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Archive for the ‘ghost cats’ 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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Black jaguar; could they be mating with pumas to create a hybrid big cat? Or are they ancient spirit guardians as Native legend suggests, or just far-roaming animals? 

 

RETURN TO WILDCAT MOUNTAIN; Wisconsin’s Black Panther Nexus

Strangely, in some parts of North America, black-furred big cats make up over half the eyewitness reports of mountain lions, but zoologists say black pumas don’t exist. If that’s true, then exactly what are these ebony felines? Some say they are mutations or hybrids, others point to ancient beliefs of area Native Americans that the black big cats are guardian spirit animals. Might one small central Wisconsin town hold a clue to this growing mystery?

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This puzzling and eerie phenomenon is the basis (as written in my book, “I Know What I Saw” ) for my debut film documentary as director/producer of Return to Wildcat Mountain; Wisconsin’s Black Panther Nexus.The film has been unanimously selected in one of the premiere release positions March 7th at the Midwest Weirdfest Film Festival in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. 

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Black mystery cats have been encountered since pioneer days and earlier. Original drawing by Linda S. Godfrey of account in Laura Ingalls Wilder book Little House in the Big Woods.

I provided original art and served as writer and director, with my husband, Steve Godfrey, as co-producer. Our son Nate Godfrey, a film maker with a degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, also lent his directorial skills, and created the camera, audio, animation, and editing. ..pretty much everything that required hands on film know-how. Former newspaper editor/journalist Steven Stanek, Hillsboro WI, shared the decades of amazing eyewitness reports he has collected for his news column and became our field producer.

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White Lhasa LLC crew Steven Godfrey, Linda Godfrey and Nathan Godfrey

We will announce streaming availability very soon and will also have hard cover DVDs for sale at the Midwest Weirdfest.

For now, check out the trailer on You tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTc-t85UeDw.

Or see Facebook’s Return to Wildcat Mountain page.

See more about the film conference here: Midwest Weirdfest

And CLICK HERE for TICKETS

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White Lhasa Studios LLC, copyright 2002 all rights reserved.

 

 

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

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Strangely, in some parts of North America, black-furred big cats make up over half the eyewitness reports of mountain lions, but zoologists say black pumas don’t exist. If that’s true, then exactly what are these ebony felines? Some say they are mutations or hybrids, others point to ancient beliefs of area Native Americans that the black big cats are guardian spirit animals. Might one small central Wisconsin town hold a clue to this growing mystery?

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White Lhasa Crew

 

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It has a cover! And can be preordered, and is totally written. It even has pages up such as  the publisher’s at https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/565784/i-know-what-i-saw-by-linda-s-godfrey/9780143132806/   Alas, the final production will take a few more months incubation at Penguin/Random House, but I’m hoping the results will be worth it. Also, there will be a documentary film launched at the same time of the book, with a trailer reveal to be announced. And it isn’t about dogman. Not that there’s anything wrong with dogman. Watch here for links to the trailer, hoping in a month or so. Happy New Year!!!

 

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