File this under "You learn something new every day." I had never heard of the beast of Gévaudan but I guess "some consider the creature to be the French equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster."
Robert Louis Stevenson described the beast as "the Napoleon Bonaparte of wolves" while some believe that it was a werewolve (although most attacks came in the morning) or an escaped lion or hyena. The beast is said to have killed eighty-nine people (fifteen women, sixty-eight children, and six men). The deaths were real and so you would have to think the beast was real too.
One of the mysteries of history.