as tha author of the book about the implications of such historical info that is the coming back of soldiers from the battlefield, I keep it to fortify the context of the case, in which everything will take place. Let's stop by the second point of Mr Aubazac's thesis: the construction of the road in Vivarais.

Route de Mayres à Montpezat - Cassini

It is after the study of three projects that the decision to build a road between Mayres and Montpezat-sous-Bauzon. The wok will start in three spots:

These places will be, according to the author's research, the set for many crimes in the year 1764. Soldiers coming home from the Eastern front after the end of the Seven Year war will get in Gévaudan through the two principal ways in Vivarais and Velay. Troublemmakers being driven away by a too present militia, they continued as well on the other side of the border, where police officers were understaffed. Autorities, the bishop of Mende first, seing in these human beasts a divine punishment, would have tried to cover it up with the myth of the "Beast" and that from the beginning of the year 1765.

Here is that concludes the first part of the case, which is from the beginning of thez case in 1764 until the death of the wolf of the Chazes in september 1765. From there, for the author, the umurders comitted till the end of June 1767 would just be a vendetta within the Chastel family. What is the relation would you ask me? Well all the victims would have family relationships with the Chatsle family. Cousins, great-cousins, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, all would be linked to Jean Chastel, the patriarch, the severe executionner who "brought order back in his family". If the myth of the Beast of the Beast was lead to the end, only men did the acting, some covering the abominations of the monsters they created.

Conclusion:
If I don't share all the conlusionst of the author, the correspondance we had for a while made me understand his study better. You only have to accept this basic postulate that only man is resposible for the case of the Beast of Gévaudan, the evolution of the story is good, though I lack info about cannibalism. In fact, I still need to know if survival cannibalism leds to a regular consumption (not to say exclusive) of human flesh or if, once the neccessity gone and life back to normal, the person gives up the idea. No matter what the answer to that question is, this does not call into question the plausibility of cannibal soldiers by necessity going home after war.

Anyway, that the Beast was only men or not, the elements mr Aubazc pointed out teach us a lot about the historial context of the case. Knowing now that the construction of the road called for so many people (many of which were just roaming the land, as well as the Beast) in the regions near the construction, one could wonder in what measure could a man and his dog trained to kill have gone through security, mingling with the crowd already there, without arousing the suspicions of authorities largely overwhelmed. Or does this amount of people all through the region eliminates the possibility of a Beast and his master?

Concerning the Chastel and the familly bonds there are with the victims, I would rather see iot from the opposite: if tey were indeed part of the same big family, any member could want revenge against the rest of the family. Why Jean Chastel? Is the old rancor invented by Chevalley in 1936 that continues? Theauhtor told me no, that he had other elements (three more books have been added to this first) but as he told me himself: "As long as you don't go from the principle that only man is responsible, you won't understand the full extent of the case". And I do have a certitude, which is only mine: I think that only an animal is reponsible for most of the mureders, that's why it doesn't seem obvious to me...
Nevertheless I recommand this book and the others to know all about this amazing theory.

Avis donc à ceux de l'Ecole de l'Homme coupable !

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Sources :

For their very informative correspondence and unceremoniously given advice, thank you to André Aubazac and Patrick Berthelot.

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