If you have followed the written output of Linda Godfrey and her work on werewolf-style entities seen in the United States, then you’ll know just how widespread reports of such creatures are in Linda’s home state of Wisconsin, and particularly in and around Elkhorn. Somewhat less well-known than the infamous “Beast of Bray Road” (which also happened to be the title of Linda’s first book on the subject) is a near-identical beast that happens to lurk in the wilds of Michigan. Its name: The Michigan Dogman. It’s a strange and – for the witnesses – terrifying creature that most people would wish to avoid. Whereas Linda’s book, The Beast of Bray Road, was very much a regional study of werewolves in one particular part of Wisconsin, her additional research demonstrates that, in reality, these things – whatever they may be – have been seen, and are still being seen, all across the United States. In other words, this is not a localized, regional phenomenon. Rather, there appears to be be something – or some thing – among us that has carefully avoided classification and capture for…well, who knows how long? But, it’s also something that pops us just about here, there and everywhere.
Like the creature (or creatures) of Bray Road, Wisconsin, the Michigan Dogman is typically described as being large and hair-covered, and possessing a large muzzle and pointed ears. And they have the ability to move on both two legs and four. The sheer number of reports that detail all of these particular aspects is astonishing. And unless hundreds of people are all banding together to hoax Linda – which I do not, for one moment, believe – then we have to address seriously the idea that there are creatures out there that look like the classic imagery of werewolves. But, is that really what they are? Linda has delved into some fascinating areas of research as she has sought to answer that question, which some might assume is a simple one to answer, but I assure you it’s most definitely not. Linda, to her credit, does not shy away from controversy – and when it comes to the Michigan Dogman and its motley ilk, there’s plenty of it. Without doubt the most important questions of all are: What are these creatures? Are they even flesh-and-blood, physical entities? Is something far stranger afoot? Are we looking at several phenomena that have been lumped together under one banner?
The curious thing about the Michigan Dogmen, as Linda’s work has carefully demonstrated, is that they seem to defy categorization. Aside from the fact that there is not – or certainly should not be – any sort of canine animal running around the United States that has the ability to walk, run and leap on two legs as effortlessly as it does on four, this is what the witnesses are reporting. And, even though such a scenario is controversial in the extreme, this still seems to place these creatures in a physical, flesh-and-blood, category – as does the fact that many witnesses have seen such beasts feeding on their prey near the sides of wood-shrouded roads late at night.
But, this is where it gets even more interesting. It’s almost as if there are too many cases: it’s clear from Linda’s investigations that, on many occasions, the very fact that these creatures are seen goes beyond mere chance. It’s almost like they want to be seen – or, perhaps, even need to be seen. In the same way that back in the 1950s so-called “aliens” were endlessly stumbled upon while they were taking “soil-samples,” or how Bigfoot is so often seen crossing the road, so with the Michigan Dogmen there seems to be something stranger going on than mere, chance encounters – and we’re the unwitting souls and the pawns in a bigger picture that we’re not fully understanding, or perhaps not even capable of understanding, just yet.
Yes, the beasts Linda describes seem real – in the way we understand the term – but there is distinct high-strangeness attached to such reports, too, including the locations: bridges, crossroads, and so on. Of course, any student of folklore will be aware that such locations have, for centuries, been associated with fantastic beasts and paranormal phenomena. Plus, Linda cites in her writings a number of reports where these creatures have been seen near to entrance and exit roads to highways – which is surely an upgrading of the old crossroads motif in such cases. There are other locations that play a role in such cases, too: graveyards, ancient burial mounds, effigy sites and more.
Then there are the attacks: you would imagine that if you were hit by a six-to-seven-foot tall werewolf, you would sustain some pretty serious damage. After all, haven’t we all gone to You Tube, once or twice, and searched “Bear attack” or “Lion attack” and seen the sheer damage that a large, powerful predator can inflict upon a dimwitted person who thinks it’s clever to try and shake hands with a flesh-eating wild animal? But, when it comes to the Michigan Dogmen, the attacks are always half-hearted. Yes, there are a few torn shirts, and the very occasional minor scratch, but it’s almost as if the attack is designed to provoke an emotional response in the witness, rather than to actually turn them into a tasty dinner.
So, where does Linda stand on all this? Well, to her credit, she doesn’t try and force any particular theory down the throats of her readers. Rather, she astutely recognizes that while the Michigan Dogman phenomenon is real, it’s also an issue that is infinitely difficult to resolve. And, right now, that’s about where things currently stand.