Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘cryptids’

dogmanblakehill

Although Hollywood loves to depict their classic werewolves in shredded shirts and jeans, the great majority of eyewitness reports describe fur as the only covering on the upright canines they have encountered.

Here’s an exception to the rule, from a former Texas pizza delivery man whose encounter occurred the night of July 20, 2012. I leave it in his own words with only a few minor edits for repetition, spelling and paragraph separations:

 

Hello Linda,
Thank you for getting back to me. I’m going to state right away that my sighting has terrorized me to say the least. When I was a small child I watched an American werewolf in London by myself and had been mortally afraid of werewolves since then.
My sighting was on the 20th of July in 2012. It was a Friday night. I was 19 at the time, and didn’t have many responsibilities other than delivering pizza part time, so naturally being a teenager I was out with friends at a house party in old Katy (a suburb west of Houston, Tx) .
My friends and I experimented with both marijuana and alcohol, but we were always “responsible” enough to make sure one of us stayed sober to be the designated driver. That particular night was my turn to be the sober one. My friend B. had gotten well past drunk and once he was starting to behave reckless I decided it was time to leave the party and take him home. He didn’t want me to take him home, so instead he asked me to drive him to one of his friends houses that I’m not familiar with. This friend, who I only remember as Joey, lived on the far west outskirts of Katy, close to a town called Brookshire.
I took  Morton Rd to get there, with the driver and passenger windows down so B. could get some fresh air. The street is one turn north of Morton, and while I don’t remember the name of the street I do remember how to get there (my sense of direction is fairly superior; I’ve delivered pizzas all throughout Katy, and have since become a local truck driver in Houston). The road had 3 or 4 house on the eastern side, and on the west side was a fairly large forest area (maybe 40 or so acres) and dead ends just past the last house.
I had noticed the moon was full before I even went out that night. I got to Joey’s house, the second house on the right and parked my car on the left side of the road, closest to the trees. I helped B. get out of my car and walked him to the porch, Joey came out and thanked me for dropping him off and we said goodbye.
I decided to smoke a cigarette before I left the road. At the time, I shared my car with my dad and his number one rule was to not smoke in his car. After lighting my cigarette it didn’t take long to notice that the road was eerily silent. I assume I didn’t notice before as I was helping my noisy drunk friend get inside the house. Maybe three drags of my cigarette I heard heavy footsteps going across the gravel maybe 100 feet in front of me. I was alarmed at the sound they made, similar to the sound of pulling something metal against concrete.
As I’ve stated, my fears have always been werewolves. Here I am, alone, standing on a dark road under a full moon and I hear something BIG walking too close for comfort in front of me, I didn’t hesitate to throw down my cigarette and get into my car. I told myself as I was getting in that I wouldn’t turn on my headlights so I wouldn’t have to see what was in front of me, and simply reverse my way back onto Morton Rd and get the hell out of there. Unfortunately for me, my car had automatic lights that turned on as soon as I started the car, a fact that I was aware of but in my panic seemed to ignore.
Immediately in front of me about a hundred feet as I had guessed was a 6 and a half to 7 foot beast, on two legs. It was covered in black fur, with the body of a gym addicted man and the head of what I guess could be similar to a German shepherd or a black wolf. It had human like feet covered in the dark fur as well with large claws sticking out about two inches, and it held its left hand out the same way a human would reaching for something in front him/her. I noticed that the fingers ended in large claws as well. While this was enough to cause my jaw to drop, what got me the most was that it was wearing torn blue jeans that seemed too tight and unnaturally torn, and an open flannel blue shirt that was ripped at its bulky shoulders.
It looked my way when the lights revealed it and glared at me with narrowed yellow eyes baring its large fangs. My windows were still down and I hadn’t touched my radio so I had no trouble hearing the loud growl it let out. It then turned its head to the forest and dropped on all fours and ran out of my sight into the trees.
All of this took place in about 20 seconds, but it felt like hours. At this point I literally had tears in my eyes but didn’t hesitate for one second longer to shove my car in reverse and put the gas pedal to the metal. I heard loud growling and grunting as I was leaving. I reversed onto Morton Rd and went 80-90 miles an hour down the streets leading back to Katy and didn’t slow down till I was on interstate 10. While still on Morton Rd I kept my eyes in front of me and sobbed the whole time because I had never been so scared in my life. I can swear that the look I got from this creature was communicating to me that I had no business seeing him and that he wanted me gone. The look reminded me of criminals on tv being caught in their wrongdoings and wanting to cause harm to those who witnessed it.
I got home, ran inside and called my Scottish terrier into my room and didn’t sleep till the sun was up.
To this day I’ve never had a desire, nor the nerve to go back to that part of Morton Rd. I obsessed over the idea that I had seen a werewolf and researched werewolf sightings on google and was intrigued by the Beast of Bray Rd sightings and everything else that came up. I was disappointed to see that nothing i found on the web was precisely what I saw…while the beasts others have encountered seemed similar, none were spotted wearing clothes.
The Reaction
I told my mother and father what I had seen, and while my mother could tell I was being genuine, my father was more interested in me driving that far from home without letting him know so I stopped talking about it. Of the 7 people outside of my family I’ve told, only my wife to be and my friend Mike seemed to believe me, most laughing and asking stupid questions such as “did you ask the werewolf if he got the vampires yet?” And similar things like that.
I’ve always wanted to write you, but it wasn’t hard to notice that my story sounds far fetched, especially considering the fact that I couldn’t find any other reported sightings near the Houston area, nor much in Texas recently either. I guess I was scared of being ridiculed, or to be honest scared that if I did say my story that somehow the creature would find out and hunt me down…I’m honestly positive I’ll never stop being haunted by the memory of this creature, it’s just too vivid and too frightening to put out of my mind.
I also never told the friend I dropped off there that night, what I saw. In fact, I didn’t see him again for two years until accidentally bumping into him at a gas station in south Katy.
Last week, my mom and fiancé went shopping at Barnes and Noble and noticed Real Wolfmen and thought I’d like it. I haven’t put it down since and after reading the chapter where the woman in Tennessee saw a clogged creature, I decided that after four years of hesitating it was time to write to you.
I’m not sure what happens next, but I want to say thank you again for getting back to me and taking the time to listen to my sighting. I know that some of these creatures have been spotted in daylight, but I just don’t know how what I saw couldn’t be a werewolf…the moon was full (the official full moon was July 19th but it still looked exactly the same from what I saw) and this creature was wearing clothes..I know some dogs wear sweaters when their owners force them to but even pretending that dogs walked on two legs standing 6.5-7 feet tall, how someone could dress a dog up that way is beyond me…and there’s no way in hell that it was a man dressed up as a werewolf/wolfman/dogman…it was just too real. 
I’m 23, a father of two daughters and I’ll be married next month.
The witness shared a few more things with me after I told him that in my experience, the upright canines with more humanoid features and especially those seen wearing a human garment tend to be seen near parks or Native American reservations. There are, in fact, several reservations near that area, he said, and since he is part Native American, he asked his grandmother about tribal lore that might explain the encounter. He said she told him that in their legend, the entities usually referred to as skinwalkers are more like the usual idea of werewolves. The witness drew a sketch at my request, then asked his mother to redraw it, using his drawing as a guide. I must say it looks very like a typical portrayal of a werewolf. The ruff or neck mane is something that many witnesses describe, however, clothing or no clothing.
To play the devil’s advocate, there is a big advantage to hoaxers in wearing clothing, because it’s eliminates the need for a full bodysuit of fur. In the drawing, the feet are shown as flat rather than digitigrade (supported on toepads) But this witness didn’t seem to think this could have been a human. The creature ran away on all fours. And there was that almost full moon…

Read Full Post »

Scan_20160627

Thunderbirds, mothmen and other unknown flying things are some of the most puzzling of cryptids. They appear in the sky or a nearby meadow, amaze lucky witnesses, and then fly away without any hint as to their intent. Sometimes they seem to portend doom, as in the famous case of Point Pleasant, W. VA’s Mothman, which many think was a harbinger of the tragic Silver Bridge collapse.

 

In other cases, such as the northwestern Wisconsin daylight sighting by John Bolduan that begins my “American Monsters” book, witnesses are left feeling perplexed yet privileged to have witnessed such a spectacle. Bolduan watched in awe as the tall, silvery-feathered bird took to the air and displayed a 22-foot wingspan.

 

There’s another example of that flighty ambiguity in my next book due out this fall, titled “Monsters Among Us, an Exploration of Otherworldly Bigfoots, Wolfmen, Portals, Phantoms and Odd Phenomena.” In this incident, a central Wisconsin woman witnessed a gigantic, large bird standing on a bridge near Black River Falls. She was told by a Native American elder that she had seen a Thunderbird.

 

Why am I bringing these examples up now? I’ve often wished that I had some way to help  interpret these incidents, but had never found much contemporary material aside from well-known Thunderbird lore. I was thrilled recently, then, to stumble across a gleam of illumination in my summer reading pile, in a book about one man’s solo canoe adventure down the Mississippi River. The beautifully written work, Nick Lichter’s The Road of Souls, Reflections on the Mississippi, also describes many of the places long considered sacred or otherwise important by our indigenous people.

 

One of these places is Rock Island, Illinois (specifically, the area known as Rock Island Arsenal across the river from Bettendorf, Iowa). Lichter cites the translated autobiography Life of Black Hawk to explain that this island was once considered a hunting, fishing and horticultural paradise by Blackhawk’s people, the Sac or Sauk. I’ll quote just the last half of Chief Blackhawk’s own statement from  Lichter’s book:

 

“In my early life, I spent many happy days on this island. A good spirit had care of it, who lived in a cave in the rocks immediately under the place where the fort now stands, and has often been seen by our people. He was white, with large wings like a swan’s, but ten times larger. We were particular not to make much noise in that part of the island which he inhabited, for fear of disturbing him. But the noise of the fort has driven him away, and no doubt a bad spirit has taken his place!”

 

Lichter adds, “The swan’s cave was long ago dynamited out of existence.”

MississippiRiver

(Image shared from http://cdn26.us1.fansshare.com/photo/mississippiriver/shannon-mississippi-river-watershed-wikimedia-commons-delta-333095664.jpg)

Might the big birds seen up and down the Mississippi since Chief Blackhawk’s day be embodiments of that wandering spirit bird? Blackhawk doesn’t directly call the spirit bird a swan; he merely says it is white, has wings like a swan and is ten times its size. That’s very reminiscent of what Bolduan described. And Webb Lake, where it appeared, is only about five or six miles from the Mississippi in Burnett County, Wisconsin. Moreover, the other encounter I mentioned on the bridge in central Wisconsin was near Black River Falls, a tributary of the Mississippi.

 

This is just my own fanciful thought, but maybe that great, spirit bird is still winging over the Mississippi, setting down now and again as it searches for another place of peace– another earthly paradise to watch over. I believe it’s as good an explanation of these huge creatures as any.

My final thought is a question inspired by Blackhawk’s words when he suggested a “bad spirit” might have taken the great bird’s place… I can’t help but wonder what shape that bad spirit might have taken…

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

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.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Scan_20160420 (2)Two men young were cruising around the towns and villages of northeast England on a later summer’s night in 1989 for lack of anything better to do, when they found an unexpected cure to their boredom in the form of an upright, unidentifiable creature that ran in front of their car. The driver, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote me about it after having found one of my dogman sketches based on other eyewitness reports. He said he had searched for years afterward trying to figure out what he and his friend had seen that night, but my sketch came the closest.

The drawing you see here is my new rendering made to accommodate his exact description. I’ll quote his own telling of that night’s events, sent to me in two emails that I’ve combined here. He gave me permission to post his sighting but asked that I withhold his name:

***

The night of our encounter was not long after I bought the car. My friend Sean and I were out driving around the local towns and villages, playing some tunes on the cassette and generally just cruising about … It must have been late because it was dark by the time we passed through the small coastal village of Cresswell [Northumberland], so I’m assuming it was around 23.00hrs.
I remember we were heading SW from Cresswell to Ellington on Cresswell Rd., having just passed the entrance to the caravan site on our left. I had not yet had the opportunity to test the extra fog lights on the front of the vehicle and I wanted to see how bright they were in the dark. Sean was looking in the glove compartment for a different cassette and I told him I was going to switch the fogs on.
We were coming up to a slight right hand bend, there was a six-foot wall with dense foliage on our left and a normal hedgerow bordering a field to our right, that was when I saw something run out in the middle of the road. I wasn’t going very fast, probably 30mph maximum and had ample time to slow down so as not to hit it – even to stop but I’m not sure I did. I think I just crawled the car towards it as I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
It had ran out onto the road from my right and had stopped in the middle of the road looking directly at the car. It was covered in thick, mousey grey/brown fur about 2-3 inches long and stood on its rear legs which were jointed with the knee at the rear like a horse or dogs. Its upper arms were down by its side and It held its forearms out in front of it with its hands and long fingers hung down at the wrist. (They may have been long hands or long fingers but I remember the hands from the wrist to the fingers as being very long).
It had one foot in front of the other as if in mid-step as it seemed I had caught it by surprise, and while its body was still facing in the direction it was travelling, the head was facing the car.
I remember the eyes which reflected the light back at me as being perfectly round and a green/yellow colour much like that of a cat’s eyes when caught in the light.
It stood about 5-6 foot tall but was hunched over, even then I’d say it wouldn’t have been over 6 foot tall stood erect. It had what seemed to have a very muscular body, not big or bulky, more wiry with powerful limbs, thick chest and small waist. It also had a short tail. maybe 4-5 inches long, definitely not as long as most dogs; personally I’d describe it as more like a goats tail. (After seeing this I mainly searched for sightings of satyrs in the region as this was the closest thing I could relate it to)
Its head and face were like that of a dog or goat, as in not flat like a humans face, but with a muzzle and quite large ears. I do not remember seeing any teeth and it did not have horns. The whole encounter could not have lasted more than a few seconds. I assume it regained its composure after being caught off guard as it took off over the 6 foot wall and through the foliage atop that in a single bound. Although I often drive by the same area, I have never seen it again.
As for how I felt, I was in shock at first, like when someone gives you a fright. I shouted, Sean!, Sean! to make sure he was looking as he was fishing around in the glove box for a tape. I just couldn’t take it all in. After it had gone we were still going slow. We were looking back to where it had disappeared and I felt terrified. I’ve always considered myself a fairly macho type and not easily scared, but there was NO chance of me getting out of that car to follow it.
In fact, as we drove on a ways, there was a guy walking his dog farther up the road, maybe half a mile and for a moment I considered telling him not to go down that way. We slowed down but we honestly didn’t know what the hell to say, and we decided he was far enough away from it, so we just kept going. We were still also really shook up at this point.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that neither myself nor Sean was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
It’s very hard to talk about it, as quite frankly most people don’t believe it. I wasn’t sure if you would, or even do, as I imagine you must get a few folks who try and pull your leg.
But, hand on heart, all I have said is true to the very best of my knowledge. I want you to know that. I can’t tell you how excited I was when I found out someone else had seen it and I could actually put a name to the creature.

 

Read Full Post »

WerewolfofLondon

Sketch of Camberwell Old Cemetery creature submitted by eyewitness.

I’ve been waiting for many years for a report of a werewolf in London–just to quote the title of Warren Zevon’s famous song in a blog. One finally arrived a couple of weeks ago. And although the actual occurred 20 years ago on October 9, 1996 (the eyewitness says the date is etched in his memory), it’s a very compelling story. It includes a particular feature I’ve never heard before in any encounter, but that makes perfect sense in any encounter with an upright canine–werewolf or not.

The man, who asks that I refer to him as “Gary,” was 26 at the time and was on his way to meet a friend who lived on Underhill Road in southeast London. In order to walk there, Gary had to make a long trek heading southwest past  Camberwell New Cemetery and then down the entire length of Brenchley Gardens and around Camberwell Old Cemetery. He decided to cut through the older cemetery to save 20 minutes of walking time, even though it was already dark and the idea of walking through the cemetery at night was “freakishly scary” to him. He said he normally rode his bicycle to his friend’s house, but their plans for that evening precluded his usual means of transport.

He didn’t have a flashlight and the cemetery had no lighting system, so he could see only a few feet ahead of him as he made his way across the grounds. He was well into the middle of the graveyard when the movement of something very large and dark caught his eye. “I swear I saw what I thought was a dog, a big dog, move very quickly,” he said. He stopped and squinted into the darkness but decided his mind was playing tricks on him and started off again. He did not get very far.

CamberwellOld

(Camberwell Old Cemetery used under Creative Commons Lic., website http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4711520 )

“It was then in a flash my life changed forever,” wrote Gary. “It was so quick that I never had a chance–I thought that somebody had literally run into me and knocked me over…Something had grabbed me by my arm VERY tightly and smashed me to the ground. It was big, it was powerful, and it had extremely bad breath and it smelt cold and awful.

“This thing was now bearing down on me looking directly at my face, dribbling onto me and growling,” said Gary. But it was the creature’s next action that truly frightened him. It began to eagerly sniff his body, up and down, exactly as a dog would do. “I was convinced I was going to die,” said Gary. “I am afraid to say that as brave as I think I might be I was not, at this point, and shamefully I soiled myself.  As I lay there being smelled I was waiting for the bite, but that never happened. Just as quick as it started it was over and the beast was gone and sprinted off in a flash.”

It sprinted away on its hind legs.

The fact that the beast ran off just as the witness felt he was about to be killed conforms with the overwhelming majority of dogman reports I’ve received over the years, but only a small handful of those reports have involved any physical contact. Gary added that he had a theory about the dog’s extremely close examination of his body. He suffers from an illness that happens to be one of the many diseases dogs can smell in humans. “I truly believe it was this that the creature could smell on me,” he said. “I think if I did not suffer from this, I would now be dead. I know some animals can smell sickness and I’m sure they wouldn’t eat anything infected if they could help it.”

Gary isn’t positive that was the case, however. “Maybe it had no intention of eating me at all? Maybe I was in its territory and it was just scaring me to say keep out.”

But there was another weird aspect of the creature that he has never been able to shake off.

THE HAND

Since he and the creature were very close, and face-to-face, he had quite a good look at it despite the low level of light. Its fur was a dark color. The head reminded him of a German shepherd, he said, but its body was more the size and musculature of a Great Dane. He couldn’t see its eyes very well, and they evidenced no eyeshine or glow. (He mentioned that he took “artistic license” when adding the eyes to his sketch because he didn’t see their shape very well.) It did growl in a low tone as it smelled him in what he described as “deep nasal sniffs.” The creature’s breath was like rotten fish but with a weird sweetness to it.

Scan_20160405 (2)

“Hand of Anthropoid Ape” Dover Publications 1979 “1491 Copyright-free Illustrations of Mammals, Fish, Birds, Insects, etc.”

When I asked Gary how it held him by the arm, he said it was not with a paw. “When it grabbed me (this is the horrible bit and makes my skin crawl) it was a hand that grabbed me–a big hand, humanlike. Its whole hand went around my arm in a viselike grip. I will argue til the day I die that it was a hand that grabbed me. I don’t care who thinks that’s mad. It seemed to me that it had long nails; if they were sharp I can’t confirm, but they were long and clawlike. If you had to grow nails to a similar length, they would protrude 5-6 inches from your hand with a slight inward curvature.”

I asked Gary whether the long claws tore any of his clothing, and he said he was wearing a motorcycle jacket that was open so he only had one small tear on the front of his t-shirt.

The incident was not something that Gary was able to just brush off. He had something like post-traumatic stress disorder that caused him to take six months off work. He’s still terrified of woodlands and the dark. Strangely, the incident also made him afraid of fog although he says there was none in the cemetery that night. Even as he drew the sketch, he said he had to stop every now and then because it was causing him to have flashbacks. He said he has never told anyone but his wife about this incident, and that he only wrote me because she encouraged him to do so to get it off his chest and “lay the demons to rest.” He also has not set foot in the cemetery again.

“Part of me wants to be rational and say it was a strong man in a costume,” he said, “but that’s my mind wanting to say, stop being stupid. But if that’s the case it was the best costume I’ve ever seen, [that must have been] worn by an Olympic athlete due to the speed and strength.” He also felt strongly that the creature possessed a keen intelligence as it interacted with him.

What might the creature have been? I tend to agree with Gary that it was probably not some human in an amazing dog suit. The fact that it had its jaws open as it exhaled puffs of nauseating dog breath in Gary’s face doesn’t sound like anything a person wearing a mask could pull off, and neither does its action of deep-sniffing his body as it held him down.

It did appear to have physical mass, weight, odor, breath, and all the requisite characteristics of a living, breathing animal. Its eyes did not glow as do the eyes of phantom hounds, for which England has long been famous. It seemed to act rather like any guard dog might: First surveillance, then a take-down, an inspection, and an all-clear.

A normal guard dog would probably not have trotted off on its hind legs, however. Nor would it have been able to encircle and grip Gary’s arm with a big hand.

Could it have been an actual werewolf–that is, a human able to change its physical form into that of a wolf, while retaining a few human characteristics such as hands rather than paws? While I’m not one that believes in Hollywood-style werewolves, there have been occasional reports of upright canids that do not seem like they could be natural animals simply walking upright. (My next book will address this aspect!)

Scan_20160405 (3)

Dog paws may appear “elongated” when held in front as in a begging position (Dover Books 1979)

The hands Gary describes definitely fit that latter category. But I also hear from many witnesses that the creatures they saw had  definite, clawed paws that were simply elongated. When witnesses do report seeing human-like hands, there are often other characteristics such as glowing red eyes or a very humanoid body more normally  associated with tales of shapeshifters or phantom hounds rather than most contemporary sightings. English folk lore is rife with such creatures.

One other possibility is the creature known as the “man-monkey” that has been studied extensively by Nick Redfern in books such as Man Monkey: In Search of the British Bigfoot. While most sightings of this fur-covered, upright and primatelike beast have occurred in Staffordshire rather than London, in a forested area called Cannock Chase. But there have been several encounters with the creature in a German cemetery in Cannock Chase. But although the man-monkey explanation would explain the “hands” Gary witnessed, it doesn’t account for the very canine face that he drew.

Scan_20160405.jpg

“Fanciful Orangutan,” Dover Books 1979. (This is not a close depiction of an actual orangutan, I think, but reminds me of man-monkey descriptions.)

Redfern notes, however, at least one similarly ambiguous creature encounter that looked like a gorilla from the front, but displayed a long, dog-like muzzle from the side. Redfern asks (p. 59) whether the creature may have been a “shape-shifting Lycanthrope” or a “weird chimera that possessed the unique attributes of several beasts.” In Memoirs of a Monster Hunter, Redfern wonders whether such creatures may be a remnant of England’s legendary Cormons, “emotion-sucking vampires from an unholy realm.” He explains, “These shadowy entities generated imagery of bizarre monsters and beasts in an attempt to generate high levels of stress and emotion in the person that saw them…” (p. 35).

As I pointed out above, however, the creature that toppled and pinned Gary was no mere shadowy entity. And, again, the physical attack he suffered is extremely rare in my experience. In the 24 years I’ve collected reports, there have only been a hiker in Quebec Province with a superficial skin tear, a young man whose loose-fitting, cotton shirt was clawed as he was chased near the shore of Lake Michigan in South Milwaukee, and a few scratched automobiles that showed creature contact. I’ve heard of other attack-type incidents reported elsewhere, but they still are rather few and far between compared to most encounters.

I do have another recently received report from England (northeast), however, that will be the subject of my next blog article once I finish my own sketch of it. This one did not involve an attack, but was as mysterious as the Camberwell Old Cemetery creature in its physical attributes. Whether they are weird natural animals on the loose, werewolves, Cormons, or man-monkeys, the upright hairy beasts of England are definitely not confined to London.

 

Read Full Post »

D&D

“Gary Con,” an annual Wisconsin gaming convention held to honor the late Gary Gygax, creator of “Dungeons and Dragons” games, is a rapidly growing Lake Geneva event. A recent Atlas Obscura article discusses not only some possible reasons for the conference’s surging popularity, but revisits the anti-role-playing hysteria fomented by opponents of the game in the early 1980s. But D&D was not the only source of fantasy creature lore in the area. Fans of canine cryptids may be interested to know that Lake Geneva lies only a ten-minute drive from Bray Road, home of the upright, wolf-like creature known as the Beast of Bray Road.

BeastofBrayThe game and the creature arose quite independently, however. I didn’t break the Beast news story until the early 1990s, but Bray Road area sightings were already occurring in the early 80s (Marvin Kirschnik, 1981) — yet they were unknown to the public at that time. Still, there are some fun associations. The original cover of my book The Beast of Bray Road; Tailing Wisconsin’s Werewolf , for example, was created by one of D&D’s top fantasy artists, Jeff Easley, who painted the image based on his interpretation “just for fun.” Prairie Oak Press later paid him to use it as the cover art. (The cover for the second edition shown in the above link was painted by my son, Nathan Godfrey.) And of course the D&D games feature a “werewolf lord” in their pantheon of beastly characters.

There are probably many more such common threads between the game and the creature. While I doubt there are  any real associations between D&D and the Beast,  it’s always interesting to look for the coincidences that so often swirl around strange phenomena.

UPDATE: Another of those weird connections just came in. An Illinois man who owns property near Bray Rd., and whom I’ve been helping investigate large, bipedal canine tracks and other things there for 2 years, wrote me almost immediately. He happened to have been the math teacher of Gygax’s original business partner, and was recruited to help the original game designers with some of the required math calculations!

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,844 other followers