Werewolves are beings that belong in legends and Hollywood films like “The Howling” or “An American Werewolf in London”. When we think of Werewolves we think of full Moons, sliver bullets and shape-shifting humans with a thirst for human flesh. Located somewhere in a European forest or in wood carvings from the middle ages; but not in Wisconsin. Not in some farmland in the northern U.S.
Native Americans have always believed in the magic of shape-shifting. Where a human could magically morph into an animal to take on it’s powers, SkinWalkers, as they are more commonly known. This has been in Native American folklore for centuries. Tales of humans morphing into wolfs, bears, cats and other predatory animals are common along tribes in Northern America.
What has been reported in recent times in the Northern part of the United States is something that does not truly belong to the Native American folklore. Accounts of a dog/man like creature or “Werewolf” have been reported for years in Wisconsin. Even as recently as a few years ago. Who is reporting this? Who are the witnesses? and what do the reports conclude? In this article, I present you with the answers to those questions and an attempt at getting closer to the mystery. The belief in “Werewolves” is left to you, the readers, and your interpretation of facts and believes. As a writer for GhostTheory, my passion is the chase of the mystery.
Lycanthropy, or “Clinical lycanthropy”, is a psychiatric syndrome in which a person has delusions in which they believe to be able to transform into an animal or that they are an animal. The legend of the modern day Werewolf comes from people who suffered from Lycanthropy. Either a self-proclaimed Werewolf (mental instability or torture) or that of being accused (witch & werewolf trials of the early century) As far as we know, during the 1500s was when the “Werewolf hysteria” was at it’s strongest. People living in remote areas in Europe had more frequent encounters with wolves. Fear of these predatory animals and mass hysteria helped fuel the infamous Werewolf Trials of the 16th century. It is highly speculated that these accusations of being a Werewolf could have been started by a simple fungus. Ergot. Ergot is a fungus that was common at that time. Attacking food grains like wheat and rye which was a staple source of food in the European way of life. Ergot affected grains and breads that were usually stored in wet and cold places, causing LSD like effects when ingested. The effects of Ergot range from hallucinations, seizures to hysteria and paranoia.
We can see how easy it would be for a person to be under the influence of heavy doses of Ergot and act out in a animal-like behavior to be considered some form of a lycanthrope.
An 18th century engraving, conveying that weapons used against vampires (wooden stakes and rosaries) are useless against werewolves [Wikipedia]
Fast forward a few hundred years to rural Wisconsin.
There’s been hundreds of reports about a bipedal dog-like creature lurking around the farmlands and roads of Wisconsin. Enough reports to catch the eye of the Delavan-based newspaper “The Week”. Staff journalist Linda Godfrey was assigned to investigate these reports. Linda, being skeptical, approached the assignment as any skeptic would, assuming that what the witnesses were seeing was either a wolf or a dog. Or some hybrid of the two. Little did she know that after interviewing hundreds of witnesses her own belief in the creature was to be questioned.
Linda Godfrey has interviewed several credible witnesses (I say credible since these are men and women with good reputations and in no way looking for any attention and wish to remain anonymous) as well as several credulous witnesses. Her reports are consistent in nature. Every witness describes the creature as a 6-7 foot bipedal creature that is hunched over with characteristics of that of a dog.
Her investigation focused on a lonely stretch of road, named Bray road, where the creature was mostly seen at. The accounts there have inspired a nickname for the creature. “The Beast of Bray Road”.
Ghost Theory has an exclusive interview with Linda Godfrey:
1. First of all, I’d like to thank you for taking some time from your busy schedule to answer a few questions for GhostTheory.
(a) When you first started reporting on the Bray Road beast, did you believe this was a true creature?
Linda: I thought it was probably a dog or dog/wolf hybrid
(b) What made you change your opinion
Linda: the dozens (now hundreds) of sober eyewitness accounts describing a creature that did things normal wolves or dogs would not
2. What are the most compelling eyewitnesses/testimonies you have encountered during your years following this legend?
Linda: I’d rather people just read the books and judge for themselves. I do think the Georgia creature in Hunting the American Werewolf is a very credible account, includes a footprint sketch and was by a very credible businessperson whom I’ve interviewed at great length.
3. In your latest book, what new updates do you have for us in regards to the Bray Road beast?
Linda: It has not gone away, is very widespread, and is sometimes seen in small groups.
4. Are you familiar with the Gable Film? and what is your relationship with Steve Cook?
Linda: Yes, I’m familiar with it. Steve Cook and I have been acquainted since 1992 when my original report on the Beast of Bray Road went public and he saw it on TV and recognized it as the same animal as the Michigan Dog Man, and then contacted me. We have corresponded since then, and I met him one time in Traverse City while on location with the History Channel.
5. Have you studied the film and do you believe Mr. Cook to be telling the truth about him finding the film and not wanting to profit from this?
Linda: Yes and yes
6. What is your opinion about the film?
Linda: I believe it is at least several decades old as his experts have ascertained based on technical analysis, and that it shows an animal doing very strange things. It also, at one point, jumps off the ground with all four feet which is something a human in a suit could not do. I don’t think it shows enough of the creature to conclude it is the Dog Man, however.
7. How big is “Bray Road” and why hasn’t anyone setup trail-cams or look-out posts? have they?
Linda: It’s about two miles long, a fairly busy road and is all private property and farmland. The people who live on that road don’t appreciate all the attention and are not anxious to “prove” anything lives there. Besides, this is only ONE of a myriad of hotspots in Wisconsin, and there are more in Michigan, other states and even other countries. It is NOT the only place the creature resides or is seen….that the beast lives only on Bray Road, as if it had an address there, is the most common misconception people have. It’s been seen much more often east and south of Lake Geneva in the past five years or so.
The film that I asked Linda about is the infamous Gable Film. A film that shows what many consider the “Dogman” of Michigan. Not to be confused with the “Bray road Beast” of Wisconsin.
The Michigan “Dogman” has it’s history deeply rooted in an elaborate hoax. The story is that a Michigan DJ by the name of Steve Cook, created a poem and song about a fictional monster in Michigan dubbed the “Dogman”. This was to be an April’s fools prank for the radio listeners, but quickly spiraled out of control and into the wild imaginations of the radio station’s listeners as well as other parts of the world.
After the broadcast of the fake legend, people started to call the station with sightings of the “Dogman”.
Listeners called in and swore that they have seen this creature and known of it’s existence. No sooner than later, this small time hoax spread like wildfire and became Michigan’s legend. The creators of the hoax coaxed the fires by adding that the beat surfaced every decade. This was in 1987.
In 2007 Steve Cook once again made the news. This time, claiming to have in his hands some extraordinary film that was given to him. The film supposedly was found in an old attic and it’s origins are unknown. The film dubbed “The Gable film” shows in the beginning old footage, possible 70s era, that was shot with an 8mm film camera, of some family footage. Nothing really unusual until the last few seconds of the film in which it shows the camera person inside a truck, getting out to film a strange quadruped creature on some foliage. The creature then quickly charges at the camera person, to which some conclude that the person holding the camera drops it, and runs to the truck. The last frame shows a quick frame of fur and teeth.
Sounds creepy right? well if we take into consideration the legend of the “Dogman” and the source of the film it’s really not that creepy. And if we also take into consideration the countless hours of examination by Linda Godfrey, Nick Redfern and Mr. Loren Coleman’s readers at Cryptomundo we can rest assured the the possibility of the film being a product of another Michigan Hoax is relatively great.
Now, I’m not saying that the film itself is a hoax, I mean, like Mrs. Godfrey said “..[the film is] at least several decades old as his experts have ascertained based on technical analysis, and that it shows an animal doing very strange things….” but as far as a “Dogman”? I think it’s not.
Check out the film and you be the judge:
The infamous “Gable film”
Linda Godfrey’s books on the Wisconsin beast include sketches, photographs and incredible eyewitness accounts of sightings of the creature. Location of the sightings and more. A good read for the curious or the investigative type. Buy the books here: