The Wolf of Soissons
The Wolf of Soissons was a man-eating wolf which
terrorized the commune of Soissons northeast of Paris over a
period of two days in 1765, attacking eighteen people, four of
which died from their wounds.
The first victims of the wolf were a pregnant woman and her
unborn child, attacked in the parish of Septmont on the last
day of February. Diligent locals had taken the infant, a scant
four or five months old, from the womb to be baptized before
it died when the wolf struck again not three hundred yards from
the scene of the first attack. One Madame d'Amberief and her
son survived only by fighting together.
On the first of March near the hamlet of Courcelles
a man was attacked by the wolf and survived with head wounds.
The next victims were two young boys, named Boucher and Maréchal,
who were savaged on the road to Paris, both badly wounded.
A farmer on horseback lost part of his face to the wolf before
escaping to a local mill, where a boy of seventeen was caught
unawares and slain. After these atrocities the wolf fled to
Bazoches, where it partially decapitated a woman and severely
wounded a girl, who ran screaming to the village for help.
Four citizens of Bazoches set an ambush at the body of the
latest victim, but when the wolf returned it proved too much
for them and the villagers soon found themselves fighting for
their lives. The arrival of more peasants from the village
finally put the wolf to flight, chasing it into a courtyard
where it fought with a chained dog. When the chain broke the
wolf was pursued through a pasture, where it killed a number
of sheep, and into a stable, where a servant and cattle were
The episode ended when one Antoine Saverelle, former member
of the local militia, tracked the wolf to small lane armed with
a pitchfork. The wolf sprang at him but he managed to pin its
head to the ground with the instrument, holding it down for roughly
fifteen minutes before an armed peasant came to his aid and killed
the animal. Saverelle received a reward of three-hundred livres
from Louis XV of France for his bravery.