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The Werewolf of Auvergne

In 1588, in a village in the Auvergne region, about two leagues from Apchon, there was a case of witchcraft which created a huge sensation.

A gentleman of that place being at his window, there passed a friend of his who had been out hunting, and who was then returning to his own house. The gentleman asked his friend what sport he had had; upon which the latter informed him that he had been attacked in the plain by a large and savage wolf, which he had shot at without wounding, and that he had then drawn out his hunting-knife and cut off the animal's fore-paw as it sprang upon his neck to devour him. The huntsman upon this put his hand into his bag to pull out the paw, but was shocked to find that it was a woman's hand, with a wedding ring on the finger. The gentleman immediately recognised his wife's ring, "which," says the indictment against her, "made him begin to suspect some evil of her." He immediately went in search of her, and found her sitting by the fire in the kitchen, with her arm hidden underneath her apron. He tore off her apron with great vehemence, and found that she had no hand, and that the stump was even then bleeding. She was given into custody, and burnt at Riom, in presence of some thousands of spectators.

The woman was handed over to the authorities who had her burned alive at the stake in Ryon, before a crown of several thousand spectators. Of course, the man's real motives for having his wife put to death, rendered inconsequential in light of demonological speculations and the general level of attendant hysteria over werewolves, were never investigated.