They Walked Like Men and Screamed

By: Joseph Guerra

(The clip above is from the famous Gable Film that supposedly shows footage of the Dogman)

Every October for has a special meaning for me as a person who has lived in Michigan all my life. And when I say that I mean it’s particularly exciting for someone from the northern part of the state. That’s because every October means the return of Michigan’s own Dogman. More important than the pumpkin or even trick or treating, for people who have heard the legend know that Halloween isn’t a time for celebration but instead a time for fear, a time when the Dogman comes out to play. The Dogman in our times has become popular through a song that originally played in 1987 on a local country radio station. The song speaks of a creature that stands on two legs which looks and howls like a dog. Unlike the werewolf, a dogman is and always was a wild animal that loves to attack and frighten its prey. The legend says that the dogman only comes out on the seventh year of every decade, but that doesn’t stop sightings from all year round. People who have encountered the creature describe the terror of watching an animal walk like a man as well as the fact that it’s a goddamn seven foot tall wolf. Cabins have been found destroyed, livestock have been found slaughtered, and the whole town of Sigma in the northern- most part of the state has its whole populace vanish without a trace, with hundreds of wolf tracks surrounding the houses in the village. The Dogman is a real monster.

Which brings me to the reason has to why I’m writing about it. The legend of the Dogman has always been an integral part of my Halloween as well as why I love horror. If you look at the Wikipedia article for the Dogman you’ll find that it says the creature resides in Wexford County. That’s literally where I was born and raised. Every single October I would eagerly search for signs of the Dogman and I would listen to WTCM just to hear the song play again. I never found any signs but I loved the idea that a monster might live outside my house. Of course, I also spent a lot of nights staying awake as I lived right next to several hundred acres of forest. Nevertheless, the legend played a huge part in my search for even scarier stories, which lead me to Stephen King, Wes Craven, and other icons of horror. Although I live in Ann Arbor now I always listen to the song every October as a reminder of home and that childhood feeling of fear. If there’s a point to all this it’s that sometimes horror can be just as close to your heart as a childhood friend or your first crush. The Dogman will always have a special place in my heart, and hopefully you have something that scares you as well as brings out the warm fuzzies.

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5 thoughts on “They Walked Like Men and Screamed

  1. I am from Michigan as well and whenever my family would go camping when I was younger, someone would tell the legend of the dogman. As a child I was very frightened by the legend. My sister, who is two years older than me, and I would always sleep with a rock underneath our pillows to ward off the dogman in case he ever came near us. As I have grown up I still enjoy listening to song and retelling stories of sightings of the dogman. I will continue to share the legend once I have children and give them a little bit of a fright.

  2. I think the most important aspect of your infatuation with Dogman is that even though you have never seen it or received real proof of its existence, the belief that it is out there is enough to hold a sentimental value in your heart. I personally think that is what makes Halloween so exciting and special; it brings along the idea that anything can happen. That you could see a ghost, a witch, or better yet a zombie. That some terrifying occurrence will take place your presence. I think that believing horror is out there is what actually validates its existence because as long as we believe it is relevant in the way we perceive the world. Believing is what keeps us on our toes, which is the feeling most of us are attracted to being fans of horror.

  3. I have never heard of this tale before, and I am from Michigan as well. I always love the time of Halloween when friends and family share scary stories around a campfire. To me some of the scariest stories are the folk tale ones, the ones that have a bit of history and culture tied in. They add so much more significance to the story. This one doesn’t seem to be too frightening, but I will definitely read up on it.

  4. I agree that even horrifying figures can find a place in our lives and thoughts. I’m also similar in that the things that scare me, at least things like this which are mysterious and mythical, also pull me in. I’ve always been intrigued by horror stories and scary tales, and like listening to the evidence and clues people find to support them. Still, even in my curiositity and interest, and despite the little part of me that might believe these stories, I am always overpowered by my reason, which tells me that it is nothing but that, a story. I admire your ability to believe so wholeheartedly in something like this.

  5. Pingback: “Somewhere in the North Woods’ Darkness, a Creature Walks Upright…” | The Course of Horror

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