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“Gable Film” Returns: Werewolves on MQ Finale

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 22nd, 2010

It’s back.

As you may recall, in 2007, the strange piece of footage called the “Gable Film” popped on the scene. Now, it turns out, it shall be the centerpiece of MonsterQuest’s final episode.

Before we get to the meat of the backstory (no pun intended), here is the History network’s blurb on the program:

March 24, 2010, “MonsterQuest: America’s Wolfman” 9pm/8pm CENTRAL on History.

On March 24, 2010, the MonsterQuest Season Finale examines one of the most controversial pieces of video evidence ever captured, as the team scours the Midwest for a seven-foot wolf-like monster that witnesses believe is a werewolf.

On Wednesday at 9 p.m. Eastern on History, the episode “MonsterQuest: America’s Wolfman” closes out the fourth season of the popular investigative cryptozoology series. An expedition team will try to uncover the truth about what is striking fear into witnesses, while the science team will expose the truth behind “The Gable Film,” an internet phenomenon that is possible evidence of a werewolf-like creature. The film, shot on grainy 1970s Super 8, captures a hairy creature running on all fours toward the camera in an apparent attack, prompting widespread debate over its identity and authenticity.

This episode of History’s highly acclaimed series features appearances by Wisconsin werewolf researcher Linda Godfrey and Michigan DJ Steve Cook, who first posted the Gable Film. There are frightening stories from witnesses including a former contractor for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and a Deputy Sheriff, who all claim to have encountered this mystery creature that has been part of local legend for centuries.

MonsterQuest is produced by Whitewolf Entertainment; the episode “MonsterQuest: America’s Wolfman” is produced by Chicago’s Frank Haney Films.

The Gable Film is what I called the “Blair Dog Project” in 2007. I stated at the time that it seemed to be an alleged hoax, but, of course, there was no proof of its background.

Chris Noel did an enhancement of the supposedly more gorilla-like moments of the film now on video:

In 2009, it was back, thanks to Fox News.

New footage had been discovered that throwed some light on this case.

Javier Ortega had this to say in 2009:

The “Gable film” is an edited 8mm film that has been raising a lot of questions and theories for the last few years. Many have declared this to be an elaborate hoax created by someone wanting to capitalize on the “Michigan Dogman” stories. The film itself is owned by MindStage Productions and can be seen online in a very edited and low quality version. It shows what many have said to be the actual cryptid creature lurking around the Wisconsin and adjacent states. Many researchers have claimed that this is just a hoax created by a radio DJ by the name of Steve Cook. The same person who helped create a fictional story of the “Michigan Dogman” as an April Fool’s joke, stated that he had acquired an old 8mm film with the images of a strange beast that attacks the camera man. He stated that the film was found in an estate sale in the lower peninsula of Michigan.

The 8mm reel did not have any detailed information about who or where the film was shot. The only information known was the inscription “Gable Case #MPO41177-1” that was on the film canister.

All the recent chatter about the “Beast of Bray Road” and “Michigan Dogman” is kicking up dust again since the news report on Fox’s Sean Hannity show last week in which Linda Godfrey was interviewed and the Gable film was shown on national television….

See the rest of the story, with all the goods, including good comparative images, like below here, here.

++++
Below are my two postings from September and October 2007. Excuse the fact that some video and other links may have been removed since then:

Our excitement was so intense, as we saw the way to Solomon’s treasure chamber thrown open at last, that I for one began to tremble and shake. Would it prove a hoax after all, I wondered, or was old Da Silvestra right? Were there vast hoards of wealth hidden in that dark place, hoards which would make us the richest men in the whole world?H. Rider Haggard, King Solomon’s Mines.

It’s time to bring out the silver bullets. Okay, Cryptomundo will stop ignoring the Gable Film, and take up the hunt.

Since September 24, I’ve tried to get some straight answers about a piece of footage that has been floating around the internet, the so-called “Gable Film.” The footage shows, well, let me just say it outloud, what appears to be a “werewolf” and is being promoted as nonfiction.

As the story goes, Michigan disc jockey Steve Cook obtained the rights to the film reportedly taken with an old 8 mm camera. The Gable Film was allegedly found in an estate sale in the lower Peninsula.

Steve Cook’s Michigan Dogman site was created around the song “The Legend” that was allegedly recorded a couple decades ago as a prank. After it aired, folks began calling the radio station and saying they had seen the creature described in the song. Fast forward to this recent “discovered” film that is said to “prove” the “Legend.”

To me this sounds like a song and dance I’ve heard before, too good to be true. But Cryptomundo readers, here’s the footage – and the Dogman site (link below) gets their viewers from Cryptomundo. Below, there is more discussion.

Click to go see the Gable film.

++++++
Updates –

I’m not sure how long it will be there, but someone placed it back up on YouTube four days ago:

Chris Noel has also done an enhancement of the more gorilla-like moments of the film now on video:

+++++++

What do you think?

I wrote Steve Cook about this, being very open with my concerns about this footage:

The Gable Film is a good story, and builds in many ways like The Blair Witch Horror and the discovered film canisters of the Jersey Devil film. As a work of cryptofiction cinema and art, it can stand on its own, without it being declared to be nonfiction. I’ve worked with Haxan Films folks, and understand [after the fact, why they went about] creating of such fakes, planted early, to promote such things.

I am not saying you are doing any of this, but the background of the April Fool’s prank, the Legend, the poetry of it all, the scenario, the unfolding have to be seen as obvious clues. You have to be asked the hard question – is this a piece of creative narrative fiction performance art – before this gets all blown out of proportion and it becomes a cornerstone of supposedly real werewolf lore?Loren Coleman

Steve Cook replied:

First, let me re-state that I do not take a position on the authenticity of evidence presented on michigan-dogman.com. Of course I have a personal opinion, but to state it publicly would serve nothing more than to encourage the kind of charges your e-mail implies. The simple answer is, I don’t know what The Gable Film is or what it shows.

I understand fully the scripted nature of this. For that reason, we expended considerable effort having it analyzed by a range of people from a variety of backgrounds. Even though none of those people was able to find an obvious flaw indicating a forgery, I still was very hesitant to release it before we had more answers.

Then a few weeks ago, I offered a private preview of the film to Linda Godfrey’s Yahoo group, the Unknown Creature Spot. Linda and I are old friends, going back some 15 years. I placed the film on YouTube for two days and invited members of UCS view and evaluate it. In that time, the film was pirated by at least three and perhaps many more individuals. That forced my hand, leading to the release of the video now on my website.

The key question you need to ask is, do I stand to gain by releasing a forged film? The answer is no. I have no intention of marketing or selling the Gable Film in any form. I have no desire to do interview shows or speaking tours. If the resulting publicity leads to increased sales of “The Legend,” it will just mean more work packaging and mailing – because I donate the profits from the sale of the CD/DVD set to charity. I put The Gable Film out there because I think it needs to be seen.Steve Cook

Obviously, I understand the gray area inhabited by Steve Cook, but the bottomline is that Mr. Cook did not answer my question with a “yes or no” response.

The footage in fact, I see, is now generating wider and wider discussions as if it is real, across the internet. People want me to state my opinion on Cryptomundo, declare one way or another – or even come out in careful support of the film. Other emails are also coming in, from fans like Melanie, asking me about the “Blair Dog Project.”

Even with offers to look at this frame by frame that is not really illuminating. A deeper analyses of the frames merely will only convey what the creature, costumed or otherwise, looks like more clearly. It actually won’t do too much in revealing the reality behind what was filmed, one way or the other. At this point, this film is only as good as its context and its source. The origins of this footage are cloudy, at best. Unrevealed and untestable, if you believe the stories. A prank, if you consider the history, perhaps. I’ll stop there.

Okay, I won’t beat around the wolfbane, any longer. I don’t buy it. My past experiences and eye for forgeries tell me there’s something here that smells like a fake, a copycatted forgery, with the telltale signs of a found-film, the shaky camera, and the blurry imagery. Steve Cook may be a film genius or he may have been hoaxed, but there’s something that is very off about all of this for me. I think this is cryptofiction, developed out of the traditional folkloric motif of found treasures.

Other than that, until someone comes forth declaring they created the Gable Film to keep the tale going, what else do we all have to go on but our gut?

As I recently noted here about a “Sasquatch” film shown as new on YouTube, these kinds of incidents are sadly piling up in an ever increasing daily body count. Perhaps a whole new division of cryptozoology will have to be cryptocinemahoaxology?

“How would that strike you if you read it?”
“It would strike me as either being a hoax, or else written by a lunatic.”Agatha Christie, The Secret Adversary.

+++

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.Friedrich Nietzsche

The Gable Film is merely, as seemed obvious in the beginning, an alleged hoax. Many readers have sent in comments and links. I will pluck one, that of Cyptomundo reader SC, as an example that gets directly to the point:

Follow this link to read Mr. Steve Cook’s explanation as to the nature of the “unintended hoax.”

It seems three frames of the film reveal a human leg moving to the side, which, according to him, exposes the “creature” as a man on all fours. Pondering the footage from this new perspective has lead Mr. Cook to conclude it is definitely faked, but not intentionally created to hoax anyone. It is merely vintage footage of an amateur crew of filmmakers working on their own backyard “Boggy Creek.” Pondering Mr. Cook’s conclusions, I can come up with a different idea. The obvious one. Let’s call it “The Intentional Hoax” theory.SC

If you follow the link to Steve Cook’s posting, you will find his message ends with the following paragraphs:

On the other side of that coin, I now fully understand why witnesses to real events are so reluctant to come forward with evidence; and even when they do, they do not want their name associated with the story. Despite the fact that I had no intent to ever market the film in any form, and that I never claimed it to be authentic, my character suddenly came into question. In the six days The Gable Film was publicly available, I was grilled, cajoled, insulted, and called everything from a profiteer to a liar to other names I would be ashamed to type. Not just from one or two people, but from hundreds. In addition, my website has been hacked, and the film and several other unpublished files have been stolen and posted on the internet.

In conclusion, there are a handful of self proclaimed experts in the crypto-creature industry (make no mistake folks, it’s an industry, and a lucrative proposition for some of them) who have become so jaded and cynical, they really should look for a new line of work. It would seem that if evidence has not had the good sense to fall into their lap it is automatically dismissed as a fraud, and so is anyone associated with it. It is precisely that attitude that will prevent real evidence, when it comes, from ever seeing the light of day. There is no need to mention any names. You know who you are.

First, one must wonder why he took this all so personally?

The reality, of course, is that such discussions as evidenced above infrequently issue from people who seem to not understand that healthy skepticism is part of cryptozoology, that no one in cryptozoology really makes any money, and that most of us have all heard it before. As John Green says, it takes strong personalities in the field to deal with all the criticisms hurled our way, inside and outside the community.

Those who have promoted this footage, who either were hoaxed themselves or were behind this alleged docudrama, should not be surprised by hundreds of people who wish to say something, one way or the other, about this Gable Film. That’s what happens, and that’s what is assumed would occur in our media age. It has nothing to do with people wanting to undermine the good stories and the remarkable sightings. On the contrary, it has a lot to do with the credibility of the field being maintained at a high standard, in an awkward age of YouTube-screened hoaxes and website showings linked to wild speculations.

This state of affairs has been known in the Bigfoot world for years, and merely comes down to, “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

Even a man who is pure in heart
And says his prayers by night,
May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
And the autumn moon is bright.The Wolf Man, 1941 Universal Pictures.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


22 Responses to ““Gable Film” Returns: Werewolves on MQ Finale”

  1. Roy3rd responds:

    There is something about the movement of the back legs when the object first moves toward the camera on all fours that reminds me of a human trying to move like a gorilla.

  2. jodzilla responds:

    I think I’m seeing two subjects in the film, and I’m thinking momma bear and cub.

  3. Redrose999 responds:

    Looks suspicious to me.

    Crypto-hoaxology, sort of like the modern expression of events/creatures we can’t explain, like mythology’s purpose in the old days. :) I think it could be a very interesting field.

  4. oldphilosopher responds:

    It seems to me that no film should ever be taken seriously if it is wholly incapable of attribution, as in this case.

    To be clear, it is one thing for an investigator to come forward with a film and state that the maker wishes to avoid publicity, ” but I can get you a quiet interview with him/her if you mind your manners, so that you can check out his/her veracity for yourself.” It is another thing entirely for one to present a mystery film such as this one, which was just “found” somewhere, in somebody’s metaphorical attic.

    A wholly unattributable film must stand or fall solely on its own merits as a film. When such a film purports to display something incredible, attention must be given to the issue that “film” is quite often a medium produced for entertainment. An assumption must then always arise that the film, if it is not an outright hoax, was someone’s long-ago attempt at backyard moviemaking. To do otherwise, to engage in any manner of assumption that what appears is something genuine and amazing, is bootstrapping of the most dangerous and delusional sort.

    I believe that there are mysteries as yet unsolved. I can not believe that this, or anything like it, is evidence of any such mystery.

  5. Cryptozoic Park responds:

    I have a strong need of commenting this case. Well, Iam Cryptozoology enthusiast and investigator since 1997, when I bought my first book on mysterious animals.
    Now to my personal feelings. Iam serious Cryptozoologist, and I don´t believe in Werewolves. ShapeShifting – this is just ridiculous – this is natural world. So speaking for myself, it CAN´T be a Werewolf. What about some animal resembling this mythological creature? What about Dire Wolf? No – it´s shape and movements are really a bit apish.
    It resembles gorilla in the beggining – it´s shape, colour, movement. It´s forelegs are clearly longer and bulkier tham it´s rear legs.
    Next, when the creature starts running, it highly reminds me Gelada Baboon. Dark brown colour, long waving hair, it is also moving in the same way. Gelada Baboons are really clever animals (they can easily escape their paddocks in ZOOs), and there were couple of OOP sightings of them in my country, which is Czech Republic.
    And then comes the breaking point. Creature attacks the camera. And what can we see? Clearly predatory, perhaps Canine teeth. So, here my Monkey/Ape theory definitely fails.
    Well, what if it is a hoax? Primate shot mixed with shot of jaws of some canine head? I don´t think so – It would be really hard to make.
    So, what is my next theory? Could it be some survivor of prehistoric times? Perhaps some giant cave Hyena species? These animals really could fit description of this animal. Can it be somehow connected to Shunka-Warrah? Body of Shunka is a bit similar to body of creature, which was caught on tape…

    So I will summarise my theories:
    1) Gelada Baboon
    2) Gorilla
    3) Well elaborated hoax
    4) Prehistoric survivor – Cave Hyena or something similar
    5) Shunka-Warrah

    I hope, that my humble analysis will bring at least a bit of light into this case…

  6. red_pill_junkie responds:

    It should be an interesting program for sure.

  7. AlyoshaK responds:

    It’s ineresting to me that the majority of readers seem very quick to call “hoax.” Probably the vast majority of films I have ever seen in the cryptozoology realm have indeed, been hoaxes. But I have watched hundreds, and I always find myself falling back on the simple human ability to discern whether a movement, or series of movements is indeed natural and real, or contrived. It’s easy to see – your brain is simply hardwired to do it. I have no doubt that the Gable film shows a real animal. I believe it shows clear indication of threat. I also believe it has been altered, with the exaggerated teeth at the end. But, in my opinion, this film shows something genuinely cryptozoological. It’s lack of provenance is disappointing, but not enough to overcome the feeling of reality that it causes me to have. I’m glad I was not the camera operator.

  8. dabode responds:

    When I view it I see gorilla, then I think is there a smaller form there briefly and that looks like an out of place leg….I really don’t know. It’s a clip were I just haven’t formed an opinion at all, a wth, (what the heck), but my gut tells me something isn’t quite right.
    If my instincts are quite clear on this, even after putting it away since last time it came up here, then I would go with Mr. Coleman’s instincts without to much question, (a good investigator never completely rules evidence out until final positive proof has been established ;) ).
    The one thing that does bother me is Mr. Cook’s insistance that he doesn’t profit in anyway yet when I go to the link there’s Cd’s, DVD, Cd+DVD sets, t-shirts and I wasn’t there long only long enough to know that version ?.0 is coming out with a new dvd and song arrangement and an added verse…
    Oh wait the money goes to charity, admirable and a good thing, the problem is:
    1. It’s crypto/paranorm/et or something outside science
    2. It’s fraud and you can pretty up your website and donate to furry friends, (instead of flinging mud at serious researchers. I know some crypto-furry friends that would like you to give some of your donations to a certain museum), it’s still a scam. Legal probably, poor taste…definately. Just to clarify the doggy site not the museum.
    So PROFITS are being made. Redirected of course, real science and investigation is once again ridiculed and it isn’t just teen-age boys posting fake bigfoot vids.
    Sorta reminds me of a more polished Georgia peach.

  9. youcantryreachingme responds:

    It’s a cat. There’s foreground foliage and the film looks like it was shot through a flyscreen. That explains the random black spot that appears on the right edge of the frame – clearly unrelated to the moving figure, and that explains what looks like a horn that appears breifly as the animal turns around.

  10. loopstheloop responds:

    Yes, but it’s quite clear that the ghost-witch left this footage in the abandoned, desanctified church ruins specifically for them to be found.

    I’m sure an interview with the spectre about why it had a friend in a gorilla suit crawl around in a field for 40 seconds could be organised if you all weren’t so cynical!!!

  11. korollocke responds:

    Having recently have had my soul burned to crisp from voluntaraly watching the infamous Serbian film I needed some lite to ease me up. What I want to know is who is the person in jeans and shirt walking behind the “creature” in the enhanced footage?

  12. forsakenfuture responds:

    Is this the season Finale or series finale?

  13. Cryptidcrazy responds:

    I have made several trips to the Cincinnati Zoo over the years and they have a wonderful Gorilla enclosure that looks much like the background in the film. From what I see in the footage, it looks exactly like an out of focus, silverback. I believe this was an excerpt from a home movie of someone’s day at the zoo.

  14. Loren Coleman responds:

    In answer to “forsakenfuture””:

    This is the series finale.

    MonsterQuest ends its four year run with this program.

  15. occulus responds:

    I don’t know if I’m biased because I have been around them all my life but the image looks like a Chow running in slow motion and the amount of fur combined with the blurriness of the image makes it look like it starts out walking like a gorilla. But that’s just my opinion.

  16. Doug responds:

    The film from earlier this year with the Polish beauty and the yeti was perhaps more appealing to me…
    I think the film is not very clear, not very convincing, and not likely very genuine, at least as to what it is claimed to be. But, it should be an interesting show anyway. Thanks MQ for an entertaining four year run.

  17. occulus responds:

    Can someone speed up the film? The more I watch it the more it looks like people are seeing the ‘gorilla walk’ because the figure is running but its in slow motion.

  18. Kopite responds:

    I don’t what what this film shows, or doesn’t show for that matter. All I know is that it’s fascinating and I’ve been hooked on at least ‘trying’ to figure it all out (with no luck). It’s certainly been more interesting than any recent ‘bigfoot’ discussion/debate of the last few years unfortunately.

  19. Rob008 responds:

    You know it seems that Mr Cook get all bent out of shape over poeple doubting the film is real. He needs to reaslize that any good investigator is automatley going to doubt the film and try to find out what is might be instead of a werewolf or bigfoot. Rule of thumb “Fake until proven otherwise”. If Mr Cook feels that it is real, then maybe he should be the one researching and finding more about where it came from. After all he’s the one, who purchased it. It shouldn’t be us going through all the headaches to find out what it is. It should be him.

  20. cryptid responds:

    As with many other pages and other websites around. People create a site or posting and do not maintenence it. YouTube Videos are dead except 1

  21. Cryptidcrazy responds:

    Why is “Monsterquest” going off the air? It is one of my favorite programs. It’s so hard finding any shows that deal with cryptozoology and there are so many other unknown creatures out there to investigate. I know it would be dificult, but there are so many lake creatures spotted in the remote China and Russia areas that I would love to see investigated. It’s a shame to see quality programming like this ending, yet so many mindless, “scripted reality” programs keep popping up, due to the low production costs. I will definitely miss “Monsterquest”.

  22. zuljin responds:

    I see a lot of you “cryptozoologists” aren’t very bright. That footage was made like an actual movie, it had a plot. A family going about their everyday lives, when something terrible happens.



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