Strange Wisconsin. You could call it that. And Linda S. Godfrey does. She’s the author of the midwest collection of Weird Wisconsin, Strange Wisconsin, and Strange Michigan. Godfrey started out as a reporter and cartoonist for a newspaper, but always had an interest in the mysterious. Her journey into the strange began when a few Wisconsin citizens started reporting werewolf sightings in the town of Elkhorn. (I think I went to Girl Scout camp there.) Considered out of hand and nonsense, no other reporter would touch the story, but Godfrey thought if there was a beastly animal loose in the neighborhood, the people deserved to know. So began the interviews with witnesses of The Beast of Bray Road and Godfrey became the expert of paranormal Wisconsin.
Here is a sketch of the beast Godfrey drew after tallying the descriptions around town. If you ask her where she stands on the explanation behind such a creature, she’ll tell you it’s firmly in the middle. We simply don’t know. She has coined the term “canid” to describe a canine hominid, saying it’s possible a breeding species has kept itself hidden in the pockets of Wisconsin’s wild until now. We’ve only really inhabited our state for 200 years. It could be evolution that caused the animal to become bipedal over time. But there are accounts of sudden manifestation and telepathy that cause skeptics to wonder. Is this mythological animal suddenly real? Where did it come from? Who sent it?
Some Native Americans believe the animal to be from the spirit world. And one correlation Godfrey discovered is that the majority of these ‘werewolf’ sightings occurred in close proximity to Indian effigy mounds. There are more effigy mounds in our part of the country than found anywhere else. These mounds are assumed to have been used for burial or other ceremony, but their true meaning is unknown. Some mounds that have been shaped like a man with antlers were thought to represent a holy man, but could it have been pointy ears? Is it the same creature people are seeing today?
Godfrey was in my town several months ago, speaking at the library. I stayed afterward to chat with her about her experiences and tell her a few of my own. When I told her the name of the town I grew up in, her eyes widened. “That’s in my book!” she exclaimed and immediately started assaulting the poor young librarian trying to help her handle the book sale table. The girl was trying to grab the book Godfrey wanted to show me and find the map she was looking for. “It’s near the front! Then use the glossary! Give me it!” I couldn’t imagine what was so important about my little hometown that she would yell at this poor girl. “The Circle of Strange!” Apparently, my town makes up one of the four directional cities that encompasses what Godfrey calls the Circle of Strange. This circumference holds the most sightings of werewolves and other eerie things than any other. Huh? Who knew?
I’m not going to tell you I’ve seen a werewolf. I never have. But I have witnessed my fair share of Wisconsin’s paranormal. I guess it’s a hazard of the neighborhood when you live in the Circle of Strange. What do you think? Hoopla or happening?
For more great posts on the paranormal, check out these blogs by:
Terrell Mims Werewolves – Monsters of the Church? Learn the origin of the werewolf!
Manon Eileen Weird Phenomenon: Lake Eerie Lights View footage of the strange orbs over another midwest landscape, Lake Eerie.
Chelsie Matthews from Three Ring Mom I Do Believe in Spooks! I Do! I Do! I Do! Chelsie relays the haunted happenings in her home and they’re starting to freak her out!