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Sasquatch illustration by Linda S. Godfrey for American Monsters

Sasquatch illustration by Linda S. Godfrey for American Monsters

American Monsters release day! What a great time I had on CoasttoCoastam.com with George Noory last evening talking about all the creepy critters! Thanks to all who listened, called in, and followed my blog afterward. In case you missed the show (I’m not normally up between two and four a.m. either :-) click HERE.

Also, check out my guest blog running today in Huffington Post on America’s Seven Scariest Monsters. It was extremely difficult to choose only seven, and I’ve seen a few comments wondering why I didn’t include the upright canines such as Michigan Dogman or Beast of Bray Road. It’s true that few things are scarier than encountering a menacing, upright wolf, but since I’m so identified with my wolfmen books and research, I wanted to emphasize that this book is a survey of the whole weird menagerie from giant birds to lake monsters. Besides, the canine crew gets its due in the book’s section on land beasts. And I wouldn’t care to run into any of these creatures on a dark trail at night. 

americanmonsterscoverThe Monsters have been uncaged! The whole furry, scaly, red-eyed, bat-winged, fanged, dripping-clawed, oversized pack of slavering unknown creatures that I spent two years cramming into a 376-page paperback are now free to romp and roam where ever anyone may care to read about them. And in this book, it’s not just all about upright, wolf-like creatures. I wanted to create a work that shows something of the breadth and depth of the unknown kingdom that eyewitnesses continue to glimpse day and night in sky, land and water. I think it’s amazing that people see giant primates, huge flying things thought to have died out with the dinosaurs, and weird beasties like the Chupacabras that looks like nothing ever seen before, and yet we know next to nothing about most of them.

Not that this is anything really new. People like Ivan Sanderson, John Keel and many other investigators were slogging through marshes and tromping far off lands long before I began to collect the experiences of otherwise ordinary people. Nor is my occupation all that unique; I have plenty of contemporary colleagues, friends and investigators from all sorts of backgrounds and abilities–too many to name here but see the acknowledgments page in Monsters for mere starters–to whom I and the whole field of cryptozoology owe an enormous debt for their own research and studies. 

I hope this book, if nothing else, will help make the case that although modern science insists these creatures are not here, they sure look like they are to those who see them. And that there is something more to these anomalous events than mass hallucination, the occasional hoaxer, or misidentifications of known animals. 

“Beast” in New E-book Edition and limited time “God” Johnson for 99 Cents 

New Kindle Edition The Beast of Bray Road; Tailing Wisconsin's Werewolf

New Kindle Edition The Beast of Bray Road; Tailing Wisconsin’s Werewolf

To help celebrate the launch of American Monsters, the original beast is back! The Beast of Bray Road, Tailing the American Werewolf has been unavailable in print or electronic version, but is now again offered as a Kindle book  I’m working on print availability, too.

The book is nearly the same as the original 2003 edition except for the clean-up of a few typos and new cover art created by my artist son, Nathan Godfrey. Most of the interior art is still there.

And in a purely celebratory move, my fantasy novel God Johnson, the Unforgiven Diary, will be available from all venues for 99 cents from August 28 through September 30. It’s the story of Liberty Abbott, the disciple of a has-been demigod who’s taken the trust-inspiring form of Abraham Lincoln the better to attract energy-rich followers. There are no werewolves, but there are pet sphinxes, sentient plants, a snake goddess, Cyclops and a bartender named Cthulhu. The alternate universe Liberty must contend with is secreted in select spots of downtown Madison, Wisconsin. See godjohnsonnewHRthe link above for download venues and more about God Johnson. (Which has nothing to do with the coincidentally-named TV show The Almighty Johnsons about a whole family of demigods with that name! There really is a human hive consciousness :-) )

Linda Godfrey at site of apparent deer and predator trails

Linda Godfrey at site of apparent deer and predator trails

More mulch churned up by deer and by whatever made those 4-5 inch tracks, a strange “paw” print on the house siding, and a family even more perplexed about what’s lurking literally in their back yard–these were what fellow investigator Jay Bachochin and I found on a return to the residential site in Hartland where a woman saw a six-foot tall, upright wolf-like creature cross her back yard at 1:30 a.m. the night of July 17-18, 2014.

I invited Bachochin, founder of the WPI (Wisconsin Paranormal Investigators) to help conduct a more thorough search of the grounds. The owners also graciously invited us to use their deck for a late night stakeout. We were able to sit quietly in the dark with a perfect view of the yard, cameras at the ready, and confirmed that the eyewitness would indeed have been able to see and identify a large creature from that position. We also spent some time viewing the neighborhood by foot and by car to see just how much cover there was for a large predator — and found a surprising amount of wooded ground that would allow it to make its rounds and then escape to a freeway corridor (US Hwy 16) when ready to return to the lake-and-park-rich surrounding area.

The mulched garden at the back of the yard had seen a lot more activity in the three days since my first visit. There were so many more prints–both from deer and the larger predator–that a lot of them had blended. But as can be seen in the above photo, there still were plenty of distinct trackways. The 5″ print size and the much smaller deer prints both remained consistent.

The owner hadn’t (and still has not) caught an image on her trail cam, but she did find a strange hartlandbearwolfpaw2mark on the house siding that looks like a partial paw print. It seems to be made with fine dirt, and measures a little over four inches. It’s located four feet above the ground, too high (and too big) for a raccoon or the family’s little dog. None of her family members have hands that size, and there was only one print. It may be entirely unrelated to the creature, but there are rear paw tracks in the mulch below and all around the house that tell us something large was there.

She also called the police again to ask whether there had been more sightings. The officer she spoke to this time said no, but that the department would be alerted.

As for our stakeout, we saw one small, scrawny and Hartlandbearwolfpawpossibly sick raccoon in the neighbor’s yard, and what appeared to be a smallish coyote sniffing around another neighbor’s garbage. Neither would ever be mistaken for an upright, six-foot dogman. I consider the case to be ongoing, and I’m staying in close contact with the family. 

I need to make one other note; I’ve received a comment or two from a couple of readers who assume I’m out hunting actual werewolves and using firearms and traps. That’s so very wrong. This is not Mountain Monsters!!! I don’t carry a rifle or create cages from the local junk yard, and Jay and I both left our long coats at home. I investigate with cameras, tape measures and Google maps, and I don’t believe the creatures I document are traditional lycanthropes in any way. And just for the record, July’s full moon was on the 12th. I’ll continue to keep you all posted!

***

American Monsters: a History of Monster Lore, Legends and Sightings in America,is scheduled for August 28th! It’s a wide, wide world of unknown creatures out there, from giant birds to Sasquatch, and this book trails them all by air, water and land. 

Sketch made by eyewitness of creature seen July 17 in Hartland WI.

Sketch made by eyewitness of creature seen July 17 in Hartland WI.

A Hartland, Wisconsin woman wrote me this past Monday to report one of the most chilling sightings I’ve heard lately. Her encounter took place the night of Thursday, July 17 on her property inside the Hartland city limits. And if what I later found in the landscaping around her home is what it looks like, a six-foot tall, bipedal canine creature may have been snooping on her family, particularly a young teen, since early summer. She wishes to remain anonymous, so I’ll leave out names and street locations.

She had arisen that night at about 1:30 a.m. at the insistent yapping of her small dog. She hadn’t actually fallen asleep yet, she said, so she was awake and alert. Thinking the pooch needed to relieve itself, she took it out to the deck at the rear of her home, expecting it to run to the yard as usual. Instead, it stopped barking and cowered behind her on the deck. She could see something moving by the trees at the back of her yard, lit by her deck lights and other lighting around the residential neighborhood.

“At first I thought someone was playing a trick on me,” she said, “or that it was a person wearing a thick, gray jacket.” Then she realized it wasn’t a person. It was gray all over, with the fur thickest on its muscular chest. The head was that of an animal, with short, pointed ears on top of the head and a “short snout” like that of a boxer or other short-snouted canine, but “definitely not flat like a human’s,” she said. Its forelimbs hung at its sides and seemed muscular at the top but ended in longish paws with noticeable claws. They weren’t long like a Bigfoot’s, she said. Its thighs were also muscular but thinned toward the lower limbs, and it walked on its toepads. “The legs were canine,” she said. She estimated its height at about seven feet, gauged by a tree it passed under, and when I measured the tree later the actual height turned out to be six feet tall.

As she watched the creature easily stride across the back of her yard along a treeline that separated her yard from the neighbor’s, the beast suddenly swiveled its head to glance at her. There wasn’t enough light that she could see its eyes or any eyeshine, she said, but she knew that it saw her.

“And then it kept on walking like it didn’t care,” she said. She grabbed her dog and scrambled back inside her house. She did not sleep at all that night, she added.

The next day she called the police and told an officer what she had seen. Expecting a negative reaction, she was surprised when the officer told her he believed her, and urged her to be cautious. She asked him if there had been other reports, and he did not answer. (Which leads me, of course, to think that there were perhaps other reports!)

Single print

Single print

I got to her property to examine it the day after her call, on Tuesday, July 22. We walked around the rear of her yard and found numerous deep impressions in the mulch-dirt mixture. Some were obviously the size and shape of a deer’s tracks, and the others appeared roughly canine and about four and one-half inches in length, with some give-and-take for the distortion caused by the helter-skelter quality of mulch. The prints appeared to be made only from the hind limbs of something taking two-foot strides in bipedal fashion, and led in a path across this landscaping feature to an adjacent small woods. While neither she nor I could make any sort of impression in that ground whatsoever, even by stomping or jumping, these prints were about an inch deep, on average.

They were also very evident in the mulch around her house, especially under several windows. One of the windows belonged to the couple’s young teen, who has a special needs disorder. The teen had been telling the woman that there was a “monster” peering into the window almost every night for a month, she said, but it was never there by the time she got to the room, so she thought the teen was imagining things. She does not think that any more, she added.

DSC03983 - Copy

We also found a couple of small piles of scat near the house and in the rear of the yard that looked canine but did not seem like they were substantial enough to have come from a creature of that size.

While it may seem unusual that such a creature could roam freely in a neighborhood like this, there are several factors that make it more likely. There are abundant deer for prey, and much water; Hartland is very close to Pewaukee Lake, with eight other closely connected small lakes to its east and north. Moreover, the Kettle Moraine State Forest, a source of many cryptid sightings, lies just to its north, as does Holy Hill, the site of the well-known encounter when a deer was taken from a carcass collector’s truck. I’ve dubbed this creature the Holy Hill Bearwolf in my blog posts and books, and I asked the woman if she’d ever heard of it. She hadn’t, she said, but she thought the term “bearwolf” very appropriate for what she saw. “I know it was definitely not a bear,” she said. “The legs were wrong and it was too different, but it had that thicker chest.”

The family had a previous incident in the past  year when a huge, white, blue-eyed wolf walked up to the patio door of a room with a hot tub, and just stared in for a few moments before casually walking away. The woman estimated it stood three feet high at the shoulder. She does not think it was the same animal she saw on July 17, however.

The woman added the reason she was willing to tell me her story was that she believed other people in that lakes area should know that this creature might be out there. I continue to communicate with her and will be checking on the property. In the meantime, she has put up a trail cam. I consider it an ongoing investigation, and hope we will find something definitive.

NOTE: Sorry but comments have been turned off for this post as other duties leave me unavailable to moderate.

 

To wish everyone a Happy 4th, here’s something I dug out of my WayBack File. The photo in this clipping from The Bee (August 2006) in Phillips, Wis., shows a reenactment of what had to be the most awesome summer Bible camp ever, since it portrayed Sasquatch (guy in gorilla suit) interacting with a Biblical character (unsure of what character but Noah would be my choice.) This was soon after a flurry of Bigfoot sightings in the hilly areas of nearby Lugerville had drawn the interest of Monsterquest and sundry Bigfoot researchers. I had previously interviewed witness Don Young and also tracked down another observer by poking around Lugerville myself. However, although my dad grew up in that area and I’ve spent much time in Price County woods my whole life, also still have many relatives there all hunters and fishermen, no one I knew there had ever mentioned Bigfoot. UFOs, yes, cemetery lights, yes. But not Squatches. Perhaps the Forest Folk just stuck to the nearby Chequamegon Forest until fairly recently. Or my relatives didn’t live close enough to Lugerville. But Happy Independence Day!

 

For 21 years, people have been telling me they’ve seen what they believe is Bigfoot around SE Wisconsin. Primate, not canine. Usually eight feet tall and 400-500 pounds. Flat-footed, bipedal, shaggy fur in either dark brown, reddish auburn, or light gray-beige. I’ve discussed many of these sightings in my books, and the witnesses keep coming.

A few weeks ago I heard from a Kenosha County woman and northern Illinois man who saw such a creature June 10, 2013 at a site in SE Wisconsin that I can’t disclose in deference to the property owner. On June 20, the same man was at the same place with two other people and they also all caught a glimpse of what appeared to be the same creature.

This video, alas, does NOT show the Bigfoot, but it features the first two witnesses on site, describing their experiences. Please keep in mind that the creature was in motion when they spotted it and that, between the two of them, they separately saw it doing several different things. There is also some reference to the other, later sightings which will all be more clear when I get the final report written up.

The video was made by my friend and colleague Jay Bachochin of the WPI or Wisconsin Paranormal Investigators at http://www.WPIhuntsthetruth.com. I called on Jay and fellow member Al Dunski to collaborate with me on this field investigation, and the video also takes you along with us as we scout the area and retrieve a trail cam (which came up empty, as often happens). We hope to keep filming as the investigation progresses and we continue to survey the area, place trail cams and search the fields for footprints and other possible evidence. As you can see, it’s a rural area, mostly farm fields but with some nearby water and plenty of game (watch for the shot of the generous dollop of deer scat). Perhaps most importantly, it is also the site of previous cryptid encounters by unrelated individuals.

Just to be clear, there’ll be no brandishing of rifles, no crazy cage contraptions, not even a weird noise in the distance, just us starting our actual investigation. (I did almost fall into a pond but Jay didn’t film it because he stopped filming to help save me from a dunking.) So please enjoy the scenery as we lay the groundwork, and who knows what may happen next time out as we interview the second set of witnesses!

Sketch of Alberta canid creature by witness

Sketch of Alberta canid creature by witness

One particular drum I keep beating as I compose my cryptid chronicles  is the fact that unknown, upright canine-like creatures are seen all over the Americas, and indeed, the world. There is not just one “beast.” More and more, in fact, seem to come from Canada. This makes sense, considering the sheer amount of natural forest and abundant wildlife enjoyed by our neighbors to the north. Alberta is an area I’ve heard from in the past, and I received one not recently that falls into the scary sightings category of huge canines that run with cars. Creatures with this seeming attraction to vehicles often remain on all fours, but this one showed off  its bipedal ability, as well. The woman who wrote wished to remain anonymous, but her letter began:
“My sighting happened as my husband and I were driving around at night in the late autumn of the year about 2010 or 2011.  I was on the passenger side just idly looking out my window when I seen something crouched down beside a white car. It started running alongside my truck the opposite side of some parallel parked cars on the road. The way it ran was akin to a cheetah in fast motion, the hind legs were lunging all the way forward past the front ones. I seen that it was very skinny, I could see the vertebrae of the back, ribs and shoulder blades. After about 50 meters there were some houses so it stood up on its hind legs and turned its head, which swiveled on its shoulders like a human, and looked dead at us long enough for me to get a really good look. It took a quick glance into the woods and in a single bound leapt the whole length of the cut line, about 15 feet.
“It had shoulders like a man and the head and face of a dog, yellow eyes and no discernible genitals. I could see that its hair was very short and almost iridescent against grey skin.  Its arms hung like a man’s but, its hands were also like a man’s but with a long dew claw-style thumb. After it jumped into the woods I looked at my husband and he was just looking at it and turned to me saying ‘Did you just see that too?’ “
The sighting occurred near Fort McMurray, a growing community with a brisk oil sands industry. I asked for further details about the creature, especially since the woman first estimated its height at about nine feet! She wrote back to say may have been shorter than that. Her first guess was based on a quick comparison to a six-foot fence in the vicinity. The creature’s head stuck above the fence,  she said, but  thinking about it later she thought she might have over-estimated just how far above the fence it was. Guessing the height of any large, moving creature from a moving vehicle is always a tricky business, but it seems this beast had to at least have been well over six feet tall  on two legs.
I had a few other questions, too, such as the exact fur color and the features of its head.She went on to add:
“The hair must have been grey too, it reflected a lot of light. I remember seeing the face had an elongated snout, it was kind of snarled. Its ears were similar to a dogs pointed ear near the top of its head. The tail was kind of bushy compared to the rest of it. Its legs had hips like a humans and thighs also like a human but had the inverted ankles of a dog, its feet were long but only the front pads appeared to be touching the ground. It was a fairly lit area, the other side of the road was a residential area. It did notice me, I think I may have interrupted it because it was kind of hidden behind a car when I first spotted it and it immediately looked up and started running.  It seemed more annoyed than anything. By the time it stopped running it was 30m in front of my truck on the other side of the cars parked on the road so it sprinted really fast.”
It’s interesting to me that, given the amazing amount of wilderness area Canada possesses, that the creature would have shown up on a busy road in a residential area. But Ft. McMurray is located at the confluence of the Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers, surrounded by forest — typical shelter areas for these cryptids.
As for its appearance, I do get reports of dogmen with short, gray fur — the typical color of many Eastern Timber wolves. This creature is also definitely canine, judging by the long snout, pointed ears and tail. Its behavior seems more motivated by a desire  to disappear from view rather than intending to taunt the witness, and the witness only suggested it was annoyed at being seen. The great speed and leaping ability it displayed are  characteristics I’ve heard often.
The hand-like paws are a bit more rare among the reports I receive, but as I’ve often noted, many witnesses have said the paws were elongated but were still not true, human-like hands. The dew-claw- like “thumbs” argues a little to that point, I think. And the creature was running on its toe pads rather than flat-footed.
As always, many thanks to the eyewitness for sharing her experience. I can’t help but wonder if any of those other drivers on that busy street also saw the creature.
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