SKINLESS DEMONS, THE NEVADA TRIANGLE, THE BRAY ROAD BEAST, and MORE! #WeirdDarkness
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Listen to “SKINLESS DEMONS, THE NEVADA TRIANGLE, THE BRAY ROAD BEAST, and MORE! #WeirdDarkness” on Spreaker.
IN THIS EPISODE: Over 2,000 flight disappearances over the past 60 years… that’s three missing planes every month. You might think I’d be referring to the Bermuda Triangle… but I’m not. There’s a lesser-known but significantly more dangerous triangle near Area 51 in Nevada. (2,000 People Go Missing In The Nevada Triangle) *** Werewolves being spotted in Wisconsin have been reported as far back as 1936. Then again in 1964 and 1972. But there had been nothing like the reports that came out of the area near Delavan, starting in 1989. (The Bray Road Beast) *** A teen finds two dead bodies, side by side, both wearing raincoats. But the disturbing thing is that both dead men were wearing lead masks. And that’s not the end of the strangeness. (The Case of the Lead Masks) *** A woman sees something so horrifying she turns the rest of her life over to Jesus Christ so she will remain protected. (My Skinless Demon)
SOURCES AND ESSENTIAL WEB LINKS…
“The Case of the Lead Masks” by Xavier Ortega: http://bit.ly/2HJuPET
“My Skinless Demon” by GayLelu: http://bit.ly/2Jw4IF8
“People Go Missing In The Nevada Triangle” by George Knapp, Matt Adams (link no longer available), Joe Shoenmann (http://bit.ly/2LSm6Wf), and Brent Swancer (http://bit.ly/2WlTkle)
“The Bray Road Beast” (http://bit.ly/2VQa5VT) and “Werewolves of Wisconsin” (http://bit.ly/2LXsCLJ) by Troy Taylor
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Throughout the world there are places that seem to be destined to forever be linked to mysterious, inexplicable vanishings. From the Bermuda Triangle to the Bennington Triangle, we have triangles galore, often triangles, that reach out to make people simply disappear from the face of the earth. These places are in a sense hungry, drawing in people who would dare to reach forth into their wilds, only to keep what they have gained to never return them. One probably lesser known such place lies out across a large expanse of dusty desert and mountain in the state of Nevada, and it is a location that seems to be every bit as enigmatic and ominous as any of its brethren. It’s come to be known as The Nevada Triangle… and more people have gone missing here than in any other triangle in the world.
I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.
STORY: NEVADA TRIANGLE=====
Sprawled out over a vast expanse of 25,000 square miles of a desolate landscape of desert, mountains, and scrub near the Sierra Nevada mountains and Great Basin Desert in the U.S. state of Nevada, looking as if it is the surface of another planet, is an area that has over the years accrued for itself a rather sinister reputation. Besides being in the vicinity of the notorious, top-secret Area 51 and a range of strange UFO sightings, the region has also become a mysterious place where hundreds, perhaps even thousands of planes have flown into, never to return, earning it the ominous nickname of “The Nevada Triangle,” after its more famous Bermuda cousin.
The Nevada Triangle is typically defined as spanning from Las Vegas in the southeast to Fresno in the west, and to Reno at the top. It is said that this moonscape of sparsely populated rugged wilderness has been the site of by some estimates around 2,000 aircraft crashes over the past 60 or so years, with many of these happening under mysterious circumstances, with experienced pilots, without any clear reason, and with wreckage never found. In some cases these have been rather large, rugged military aircraft such as B-24 Liberators or B-17 Flying Fortresses. That averages out to about three planes disappearing per month over the past 60 years, far more than have ever disappeared in the more infamous Bermuda Triangle.
By far the most famous such crash to happen within the Nevada Triangle is that of the billionaire maverick businessman, sailor, aviator, and adventurer James Stephen “Steve” Fossett. Famous for a wide range of world records, such as being the first person to fly solo nonstop around the world in a balloon as well more than 100 other records concerning nonstop circumnavigations of the Earth, as well as aviation and sailing, Fosset was also a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club. He was an extremely talented pilot with several models of aircraft, on which he had clocked countless hours of flight time, and was well respected in the world of aviation. There is certainly no disputing his impressive experience.
On September 3, 2007, Fossett departed from the Flying-M Ranch in Nevada in a single-engine Super Decathlon light aircraft for what was to be a quick round-trip joy flight, with a planned return to the same airport from which he had departed shortly after. At the time no one thought anything of it. After all, this was one of the most decorated and well respected aviators in the world on a routine flight under clear conditions; there should have been no problems at all.
When Fossett failed to return at the designated time, people began to worry. An intense, complex search was launched to try and find him, which stretched on for a month as authorities scoured a 20,000 square-mile area of harsh, forbidding wasteland, but they found no trace of where Fossett or his plane had gone, not even a scrap. Although the search was one of the largest, costliest, and well publicized in U.S. history, not a single piece of wreckage was ever turned up, nor was there any indication of a transmission from the aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter, although the search team did turn up a number of other planes crashed out in the desert that had been forgotten and missing for decades. The search for Fossett was officially called off on September 19, 2007, although aircraft would be kept on standby to respond to any anomalous crash sites that turned up, but by this time Fossett was largely thought to be most certainly dead. On October 2, 2007, the search was called off for good.
Many had still not given up on Fossett, as private search flights were still going on, including even a team of psychics on the case, and on August 23, 2008 a massive search on foot was launched based on new information that had turned up, but like those before them nothing was ever found. In the meantime, the strange disappearance had caused wild theories to swirl around it. Some believed that Fossett had faked his own death in order to start a new life somewhere else, while others believed that he had been shot down by the military when he got too close to Area 51, that he had entered some sort of strange vortex, or even that he had been abducted by aliens. In the end, nobody knew.
Then, on September 29, 2008, a hiker stumbled by chance across some of Fossett’s belongings out in the wilderness, including a crumpled up FAA-issued card, a Soaring Society of America membership card, and a rather large clump of $1,005 in cash. The items were found in a bleak, remote area located around 65 miles (100 km) from where Fossett had taken off. With this exciting clue, search efforts were renewed, and on October 1 an aerial search located the wreckage of the plane around 750 yards (690 m) from where the belongings had been found. Follow-up searches were unable to locate Fossett’s body, although two human bones were discovered that were found through DNA analysis to have belonged to him. The rest of the remains were thought to have perhaps been dragged away by scavengers and scattered across the landscape to never be found. Examination of the aircraft turned up no evidence of any sort of equipment malfunction, and the crash was blamed on a combination of extreme downdrafts of up to 400mph pummeling the light aircraft, proving no match for it, as well as the altitude and disorienting mountainous terrain.
Indeed it is the shifting, sudden fury of the area’s weather that has been offered up as one of the reasons so many planes might go missing here. The Sierra Nevada mountains run perpendicular to the Jet Stream, or high Pacific winds, which conspire with the sheer, high altitude peaks and wedge-shaped range to create volatile, unpredictable winds and downdrafts that can wreak havoc on smaller aircraft. This weather phenomena is sometimes called the “Mountain Wave,” and can literally pluck up airplanes from the air and toss them down to go hurtling into the earth like toys. Another factor could be simple pilot error, with inexperienced pilots not quite knowing how to handle the turbulence or the disorienting mountainous terrain of the area, with its sharp canyons and soaring cliffs. Indeed many pilots who have nearly crashed in the Nevada Triangle near the Sierra Nevada have reported experiencing a deep sense of confusion and profound disorientation during their flights.
Professor Kelly Redmond, a climatologist with the Desert Research Institute in Reno, has looked at wind formations in those mountains seeking answers.
Redmond told KNPR that much of the problem in the Sierra Nevada is because of the wind.
The mountain range runs almost perpendicular to the Jet Stream, that along with their shape, which is wedge like, creates wild wind conditions.
“So, when the winds are coming up, they come up kind of smoothly on the west side and then they have this very rapid decent and there is a tremendous amount of turbulence that can be caused by such situations,” Redmond said.
He said when a small plane, which must fly lower than commercial jets and doesn’t have enough power, gets caught in that air flow it can be difficult to get out.
“It’s quite easy for a small plane to get caught in the down draft on the downwind side and not have the power or just the capability to get out of the way of that,” Redmond said.
He compared it to getting caught in Niagara Falls. It’s believed that is what happened to adventurer and billionaire Steve Fossett.
However, Redmond said that is not always the case and that many smaller planes are piloted by people who have a lot less experience than commercial pilots. As a result, pilot error could be blamed for the hundreds of plane crashes in the area.
Although calling it the “Nevada Triangle,” evoking the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle, and its proximity to Area 51, which some people believe the government uses to house UFO’s, may create images of paranormal activity, Redmond said its more likely geography and wind patterns are to blame.
“The mountains of the Great Basin and especially in the Sierra Nevada are fairly tall,” he said, that along with incised canyons and sharp cliff faces create hazardous flying.
“So, it’s quite easy for a small thing such as a light aircraft to get lost in such surroundings,” Redmond said.
In the end, no one is quite sure of why so many planes have gone down here, some of them quite large planes rather than light aircraft and with experienced crews under ideal conditions, nor even how many planes have actually gone down here, and the area has managed to create an air of mystique around itself. Many still insist that there are forces beyond our understanding at work here pulling in planes to their doom. Talk of the Nevada Triangle is often punctuated with mentions of Area 51, aliens, or top secret tests of experimental aircraft, as well as the possibility of some form of magnetic anomaly or a vortex of some type.
Adding to the mysterious quality of the region is that many of the crashed planes have never been found. This is most likely due to the inaccessibility of the remote area, but sometimes things are stranger. One Army fighter pilot Lt. Leonard C Lydon said he parachuted from his plane when his squadron got hopelessly lost in the mountains here. He claimed to have clearly seen the P-40 fighter go down about a mile from his position, near the Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, and was sure that he knew where it had crashed. However, when a search team returned to the area he specified, no sign of any wreckage or the plane could be found.
So what is going on here? Is it aliens, the government covering its top-secret Area 51, magnetic anomalies, or something even stranger? Or are we just dealing with freaky weather that has a penchant for crushing smaller aircraft, coupled with the remote, unforgiving wastelands? There will probably always be tales of places on this planet that disappear people without a trace. We may not ever know the reasons why, or how, but they will always capture our imagination. These places will always lie out there, just beyond our reach and beyond our current capacity to comprehend them.
But it’s more than just planes that disappear. It’s also people.
“Then I pulled out a map of Nevada and California and almost fell out of my seat because the largest cluster zone we’ve established is in that Nevada Triangle, and there’s two other cluster zones also in that triangle,” said David Paulides, investigator and author of Missing 411 books.
For nine years, former police officer turned author David Paulides has scoured through about 20,000 missing persons files. Based on very specific criteria, he’s whittled them down to about 1,200 seemingly inexplicable mysteries — people who vanish under unusual circumstances.
In a series of books, Missing 411. Paulides has identified dozens of clusters, many of them national parks or forests, where the number of missing is way out of the ordinary. Three of those clusters exist within the Nevada Triangle, including, at the top of the list, Yosemite National Park.
“There’s no concrete one item that can say this is causing that, and because of no tracks, no scent trail, no witnesses, we’ve had people say it’s got to be UFOs, it’s got to be reptilians, Bigfoot, it’s got to be this. In reality, I don’t think you can say it’s just one thing,” Paulides said.
Often the missing vanishes into thin air while with other hikers. Dogs are unable to pick up any scent. There are no tracks. Small children who vanish are found a day later many miles away, over mountain ranges. Human abductions and animal attacks are ruled out.
For years, Paulides requested lists of the missing from the National Park Service but was told they don’t keep any such list. More recently Yosemite officials have opened up.
“It might be ten years later, you find a shoe, a piece of clothing,” said Scott Gediman, Yosemite National Park Ranger.
Paulides has investigated cases closer to home, including the 1966 disappearance of 6-year-old Larry Jeffrey of Henderson who vanished while with his family on Mount Charleston and a 1977 case of a missing woman near Tonopah.
Some have tried to link the mystery to the Area 51 military base but that facility is far to the east of the triangle’s boundaries.
While speaking to a national conference of search and rescue experts, Paulides was addressed by a pair of state troopers.
“They said, ‘Dave, you’re talking about things that nobody in this room wants to talk about. Everybody knows it’s going on. Everybody here faces it, but nobody wants to talk about it.'”
A woman sees something so horrifying she turns the rest of her life over to Jesus Christ so she will remain protected.
But first… a teen finds two dead bodies, side by side, both wearing raincoats. But the disturbing thing is that both dead men were wearing lead masks. And that’s not the end of the strangeness.
These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns.
STORY: LEAD MASKS=====
It’s 1966, Jorge da Costa Alves finds himself flying a kite one afternoon in the nearby Vintém Hill, in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As the 18 year old Jorge walks around Vintém Hill, he makes the macabre discovery of two bodies laying side by side in the tall weeds. The bodies were of two men, who appeared to be dressed identically. Both men were dressed in matching suits and wore raincoats. Which wasn’t out of the ordinary since the area had been drenched by recent showers. What was out of the ordinary were the protective lead masks over their faces. The type of masks used to protect against radiation poisoning. Here, laying dead in the rain-soaked vegetation of Vintém Hill are two mean in suits, a rain coat and lead masks over their faces.
As young Jorge realizes that he just stumbled onto two dead bodies, he makes his way to the nearest phone to call in the find. The local police and journalists tried to put the puzzle pieces together from what little evidence they had, only to come out scratching their heads. 45 years later the mystery known as the “lead masks case” is still riddled with theories such as suicide, murder and alien abduction.
Manoel Pereira da Cruz and Miguel José Viana were electrical engineers who made a living repairing televisions. As the story goes, the men lived in Campos dos Goytacazes. An area north of Rio de Janeiro. The two were good friends and were often seen working together. On August 17th, 1966, the men had mentioned to their relatives that they needed to buy some supplies for work and would be gone for the afternoon. The men then hopped on a bus heading to Niterói. Three hours and one hundred and sixty miles away. Three days later, on August 20th, Jorge stumbles onto the bodies of the two television repairmen.
Police and journalists make their way to the bodies only to find them in a severe state of decomposition. Immediately the investigators make note of what was found near the bodies. An empty bottle of water, a package containing two towels and a notebook with what is described as a cryptic note.
“16:30Hs be at the determined place. 18:30 swallow capsule after effect protect metals wait for mask signal.”
I wonder what the detectives thought of when they read the cryptic note. Suicide? Maybe. But what about the lead masks? Murder then?
If Manoel Pereira and Miguel José were murdered, what was the purpose? Obviously money would be an objective, but I doubt both men had a lot of it. Could it be some form of cult-like suicide? No mention of any cult or religious activity has been pinned to the dead men by friends and relatives.
If we step out of our realm for a momentary alternate explanation, we can ask if the men were time travelers. Could these men have been ages ahead of 1960s technology and actually found a way to travel through time? This theory is a popular one when discussing the “lead masks case”. People speculate that since both Manoel and Miguel were fascinated with UFOs and electronics, maybe they had found a way to bend space and time in such manner that allowed them to glimpse or visit distant worlds. Which sounds like a far-out theory that reminds me of some other scientist, one who wore a permeable coat and radiation protection mask as well.
But come now! Let’s get serious for a moment. We all know what this mystery is about, don’t we? I’m talking about UFOs people!
Both Manoel Pereira and Miguel José were avid UFO enthusiasts who were aware that 160 miles away was a recent UFO hotspot. Vintém Hill was known as a local UFO hotspot after many residents claimed to have witnessed strange aerial lights. As one theory suggests, the men were in contact with extraterrestrials and had made the 160 mile final destination with the intent of committing suicide to join the mothership. I wonder if Manoel and Miguel wore these Nike shoes?
Yes, that’s the infamous “Heaven’s gate suicide” photo with the members shown wearing Nike shoes. Something of a pop culture phenomenon I suppose.
Of course I use it not to make light of the mass suicide that occurred in 1997, but to point out that the “Heaven’s Gate” cult believed that suicide would assist them in getting on board an extraterrestrial mothership which they believed was following the Comet Hale-Bopp.
Maybe this is how E.T. harvests humans, by communicating with us telepathically and telling us that in order for us to hitch a ride with them, we must kill ourselves first. If that’s the case, E.T. is one evil-trolling son of a bitch.
So then, what really happen on Vintém Hill ?
Did the men make contact with a UFO? Or were they the victims of a robbery gone wrong? If we opt to go with the robbery explanation, then what do you make of the cryptic note, the distance traveled by the men and the fact that no signs of foul play were found?
Now, if you were to go with the UFO explanation, then you will be surprised to learn that residents in Vintém Hill, had reported seeing strange UFO-like lights near the vicinity in which Jorge, the kite-flying teenager, had his world flipped upside down when he met the men in the lead masks.
STORY: SKINLESS DEMON=====
Have you ever been so scared to talk about something, that even thinking about it brings fear? I was never a believer in god or the devil, playing in the graveyard at night and going into so-called haunted houses never scared me.
Then I saw the real thing and I am now a devoted Christian.
It all started after I got released from the hospital, after a close call with death from my heart stopping from malnutrition. As my body shut down, I died for a few seconds and was brought back… when I died there was nothing special, I couldn’t even recall it.
After I got released from the hospital I was in a hopelessly dark state. The doctors made me go to a therapist in order to get released and I had to start eating better. So a few days later it was around 3-4 am, I felt something menacing around me. When I opened my eyes I saw in the doorway a vary tall skinless humanoid creature peering at me.
It’s eyes were wide and jet black and it’s teeth were jagged. I smelt the smell of burnt flesh and something else, decay. The creature was around 8 to 9 ft tall as it arched in my doorway, you could see the muscles and some kind of malleable substance oozing out from between the tendons. I knew it could reach out and grab my throat with it’s long fingers, I felt like I was walking a thin line of death.
I knew he was there to take me to the hell that was awaiting me… and I wasn’t surprised, for I had been a really bad person and was way into the Satanic stuff. Yet, I never felt or saw anything so bone chilling until this moment. A few minutes of the creature just breathing – and me looking at it with looking pure dread. Suddenly I felt a release as I screamed and clawed at my eyes only to have my dad slam through the doorway, and the feeling and that awful creature were gone.
After that I am now sleepless night. I went to a therapist and drew her a picture of that dreadful creature. She was alarmed from the drawing and took it directly to a priest, and his whole church prayed for me. I was informed to avoid and block myself from anything that could make it appear again. No scary movies, no Ouija boards, going to church became a Sunday, and praying nightly. So far it has not returned and I’ve not seen anything like it again.
Werewolves being spotted in Wisconsin have been reported as far back as 1936. Then again in 1964 and 1972. But there had been nothing like the reports that came out of the area near Delavan, starting in 1989. (The Bray Road Beast)
STORY: BEAST OF BRAY ROAD=====
The mythological belief in werewolves has been with us for centuries. Many historians and folklorists have pondered the origins of the belief in lycanthropy, which is really the human ability to change into not only wolves but bears, big cats and other dangerous creatures. Of all of these transformations though, that of man into wolf is the best known. This is largely due to the Old World traditions of wolves being feared as predators by the Europeans. There are many historical accounts of wolves preying on human beings during wars and hard winters, although not all of these accounts can be taken as fact. However, the true accounts were prevalent enough that the French had a word for the wolf that has acquired a taste for human flesh, the “werewolf” or the loup-garou.
Although modern naturalists and wildlife experts would all agree that the wolf has gained an unfair reputation over the years, centuries of stories and links to the dark side have maintained most people’s fears about these creatures. In northern Europe, wolf men or berserkers – which were warriors clad in animal skins – were greatly feared for this viciousness and the slaughtering of other warriors and innocents alike. In the Baltic and Slavic regions of Europe, people worshipped a wolf deity that could be benevolent or deadly without warning.
As Christianity rose to power, the church condemned such beliefs and soon, the wolf was seen as a symbol of evil. Many debated over whether or not men really turned into wolves or if Satan merely caused witnesses to be deluded into thinking a man had changed into a wolf.
For those who claimed such powers, their delusions were frighteningly real. Many people who believed themselves to be werewolves testified, under torture and otherwise, of murdering both people and animals while in their transformed state. For this reason, many researcher today have associated being a “werewolf” with those we would deem to be murderously mentally ill. Among these were serial killers like Stubbe Peeter, who was tried in Germany in 1589 for a 25 year crime spree. During that time, he murdered adults and children (including his own son), committed cannibalism and incest and attacked animals. Peeter claimed to have made a pact with Satan, who had then given him an animal pelt that would change him into a wolf. In 1598, French authorities arrested Jacques Roulet after he was found hiding in some brush and covered with the blood of a mutilated teenaged boy. Roulet claimed that he had killed the boy while transformed into a werewolf.
With tales such of this, lycanthropy has been deemed as a serious mental disorder. But can we really place all accounts of werewolves into a category of human dysfunction? There are sightings and accounts that do exist, although few of them, that lead researchers to ponder whether or not man-wolves can actually be real. In reality, these creatures should not exist, but so much of our understanding of these creatures comes from anthropologists and folklorists (not to mention the movies) and since these sensible people would never believe that a werewolf could possibly be seen – they natural dismiss any true accounts that might surface.
This is not to say that werewolves are real – I leave such decisions for the reader to judge – but there are some accounts out there that just might have you thinking twice. Remember that werewolves are only slightly less implausible than many other creatures that people claim to see (from Bigfoot to giant winged creatures) but most of us have a lot less trouble believing in the other assorted monsters said to wander the land. The stories that follow do not amount to trying to convince the reader that true werewolves are prowling America, but they are worthy of interest.
One of the first Wisconsin werewolf sightings occurred in 1936. A man named Mark Schackelman reportedly encountering a talking wolfman just east of Jefferson, Wisconsin on Highway 18. As he was driving along the road one evening, he spotted a figure digging in an old Indian mound. He looked closer and saw that the figure was a strange, hair-covered creature that stood erect and stood more than six feet tall. The face of the creature boasted a muzzle and features of both an ape and a dog. Its hands were oddly formed with a twisted thumb and three fully formed fingers. The beast gave off a putrid smell that was like “decaying meat”.
Schackelman returned to the site the following evening, hoping for another look, and this time, he actually heard the creature speak in what he described as being “neo human”. The beats uttered a “three-syllable growling noise that sounded like gadara with the emphasis on the second syllable.” Schackelman was a religious man and after spotting this obviously “evil” creature, he began to back away from it and to pray. Eventually the creature was lost to sight.
But did it turn up again? In 1964, another man, Dennis Fewless, had a similar sighting less than two miles away. Fewless was driving home around midnight from his job at the Admiral Television Corp. in Harvard, Illinois. After turning onto Highway 89 from Highway 14, his headlights caught an animal running across the road in front of him. It was dark brown in color and he estimated that it weighed between 400 and 500 pounds. He also described it as being seven or eight feet tall. It ran across the highway, jumped a barbed wire fence and vanished. Fewless returned to the spot (in the daylight) hours to look for footprints or other evidence but the hard, sun-dried ground offered nothing. They did find where the corn had been pushed aside as the beast entered the field though. “I was awful scared that night,” Fewless told author Jay Rath. “That was no man. It was all hairy from head to feet.”
In 1972, a werewolf returned to Wisconsin. One night, a woman in rural Jefferson County called the police to report an attempted break in at her home. According to an investigation conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, she said that the intruder was a “large, unknown animal” that had come to the house and had tried to get in the door. The creature departed but returned again a few weeks later and injured one of her farm animals. The account stated that the creature had long, dark hair, stood about eight feet tall and walked upright like a man. Its arms were long and it had claws on each hand. After trying to enter the house, the beast went out to the barn and attacked a horse that was stabled there. It left behind a deep gash on the animal that stretched from one shoulder to the other. A footprint left behind was more than a foot long. Bigfoot investigators dismissed the report, saying that a Sasquatch would never be that aggressive. But what about a werewolf?
Perhaps the most celebrated and strange werewolf reports of recent years again come from Wisconsin and involve what has been dubbed the “Bray Road Beast”.
The first sighting to go public occurred (perhaps fittingly) on October 31, 1999. A young woman named Doristine Gipson, from nearby Elkhorn, was driving along Bray Road near Delavan. As she neared the intersection of Hospital Road, she leaned over to change the station on her radio when she felt her right front tire jump off the ground as if she had hit something. Concerned, she stopped the car and got out to see what it was. Finding nothing on the roadway behind her car, she began to look around. As she peered into the darkness, she suddenly saw a dark, hairy form racing toward her. She did not see what the figure looked like from the distance at which she was standing (about 50 feet) but she did see the figure was quite bulky and she would later compare the form to someone who works out continually with weights. Startled by the oncoming form, and by the sounds of its “heavy feet”, she quickly retreated to her car. She jumped in and was attempting to drive away when the beast jumped onto her trunk. Luckily, it was too wet for the creature to hang on and it fell off onto the pavement. Doristine returned to the site later on that evening with a young girl that she was taking out trick-or-treating and saw a large form on the side of the road. When she saw the creature moving, she ordered the child to lock her door and drove quickly away from the scene.
She had no idea what she had seen but wondered if perhaps it might be a bear, angry because she had struck it with her car. Regardless, she told a neighbor about the encounter the next day and showed her the scratched car. As word spread, more local people began to step forward with their own encounters with the beast, dating back to 1989.
One night in the fall of that year, 24 year old bar manager Lorianne Endrizzi was rounding a curve on Bray Road (just a half mile from the site of the later incident) and saw what she thought was a person kneeling and hunched over on the side of the road. When she slowed down, she took a closer look at the figure on the passenger side of the car. She was no more than six feet away from it at the time. The sighting lasted for about 45 seconds and she stated that she clearly saw a beast with grayish, brown hair, fangs and pointed ears. “His face was … long and snouty, like a wolf”.
She also noted that even though the car’s headlights were pointed ahead down the roadway, the creature’s eyes glowed with a yellowish color, just like an animal’s will do when reflected car lights. Like Doris Gipson, she also saw how wide and powerful the creature’s chest and build were. She went on to add that the arms of the beast were rather strange. They were jointed as a man’s would be and it seemed to be holding food with its palms upward, completely like any animal that she had ever heard of. The arms were muscular (“like a man who had worked out a little bit”) and the creature seemed to have human-like fingers with claws on the ends. She did not notice any sort of tail but did say that its back legs were behind it, like a person would be if kneeling.
Endrizzi was completely unnerved by the sighting. She later stated in an interview that the creature “appeared to be so human-like that it was scary.” He own answer to what she had seen was that it had been a “freak of nature”. She had no idea what it could have been until she saw a book at the library that had an illustration of a werewolf in it. It so closely resembled what she had seen on Bray Road that her “eyes popped out” of her head.
After hearing Doris Gipson’s account by way of rumor, Endrizzi contacted the Lakeland Animal Shelter and her mother contacted a local newspaper writer named Linda Godfrey, hoping that publicity might encourage other people who had encountered the creature to come forward. The story that followed was published on December 29, 1991 and while it contained basic information about the Gipson and Endrizzi sightings (using pseudonyms for the two women), it also included some scanty information on other sightings. It also mentioned that chickens had been stolen and than another family who lived near Bray Road had experienced their own close encounter with the beast. Karen Bowey, who actually lived along Bowers Road, stated that her daughter Heather (age 11) had seen the creature back in 1989. They had been playing outside and though they had spotted a large dog – until it stood up. She mentioned the odd shape of its back legs and the speed at which it could move. The county humane officer, John Frederickson, told the reporter that he believed the creature was a “coyote” but he did concede that there were a lot of people who believed that they had seen something out of the ordinary. He admitted that he was not sure what to make of it.
Predictably, large media outlets picked up the story and the witnesses began to suffer from practical jokes and laughter. Werewolf signs were planted in front yards and werewolf parties became common, even at the bar where Endrizzi worked. Monster t-shirts were sold and tourists cruised up and down Bray Road, hoping for a glimpse of the creature. As time went by though, the excitement decreased and the temper of the community began to wear thin. Despite all of the jokes and humor, there was still an undercurrent of fear in Delavan and Elkhorn. Something was going on out in the vicinity of Bray Road and soon people began to whisper about other things as well.
Just the summer before the wolf creature had been reported, a dozen or so animals had been dumped in a ditch along nearby Willow Road. John Frederickson, the human officer from Delavan, stated that he believed several of the animals had been used in cult rituals. While Linn police chief James Jensen dismissed this idea in June 1991, Frederickson insisted that officials were missing the point. According to the officer, some of the animals had ropes tied around their back legs and their throats were slit, some were decapitated and others were dismembered in various ways. The most recently killed animals was a dog that had its chest cavity split open and its heart removed. Several of the animals matched descriptions of recently missing pets and they certainly had not been killed by passing cars. The mutilated carcasses were almost immediately covered up – literally. The site was quickly bulldozed, ending Frederickson’s investigation but it did not end the whispers and rumors that followed.
Other reports began to reach Frederickson that summer as well. Rumors were passed on about humane officer imposters who pursued stray dogs. One incident also involved an unidentified man in a black uniform (driving a large black car) who attempted to intimidate a child who was home alone into giving up his black Labrador Retriever. Around this same time, there were also reports of occult graffiti being found in an abandoned house and at the local cemetery, where graves markers were also found to be covered with candle wax. The abandoned house was located just a quarter-mile off Bray Road. This led many to ponder whether the satanic activity and the Bray Road Beast were in some way connected. The strange stories and animal carcasses had been whispered about and discovered just a few months before the first sightings of the monster had been publicized – but the beast was apparently in the vicinity long before that.
An earlier sighting of “something” was made by a dairy farmer from Elkhorn named Scott Bray, who reported seeing a “strange looking dog” in his pasture near Bray Road in September or October of 1989. He said that the beast was larger and taller than a German Shepherd and had pointed ears, a hair tail and long gray and black hair. He added that it was built very heavy in the front, as if it had a strong chest. He followed the “dog” to a large pile of rocks but the creature had vanished. He did find that it had left behind huge footprints though, which disappeared into the grass of the pasture.
Russell Gest of Elkhorn also reported seeing the creature about the same time as the Scott Bray sighting. He was about a block or so away from an overgrown area and when he heard weeds being rustled, he looked up to see a creature emerge from the thi9cket. It was standing on its hind feet and then took two “wobbly” steps forward before Gest began to run away. He looked back to see that the creature was now on all fours, but it never gave chase. After a short distance, it wandered off in the direction of Bray Road. Gest said that the creature was much larger than a German Shepherd and was covered with black and grayish hair. While standing upright, it appeared to be about five feet tall. It had an oversized dog or wolf-like head with a big neck and wide shoulders. The animals form was mostly dog-like, leading Gest to surmise that it was some sort of dog-wolf hybrid.
Around Christmas 1990, Heather Bowey had her previously mentioned encounter. She had no idea that she had seen the same thing as Doris Gipson until she heard the young woman talking about on the school bus. The driver, Pat Lester, (who happened to be Lori Endrizzi’s mother – coincidence?), listened to the girl’s story and passed it on to Linda Godfrey. The reporter then contacted Karen Bowey, also a school bus driver, and then mentioned the sighting in the newspaper. Heather elaborated on the encounter to Scarlett Sankey.
The sighting occurred around 4:30 pm as Heather and several friends were returning home from sledding near Loveland Road (about a mile and a half southeast of the intersection of Bray and Hospital Roads). They happened to look up and see what appeared to be a large dog walking along a creek in snow-covered cornfield. Heather estimated that it was about a block away from them. Thinking that it was a dog, they children began calling to it. The creature looked at them and then it stood up on its hind legs. She described it as being covered with long “silverfish-like- brownish” hair. The beast took four awkward steps in their direction and then dropped down on all fours and began to run at the children in what Heather later described as being “a bigger leap than dogs run.” It followed the group about halfway to the Bowey home (about 250 yards away) before it ran off in another direction.
In March 1990, an Elkhorn dairy farmer named Mike Etten spotted something unusual along Bray Road one early morning around 2:00 am. In the moonlight, Etten (who admitted that he had been drinking at the time) saw a dark-haired creature that was bigger than a dog, just a short distance from the Hospital Road intersection. Whatever the creature was, it was sitting “like a raccoon sits”, using its front paws to hold onto something that it was eating. As he passed by the creature, it lifted its head and looked at him. He described the head as being thick and wide, with snout that was not as long as a dog’s. The body was covered with dark, thick hair and its legs were big and thick. Not being able to identify the animal, Etten assumed that it was a bear. However, when the other sightings of the Bray Road Beast were made public in 1991, he had to reconsider this assumption.
One of the last reported encounters with the creature occurred in early February 1992. It happened around 10:30 pm on Highway H, about six miles southwest of the Bray and Hospital Roads intersection. A young woman named Tammy Bray, who worked for a retirement home, was driving along when a large, dog-like animal crossed the road in front of her. She quickly punched the brakes and slide to a stop, just about the same time that the creature turned and looked at her. She described the creature as have a board chest and pointed ears and being covered with matted brown and black fur. The narrow nose, thick neck and shining yellow eyes of the beast quickly convinced her that she was not looking at any sort of dog. Finally, it continued on, unafraid, across the road and she noted that it walked “strong in front, more slouchy, sloppy-like in the rear.” Tammy drove home and hurried into the house to tell her husband, Scott Bray, that she had seen the same animal that he had earlier seen in their pasture.
The sightings eventually died out but the strangeness that seemed to envelope the region took a little longer to fade. In January 1992, just as furor over the Bray Road Beast sightings was starting to quiet down, a local “reputable businessman” told reporter Linda Godfrey that he had seen two bright lights emitting sparks and moving erratically across the sky above Delavan. Later that spring, four or five horses that were pastured near Elkhorn were found with their throats slashed. John Frederickson, who investigated, was quoted as saying that “They were almost surgical-type wounds”. And then after than, things became eerily quiet.
So, what was the Bray Road Beast? Neither a coyote or the native red wolf can really match the descriptions that were given of the creature, despite humane officer John Frederickson’s comments that a coyote might rear up on its hind legs before running, explaining several witnesses claims that it walked on two legs. A gray wolf would be much larger than a red wolf but are not generally found in the area. In addition, gray wolves are much narrower in the chest than the Bray Road creature was reported to be and wolves are shy of humans and despite the matching yellow eyes, would not attack a car as the creature from the Doris Gipson encounter did. The creature simply resembled no known animals, but alternately was compared to dogs, bears and wolves. According to Jerome Clark, Dan Groebner of the International Wolf Research Center in Ely, Minnesota stated that the creature could not be a wild wolf.
Witnesses also insisted that it was not a dog, although some suggested that it could have been a wolf-dog hybrid of some sort, But how does this explain the creature’s habit of kneeling, walking on two legs and holding onto food with the flat of its paws turned upward? Also, Lori Endrizzi claimed that the animal had human-like fingers! The idea that the monster may have been a bear is also called into question. While bears do occasionally walk for short distances on two legs, they do not hold food with their palms up, do not jump onto moving cars and very rarely do they pursue or try to attack humans.
So, what could it have been? To find possible answers to that, we have to look outside of the normal confines of zoology. Researcher Richard Hendricks points to a creature that was suggested by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark called the “shunka warak’in”. The creature was said to have lived in the wilds of the Upper Midwest and was a wolf-like animal that was known to the Native American population and to the early settlers in the region. The creature was named by the Ioway Indians and its name meant “carrying-off dogs”. Little is known for sure about the creature but apparently it was quite fierce and for awhile, a mounted specimen of one was exhibited at various times in the west Yellowstone area and in a small museum near Henry Lake in Idaho. Interestingly, the dog-hyena type creature fits many of the descriptions of witnesses in southeastern Wisconsin, including its strange look (which would have made many compare it to a wolf or a god mix), its dark shaggy fur and a sloping weakness to its back legs, which was noted in almost every report.
But even if we accept the possibility that this creature could have been one of the rare, and possibly extinct “shunka warak’in”, then how do we still explain the fact that it picked up its food with its paws (hands?) and walked about on two legs. If the Bray Road Beast was real – it had to have been some sort of creature that has never been classified before.
Or more incredible to believe, a genuine werewolf! Investigator Todd Roll was quick to point out the hints that there may have been an occult connection to the Bray Road Beast. The discovery of the mutilated animal carcasses and the occult activity at the cemetery and the abandoned house coincided with the sightings of the monster in the region. Do we dare consider the idea that the beast was a shape shifter of some sort, blending between man and wolf?
There is also one more theory that we have to consider – that the entire thing could have been an elaborate hoax. Notwithstanding the fact that Doris Gipson’s encounter took place on Halloween, there were other problems as well. The most obvious issue to cause suspicion was the relationships between all of those involved in the case. Endrizzi’s mother, Pat Lester, is a central figure in the case. In addition to being one witness’ mother, she was also Gipson’s neighbor and drove the school bus that Gipson, Heather Bowey and Russell Gest rode. Heather’s mother was also a school bus driver. Tammy Bray was also a friend of Pat Lester’s daughter and the wife of Scott Bray. It was also Lester who took the initiative to contact the newspaper about the sightings. However, it should be strongly pointed out that Lester never tried to influence the reports of the witnesses. It seems more likely that she was simply in a position to hear about the encounters and her interest and compassion towards those involved helped to encourage them to go public.
So, could they have been making the whole thing up? Sure, they could have been, but it doesn’t seem likely, especially based on the fact that no one had anything to gain by making the sightings public – other than ridicule and embarrassment, which is hardly an incentive to make your story known.
As time has passed, the investigation into the case has grown cold and with no further sightings of the Bray Road Beast to continue the news story, the papers have fallen silent. One has to wonder if we will ever know the truth of what happened in southeastern Wisconsin between 1989 and 1992 for the mystery, at this point, remains unsolved.