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Archive for August, 2012

The recent tragic death of a Montana man killed on a highway as he tried to imitate a Bigfoot reminded me of another hoax effort: the so-called Gable films of Michigan, part one and part two. The costume of choice in both states was a ghillie suit, a stringy, head-to-toe covering  hunters often wear for camouflage in the woods.

The Gable films were made by amateur video buff Mike Agrusa as a sort of homage to the cryptid known as the Michigan Dogman. Agrusa added wire coat hanger “ears” as you can see in his intentionally grainy still at left, and was at least smart enough not to step onto a busy highway as he was filmed.

He confessed his part in the ruse on national television in the season four finale of

Mike Agrusa in Ghillie Suit copyright Linda Godfrey

Mike Agrusa in Ghillie Suit copyright Linda Godfrey

Mike Agrusa in Ghillie Suit copyright Linda Godfrey

History Channel’s Monsterquest . I was part of that show’s interview team and witnessed a re-creation of Agrusa’s performance. The ghillie suit was not convincing in person, and was effective in the video mostly due to the poor quality of the vintage  film Agrusa used in order to make everything in the 2007 vid look as if it dated from the 1970s.

The Montana man was not so crafty – – or lucky, may he rest in peace.

I have written many times about  hoaxing’s impact on the field of cryptozoology. Although I don’t believe that impact is ever as big as hoaxers would like it to be, staged “encounters” can waste the precious time and resources of investigators, endanger public safety by startling motorists, and as we have seen, may prove very risky for the hoaxer.

One near-death incident I like to cite is that of the Choccolocco Monster, the creation of several teenagers in Alabama in the spring of 1969. Two of the boys provided transportation  to and from various highway sites while the third, Neal Williamson, jumped out at cars after donning a cow skull and some type of long garment.

Once word got out that a ” monster” was on the loose in Calhoun County, creature hunters began to cruise the country lanes with rifle-toting passengers literally riding shotgun. After Williamson had been fired  upon once or twice he hung up his cow skull for good and waited 32 years to confess it to a local newspaper.

As for the Montana incident, I think the most important statement in the CNN  link above is: “But authorities received no calls from drivers thinking they had seen Bigfoot, the station reported.”

The Montana hoaxer gave his life in vain.

Several people have tried to hoax sightings of the Beast of Bray Road over the years, but none that I know of correspond to a credible sighting report. And even if an observer is occasionally fooled, this does nothing to prove that other sightings are invalid.

Let’s hope that this tragedy at least serves one purpose — giving other would-be pranksters great pause.

 

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Manwolf sightings continue to roll in.  The two I’m sharing here are older but only a few months ago — while looking for something else — I found six-inch-plus canid tracks in a muddy field near Whitewater. The prints veered into the field from brush at the road shoulder, followed some deer tracks until it caught up and then the deer tracks ran off to a woods and the canine tracks were lost to drier soil.

Track next to hand of Sandra Schwab

Dogman went hungry but is still around! Here is one from the area of the famous 2006 Holy Hill incident where a burly manwolf stole a small deer carcass from a DNR contractor’s truck bed. There have been numerous other sightings in the vicinity (NW of Milwaukee WI):

My illustration of dogman face, copyrighted 2012 all rights reserved

In 1983 me and 3 other friends were out driving around the Hubertus/Holy Hill Area. I was 18 at the time and The time was late evening around 11:30pm or so, as I drove through the winding wooded road, up ahead in my headlight beam we all saw a wolf walk across the road on 2 legs, after it cleared the road it got down on all fours and ran off into the woods briefly looking back at us. We never reported this because who would believe 4 teenagers joy riding at night, but I did tell my family and a few close friends. I’m still in contact with 2 of people who saw this with me. Now at age 47, I thought I would share my story with you since you have been recording sightings. The main thing that was ingrained was that it walked on 2 legs across the road. I remember saying wolves don’t do that, do they? The girls were scared and told me to start driving to get out of the area. It was summer time or we wouldn’t have been out that late, and the trees had heavy foliage.

Here’s a more recent one from Minnesota:
I used to work in Princeton, Minnesota, from 2005 to 2006.  I lived in St. Cloud, Minnesota and commuted the forty minutes to work, taking state highway 95 between St. Cloud and Princeton.  In March of 2006 I hit a deer at night on the way home from work, so I was always more cautious and attentive when drive after that.  The place where I struck the deer was the northern edge of the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge which butts up to the highway.  Consequently I would slow down to about forty-five miles per hour when I would approach the refuge and drive holding down the high-beams switch; this allows me to drive with both high and low-beams at the same time.  
 
In mid-April, about six weeks after I struck the deer, I was passing the refuge, driving slowly, looking for deer.  I saw the reflection of eyes, like a deer or raccoon, near the south bank of the highway.  I slowed down further and the animal bolted out twenty feet in front of my car.  It crossed the road from south to north.  I wish I could tell you that it was another deer, but I’m convinced that it wasn’t.
 
Whatever it was, it moved on TWO legs, not four.  I only saw it for a few seconds and my adrenaline was pumping, thinking I was going to hit another animal, but I can see the flashes of what I saw in front of me in my mind’s eye as clear as yesterday.
 
It’s forward limbs did NOT touch the ground.  This was bipedal, maybe six or seven feet tall.  It was brown or maybe dark grey.  The eyes were reflective, like a deer’s.  It’s limbs were long and robust like a man’s, not spindly, like a deer’s.  I think that it was covered with hair or fur, accounting for the color.  And the shape of it’s face was not flat like a man’s, but prognathic to the point having a snout, like a dog’s.  It ran north across the highway and I accelerated west toward St. Cloud.
 
Damnedest think I ever saw.  I have a degree in anthropology with a minor in biology, and a degree to teach social studies.  I’m a teetotaler and have no serious religious convictions.  The point is that I’m not prone to flights of fancy or wild imagination.  I didn’t see a deer or a black bear.  And if it was a man in a suit he ran the risk of becoming road kill.  
 
This looked alot like what folks have been describing as the “Michigan Dogman” or the so-called “Beast of Bray Road.”   I get the sense that it did have triangular ears.  I can’t be totally sure on that, though.  I didn’t see it’s feet; however the walk seemed like there was a “spring” in it’s step.  That makes me think that it wasn’t walking flat-footed, but on the balls of its feet.
And most recent of all, although you may have seen his dogman descriptiob on my Linda S. Godfrey Facebook page,  dogman witness Robert Welch tells about other experiences on a bridge near Fulton WI,  from this summer — 

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