I couldn’t resist this article from 1893 for a few reasons. How could I not love a story about a werewolf for a start! I loved the details in this tale from 1558, it seems to be the re-telling of an old fairy story.
The story is a re-telling of a tale from 1558 about a woman who was burned at the stake after being charged with werewolfery (yeah, I made that word up but you know what I mean…).
Apparently a gentleman, who was visiting her husband’s château in Auvergne, went out to hunt early one morning, the man of the house telling him “Mind you bring me what you take.”
Clearly the hunt was none too successful as the guest returned at night fall, ‘weary and footsore’.
I think he was lucky it was only his feet that were sore! He reported that the only creature he saw was a large wolf, which attacked him.
His story ended only with him only just managing to escape with his life after severing one of the creatures front paws.
After telling the master of the house the tale of his desperate struggle he opened the bag containing the paw and, amazingly, it had changed into a womans bejewelled hand.
The master of the house recognized one of the jewels as belonging to his wife. She was quickly tracked down to the kitchen and was found to be minus one hand. Off she went to trial and was unsurprisingly found guilty and quickly executed.
Now, you know I love a Fortean tale but this one…. all I could think of as I was reading was the poor wife and what on earth had gone on in Auvergne that day for her to lose her hand and be conveniently accused of this supernatural crime?
The most surprising thing about this article is the last paragraph. “It is a pity that history does not tell us what became of this pair of scheming villains. Their crime does not seem to have been brought home to them judicially, so they probably escaped the fate they richly deserved.” Even in 1893, when some strange things were still believed, people could see right through a story like that.
I wonder what the wife’s real crime was? Not inheriting enough money? Not producing the right amount of sons? I wonder if the master of the house had another wife already lined up? If so, I wonder what dreadful fate was in store for her if she didn’t live up to expectations?