From the first sighting in 1936 to the flap of the 1980s, The Beast of Bray Road is one cryptid case people still are unsure about.
When I think of Wisconsin, several things come to mind. I think of amazing cheese, creative craft beer concoctions, beautiful scenery, and the Dogman! The Dogman may also be considered, by some, as an American Werewolf. The most famous Dogman is known as the Beast of Bray Road.
Dogman sightings, first reported in 1936, have been exciting events ever since in the cheese state. The Dogman legend has been shared for generations, fueled by books, TV programs, a well orchestrated hoax (looking at you Gable film), and some genuinely freaky happenings in the areas of Elkhorn and Jefferson County.
For those of us who are not Wisconsinites... Dogman has been a phenomenon that dates back centuries in places like Eastern Europe, but is only recently reported in the US. In the last fifty years Dogman has become more common dinner table talk in places like Michigan and Wisconsin. People have reported seeing bipedal animals that resemble wolfs, bears, or even Bigfoot type creatures. All of which can also be likened to the Dogman.
When German settlers moved into the upper regions of the US, they spoke of wolves that would follow their caravans and disappear into thin air. It was thought to be a bad omen, or simply out dated folklore from their native land haunting them. I'm not going to dive into this too deep, but I suggest reading up on werewolf witch trials that took place between the 15th and 18th centuries and the 200 some attacks by an animal related to the Bray Road beast known as the Beast of Gevaudan.
The best known present day US sightings come from Elkhorn, WI; where, in 1989, around Bray Road, multiple locals reported seeing a wire haired beast prowling amongst the brush. These sightings all depicted a creature that stood anywhere from 5 to 7 feet tall, covered in hair, with a dog like face, and standing on its hind legs. Included to the left is a sketch, drawn by Mark Kirschnik, which depicts what he saw while driving on the county road.
Most of the incidents that I have found that relate to the Dogman seem to happen while people are out for drives at the break of day or the dead of night. Most skeptics would agree that this detail alone sends up flags of misidentification. But, I also came across an incident in which a group of locals stumbled upon three Dogman creatures by a body of water, during daylight. Another notable sighting involved a Wisconsin DNR worker who reported seeing Dogman while taking care of a deer carcass. (See graph below)
During my research it was interesting to note that hunters have seen this creature on multiple occasions and have been dumbfounded by what they have seen. One hunter eloquently described his encounter experience on History Channel's Monster Quest. He explained why he couldn’t just shot it. Since it was deer season he stated he didn’t want to accidentally kill a bear and become a poacher; and, his second thought was that the unidentifiable creature was a guy in an ape costume and he didn’t want to murder a hoaxer. He further explained that when he saw the animal jump 12 feet into the tree line, he knew for certain he was not encountering either a man or a bear. Think about that next time you are hiking in the woods of Wisconsin!
Avid hunters, who could identify a plethora of animals, say these strange animals can’t be explained. Residents speak of tales of this beast as if it were common place. Eyewitnesses have even undertaken polygraph tests and passed with flying colors. So what is hiding in the woods of Wisconsin?
Native Indians share tales of shapeshifters and skin walkers that would take the form of animals like bears or wolves. Wisconsin also has seen a rise in wolf populations in recent years. And, more and more people, with plenty of portable recording devices and technology, are adding to research as interest in subjects like Bigfoot and Dogman grows.
At this point it is hard to say what the Dogman truly is. People have undoubtably seen something that has scared them for life; and, people are still reporting incidents with an unknown cryptid in the woods of Wisconsin. Hopefully, we will soon be able to narrow down what is going on and put this incident to rest.