What makes the urban legend of the Michigan Dogman so compelling is its plausibility. There have been far more sightings than Bigfoot, who is practically the poster-creature for cryptozoology. While there’s talk of supernatural origin, there are also more scientific animal-based theories for this creature’s existence as well. Dogman sightings began in Michigan and then spread with descriptions varying slightly, but the core characteristics remained intact. This can be expected with any growing, migrating, and evolving species.
Dogman sightings usually occur deep in the forest, around logging camps, and out on isolated roads late at night. The mythical beast of backwoods folklore went mainstream in 1987 after the release of the song "The Legend," written by Traverse City radio DJ Steve Cook. Cook pulled lyrics from Dogman encounters and soon more people reported their sightings. But what are these witnesses actually seeing? Is it mass hysteria or a real creature? Let's explore the history of this cryptid, and the various horrifying encounters people have had with it.
The Michigan Dogman Has Extraordinary Leaping Abilities
In the fall of 1986, out near Manistee, Michigan, Ray Greenway was driving home from the Manistee Army recruiting station. It was late at night, and he noticed something in the darkened field beside him. His headlights were reflecting off what appeared to be eyes, but they were much too high off the ground to be a deer.
Suddenly, the unidentifiable creature began running towards him and made an incredible leap, clear across the two-lane road. “There is no animal that it could be. I know that this was not a deer,” Ray later recalled. He went on to describe its yellow eyes and impossible leaping ability. “I do remember that I saw both eyes, as if it was looking at me, the whole time. That, along with the leaping ability, is what I will never forget.”
The Earliest Known Dogman Sighting Was In 1887
In 1887, the first known Dogman encounter was documented in Wexford County, Michigan. Two lumberjacks were out in the woods when they spotted a creature they described as having the body of a man but the head of a dog. Other sightings began to trickle in throughout the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and locals found dog tracks in the dirt around several dead horses. The horses allegedly died of fright.
Dogman Screams Like An Infant In The Night
One witness claims a creature best described as a werewolf (or Dogman) was stalking up the hill behind their house in the late fall of 2001. “My stepdaughter and I were looking out the French doors to see a creature... black in color, like a big bear with haunches and the head of a wolf.”
While that was the first and only visual the Cass County, Michigan residents experienced, they can still hear it splashing around the 20-acre swamp land at night. Sometimes they can even hear it shrieking. According to them, “It has the scream of an infant... Loud and hysterical.”
Some Believe Dogman Is The Spirit Of Cheyenne Warriors
Back in the 1860s, the Cheyenne established their own group of warriors known as the Dog Soldiers or Dog Men. Native Americans would spend years studying or becoming one with their spirit animal, taking on the mannerisms and strength of wolves or wild dogs.
Allegedly, all the Cheyenne Dog Men were killed off by the US Army. According to lore passed down from the elders, however, not all of them died. According to legend, some of the Dog Men actually shape-shifted into dogs and now roam the woods and swamplands.
It’s worth noting that while all witnesses of these half-dog, half-man beasts admit to feeling terrified, there haven’t been any known deaths or serious physical attacks attributed to a Dogman. This is thought to be because of the Indian belief that one must invite evil unto themselves. Therefore, the creatures cannot harm you unprovoked.
A Dogman Attack May Have Been Captured By OnStar
The famous Dogman OnStar Attack occurred in Troy, Michigan back in 2006. A man was driving down the road when suddenly, what he described as, "great big dog that was standing up," appeared before him. He instinctively swerved to miss the creature and ended up running off the road and flipping the vehicle over on its side.
He and his passenger were not injured, and he was able to get assistance through OnStar. The OnStar recording of that conversation spread across the Internet like wildfire, and you can listen to it in the above video.
The Michigan Dogman Prowls In 10-Year Cycles, According To Legend
Descriptions of the Michigan Dogman have varied over the years, so it’s safe to say that (if it exists) it’s not a lone wolf. These creatures are usually described as having glowing amber or icy blue eyes, the head of a dog with vicious fangs, and a human torso. They can stand up on two legs and are somewhere between six and seven feet tall. They are incredibly fast and allegedly have a horrible scream-like howl.
According to local legend, the Dogman appears in 10-year cycles. Early sightings of the cryptid were reported all throughout Michigan, however, and soon spread to Wisconsin. Alleged sightings began to pop up all over the country soon afterwards.
Robert Fortney Fired Shot At A Smiling Dogman
Back in 1938, a 17 year old named Robert Fortney claimed that while standing near the Muskegon River in Paris, Michigan, he was confronted by a massive black dog. Fortney didn’t report his encounter until 49 years later, but he swore the beast reared up on its hind legs and stared him down with piercing blue eyes.
Terrified, he shot at the creature and it quickly fled. Fortney remained chilled by the event for years to come, however, later stating, "It may be that I was just scared, but I swear that dog was smiling at me."
The Dogman Busted A 13-Year Old Girl Trying To Sneak A Smoke
One particularly memorable Dogman account came from a 13-year-old girl named Courtney who lived out in Reed City, Michigan back in 1993. She decided to sneak out for a cigarette behind her family's house one winter and she got the scare of her life. She claimed that a glint of light seeping out from the planks of an old abandoned barn that got her attention.
She followed its movement, and slowly it dawned on her that something was there. She realized the six-foot-tall thing hiding in the barn had the head of a dog and was staring right at her. She ran off, terrified. Later her neighbor confirmed that they too, saw a creature out in that barn. They described it as a buffalo-sized dog lurking in the barn.