For some reason I enjoy reading about these dogman sightings, real or not, doesn’t matter. My first introduction to the dogman phenomenon was when I read the book Beast of Bray Road written by Linda Godfrey and published in 2003. The book presents the legend of dogmen sightings which began in Elkhorn, Wisconsin in the 1990s. A new edition was published in 2015. Not sure if it is just a republication or update with new material.
Her follow-up book, Hunting the American Werewolf, published in 2006, is also pretty entertaining, as is a 2010 publication, The Michigan Dogman: Werewolves and Other Unknown Canines Across the U.S.A., which features tales of encounters with these creatures in Michigan and elsewhere. I own each of these books and pick them up from time to time just to enjoy a little romp through spooky creatures sightings.
As we learn in Hunting the American Werewolf, sightings of these dog-men are not limited to Wisconsin or Michigan. Pennsylvania has had it’s share of strange upright walking canine encounters too. Here are a few of the more intriguing ones I’ve uncovered.
The Skinny Gargoyle Werewolf Shapeshifter
On November 20, 2011, a husband and wife driving along Mud Creek Road near Troy, PA, stopped their car when they saw a strange creature near the side of the road ahead of them. They watched as the thing, described as gargoyle like with wrinkly black skin or short hair, appeard to shape-shift into a large black wolf as it leapd 40 feet through the air, clearing the road and disappearing into the nearby woods. Read that Dogman report here along with two other weird creature sightings in PA, as reported to Stan Gordon.
The Hermit Werewolf
There is a tale of a werewolf which takes place in Northumberland, PA, an historic area founded in 1772 and located in a fork of the Susquehanna River. In 1899 some townsfolk of Northumberland suspected a local hermit as a werewolf, who allegedly killed and ate sheep in the area. After a wolf was shot and killed by a sheep hearder it is said that the dead wolf regained human form, as the hermit.
The Blair Wolf of Altoona
Before the Blair Witch there was the Blair Wolf. Late one night in Blair County, near Altoona, in the summer of 1998 two witnesses claim to have seen a large wolf-like creature standing upright along side Homers Gap Road as they drove along. The creature was described as standing over 8 feet tall with a muscular body covered in black and brown matted hair. Its eyes shone gold in the headlamps. The creature dropped to all fours and ran across the road.
Dog-Boy and Supernatural Wolfman Sightings
In the Spring of 1990 and Fall of 1991 a rash of upright canine and wolf sightings were reported near Hermitage in Mercer County, PA. Sightings of a so-called “Shenago Valley Dog-Boy” were also reported around this time. The walking wolf-like creatures were described as being 6-7 feet tall. More recently, on December 17, 2014, a similar creature was sighted by two different witnesses in separate vehicles driving toward nearby Mercer, PA.
Further east, in the area of the Moshannon State Forest, in November of 2014, a witness reported an upright walking creature with a canine snout. The creature was alleged to have stood 8-10 feet tall and was covered with short dark colored hair. The creature seemed to mysteriously appear in a clearing near the witness.
The Houtzdale Hyena
Sighting may not have been exactly in Houtzdale but it was close. Houtzdale Hyena alliteration just sounded good. This story is vaguely reminiscent of the Sites Farm Bigfoot Incident which also occurred in the summer of 1977, in Wantage, New Jersey. Although the Sites experience lasted a whole week with some large Bigfoot-like creature stalking the farm, this Pennsylvania sighting involved an upright walking canine which resembled a hyena, and lasted only one night. Though one night is enough, if you ask me, when you’re being terrorized by a strange, menacing monster dog-thing. The man of the house was apparently investigating strange noises outside when he encountered a large hyena-like beast. In a fright he high-tailed it back inside and the whole family was subsequently trapped in their home overnight as the creature remained hunkered by their back porch. I wouldn’t want to venture out there either!
Check out the PA Upright Canin/Dogman Witness Sightings Map. It’s a fun little resource for researching Dogmen and so-called werewolf sightings all around Pennsylvania.
If you’re interested in current werewolf and dogman investigations and other phantoms and monsters around PA check out the PA Lycan Investigations research.
Here is another cool book of Dogmen and other cryptid encounters, A Menagerie of Mysterious Beasts: Encounters with Cryptid Creatures. All kinds of stuff here, from North America and beyond, including werewolves, sasquatch, even stuff like thunderbird sightings.
After some coding and linking, which included building some featured product categories and links, I’m happy to announce that the Mysterious PA Store is live and ready to browse. Shop books and movies related to Pennsylvania legend, lore, folklore and mysteries, including paranormal stuff like ghosts, UFO sightings and mysterious monsters. If you have any suggestions for great products please use the contact form to get in touch.
Meanwhile, start browsing, lots of great gift ideas for friends and family.
Thanks, and enjoy!
“I believe in Bloody Mary, I believe in Bloody Mary, I believe in Bloody Mary, I believe…”
Did you ever get all the way through? Did you ever repeat that conjuring phrase the full seven times in order to see Bloody Mary in the mirror? I remember my sister and friends spooking themselves out during sleepovers. One time she tried it while gazing out the kitchen window. Now that was scary. With the dark night beyond our fear grew with every repeated chant. We scared ourselves silly anticipating the gory countenance of Bloody Mary gliding up from the gloom, a ghostly apparition.
I don’t think she got to number seven.
While researching Bloody Mary I found one reference that the legend has a connection to Pennsylvania, though in that telling there is no specific mention of a PA locale or family name. The story has simply made its way around our culture through spooky stories shared by children and teens at school, sleepovers and parties. But what are it’s real origins?
The repeated chant to conjure Bloody Mary is just a remnant of a story with various incarnations. The main idea is that a wicked old woman, thought to be a witch, lives in the woods surrounding a remote town.
Young girls from the town begin disappearing and townsfolk assume that the suspected witch is up to no good, killing the girls and using their blood to restore her youth. The witch is apparently caught red-handed, or red- whatever, when a young girl falls under her spell and walks from her parents home into the woods. A posse is formed and they venture into the woods to save the girl and burn the witch at the stake.
They all live happily ever after, but apparently the spirit of the witch lives on in everybody’s mirror from here to Shanghai, and if her name is repeated seven times (or whatever the number may be in your particular version), the bloody visage of Mary will appear, rise up or somehow materialize to kill you and steal your soul.
The tale of the witch in the woods, and similar fables, can be found in many cultures throughout history and may have served as a deterrent to prevent children from wandering off into the woods, where, indeed, real harm could befall them. Fantastic tales of werewolves and witches would normally do the trick, unless the kid was like me and would want to go venturing off to find the thing anyway!
The witch is a fable, but Bloody Mary was real, and the legend finds its roots in England though the real origin has no connection with a bloody fountain of youth.
Instead, the name Bloody Mary refers to Mary I of England, so-called in the wake of executions of Protestant religious reformers carried out under during the Marian Persecutions. Those convicted of heresy, opposing the Roman Catholic faith, were drawn and quartered, hanged or burned. Hundreds, at least 300 according to Wikipedia, were martyred from 1554 to 1559.
The connection with Bloody Mary and rejuvenation through drinking or bathing in blood of young women, or virgins, probably originated with the atrocity that was Countess Elizabeth Báthory of Hungary.
Truly the original “royal pain,” Countess Elizabeth, the Blood Countess, is considered one of the worst female serial killer in history, as far as body count is concerned. She and four collaborators are responsible for the deaths of possibly more than 600 young women and girls, all tortured and murderded at the hands of Elizabeth or her associates.
There are also rumors that the Blood Countess bathed in the blood of the slain girls in order to restore a youthful appearance.
Actual testimony by defendants indicates about 50 murders, but the unofficial number of killings, alleged by one witness, is upwards of 650.
Elizabeth was not convicted, instead being imprisoned in Čachtice Castle by her family, bricked up to spend her last years in a private suite, with only small openings to allow for the passage of air and meals.
As Vlad The Impaler is surely the true inspiration for Dracula, so Countess Elizabeth Báthory is most likely the origin of the blood-loving witch of the Bloody Mary Legend. It is possible that the stories of bloody Elizabeth and bloody Mary I of England were blended a bit on their way through folklore history.
Every state has their collection of lore and legend, mysteries and myths. At Mysterious PA I’d like to delve into some of Pennsylvania’s own folklore, ghost tales, UFOs, mystery monsters and all other manner of strangeness. It’s fun sometimes, to consider that there may be something else out there, something strange, mysterious or magical.
At Mysterious PA I will explore these mysteries, paranormal or otherwise. So stay tuned.
While you are here though, consider browsing our PA Mystery Store for books about Pennsylvania history, folklore and mysterious tales of the unexplained.