Beast of Bray Road
The Beast of Bray Road is an alleged human-wolf cryptid native to Wisconsin.
The creature, described as werewolf-like, was sighted on multiple occasions near Elkhorn, Delavan, and other communities in Walworth and Jefferson Counties, Wisconsin.
As the name suggests, the Beast of Bray Road is most closely associated with Bray Road outside Elkhorn.
Alleged witnesses describe the Beast of Bray Road as a tall, heavily built humanoid creature with wolf-like traits.
The Beast of Bray Road walked like a human
The creature walks on all fours but can also walk on its hind legs like a human, witnesses claimed. It can crouch or sit on its haunches like a human.
The cryptid stands about six feet on its hind legs and has a muscular body. It has a dog- or wolf-like head and face, glowing orange or red eyes, and pointy ears. Its body has dark brown, grey, or dark red fur.
Mark Shackleman, who claimed he saw the beast in 1936, said it growled like a dog and made human-like sounds.
One witness said she saw its footprints. She claimed they were about 12 inches long.
In 2010, Scott Bray, a Bray Road farmer, told PBS investigator Art Hackett that the beast had long hair and a rough coat. It was large and moved with an unusual gait. It also had large footprints.
Elkhorn resident Lori Endrizzi described it as a humanoid creature. It was about the size of an average man. The humanoid “thing” was hairy and knelt like a human being. It had pointy ears, brown and silver-colored hair, glowing eyes, and long claws.
Most witnesses compared it with a werewolf, but some compared it with a bear, while others said it looked like Bigfoot or the mythical Wendigo.
Sightings and Tales
The first reported sighting of the Beast of Bray Road occurred in 1936.
Mark Shackleman, Jefferson, 1936
Mark Shackleman, a night watchman at St. Coletta School for Exceptional Children outside Jefferson, Jefferson County, Wisconsin, gave the first account of a Beast of Bray Road sighting.
One night while on duty at the school, Shackleman was walking across a field when he noticed the silhouette of a creature in the dark. It appeared to be a dog-like creature on all fours.
The beast was digging with its front paws at one of several Native American burial mounds in the field. Although the animal looked like a dog or a wolf, the size seemed unusual.
Shackleman said it was far too big to be a wolf or a dog.
The monster sensed someone watching. It stopped digging and looked in Shackleman’s direction. Then it stood up on its hind legs until it was erect like a human.
Scared, Shakcleman stepped back, preparing to run. The beast turned abruptly and ran into the woods.
Shackleman claimed he sighted the creature a second time the following night. Once again, he saw it digging at the same burial mound. When it saw Shackleman, it stood on its hind legs, bared its fangs, snarled, and then seemed to utter a human word before turning and running into the woods.
Beast of Bray Road: Sightings in the 1980s
More people came forward with stories in the 1980s and 1990s. There were also reports of sightings of a similar creature in Michigan.
However, most alleged sightings occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s around Bray Road in Elkhorn, Walworth County.
A woman alleged that the monster invaded her premises and tried unsuccessfully to break into her house. Then it went to her stable and attacked a horse, leaving a deep injury on the animal’s back. The same woman said the animal left 12-inch footprints.
One witness claimed she saw a wolf-like creature crossing the road ahead of her vehicle. Another claimed the beast caused what looked like deep claw marks or scratches on the body of her car.
A girl said a creature chased her through the woods.
Sightings in the 1990s
In 1999, a teenage girl alleged that she encountered the beast while driving on Bray Road near Delavan (see video 2 below). Her vehicle hit and ran over a mysterious “critter” crossing the road.
She didn’t know what it was that she ran over, so she got out of the vehicle to investigate. She saw a tall wolfish creature on the side of the road. It stood on its hind legs and walked toward hers. It appeared incensed by the collision. In fright, she rushed back into the car.
The creature lept on her car trunk, but she pressed hard on her gas pedal, and it fell off. She then sped away from the scene.
She said the beast looked like a cross between a human and a wolf. People were skeptical of her story, while some thought she must have had a frightful encounter with a wolf or a bear.
A couple (see video below) reported seeing a mysterious beast while driving home from Lake Geneva, Walworth Country. They spotted the creature in a cornfield during the daytime. They had no idea what it was but realized it must have been the Beast of Bray Road after they learned about the creature.
The Beast of Bray Road as a scavenger
Some witness accounts suggested that the Beast of Bray Road was a carrion feeder or scavenger that ate roadkill.
One witness reported that while driving, they saw a strange beast feeding on roadkill (an animal killed in a collision with a vehicle). The beast abandoned its meal and ran into nearby woods.
Others claimed to have seen animal carcasses that appeared half-eaten by a scavenger.
More recent sightings
In February 2018, a witness from Spring Prairie, Walworth County, reported sighting a furry wolf-like creature walking on its hind legs.
In July 2020, another witness reported a similar sighting in Lyons, Walworth County.
People also reported seeing a strange wolf-like beast in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin.
Linda Godfrey’s investigation
Linda Godfrey, a reporter with a local newspaper, started investigating the sightings in the 1990s.
She interviewed witnesses and became convinced many were being honest.
She later published a series of reports on her investigations, detailing her interviews with the witnesses. She also published The Beast of Bray Road: Tailing Wisconsin’s Werewolf.
Art Hackett’s investigation
In 2010, reporter Art Hackett went to Elkhorn to investigate the sightings for PBS. Hackett spoke with Jeff Hubbard on Bray Road.
Hubbard believed the legend started when people had frightful encounters with a bear or some other large animal and later imagined they saw a wolf- or a bear-man.
Hubbard added that the marshes along Bray Road were home to coyotes, but he had never seen a wolfman or a werewolf.
Scott Bray, a local farmer, reported seeing a strange hairy creature in the marshes in the fall of 1989.
Lori Endrizzi claimed she saw the beast while driving. She thought it was human until she slowed down to look.
She saw the creature close up. It was about the size of an average man, she said.
A local Department of Natural Resources warden Bob Bramer said people might have honestly thought they saw something, but he did not believe there was a wolfman in the marshes.
Experts don’t take the claims about the Beast of Bray Road seriously despite multiple alleged eyewitness accounts.
Skeptics have proposed several theories to explain the sightings. The most common proposal is that the claims were due to mistaken identity.
The most commonly proposed candidates for the cryptid are gray wolves and large domestic dogs, such as Newfoundlands. Others suggested black bears.
Some have also suggested that some instances may have been due to local pranksters or hoaxers.
|Other Name/s||The Beast of Bray Road, Bray Road Beast, Wisconsin Werewolf, Dogman, Manwolf, Bear-Wolf, Wolfman|
|Habitat||Cities, Countryside, Farmland|
Where to find
The Beast of Bray Road: Tailing Wisconsin’s Werewolf, Linda Godfrey, 2003.
https://www.milwaukeemag.com/the-legend-of-the-beast-of-bray-road/, “The Legend of the Beast of Bray Road,” accessed on February 15, 2023.
https://www.pbs.org/video/in-wisconsin-the-beast-of-bray-road/, “In Wisconsin: The Beast of Bray Road,” accessed on February 15, 2023.
https://thoughtcatalog.com/christine-stockton/2018/08/beast-of-bray-road/, “14 Facts About The Beast Of Bray Road, The Creepiest ‘Animal’ You’ve Never Heard Of,” accessed on February 16, 2023.
The Beast of Bray Road is a half human, half wolf creature native to Wolworth County, Wisconsin. Pic credit: Pixabay