The sightings were often said to start in the 1980’s but there were reports of something before then. The 1980’s and after sightings were said to be attributed to suggestion by a radio hoax/ song about a dog man. However stories and sightings were reported before this time.
A French fur trader's diary from 1794 told of an encounter with "loup garou." (The were wolf.).
A letter from 1857 described a creature that stood upright like a man, yet "bore the countenance of a grey wolf."
1936: Mark Schackelman was driving along Highway 18, when he saw something digging in an old AmerIndian mound. The figure was covered with hair, stood erect and was over six feet tall. Its face was lupine.. He returned to the site the next evening, hoping to see it again. He did. It spoke in a three-syllable growling way that sounded like “gadara.” Schackelman was a religious man and after seeing what he believed to be an evil creature, he began to pray. The creature disappeared.
In 1938, Robert Fortney who was 17 years old , was fishing from the banks of the Muskegon River near Paris, Michigan. He was startled when a pack of what appeared to be large feral dogs emerged from the woods nearby. Fortney remained silent, but the sensitive noses of the dogs quickly picked up his scent .Fortney picked up his gun and fired a shot into the air. The dogs turned to slink back into the forest, all except one: a huge black dog with unusual eyes. The dog had blue eyes.
In 1964: Dennis Fewless had a sighting in the same area. He was driving home around midnight when he saw an animal running across the road in the beam of his headlights. It was dark brown, hairy and about seven feet tall. It ran across the highway, jumped over a barbed wire fence, then vanished.
In 1967, two friends were fishing from a rowboat near the south shore of Claybank Lake in Manistee County, Michigan when one of them spotted an animal swimming toward the boat. "At first I thought it was a deer," said one of the anonymous fishermen, And I thought 'how odd - why would a deer be swimming toward our boat?' Then as it got closer, it looked more like a man's face.". The animal , when it got closer did have the features of a man, but with an extended canine snout. Beneath the water, they could see four legs paddling like a dog "I don't know what I saw," one of the fishermen told a reporter from the Traverse City Record Eagle in 1987. "I don't want to go into it."
In 1972: A woman in Jefferson County called the police to report an attempted break in. a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources investigated. She stated that the intruder was a large, unknown animal with long, dark hair, about eight feet tall, walked upright, had long arms and claws on each hand. It went to the barn and attacked a horse, leaving a deep gash .
In 1987, the telephone rang at the Lake County Sheriff's office in Baldwin, about 10 miles southwest of Luther. A man described what he termed "an animal attack" on his remote cabin. The damage was significant enough that the caller wanted an officer dispatched to file a report. The ranger and the deputy filed incident reports later that day. Both of them listed the perpetrator of the attack as an "unknown animal."
In 1989: Lorianne Endrizzi was driving on Bray Road when she saw what she thought was a person hunched over by the roadside. She slowed down to take a closer look. She was no more than six feet away from it. Endrizzi clearly saw a beast with grayish brown hair, fangs, pointed ears and glowing yellow eyes
In1989: Scott Bray reported seeing a strange dog in his pasture near Bray Road. It was larger and taller than a German shepherd, had pointed ears, a hairy tail, a coat of long gray and black hair. He followed it to a large pile of rocks, but the creature vanished. He found huge footprints.IN 1999: Pat ( not her real name): It was October this year, on Halloween. I was going down Bray Road, and it was kind of smoggy out, and my front tire got lifted off the ground. I'd hit something. So I kept going about 50 or 60 feet, right before Sitler Road, and then I got out of the car. I'm looking around the side to see what it was, 'cause I'm thinking I hit a small animal. I hit a bird the same night and so I'm thinking I just killed another animal. There was nothing on the road, no blood or anything. I didn't see anybody, and I felt like if I hit it, it should have stayed there. I walked to the end of the car, and here comes this thing, and it's just running up at me! You could see the chest of this thing because it was big, and it was hairy. It was fast, that's for sure, because I see this thing, I get in the car, and by the time I got inside the car the thing had grabbed hold of the car. I just put my foot on the gas pedal and I started going. Maybe after I got going I looked back, but at the time I was more interested in leaving. The way it was running, you could suggest that it was on two legs because you could see the chest so well and it was pulsating as it was coming toward me. It was hitting the ground hard. I've never seen a human run as fast as that and my uncle was a track star. (If he'd gotten me) I probably would have been dinner that night. It was bigger than any dog I've seen around here. We had a couple of Rottweilers and we had one that was a real big one, and this thing was bigger than he was. And he had more hair. It was brown. You could see the hair; dark colored. It wasn't black, though. Long straight hairs. Coyotes don't get that big. I've seen a coyote. They were suggesting it was a bear at my house but I told them it wasn't that big. But it was bigger than any animal I've ever seen around here. When the nails hit my car it was like, mmmph! (she clapped her hands together forcefully). It hit the top of the trunk and it slid off. The fog made the car wet. But when it was going down it scratched (the car). This did not look like a German shepherd. I swear to that.
And this: Barbara: I was driving home one night on Bray Road, and I saw this thing on the side of the road. As I came up to it in my car, its back was to me so I saw it had ears and the whole bit. It was kneeling! Its elbows were up, and its claws were facing out so I knew it had claws. I remember the long claws. And it was eating road kill or something, and as I drove by and I saw all this, it looked right at me and didn't run. It didn't get spooked or anything. And it had like glowing eyes, which probably were a reflection of my headlights. It was right on Bray Road, right before the Bray farm, on the curve. And I saw it. He was brownish-gray , and he had big teeth and fangs. And he looked at me. He turned his head to look at me. It was about the size of an average man, 5-foot-7 maybe, about 150 pounds. It was holding the thing it was eating palms up, with the real long claws and the pointed ears. He had a big long nose and a long chin, like this on this picture (she pointed to a drawing of a "werewolf" from a library book).This is exactly what I saw (the picture). This is it. This is what it looked like. This happened to me two years ago. And after I'd heard that Pat had an incident with it, I decided to go to the library. I looked through a few books they had for a picture of what it looked like, and I found that picture. The knees were bent in a kneeling position, like a human would do.
There have been sightings recorded as recently as 2005.See Linda Godfrey’s site :http://www.beastofbrayroad.com/mainlair.html
There was also a film made in 2005 about the sightings, called the Beast of Bray Road.
So hysteria, legend, mistaken identity , wolf or were wolf ? There are conditions such as hypertrichosis (excessive hair growth over the entire body) which would explain the human like stance, if it was a sufferer . The person would probably only go out at night for fear of ridicule or worse. There is also a mental disorder called clinical lycanthropy, in which an affected person has a delusional belief that they are transforming into another animal, although not always a wolf . It is a rare condition. Either would account for the human like appearance. The sightings have been going on for a long time thought so there can be no definite answer unless one is captured on film or hair samples etc found and analysed. A great story though!