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The Beast of Bray Road

The Beast of Bray Road

Freaky Friday

Now that Hazel’s Heart – The Willoughby Witches (Book Two) is out, I thought we might want to talk about the Beast of Bray Road.  Okay, picture Jason Momoa. Now, exchange his Aquaman outfit for a werewolf outfit – it works, right? But, unfortunately, the real Beast of Bray Road doesn’t look like Jason Momoa, it looks more like Hugh Jackman in Van Helsing when he turns into a werewolf -which really isn’t a bad visual either. 

But, turning our thoughts away from these hunky movie stars to focus on the cryptozoological creatures called the Beasts of Bray Road or the Michigan Dogman, you’ll discover that most reported encounters with these kinds of beasts include very undesirable facts including “smells like a skunk,” “eats roadkill,” and “Having, shaggy, matted hear.”  (Okay, that last one might seem a little more Jason Momoa-ish – but, I’m still thinking it’s not hair you’d want to run your fingers through.)

The woman who actually coined the name “Beast of Bray Road” is Linda Godfrey. Linda was a journalist in the town of Delevan, Wisconsin.  She was working on a feature story and was told about a sighting of wolf-like creature on a road outside of Delevan.  Thinking there might be enough information for a short story, she contacted the local animal control official and was shocked when he pulled out a thick manila folder with the words “Werewolf Sightings” printed at the top. She wrote the story, interviewed many of the people who had seen the beast, and created the headline, “The Beast of Bray Road.”  To her surprise, her local story was picked up and ran nationally.  Soon she was being interviewed on television stations across the country and people were traveling to Wisconsin to try and find the beast.

Last fall, I actually decided to take a drive down Bray Road (it’s about an hour and a half from my house) and it wasn’t at all what I expected. It was a fairly short (less than five miles long) and it was a lovely country road. It wasn’t ominous with a thick forest surrounding it and overhanging limbs that blocked out the sun. No, it was mostly farmland and farm homes with nice lawns, paved driveways and occasional plots of woods and brush.  Not someplace you would consider to be a hotbed of paranormal activity. Which, I feel, makes it even more interesting. 

This is from Linda’s blogsite about her original article and artwork from December 29, 1991: “At the time, I considered “The Beast of Bray Road” sort of a throwaway story for a slow news week. But the article inspired many people to come forward and say they had seen the same thing and not always recently. Some of the sightings in the Bray Road area were up to ten years earlier, with one possibly related event about 40 miles away in Jefferson County dating back to 1936.”

Now Linda receives several emails a week about sightings all over the world from people who have had encounters with something big, hairy and upright. 

So, what are those encounters like?

The website, Wisconsin Frights received an email from someone named Danny Morgan. “In the message, Morgan claimed to have been in the Elkhorn area the previous Saturday night when he saw something crazy – a wolf…running across the road on two legs. This was just a few days before the “super blue blood moon” of January 31st.

“Hey, I took this photo Saturday night in Elkhorn north of Lake Geneva after hitting a couple bars with my buddy,” Morgan wrote. “I told my brother I saw a wolf run across the road on its hind legs, figured the full moon just causes animals to act weird or I scared it but he said there are werewolves in Elkhorn.”

Morgan said he thought he was on Weeks Road, but that he “kinda got lost after I dropped my buddy off and just went north until I found 43.”

Weeks Road is just a few miles from Bray Road.”

The website goes on to state: “In an email to the National Cryptid Society, Lon Strickler of Phantoms and Monsters wrote: “I talked to the witness (Danny Morgan). From what I can tell, he had just dropped his friend off at his home (I’m keeping the actual location under wraps at the moments) He noticed the wolf in the cornfield (on 4 legs) walking towards the road. His camera was handy because he had never seen a wolf in the wild. He slowed…and when the wolf approached the road it stood up on 2 legs and walked quickly across the road. He said it walked just like any human would…didn’t stumble or look awkward. The wolf was also swinging its front legs, like a human walking. Honestly, I believe the guy… Lon””

How common are these sightings?

I thought I’d check out and see if there were any posts there.  I wasn’t disappointed. 

Lonelystonerbynight posted in a thread about Dogmen/Wolfmen:

Apparently my cousin and her husband saw one. My aunt initially told me that they had seen a Bigfoot. Until my cousin cleared it up. (Keep in mind, she never believed in Bigfoot, cryptids etc. Neither did her husband.)

My cousin said that her husband and herself were driving back home from her mom’s place. My aunt lives in an urban area, and they were taking one of the back roads back to their house. Mind you this is in the southern part of Ontario, Canada.

They were driving along and then all of a sudden this 6-7 foot tall creature jumps into the middle of the road.

They both described it as having a dark roughish medium/ longish fur. Not hair, fur. Said it had broad shoulders, pointy ears, had a canine-like face and had yellow eyes. They said the creature turned its head a bit to make eye contact. After a few seconds it leapt and was off the road. It didn’t take steps, it jumped into the middle of the road and then leapt and was gone.

They thought it was a Bigfoot at first, but my cousin remembers seeing the canine hunch in the legs. (You know how a dog’s back leg looks? Yeah that. Don’t know the proper term.)

The creature was also bipedal. They made it very clear that it was walking on two legs.

So that just throws it out of the park of any known species. I’ve never heard of a dog man/werewolf being around in the area that I had grown up in. We had heard of Bigfoot reports or heard about haunted cemeteries or the historical buildings but nothing like this.

Guess you don’t know what is in your backyard fully.”

This thread led me to a website called, “Dogman Encounters” – who knew there was such a thing?  

They have an entire section where people can report their sightings – divided by state.  So, since we were talking about Bray Road – I clicked on Wisconsin. 

“Maybe 5 years ago; one night, I was at a friend’s house out in the country, in Vesper, WI, when my friend’s car turned in and came rushing up the driveway. The car came to a halt and 2 of my other friends jumped out.

They explained that they had seen something they just couldn’t describe. I asked them if they got a good look at whatever had them so shook up. They looked at each other and said “Yes.”

They said they were driving through the country, on their way to join us, and were driving past a farm when they noticed something in the ditch. The friend who was driving said he flashed his brights to get a better look, and whatever it was raised up and ran across the road on all 4’s. It looked like it could walk on 2 legs if it wanted to, they both said. They also said it looked like it was half dog, half man. Or maybe half-dog and half-monkey. They couldn’t explain how the creature looked any better than that. They just kept trying to compare it to other animals. They said they were about 20 yards from it, the brights were on, and they got a good look at it.

Well… That’s the story. I’ll never forget how stricken their faces were with panic and fear. I don’t think they were lying.”

“It was July 2004, 3 of my friends and I were out in a field, just having a good time, messing around. That’s when we heard some noises off in a field, a couple hundred yards away. We didn’t think too much of it. A little while later, we kept hearing the noises getting louder. We could also hear trees breaking and things like that. We tried to ignore it, but we soon found out that ignoring those sounds was a bad idea.

We saw a creature that was 7 to 8 feet tall, coming toward us. The creature stood like a human and acted as a human would, but it looked like a dog or a wolf. We were completely surprised. We had no idea what was going on! We ran back to our cars as fast as we could and drove away.” 

“I’m a skeptic of the supernatural, but I believe anything is possible. I won’t discount supernatural occurrences if I can’t find a logical explanation for them. I’ve experienced a few incidents I couldn’t explain, but I’m going to tell you about the 1 that freaked me out the most, though.

So here it goes! I live in the Twin Cities, in Minnesota, USA. A lot of people in the cities have cabins in either northern MN or rural Wisconsin. Our cabin was in rural Wisconsin, in a small town called “Danbury.” The cabin is on Long Lake, at the very end of Long Lake Rd. Along with the cabin came almost an acre of land, covered by thick forest. We carved a trail through the land for ATV’s and whatnot. So, the scene is set…

Now; about me. I’m an outdoor enthusiast and have been forever. I’m 6’4, fit, and have been a hunter since I was like 12. I know my environment, the wildlife, and the forest well, and am typically comfortable in the woods. I come from a military family and am trained in multiple forms of combat (armed and unarmed). I also have extensive firearms training and as a result, am fairly confident in my ability to defend myself. I’m not really scared of people. Big predators on the other hand, like bears, wolves, man-bear-pig, whatever; I’m not a big fan of. This brings me to the weirdness.

I’m 23 now, but at the time of the incident, I was 16. Even at 16, I was a decent hunter and had good common sense. Anyway; I was at the cabin with my cousin and grandparents. It was the middle of summer (I think July, with hot temps and whatnot). My cousin and I were shooting at each other with Airsoft guns. We had a full-on battle going on throughout the property, including the woods, which were my stalking grounds. I was wearing my BDU’s, with face cover and all, as well as head to toe camo. Our battle ended up about 100 yards northwest of the cabin, into the woods. We ended the war on the main trail and were standing and talking about the events that had transpired. I was still on guard because I always am. I suppose I could be considered to be a tad paranoid. Alright; so we were standing there talking when I noticed something move at our 12 o’clock, about 50 meters out. I got quiet and focused dead ahead, scanning. My cousin was still talking, so I whispered, “Shhhh.” So, he shut up. I figured the movement I had seen was just a bird or something. As a joke and to freak him out, I told him we were being watched. That’s when I noticed that the woods were dead-quiet. No birds were chirping. There was no sound. That’s when I started to think, this only happens when a big predator is around. So, I started looking even closer. That’s when I saw it. At my 12 o’clock, there was this large animal. It had reddish, brown fur and almost blended in perfectly until I focused on it. It had long front limbs (arm-like), with what appeared to be formidable claws and it was standing kind of slouched down, against a tree, like it was trying to be stealthy. Even though it was standing like that, it was nearly as tall as me. The only reason why I saw it was because of its teeth. I think it was panting because its whitish teeth were visible. Its snout appeared to be a tad elongated. I couldn’t get a better look, because my first thought was, “We have to go!” I even said it out loud. My cousin was already freaked. When I said those words, he bolted up the trail, towards the cabin. He nearly left me in the dust, because instead of running when he did, I waited a good 3 seconds (I was being protective of him); keeping my eye on it, until I saw it move (It was fast!). That’s when I ran like hell! I didn’t see which way it ran. All I know is that I heard it crashing through the woods. My cousin stopped at the shed, which was still 50 meters from the cabin, to wait for me. When I caught up, I yelled, “GO, GO, GO!” And we both bolted to the cabin. We got inside and shut the door. My grandma asked why we looked panicked and had slammed the door shut. I knew they wouldn’t believe me, so I said that we had seen a bear. My cousin nodded.

Later that night, after my grandparents went to sleep, we talked about it. I asked my cousin if he had seen it. He told me that he had paused for a second, to look back, after he ran, to see if I was running with him. He said that he had seen me still looking at it. He said that’s when he saw it move and I run. He said he had mostly just seen a flash of fur. He went on to say, he thought it wasn’t the right color to be a bear. I also agreed that it wasn’t the right color to be one and told him that we only had black bears in the area and that it wasn’t built like a bear either. I told him I never thought it was a bear. He asked me why I had lied about it to my grandparents. I told him they wouldn’t have believed us. We’ve kept it between the 2 of us, until now.

Still; the animal didn’t match any known regional animal profiles in the area. I’m at a loss for what it may have been. I do know it was stalking us though and that it was built like an athletic predator. Not like a bear. It wasn’t as heavyset as a bear would have been.

After the incident, neither of us would go into the woods on foot, alone, without a gun. We generally only went back in the woods on ATV’s from that point forward. I always loved that cabin, up until then. Fortunately, the cabin has been sold now.”

“This is a difficult thing for me to write down, on paper. I had no idea what a cryptid was until my son told me about his encounter, just before it aired on your show. All these years, I have thought that what I had seen was just a very deformed bear. Just so you know, I was driving that night and I never drink and drive… I was 100 percent sober! I haven’t even talked about my encounter since it happened…. Until I told my son. Since then, I have told my best friend. She encouraged me to contact you after we listened to my son’s episode together.

Most evenings, just about an hour before dark, some of us enjoyed going for “deer rides.” We had a route we would always use. It started out on Rustic Road, which was southwest of our Cabin, on Long Lake, just south of Danbury, WI. The route took us to a place that went through a wildlife preserve, and then we ended up on the road that goes from Hinckley, MN to Danbury, WI. The road through the preserve always made me uncomfortable, because it was a swampy bog on both sides of the road. It was a narrow gravel road and in order to turn around, you would need to go down a very narrow drive, to a parking area for hunters. I had only been in one of those parking areas once and it creeped me out! We never saw deer on that road, so we typically went fast in that area. We would have avoided that gravel road altogether, but we always saw deer just before the preserve and just after. On this evening, it was just my sister-in-law and I that went on the deer ride. This happened 15 or 16 years ago, so we did not have cell phones. Sometimes, we would take cameras to take pictures of deer. This night, we didn’t have a camera with us.

It was a hot night, and we had our windows down because the air conditioner wasn’t working. I was driving a large car. A 1998 Cadillac. We had just started down that creepy road, when we noticed something black on the road, about a 1/2 a mile ahead of us. We were driving pretty fast. As we got closer, it appeared to be dark gray in color. It also appeared to have an elongated muzzle. It had its back to us, but it was a little sideways, so we could tell it was eating something in the road. I stopped the car and just kept my foot on the brake. This animal had very wide, muscular shoulders and its fur was longer than a bear’s. Its ears were pointy, like a German Shepherd’s and stood straight up, on top of its head. This animal had hands. It was holding a dead rabbit, I think. I was talking to Amy. I said, “What is that?” I think I was verbalizing every thought that came into my head. I was totally freaked out! The animal noticed us. It started to turn its head. That’s when I turned on my headlights. It wasn’t dark yet, but I wanted to see this thing better. It turned and faced my car. The head lights caught its eyes…I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Its eyes glowed reddish orange in the headlights. I freaked! To me, this creature was demonic in nature! Then it stood up straight, on its back legs. As this thing moved, it was jerky, like it wasn’t comfortable in its own skin. It was not a natural movement. The animal sprinted at my car. It took at least 6 steps. I gunned my car right at it. I was in a panic! I was terrified! It turned right, still upright, then dropped to all fours. Its legs had an odd bend in them, like backward knees. I just screamed, “What is that!!!” It ran into the swamp and I got the hell out of there!

We stopped on the road to our cabin. By then it was dark. When we stopped, Amy and I both cried. We couldn’t stop shaking! We talked about what we had just seen. We both agreed, we would tell people we had seen a bear. To be honest, at that time, I honestly thought it WAS a deformed bear. Today, I know it was not. I am no longer in denial. What I saw, I cannot understand or explain…. It was just plain evil in nature. So wrong…very wrong!”

As I was reading these stories, an old song came to mind. I thought I’d share some of the lyrics with you:

“If you go out in the woods today,

You’d better not go alone.

It’s lovely out in the woods today,

But safer to stay at home.”

Happy Friday!!!

Like what you read?  Find more stories by Terri Reid here. 

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