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Archive for the ‘Bray Road’ Category

This Halloween offering is for those followers of the the Beast of Bray Road legend and encounters, who enjoy puzzling over the decades-old paper trail of ink-blotted arcana fished out of battered files.  I recently found two such items hidden in a drawer in a folder I’d marked, “Old Beast.” They actually fell out of the folder and right in my lap–an old makeshift bookmark and a page torn from the small notebook I used in my early reporting days.

I was about to throw them in the circular file but then I noticed the words, “Bray Road Werewolf” at the top of the bookmark. Beneath it was what I believe were my first written words about witness Lori Endrizzi and her mother, Pat ; “Lady claims daughter saw a werewolf on Bray Road 2 years ago.” I had added “Hospital Road,” because the sighting was near Bray’s intersection with that shortcut to Walworth County’s hospital complex. (Some names are redacted.)

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There were other brief comments from someone inviting me to cover a meeting on alleged mis-used animal traps, along with a mention of the county  animal shelter where I later met with Jon Fredrickson, the county’s then animal control officer. The bigger piece of paper includes more notes on that meeting, and a great Fredrickson quote, “The county’s getting stranger.” And best of all are my notes on his description of a wolf or coyote springing up when startled so that it only seemed to be walking upright. And I can’t leave out the mention of the large, clawed animal trail on Potter’s Road.

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For those who are not fans of very old paper trails, I give you (metaphorically), my growing collection of creature socks, all from friends, that also give me joy. Happy Halloween to ALL my friends, I just thank you all for being here.

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Reports picking up in SouthEAST Wisconsin?

Here’s a tail of a black and a tan, one 7 miles from Bray Road a few days ago and one less than two weeks on the southern outskirts of Janesville…

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On Saturday, September 7, 2019, 25-year old Harley Marcum and fellow employee Robert Davis were between shifts outside the back door of a south Janesville company about 6:30pm, when something caught Marcum’s eye; a dark animal moving swiftly from the parking lot toward a nearby marsh, on all fours and low to the ground. “Holy crap! Look!” Marcum yelled at Davis, not believing his own eyes. Robert looked where Marcum was pointing just in time to see a huge black-furred animal skulk off into the grassy, marsh area, its glossy coat reflecting the waning sunlight. There was no doubt in either of their minds, said Marcum:  It was a mountain lion or some other type of big cat.

(Click link for video of Marcum and Davis)

The two men exchanged startled glances, and then decided to run after the animal to see if they could scare it out for another look. A few steps into the field, however, they couldn’t see where it had gone and began to feel uneasy. They retreated to the parking lot, the edge of which was only about 20 feet from the marsh but didn’t catch another glimpse. They did tell a friend of theirs about it, and the friend contacted me. I met up with Marcum and Davis at their usual shift change time on Thursday, Sept. 19, where I looked around for prints and heard more of their story.

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Harley Marcum points at marsh the big cat was frequenting

Where did the big cat go? Their employer’s location is in the general area east of Hwy. 51 on Janesville’s south side, but there are many open and wooded wild areas where the big cat could also easily rove. Male cougars need thirty-square-mile territories if they are planning to stay, and can cover many miles in a day if just passing through.

It Was a Beast

Both men described a rather formidable animal.

“It was weird,” said Harley, “like nothing I’ve ever seen. And I clearly seen it; it was bigger than a German shepherd.” In fact it was larger, he said, than what he would expect a mountain lion to be. “I could see the muscles, it was slick black. It was a beast,” he said. “I had a side view of the head, and I saw a long tail that curled upward and then curled down.” That is a standard mountain lion description.

Harley also noted that it had what seemed a big head for the body, which, together with the black fur that zoologists say is never seen on a mountain lion, may indicate some other species of big cat or a hybrid. Harley said they did not report their sighting to the DNR or other officials. They are now alert at every shift change, hoping for the privilege of seeing such an unusual animal again. “I’m extremely grateful,” said Harley of his encounter.

Sighting #2: Tan Cougar seen East of Bray Road

An even more recent report came to me by phone the day after it occurred, September 15, 2019, from a location only about 7 miles from the NE tip of Bray Road. The caller and his wife own a summer home and acreage in eastern Walworth County. They had first contacted me in November, 2018, after they found roundish, “large baseball” sized prints on their land and learned that only a few miles away, a farmer had lost two calves to an unknown predator. He had five trail cameras positioned around his property for the remainder of the winter, but nothing turned up on any of them. He contacted the DNR but was told it must be either a dog or a deer. He knew it was neither of those.

When the property owner called me last week, it was to tell me that the previous day, his wife had seen what she was sure was a tan mountain lion, walking only about 60 feet away from her bedroom window. She also noted its large, looping tail. She had good light and a longer look at it than most people. The couple prefers to remain anonymous.

And just south of the WI-IL Border:

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art by Linda Godfrey all rights reserved

Area newspapers ran articles in August, 2019, about an 11 p.m. sighting on August 8 of a dark brown, large animal with bright eyeshine. A couple was driving near the village of Rockton, IL, traveling north on South Bluff Road next to the Rock River when this occurred. They described the typically flat-faced head profile of a big cat and also the tell-tale tail that appeared to be “curling under” as it crossed the road in front of their car. They insisted it was not any well-known or usual animal seen in that area.

Readers of my blog will know that I’m working on a documentary called Return to Wildcat Mountain about the surge of tan AND black big cats in central Wisconsin west of the Baraboo area. You can see the trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTc-t85UeDw and short versions will be shown at Iowa’s Van Meter Visitor Festival just west of Des Moines September 28, and at the Charles Dickens Horror Festival in Colorado on October 19, 2019 for starters. More to come!

Note: For a fuller story of the Rockton IL sighting please see Singular Fortean’s story singularfortean.com/news/2019/8/28

 

 

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I’d really rather stay on the viewer’s end of the binoculars when folks are discussing cryptid or unknown creatures, but this article “Do You Have a Werewolf Problem?” by the Trib’s Chris Borelli places me firmly on the “focus–zoom in–speculate” side of field equipment and monster tales. It’s a fun piece of writing (although I’m pretty sure I said the 60# deer left NO drag marks, and how is just turned 68 “nearly 70?”) but overall it’s a good representation of the last 27 years or so, and I’m very grateful to Chris, Chad Lewis, and Loren Coleman for their kind remarks and analyses. Stacey Wescott also created some inspired visuals that help tell my unexpected tale.

I would also be remiss if I failed to thank an alligator that recently kickstarted the whole thing by showing up in the Humboldt Park lagoon, sending Borelli in search of explanations.

The alligator also had impeccable timing as my new book, I Know What I Saw, was just released July 16 and I’m speaking and signing books in Chicago at The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square July 25, 2019 at 7 pm. And no, I was not the one who put the alligator in the water. But as I’ve learned from this occupation–and preoccupation–of mine, strangeness is everywhere, and once in a while it does you a kind turn or two.

Here is the link to chomp onLindaTribStone: https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-ent-linda-godfrey-cryptozoologist-0725-20190724-fcoddjwfwzg7fne6ljmldutaae-story.html

 

 

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“Running on 2 legs super fast” — An Upright Canine Sighting in SE Wisconsin Mid-August 2018,
 
In mid-August 2018, a young man and his buddy were sitting and talking in a Rock County park late one evening when something started up a continuous howl nearby in the woods. Carver-Roehl is the 2nd oldest park in Rock County, and lies about 20 miles west of Bray Road, between Avalon and Clinton on Hwy 40. It includes a small, historic grave yard dating back to 1843 and also the large, limestone outcroppings known as Carver Rock. The man wrote me said they saw a large, dark-furred canine with pointy ears running very fast in the woods about 100 yards away. It stopped for a couple of minutes — they felt it was observing them — and then went from a crouch position to two legs and ran away “super fast.” The man and his friend also left quickly. I’m not sure exactly which part of the 53-acre park they were in, but there are several entrances.
 
I’d like to add that the man was interviewed by producers for a recent Travel Channel show but wasn’t featured in the finished episode. This happens often, I’ve learned, usually due to time constraints. They told me he seemed very credible and truthful. I stopped by the park recently for a quick recon look and found it very well cared for with pavilion, outhouses, new play equipment and trails for hiking and skiing. I imagine it’s a lot spookier at night . I did also see a large, black pointy-eared dog running at me but it was with a woman and a large white dog. They were on the ridge behind the boulders in the photo below. As you can see in the next photo I wasn’t dressed for mosquitoes and was on my way to somewhere else, so I left the rest of the exploration for a 2nd trip.

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I Know What I Saw is now out to be seen! 

This week, starting 7-20-2019 also see Inside Edition.com‘s  rerun of their original vintage episode of the Beast of Bray Road, plus a more current interview they did with me a few weeks ago to update the old beast. Next week, watch for a full feature story in the Chicago Tribune in the online section and then the print version on that Thursday.

Also new indie film out this fall, RETURN TO WILDCAT MOUNTAIN; Wisconsin’s Black Panther Nexus.  (click to see trailer and watch for release news, or see Facebook @whitelhasa’s Return to Wildcat Mountain page.) 

 

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Witness sketch, submitted by Nick Gluchman

“I never heard of the Bray Road Beast until 2007 or 2008,” wrote a northern Wisconsin man named Nick Gluchman who lived in southern Walworth County until 1994. “I thought I was the only person to see it until I heard about it on TV. The minute I heard Elkhorn mentioned I felt exonerated. I’ve only told maybe four people what happened and you can imagine the responses I got. I was 34 when it happened, I’m now 65. I figured I better tell my story while I’m still above ground.

“It all starts the end of November 1987. I lost my temper and punched a door. By December 2nd my arm was swollen and turning colors, time to go to a doctor. I woke my wife up and headed toward Lakeland Hospital [outside Elkhorn, Wisconsin]. It was a clear night and and a large moon. My wife was asleep next to me as we headed north on Hwy. 12. I was in the right hand lane, well north of Lake Geneva, at 60 mph, no traffic at all, when I saw something running along the right-of-way fence which was ten to fifteen feet off the shoulder, four or five hundred feet ahead.

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Diagram contributed by witness Nicholas Gluchman

“As I got closer, I thought it must be a bear, then I was confused. My bright lights were on, and I could see it was large and running on two feet so I punched it and zoomed in on it. When I was within about 100 feet it abruptly stopped and froze in its tracks. Immediately I pulled onto the shoulder and slowly moved towards it, maybe five mph. I was within twenty to thirty feet and stopped. I still couldn’t make out what it was, it was completely lit by my lights. It looked like a pile of fur coats.”

“All of a sudden it started rising. I could see massive legs, gigantic calves and thighs, hairy butt cheeks, no  tail. It was still facing north, torso bent forward at the waist, about eighteen inches. I couldn’t see its head yet, now I’m really scared, must be a Squatch. I flashed my lights at it. It rose up further and without moving its feet, turned slowly at its waist to its left to look at me…

“Its legs were still bent at the knees, still leaning forward and already over six feet tall. I was mesmerized. It turned around to face me, it was no Squatch! Let me say at this point it never stood totally erect or stopped leaning forward throughout the experience. It had no facial hair although the head was covered in hair, all around face was clean. No wolf head. Wolf ears with a tuft like a lynx, large eyeballs, slightly jaundiced with what looked like red spider veins surrounding pupils. They were bulging out of sockets slightly glowing from within, like it had a light bulb in its head.

“It had a short muzzle, maybe an inch and a half, not like a dog all skin, not covered in hair. Bright pink, human-type mouth, two or three times wider than a person’s, outlined in red like lipstick. No hair on chest, two nipples visible, sparse hair on stomach, all pink. Super six-pack abs, no visible reproduction organs. Very long arms, with very long fingers that tapered to points, arm in begging position like a dog but out to side. Fingers pointing down and could see some pink on palms. I wasn’t able to see feet.

“The torso was short…this animal was a lot more legs than torso. The muscles in arms and chest did not match the awesome-looking legs. The thighs were about twenty inches front to back, calfs were cantaloupe size. Enormous!

“This animal looked at me with extreme hatred and malice. As its face contorted, its mouth opened in a sardonic sort of smile. The corners of its mouth went almost from ear to ear. Its mouth opened about four inches. It didn’t have canine  teeth, more like large shark teeth . These teeth were for removing large chunks of flesh, not puncturing, in my opinion.

Instead of standing erect to look at me, it had to tilt its head way back to see me. I don’t think it was capable of standing totally erect. Its chest was heaving up and down with large blasts of vapor from its nose and mouth. It was tired of flight and ready to stand its ground and fight. It was moving its head back and forth to the right shoulder, then left. I’m sure it was making some kind of sound or howl. The windows were up and I couldn’t hear. I’ve never been that scared or more fascinated. I didn’t want to blink for fear of missing something. My heart was beating hard. We just looked at each other, I figure about thirty seconds or more. I was in a trance-like state.

“My foot unintentionally relaxed off the brake pedal and the truck eased forward a few inches. Instantly it jumped straight up and landed on the other side of the right-of-way fence. The fence was fifty inches off the ground. I know this because erecting fences is what I did for a living. It cleared it with a couple feet to spare. It took a final look at me. I started yelling for my wife to look and shook her, as it ran in a zig-zag pattern for the tree line, which was about 100-125 yards away. Linda, it ran at a speed no biped will ever achieve. It was cartoon-like; it was a blur. No animal on earth runs a zigzag pattern, they run straight for the woods. [His wife did not wake up in time to see it.]

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Diagram submitted by Nicholas Gluchman

“That animal, in my opinion, had human intelligence, like it thought I had a gun. If I thought someone was going to shoot me that’s what I’d do. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about this, for the last thirty years. My description of the animal is spot on. Everything I’ve told you is the truth. I feel great getting this off my mind. I’ve learned one thing from this: There are things that go bump in the night.”

It thought it was better than me…

I talked to Nick later and he added a few more details about the creature’s facial expression. He said,
“It thought it was better than me; it had a human aspect in its face.” He also added that he felt the creature weight was about 400 pounds and that it stood six and one half to seven feet tall and would be taller if it it had been standing straight up. The eyes with red veins glowed yellow, he said, and the hair was dark to light brown and stiff, and the ears were upright like a German shepherd’s.

Regarding its movements, he said, “When it was running and came to a stop, it tucked its arms in, bent its head down and made itself small. “It didn’t know I saw it,” he said. And he emphasized that the evasive running pattern was made with sharp turns, not circles (see his drawing of this.)

Nick also said that he was uncertain that the month of the incident was November, so he asked Lakeland Hospital to check their records for the night his arm was treated and it was December 2, 1987, just as he had said.  That was four years before my original article on The Beast of Bray Road was first published.

Nick added his own drawing of the creature which does look much more like a canine than a Bigfoot. The exact location must have been about four miles from where Hwy. 12 crosses the southwest end of Bray Road in Elkhorn. It may have been heading from the Lake Como area just north of Lake Geneva.

There are a few things such as the shorter muzzle and heavier weight that are a bit out of the norm for dogman descriptions, but nothing that hasn’t occasionally been mentioned elsewhere. His report is one of the most detailed I’ve ever received, and I think the location is close enough to the other Elkhorn area sightings to count this one as an official “Beast of Bray Road.”

I’m glad he decided to share it after 30 years, and I can’t help but wonder how many other untold sightings are still out there waiting to be heard.

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1994 artwork by Linda S. Godfrey created for The Week newspaper in So. Wisconsin

From the Cryptid Art Department Files:

I was pretty excited back in 1994 when comedian Bobcat Goldthwaite came to Walworth County, especially since I got to write a story on his visit and also make an illustration. It was only about two years after the initial Beast of Bray Road story and I wasn’t implying any connection between Bobcat and the Beast. But I think he got a kick out of it.

Here is another drawing made a year earlier, in 1993, as an editorial cartoon for a local issue. I believe the problem at the time was that property tax rates had been frozen and school districts were trying to get them unfrozen to increase school funding. Two sides with good arguments! One of the county school districts is the Bigfoot School District in Walworth, which was named for a local Potawatomi chieftain, NOT Sasquatch.

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Drawing by Linda S. Godfrey, 1993, created for The Week Newspaper, So. Wisconsin

I post them here for fun and also because some recent documentaries have shown interest in my illustrations of other cryptid artwork figures than upright canines. I have 10 years worth created for The Week alone but don’t worry: I won’t post them all. I just wanted to show I don’t play favorites when it comes to unknown creatures!

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