In light of the Pennsylvania upright canine / dogman encounters and incidents that our group Phantoms & Monsters Fortean Research has been investigating since 2014, there is a legendary bi-pedal canine supposedly roaming the rolling uplands and mountains of neighboring Maryland. This post includes a few reports & updates I've collected over the years.
Back in May of 2011 I posted a narrative describing the Snallygaster, legendary beast from my neck of the woods in Maryland. Another cryptid from this region is the Dwayyo. Not as well known as the Snallygaster, but just as terrifying to those who have encountered the creature.
In the late 18th century, the Pennsylvania Dutch started to settle on the other side of the Mason-Dixon Line in Carroll, Frederick & Washington Counties. Not long after setting down their new roots, tales of the Hexenwolf started to circulate. The description of this beast was similar to the Dwayyo...'a mammalian biped with features similar to a wolf, but the stance and stature of a human.' These farmers raised livestock for food and revenue, so it was important that their domestic animals be protected from the beast. Decorative five-pointed 'barn stars' may mean numerous things, such as a builder's mark or bringing luck, but I have been told that the real reason for these stars was the belief it was a talisman against baneful spirits or other dark entities...in particular, the Hexenwolf and Snallygaster. There is no reference as to the success of the 'barn stars'...but sometimes a bit of non-conventional intervention can go a long way in making someone feel more safe.
The first literary mention of the name ‘Dwayyo’ or 'Dewayo' officially known as Dwayosapientherapsida Australopithecus Rexus, comes from a sighting in 1944 in West Middleton, Frederick County, Maryland. Witnesses heard the creature make ‘frightful screams’ and there were footprints attesting to the claims of the sighting. I posted a first-person account of an encounter in Middletown, MD (Frederick County) in the early 1960's.
The creature then came to prominence after a story ran in the Fredrick News Post in November of 1965. Reporter George May wrote in the article, “Mysterious Dwayyo Loose in County” that a young man, named anonymously as ‘John Becker’ heard a strange noise in his backyard which was situated on the outskirts of Gambrill State Park. Upon going out to investigate the noise he initially saw nothing, so he headed back in. It was then that he caught site of the creature. Something was moving toward him in the dark, Becker was quoted that “It was as big as a bear, had long black hair, a bushy tail, and growled like a wolf or dog in anger.” The thing quickly moved toward him on its hind legs and began to attack him. He fought off the creature and drove it back into the woods, later calling police to report the incident.
The Frederick newspapers also reported other sightings. Several hunters saw a strange black beast roaming the woods. An Ellerton woman reported that residents of that area had heard something cry like a baby and scream like a woman for several months. A Jefferson woman said that she saw a strange dog-shaped animal about the size of a calf chasing some cows on a farm near her home.
An Adamstown, Maryland woman called the paper and insisted that "this trash about the Dwayyo be stopped." She said her daughter was being treated for a nervous condition because of all this talk about the Dwayyo.
In the summer of 1966, the creature was again sighted on the outskirts of Gambrill State Park. A man only referred to as ‘Jim A.’ encountered the Dwayyo as he was heading toward a camp site. It was described as a shaggy two legged creature the size of a deer that had a triangle shaped head with pointed ears and chin. It was dark brown in color and when approached it made a horrid scream and backed away from the man. Jim described it as having an odd walk as it retreated, it’s legs, “stuck out from the side of the trunk of the body making its movements appear almost spider-like as it backed away”.
In the Fall of 1976 another sighting of the Dwayyo took place in Fredrick County near Thurmont, between Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin Mountain National Park. Two men drove off route 77 and unto a private road so they could ‘spot deer’ by their headlights in order to see how thick the native population had become before deer season. To their surprise, they did not catch a deer in their lights but instead a large animal ran across the front of their car. They described the creature as, “at least 6 ft tall but inclined forward since it was moving quickly. Its head was fairly large and similar to the profile of a wolf. The body was covered in brown or brindle colored fur but the lower half had a striped pattern of noticeable darker and lighter banding. The forelegs (or arms) were slimmer and held out in front as it moved. The back legs were very muscled and thick similar to perhaps a kangaroo. This was not a hominid type creature; it did not have the characteristics of an ape. It was much more similar to a wolf or ferocious dog however it was definitely moving upright and appeared to be adapted for that type of mobility. I was particularly impressed by the size and strength of the back legs, the stripes on the lower half of the body and the canine-wolf-like head.” - from The Michigan Dogman: Werewolves and Other Unknown Canines Across the U.S.A. (Unexplained Presents)
Later in 1978 two park rangers were near the Cunningham Falls area when they encountered “a large hairy creature running on two legs”.
|A witness rendition of the Dwayyo witnessed in West Middleton, Maryland|
Paranormalist Robin Swope relates an anecdote from a witness who says she was driving on Coxey Brown Road near Myersville, Maryland late in the summer of 2009 when she had an strange feeling. It was as if she was being watched. The road was lined with trees, she was on the outer edge of Gambrill State Park, and the forest was beginning to grow thicker. According to her, as she turned on Hawbottom Road, where her friend lived, the feeling became overwhelming. The hairs on the back of her neck rose in terror as she sensed the unseen eyes upon her. She wanted to stop the car and take her breath, she was afraid that she would veer off the road and hit a tree because she her nerves were getting so unsteady that she began to shake. But she knew that whatever was watching her, and following her was out there, and she took what little comfort she had by being safer inside her rust rotted car. Still, to prevent a wreck, she slowed down as she headed south, and that was when she saw the creature.
At first it was a blur to the right of her periphery vision. Something that was moving through the trees, a shadow that flickered as it went in and out of sight on the edge of her vision. It was a brown smear of color that popped out in contrast to the dull dark grey trees that she passed.
Whatever it was, it bobbed through the underbrush and between the trees to keep pace with her car. She thinks at the time, she was going around 25 miles per hour. She then slowed down once more to take a good look to her right, and make sure that she was not seeing things. As her car slowed to a crawl, the brown blurry smear of color seemed to bound out of the woods closer to the road. With a massive leap the hazy color became flesh as a huge dog-like animal on two legs emerged from the foliage.
The fangs are burned into her memory. Huge fangs from a mouth grimaced in anger and hate. She could feel the fangs as if they were ripping her skin while the creature stood there panting on the side of the road. Drool dripped from its huge mouth as she heard a loud growl, and she looked into the dark eyes. Darkness took up its entire eye, there was no white at all. It was if she was staring death and hell head on in dizzying madness.
Then it leaped, arms outstretched with claws grasping the wind. Instinctively she stepped on her gas pedal with all her might. The squeal of her tires seemed as if her car too was screaming in horror at the thing that emerged from the dark looming forest.
She did not look back. She didn’t want to know if the thing was following her. She didn’t feel the eyes upon her anymore. She was too shaken to really feel anything at all. When she made it to her friends house, she sat in the driveway shaking as she looked around to make sure the creature had not followed her there. The house was also in the woods, at the opposite side of the State Park. When she felt safe, she made a mad dash for her friend’s door, and banged on it frantically.
He did not know what to make of her story. The witness knew he did not believe her. He had lived in the woods all his life, and had never encountered what she had seen. He assured her that it must have just been a dog, perhaps a rabid one at that. Her mind was playing tricks on her. But the young woman knew what she had seen that late summer day. It was no dog. It was something out of a horror movie come to life before her eyes. Though she told nobody what she felt it really was, she called it a werewolf. That is until after she did some research in the local college library and came up with the name that others had called it when they too saw the forest come alive. She had encountered the Dwayyo.
I you are aware of upright canine / dogman sighting or encounter, please feel free to contact me. Thanks. Lon
Please Consider a Donation to 'Phantoms & Monsters'
Your financial support of Phantoms & Monsters and our other pursuits is much appreciated. Despite what many people believe, what I do is not a profitable venture. In fact, most of the financing I receive is used to continue providing you with the results of my efforts. This all depends on you, my readers and followers.
Please use the PayPal donation buttons on the blog site and newsletter. You can also go directly to Phantoms & Monsters donation. Thanks again for your loyalty and continued support. Lon
'The legend comes to life, centered on the 19th-century Bell family of Robertson County, Tennessee, near the town of Adams, along the Red River. From 1817-1820, the Bell family is tormented by an entity determined to exact fear and pain. This is a well-produced film by Small Town Monsters that details the folklore associated with this timeless Southern tale. I'm sure that you'll enjoy it.' - Lon Strickler