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Great Lakes Dogman - Demi-god, werewolf or a figmant of the imagination

Updated on January 21, 2013
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The idea of a half man and half beast is obviously nothing new to this world. People have claimed to have seen these creatures for over one-thousand years. For the most part these legends originate from ancient Europe as the werewolf and are thought to be nothing more than myth's to put fear into children.

Over the last 130 years though the United States has had stories of their own develop regarding a man-beast known as the dogman, with a large number of reported sightings as well. The question is, what is it exactly? There have been several attempts to identify the origin of the creature but in the end only you can decide what to believe.

The First Appearance

The Dogman, often referred to as the Michigan Dogman for its initial sighting was first reported in 1887 in Wexford County. Two lumberjacks spotted the beast, describing it as a very large, fur covered man, with the head of a canine. The older reports didn't go into as much detail of the encounters as the more recent ones have, but that was often the case back then.

The creature was sighted once again in Paris, Michigan in1938. A man named Robert Fortney was viciously attacked by a pack of wild dogs, when Fortney was questioned for details of the attack, he claimed that one of the dogs walked upright, as a man would. He had also went on to explain how that particular dog seemed to somehow be leading the rest of the pack.

More reports of this dogman type creature came in the 1950s in Allegan County then several more in 1967 in both Cross village and Manistee. Outside of Michigan several other States including Illinois and Wisconsin reported a similar beast, in these areas it soon became known as the Beast of Bray Road.

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The Beast Of Bray Road

The Beast of Bray Road is often described as a seven foot tall canine that walks on two legs and appears to weigh over 400 pounds. It had its first official sighting in the 1980s, though other dogman type creatures had been reported in Wisconsin as far back as the 1930s.

In 1936, 1964 and 1972 police reports were written by witnesses claiming to have seen werewolves in different parts of the state, but none of these reports could even come close to the detailed sightings that started in 1989 near Delavan, Wisconsin.

Doristine Gipson

The first report came in on October 31 - 1989, Doristine Gipson from Elkhorn claimed she was driving down Bray Road that evening and felt the car jump as though she had hit something on the road. She got out of the car to investigate but at first couldn't find anything out of the ordinary, behind or under the vehicle, when suddenly, out of the darkness, a large beast came charging towards her.

She immediately got back into her car and began a hasty retreat, at which point the creature jumped onto the trunk of her car. Fortunately the creature was unable to hang on as she sped away from the scene.

Lorianne Endrizzi has similar encounter

That same year Lorianne Endrizzi had her own horrific encounter with the beast. While she was driving her daily route home along Bray Road she saw what appeared to be a man, kneeling on the side of the road.

As she pulled closer to the figure she got a very clear view of what appeared to be a werewolf type creature with gray tinted fur, large teeth, yellow eyes and pointed ears. She told police it looked like someone had put a German shepherd or wolf head on a hairy mans body.

Source

In 1990 another report came in from a girl by the name of Heather Bowery. She claimed to have seen the creature walking along the river bank while her and some friends were walking home from a sledding trip.

Thinking that it was merely a dog the kids began to call to it, at that point the beast stood up onto two legs took several steps toward them and then suddenly dropped onto all fours and immediately took after the kids.

Heather claimed it had chased them for about 250 yards before running off in another direction. Reports of the Bray Road Beast continued to come in until the end of 1992 when they suddenly stopped, only to be picked up again in other areas such as Illinois and again in Michigan.

Come 2010 the sightings would once again begin in parts of Wisconsin, including one case in particular. In Deerfield, Wisconsin a horse was found dead in front of its stable with a large section of it's neck torn out. The strange part is 28 years prior to that, only 15 miles away in Jefferson, Wisconsin, nearly the exact same thing happened.

The only significant difference between the two situations, in the new case the owner of the horse had seen the culprit, describing it as a seven foot tall beast covered in hair, that stood on two legs but ran on all four..

Dogman Origins

So we've established the fact that many people claim to have seen the beast, all that's left is to figure out what it is. History and mythology hold many possible explanations to the origin of the beast, so many in fact, you could write a 10 page essay on separate cultures Dogman legends and still not mention them all. For that reason we are just gonna go over a few of the more relevant or better known beliefs.

Werewolf


Also known as the Lycanthrope, the werewolf is by far the most well known of the dogman legends. Originating in Europe, there are many theories, from just as many countries, as to what causes this shape-shifting condition. It is said in some folklore, that by simply removing your clothing, and in turn putting on a wolf skin, you can gain the power to shape-shift into the beast.

Other legends mention magic salves or drinking rainwater from the footprint of a wolf to gain this ability. In Sweden, the Livonian werewolves were said to be created by drinking a beer and reciting a prayer. Sleeping nude under a full moon on specific days and satanic rituals are other legendary methods of attaining this mythological power. Then of course there is the Hollywood method, being bitten or scratched by the beast to then in turn become the beast.

Werewolf Transformation

Shunka Warak'in


Another possibility of the beasts origin could be the Native American Demi-god Shunka Warak'in. This being was said to have thrived in the wilds of the Upper Midwest many years ago.The Ioway Indians first named this creature and described it as being wolf-like in appearance, yet much larger than any other known beast in the area.

There isn't a lot of history on this creature other than it was often worshiped by the Ioway and was considered quite fierce. Strangely enough the Shunka Warak'in is an actual animal thought now to be extinct. A mounted specimen of one of these creatures weas once on display in Yellowstone and Henry Lake.

The Shunka Warak'in description closely matches the beast, once you remove the sub-conscience thought that the creature lurking in the dark is a werewolf. The human mind has the ability to convince you of anything in moments of fear, confusing an extremely overgrown canine with a werewolf would be no huge leap for the imagination.

Do you believe in the Great Lakes Dogman

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Bull Bear -  dog soldier chief in 1863
Bull Bear - dog soldier chief in 1863 | Source

Cheyenne Dog men Or Dog Soldiers


The Cheyenne Dog Soldiers were at one time the greatest force in this land. This group of warriors had won battles in situations that would have left any others crushed in defeat. It's the legend of the Dog Soldiers creation that leads many to believe the dogman sightings are either angry spirits of these Cheyenne warriors, or distant members of the same bloodline that may have had their abilities passed down to them through the generations.

The Dog Soldiers creation came about during a time when the Cheyenne people were dividing their numbers into separate fighting forces, each to be led by a different shaman or medicine man. As the groups were being formed a young warrior stepped up, claiming to be chosen by the great prophet to lead a group of warriors, even though he was not a shaman. When the warrior questioned as to who would join him in his society, he was laughed at and told he had no authority to organize his own force.

That evening as the young warrior sat by the fire, saddened by the ridicule, a voice came to him teaching him a song. The warrior began to sing the song aloud and suddenly all of the dogs within the camp began to howl in unison with him. The man left the village in the dead of night still singing, and all of the dogs followed.

The warrior, and his dogs, walked all night until they came to the flattened river bottoms. At this place the man stopped and sat upon the ground to rest, once again singing his prayer, and the dogs all sat in a large circle around him. As the dogs began to rest a lodging mysteriously appeared over the warrior and one by one the dogs got up and ran into the hut, each one changing from beast to man as he entered.

This is the Cheyenne legend of how the Dog Soldiers were created, further legends and witnesses have claimed the dog men fought with a ferocity unlike any other. Many tales speak of encountering one of these warriors in battle and actually seeing him change his form in the heat of battle.

Though few men ever survived a battle with the dog men, a couple of the ones who did would later go on to describe their opponents physical change from a human warrior to that of half-man and half-beast. Their descriptions closely resembling the stories of the werewolf brought over from Europe.


Other Legends

There are still so many other possibilities to this creatures origin, in Canada and Northern U.S. there is the legend of the Loup-garou and in Louisiana the Rougarou, both originating from French folklore. In Haiti, they have the Je-rouge or Red Eyes, a werewolf type spirit that can possess whoever it wants, to transform them into the beast. Mexico has the nahul, a dogman type beast that steals cheese and rapes women, and the list goes on and on.

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Epilogue

I seriously doubt that anyone will ever know what they really are, or where they actually came from. It could very well be that the creature never existed at all, that it's just a mix of fear, folklore and detailed hoaxes that have been the root of all these sightings. If that is the case, what I don't get is how so many people, from all over the world, all throughout history managed to have imagined the same creature.

I personally don't care whether it's a werewolf, a rougarou or an ancient Indian Dogman Soldier, as long as I don't have to be it's late night snack, I'll be a happy camper.

DS Duby

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    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      Georgianna Lowery 4 years ago from Lubbock, TX

      Ok. Let me cross Michigan off of my list of places to visit.

      Seriously, though, soon I am going to have to devote one day to just reading your Hubs. They are so well thought out and interesting!

    • DS Duby profile image
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      DS Duby 4 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Thanks Georgie I really appreciate that!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Weird... Do you listen to Coast To Coast (0n 910 radio)? They were talking about this on Wednesday.

    • DS Duby profile image
      Author

      DS Duby 4 years ago from United States, Illinois

      No actually I've never heard of them.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      wow now I know I am scared.. I do not know if they are real.. but I don't think that is a state I want to visit but we i have lived in Illinois.. this is a great hub.. really like it

      sharing

      Debbie

    • DS Duby profile image
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      DS Duby 4 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Thank you Debbie I live in Illinois and it definitely makes me think twice about roaming around at night. Thanks for the comment and share

    • Craig Hartranft profile image

      Craig Hartranft 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I think that's the thing that bit me last Fall when I was walking the local rail trail. I chased him down and kicked his butt with my scimitar.

    • DS Duby profile image
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      DS Duby 4 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Lmao! Take that Dogman!! Thanks for reading and commenting Craig

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Fascinating stuff, DS! And I'm REALLY glad that I don't live that close to the Great Lakes. I do, however, live near the Shunka Warak'in, which I have been checking out! :) When I finish my hub, I'll link to this one.

    • DS Duby profile image
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      DS Duby 4 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Thank you TToombs for reading and commenting and of course the link. I'm looking forward to reading your hub on the Shunka Warak'in

    • Wesley Meacham profile image

      Wesley Meacham 4 years ago from Wuhan, China

      Very interesting look at the werewolf legends. I was unaware that there were so many different variations or that there were stories that are essentially the same concept in Native American cultures. Well done. Voting up and sharing.

    • DS Duby profile image
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      DS Duby 4 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Thanks Wesley honestly these are barely a scratch in the bucket of all the cultures that have believed in the werewolf type creature. Nearly every country in the world has some legend of a man shape shifting into an animal and it is almost always a wolf or large dog. Thanks for reading commenting and sharing.

    • DS Duby profile image
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      DS Duby 4 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Thank you Peternehemia that's a very good point. Possibly something built in to our brains that we have no control over that causes our imaginations to create similar monsters or fears.

    • surfer1969 profile image

      surfer1969 4 years ago

      The possibilty of a werewolf existing could be real.Although I don't think the transformation would be easy on the body.It would be extremly stressful and most likely bring on a heart attack In the transformee.

      I'm doing an ongoing werewolf story at this addreess. http://socyberty.com/issues/blood-moon-rising/ Although It's a work of friction It might still be worth a reading.It's a ongoing story of my.

    • DS Duby profile image
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      DS Duby 4 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Thanks for the read and comment surfer1969 Ill go to socyberty and check out your story. I guessing you so some writing for Triond , I have a few articles still on there.

    • surfer1969 profile image

      surfer1969 4 years ago

      Yep kinda hard to do añy writing using an android tablet.One of the reason I have no hubs on here yet.

    • DS Duby profile image
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      DS Duby 4 years ago from United States, Illinois

      surfer1969 tablets do suck to write with and smart phones suck to comment with as you can tell by the typos in my last comment.

    • surfer1969 profile image

      surfer1969 4 years ago

      Lol yep they do.I made the mistake of not buying a window base os.The whole reason of buying the tablet was I could do my online surveys to make some extra cash and do my music reviews to make some extra money too.The tablet I got can't do non of that so I'm stuck going to the libray still to do all that.

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      4 years ago

      They have not been known to harm anyone. Exactly what they are is unknown and an encounter with one can be very scary. They seem to be more prevalent around the great lakes area on both sides of the border..U.S. and Canada

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      zay 2 years ago

      I think wolf creature cryptids are beautiful. Ive yet to have the honor of seeing one personally. Its almost always wolf related because humans and canines share some unique psychological and emotional qualities. In nature, wolves are very organized, intelligent, social, and orderly animals. Its really no surprise how the spiritual and astral aspect of wolves and humans can interact in the physical realm of reality. Considering that most humans are a self righteous and glorified species, it is difficult for most people to believe in or even accept the existence of these creatures, although i don't believe their purpose in this world is to blatantly harm humans, but merely to survive, exist, and live their lives.

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      Anon 13 months ago

      Seen it live. Good to know what that thing was.

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