I recently received the following bizarre account from Gerald in New Jersey:
Sir - I would like to pass along a true story told to me by my grandfather when I was a young man. The story involves my great-grandfather, whose name was James McNamara. He was a patrolman in the New York City Police Department. This incident occurred in October of 1911 during the late evening hours.
James was assigned to the theater district, in the area of Broadway and 42nd Street. Another patrolman, by the name of Dobbins, was two blocks south on Broadway near 40th Street.
Theater goers were walking about and enjoying the 'Great White Way' when suddenly there were screams emanating from an alley-way just below James' position. Both patrolmen ran toward the ruckus, forcing their way through hundreds of fleeing pedestrians.
As they reached the alley-way, a tall hairy beast ran out onto Broadway and towards 40th Street. Neither patrolman could believe what they saw. An eight-foot tall wolf with human-like arms and legs, running with skill and speed down the middle of Broadway. Soon the beast was facing a NYC Packard squad car, so it changed direction and moving back towards McNamara and Dobbins. The beast was growling as it moved forward. The patrolmen took positions by a news stand, hiding and waiting for the horrible creature to move before them.
Soon the beast was at the entrance of another alley-way near 42nd Street. Both patrolmen pulled their revolvers and took deadly aim. The beast quickly dropped to the gutter. Immediately McNamara and Dobbins surrounded the body as other officers joined them. None of the public was allowed to come within 100 feet of the unknown canine. The body was quickly removed and taken to the mortuary.
Both patrolmen were placed on other assignments. The squad was told by their superiors that this was simply mistaken identity an that the deceased was a man in a costume. Of course, that was not the truth.
The press was later told that a 'large mad dog' caused the disruption and that none of the public were injured.
A few months later, a brief article was published in a Louisiana newspaper (The St. Mary Banner, Franklin, LA) and picked-up by a few other media outlets:
NEW YORK — No sign remained in the Broadway theater district the next morning following the scenes that were enacted there one night when a maddened beast charged up and down, spreading terror and consternation, causing handsomely gowned women to faint and strong men to leave their cocktails untouched and flee for safety. That lion with the burning tail that broke loose during the Coney Island fire last spring was a tame affair in comparison with the Broadway monster.
The beast is described in the police blotter as a large terrier, but it is evident that the police were anxious to minimise the seriousness of the panic. Hundreds of the witnesses will testify that the animal was at least eight feet tall its foaming mouth and wicked fangs were too terrible for description.
The beast was seen first at Broadway and Forty-second street. With a blood-curdling "Bow. wow!" it rushed up to a beautiful woman as her companion rushed to her assistance and fearlessly planted a kick in the monster’s hind-quarters. 'Ki yi' screamed the wild thing, as it tore off down Broadway. At Fortieth street, two boys, with the foolhardiness of youth, tried to seize the animal by its tail. The beast turned upon them and bayed horribly.
On to Thirty-ninth street, scattering pedestrians right and left, raced the great dog. If dog indeed it was. At the corner it emitted a whine that was even more terrifying than its growl and turned back the way it had come. As the beast ran back, Patrolmen McNamara and Dobbins drew their revolvers. Dobbins shot straight and true, and the monster keeled over in the gutter.
The police have offered no further statements.
NOTE: after I received the email, I contacted Gerald and discussed the information I received. I'm convinced that he is telling me what he was told, and that he believes it to be true. I did a bit of research and found an article from The Holbrook News., Holbrook, AZ, March 1, 1912...though the article seemed to be an edited version of the original text. So did Gotham experience a Dogman / upright canine incident? Your thoughts. Lon
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