Ganipote/Galipote

Galipote is an evil creature that is part of the folklore of the western part of France particularly in the parts of Guyenne, Poitou, Charentes and Drill.  A similar creature named Garache is found in the legends of Poitou.

Pierre Jonain described the Ganipote in his book “dictionary of the dialect Saintonge” as The male-beast, the object of superstitious fears of all our campaigns. These are said to be witches who change, night, white dog (cani-buddy, dog paw) and run the country to scare and hurt”.  The book was published at around 1869.

Like most of the European werewolves, the Ganipote is highly associated with the world of witches.  It usually attacks at night and went home before the breaking of dawn.    It is not only capable of taking the form of a werewolf, sometimes it is also depicted as a creature who can take the appearance of a dog or a sheep.  When attacking, the creature makes use of their heavy weight.  They usually jump at the back of their victim and pull their weight until the poor victim die due to suffocation.

Based on the local legends, there are different ways on how someone can transform into a Ganipote.  Some requires a ritual of transfer of soul to the body of an animal.  Another process describes stages of changes.  Finally the most popular one would be the body double.  A human form, an animal and an evil can reside in a single body, but the host remains unaware of it.  It is said that while the human body is sleeping the other persona inside his body would act, which is similar to the symptoms of individual suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder.

On the 10th of November, 1895, “La lune”journal de Fouras released news stating that there was a sighting of Ganipote.  Below is the exact phrasing that is found on the broadsheet:

 “Une bigourne (galipote ou loup-garou) vient de faire son apparition à Fouras, on n'en avait pas vu depuis une douzaine d'années. Cette horrible bête vient se poster tous les soirs, vers huit heures, dans un bois le long de la ligne ferrée. Elle se montre sous différentes formes et effraie les personnes qui passent par-là. Mères de famille, veillez” 
It says that a ganipote has made its appearance in Fouras.  They said that the creature has been sighted at 8:00 in the evening along the railways which is near the woods.



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