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Image de Elijah Hail

Anticosti Massacre

A nameless drama

Spring 1829: The sinking of the Granicus remains a sad story of massacre and cannibalism, still anchored in the legends of Anticosti. It was told to Placide Vigneau by Basile Giasson, who died in Natashquan in 1873, at the age of 93. The story was also recounted by Bishop Charles Guay in Letters on Anticosti Island.

Paysage en niveaux de gris

In the spring of 1829, Captain Giasson and his crew left the Magdalen Islands to hunt seals in Anticosti. Being on the verge of running out of fresh water, he decided to go to the aid station, run by Olivier Godin at Baie-du-Renard. He did not know then that Godin had left the post and that all the provisions intended for the castaways had been repatriated to Quebec. On the path leading to the house, inside of it and in a nearby shed, they discovered many mutilated bodies. In a room, they found the corpse of a giant [...] next to which a large cauldron still contained human remains. It seemed that this big fellow had murdered all these poor people and had fed on them.

Going through the boat's logbook, the captain's last entry dated back to just a few days before the tragedy. The crew busied themselves with digging a mass grave and transporting the remains of these poor castaways there.

In 1849, Charles Lever, a well-known Irish short story writer, aided by illustrations by Hablot K. Brown, somewhat  recreated this character in his story called The Confessions of Con Gregan.

The full story is reported in the writings of Placide Vigneau and can be viewed online on the BanQ website.

Vigneau, Placide, Anticoste Massacre from Récits de naufrages, 1829-1902. National Archives of Quebec in Sept-Îles, Placide Vigneau collection (P48,S1,D2.6)

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