By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Though they sound fantastical – like the creations of a Hollywood werewolf movie – accounts of the so-called Dogmen continue to pour in from sincere witnesses across the country who are convinced they’ve seen something. These include Wisconsin’s famed Bray Road Beast, but there are also a number of reports out of Kentucky, especially the Land Between the Lakes area.
Impossible as it sounds, folks are convinced they’ve seen upright, bipedal Dogmen. Though there are differences, there are also similarities, like reports of the elongated canine ankle, which gives the appearance of a second, backwards bending knee when the creature is standing upright. (In some instances they reportedly drop to all fours, but in others they’re reported to run off in an upright, bipedal motion.)
Canines that walk upright don’t exist though – outside of the awkward gaits of trained domestic dogs, and that’s not what’s being reported. They don’t have the reported red, glowing eyes of these Dogmen either.
So, if the beast is a biological impossibility, what is it?
That’s the question that Small Town Monsters’ newest film, American Werewolves, ponders. Beginning with older European werewolf stories brought here by early French fur trappers and other settlers, and Native tales of Skinwalker type beasts, the film attempts to put these modern stories in the folkloric context of these earlier stories, but it also takes a close look at how the modern mythos has developed.
That modern mythos, or at least part of it, developed across internet discussion threads on stories and reports, contends that instead of something cryptozoological, some of these Dogmen may be more akin to those earlier Skinwalker and werewolf stories. Instead of purely flesh and blood, some folks believe they may be supernatural.
One popular theory, touched upon briefly in one of the older reported Bray Road stories in STM’s documentary on those sightings, makes a connection between the Dogmen and Native American mound building cultures.
Some of the witnesses in American Werewolves seem to hold with the theory that these are possibly some sort of Native protector spirits related to wolf cults and burial and effigy mounds. It’s a stretch, and one that isn’t necessarily supported by anything more than the most tenuous connections to various Native myths and traditions.
Others believe they may be demonic, or some other type of supernatural being. Still others think they may be flesh and blood, but crossing over to our reality from a parallel dimension somehow, like the various critters reported from Utah’s Skinwalker Ranch.
There is little documentation to support the Native American angle, or any of the other supernatural or interdimensional theories.
Developing folklore never lets documentation get in the way of a good story though, and American Werewolves does a great job of documenting the latest evolution of
werewolf myths through the lens of Dogmen sightings. Whether demon, protector spirit, Skinwalker, or old-school lycanthrope, the stories are compelling and worthy of examination by skeptics and believers alike.
Physical copies of the film are available for pre-order now at the smalltownmonsters.com website, with digital streaming options available after the film’s official release.
Kickstarter backers can access a streaming screener of the film now, through a Vimeo link made available via email. If you were a backer, check your email for access to that link.
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org