Thursday, April 16, 2009
Werewolves In Wisconsin?
I've just finished reading a really interesting book. Linda S. Godfrey's, "The Beast Of Bray Road" investigates reports from Wisconsin of hairy, upright walking creatures that appear to have canine features. These "dogmen" or "werewolves" have apparently haunted the cornfields and backroads of southeastern Wisconsin for the past eighty years.
The sighting that inspired Godfrey to write her book took place in the fall of 1989, along Bray Road, in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.
Lori Endrizzi was the manager of a cocktail lounge called The Jury Room in Elkhorn. At 1:30 in the morning, while driving home from work along a desolate stretch of Bray Road, she came upon a strange sight. On the side of the road, apparently eating roadkill, was an animal, about the size of a man, covered in long, brownish gray hair. She described the creature as manlike, but with a head resembling that of a wolf. Rather than standing on all fours, it was kneeling, and using its arms and hands as a person would. Ms. Endrizzi noted that it had long claws and that its eyes glowed in her car's headlights. She later visited her local library to do some research and came across a drawing of a werewolf. With its human-like body and wolfish head, this was the closest thing to what she had seen that night.
A few years later, a similar sighting occurred. In October, 1991, Doris Gipson hit something with her car, while driving at night on Bray Road. When she got out of her car to look for what she hit, she was surprised to see a large, wolf-like creature running toward her. She barely made it back into her vehicle and pulled the door shut before it caught up with her. Gipson described the animal as larger and more muscular than any dog she had ever seen. When she arrived home and inspected her car, she found claw marks on her back bumper.
I find all these accounts fascinating, but for me, the most interesting and scariest incident related in the book was one dating back to 1936. Mark Schackelman was the night watchman at St. Coletta's convent just outside of Jefferson, Wisconsin. While patroling the convent grounds late one night, he came upon a strange sight. Atop a Native American burial mound on the property, knelt a hairy, upright being, clawing at the dirt of the mound. The creature fled as Schackelman approached.
The following night, Mr. Schackelman returned to the mound at midnight and again saw the creature atop the mound. This time, however, the being did not flee, but stood up on two legs and stared him down. The watchman estimated it to be roughly six feet tall and noted that it gave off a strong odor of rotten meat. Mr. Schackelman felt in fear of his life and began to pray. The beast glared at him, and uttered three syllables, which sounded like: "ga-da-ra", in what the witness described as a "neo-human voice", before growling and slowly walking away. When asked whether he thought the being was an animal or something better defined as "supernatural", Schackelman reportedly said: "That thing came straight out of hell."
Interestingly, Gadara was the name of the place referred to in the Bible, where Jesus cast a demon out of a possessed man who had been living among the tombs there.
The book is packed with recounted tales, legends, sketches and eye witness accounts of wolfish encounters in Walworth County over the years. It's a great read if you are intrigued, as I am, by the unexplained. I recommend reading it with the lights on!