Werewolves are one of the most iconic monsters in history, both fictional and historical. From the legend of King Licaon to the alpha werewolf of the werewolves, the idea of a walking, upright half-werewolf, half-human has invaded the imagination of many fantasy lovers. However, it’s hard to call werewolves mystics, and that’s where our new friend The dog man comes in.
Also known as the “Michigan Dog Man,” the “Bray Road Beast,” or simply the “Upright Dog,” these de facto modern werewolves have been found since the early 1900s until today. However, most sightings have been in the US states of Michigan and Wisconsin. This is a list of modern werewolf sightings in the area around Lake Michigan, in order from morning to night.
Our next story takes us to Michigan and the domain of the Michigan Dogman. Though most pre-1987 sightings of the Dogman are showcased in Steve Cook’s April Fool’s Day song, “The Legend,” the story of Robert Fortney is one of the first to take place that doesn’t show up in the music. This is important to bring up because most of the werewolf encounters in Steve Cook’s piece are fictionalized, with Cook believing that he made the legend up. However, this story proves that The Dogman has actually, truly been around before his song was published in the late 1980s.
Robert Fortney was fishing one summer day on the Muskegon River, closest to the town of Paris, Michigan. The year was 1938, and Fortney was 17 years old. Suddenly, Fortney was attacked by a pack of wild dogs—six, as far as Fortney could count. The teenager was lucky to have his rifle handy. Before any of the dogs could lunge, he fired one warning shot into the air. After that, all of the dogs scattered, save for one.
This black-fur canine proved to be no ordinary dog, however, and as soon as the shot rang out, it proceeded to stare into Fortney’s eyes with his own piercing blue gaze from a distance of ten feet. Then, it started grinning. Not succumbing to fear, Robert Fortney fired one more warning shot, this time causing the maybe-werewolf to run off. However, instead of skedaddling on all fours, this would-be werewolf stood up to around six feet tall before running away on two legs.
Fortney would be one of the many callers that Steve Cook would receive in 1987, after putting his song, “The Legend,” on the radio. The creature that Cook made up as a prank turned out to be very, very real to the long-time Michigan native, Robert Fortney.