1685 Wolf of Ansbach: The Wolf of Ansbach was a man-eating wolf that attacked and killed an unknown number of people in the Principality of Ansbach in 1685, then a part of the Holy Roman Empire. Initially a nuisance preying on livestock, the wolf soon began attacking women and children. The citizens of Ansbach believed the animal to be a werewolf, a reincarnation of their late and cruel Bürgermeister, whose recent death had gone unlamented. During an organized hunt the locals succeeded in driving the wolf from a nearby forest and chasing it down with dogs until it leaped into an uncovered well for protection. Trapped, the wolf was slain, and its carcass paraded through the city marketplace. It was dressed in a man’s clothing and, after severing its muzzle, the crowd placed a mask, wig, and beard upon its head, giving it the appearance of the former Bürgermeister. The wolf’s body was then hanged from a gibbet for all to see until it underwent preservation for permanent display at a local museum.
720: Pay very close attention and remember as much as you can about this case with the wolf. We will need it when we investigate the many many cases of Lycanthropy and Werewolfism in Vol. 2.
It is true that at times criminal animals were tried as demons, such as the cock in Switzerland that was burned at the stake in 1474 “for the heinous and unnatural crime of laying an egg.” However, most of the animals tried before 1500 were treated as humans and responsible for their crimes. Just as most of the witchcraft trials were held in the 16th and 17th centuries, trials against possessed animals came from that period.
In 1685, a were-wolf, supposed to be the incarnation of a deceased burgomaster of Ansbach, did much harm in the neighborhood of that city, preying upon the herds and even devouring women and children. With great difficulty the ravenous beast was finally killed; its carcass was then clad in a tight suit of flesh-coloured cere-cloth, resembling in tint the human skin, and adorned with a chestnut brown wig and a long whitish beard; the snout of the beast was cut off and a mask of the burgomaster’s features substituted for it, and the counterfeit presentment thus produced was hanged by order of the court. The pelt of the strangely transmogrified wolf was stuffed and preserved in the margraves cabinet of curiosities as a memorial of the marvelous event and as ocular proof of the existence of were- wolves.
Kicked Out of Heaven Vol. I
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CNN International: ‘Wolf Pack’ found guilty of rape by Spain’s Supreme Court.