Mysteries, Oddities, and Everything Strange: Beast of Bray Road


Bridget Vaughan, Staff Writer

Beast of Bray Road: A Wisconsin Werewolf

Wisconsin has pretty much faded into obscurity. Sure, everyone knows California, New York, Texas, and Florida, but practically no one outside of geography nerds can tell you where it is on a map. Ask any foreigner and they would probably not be able to point out Wisconsin on a map. So sure, everyone kind of forgets that Wisconsin exists, but it has its perks. Its thriving beer and cheese industry, all the cows, and that’s pretty much it. But there is one urban legend that thrives among the people living in Wisconsin, and its presence has inspired folk tales, documentaries, and even movies. That legend, known as the Beast of Bray Road, has terrorized Wisconsin citizens for nearly a century, but its history is somewhat convoluted.

Although the creature is most accurately associated with the word werewolf, its behaviors and attributes would explain differently. Most accounts do describe what is chocked up as a large, hairy, bipedal creature. Witnesses estimate a six to seven foot tall towering beast with a body entirely covered in thick fur. The head shape resembles that of a bear or a wolf, possessing other canine features like teeth and claws. It has bright yellow eyes and wanders around on both two and four legs. It appears most similarly to a man with bulging muscles and has significant pointed ears.

The most famous sighting of the Beast of Bray Road came, unsurprisingly, on Bray Road in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. There had already been a plethora of unexplained car damage reports in the area, with attendants leaving their car and coming back to find claw marks embedded in the doors. One unnamed 18-year-old woman was driving along Bray Road when she heard a strange thud from the front of her car. Believing she had hit something, the woman opened her car door to assess the damage, but was immediately herded back into her car when a hulking creature with canine features sprung towards her. She locked the doors as the creature began attacking her car, leaving extensive scratch marks on all sides. 

Sightings have been reported since 1936, occurring during all hours of the day. Many accounts report a wolf-like monster frolicking through local corn fields, with one even chasing a deer. Other evidence of the creature includes mutilated animal remains with certain organs carved out being abandoned near and alongside Bray Road. One witness report described a suspiciously gargantuan monster slobbering over the remains of a dead animal on the side of the road in the wee hours of the night. Despite these violent and bloody encounters, no beast has ever been reported to attack anyone, simply scaring them off or even running away itself. 

Surprisingly, there seems to be an aura of debate around the identity of the Beast of Bray Road. Many think that the creature resembles more of a werewolf, while others assert that its characteristics match more of a sasquatch-like creature. Even more people preach that the beast is a type of animal not yet identified by anyone that is unique to the area surrounding Elkhorn, Wisconsin. The Beast goes by many names, including Indigenous Dogman, Manwolf, and Bear-Wolf, among others. Cryptozoologists and other experienced figures have concluded that the Beast of Bray Road is a Wisconsonian Bigfoot that has already been identified and sighted in many cases. Doubters state that the creature is just a pretty big dog or black bear.

As with most famous cryptids, locals love to capitalize on its fame. In the case of the Beast of Bray Road, an entire movie was filmed about it. The Asylum is a film studio known for creating straight to DVD movies that mirror popular creations of the time. The scripts, plots, and characters resemble that of famous horror films, mostly intended to capitalize on their success. In 2005, the company took to making a “mockbuster” of the legend, titling it The Beast of Bray Road and achieving little to no success. The Manwolf has been subject to more stardom than most, with a 2018 indie documentary highlighting the strange occurrences surrounding its legend. It has been featured in a plethora of monster-hunting television shows, including Haunted Highway, In Search of Monsters, and Legend Hunter

So the mystery of the Beast of Bray Road may never be solved. Whether it be an infected wild dog, a wild black bear, or a violent werewolf-like creature with a thirst for blood, the legend of the monster will persist for decades to come. Sure, Wisconsin might not have much to its legacy other than a whole lot of cheese, the beast will be passed oratorically from generation to generation as the legends of Bray Road will haunt local families. Although I doubt anyone reading this will be visiting Wisconsin of all places in the near future, take a gander at the obscure side road if the opportunity presents itself, and take care not to hit any rather large creatures, whether it be a gigantic dog or a very muscly man.