Beast of Bray Road
Possible image of the Beast of Bray Road
The Beast of Bray Road (or the Bray Road Beast) is a cryptid, or cryptozoological creature first reported in 1936 on a rural road outside of Elkhorn, Wisconsin. The same label has been applied well beyond the initial location, to any unknown creature from southern Wisconsin or northern Illinois. This paranormal report describes as having similar characteristics to those reported in the initial set of sightings.
Bray Road itself is a quiet country road near the community of Elkhorn. The rash of claimed sightings in the late 1980s and early 1990s prompted a local newspaper, the Walworth County Week, to assign reporter Linda Godfrey to cover the story. Godfrey was initially skeptical, but later became convinced of the sincerity of the witnesses. Her series of articles later became a book titled The Beast of Bray Road: Tailing Wisconsin's Werewolf.
The Beast of Bray Road is described by purported witnesses in several ways: as a bear-like creature, as a hairy biped resembling Bigfoot, and as an unusually large (2–4 feet tall on all fours, 7 feet tall standing up) intelligent wolf-like creature apt to walk on its hind legs and weighing 400-700 pounds. It also said that its fur is a brown gray color resembling a dog or bear.
Although the Beast of Bray Road has not been seen to transform from a human into a wolf in any of the sightings, it has been labeled a werewolf in newspaper articles.
A number of animal-based theories have been proposed. They include that the creature is an undiscovered variety of wild dog, a waheela (said to be a giant prehistoric wolf similar to Amarok), or a wolfdog or a coydog.
It is also possible that hoaxes and mass hysteria have caused some falsehoods and sightings of normal creatures to all be artificially lumped under the same label. Concurrently with the sightings in Wisconsin, there was a rash of similar encounters in the neighboring state of Michigan. Following the release of "The Legend", a popular song about the Michigan Dogman in 1987, author Steve Cook received dozens of reports, including photograph and film evidence of the creature. There is no known link between the sightings in adjoining states, other than the similarity of the creature described.