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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. 

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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 :-) )

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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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While waiting along with everyone else to see whether Dr. Melba Ketchum’s DNA study and/or the allegedly captured Bigfoot code-named Daisy hold any water worth wading into, I have been looking back at some of the better ‘Squatch reports I’ve received and collected from SE Wisconsin over the years. One of my favorites is the so-called “Bad Hair Day Bigfoot” observed by Matt Wakely in September 2005 SE of Lake Geneva, near the WI-IL border.

The incident is described in full in my book Hunting the American Werewolf, and Wakely passed a polygraph exam of his story on the Monsterquest “American Werewolf ” episode. (The show didn’t mention he saw a Bigfoot rather than a dog man). This was a daylight sighting where the witness had a good long look at the creature. He called his mother and told her he had just seen a caveman, naked and covered with fur. The creature seemed totally unafraid of Matt, and its most unusual feature may have been its rather wild hairdo. My best guess is that it was perhaps an adolescent that had just risen from a midday nap in the cemetery, where it stood with 1 foot on a head stone.

It also had less facial hair, according to Matt’s description, than any other Bigfoot ever reported to me. This also suggests an adolescent age group, but more importantly, it gave Matt an unusually clear look at facial features.

Matt drew his own sketches ( below) and then worked with me to achieve what he agreed looked a pretty fair facsimile of what he saw. At that time, I privately thought the face seemed a bit too human, but my job is to draw and report what the witness saw without projecting my own biases.

Over the past year, as I had my own encounter and gathered more local evidence, it’s occurred to me that if Ketchum’s study proves valid and Sasquatch is indeed genetically part human , then this drawing may be a closer stab at a real portrait than I previously believed. And Matt’s tag of “caveman” may have been very accurate!WakelyBF 002

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(original art copyright Linda Godfrey 2012)

Reports of unknown canids don’t stop just because I’m busy making seasonal appearances. So when my publisher,  Tarcher/Penguin, asked me to write a Halloweenish guest blog, I saw a chance to reveal a few of my recent faves:

Werewolves, as I like to say, are not just for Halloween anymore. But comes October’s end, our thoughts turn naturally toward monsters and the macabre.

My own thoughts turn that way year ‘round; I’ve stalked, investigated and written about wolf-like, upright creatures for the past two decades. I believe that amid hundreds of reports of fanged, shaggy manimals must lie at least a fleshy gobbet of truth. And if all the incidents cited in Real Wolfmen; True Encounters in Modern America, aren’t enough to convince readers that something spooky this way trots, consider the many new reports that have poured in since the book’s September debut.

The horrific encounters come from ordinary citizens across the US and Canada. While a few eyewitnesses report creature behavior that smacks of the supernatural, most sightings describe what might be a natural canine that inexplicably walks or runs on its hind legs — and sports one nasty attitude.

I pawed through the most recently reported cases to choose six unforgettable meet-ups between real humans and real wolfmen. The reports below are abbreviated, but I still advise reading them in a brightly lit room with the front door securely shut. The creatures seem as curious about us as we are about them, and more than one witness has reported the harrowing sight of a furry face pressed against the windowpane.

Real wolfmen? Ask these people who’ve seen them:

Polk County, Florida: Highway horror describes what three family members felt in two separate encounters several years ago. First, a husband and wife spotted a seven-foot tall, wolf-like creature standing upright on the roadside as they passed it in their van. They didn’t slow down. A relative later saw a huge, muscular wolf-like creature that gave him an “evil feeling” just west of Orlando! (No, it wasn’t Mickey Mouse.)

Sparta, Tennessee:  A teenager and her older brother on a sunset drive to the grocery store in 2003 forgot about the groceries as an upright, shaggy-furred, wolf-like creature weighing several hundred pounds sprinted across Simpson Road about fifteen feet in front of their Honda Accord. “It was a strange experience I will never forget,” she wrote.

New York state, central: A veteran police officer recalls a childhood encounter with a dark-furred, wolf-headed creature that he and some friends saw “sitting” on a log in some woods at dusk. They thought it might be a human in a dark cape – until it turned to glare at them and they saw its pointed ears, snout and fangs! The officer has since investigated huge, bipedal wolf prints in the same area.

Southern Indiana: A man and woman had just crossed the Ohio River driving north from Owensboro, Kentucky, in 2010 when they had to swerve to avoid hitting an upright, “emaciated and very riled wolf-like creature.” Before speeding away, the driver locked eyes with it and said he felt that the beast was both intelligent and dangerous. It snarled at them as they passed. “I was really fearful, so we left,” he wrote.

McHenry, Illinois: A woman driving home from her mother-in-law’s funeral one April night in 2002 was approaching a roadside cemetery on State Hwy. 31 when she noticed glowing eyes to her left. Next, a dark shape rose onto its hind legs and ran in front of her car, forcing her to brake. It paused to turn and snarl at her before running off into the cemetery. The beast stood taller than her six-foot high truck, she said, and it looked like a “walking wolf.” She called the experience “surreal.” Her husband slept through the whole thing.

Kilgore, Texas: Driving home at 5 am in light rain on a rural road near Kilgore, a thirty-five year old oil dispatcher slowed for a curve when some type of upright animal appeared in his high beams. It had a large, wolf-like head and carried a yearling deer! It growled aggressively at the man, who estimated its height at over six feet. “The thing scared the crap out of me,” he said. “I know what I saw and would put my hand on the Bible to it and take a lie detector test.”

There are more — the pony poacher of Alberta, Canada, the Ohio shadow wolf and the Hawaiian helper dogmen – to name a few. If these witnesses are to be believed, it’s an alternative zoo out there: a zoo that roams uncaged. Happy Halloween!

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Believe it or not, Thursday was the 20th anniversary of my original news story on the creature I dubbed The Beast of Bray Road. Little did I know what it would lead to! And yes, although similar creatures are reported to me regularly from all over the US, the Beast is still spotted on Bray Road. The most recent credible report was from a middle-aged couple who saw it cross the road near Hwy NN and then easily hop a fence, all on two legs. They said its shaggy fur “flowed” in the wind.

My first book on the topic, “The Beast of Bray Road,” is now out of print but can now be had on Kindle (used book copies are quite pricey!) That was published in 2003, and fall 2012 will see my 5th book dealing with unknown, upright wolf-like creatures “Real Wolfmen – True Encounters in Modern America” from Tarcher/Penguin. No one is more surprised than I am at the creature’s longevity. 

Will there be more? That depends entirely on whether enough new cases come to me or if some truly amazing evidence comes to light. I am starting to wonder if the mystery will ever be solved, but I do intend to keep investigating. 

The year changes tomorrow as I enter my 21st decade of creature-seeking, and the hunt begins anew…

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I’m a fan of fan art. I am always tickled when people send images inspired by my books on upright creatures, and am often amazed at how accomplished these efforts are. Here are two sculptures created by the Wentz family which runs a backyard haunted attraction in Ogden Utah. The first looks like a classic hellhound…

And the second is surely a Manwolf, although a bit nekkid. Kudos to the Wentz’s!

And then there is this painting by California eyewitness Anthony S. Chaney. It includes a lot more background than I reproduced here, and is a great rendition of the dogman described by many other witnesses.

I  also receive many notes from writers, musicians and film makers that my research has inspired them to create something werewolfish. I applaud all original efforts and say go for it! After all, there is no more perfect metaphor for the tortured soul of an artist than the transformative loup-garou!

(Image copyrights belong to individual artists, used by permission)

 

 

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