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|Died||18 January 1573|
|Other names||The Hermit of St. Bonnot |
The Werewolf of Dôle
|Criminal penalty||Burning at the stake|
Gilles Garnier (executed 18 January 1573) was a French serial killer, cannibal, and hermit convicted of being a werewolf. He was alternately known as "The Hermit of St. Bonnot" and "The Werewolf of Dole".
The Werewolf of Dole, Gilles Garnier was a reclusive hermit living outside the town of Dole in the Franche-Comté Province in France. He had recently been married and moved his new wife out to his isolated home. Being unaccustomed to feeding more than just himself he found it difficult to provide for his wife causing discontent between them. During this period several children went missing or were found dead and the authorities of the Franche-Comté province issued an edict encouraging and allowing the people to apprehend and kill the werewolf responsible. One evening a group of workers travelling from a neighbouring town came upon what they thought in the dim light to be a wolf but what some recognised as the hermit with the body of a dead child. Soon after Gilles Garnier was arrested.
According to his testimony at trial, while Garnier was in the forest hunting one night trying to find food for himself and his wife, a spectre appeared to him offering to ease his troubles and gave him an ointment that would allow him to change into the form of a wolf, making it easier to hunt. Garnier confessed to having stalked and murdered at least four children between the ages of 9 and 12. In October 1572, his first victim was a 10-year-old girl whom he dragged into a vineyard outside of Dole. He strangled her, removed her clothes, and ate the flesh from her thighs and arms. When he had finished he removed some flesh and took it home to his wife. Weeks later Garnier savagely attacked another girl, biting and clawing her, but was interrupted by passersby and fled. The girl succumbed to her injuries a few days later. In November, Garnier killed a 10-year-old boy, again cannibalising him by eating from his thighs and belly and tearing off a leg to save for later. He strangled another boy but was interrupted for the second time by a group of passersby. He had to abandon his prey before he could eat from it. In 1572 he brutally attacked an unknown boy who was passing by and tore him in half by biting and tearing at his belly. In 1573 he strangled a girl, ate her flesh, and tore away her left leg and took it to his wife.
Garnier was found guilty of “crimes of lycanthropy and witchcraft” and burned at the stake on January 18, 1574. Even though Garnier was burned at the stake, his trial was done by the secular authorities and not by the Inquisition, as superstition was not judged by the Inquisition.  More than fifty witnesses deposed that he had attacked and killed children in the fields and vineyards, devouring their raw flesh. He was sometimes seen in human shape, sometimes as a "loup-garou".
- Luc Jaccottey and Brigitte Rochelandet, "L'ermitage Saint-Bonnot à Amange: l'habitat de Gilles Garnier brûlé comme loup garou à Dole en 1574", Archéopages n° 25, april 2009, p. 41.
- Lea, Henry Charles. A History of the Inquisition of Spain, vol. 1, appendix 2
- Pedro Antonio Iofreu, Defensa del Canon Episcopi, in Pedro Cirvelo (ed.), Tratado en el qual se repruevan todas las supersticiones y hechizerias printed by Sebastian de Cormellas (1628)
- notes by Rev. Montague Summers, in the 1928 and 1948 edition of the Malleus Malefaricum. p.
- Everitt, David. "Human Monsters: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the World's Most Vicious Murderers", New York: McGraw-Hill 1993, pp. 13–15. ISBN 0-8092-3994-9
- Schechter, Harold. "The A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers", Pocket Books, 2006 ISBN 1-4165-2174-7
- Sidky, H. "Witchcraft, Lycanthropy, Drugs, and Disease: An Anthropological Study of the European Witch-Hunts." New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. 1997. ISBN 0-8204-3354-3
- Mackay, Charles "Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds", New York: Crown Trade Paperbacks. 1980. ISBN 1-56619-169-6