Michigan Dogman

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The Michigan Dogman is a cryptozoological creature first reported in 1887 in Wexford County, Michigan. The creature is described as a seven-foot tall, blue-eyed, or amber-eyed bipedal canine-like animal with the torso of a man and a fearsome howl that sounds like a human scream. According to legends, the Michigan Dogman appears in a ten-year cycle.[1] Sightings have been reported in several locations throughout Michigan, primarily in the northwestern quadrant of the Lower Peninsula. In 1987, the legend of the Michigan Dogman gained popularity when a disc jockey at WTCM-FM recorded a song about the creature and its reported sightings.


This creature was unknown to most of the modern world until very late in the twentieth century. It is said to have been stalking the area around the Manistee River since the days when the Odawa tribes lived there.[1]

The first known encounter of the Michigan Dogman occurred in 1887 in Wexford County, when two lumberjacks saw a creature which they described as having a man's body and a dog's head.[2] It has also been spotted many times in the Upper Peninsula by locals. Horses that had died of fright were found nearby, surrounded by dog tracks.[1]

In 1938 in Paris, Michigan, Robert Fortney was attacked by five wild dogs and said that one of the five walked on two legs.[3] Reports of similar creatures also came from Allegan County in the 1950s, and in Manistee and Cross Village in 1967.[4]

Linda S. Godfrey, in her book The Beast of Bray Road, compares the Manistee sightings to a similar creature sighted in Wisconsin known as the Beast of Bray Road.[5]

The Cook Song[edit]

In 1987 (100 years after the first reported sighting of the creature), disc jockey Steve Cook at WTCM-FM in Traverse City, Michigan recorded a song titled "The Legend", which he initially played as an April Fool's Day joke. He based the songs on actual reports of the creature.[6]

I made it up completely from my own imagination as an April Fools' prank for the radio and stumbled my way to a legend that goes back all the way to Native American times.

— Steve Cook, Skeptoid.com, Wag the Dogman [1]

Cook maintains his skepticism about the possibility of a real dogman, he had this to say about the matter:

I'm tremendously skeptical, because I've sort of seen the way folklore becomes built from the creation of this song to what it's turned into ... but I do believe people who think they saw something really did see something. I also think the Dogman provides them with an avenue to explain what they couldn't explain for themselves.

— Steve Cook, Skeptoid.com, Wag the Dogman [1]

Cook recorded the song with a keyboard backing and credited it to Bob Farley.[7] After he played the song, Cook received calls from listeners who said that they had encountered a similar creature. In the next weeks after Cook first played the song, it was the most-requested song on the station. He also sold cassettes of the songs for four dollars, and donated proceeds from the single to an animal shelter.[8] Over the years, Cook has received more than 100 reports of the creature's existence.[9] In March 2010, the creature was featured in an episode of MonsterQuest.[9]

Cook later added verses to the song in 1997 after hearing a report of an animal break-in by an unknown canine at a cabin in Luther, Michigan.[10][11] He re-recorded it again in 2007, with a mandolin backing.

The Gable Film[edit]

In 2007, a digital copy of an 8mm film surfaced on the internet. Dubbed "The Gable Film" because of a small paper tag attached to the box containing the film reel, it quickly attained viral status among cryptozoological enthusiasts. Many people believed it was the long-awaited conclusive evidence of the existence of the Michigan dogman. The entire film is 3.5 minutes long, and appears to have been shot in the mid to late 1960s, due to the clothing and hair styles by the persons in the film, which were most prominent during that time. Early scenes are typical home movie fare: children riding snowmobiles, a German shepherd, a person chopping wood, etc. Toward the end of the film, the photographer is shooting from inside a moving vehicle traveling along a dirt road, when he spots what appears to be a gorilla-like animal moving in a field on the passenger side of the vehicle. The photographer exits the vehicle and seems to pursue the creature for several seconds. Then it appears again, facing the photographer from a ridge about 150 feet away. After a few seconds the creature charges. Rapid movement of the camera suggests the photographer is fleeing the attack. In the last five seconds of the film, the camera drops to the ground, lying on its left side. A second film titled "The Gable Film Part 2" surfaced later on which seemingly shows a police investigation of the incident recorded in the first reel during which the officers investigating the scene examine a bifurcated corpse (presumably the body of the person recording the previous reel).

After years of analysis and debate, the film was finally revealed as a hoax in the finale episode of MonsterQuest on March 24, 2010. The Gable Film had been shot using vintage cameras, film, and period props by Mike Agrusa, a fan of "The Legend," song. The second video was likewise hoaxed. MonsterQuest claimed their investigative team uncovered irregularities in the film, and then forced the hoaxers to confess to werewolf expert Linda Godfrey. However the Hoaxers say that they told MonsterQuest from the beginning that the film was a fake and they fabricated the "investigation" to make a more interesting episode.[12]

Feature film[edit]

In late 2011, film Rich Brauer released a film called Dogman, starring Larry Joe Campbell. The movie premiered at the State Theater in Traverse City.[13]

The film included a brief segment of "The Gable Film", used with permission from Mike Agrusa, who received acknowledgement in the film credits.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Hudson, Alison. "Wag the Dogman". skeptoid.com. 
  2. ^ Royce, Julie Albrecht (2007). Traveling Michigan's Sunset Coast. Dog Ear Publishing. pp. 419–420. ISBN 1-59858-321-2. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  3. ^ Godfrey, pp. 60-61
  4. ^ Newton, Michael Albrecht (2009). Hidden Animals: A Field Guide to Batsquatch, Chupacabra, and Other Elusive Creatures. ABC-CLIO. p. 149. ISBN 0-313-35906-7. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  5. ^ Godfrey, pp. 62-63
  6. ^ Godfrey, Linda S. (2003). The Beast of Bray Road: Tailing Wisconsin's Werewolf. Big Earth Publishing. p. 58. ISBN 1-879483-91-2. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  7. ^ "Chapter 1". Michigan Dogman.com. Retrieved 8 October 2010. 
  8. ^ Godfrey, pp. 61-62
  9. ^ a b Charmoli, Rick (22 March 2010). "Dogman to be topic of MonsterQuest". Cadillac News. Retrieved 15 October 2010. 
  10. ^ Mencarelli, Jim (17 July 1987). "Dogman? "Attack" brings a 90-year-old legend to life again up north". The Grand Rapids Press. 
  11. ^ "Chapter 3". Michigan Dogman.com. Retrieved 8 October 2010. 
  12. ^ "The Dogman Blog". michigan-dogman.com. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  13. ^ "CadillacNews.com". cadillacnews.com. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 

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