Peter Stubbe (also known as Peter Stumpp or Peeter Stumpf) is a true story about a German man who was believed to be a werewolf. They say he made a pact with the devil who gave him a girdle that allowed him to transform into a wolf. He murdered women and children, terrorizing the region and earning himself the nickname, The Werewolf of Bedburg.
For many years, farmers in the German village of Bedburg were baffled by the strange deaths of their cattle and livestock. They would find their cows and sheep dead in the fields, their bodies ripped open and partially devoured. The farmers suspected that their animals were being attacked by a wild and vicious wolf.
Before long, children and young women began to randomly disappear from the village. Some of them were later found dead, their bodies horribly mutilated and half-eaten. Others were never found. When dismembered arms and legs were discovered strewn up and down the fields, the villagers flew into a panic and began to arm themselves. Everyone was frightened that they would be the wolf’s next victim.
A group of brave hunters set out with their dogs, determined to track down the wolf and put an end to its reign of terror. The men followed the creature’s tracks for days until at last they saw it in the distance. They set their dogs on it and they chased the animal down until they had it cornered.
When the hunters came to the spot where the dogs had the wolf surrounded, they were shocked to see that it wasn’t a wolf at all, but a naked man, cowering on the ground. They couldn’t believe their eyes because they knew this man. He was Peter Stubbe, a wealthy and respected farmer from the village.
The hunters suspected that Stubbe was a werewolf and brought him back to face the authorities. In custody, Peter Stubbe was tortured on the rack and confessed that he was the beast that had been terrorizing the area. He admitted to killing and eating fourteen children and two pregnant women.
He said that at the age of 12, he had turned his back on God and started worshipping the devil. He claimed the devil had given him a girdle made of wolf skin which allowed him to turn into “a greedy, devouring wolf, strong and mighty, with eyes great and large, which in the night sparkled like fire, a mouth great and wide, with most sharp and cruel teeth, a huge body, and mighty paws.”
In the form of a werewolf, he would gorge himself on the meat of cattle and sheep. As time went by, his lust for human flesh became uncontrollable and he began murdering and feasting on the corpses of women and children. He said he “ate their hearts, panting hot and raw.” One of children he murdered was his own son. He said he took the boy into the woods where he transformed into a wolf and killed him. Then, he broke open the boy’s skull and feasted on his brains, which he described as being “most savoury and dainty delicious.”
After the murders, he would often walk the village streets, cheerfully greeting the same people whose children or relatives he had ripped apart.
Peter Stubbe was convicted and sentenced to be tortured to death. His daughter Sybil and his mistress Katharina Trump were also convicted of being his accomplices. He was executed on Halloween night, October 31, 1589. Peter Stubbe was taken out and strapped to a large wheel, where the flesh was torn from his body with red-hot burning pincers. Then, his arms and legs were broken with a hammer to prevent him from returning from the grave. Finally, he was beheaded and his body was burned to ashes on a pyre. His daughter and mistress strangled and their bodies were burned along with him.
After the execution, the wheel on which Stubbe was tortured was set high on a pole from which were hung 16 strips of wood, each representing one of his 16 victims. A real wolf’s body was hung on the pole and its head was replaced with Peter Stubbe’s severed head as a warning to the public of what happens to those who make a deal with the devil and become a werewolf.