It’s late spring, time to look for odd creatures in even the unlikeliest of places. A resident of Portage, a city that directly borders the southern edge of Kalamazoo wrote me after she and her daughter saw something unusual in an area cemetery and decided they wanted to report it. She did not explain what the two of them were doing in the cemetery after dark, but she inferred the event was recent. I received the e-mail June 4, 2008. She did not name the cemetery but said it was next to the city library, so it may have been the historic 1894 Central Cemetery, which also lies near a park complex.
Whatever the circumstances, she and her daughter both heard rustling from the bushes beyond the fence at the back of the cemetery and saw a creature on the other side of the fence. The beast was very dark in color with a white patch on its chest and a “very stout flat head.” What it most resembled, she said, was a panda bear!
The animal seemed upset; it was rocking from side to side and grunting. The woman said she felt it would harm them if they came closer, and she and her daughter quickly left the cemetery.
“I do feel it is some sort of protector,” she wrote, “but I hope I never encounter another one.”
Excerpted and adapted from “The Michigan Dogman, Werewolves and Other Unknown Canines of the US” by Linda S. Godfrey, Unexplained Research Press, summer 2010. Linda Godfrey is the author of “Weird Michigan” and many other books on strange creatures and offbeat topics.