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Gilles Garnier and Peter Stubbe – Real-Life Werewolves

Gilles Garnier and Peter Stubbe – Real-Life Werewolves

There is an old superstition that any child born on Christmas Day is cursed since their birth detracts from the full attention due to the observance of the birth of Christ. They are afflicted with lycanthropy unless they lead a life of piousness in thought, word, and deed.

Though the birth dates of Gilles Garnier and Peter Stumpp are unknown, they led deviant lives and committed acts of murder and cannibalism that many attribute to their condition as ferocious shapeshifters: werewolves.

Gilles Garnier

Gilles Garnier, “The Werewolf of Dole”, was a hermit who lived a solitary existence in a forest hovel in the French village of Dole in the sixteenth century. He married a woman named Apoline and had several children but was unable to provide for his family. Possibly cracking under that pressure, he stalked and killed several children, allegedly in the guise of a wolf-man.

Real Life Werewolves-GillesGarnier-01 / Fair use doctrine.

Gilles Garnier, The Werewolf of Dole

His first victim, in October of 1572, was a 10-year-old girl. He strangled her, dragged her into the woods, and devoured flesh from her thighs and arms. He was said to have brought some of the flesh home for his wife to cook.

About a week later, several peasants walking by a meadow heard frightened screams and bestial snarling. They found a young girl being attacked by what some of them said was a wolf but others saw Gilles Garnier. The thing fled on four legs and the girl was saved but later succumbed to her fatal injuries.

His next victim was a 10-year-old boy, on November first. He strangled the boy and ate flesh from his limbs and torso. He ripped one of the boy’s legs off and again brought the meat home to his wife.

A week after that he abducted and strangled a 12-year-old boy and would have eaten his flesh but heard people approaching and fled.

In January of 1573, he attacked another child whose screams drew people to them. Garnier fled but was identified and tracked down. He and his wife were arrested and tortured until Garnier confessed to being a werewolf. He said the Devil had given him a magic ointment that transformed him into a werewolf. His wife confessed to helping him in his crimes. They were both burned at the stake on January 18th, 1573.

Peter Stubbe

Peter Stubbe, “The Werewolf of Bedburg”, had a higher body count than Gilles Garnier and was much more depraved.

Real Life Werewolves-Peter Stumpp/Peter Stubbe - exemplore / Fair use doctrine.

Peter Stubbe, The Werewolf of Bedburg

He was born in 1525 and said to have practiced “wicked arts” from the age of 12. He was a widower with a farm in Epprath, Germany, in the 1580s when his terror spree began. He started with his own family, sexually assaulting his daughter Sybil and having a child with her, before progressing to murder. Though more specifics are known about Gilles Garnier’s crimes, the details that are available about Peter Stubbe’s crimes are horrifying. He murdered and, in some cases, cannibalized 14 people. Two of his victims were pregnant women; after he killed them he was said to have ripped the fetuses from their bodies and eaten them. The majority of his victims were young children, including the child he fathered with Sybil. He lured the boy into the woods, bashed his skull open with a rock and ate his brains. He raped most of his female victims, and his lust was so rampant he claimed to have been visited by a succubus.

The townspeople wanted to find the beast that was savaging their neighbors. They used dogs to track the wolf they thought was responsible. Once they had the animal cornered, witnesses claimed it turned into Peter Stubbe and got away from them. They went to his house, arrested him, and tortured him on the rack until he confessed. He admitted all his crimes, saying that he wore a wolf pelt, given to him by the devil, that turned him into a beast.

His fate was as grisly as that of his many victims. On October 31st, 1589, he was placed on a wheel where his arms and legs were broken. Red hot pincers were used to tear off his flesh. After the torture, he was executed by beheading.
Real Life Werewolves-Peter Stubbe or Stumpp-Horrorpedia / Fair use doctrine.



With Christmas upon us, we venture through the veritable treasure trove of dark stories of yuletide fair. Here is a short list of 9 Christmas tales and traditions used originally to promote the darker (and in some cases oddly comical) side of the holiday period. Whilst some are purely laughable by today’s standards, others are still used to scare children into being good all around the world.
Flashing colored Christmas lights


Krampus / Fair use doctrine.The most obvious on the list and easiest to recognize, KRAMPUS has gained a notoriety with horror fans through various films in recent years.
KRAMPUS is a Christmas character from Austria, who on KRAMPUS Night (December 5th) each year appears to scare and maim. Some say he is Santa Claus’ evil twin brother and, like his brother, has a duty each year to perform. Unlike his kindly brother who delivers gifts to good girls and boys, KRAMPUS has the opposite job and will beat and punish all of the naughty children.
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The Shitter / Fair use doctrine.This odd little custom is used in Spain, Portugal, and Italy.
As usual, a nativity is set up and decorated with the expected characters on display – Jesus, Mary, Joseph, three wise men and perhaps a shepherd. However, in these three countries, you may also add a character known as CAGANER.
CAGANER is literally translated as ‘the crapper’ or ‘the shitter’, and his figurine (which traditionally depicts a man, pooping with his pants around his knees and with a pile of poop at his heels) is usually placed in the corner of a traditional nativity scene. Children are encouraged to find him, as part of their Christmas ritual. The CAGANER is not a new custom, having been around for a few hundred years. It is a bit of a shitty custom, I know, but I will admit I was intrigued by the concept of a man crapping in my nativity scene.
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Brooms - WitchesIn Norway each year, it is perceived that WITCHES and evil spirits will ascend on the towns in search of brooms to ride on to do their evil bidding on Christmas Eve. To thwart this evil, the Norwegians will hide all brooms on Christmas Eve and fire a warning shot outdoors with a shotgun.
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Frau Perchta / Fair use doctrine.Continuing on with our witch folklore, FRAU PERCHTA is another occult Christmas legend from Austria and Germany. It is known that FRAU PERCHTA visits children through the 12 days of Christmas, from December 25th until January 6th. She is seen as both good and bad.
Thought to have descended from an Alpine goddess of nature, FRAU PERCHTA will reward good children.
However, she is very well known for her gruesome punishments for the bad, including one fearful tale of ripping out internal organs and replacing them with garbage.
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Hans Trapp / Fair use doctrine.In certain regions of France, the tales of HANS TRAPP circulate as an anti-Santa.
Dressed like a raggedy scarecrow when he visits, HANS TRAPP was a wealthy man who worshiped Satan and became greedy and evil.
The stories say that HANS TRAPP was about to eat a small boy when he was punished by God and struck by lightning, killing him instantly. However, his dark soul still returns to scare children (looking like a scarecrow) each Christmas, as a reminder that they still have time to be good.
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Pere / Fair use doctrine.PERE FOUETTARD was an evil French butcher who many still fear today.
Said to be a ghoul whose name translates as ‘Father Whipper’, PERE FOUETTARD lured children to their deaths whipping and cutting them (primarily by slicing their throats).
A gruesome tale of 3 young boys he led into his butcher’s shop, was the one that cemented his fate as a part of Christmas’ evil side.
It was there that he murdered them, chopped them up and salted the remains.
St. Nicholas came to the boys’ aid and resurrected them, before enslaving PERE FOUETTARD as his dispenser of punishment, by whipping them naturally.
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Werewolf / Fair use doctrine.Yes …I said WEREWOLVES!
According to varied legends, Lycanthropy is very much included as part of some countries Christmas legends.
In The World Encyclopedia of Christmas, Olaus Magnus (a Swedish folklorist) wrote regarding werewolves gathering on Christmas night to “rage with wondrous ferocity against human beings, by attacking their homes and devouring the inhabitants”.
This was supposedly in Prussia, Livonia, and Lithuania.
However, that is not all of the Christmas-werewolf connection.
In modern times, it has since been reduced to merely being born on Christmas Day is cause enough to believe that person will become a werewolf.
It is seen that being born on December 25th is mocking Jesus Christ and so you must be punished.
Sorry to all you December 25th born children, perhaps steer “clear of the moors”?
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Gryla / Fair use doctrine.GRYLA is an Icelandic legend of a woman with 13 sons (known as the YULE LADS) and her cat Jólakötturinn (see story available on this page about the YULE CAT).
In Iceland, it is customary to receive a gift of new clothes to wear on Christmas Eve. Usually, good workers receive clothes as a gift from employers, and children from their parents.
For those children considered naughty, who do not receive new clothes in time for the festive season, GRYLA comes out from her home and seeks them out -to devour them.
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Like their mother GRYLA, THE YULE LADS were not at all nice to encounter during the holidays. Tales of their numbers vary from five to thirteen, and their antics range from mere pranks to acts of cannibalism.
Either way, these ‘lads’ were to be feared and were usually seen as henchmen for their mother.
In more recent years each of their 13 characters has evolved (since a poem published in 1932 by Jóhannes úr Kötlum) and THE YULE LADS have been seen as more impish, mischievous and less aggressive. In fact with recent toys, stamps and images available they appear more like the seven dwarves than evildoers.