March 22, 2010

“Gable Film” Returns: Werewolves on MQ Finale

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 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.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

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