An engraving of a werewolf attack from 1512

I’m reading and reviewing a lot of paranormal fiction at the moment for both the Readers Favorite website and my own Books Are Cool. So I’m very into vampires, dhampirs, shapeshifters and werewolves at the moment.

The French for werewolf is loup-garou, which is rather a catchy term. Like their counterparts in English, loups-garou are humans who turn into wolves every full moon, usually as the result of a curse or being bitten by another werewolf. They have supernatural powers such as great strength or speed and are generally best avoided. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The whole idea of werewolves started with Greek and Roman writers. A few centuries later, Europeans took to the idea enthusiastically, and folk tales about these beasts became endemic. The traditions of them eating recently buried corpses, having bristles under their tongue and eyebrows that meet in the middle when in human form were added along the way. The idea that they could only be killed by silver bullets didn’t arise until the 1930s and these days authors give themselves free reign to bring in new, interesting characteristics for them, so folklore about loup-garous is contintually evolving.

There was at least one loup-garou in Creuse, our département, and specifically from near Crozant. Legend has it that the Lord of Crozant (this is a pre-Revolution tale) became aware of strange goings on in his area. One cold night he came across a pack of wolves, led by a talking werewolf. These were actually members of the Rameau family, as his faithful servant Gautier told him when he got back home. The Lord was a tad surprised that no one had thought to mention this to him before, and you can see his point. It’s kind of need to know! The Lord told the Rameau clan to leave Crozant, but they refused, and got the monks at a local

Another French loup-garou tale from Gévaudan

abbey to put in a good word for them, which led to bad feeling between the castle and the abbey for quite a while. But farmers kept losing cattle and moaned to the Lord who decided to do something definitive about it.  He tracked down the werewolf pack and shot its leader. Rameau ran off in human form, never to be seen again, and leaving his grey pelt behind him.

There. Not massively exciting perhaps, but a local werewolf legend nonetheless. I hope it won’t give you nightmares!