Friday, July 10, 2015

Known for The Werewolf of Ansbach, Killing Spree Visits Area

A suspect has been caught by police after allegedly shooting to death two people in a killing spree in Ansbach in northern Bavaria, Germany, on Friday morning, July 10, 2010.

The area is known as the site of famed werewolf account, in many ways, a German version of the Beast of Gévaudan (La Bête Du Gévaudan).

Coat of Arms of Anspach.

The name of the town was originally Onolzbach, meaning "On'z Brook". It was also formerly known as Anspach.

The Wolf of Ansbach was a man-eating wolf that attacked and killed an unknown number of people in the Principality of Ansbach in 1685, then a part of the Holy Roman Empire. Initially a nuisance preying on livestock, the wolf soon began attacking women and children. The citizens of Ansbach believed the animal to be a werewolf, a reincarnation of their late and cruel Bürgermeister, whose recent death had gone unlamented. During an organized hunt the locals succeeded in driving the wolf from a nearby forest and chasing it down with dogs until it leaped into an uncovered well for protection. Trapped, the wolf was slain, and its carcass paraded through the city marketplace. It was dressed in a man's clothing and, after severing its muzzle, the crowd placed a mask, wig, and beard upon its head, giving it the appearance of the former Bürgermeister. The wolf's body was then hanged from a gibbet for all to see until it underwent preservation for permanent display at a local museum. (See also, The Book of Werewolves by Sabine Baring-Gould, and The Werewolf by Montague Summers).

Franz Ritter von Kobell and other writers wrote poems about the wolf and its actions.

The man arrested in conjunction with the July 10, 2015, Ansbach shooting is thought to be around 47 years old, is alleged to have driven in a silver Mercedes convertible to the village of Tiefenthal, where he stopped and had a brief exchange of words with an 82-year-old woman before shooting her dead.

Tuefebthal literally translates as "the deep valley." The municipality lies in a small hollow with northern slopes between the Eisbach and Eckbach valleys in the Palatinate. Tiefenthal belongs to the Verbandsgemeinde of Hettenleidelheim, whose seat is in the like-named municipality. Until 1969, the municipality belonged to the now abolished district of Frankenthal.

The German blazon reads: In Rot ein goldenes Tatzenkreuz. (A golden cross in red.)
Tiefenthal’s arms might in English heraldic language be described thus: Gules a cross pattée humetty Or. The arms were approved by the now defunct Regierungsbezirk administration in Neustadt and date from a 1724 seal. They are borrowed from the arms once borne by the Counts of Leiningen-Westerburg, to whom Tiefenthal belonged.

The suspect fled the scene before shooting and killing a 72-year-old male cyclist 5km away in Rammersdorf.

Another man was threatened with a gun, and shortly afterwards a tractor driver was shot at, but was unhurt, police said.

Two mechanics working at a petrol station in Bad Windsheim overpowered the man after he entered the shop and threatened employees with a gun, police said.

Police said the man, named as Bernd G, was not previously known to the authorities.

Gerhard Neuhof, a senior public prosecutor in Ansbach, said there was no indication the gunman knew his victims and the incident appeared to have been a random killing spree.

The mayor of Leutershausen, Siegfried Hess, said he was shocked by the attack, according to the newspaper the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Crime scene investigators in Leutershausen, near Ansbach (EPA)

Hess told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that he was "totally shocked".

Hess described the killings as "probably the worst crime in the history of the town." He said he had already sent his condolences to the family of the 82-year-old victim, and said he believed the suspect did not know the woman.

Apparently Herr Hess is unaware of the werewolf history of Ansbach!

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