Strange Days: A Book Of Curious Forgotten Lore

By GH Finn

A Book of Days celebrating the peculiar world of Twitter's @lorecurious

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Onward Christian Soldiers by G. H. Finn - Part 3

-Click Here To Read PART TWO-

Dearest Darkest Reader,

In a hideously tricksy attempt to twist your arm into pledging toward,

STRANGE DAYS - A BOOK OF CURIOUS FORGOTTEN LORE

I am delighted to present:

 

ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS

Part Three

I travelled to France intending to research folklore. I was of course well used to the French countryside and the ways of it’s people, for I had a long acquaintance with the country, its history and it’s customs. When I was only fifteen years old and living near Pau I had first discovered and later excavated the ruins of a Roman villa. When I was but eighteen, I wrote an article on the remains of an ancient camp near Bayonne which local antiquaries had attributed to the Romans or Saracens, yet which I was able to show, from its position in the centre of the Basque region, had in fact belonged to Basques driven by the Romans to take refuge in those mountain regions. I had happily returned to France looking for further evidence of legends and beliefs in Were-Wolves in an attempt to collate them into a coherent study. Naturally, when I was told of new reports of a Were-Wolf currently menacing the Gévaudan region, where a century ago the now infamous Beast of Gévaudan had been responsible for so many appalling and bloody deaths, I felt I had to investigate the accounts first-hand.

When I arrived in Gévaudan, I was enthusiastic to learn more about the supposed loup-garou, or as we would say, Were-Wolf, that was said to be currently haunting the area. While I have long had a fascination for such tales, I consider myself a rational man not prone to flights of fancy, nor one who is steeped in superstition. Stories of Were-Wolves and similar such monsters have come down to us across centuries if not millennia, and I had no doubt most had been distorted out of all proportion with reality. I thought than many such stories could be explained by entirely logical means, which might range from attacks by rabid wolves on the one hand to legends of battle-mad Viking berserkers on the other. Undoubtedly some lunatics were mad enough to genuinely believe themselves capable of becoming wolves, and acted accordingly. I remained sceptical yet open-minded as to whether Were-Wolves truly existed.

However, I was also a devout Christian and had in fact for some time been considering the possibility of one day becoming ordained as a clergyman. My sincere religious views led me to consider another possibility for the origin of the Were-Wolf.

If such creatures truly existed, I firmly believed the phenomenon could only be explained by demonic possession. A Hellish demon, entering into the body of a human, might readily force the unfortunate man or woman to transform into a ravening monster. But I was certain that in such an event the demon would be unable to stand against the power of the Cross. I had faith in this theory, although in truth it was mostly nothing more than idle intellectual and theological speculation. I never expected to have the opportunity to put it to the test.

I came to a village in the North of Gévaudan expecting to find a quiet, sleepy little hamlet, perhaps containing a few gullible, over-excitable peasants, or maybe a so-called witness who had seen a Loup-Garou in the bottom of his wine-cup. Instead I found chaos and death.

My intention to collect current accounts of folkloric belief in the loup-garou was perhaps self indulgent. Folktales interested me. I considered their study to be an amusing and stimulating hobby.

Any amusement ended when I saw the first body.

I could not be certain a Were-Wolf had killed the child, but something had. It shredded the girl and left her half-eaten corpse as bloody proof of its merciless existence.

I prayed for the child that night.

It was the night I first saw the Beast.

I came only as a scholar looking for information.

I remained as a soldier for Christ, resolved to do my duty by bearing arms against the earthly emissary of the Devil himself.

-Click Here To Read PART FOUR-

 

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