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Posts Tagged ‘American Monsters’

Claredogman1_bak
Clare, Michigan, is known for several odd phenomena, and thanks to a recent eyewitness report, I’m about to add a third.
Set very near the center of Michigan’s lower peninsula, Clare became the site of a string of UFO sightings in the late 60s and early 70s when strange lights were seen along Herrick Road. There have been UFO sightings about 14 miles south in Mount Pleasant, as well.
It was in those same decades when area was also known as home of the Clare Deer Man. Most witnesses described that creature as fairly human from the torso up, including a human-like head, with eyes that were between animal and human. Its lower body, however, featured the legs and hooves of a deer or goat. It sounded like a satyr; something torn from the ancient legends of Pan.
In 2005, however, a young woman driving home at night from her job at a nearby golf course at about 11:45 pm on Sunday, August 28, saw something entirely different. The weather was clear and warm, although Tropical Storm Katrina was at that time pounding the nation’s southernmost states. As she tooled along in her 1996 Dodge Intrepid, she was sober and alert to her surroundings. She wrote:
I had just turned onto Eberhart Rd. which is a dirt road from Beaverton Rd.  I was traveling south on Eberhart, and going slow as I had just turned the corner,  when I spotted the creature on the right hand side of the road, under a yard light that someone had placed at the end of their driveway. 
 At first I was unable to tell what it was, only that it was large and seemed out of place.  In that area of the world we have many deer, and raccoons, rabbits, and the occasional coyote, wolf, mountain lion or bear.  But even from a distance and with it hunched over, I could tell this was out of the ordinary.
 I slowed my car to a stop as I approached the creature, at this point I still had not seen its face as it was hunched over eating the garbage that had been placed by the side of the road for pick up the following morning.  The visibility was good, as the home had installed a yard light, at the junction of the road and their driveway, and the garbage and the creature were directly under it. 
CLareDMbentover_bak
The first thing I noticed about the creature was that the fur was very short, like a horse’s or a greyhound’s, and shiny.  The second thing I noticed was that it was in an odd position as it appeared to be hunched down with its arms and face low to the ground, as it was eating garbage, and it had shoulders like a man.  It was jet black, and very and I cannot stress this enough, very heavily muscled, as it ate I could see the muscles in its shoulders and arms moving under the skin.  It was larger than a man, perhaps the size of a bear when hunched over.  If I had to guess, when fully standing, I would assume it to be over seven feet tall.
At this point my mind was going a million miles an hour trying to identify this creature, the fur and shape was like nothing I had ever seen.  Then it looked up, and I still get goose bumps to this day when I remember that face.  Its face was horrible, I mean really horrible.  The eyes were red, like a sort of red that appeared to give off its own luminescence, this could be incorrect and it could have been that they were just incredibly reflective from the yard light, but he was looking at me, not up, so it was very odd to me that they should glow like that.
The teeth were the most predominate feature, they looked so unreal that I stared until it moved trying to convince myself that I was seeing it wrong and there was a logical explanation.   The face was shorter than most werewolf or dog man images, and the teeth were so large that it seemed impossible that such a thing could exist.  It was hideous, and so terrifying.  It had ears like a doberman but they curled in slightly, and it was sitting back on its heals, and it was built like a man from the chest up, shoulders and all.  Then it made a lunge of sorts towards the car, the last thing I saw before flooring it out of there, was the face twisting into a snarl and that it was coming towards me.  
I have spent years trying to fathom how anything with teeth like that could possibly be a living thing, they just seem like they would get in the way, if that makes any sense. I have also spent years trying to convince myself that his teeth appeared metal due to the reflection of the lights, but Linda, and I could be wrong, but it looked like his teeth shone like metal.
 
I literally floored my car, and it fish tailed on the gravel and I nearly lost control.  I was so frightened, all I could think of was to get out of there and get out of there fast.  I was living a couple of country blocks down the road at that time, and was so scared that I pulled my car up to the door and ran inside and locked the doors.  I haven’t seen it since, and  outside of seeing a pair of ghostly legs crawl behind a chair while living in a haunted house, several years after seeing the dogman, I have never seen anything else that couldn’t be logically explained.
When I told her about the UFO and deer man reports, she said she had never heard about them although she grew up only a block from Herrick Road. But they made a sort of strange sense to her. She replied,
I grew up with an intense fear of UFOs so intense that even as an adult I never felt safe in the area, yet oddly enough as soon as I moved, it was simply gone.  Even as an adult, I could not sleep in the dark, and I would have these awful nightmares about getting sucked out my window, or being lined up in the back yard at night with the neighbors, no one being able to move or speak.  *shudder*  I left and moved to central NY in 2011 and have had no fear since.
Clare is also located about 20 miles east of Evart, known for glowing cemetery lights, and about 32 miles from Reed City, where several dogman sightings have taken place. The Manistee National Forest lies just westward of that town.
As I told the witness, what she saw didn’t resemble the majority of dogman reports I receive in regard to its huge, muscular shoulders–canines don’t have shoulders–its sleek, shiny black fur, and of course the horrific face and giant, metallic teeth. I believe dogmen with this description usually have some association with other unknown phenomena such as lights, UFOs and other strange creatures, and Clare certainly fills that bill.
These, black-furred, super-muscled monsters are not unique to Michigan but are reported from all over the world. In fact, I have another new report of a similar creature seen near Houston Texas. Watch for it here soon!

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Scan_20160606

Every once in a while I’ll be going through my files and will  discover items that have never been resolved for various reasons, just crumbling away in the staid limbo of manila folders. Here are a couple of headscratchers that turned up recently.  While I also have a bunch of newer reports to share soon, I feel I should mention these oldies first, just in case anyone knows more:

Nashotah Bigfoot? July, 2006, Nashotah, Wisconsin report from three men driving on County C south of town described “something huge and brownish that turned to gray toward the back end” crossing the road in front of them as close as only six feet from the car. It was on all fours, had bigger legs than arms (or forelimbs) and its rear end was higher than its front end, giving it a posture “like a souped-up car” as it ran. They were sure it wasn’t a bear or a deer, and indeed, I’ve heard reports of Bigfoots running on all fours in just this manner.

The man who wrote me about it (second hand) in October, 2006, said he was investigating the incident for the BFRO (Bigfoot Field Research Organization) but it doesn’t appear on their site as far as I could discover. I sent him a recent email for an update and am hoping for a reply. I also have the name of the witness, but his contact info has changed.

I would say this sounded more like a Bigfoot than dogman, except the witnesses also said it had a 4-6 inch long tail.  They did not get a good look at its head. The driver said he’d also seen a large upright creature running through his back yard, and it was seven to eight feet tall. That by itself is not conclusive. I remain especially interested in this incident because of the “Hartland Hairy Thing” seen only two years ago in Hartland, Wisconsin, just five miles away. Both towns are about thirty miles north of Bray Road, Elkhorn.

Water Walker and Giant Swimming Animal: August, 2006, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was the date of an old Yahoo conversation I printed and saved from another group because of a question from John Scherf asking if anyone had seen the “Lake Michigan Water Walker.” He said that a strange figure was sometimes sighted sitting on the beach in the very early morning hours. It would then rise up and walk out onto the lake waters until it disappeared. (A person wading out to swim, perhaps?”

The page also included a note from friend and long time cryptid quester Kimberly Poeppey: “I saw a big animal swimming in Lake Michigan! It was as big as a car. It was swimming in the bay by the Art Museum.” She added it was winter and the animal was swimming around blocks of floating ice, leaving a large wake behind. All she could see was its “big, dark, back.” Lake monster?

Anyway, I feel better having given these three mysteries a fighting chance. I penned out a rough map, above, just to give some idea of their relative locations–all in S.E. Wisconsin. I’m no cartographer, but I added a few representative bipeds and quadrupeds in appropriate places for interest. And I’m far from done going through my files. I’ll post again if anything else shakes out.

 

 

 

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Scan_20160302From my scrap pile comes this 1920s newspaper portrait of Katherine Malm, Chicago’s infamous Wolf Woman, a.k.a. Tiger Girl, who established an early reputation as the “consort of crooks.” according to a Feb. 27, 1924 Times Daily article on her court case. When I first came across this picture, I was naturally hoping she had something to do with humanoid creatures. But as best I can tell from various write-ups, she was given the animal appellations for attacking and killing a night watchman when she was twenty. The Cook County judicial system found her guilty and sentenced her to life . That sentence ended when she died while incarcerated in Joliet Prison at age twenty-eight. She was mentioned in a 2010 book by Douglas Perry called The Girls of Murder City for her kindness in bringing a currant bun to a new inmate, with an admonition to pretend it was chicken. At least Katherine must have been a carnivore.

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GoatmanLSGThe image of a creature part man, part goat is one of the oldest in the history of civilization. It brings to mind the ancient nature god, Pan, those licentious Greek and Roman satyrs, and has long served as the basis for illustrations of the Christian devil. Most people think of anything resembling these creatures as mythical allegory. But every now and then, sightings of upright goats with sharp horns and bad attitudes show up in contemporary reports of encounters with unknown creatures. Wisconsin author J. Nathan Couch has written a well-received book, “Goatman; Flesh or Folklore,” that has had many researchers — myself included — taking a second look at the bleating beast.

I admit I was one of those who generally categorizedthe idea of goatmen  as folklore or urban legend. For one thing, there ARE quite a few localized legends around the country that follow a couple of oft-repeated story lines. One such trope always involves some secret lab experimenting with human/animal hybrids until one half-goat escapee terrorizes the countryside. Another tale,  usually set a century or so in the past, describesa goat-like monster killing a just-married man while his terrified wife hides in a wagon or carriage. The latter legend that I’ve described in several of my own books is prominent around Washington County, Wisconsin and is supposed to have occurred on Hogsback Road in the Town of Erin.

That particular area of the state is also very rich in modern-day reports of both Bigfoot and dogmen. So imagine my surprise when a man who is related to me by marriage (a couple of times removed) mentioned at a family gathering a week or so ago that he and a companion had personally witnessed a creature in the general vicinity, perhaps 10-15 miles to the northeast of Erin. It appeared to be an upright goat sauntering across the highway as the two young men drove along Trenton Road just east of West Bend, Wisconsin, sometime around 2003. He was in his twenties at the time, and said that he and his friend completely agreed on what they’d seen. They were both extremely shocked, he added.

He described it as man-sized, with hooves, big muscular legs and smaller forelimbs held out in front of it “like a T-Rex.” And it had horns. I made sure that point was clear, because over the years I’ve had a number of people tell me they had seen a satyr or goat man, only to change their minds when I showed them a forensic sketch of what most dogman witnesses describe. But those witnesses saw neither horn nor hooves.

The sketch accompanying this article is one that I made for my own entertainment and has not been corroborated by this witness who wishes to remain anonymous. I added features such as the slightly larger “arms” and pointed teeth that I imagine would be necessary for an animal able to tear apart a sturdy young bridegroom as described in the old stories. I’ll do a second version and an update if the witness agrees to talk further.

I will add that I consider this person entirely credible. And his sighting was only 11 or 12 years ago, not such a long time as cryptid reports go. It was not a dogman, not a Bigfoot. Perhaps Goat Man does live on, after all, and this gentleman, unlike the unlucky bridegroom of the Civil War era, lived to tell its true tale.

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New cover by Nathan D. Godfrey

New cover by Nathan D. Godfrey

Werewolf doodle; individual drawings will vary

Werewolf doodle; individual drawings will vary

“The original account of the 1992 bombshell news story that revealed reports of werewolf-like creatures in southeast Wisconsin –The small town of Elkhorn, Wisconsin made national headlines in the early 1990s with reports of a strange, hairy, wolf-headed creature that walked upright and seemed unafraid of man as it stalked the cornfields just outside of town. Journalist Linda Godfrey dubbed the canid sensation “The Beast of Bray Road” after the location of the first reported sightings. Two decades and hundreds of nationwide sightings of similar creatures later, no one has ever proven whether the beast is a flesh-and-blood canine or will-o-the-wisp, demon dog, or a magical werewolf. But the author provides plenty to chew on, with sightings of related creatures, Native American connections, historic lore and a keen-eyed look at possible explanations.”

So many people have asked me for a new print edition of the Beast of Bray Road ever since the former publisher popped a silver bullet in it, that I finally decided it was time for the creature’s return. I’m so glad and excited to announce that the Beast is now indeed back! In concert with Dystel & Goderich Literary Management and Amazon, here is the link! The interior includes the entire contents of the first book–photos, art and all. The cover, however, is brand-spankin’ new, and was created by my son, Nate, an artist who has contributed his work to some of my books and also History Channel’s Monsterquest for the American Werewolf episode.

To celebrate, I have a special FREE offer for those who would like my autograph with the book; until December 25, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to me and I’ll send a hand-autographed sticker decorated with an originally drawn “werewolf doodle” that can be applied to your book’s inside front page. One sticker per envelope, and please specify if you wish it inscribed to anyone or would like a special (tasteful only) phrase included. Mail to me at Linda Godfrey, PO Box 702, Elkhorn WI 53121. Offer starts immediately! (You can also mail the whole book with return postage and suitable envelope.)

braysign

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By Cédric Boismain from France (centaure agonisant) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Centaurs, or creatures with the torso and head of a human and the lower part of a horse, occur in art and literature from very ancient times, but are today most commonly associated with Greek and Roman mythology. Nonetheless, I received a report this week from a woman whose co-worker urged her to call me after she told him about the encounter she and a friend and their siblings had as children. It occurred on the outskirts of southern Richmond, Virginia, in 1966 when she was 8. The now 54-year old former IRS employee and Greyhound bus driver spoke by phone with me on Sept. 1, and she seemed as serious and credible as any eyewitness I’ve ever talked to.

“I remember the sighting vividly,” she said. She and her friend, along with a few younger siblings, had sneaked out to play in a nearby four-acre park and rec area at dusk one summer night. A creek ran through the acreage, and the group followed a path from their apartment buildings through a tree line that opened onto the play area. The children had been there only a short time, however, when they heard a familiar sound that the writer described as between a movie-style, ghost-like moan and the whinny of a horse. They’d often heard the same thing from inside their apartment. Her parents always tried to blame it on a nearby trucking company, but the trucks were most active in the daytime, she said, and the weird moan was only heard at dusk and night time.

She looked around and saw a tall, dark figure watching her from about a block away. It looked human from the top of its head to the bottom of the torso, she said, but the rest of it resembled the bottom part of a horse — horse legs, hooves, tail and all. It was too dark to see its face, she said, but there were no ears and the head area looked much more hairy and shaggy than the smoothly furred remainder, but she knew at once that no human could imitate the thin legs with hooves. “This was not someone dressed in a costume, this thing was real. It was a creature. It was alive,” she said.

As soon as the beast noticed she was watching it, it began to run toward her, the human-like “arm” limbs being held in a bent position with elbows slightly to the side. She shrieked, grabbed her four-year old brother, and the whole group began running for the tree line with the creature in pursuit. It sounded like the beat of horse hooves even on the grass, she said. When they reached the tree-line that marked the edge of the park, she turned around to see where the creature was. It stopped too, about half a block away, its rear end and haunches partially turned as the torso and head twisted to watch her. She estimated it stood about seven to eight feet tall. The small group continued beating a hurried path to their home. Their parents, naturally, did not believe them but she says her friend and brother still talk about it with her to this day. She added that she was not one to believe in ghosts and never had any other weird or paranormal incidents.

Jacob Jordaens [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Half man, half horse? The creature the children saw in Richmond reminded me of classic depictions of a satyr, or goat man, although those are always two-legged. And satyr reports are a bit more frequent. Many parts of the US have their own goat man legends. I also receive an occasional deer man report. In both types, it sometimes happens that the witness will see one of my sketches of the upright wolf-like creatures I more often investigate, and will say, yes, that’s it! So perhaps some cases are examples of mistaken perception, but this writer was quite sure there was a total of six limbs.

So what, then, to make of a centaur report I received last May? This incident happened around 1970 in Arizona, between Sierra Vista and Benson, as two young men drove along Hwy. 90. They were forced to stop when their car’s engine suddenly stalled, and got out to take a look. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so they got back in and were sitting there when they heard the sound of hooves running right at them. They turned to look out the rear window, and there saw a “half man, half horse creature rear up and start smashing in the back end of the car with its front hooves.” There was no mention of separate arms, so I’m not sure about that point. His friend began screaming to get them out of there, and the driver’s frantic efforts to restart the engine somehow worked and they sped away. The driver told his parents when he finally reached home, and recalled that his mother said, “What were you doing that caused the devil to show you that demon?”  One family member added they remembered that the back of the car was deeply dented all over as if someone had been banging it with rocks.

One more came to me yesterday, except this was from a woman who was driving with her son on a mountain pass in the western US eight years ago. She wrote: This happened on the summit of Bridge Creek between Inchelium and Nespelem, Washington. It is on the Colville (Arrow-Lakes tribe) reservation. I was told by some of the elders that there has been sightings of a “deerman” who has been seen near Nespelem. The elders say that when he is seen, it’s a sign that the person is going to die. I don’t know anyone who has seen him, but I’ve heard stories. I’ve never heard of an elk man before. What my son and I saw was a herd of elk, and in the middle of them was one that from the neck up was a man. He was reaching up into a tree. There was no way it was a costume. He was ugly and had ratty black hair and a bare chest.  It was only for a brief second that we saw it but it was long enough that we both looked at each other and said, “Did you just see what I saw?”

I agree that her sighting is different than a “deer man.” Elk are MUCH larger, and it’s unusual to hear of such a creature traveling with a group of ordinary animals.

Perhaps I’ll hear more from others. Do these sightings relate in any way to those of dogmen? Perhaps. Centaurs, elk men and dogmen — none of these seem like normal animals, or even aberrations of natural animals. There are many speculative possibilities. For now, I’d simply like to thank those who shared these sightings for giving us the opportunity to ponder them.

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Anyone who follows my blog or other social media knows I do a lot of radio. Talking to hosts and listeners about wolf-like creatures, Bigfoot and other weird phenomena is something I never tire of. However, with my latest book due at the publisher by summer’s end, I imposed a radio moratorium on myself for most of July and August. With that manuscript now safe in the hands of my editor at Tarcher/Penguin, I’m so glad to be back on the chat lines, starting this evening…

and then this Friday evening August 28, Paraversal Radio with Kevin Malak:

ParaversalRadioShow

Then Tuesday, September 1 at 9 pm Central with host Tim Maile on Fringe Radio;

http://www.fringeradioshow.com/12092013-tim-maile/

There are several more for early September, and also Art Bell’s new Midnight in the Desert Show, on a date I can’t yet disclose but will announce here as soon as I’m allowed!

http://artbell.com/

Looking forward to chatting about some of my latest findings and field work!

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