Written by Kelly Wilson
*The pictures contain in this article are not mine, I could not find who to give credit to so all Image Credits are Unknown*
Everyone has their favorite cryptid. There are businesses that have sprung up around some of the more popular ones. There are TV shows about Bigfoot, boat tours to look for Nessie as well as other lake monsters and other various websites, podcasts and the like that are devoted to cryptozoology and the search for unknown creatures. The one I enjoy the most is what we call the Dogman today, although throughout history it has been known as a race of beings called Cynocephali.
This race of beings has supposedly existed since at least BCE. Where once it was a thriving community in the mountainous areas of India, it has now been relegated to the realm of nightmares and horror movies. It’s a being that has many titles and names: Werewolf, Lycan, Skinwalkers, Cynocephali, Marmaritae and Dogman.
An important distinction needs to be made here, however. Although Werewolf and Lycan are used as descriptives for Dogmen, they are actually a different being altogether. Cynocephali (Dogmen) do not shape-shift or assume any other form. They are bred and born creatures with a human body and the head of a canine. A Werewolf, Lycan and Skinwalker are humans that shift into the form of a wolf and back again.
The Cynocephali were said to raise livestock, build rafts, and trade with neighbors that they trusted. They communicated with each other using barks, grunts and growls and while they could understand human language they could not speak it and would often use hand signs to communicate with humans. They were said to be excellent hunters with spears and bow and arrows, but were also very fast and could run down their prey.
It is believed that they ate meat either raw or sun baked. They did not live in houses but slept on the ground in caves. They were said to wear what is today called buckskin, a hairless, tanned, leather. In every respect they were described as a peaceful race of beings that were prosperous and interactive, their only “fault” was having a canine head and as humans often do with creatures that are “different” they were hunted, enslaved or killed.
The Ancient Egyptians had Dog Headed Gods:
Wepwawet is the God of War, a Scout for Troops, he cleared the way ahead. He is generally portrayed as having bluish-grey and/or white fur.
Anubis is the God of the Dead/Underworld. He is usually portrayed having Black fur.
Ancient Greeks wrote about a tribe of Dog headed beings that lived in the mountains of India.
The Greek Physician Ctesias, the Explorer Megasthenas, the Philosopher Claudius Aelinus all wrote of the existence of these beings
One of the most famous men in history wrote of them as well, Alexander the Great wrote to his mentor Aristotle that he had engaged them in battle and even captured several during his invasion and conquer of India.
King Arthur’s men were said to have fought against them in the mountains around Eidyn (Edinburgh).
In early depictions St. Christopher was shown to have a dog’s head. It’s documented that he came from a tribe of Cynocephali and was captured during a battle. Supposedly he met Jesus and was baptized. He then devoted himself to being a Christian and eventually became a Saint. Naturally the Church doesn’t still make this claim and he is portrayed as a normal man.
In the 9th century a letter was written called “Epistola de Cynophalus”. This letter debated whether or not the Cynocephali tribes should be preached to or not, many viewed them as part of Cain’s lineage and damned. It was decided to try to save their souls.
There are many, many cases of interaction between Humans and Cynocephali throughout history and up into the modern day.
In 1887 in Wexford County, Michigan a creature was reported. It was described as being 7 feet tall, bipedal, blue or amber colored eyed with a human torso and a canine head. This reported sighting is the beginning of the modern day Dogman legends. It has famously become known as the Michigan Dogman but the sightings are not limited to one particular area.
The latest sightings I could find for 2015/2016 were from New York and Tennessee. While some witnesses reported being threatened and even attacked the majority of sightings are usually just that, someone sees this animal, it sees them and then turns and goes away leaving the witness terrified. There have been reports of these animals taking roadkill from close proximity to a living person instead of attacking the person. I have no doubt that a creature as large and powerful as the ones that have been described would have no problem attacking and killing as many people as it wanted to, if it wanted too.
In some of the encounters people have claimed that the creatures actually spoke to them telepathically. Supposedly the creatures would tell them that they could attack and kill them if it wanted too but that it didn’t, then it would run off into the woods or night and be gone. I read a supposed encounter where a man was going to take a picture of the Dogman and it asked him not to. Occasionally people report seeing U.F.O. lights just before an encounter and some have suggested a connection between the two, people have made this same claim about Sasquatch too.
In today’s world it is so easy to manipulate any type of visual or auditory media so any “proof” of these creatures is quickly picked apart, criticized and then denied to be real. It isn’t a bad thing that this happens because this world is full of pranksters and outright liars that want to make a fast dishonest dollar and the ability to have evidence scrutinized so closely can only mean that when something real comes along it will be seen as such and accepted.
There are those who say that the depictions of Dog headed people were nothing more than derogatory descriptions of a person or group of people that were looked down upon for one reason or another. There was some trait or way or life that didn’t sit well with the ruling/upper class or with the invading army and so these people were looked at as, and even called, dogs. These references then got translated into paintings and writings and into personal descriptions but this doesn’t fit with those cultures that portrayed their Gods as being Dog headed.
Why would so many cultures that are considered to be advanced for their time, even by today’s standards, describe such a race of beings if there were never such creatures. History and the modern day are full of tales and eye witness accounts of one of the most terrifying, and possibly most misunderstood, creatures of all time.