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Episode 53: Trees and Shadows


Our connection to animals is ancient, intimate, and complex. Humans have worshiped them, sacrificed them, lived with them, and been buried with them. But folklore from all over the world hints at a darker connection, and it just might be true.


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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Some of the things we see are what they appear to be added. We and her cousins learn a lesson back in nineteen, eighty nine. She was eleven of its time and, according to her mother Karen, it was a bright winter day the sort of day where the sun reflects off every inch of snow, which always has away making dark objects like the houses and trees, stand out, Heather and her cousins. Walking along a small country, road that ran between their town and the next when they saw a dog sitting in a stream near the roadside. Well stream might be too strong a term. It was just a bunch of run off the sort that passes beneath roads through those big mental tunnels. It was a drainage ditch. Basically, the kids love
logs, so Heather and the others veered off the roadside and into the snow to walk toward it. They assumed was a local pat that had wandered a bit too far from home, so they plan to check its color and see what they could do, but even from a distance it looked a bit odd to be specific. It looked too big to be a dog. They took one more step towards it and then stopped they stopped because that's when the dog turned to look at them and as it did so, it did something they weren't expecting its it up on its hind legs like a human. Obviously frightened the girls ran home as fast as they could humans. I've always had a connection to animals. We live within our homes, we depend on them for food and resources. We identify
with them, sometimes even treating them more like people than beasts we speak to them, we name them and we project human personalities on them for thousands of years. We have treated them as if they were more than animals, but, of course, that's just our imagination. If we believe the stories, though it might be more true than we expected, as I said before, some things are what they appear to be sometimes their worse. I Marin monkey- and this is more.
Our connection to animals is nearly as old as humanity itself. We almost always too did them as important parts of the world around us. Although different cultures have expressed that importance in a variety of ways. The common thread, though, is that animals have always helped us better understand our world. some cultures have revered them as gods to worship other have seen them as valuable sacrifices to offer to whatever deity they wanted to. Please. In many cultures, moles have served as our companions through daily life and in others it journeyed with the dead into the afterlife. Just think of what we know of ancient egyptian culture. There were entire cults built around specific animals like boy
old and cats. They're dead were frequently buried alongside animals that held personal or spiritual significance, and many of Egyptian gods and goddesses were represented through simple animal symbolism. Anubis, for example, was part man. Part Jackal Second, it was a woman with the head of a lion. Ancient hindu teachings for thousands of years have demanded deep respect for the animals around us in China. The ancient philosophies of Confucianism and Taoism both stress the same thing with a Hindus. Respect is founded on the idea of reincarnation in China, its roots More in moral responsibility, but the result is the same. Animals are and always have been important to us. And yes, I know that ancient cultures It's a lot of their religion in practice around the sun and moon and stars. They often framed those complex systems with simple animal language. That's
so many cultures have their own zodiac symbol, where the major constellations are represented by animals. The greek route of Zodiac by the way literally means circle of little animals, Joe then the ancient egyptian word for cat was Mew which sound not like the noise that cats actually make and that classic stereotypical dog named vital comes from the latin word, fidelity which means boil and faithful it. easy to see, then how animals have helped us understand our world a little better. They help us find our bearings and keep us company in a big wild world. More significantly though they ve helped us understand ourselves by giving humans a sense of identity and purpose. A theme or a banner to unite around in a sense, sometimes those themes took the form of religion, as was the case in Egypt with the bull called sometime
It's more of a totem thing where an entire tribe or community built their identity around a significant animal from their environment. Sometimes they did it for a feeling of safety. Sometimes it was a symbol of power in Iceland, Nick Folklore, the North warrior class known as Brazil, where members of the Bear COLT berserker in old nurse literally meant bear shirt, but it also embodied at fear, powerful nature that they wanted for themselves as warriors, they were often depicted wearing bear skins and sometimes even bear heads as head coverings. That's a tradition that still survives by the way You can see it in the ceremonial military caps, worn by some personnel in multiple european countries. The most common tribal animal, though, has always been the wolf. It's a global fascination with examples found in Mexico, North America, India, Mungo,
in the Middle EAST, and this is probably because wolves represented so much of what really humanity identified with they moved in packs. They hunted their food and they have a distinct social order. Any hunter, gatherer community would instantly admire those qualities and like bears wolves were also seen as brave and powerful warriors Persian and Hittite warriors were known to dress in Wolfskin for battle interest. Though, they also had a reputation for tossing their weapons aside and just jumping on their enemies, literally biting them, like wolves for a very long time. You see, humans have wanted to be animals which of course, lead to stories were. That was the case, animals that became people, people that became animals. It's an idea so powerful that we can find it
been inside the folk lore of dozens of cultures, the native american skin Walker, the now Wall, Central America and, of course, throughout much of Europe, there's the werewolf. These are stories, of course, artifacts from another time when animals were gods in humans, desperately wanted to imitate, the Divine and yes, these stories also address our dual nature, because we are in so many ways nothing more than animals ourselves But those moral lessons have a way of distracting us from the plot for thousands of years, people have told stories about mysterious beasts and it turns out those stories might be more real. Then we care
to believe you, nineteen eighty nine, a woman, was driving along the same country, road that Heather Bowie and her cousins had just walked along weeks before when they cited that strange creature in the rain and case it was well after sunset, so she was doing The responsible thing and scanning the edges of her headlights for wild animals Wisconsin has plenty of deer. After all, dear don't mix well with windshields and front ends Rain, worked as a manager at one of the local bars in EL corn and had just wrapped up very long, very tiring shift. All she really wanted to do was get home safely,
but when she did notice something unusual, it wasn't in the periphery of her headlights was right in the road in front of her. Seen in early, gave her the chance to slow down and swerved to avoid hitting it, but it also helps or get a good look at it from a distance. It looked as if there was an animal hunched low to the pavement of the oncoming lane. Its head was gently, bobbing added an irregular rhythm. You can tell for sure, but it almost seemed to be eating ass. She slowly past it. She claims she saw everything. It was eating. Alright, whatever it was, the creature was hunched over a pile of roadkill pulling big chunks of flesh off the dead animal Lorraine said she could clearly make out what appeared to be long white fangs that protruded from a grace. Now, together with the pointed ears, you couldn't help but think of it as Wulf. The trouble
This Wolfe was kneeling on the road like a human. It's one story, I know in stories that are born in the middle of the night. After an exhausting dave, work are often full of flaws. That might very well be the case here. I think we all had moments when we ve seen things that don't make sense so low. story could just be a bit of midnight confusion. I suppose if it wasn't for the other stories, two years later, on Halloween night, in fact, it was Doris Gibson, Stern. She was just eighteen at the time and had been driving out to pick a friend up for some trick or treating back in town like Lord before her. She was driving, that same stretch of country, road named for the old brave family farm that it passed, According to the story Doris later told to a local reporter, she briefly to
in her eyes off the road to switch channels on radio when she felt the car lurch. It was as if she said she run something over frightened by the possibility of what has just happened. She stopped her car, put it in part and then got out for a look doors. It seems most a big horror movie fan, because anyone who knows anything about horror films knows that you never ever get out of the car. Ever still, there wasn't a scratch on her car. The bump with smiles. There was no sign of blood or fur anything else that might hinder fresh roadkill and even more convincing. There's nothing on the road, no dead animal, no unlucky farmer out for an evening walk not even upon hall. There was no clue anywhere. They could explain the bump, he'd felt she was about to turn and head back to her car when movement caught her attention was something in the,
reason: shadows along the roadside. According to her, it was a large figure that stood upright like a man but seemed Harry and very muscular which, as you might imagine, was a pretty shocking thing to see on a dark lonely country. Road sadorus did the smart thing and bolted for her car door ass. She did this thing whatever it was just after her door said she could hear the heavy side of the creatures feet on the pavement. Hide her in a sound, the deep panting brats. Thankfully, she managed to get into the car and shifted quickly back into drive, but ass. She pulled away. She felt her car shudder once more, but she looked in the rear view. Mere all she could see was the dark silhouette of the creature filling her back window, it had jumped onto the trunk whatever her attacker was. She claims that it fell off when she got her car moving
the queen enough, but she was willing to stop for another look. She did, however, continue onto her friends house in eventually evolve, headed back to town for some Halloween fun. later that night, on her way back along Bray Road to drop her friend back off at home doors swears. She saw the figure one more time. It was far off in the distance at the edge of her head but it was the same unmistakable shape tall thick in very animal like but standing upright on two legs. It wasn't until the next day in the safety of. Her own driveway end by the light of the Noonday Sun, and she took another look at her car there on the trunk she found.
is that something very unusual and very dangerous had taken place the night before long vicious scratches all grouped together as if they were made by clause, this is the point in the story where you're probably expecting me to clarify what the creature was. All of the physical descriptions certainly point towards the folklore regarding, where Walls, but almost no one in EL corn made that connection. Maybe that's because there were
Any stories of humans transforming into the monster, or perhaps it's because the sightings weren't limited the full moon nights in the end, whatever it might have been, the people of the area took two calling it the beast of prey road. There were other theories. Of course, One common suggestion was rooted in the native american folklore about a giant wolf known ass, the Sugar Workin, which was described as a sort of a hybrid between a wolf and a community. Others have made comparisons to the inuit stories of the American or the we holler, both of which were enormous monstrous wolves, but honestly are far too many human characteristics attributed to the Bray Road creature. make the comparison. Stick. Man, that's without taking into account the additional sightings, because the rain and Doris weren't, the only witness system,
see something strange along that stretch of country road and once they spoke to a local reporter, others found the courage to come forward with their own tales. Marvin Curse Nick was one of them, According to his testimony, he had his own encounter way back and nineteen eighty one full decade before Doris Gibson, unlike the others, though his citing didn't happen in the dark You ve been driving along highway, eleven, which runs just northeast of airport and ass. He approached the turn off from re road. He saw an unusual animal in the trees along the side of the road caution. Slow down when he saw and then pulled over to get a better look the way he described it. Much of the creature was obscured by the underbrush, but it was clearly wolflike. they stared at each other for a moment before the beast moved toward the car, frightened curse, Nick drove away quickly, five years later in nineteen, eighty six,
Diane caning was travelling in the same area returning home after a day in nearby Burlington from a distance, her headlights didn't give her a very clear view. So at first I just looked like a tall. Man was why keen along the side of the road, with something heavy in his arms ass. She drew closer, though all of that came into focus. waiting to caning, this man had the head of a wolf, the burden that is held in its arms turn out to be a full size dear. Unlike her cynic, though, caning didn't stop for a closer look and instead sped up just in case the creature decided to give chase. She get the story to herself for years on a fear that she'd be considered a lunatic More stories flooded in one unnamed girl, told the authorities that she'd been chased up a tree by a wolf then had to stay there, for
for an hour while it paste around trying to find a way to climb up after her. What struck her is odd, though, was that the wolf walked around the tree on its hind legs when she led her parents back to that the next day he found large claw marks on the lower portion of the trunk, even Scott Bray, who lived on the family farm that gave the road its name claim to have seen unusual things include. Enormous wolf tracks on his property, local animal troll authorities were called to several homes in the area to examine and collect a large number of mutilated animal corpses. A few townsfolk try, blame that one on satanic tenant cults, but everyone else agreed. It was just the beast of prey road. There is a good amount of fear in town, as you might expect, but the sightings were also, reading, something else that's lasted to this day, a reputation
bar where Lorraine and reason worked eventually created a menu item called the silver bullet. Special, a bakery in town started, making wolf shaped cookies Roswell New Mexico and UFO collectibles, but with wolves- and I think you get the idea- even Chuck Coleman local state representative, got involved by using the beast of prey road in his election marketing, ran and add. showed a man dressed up as the beast casting his vote for common, perhaps proof of the popularity of the brave beast stories common one, his election Doris Gibsons encounter also seem to have been the last sitting of the creature by travellers on Bray rode. After that, EL corn was constant sort of became quiet for a while, at least you see in the spring of nineteen eighty two county animal control officer, John Fredricksen, was called to a field
side of town to the EAST near Bray Road. This is a man who was used to the occasional roadkill or injured farm. Animal he'd seen a lot in his career, but when he arrived at the field he was well out of his death because their lane in the pasture with bodies of five horses, their throats, had all been slashed. It seems that people are drawn to animals and we always have been, and if the internet, election of cap. Videos and dog tricks tells us anything. It's that our passion
for these animals isn't fading anytime soon. Perhaps they meet a deep unspoken need in her soul, or maybe they just trigger the right pleasures are in our brains, whatever the reason might be, animals are significant to us. But every time I see some one dress up their dog and a sweater. I can't help but think of how, for a very long time, humans used to be the ones dressed up as animals, we envy their grace their strength and their power, and that envy has woven itself into the very break of global folklore. But what if there is another reason why we tell stories of animals that act human? What, if deep down, we fear the possibility or that our ancestors told just enough stories about human like animals, that we wonder just a little
whatever it was lurking in the trees and shadows of l, corn Wisconsin back in the early nineties remains a mystery to this day. No Answers have been uncovered. No unusual corpses have been found in the woods or along the roadside, no nests or die means or whatever sort of dwelling the creature like the beast of prey road might have lived in. All we have is story. Sometimes all we ever have his story All of the witnesses who came forward to tell their stories seem to agree on the details, and surprisingly, all of them appear to be telling the truth. In a document on the events was being produced in two thousand and eight all of the witnesses agreed to take a polygraph exam and each of them passed its, not irrefutable proof. I know, but it's enough to make you wonder. Some time after the events of the early ninetys, a local who lived there.
Breyer. Road looked out his window to see a and standing in his driveway with a handgun. Obviously, fry by the sight of an arm. Stranger in his yard, you call the police who quickly arrived Jose. Contrary was immediately arrested and his hand gun on with fifty of ammunition. Confiscated eventually went to trial and his lawyer to build a case around Self Defense Contreras. He told the judge was looking for the beast of prey road which he believed was a werewolf that meant, according to his defence me, wasn't the danger to any one else. The judge, though, dismissed the notion and convicted contrary anyway. His reason. Apparently, none of the bullets in the gun had been silver, maybe it's fantasy. Maybe it's real but it's amazing in the very least how parts of fantasy can
come so accepted that they play a role in something as significant as a criminal trial. One final tail just six years ago bore witnesses came forward about a new citing one night. In October, of two thousand ten six people were driving together down Bray rode down the road ahead. they watched as shadows seem to move across their path as they drew closer watch. The shape run into the open field to the right when they say might seem hard to believe so, we'll have to take them at their word. They claimed it would An animal covered in fur and similar in appearance to a wolf exempted was run on two legs and not for once it reached the field, the beast drop to all force and bolted off into the darkness. One final detail sets this report. Apart from. The others, though, because, unlike every other, encounter dating back over thirty years this one-
finds a way to make the beast of prey road even more frightening. According to the witnesses, it wasn't a single creature. There were two of them. This episode of war was written and produced by me. Aaron Mahnke, with research help from Marcel Crockett Lore is much more than upon podcast there's a book series in bookstores around the country and on and the second season of the Amazon Prime Television show was recently released. Check them both out. If you want more lore in your life, may also make two other upon guests, Erin, monkeys, cabinet of curiosities and unobserved and.
You'd enjoy both each one explores other areas of our dark history, ranging from bite sized episodes to season long dives into a single topic. You can learn about both of those shows and everything else going on all over. In one central place, thou world of lore dot com Slash now, and you can also follow the show on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, just search for lore podcast, all one word and then click that follow button. When you do say hi, I like it when people say hi and as always, thanks for listening.
Transcript generated on 2022-03-12.