The following article from The Huffington Post details the Michigan Dogman claims and the Gable Film...as well as other upright canine creatures that have been reported throughout the upper midwest:
By David Sands - It began as a harmless radio station prank, but soon took on a frightening life of its own. In 1987, WTCM Radio in Traverse City, Mich. played a staff-produced song called "The Legend" about a creature called the dogman as part of an April Fool's stunt. Set against a backdrop of haunting music, the song recounts a century of Michigan encounters with a horrifying doglike creature that walks upright like a human being.
The song didn't get any immediate public reaction, but later that day the station began to receive calls from people who had claimed to have seen one of the beasts. The song was written by Steve Cook, a disc jockey with an interest in folklore.
"I had never heard of anything called the dogman before I wrote this song," Cook told The Huffington Post. "I had no idea that it was already a part of northern Michigan folklore and certainly had no idea that people were seeing it."
Although the song cites a 1887 incident in Wexford County, Mich. involving a run-in between lumberjacks and a dog-like creature, some of its references come from outside the state -- and some were borrowed from run-ins with other strange creatures like bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, and the chupacabra.
In the 25 years since WTCM first broadcast "The Legend," Cook said he has received about 500 reports of dogman encounters. Of those, he believes about a hundred "seem plausible and credible and just a little too weird to explain away."
One of the more memorable accounts involved a 13-year-old girl who had never heard of the dogman. The girl, Courtney, was sneaking a smoke behind her family's home near Reed City, Mich. in the winter of 1993, when she noticed a glint of light coming through the planks of an abandoned barn. After watching for a few minutes, she realized a six-foot tall creature with the head of a dog was staring at her -- and ran away. Later she spoke with a neighbor who claimed to have seen a buffalo-sized dog in the same barn.
More recently Cook received an email from a Fowlerville fireman who claims he saw a gorilla-shaped creature with a canine head race over 100 feet into a wooded area in a period of three or four seconds.
Linda S. Godfrey is a Wisconsin-based author and investigator who has been looking into the existence of creatures that fit the description of dogmen, which she calls "upright canines," since 1991. She told The Huffington Post that she's received reports from all over the country and that Michigan -- particularly the area around Kalamazoo and anywhere in the range of the state's Manistee National Forest -- has become a hotspot for creature sightings.
Godfrey first became interested in the subject while working as a reporter for a newspaper called the Walworth County Week. After hearing rumors about a werewolf-like creature , she wrote a story about a creature now known as the "Beast of Bray Road," which was thought to lurk in an area around Elkhorn, Wis. The article attracted a lot of attention and, like Cook, Godfrey became a go-to person for those who wanted to share accounts of run-ins with these creatures and similar beasts. Since that time, Godfrey has written several books on the creatures and is now considered an authority on the topic in the cryptozoological community.
Although she said legends of the loup garou, a french term for werewolf, can be traced back to the late 1700s and early 1800s in older settlements like Detroit, definitive reports of upright canines didn't really start appearing until the 1930s. Unlike the werewolves of Hollywood movies, Godfrey said this type of creature doesn't have human features and doesn't transform from a person into a wolf.
"It's fully canine, walks on its hind legs, uses its forelimbs to carry chunks of ... roadkill or deer carcasess." she said. "They have pointed ears on top of their heads. They have big fangs. They have bushy tails. They walk -- most tellingly -- digitgrade, or on their toe pads, as all canines do, and that's something that a human in a fur suit really can't duplicate."
Godfrey said witnesses are usually scared to death by the creatures, but after 20 years of receiving reports she can't cite one serious injury from an alleged encounter.
She believes those who contact her are sincere, but adds that she has not seen one herself and has yet to see convincing photographic proof of their existence.
Video - The Gable Film, Michigan Dogman
In 2007 a video known as the "Gable film", which some believed had captured images of a dogman, began to circulate on the internet, but was later revealed to be a hoax on the History Channel's "MonsterQuest" television show.
Animal tracks are the best evidence Godfrey can point to as support for the existence of upright canines. She said she has a cast of a paw print from Rock County, Wis. that is more than six inches in length and width -- far bigger than a timber wolf. After so much time investigating the creatures, however, she still doesn't know what to make of the reports she receives.
She speculates the creatures could be some kind of rare, indigenous adapted canine species -- a wolf-dog hybrid. There is also a more supernatural explanation for their presence. Godfrey spoke with an elder from the Ho-Chunk Native American tribe who believed they were spirit creatures from another place that assume a physical form while in our realm.
Steve Cook, author of the dogman song, said he spoke with an elder from the Ottawa-Chippewa tribe in the 1980s who believed dogmen were members of a shapeshifting skin-walker tribe who became stuck somewhere between their human and animal forms.
As for his personal beliefs on dogmen or upright canines, he's skeptical about their existence. Cook thinks there's probably a natural explanation for most of the reports he receives -- though he adds that he's not arrogant enough to think human beings know everything that goes on in the wilderness.
The dogman troubadour -- who admits he played a role in perpetrating the Gable film hoax -- said he tries to take an entertainment perspective on the sightings. He said the popularity of his song has allowed him to raise more than $60,000 for various animal charities. It's also inspired a feature film, "Dogman," directed by Richard Brauer, which debuted in Traverse City last year.
Cook also says he's amazed how the legend of the creature has woven its way into the state's culture.
"The morning guy who originally asked for the bit back in 1987 told me years ago that this thing is going to live a lot longer than either he or I will. It's going to be around for generations longer then anyone who remembers even that it was a song," he said. "It's a unique creature. It's not just a variation of bigfoot. Its not a Jersey devil. It's not some ghost. It's the Michigan dogman and people love to have their own homegrown folklore." - THP
NOTE: Linda S. Godfrey can be contacted at email@example.com
'Gable Film' Revealed As Hoax...MonsterQuest Ends It's Run
I received the following report in April 2009. This account and other Dogman / upright canine related reports are included in my book Phantoms & Monsters: Cryptid Encounters:
Personal Experience: The Wisconsin Dogman
My girlfriend and I went out to feed deer for the hunting opener on Nov. 22, 2008. We were in the Chequamegon National Forest in northern Wisconsin. It was November 21, 2008 and the time was 12:10 AM, it was totally dark out and light snow was falling with an accumulation of about 1 inch covering the roads. The Temperature was 11*F and the wind was blowing from the northwest with a wind chill of 0*F. We made a U-turn to the left onto an unfinished ATV trail in one of our 4X4 Pickups heading towards last years feed pile.
I got to the bottom of the hill and backed in and parked. I got out my pistol and loaded it, I then put it in my holster, I grabbed my headlight with 3 LED bulbs and secured it on my head, I handed her a shaker LED flashlight and proceeded to the back of my truck where I had a 5 gallon bucket with just under 2 gallons of corn and 3 apples in it strapped down with 2 of my ATV straps. I put the tailgate down, unstrapped the bucket and put the tailgate up. I walked around my side and then in front of the truck to her passenger side as she was putting mittens on. We both started to walk together, her just behind and to my right side when we both noticed a fresh set of tracks in the snow heading down wind of us in the same direction we where walking.
At first it was not the size that caught my attention, it was "WHAT IN GOD'S CREATION MADE THESE TRACKS" immediately my skinned crawled as I looked around with my head to see if what we just had come up on was in sight. I glanced back down in disbelief at the tracks. I was in a slight stage of shock as I looked at her she looked at me and we both looked down at 4 well-formed footprints of some kind of scary tracks that either of us had ever seen before. I sized my shoe beside one of the tracks and realized it was about 3 inches longer than my shoe which measures 12 inches heel to toe, and about 1 inch wider than my shoe which measures 4 inches at it's widest width. Whatever we witnessed the foot prints of has 2 pointed talons on the end of it's foot that are isometrically the same with a rectangle shaped heel. The talons joined on the outside and at the same length in between the talons on each foot. They are 15 inches long and 5 inches wide with 64-inch strides. I have a 36-inch stride at 5'10" tall to give an idea of the possible size of this creature, running or not we do not know.
I believe we just missed seeing what caused these tracks and what ever made the tracks was still in the area and possibly watching us. My girl told me to load my pistol and keep it out, I did not argue. At first she wanted to leave right away but the sheer adrenaline and interest of what caused the tracks I believe is what kept us there. I said "okay let's get out of here" but again, interest kept us there looking at the tracks. My fear slightly subsided enough to think about the upcoming deer opener and decided I have the pistol and we will be okay. I started to walk the same way the tracks went up a hill on the trail when I stopped and looked back at her while she was still staring down at the prints. I said "come on lets get this over with" she caught up to me as we walked together, she said to me, "if this thing gets a hold of me put a bullet in my head" I thought about that as we kept walking. We went deep into the woods down a steep hill where I new the feed pile was from last year. We got to where I wanted the pile to be, I took the lid off the bucket and dumped the corn and apples out and stepped on the apples, I snapped the lid back on the bucket and said "let's go" We started to climb the hill when I realized we where off track and had to walk left to reach the trail to get back to the truck. I started to think that this was the scariest thing I have ever encountered and felt panic over coming me. I new where I was and finally we got back on the trail and walked down to where we could see the tracks of the creature again. We both stared at them for about 5 minutes. When we got back to the truck just 20 yards from the prints, she got in and closed her door. I went behind the truck, opened the tailgate and re strapped the bucket down and closed the tailgate. I got to my side of the truck and took the clip out of my gun and got in. I threw my head light off my head as we drove away thinking and then I said, "I am not coming back here" and she agreed. We where both scared and could not believe what just happened.
It was a month earlier and 1.1 miles walking through the woods from where we witnessed the tracks that a different friend and I where camping. I went to bed early and fell into a deep sleep. I woke up to the sound of my friend walking behind the tent and my first reply was "what are you doing back there?" I woke up a little more and realized my friend was sleeping, breathing kind of loud next to me. I sat up against my gear and grabbed my pistol and flashlight and sat there cold and scared in the dark. I woke my friend up and told him what I could hear and he said, "Ah it was probably a deer or something" The temperature was around 26*F. I looked out the flaps of the tent and could see the fire had died down and it was dark out there. I stood up and told my friend that I was going to the truck to warm up and get some sleep. I asked him if he wanted me to leave the pistol and he said, "no I'll be alright". I left the tent and walked to my truck about 80 yards away and started it up to get warm. I turned my lights on a few different times to see if what had walked by the tent was in sight. I did not see anything; I turned my truck off and fell asleep.
Whatever walked by the tent was bipedal and made 2 steps into my sound range and out again. I did not hear any other noise from what ever walked by. I looked around the next morning for footprints but leaves covered the ground and I did not detect anything. A little more than 2 years earlier. It was summer and I was at this same location riding my ATV alone, I stopped and got off walking down to a near by lake and was looking at the water and how clear it is when I could hear up on the hill above the camp ground we had stayed at a huge tree snap and hit the ground with a big thump as branches snapped off it and other trees as it fell. I got back to my ATV quickly at the time thinking a bear or buck was up there and I was not sticking around to find out. 2 months later that summer I returned to this spot again riding my ATV, I shut off the wheeler and stood around close by thinking about the last time I was there I was scared off by something. I was there about 5 minutes when all of a sudden I could hear branches snapping off of trees as what ever was breaking branches was coming down the hill closer to where I was. I got on my wheeler never to return until my friend and I camped there a little over 2 years later in October. My first 2 experiences with this creature while I was alone made me think it was possibly a bear or a buck deer, trouble with this theory is that I have come up on bear a dozen or so times and every time, the bear is running as fast as it can in another direction and what ever was making the tree sounds was not running any where. A deer also runs away at the first presence of a human. Now that we witnessed these creatures’ footprints I put the puzzle pieces together and realize that this creature is living in this area and it has probably been there for a long, long, long time. I have learned it means us no harm (yet). It only makes a sound when I am alone (tree breaking). It is always down wind of me (us). It is out in the day and or night. It can see in the dark. It uses the wind to it's advantage every chance it gets. It can hear well. It can smell good. It waits until we are vulnerable to approach us when 2 of us are together. I could possibly have smelled it and did not know what I smelled. I (we) have put 4,000 miles in this forest on my Grizzly ATV through deep desolate, thick wooded, swamp, lake areas and have now proved to ourselves that this undocumented at this time creature is in fact out there.
I believe this to be what the Monsterquest American Werewolf series TV show on the History Channel has shown to be the half Man-half Wolf "DOGMAN?" that others have actually witnessed. I know where this creature is living and plan on an expedition to prove its existence. I want to document this creature because I feel everyone that enters the forest has a right to know it is there and for other various reasons. I am open to any and all that would like to comment or ask questions in discussing my encounters with this creature(s).
NOTE: A more recent encounter - The Michigan Dogman Wanders...Again
Suggested reading from author Linda S. Godfrey:
Real Wolfmen: True Encounters in Modern America
The Michigan Dogman: Werewolves and Other Unknown Canines Across the U.S.A. (Unexplained Presents)
Hunting the American Werewolf
Monsters of Wisconsin: Mysterious Creatures in the Badger State
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