September 29, 2007

Blair Dog Project: Gable Film Fakery?

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.

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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