Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Beast of Bray Road

Author: Hannah Taylor

Wisconsin’s main Manwolf sightings. (“Map A, Creature Sightings.”)

Since the 1930’s, in Southern Wisconsin, sightings of animals, half-man and half-beast, have been reported to local authorities. In her book, Werewolves: Mysteries, Legends, and Unexplained Phenomena, author Linda Godfrey, writes about some of them.  According to Godfrey, the creature known as, the “Beast of Bray Road”, lives in her neighborhood.  In 1991, Doris Gipson, a teenager from Elkhorn, Wisconsin reported seeing it on her trip into town Halloween night.  She felt a bump while driving, and thinking she had run over a cat or dog, got out of her car to investigate. When Doris approached the rear of her car, she saw a wolf-like creature coming towards her. She quickly jumped back into her car and proceeded to get away, “But the creature made a leap for her car and left raking scratch marks on the rear of it” (Godfrey, Werewolves 41).
It was after this encounter in 1991 that Linda Godfrey, working as a reporter at the time for a Walworth County newspaper, first heard about this sighting, along with information about a folder filled with similar stories filed away at the Walworth County Animal Control Office.  After locating this folder and compiling a description of what people reported seeing, she reached the consensus that the beast was, “... about six feet tall, covered with wild-looking dark brown fur, with the head of a German shepherd and glaring yellow eyes that seem to challenge the observer” (Godfrey, Werewolves 42).  Kneeling Roadkill is Godfrey’s illustration of the beast, which she drew for her article, Tracking down the ‘Beast of Bray Road’.  It was first published in the December 29, 1991 edition of, The Week, a local newspaper and again republished in 2006.  
Kneeling Roadkill (Godfrey, Linda S. Kneeling Roadkill)

In 2009, Wisconsin’s NBC News, channel 15, did a report entitled, Special Assignment: Wisconsin Werewolf.  According to their correspondent Chris Papst,

November 2006: Holy Hill Road in Washington County: Steve Krueger, a DNR worker, is on his daily routes picking up deer carcasses. He parks his truck and throws a small doe in the bed. When he climbs back into the cab to fill out the paperwork, his trucks starts to shake.
Added Krueger, "At first I didn't think anything of it and it shook a little bit more vigorously a second time. I just glanced up into the rearview mirror of my truck and I saw this big, hairy, black I don't know what it was."
Steve threw it in drive and slammed on the gas.
"It was big, it was stocky," recalled Krueger. "It had big pointed ears on the top of its head, and a bigger snout than what a bear has. I guesstimated it was between six and seven feet tall."
Steve filed a report of an aggressive animal to the sheriff's department. It didn't take long for the media to pick up on it. (Papst)
By 2011, the associated press and other news outlets had picked up on these stories of strange creature sightings in the Wisconsin, Michigan area. Sean Hannity, from Fox News’ Sean Hannity Show, decided to feature the local legend, “Beast of Bray Road”, in one of his annual, month long segments dealing with conspiracy theories.  He included live interviews with author Linda Godfrey, DNR witness Stephen Kruger, and another witness, Katie Zahn.  Hannity also discussed a theory floating around that links the “Beast of Bray Road” to the Native American effigy mounds that are located in the area.  Many locals feel that the Spirit of the Mounds  might be connected to this phenomenon.  Could this half man, half beast be a spirit manifestation from one of them (Beast)?

Hannity investigates legend of Wisconsin Werewolf. (“Beast of Bray Road.” Hannity

It has been twenty-one years since Linda Godfrey first published her original newspaper report. Since then, there have been more sightings and more published information on this creature. Has the mystery revolving around the Bray Road Beast been resolved? No, there are still believers and doubters out there. When asked if she thinks the sightings are over, Godfrey replied “similar creatures are reported to me regularly from all over the US, the Beast is still spotted on Bray Road. The most recent credible report was from a middle-age couple who saw it cross the road near Hwy NN and then easily hop a fence, all on two legs. They said its shaggy fur “flowed” in the wind” (Godfrey, “20 Years”).  
So, for those of you who are interested in following this creature, it has its own website, THE BEAST OF BRAY ROAD; HUNTING THE AMERICAN WEREWOLF http://www.beastofbrayroad.com/mainlair.html .The Main Lair page contains links for future sightings along with other interesting links.
Works Cited:

“Beast of Bray Road.”Hannity. Host. Sean Hannity. Fox News Network LLC, New York, Apr. 2011. Web. 05 Oct. 2012.

Elwell, Doug. "Effigy Mounds Part II: The Spirit of the Mounds." MYSTERIOUS WORLD.com. Doug Elwell Inc., 15 Feb 2002. Web. 05 Oct. 2012.

Godfrey, Linda S. “20 Years of Beastliness.” Lindagodfrey’s Blog. Wordpress.com, 31 Dec. 2011. Web. 09 Oct. 2012.

Godfrey, Linda S. Kneeling Roadkill. Dec 1991. “Tracking down 'The Beast of Bray Road': Monster or Mirage, the Sightings Sound like Something out of 'Believe It Or Not’.” TheWeekextra.com. Web. 07 Oct. 2012.

Godfrey, Linda S. Werewolves: Mysteries, Legends, and Unexplained Phenomena. New York: Chelsea House, 2008. Print.

“Map A, Creature Sightings.” Beast of Bray Road; Hunting the American Werewolf. Linda S. Godfrey, 2006. Web. 19 Oct. 2012.

Papst, Chris. "Special Assignment: Wisconsin Werewolf." NBC15.com. Gray Television, Inc., 13 Nov. 2009. Web. 07 Oct. 2012.

Links for further research:

Monsters, Ghosts and Gods: Why We Believe
This website discusses why religion, education and the media might be responsible for people wanting to believe in myths, ghosts and Gods.

Animal Planet, Surprisingly Human, Lost Tapes: Beast of Bray Road Video
This video gives the history of the Beast of Bray Road, along with interviews from various authors and scientists in the area of paranormal phenomena.

Tracking the Werewolf
Dr. Curran, folklorist and psychologist, is interviewed about his book, Werewolves: A Field Guide to Shapeshifters, Lycanthropes, and Man-Beasts.

1 comment:

  1. I love this piece's investigative and balanced tone. The images and interviews bring it to life with real, live people. I am left wondering, however, that werewolves are supposed to change into wolf form only at the full moon. Has this been documented and correlated with the timing of the sightings? One wonders.