Theory of the sadist

Cover of M. Arribaud-Farrère's booklet

Since the ver famous Christophe Gans movie "Brotherhood of the wolves", the theory of the sadis, or serial-killer is born again.
The widespread release today gives the names of some people involved at different levels. You can hear or read that Antoine Chastel or Jean, his father, depends on the "sources", was sent to the galleys, then kidnapped by Barbary pirates who would have emasculated him (...…), from there he'd live a life of menagery trainer on the island of Minorca, where he met Jean-François-Charles de Molette de Morangiès. He then, by sadism one says, hired Antoine to train an animal to kill. We know what comes next: Antoine Chastel living as an eremite on the flanks of the mount Mouchet where the Beast comes to hide during the battues or when she's wounded ; De Morangiès lustily killing and raping, indicates where tha battues are heading to Antoine so tht the Beast is not seen.

Till the day when "Enough is enough" says Antoine's father, Jean, who was sorcerer and wolf tamer... He melted medallions of the Virgin Mary to make three bullets, and have them blessed during the pilgrimage in Notre Dame de Beaulieu and during a hunt, while he was reading the Holy Bible,the Beast arrives in front of him. There it sits down and patiently waits because she recognized the smell of her master's father. She waits for Chastel to put away his glasses and book, loads his gun, aims and shoots at her.

You can think what you want, I know some who trust this version more than anything else. But through my investigations and research, I found a story that doesn't fit this one at all...
My answers?
Here is how I presented them (click on the title to go directly to the paragraph):

- Antoine Chastel eunuch.
- The wolf tamer.
- The origin of the theory?
- The legend of the death of the Beast.
- Genesis of a theory.
- The whipping boy.
- An anecdote on Abel Chevalley.

Antoine Chastel eunuch

Was Antoine Chastel castrated? Kidnapped whil he was i the Mediterranean sea in galleys? I would only say this:
The condemnation to the galleys was no longer in force in France since September 27th 1748 even though the term was still in use in court (it can be found in many justice records). Prisonners were sent instead in coastal prisons or in abandoned boats, usually in Marseille or Toulon, in what will become common jail. But there's never been any trial in Gévaudan against some Antoine Chastel (even the fight with the princal guards won't lead him to court), where he could have been deserved to that sentence... that was no longer in force!

Moreover Antoine Chastel had 6 children: Anne (11/11/1778) - Jean-Antoine (11/07/1780) - Jeanne (20/06/ 1782) - Anne-Marie (09/06/1784) - Catherine (07/05/1786) - Jean-Marie (04/07/1787).
Beautiful offspring for someone who has no testicles....

[Sources : Genealogy of the Chastel - Guy CROUZET "La Grande peur du Gévaudan" ; Michel Dumas Geneal43 ]

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The wolf tamer

Jean Chastel is considered by some as a sorcerer, a wolf tamer. There are two sides fighting in a neverending war and they both have the same source: oral tradition. Some say Jean Chastel had a nasty reputation and some say the contrary, because of the same oral tradition. According to the family tradition, Jean Chastel was no sorcerer nor gamekeeper in the forest of Tennezeyre. He was a very good wolf hunter, but for the rest he was essentially farmer.
However, recent discoveries show a brand new face of Jean Chastel.

[Sources : Bernard SOULIER - Association "Au pays de la Bête"]

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The origin of the theory?

To be honnest, Abel Chevaley may have been inspired by a true case that happened in 1762 in Marvejols: the execution of the Rodier family, accused of stealing and assaulting many people in the surroundings of Marvejols using trained wolves to scare travelers. Though the use of wolves may not have been prooved, the family was nonetheless severely punished. The younger son was sentenced to be withered and to ben sent to the galleys. As galleys did not exist anymore in that time, the sentence must have been changed into life prison, in Toulon's jail, or in Marseille, or hae simply been banished.

There's hardly anything to see with the case of the Beast, but for those of you wh want to know about that case, it's right here. I've been trying to find everything I could about this case, and have published on this site a five pages study about it. We know for sure that the older son have decided, when he came back to jail after the execution, to make a deal and give all the names and places he knew. We don't know what came next because no justice records of the case has ever been found and no one, to that day, knows what happened to that young man. Did Abel Chevalley know about this case and did he use it to make up his story? Mystery...

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The legend of the death of the Beast

Let's pretend for a second: you are Jean Chastel, a very good wolf hunter, and you are hidden at a crossroads that you know wild animals use, because you're hunting the famous Beast of Gévaudan. Are you wainting for it, leaning against a tree, gun on the ground and reading a book, with your glasses on?

If you answered "yes", go see a shrink!

Thats story is wrong from a "logical" point of view: ask any hunter whether this version is plausible or not, you'll see his reaction! So why is this rumor so tenacious?
You have to know that the author of this vesion is the abbot Pourcher, grand-son of a victim of the Beast, documentalist and first passionnate of them all. He's from the clergy, so you've understood and for him, the Beast is a scourge sent by God.

You can then wait for sensationnal...

Moreover, Jean Chastel is for him a holy man because he freed the region from its terrible Beast: Imagine for a moment that country priest who must write the exploit of the man who killed the Beast and passed the test that God himself had put on earth!

There, you know we're going far from reality...

Last, Pourcher wrote his story according to the oral tradition, his main source, because no hand written document attests that version. He's not the first to have created this legend, but he heard it from someone else and then improved it. So it's the story that someone heard from someone who heard it from someone...
See where I'm going?

More simply, and after many talks with professionnal hunters, I can tell that the day the Beast died, things really did not happen the way told by Pourcher. Jean Chastel was stalking, hidden at a spot he knew he'd see the Beast (the place is still used nowadays by hunters). When the Beast, pushed by the dogs of the marquis d'Apcher, got in that path, Jean Chastel only had to wait for the right moment and shoot.
Did he really say ironically: "Beast, you won't eat any more" ?
Maybe is he himself the instigator of his legends?

[Source: Bernard SOULIER, Jean RICHARD, abbot POURCHER]

Concerning the pilgrimage in Notre Dame d'Estours and Notre Dame de Beaulieu, Jean Richard has serious doubts about them: it's harvest season and he hardly sees the people, even frightened to death, praying instead of harvesting. But who knows?

[Source: Jean RICHARD]

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Genesis of a theory

In all mu discussions with passionnates (officials or amateurs) I've heard a lot about Henry Pourrat or Abel Chevalley to fortify a speech about the sadist theory. But their novels are only from 1936 and 1946.
What about before? Before there is only one person to talk about it. Not even by the time of the Beast, it was born in 1910, in a study by Dr PUECH, professor of the medical faculty in Montpellier, who writes that the Beast was in fact someone very dirty with long fingernails and dressed with wolf skins, who killed children for sexual pleasure.
It then began to grow:
1936 : Abel CHEVALLEY writes a fiction in which he creates the story why we're all here (Chastel by the Moors, JFC serial-killer, etc…...).
1946 : Henry POURRAT resumes thesis by Chevalley and adds some details in his "True story of the Beast of Gévaudan".
True to what, we'll never know...
1962 : Mrs ARIBAUD-FARRÈRE publishes in Béziers a booklet titled The Beast of Gévaudan identified, in which she explains that a noble from high society in Paris "was" the Beast. In a private interview with Alain DECAUX, she will even blame descendants of the "sadist", well known by that time. Monsieur Decaux never gave that name...

After that, it's jts one book after the other and they all resume the same old things, based upon the fictionnal story by Abel Chevalley that they use as... historical proof!!


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The whipping boy

For a crime to be even more odious, the criminal must be vicious as well. Top seller even more if the character you use has a double life and one has a special place in the case. Who could fit better than the count Jean-François Charles de Molette de Morangiès who, by the time of the Beast, will spend his time between Saint-Alban (where he hunts the animal) and Paris.

Some sick minded, poorly educated people will say that there he lived a life of debauchery (...), but there are no proof of that. Don't believe those who say there are. We know the count de Morangiès got married in 1753 and had two sons. His wife dies in 1758 (aged 30) and he will then marry, after the case of the Beast, an adventurer who had a daughter from her first marriage...
Rupture, escape, prison, yet the count ended his days in his castle of Saint-Alban - with his shrew - until his death, when his wife hit his head with an ash-shovel during an argument (anecdote not historically confirmed). But a sadist, not at all.

[Sources : Ch. Martin-Granier : "L'affaire du Procès du Comte de Morangiès", P. Berthelot, M. Paquet.]

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An anecdote about Abel Chevalley

It is an anecdtote, and you'lle understand why. Years ago, I received the cipy of a letter sent to Mr Colin by a current descendant (year 2000) of Abel Chevalley, who clearly explains that Mr Chevalley was no historian. So we can deduce that nothing that is said in his book is historical because he is "just a novelist" (which is quite comendable).

Some people, including Michel Louis with who I spoke on the phone about that letter, say that this is no proof that what mister Chevalley said is not historical. I just happened to think that novelist use to invent everything they say, which separates them from historical authors, who try to recreate a moment of history as credible as possible.
But it's just my own personnal private ompinion.

But as I can not be entirely happy with something done by someone else, I didn't stop with a letter writen to someone else. I asked directly Michel Louis, but I also wrote personnaly to the person who wrote the letter in the first place. Here is the answer:

I know it's nothing to write home about, but nothing takes away the certitude I had with the first letter: Abel Chevaley did really invent his story, based on the case of the Beast of Gévaudan. Serious historical research about the subject were close to zero in that time, he can not be blamed for what he wrote.
On the other hand, we can blame all those after him who used his work has historical proof but never verified anything!
But that's only my own personnal private opinion...

In case of doubt about anything don't hesitate to ask me for more info, I'm not sure to be quite clear in French, which is my native tongue, so it can be hard to understand my English... Also if you have serious info you want to share, click here and tell me all about it.

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