The Creature Files – Episode Four: "Cynocephalus aka Dogman"
Sightings Desk: Yangste River Monster
View video of Yangste River Monster
Creature Feature: Cynocephalus aka Dogman
Special Guest: Christian MacLeod
Learn more about the Dog Man at the Asheville Cryptid and Paranormal Society.
What if man’s best friend was the size of a man? Say hello to the Cynocephalus, a dog-headed creature that has been seen in folklore in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. The word Kynokephalos or Cynocephalus is derived from the Greek words kuôn "dog" and kephalos "head."
Some of the earliest writings related to these creatures come from Greek physician Ctesias, who encountered them on a trip to the mountains of India around 400 B.C. Ctesias wrote, “On these mountains there live men with the head of a dog, whose clothing is the skin of wild beasts. They speak no language, but bark like dogs, and in this manner make themselves understood by each other…All, both men and women, have tails above their hips, like dogs, but longer and more hairy…They are just, and live longer than any other men, 170, sometimes 200 years.”
Others would add to the stories over the years. Alexander the Great claimed to have fought them in India, Herodotus saw them in Libya, the Roman Pliny the Elder included them in his famous book “Natural History,” and a Chinese Buddhist missionary spotted them living on an island to the east of Fusang. Even explorer Marco Polo referenced the cynocephali in his writings, “And I assure you all the men of this Island of Angamanain have heads like dogs, and teeth and eyes likewise; in fact, in the face they are all just like big mastiff dogs!” Some believe that Saint Christopher of the Christian faith was a cynocephali who longed to be human and eventually got his wish.
Now…We don’t have to look to antiquity to find the dogman. There have been numerous sightings of the creature more recently. The first reported contemporary sighting of a dogman was in Wexford County, Michigan, in 1887. Two lumberjacks saw a creature whom they described as having a man's body and a dog's head. Later sightings occurred in the 1950s and 60’s. In Alleghan county, as well as near Manistee National Forest and the Cross Village area of Michigan. In 1961, a night watchman managed to capture a photo of the creature. It showed a large humanoid standing near a street light. The photo remains a mystery.