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The Beast of Bray Road (or the Bray Road Beast) is a cryptozoological creature first reported in the 1980s on a rural road outside of Elkhorn, Wisconsin. The same label has been applied well beyond the initial location, to any unknown creature from southern Wisconsin or northern Illinois that is described as having similar characteristics to those reported in the initial set of sightings. A gentleman by the name of "Uncle Cookie" is said to have seen the beast on at least one occasion. It is assumed he was rather alarmed by the sighting. Bray Road itself is a quiet country road near the community of Elkhorn. The rash of claimed sightings in the late 1980s and early 1990s prompted a local newspaper, the Walworth County Week, to assign reporter Linda Godfrey to cover the story. Godfrey initially was skeptical, but later became convinced of the sincerity of the witnesses. Her series of articles later became a book titled The Beast of Bray Road: Trailing Wisconsin's Werewolf.
The Beast of Bray Road is described by purported witnesses in several ways: as a bear-like creature, as a hairy biped resembling Bigfoot, and as an unusually large (2-4 feet tall on all fours, 7 feet tall standing up) intelligent wolf-like creature apt to walk on its hind legs and weighing 400-700 pounds. Although the Beast of Bray Road has not been seen to transform from a human into a wolf in any of the sightings, it has been labeled a werewolf in newspaper articles. The Beast of Bray Road is also known as the "Bearcoon" to some Elkhorn residents.
A number of animal-based theories have been proposed. They include that the creature is an undiscovered variety of wild dog, a waheela (said to be a giant prehistoric wolf similar to Amarok), or a wolfdog or a coydog. It is also possible that hoaxes and mass hysteria have caused some falsehoods and sightings of normal creatures to all be artificially lumped under the same label. Concurrently with the sightings in Wisconsin, there was a rash of similar encounters in the neighboring state of Michigan. Following the release of "The Legend", a popular song about the Michigan Dogman in 1987, author Steve Cook received dozens of reports, including photograph and film evidence of the creature. There is no known link between the sightings in adjoining states, other than the similarity of the creature described.
The Michigan Dogman is a cryptozoological creature first reported in 1887 in Wexford County, Michigan. Sightings have been reported in several locations throughout Michigan, primarily in the northwestern quadrant of the Lower Peninsula. In 1987, the legend of the Michigan Dogman gained popularity when a disc jockey at WTCM-FM recorded a song about the creature and its reported sightings.
The first known sighting of the Michigan Dogman occurred in 1887 in Wexford County, when two lumberjacks saw a creature whom they described as having a man's body and a dog's head. In 1938 in Paris, Michigan, Robert Fortney was attacked by five wild dogs and said that one of the five walked on two legs. Reports of similar creatures also came from Allegan County in the 1950s, and in Manistee and Cross Village in 1967. Linda S. Godfrey, in her book The Beast of Bray Road, compares the Manistee sightings to a similar creature sighted in Wisconsin known as the Beast of Bray Road.
In some Native American legends, a skin-walker is a person with the supernatural ability to turn into any animal he or she desires, though they first must be wearing a pelt of the animal, to be able to transform. Similar lore can be found in cultures throughout the world and is often referred to as shapeshifting by anthropologists.
Possibly the best documented skinwalker beliefs are those relating to the Navajo yee naaldlooshii (literally "with it, he goes on all fours" in the Navajo language). A yee naaldlooshii is one of several varieties of Navajo witch (specifically an ’ánt’įįhnii or practitioner of the Witchery Way, as opposed to a user of curse-objects (’adagąsh) or a practitioner of Frenzy Way (’azhįtee)). Technically, the term refers to an ’ánt’įįhnii who is using his (rarely her) powers to travel in animal form. In some versions men or women who have attained the highest level of priesthood are called "clizyati" pure evil, then they commit the act of killing a member of their family, and then have thus gained the evil powers that are associated with skinwalkers. The ’ánt’įįhnii are human beings who have gained supernatural power by breaking a cultural taboo. Specifically, a person is said to gain the power to become a yee naaldlooshii upon initiation into the Witchery Way. Both men and women can become ’ánt’įįhnii and therefore possibly skinwalkers, but men are far more numerous. It is generally thought that only childless women can become witches. Although it is most frequently seen as a coyote, wolf, owl, fox, or crow, the yee naaldlooshii is said to have the power to assume the form of any animal they choose, depending on what kind of abilities they need. Witches use the form for expedient travel, especially to the Navajo equivalent of the 'Black Mass', a perverted song (and the central rite of the Witchery Way) used to curse instead of to heal. They also may transform to escape from pursuers. Some Navajo also believe that skinwalkers have the ability to steal the "skin" or body of a person. The Navajo believe that if you lock eyes with a skinwalker they can absorb themselves into your body. It is also said that skinwalkers avoid the light and that their eyes glow like an animal's when in human form and when in animal form their eyes do not glow as an animal's would.
In Hunting the American Werewolf, there's a lengthy report of a creature sighting on Hwy. 59 in Rock County, WI near Lima Marsh Wildlife Area. It was made by a 22-year old female college student on March 9, 2005. Because she didn't get a clear look at the head, I couldn't definite it as other than an upright furry biped. But a married couple who own a popular area restaurant, The Richmond House in rural Delavan, have come forward to say that they also saw an upright furry biped cross a road in the vicinity of the Lima Marsh. Their sighting was at the end of April or beginning of May, 2005, just five or six weeks after the college student's. And at the time, they knew nothing of her sighting. The pair, aged 43 and 39 at the time, had kept fairly quiet about what they had seen, telling only their three children and a few acquaintances. But the husband, Lenny Faytus, recognized my husband's name when he stopped in to pick up our Friday night fish fry carryouts the week before last, and asked if I would call him to talk about a sighting. I did, of course, and was excited about it because it does help corroborate the first sighting to have another so similar and so close in time and location. Lenny and his wife, Stacie, both life-long area residents, had not yet purchased the restaurant at that time. They were on their way to a pet-sitting job on McCord Road, to the east of Lima Marsh, in later afternoon. It was still light out, with about an hour left before sunet, he estimated. It was a clear, pleasant day and visibility was still good as they headed north on McCord. They noticed a farmer out in his field, and both remarked that they thought he had an unusual number of lights on, especially since it was still light. "My wife and I both said he must be scared of something," said Lenny. "He must have had at least 15 lights on, pointed in 360 degrees around the tractor." It was only a few minutes later that Lenny noticed something moving out onto the 20-foot wide road from the east, or right sight of the road, about 1/4 mile away. At that distance, he at first thought it was a deer. It was emerging from a densely wooded area backed by a swamp. On the other side of the road lay a cultivated field, fronted by a shallow ditch that dropped off into a patch of weeds and bramble that lay about four feet lower than the roadway. As the creature stepped onto the road and Lenny continued to drive toward it, he realized it was no deer. "What is that?" asked Stacie in alarm. Lenny had realized this was no deer. "I thought then it must be a person," he said, "but it was a medium brown color, like a deer in fall. It was upright, but I still didn't think anything of it until it went across the road and then I knew it wasn't normal. It went in quick, easy strides but I couldn't see any arms. I was probably only 1/8 mile away by then. He was behind a stop ahead sign. When I got to the spot I slowed down and rolled the window down but I couldn't see him anymore. When I looked at the field and didn't see him, and I was looking all over, the hair stood up on the back of my neck because I realized he was hiding. He knew I was looking for him. I looked the field over pretty good, I'm a hunter too, and he just wasn't there to be seen. Stacie wanted me to keep going."
Stacie's hair had risen on her arms and neck too, she said. Both of them said they felt they were receiving some kind of message, a definite warning that they should not be there. "I had the impression to 'get out,'" said Lenny. He estimated the creature to stand at about 7 feet, judging by its relation to the sign, and to weigh about 350 pounds. "It was definitely bigger than a human. It didn't look like it was jumping or stretching but it crossed the road in just two steps. With each step it covered a lot of ground. (We later tried to simulate it with a six-foot tall man, and the best he was able to do to cross the 20-foot road without jumping was four steps.)
Lenny said the creature was "muscular, stocky for its size, not like a gorilla, not a lot of girth. The head was humanlike in shape, there was no muzzle. It hesitated when it came out on the road." Stacie also noted that the neck wasn't visible, that the hair came straight down on its shoulders. No ears or other facial features were visible from that distance, either. Since the incident, the Faytus' call McCord "Spooky Holler Road." Stacie says she kept a camera in the car for 4-5 months afterward, in case they saw it again, but they never have although they often drive down that road. Since the sighting, a new house has been erected to the left of the field where the creature "disappeared." Lenny thinks the creature may have dropped down into the lower elevation behind the ditch. On the day we visited the site, that area was overgrown with ground cover, including a viney area that looked like it had a hole frequented by smaller animals. Also, I'm now inclined to think that the college student may also have seen a Bigfoot, although the creature she saw was smaller and had "glowing yellow eyes." But she described the same easy, long strides. The Lima Marsh Wildlife Area is a public preserve but very dense and boggy. Entrance is off Hwy. KK, just north of Hwy. 59 between Milton and Whitewater. The fields and woods on McCord Road are privately owned.
on may 6 2006 i was driving back to my girlfriends house, who lives around lansing, MI, i was coming back from the store and she lives out in the country completely isolated so the only way to get there is to go down dirt roads that are surrounded by fields. Anyways so i was driving and i saw something moving on this little hill that was right on the side of the road so i stopped because if it was a deer i didnt want to hit it and than all of a sudden a human like hand (except much larger than a normal mans hand) reached over the edge of the hill and this huge silouette came into view. It was much larger than a normal man and it had a wolf like face and its eyes reflected in my headlights, it just sat there and looked across the field on the other side of the road and than it just very calmly turned its head and looked right at me, i froze out of fear and we sat locked in each others stares for about 20 seconds and than it started to move down the hill so i hit the gas and flew past it and when i got to the stop sign i stopped and looked in the rearview mirror and it was sitting in the middle of the road just looking at my car and i took off again and as i was going i looked back again and it moved very calmly into the other field, ive never been so scared in my life. After i got to my girlfriends house, me, her and her mom went back to the spot and the creature was gone. This happend in between Lansing and the small town of Eaton Rapids. - Ron
CHEPACHET RI ,,,,RHODE ISLAND,,,,,,I own a farm here,,,,,on ri /conn line,,,,,,,,,1000s of acres of abbutting land in conn, up state new york,,,,chepachet is still like the 1800s,,,,,honest,,,,for a week straight a howling every nite, 11pm, to 2 pm,,,,I have black bears, but never heard this sound,,,,,last sat nite the sound was close, so I went to look,,,,this small creature was banging the doors on my shed,,I have pet rabbits, they were going crazy in their cages,,,,,,I put the lights on,,,,got my gun,,,,this creature looks like your picture,,,,he was 4 feet tall,,,,all hairy,,,,man he smell ed ,awfull,,,,,,but he wasnt mean,,,,I didnt know whether to give him something to eat,,,he had red eyes,,me made a grunting sound,,like a pig,,,,then he ran off,,,,,,,Ron,,,,,,,,maybe I can snap a pict of him,,hes out there evey nite,,,,,in my pastures,,,,,,,,
Eating my words as dutifully noted in my blog, I must counter both my oft-repeated admonition that the Manwolf has not been reported seen on Bray Road for ten years or so, and the idea that no one who has ever gone out intentionally looking for the creature has succeeded in finding it. A 47-year old registered nurse from Greendale, her 16-year old daughter and 16-year old friend (they were 45, 14 and 14 at athe time of the sighting) have told me that they saw what was definitely the Manwolf while driving down Bray Road about 8:30 p.m. October 30, 2004, for the express purpose of trying to scare the daughter's friend, Kevin. The woman and her daughter do not wish to be identified, but I have interviewed them at length in person and found them to be very credible witnesses. The woman is trained in anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology, and they estimate the creature was no farther than 9 feet away from them and illuminated in the headlights of their car. "We had been looking for it for years," said the woman as we sat at her kitchen table drinking iced tea. "(My daughter's) friend Kevin had never been to Bray Road so she wanted to scare him," the woman told me. "We arrived about 8:30, drove up and down the road a few times, drove around Bowers Road...the whole thing was a lark. We went back onto Bray Road, driving slowly and under the speed limit, when something popped out of the corn about two miles down the road, heading toward Elkhorn. "It stepped right out of the corn and it looked aggressive. We all screamed very loud, I put my foot on the gas, and we went away as fast as we could and did not go back. I was a wreck, I was shaking. What I saw doesn't make sense. A quadruped has its legs "backward' for speed and agility. But this creature had large powerful thigh muscles and its knee was backward (note from Linda: witnesses often say knee was backward, not realizing the canid's "heel" is at approximately the same height as our knee). It was covered in fur, with heavier fur on its back. It was dark in color but tipped silvery gray. It was in the oncoming lane of traffic so we were less than nine feet away, max. It was not a personin a suit, it was way too tall (about seven feet) way too brawny, and its eyes were glittery and dark, they had no sclera or whites like a human eye in a mask would have. It's head was big, almost too big for its body. It had an elongated snout, but pointy, not rounded like a Lab's. "It stood there, and then it hunched over into an aggressive stance. It's arms were bent at the elbow and forward. I couldn't see the hands. Its ears were pointed, shaped like a German shepherd's, but laid back. Compared to your drawing of the indigenous dogman (see pic at right) the musculature on the legs was even heavier. It was looking right at me. I felt it was aggressive and would defend itself viciously. "This wasn't a dog. Or a wolf. It had canine features but it was something else....something "other." It was canid. There was this feeling we were not safe. And we didn't get a picture although we had cameras all over that car...video, digital, disposable, we were prepared. But when we saw it, we all just screamed in unison and then I floored it." The woman said she was not drinking any alcohol and does not do drugs. She has had a few incidents in her life she considers "somewhat" paranormal, but has never seen anything definite like this. All three witnesses saw the creature at the same time and agreed on its appearance. I will be interviewing Kevin by phone. Below are scans of her own drawings.