Dogman in Traverse City, Michigan

Dogman in Traverse City, Michigan

The following informant is a 19 year-old USC student from Brighton, Michigan. They attended the Interlochen Arts Academy for 2 years before moving to Los Angeles. Here, they are describing an urban legend they recall hearing about a dog creature while attending high school in Northern Michigan; they will be identified as R.

R: A popular urban legend is a, this creature called the Dogman, it’s right where we went to high school in Traverse City. This dog-creature, it wasn’t a werewolf and it wasn’t bigfoot, it was like a hairy many with the head of a dog.

But, no, you’d see him roaming around the woods in the north, it was said this, like, DJ in the 80s said, “I made up the legend as an April Fools joke,” but there’s definitely incidents found from the 30s and 1800s — it’s just, there’s been a tax? I don’t know if there’s videos. Obviously there’s going to be people that fake this, but the guy claimed it’s a joke, but there’s been actual, actual records behind it, and that is Dogman.


The informant is my younger sibling, and the two of us attended the same boarding high school in Northern Michigan (near Traverse City in a town named Interlochen), though not at the same time. The performance took place in our apartment a few blocks away from USC, and I was the sole listener. The school was built on top of Native American burial grounds (there were many signs around campus providing a history of the land), and many paranormal encounter stories are told.

My Thoughts

Traverse City is much different than Brighton, Michigan, where the informant and I grew up; it is much more dense in forests, and simply sounds different, in part due to the many surrounding lakes and Great Lake. I am sure that this has an effect on the local folklore, as much of the stories I recall being told as a kid in Brighton involve farmland and the Civil War.

I never heard this story, but it sounds like a typical urban legend. Many of the creatures described in these sorts of Michigan legends involve animals — this may very well be a result of the woods, forests, and wildlife that are a part of everyday life.

The informant heard this story while attending high school near Traverse City; this story fits into the type of stories I remember hearing and exchanging at night time after classes on campus, especially while sitting with friends near the surrounding lake and enveloped in the ambience produced by the moving water, wind blowing through trees’ leaves, and wildlife (particularly the large population of loons that inhabited Green Lake).