The case of Gilles Garnier, The Werewolf of Dole, is undoubtedly one of the most disturbing cases of cannibalism since the victims were all children between the ages of nine and twelve. Gilles Garnier was known to all in the town of Dole as being a reclusive hermit. This was in the late 16th century and he was more or less left alone to eke out a living. Eventually he married and settled into a domestic life which was not without its problems.

Garnier had become accustomed to living by himself and he wasn’t adapted to having to feed two mouths instead of one. This led to frequent quarrels although the couple stayed together. It was during this time that a number of young children started disappearing from the area. Some were never found but the bodies which were recovered bore signs of having been clawed and bitten. Strangely, the marks did not seem to be the work of an animal but of a human being. French authorities concluded that no mere man could be capable of such atrocities and instead decided that a werewolf was loose. Townspeople were encouraged to capture and even kill the suspected shape shifter on sight. Eventually a group of workers came across the body of a dead child and a fleeing figure they first thought to be a wolf in the dim light, but which was later recognized as Gilles Garnier.

Once an identification was made, it was only a short time before Garnier was arrested. He claimed to have come across a figure one night while he was out hunting in the forest. The apparition offered him a magical ointment that had the power to transform the wearer into a wolf. Desperate to feed both himself and his new wife, he accepted. His first kill occurred in October 1572, when he lured a young girl into a vineyard, strangled her and proceeded to partake of the flesh from her thighs and arms. He then took some of the remaining meat home to his wife who, it is assumed, consumed it. On two occasions he had been interrupted before he could cannibalize the corpses, but these close shaves did nothing to deter him.

Local people were horrified by this confession and accused Garnier of not only lycanthropy but witchcraft as well. In order to set an example as to what would happen should anyone willingly enter into a pact with the Devil, he was sentenced to be burned at the stake and this was carried out in January, 1573.