Werewolf of Chalons

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The Werewolf of Chalons, AKA The Demon Tailor, was a sixteenth-century French serial killer, cannibal and alleged werewolf responsible for the murder of 50 children in 1598. His real name is unknown, as almost no records of the case survive, but a few survive to this day. This is supposedly because a French court ordered all records of the case destroyed, although more likely is that they were simply lost to time.

Biography

In 1598, children began to disappear from the French town of Chalons. There were several reports of a "feral animal" roaming the area, leading to rumours of a werewolf. Some people claimed that they had seen the children's corpses being eaten by a wolf, further fuelling speculation, Parties of men began going out into the night to hunt the wolf.

This changed when somebody reported they had heard screams coming from the local tailor's shop, and that the tailor had run into the woods during the night, presumably to kill children. A posse searched his shop and found an array of barrels, which when opened were found to contain the skeletons of children. Another room contained cuts of human flesh, some of which were half-eaten. Blood and gore was found all over the shop, and the graves of children were dug up in his yard. When confronted with the evidence, the tailor denied he had done anything wrong.

The tailor was arrested and placed on trial in Paris. He confessed to having killed and eaten 50 children, but continued to deny the accusations that he was a werewolf. He would often fly into rages in custody and froth at the mouth (most likely psychotic episodes), which at the time was believed to be a symptom of lycanthropy. He was eventually convicted and sentenced to be burned at the stake (the standard punishment for those accused of witchcraft or lycanthropy in France at the time). When the sentence was due to be carried out the tailor flew into another one of his rages as he was tied to the stake before being burned.