Echo of a children's fairy tale
Probably, there is not a single person who would not have heard about the fairy tale of Charles Perrault "Little Red Riding Hood". There are many variations of this work, movies and cartoons were made. But few people know that история about the girl and the wolf is based on real events that occurred in Germany at the end of the sixteenth century.
Perrault, and then the Brothers Grimm heard, if I may say so, the “source”. But neither in the seventeenth, nor in the eighteenth centuries to publish the story of Little Red Riding Hood without adaptation was impossible. Therefore, the authors thoroughly worked on it, turning the horror story into an interesting and instructive children's fairy tale. In the original version, the wolf did not just swallow his grandmother, but prepared a drink from her blood, and from flesh - food. And when Little Red Riding Hood came to the house, a predator in the form of a relative made her dine with him.
The cat, who lived with his grandmother, tried his best to warn the girl, for which he paid. The wolf killed him with wooden shoes. After dinner, the beast put the girl in bed, burned her clothes and lay down next. At this point, the famous dialogue about eyes, claws and teeth took place. The final is logical. The predator said: “This is to eat you soon, my child!” - and ate Red Riding Hood. And even though this terrible tale has several options, almost all of them ended the same way - the girl died in the beast's mouth.
Based on real events
The story Perro had heard came not from scratch. Similar events occurred in the German town of Bedburg, located near Cologne. At the end of the sixteenth century, the settlement plunged into the abyss of primitive horror and fear. Still would! A bloodthirsty monster appeared in the vicinity, who calmed his hunger with fresh human meat.
The story began quite casually for that time. Suddenly, livestock began to disappear from the pastures. Well, disappears and disappears, you never know what a predatory beast wound up? Then torn animal carcasses began to be found in different places: from the forest to the city gates. At first there was no panic among the locals. The people faithfully believed that a pack of wolves settled near the city. Hunters taking weaponsystematically organized raids. And, as proof of the rightness, the corpses of dead animals were constantly brought in. But here's the bad luck: the more wolf bodies dragged by hunters, the more domestic animals disappeared.
Soon the problem became really acute. Citizens risked being left without cows, goats and sheep. And then, in order to get rid of brazen predators, the entire male population of the city took up arms. For several days they combed the surrounding forests and killed the wolves. And they killed, as they believed, all of them. But it took only a week - and the shepherd stumbled into a ravine on a torn cow carcass. This was the last straw for the citizens. The psyche of the inhabitants of the sixteenth century could not stand it, according to Bedburg rumors about evil spirits spread. People prayed, repented, asked to protect them from the fiend. But the result was even worse - once near the city walls passers-by found a torn body of a local tramp. The murder was striking in its cruelty: a terrifying predator split the unfortunate skull and tore out his spine.
The town finally panicked, believing that a werewolf started in the vicinity ...
People are hunting
As it turned out, the deceased stroller is just the beginning. Soon the children began to disappear. Moreover, the inhabitants of Bedburg found their bodies shattered with teeth (the beast especially liked to break heads and eat the brain) in trees near the town. It was then that the city and plunged into the abyss of this horror. One by one they tried not to go anywhere, they trembled at the slightest rustle. Suddenly, a werewolf again went on the hunt?
All was uneasy only for children. They were not frightened by the terrible death of friends, or the strict prohibitions of parents. They ran away every now and then to play in the nearby meadows. That was what the werewolf used. He did not wait for the night, so most often the attacks took place during the day. However, he always tried to attack the loners. But once he dared to attack a group of children playing near a herd of cows.
A giant wolf jumped out of the bushes and managed to grab one of the girls with clawed paws. The child screamed, the alarmed cows began to scream loudly and began to run away. Her friends and girlfriends rushed for help. The girl was lucky. The werewolf, frightened by loud noises and seeing armed men, threw the victim and hid in the forest. The men immediately went in search of the beast, but could not find it. This girl, even though her name has not been preserved, was probably the only person who managed to survive the meeting with the monster.
Well, the werewolf decided to take revenge. A few days after the incident in the meadow, he attacked two pregnant women. And he dealt with them most cruelly: he tore the children out of their stomachs, after which he ate their brains and liver. With women did exactly the same. Four torn corpses were found by the shepherds in the early morning ... A rumor went through Bedburg that the city was cursed for the sins of the local people. And the massacre of the teeth of the wolf-devil can not be avoided.
The only ones who did not succumb to the general panic - hunters. They tried to catch a predator, put traps and cunning traps on it. In general, they used the entire hunting arsenal of those times. But the werewolf had time to escape every time. He seemed to know where the traps are and when the next hunt will be announced. And the more persistent the men tried to catch him, the more horrendous and sophisticated the killing of the monster became. He clawed out the heart and liver of the victim, gnawed the skull, drank the blood, and scattered the internal organs around the corpse.
Soon the residents of the city had a new version. Someone started a rumor that all the dead were Catholics. And not a single Protestant was listed among the victims. The rumor immediately spread it around the city. Honorable Catholics took up arms no longer against the beast, but against representatives of another faith. It must be said, in Germany at that time, the relationship between Catholics and Protestants was very strained, and then armed conflicts occurred. It did not go around this confrontation and Bedburg. The small town was divided into two camps. And if before the appearance of the monster, people lived in relative tolerance towards each other, then they began to accuse each other of bloody murders. The Protestants defended as best they could, reporting information about the bloodthirsty werewolf. There was simply no other way for them to resist the furious Catholics. And the soil turned out to be fertile, since the legends about people turning into wolves were passed from mouth to mouth for more than one century.
The final point in the dispute of the religious camps put the hunters. Once they managed to find prints of wolf paws and then human legs at the site of a bloody massacre. It happened in the summer of 1589. Since the torn body of the child was still warm, the men realized that the beast had attacked recently. Therefore, they quickly organized a raid, taking hounds with them.
This hunt was described in the French pamphlet "A truthful treatise condemning the life and death of a certain Stubb Peter" 1590. Men were lucky, the dogs took the trail of the beast. Soon they brought the hunters to the clearing where the werewolf was. Seeing people, he threw off a kind of belt and instantly turned from a giant wolf into a man. Hoping that the hunters did not see these metamorphoses, the man, leaning on his staff, strode towards them. But it was not possible to deceive the inhabitants of Bedburg. Under the mask of a werewolf, a well-known city dweller named Peter Stumpf was hiding (according to some sources, Stubb or Stumppp). He was a devout Catholic, a respectable father of the family, engaged in farming, and always gave generous alms to the poor. Therefore, in power, he was in good standing. Nobody could imagine that a werewolf was Peter.
Crime and Punishment
Stumpf was put behind bars in anticipation of a representative of the Cologne episcopate. No one then doubted that Peter was a werewolf. After all, a man could not from time to time to furnish his bloody murders. There was a rumor among the townspeople that the prisoner suffered from lycanthropy, a disease whose symptoms no one had seen, but everyone believed in him. It was she who helped transform a man into a wild beast. There were a few more versions. So, some thought that Peter had sent a curse like a sorcerer. Others argued that Stumpf had made a deal with the devil, saying that he had promised great benefits, in return demanding to kill women and children.
Especially popular were just the last two versions. At that time, people believed that a person infected with lycanthropy turns into a wolf only at full moon at night. And Peter often committed murder in the light of the sun.
The inquisitors who came to Bedburg from Cologne did not beat around the bush. They needed to get the truth from Stumpf as quickly as possible. Therefore, interrogations took place with passion. Peter was subjected to various tortures, using, among other things, the rack. A few days later, the man could not stand it and confessed to killing more than two dozen women and children. He told that he was a werewolf. At the same time described in detail all the signs of lycanthropy. More precisely, he retold the treatise of the Alexandrian scholastic Paul Eginetus about this devilish disease. There is a version that the inquisitors simply read out the text to Peter, who hung on the rack, and he only assented, hoping for an early end to the torment. So, he admitted that in the full moon he was tormented by a strong chill, aching joints, the body was shackled by unquenchable thirst, there was a fear of light and a terrible longing. He urgently needed to run away into the forest, throw off his clothes and wait until the body was covered with thick hair. And then came the inexplicable desire to howl at the full moon. But so Peter was only at first. Then he wanted human meat and blood ... Inquisitors such recognition was quite enough. They immediately declared Stumpf guilty of murder and conspiracy with the devil. And no one bothered to check whether he turned into a predator, or simply imagined himself a wolf, throwing the skin on his shoulders. Not embarrassed by the fact that the killings took place during the day. In this regard, ordinary residents of the town turned out to be much more meticulous than representatives of the church.
Peter, in vain, expected that after the confession of murder, the torture would stop. He was tortured for several more days. As a result, the inquisitors managed to find out that Stumpf became interested in black magic in childhood. And when he was twelve years old, he made a deal with the devil. He gave him a magic belt that allowed a person to turn into a bloodthirsty predator. By the way, about the belt. The hunters went several times to the place of detention of the werewolf in the hope of finding a sorcerous artifact, but their efforts were in vain. And Peter said that the master of hell had taken the gift back. Stumpf also admitted that he had long struggled with the thirst for human blood. But one day, still could not resist. I tried once and since then I could not do without it. Because of this, he had to kill not only cows, but also people.
But this was not enough for the inquisitors. They wanted to create an image of absolute evil from Stumpf. Therefore, a man confessed and incest, and eating their own children, and wives, and sisters ...
Only after that the inquisitors fell behind. They sentenced Peter to death by all canons approved by the church. Therefore, at night on 31 in October, 1589, Stumpf, was tied to a wooden wheel and, during the rotation, they tore out pieces of flesh with red-hot tongs. Then they crushed the limbs, cut off the head, and burned the disfigured body. Together with Peter, his daughter Sibyl was executed, as well as the cohabitant Katharina. They were accused of complicity. According to one version, women were first cut off the head, and then burned. According to another - they were sent alive to the fire. By the way, the execution of Stumpf and his family took place on the main square of the town, where all residents gathered. Everyone wanted to personally verify the death of the devil's minions.
When the werewolf was finished, inquisitors ordered to erect a monument to a horrible monster at the place of execution. So to say, demonstrate hell victory over his minion. A wheel was attached to the pole in a horizontal position (the same one on which Peter was turned), a wooden figure of a wolf was mounted on it, and Stumpf's severed head was attached to the top. The monument turned out to be as terrible as the werewolf's execution.
Perhaps Peter was an accidental victim, because not a single person is able to withstand the tortures of the Inquisition. But after his execution, Bedburg lived a quiet life. Although for a long time the townspeople shuddered at every rustle and told the disobedient children a bloody tale about a terrible wolf hunting for people.