The Michigan Dogman- Scary Michigan Tales and Urban Legends

He was beloved by all, and most of all by the children; 
For he told them tales of the Loup-garou in the forest, 
And of the goblin that came in the night to water the horses, 
And of the white Létiche, the ghost of a child who unchristened Died, 
and was doomed to haunt unseen the chambers of children; 

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline

The Dogman is a cryptozoological creature that was first reported in 1887 in Michigan’s Wexford County. The creature is described as a seven-foot tall bipedal canine-like animal with the torso of a man, the head of a wolf and a terrifying howl.

French settlers came to Michigan with tales of the Loup garou (pronounced loo ga roo), which is French for werewolf. These tales can be traced back to the 1700s in Michigan, especially around large settlements like Detroit. But werewolves transform from man to beast and back to man.

The Dogman is different. “It’s fully canine, walks on its hind legs, uses its forelimbs to carry chunks of ... roadkill or deer carcasess,” says author Linda S. Godfrey. “They have pointed ears on top of their heads. They have big fangs. They have bushy tails. They walk — most tellingly — digitgrade, or on their toe pads, as all canines do, and that’s something that a human in a fur suit really can’t duplicate,” Linda said  in an article published on the Huffington Post in 2012.

Godfrey is an author who has been researching dogmen since 1991. She told The Huffington Post that the area around Kalamazoo and the Manistee National Forest are hotspots for Michigan creature sightings.

The dogman tale really gained strength in the twentieth century when 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 in 1987. Soon after the song aired reports of sightings started coming into the station.

Since then people from all over Michigan have reported seeing dogmen.

I remember hearing tales of dogmen as a child growing up in Flint. Most were just stories told around campfires or during the Halloween season but there were nights I was terrified to go near a window for fear of seeing a monster with a canine head staring at me.

Flint has had its share of weird wolf tales and dogmen sightings.

In November 1935 Earl Eastman, a deer hunter from Flint, shot a wolf that was going after a deer near the Rhody Creek Trail which is between Seney and Grand Marais. The wolf was huge. It weighed 182 pounds after being gutted. Earl brought the wolf back to Flint where it ended up on display in a barber shop for two years. It was later taken to the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh and put on display. The wolf was officially measured at 7 feet 11 inches long, 39 inches at the shoulders and 12-3/4 inches across the skull. This story was published in The Great Lakes Pilot.

According to a blog, Life at Random, upon contacting the Carnegie Institute about the wolf, they claim that it is lost. In fact they cannot find any records of it and have no idea where it went.

Was this just an abnormally large wolf or something else? Loup garou? Dogman?

A man on that message board Unexplained Mysteries claims to have encountered The Dogman in Flint in 1973.

“I was a teenager; I was staying with my Uncle Jay and Aunt Shell in the summer of 1973. I was between my sophomore and junior years in high school. My Uncle drove a local grocery delivery truck…in the Flint Michigan area.

Well, late on a Thursday night (about 11:30), we were headed up the winding road that snaked around the hill up to the truck park, and we both saw what we thought was a big dog on the side of the road, pawing at something. As we got closer, I saw the thing was rooting and licking something with tongue and snout. Then the SOB stood up. This was no dog!
My Uncle slowed to a crawl (not quite stopping) and hit the high beams, and what I saw scared me so bad that I couldn't even get a scream out! It was a MAN, covered in short, black fur, clearly well-muscled with the head of a German Shepherd or wolf. I could hardly breathe. Its eyes were yellow-orange colored…we didn't make a sound but started to roll by, when it lunged across the access road in a single leap.”

In 2006 Linda S Godfrey received a letter from David Walks As Bear-former Michigan game warden, author, and member of the Shawnee Nation (sadly he passed away in 2014):  

“Shapshifters are usually considered as good, a tad mischievous maybe, but not evil. The same can¹t be said for their opposite ­ skinwalkers, eh. If the Michigan Dog Men are shapeshifters, then they¹d be spooky, alright, as they’re other-worldly. But not evil, though. So it could be that the Dog Men of Michigan are just old Michigan Indian warriors, going through their seven-year routine of shape shifting. Who can say? But speaking of routine I do personally fret a bit when I’m driving deep in the dark woods, on a full-mooned night and things change know what I mean?”

Have you ever heard of The Dogman?

Have you seen any weird canine creatures walking upright in the woods?

“somewhere in the north-woods darkness, a creature walks upright. And the best advice you may ever get is never to go out….at night”. ~The Legend by Steve Cook

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