11 November 2008, JellyBean @ 1:06 pm

Bray Road is a quiet country road near the community of Elkhirm, Wisconsin. Nothing much ever happened there, that is until the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Reports of strange encounters with a unknown beast began to emerge.

The story received media attention when Linda Godfrey, a writer and cartoonist for a weekly newspaper called The Week, started collecting eyewitness testimonies and writing about them. Articles also appeared in Strange magazine. Sightings have been reported in a much wider geographical area, even as far away as Milwaukee.

Godfrey has written a book on the sightings, The Beast of Bray Road: Tailing Wisconsin’s Werewolf, published by Prairie Oak Press in 2003.

However the story of the beast goes back much further. One of the earliest recorded encounters happened in 1936. Mark Schackelman was a night watchman at a Catholic convent, St. Colleta, near Jefferson, Wisconsin.

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One night, about midnight, while doing his rounds, he noticed something standing on top of a Native American burial mound.Looking closer he saw that the creature was clawing at the burial mound, as if it wanted to get in. He shouted out and started to move towards it. The creature looked at him startled and turned and fled into the darkness.

The following night at about the same time, Mark was againnear the mound. Once more he saw the creature clawing at the gravesite. This time he crept closer, making sure to keep quiet. Suddenly the creature stopped what it was doing and looked around. Seeing Mark, it stood up and faced him.

The human-like beast was over six feet tall and was covered in dark hair. It had a muzzle like a wolf, with big prominent fangs. Its ears were pointed and on the top of its head. The creature growled at him and Mark could smell a horrible smell, like rotten meat.

By now Mark was terrified. He had expected the creature to be nothing more than grave-robbers or teenagers. After what felt like an eternity, the beast made a gutteral sound and turned and walked away.

Not much else was heard about the beast over the next few decades, save for rumour and speculation. It wasn’t until 1989 that a young woman, Lorianne Endrizzi, got a saw the Beast while driving on Bray Road at about 1:30 a.m.

At first she thought that she saw a person hunched over on the side of the road. Slowing down to see if all was well, she was shocked to see that this thing was no person. The thing was part human and part wolf!

The creature stared at her as she drove past and she got a good look at it.

The face was long and it had yellow glowing eyes. It too had pointed ears, big fangs and covered in gray-brown hair. The limbs and appendages were human-like. She especially noticed the hands which were like human hands, except for the long claws. She also noticed that the beast had human joints. It was holding something in its hands, much like a human would.

Some time later, Lorianne saw a picture and froze. The picture was almost exactly like the beast she had seen on the road. The picture was an illustration of a werewolf!

Some say that all this fuss must be based around an escaped pet wolf, a large feral dog, a bear, or some other creature that is known to exist. According to this interpretation, the werewolf-like characteristics are due to mistaken observations or sheer panic that causes exaggeration of the animal’s true features. Others think that it is all hallucination, or that a costumed prankster is behind it all.

following this sighting, there have been dozens of reports of people seeing the beast. The last report to receive attention was in 1992. A local “reputable businessman” told reporter Linda Godfrey that he had seen two bright lights emitting sparks and moving erratically across the sky above Delavan.

Later that spring, four or five horses that were pastured near Elkhorn were found with their throats slashed. John Frederickson, who investigated, was quoted as saying that “They were almost surgical-type wounds”.

Since then sightings have ceased.

Could the beast be related to a creature which was said to have lived in the woods, known to the Native Americans and early settlers? The creature was known by the Ioway Indians as “shunka warak’in” which means “carrying-off dogs”.

More disturbing is that the creature bears a striking resemblance to the “Michigan Dog Man”. Could this be the same creature? Could it be a new species of creature, as yet undiscovered?

One has to wonder if the mystery will ever be solved and whether we wil ever discover the truth about the Beast of Bray Road

Prairie ghosts: THE BRAY ROAD BEAST

The Cryptid Zoo: Beast of Bray Road

Rosemary Ellen Guiley: The Beast of Bray Road: A Modern Werewolf in America

THE KALAMAZOO GAZETTE: Legend of the Dog Man still haunts the woods of Michigan

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