March 15, 2017
Posted by in Creatures and Monsters | 2.17pm | 792 views
The Beast of Bray Road is an American mystery creature or cryptid (from the Greek word ‘crypto’, meaning ‘hidden’) which, according to sighting reports, has the appearance of a large wolf, dog, or bear with the ability to stand upright on its hind legs like a biped. Often referred to as the American werewolf or Bigfoot as a result, the Beast of Bray Road hails from Elkhorn, Wisconsin.
Named after a rural road where the beast was first sighted, it has been described as a hulking hairy creature with the head of a wolf. Its height is purportedly 2–4 feet when on all fours and 7 feet when standing up, weighing between 400 to 700 pounds with brown gray fur. In other words, the creature is canine-lupine which displays human-like bearing and intelligence.
The identification of the Beast of Bray Road as a werewolf reflects the modern day understanding of the term. However, this is perhaps inaccurate because a werewolf has the ability to turn into a human being, something no one has seen the Beast of Bray Road do.
The werewolf itself is an ancient concept in human history. Mythologist Robert Graves wrote that werewolves were representatives of the priests of an Arcadian tribe in Greece whose totem animal was the wolf. An initiated priest would be selected and sent to live with the wolves to persuade them against attacking human settlements.
1936 – A man named Mark Schackelman claimed to have seen a “talking half wolf, half man” creature east of Jefferson, Wisconsin along Highway 18. He was driving down the road when he spotted something in the act of digging at an old Indian mound. The creature was covered in hair all over, over six feet tall when standing upright, with a muzzled face and features combining those of a dog and an ape. He described the creature’s hands as having a twisted thumb and only three fingers. On top of that, he also said that the beast oozed a stench similar to decomposed meat. He claimed that he returned the following day and found the creature still there. To his amazement, it uttered a three syllable word which sounded like “gadara” with emphasis on the second syllable.
1964 – A man called Dennis Fewless had an encounter with a beast corresponding to Shackelman’s description but in Harvard, Illinois. Around midnight, while driving home from his job at Admiral Television Corporation, Fewless had turned into Highway 89 from Highway 14 when his headlights illuminated a strange creature running across the road. He described it as being dark brown in colour and judging from its size, probably weighing around 400 to 500 pounds with a height of seven or eight feet. During the incident, the beast ran across the road and jumped a barbed wire fence before disappearing into the night. When he later returned to the site during the day, he did not find much except a disturbed section of vegetation.
1972 – A woman called the police to report an attempted break-in. When interviewed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources during the ensuing investigation, she claimed that the intruder had been a large, unknown animal. It had attempted to gain entry into the house through a door. Later on she said the beast had returned to her home after the first incident and injured a farm animal, inflicting a deep wound that extended from one shoulder to the other. Her description of the creature bore similarities to that of the Beast of Bray Road. The only evidence left behind was a footprint, which measured over twelve inches in length.
1989 to 1999 – A number of people reported sightings during this period. However, most only came forward after a widely reported incident involving Doristine Gipson in 1999. Until then, they had kept the stories to themselves out of fear of being ridiculed.
- 1999 – On 31st October, 18-year-old Doristine Gipson was driving on Bray Road near Delavan, Wisconsin. As her vehicle approached the intersection with Hospital Road, her right tire was jolted off the ground as though she had rolled over a large object. She stopped and got out of the car to see what she had hit. As she peered into the darkness, she noticed a large, hairy figure moving quickly towards her. Scared, she rushed back into her car and as she pulled away, the beast leapt onto her trunk. Unable to get a hold on the wet car exterior, it slid off. She returned later that evening while trick or treating with another girl and saw a hulking figure along the road.
- A dairy farmer named Scott Bray claimed to have seen a “strange looking dog” in his pasture near Bray Road in September or October 1989. He described the creature as gray or black-furred, larger and taller than a German Shepherd, with pointed ears. Its front was prominent, showing a strong chest. Bray tried to trail the creature, and was led to a large pile of rocks after which he lost sight of it. He later found huge footprints in the area where the beast had trod.
- A man called Russell Gest also reported another sighting around the time Scott Bray had seen the creature. He was standing near an overgrown bush near Bray Road when he heard a rustle from behind the bush. Then a beast emerged, standing on its hind legs. Shocked and scared, Gest ran away, looking over his shoulder to see if he was being followed. He noted that the beast had gone down on all fours but was not chasing him. It eventually made its way towards Bray Road. Gest described the creature as being covered in black and gray fur and larger than a German Shepherd. He estimated its upright height as around five feet, with an oversized dog or wolf head, wide neck and shoulders. He believed it to be some kind of dog and wolf hybrid.
- In 1989, a bar manager named Lori Endrizzi was driving along Bray Road. As she came around a bend, she saw what she initially thought was a kneeling or hunched person on the side of the road. She slowed down to take a closer look through the passenger side window for about 45 seconds. She was roughly six feet away and described it as a muscular beast with gray-brown fur, fangs, pointed ears, glowing yellow eyes and a long face with a snout like a wolf. The beast appeared to be holding food with its palms up. It was at this point that she noticed its fingers were similar to a human’s, only covered in hair.
- An 11-year-old girl Heather Bowey said she had seen the beast around Christmas 1990. She claimed to have had no prior knowledge of Gipson’s story until the two were discussing it on the school bus. Bowey’s story was passed on by the bus driver, Pat Lester, who was also Lori Endrizzi’s mother. Lester told author Linda Godfrey what she had overheard and Bowey later elaborated when asked about the incident. Bowey’s sighting occurred around 4.30 pm near Loveland Road, which is about a mile and a half south east of the intersection of Hospital Road and Bray Road. She was with some friends there and they spotted what looked like a large dog walking along a creek in a cornfield. Thinking it was a dog, the children called to it. Hearing the call, the creature looked at them and then stood up on its hind legs. It took four wobbly steps in their direction, appearing unaccustomed to walking on hind legs. It then dropped down on all fours and charged at the children who immediately ran away. The beast followed them about halfway to Bowey’s home, which was about 250 yards from where they had spotted it, before disappearing.
- Another dairy farmer, Mike Etten, reported a sighting which he claimed occurred in March 1990. Although he had been drinking around the time of the incident, Etten was convinced he had seen a dog-like beast near the Bray Road – Hospital Road intersection, though much larger than the average dog. He described it as “sitting like a raccoon”, using its front paws to hold on to something it was eating. As he passed by, the beast looked at him and he saw a thick, wide snout shorter than a dog’s muzzle. Its legs were thick and covered in dark hair.
Is it Real?
It is difficult to say whether the Beast of Bray Road truly exists, despite numerous sightings. Linda Godfrey, author of the book The Beast of Bray Road: Tailing Wisconsin’s Werewolf, was initially skeptical when she began her investigations into the 1990s sightings on behalf of the Walworth County Week.
However, by the end of her assignment, she was convinced that the eyewitnesses had not made up their stories. The question remains as to what it was they had all seen and why their descriptions appeared to validate each other’s.
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