This sighting occurred in late fall of 1976 in Frederick Co. MD near the town of Thurmont. My friend had picked me up at my house and we had gone into town with plans to meet some other friends to drink some beers at a local pub. Since our friends had not yet arrived we decided to take a short drive up Rt. 77 to a field where it was common to observe deer feeding at night.Mark Chorvinsky and Mark Opsasnick report that there was a sighting of "a large hairy creature running on two legs" made from the Cunningham Falls area where the above sighting took place by park rangers in 1978. And in the 1890s, a local farmer reported seeing a doglike creature 9 feet tall at Camp Greentop, only a bit northwest of this sighting off Manahan Road.
The field was on the edge of the woods which bordered the areas of the Cunningham Falls State Park and the Catoctin Mt. National Park. We drove off the main road onto a small private access road which led up to the field. Upon arriving we drove the car to a point where the headlights illuminated the area but to our disappointment no deer were to be seen. After spending several minutes there we turned the car around and slowly headed back down the small road from where we had entered.
Suddenly from the left side of the road a large creature, running on two legs, bounded and leaped across the road and disappeared into the brush on the other side. It passed directly in front of us not more than 30 feet away. My first reaction was shock and amazement but I quickly controlled my surprise and decided not to say anything to see if my friend would react and allow me to better determine what had just happened. Immediately he exclaimed “WHAT WAS THAT MAN!!!” In a calm but excited voice I replied “Tell me what you saw”, tell me what you saw!”
We both began to describe to each other the strange sight which had just passed before our eyes. Here I wish to add something that is hard to explain except to those who have had a similar experience. When one sees something that is totally unlike anything one has seen before it is actually hard to put into words or even cognitively recognize what that thing is or what you have seen. It is hard to get a point of reference for something unlike anything you have seen before. Thus we spent the next couple of minutes trying to calm down and decide just what it was we had seen. Needless to say we were both nervous and a little shaken from the experience and decided to continue directly back to town.
Both of us had a good look at the creature. It was likely at least 6 ft tall but inclined forward since it was moving quickly. Its head was fairly large and similar to the profile of a wolf. The body was covered in brown or brindle colored fur but the lower half had a striped pattern of noticeable darker and lighter banding. The forelegs (or arms) were slimmer and held out in front as it moved. The back legs were very muscled and thick similar to perhaps a kangaroo.
I do not recall the tail of the animal although my opinion is that it did have one. It moved in a leaping bounding motion and crossed the distance of the road in front of us in two or three leaps. It was very fast and athletic and was obviously trying to get away quickly. This was not a hominoid type creature; it did not have the characteristics of an ape. It was much more similar to a wolf or ferocious dog however it was definitely moving upright and appeared to be adapted for that type of mobility. I was particularly impressed by the size and strength of the back legs, the stripes on the lower half of the body and the canine-wolf-like head.
After we calmed down my friend and I talked about whether or not we should report what we had seen but we decided not to. I mentioned to him that years previously in the mid sixties there had been reports published in the local paper the Frederick News-Post of some hunters who had reported a similar creature in the Frederick Co. area. At that time they called the creature a “duwayo” (I am not sure the spelling is correct). Because of this we decided this is what we had seen.
That evening we told our friends the story but they weren’t too inclined to believe us unless they could see it for themselves and we were definitely not interested in going back to the area that evening. Since that time I have moved away from the area and have had only a few opportunities to see my friend who shared this experience with me. Every time we’ve met however he always asks me if I remember the night we saw the duwayo.
The Duwayo the witness mentions (Dwayyo or Wago) was first reported from Carroll County in 1944. It was reported to have uttered frightful screams and to have left footprints. The creature really became infamous on November 27, 1965 when it was seen by a John Becker at the Gambrill State Park further south along the South Mountain northwest of Frederick. However, no trace of a 'John Becker' could be found (the picture above is a depiction of this creature).
A woman in Ellerton, north of Myerstown, reported hearing screaming or crying sounds and another woman in Jefferson, along the southern reaches of South Mountain, said that she had seen a calf-sized dog chasing cows. University of Maryland students laughably claimed to have encountered the Dwayyo on campus there, and that it originated from the Amazon jungle.
(A 2006 article by Craig Heinselman records a similarly-described creature to the Dwayyo and more specifically to the Shookstown sighting described below from Nevada, where it is called the Whoahaw or Wahhoo. It also likens it to the "bearwolf" of Wisconsin.)
The Gambrill State Park near Shookstown was also the site of the sighting in 1966, by a 'Jim A.' of a screaming creature the size of a deer, dark brown in color. The shaggy-haired creature had a triangular head and pointed ears and chin and back slowly away from the witness. Its legs, he said, "stuck out from the side of the trunk of the body making its movements appear almost spider-like as it backed away."
In just the last post I mentioned the sightings of a "gorilla" further north along the South Mountain in Adams County, Pennsylvania. Some sightings of that creature described it as a kangaroo. That monster made a gurgling noise when it was heard.
Also from this area, stories of werewolves circulated around near Mt. Holly in Cumberland County, as described in Matt Lake's Weird Pennsylvania. In the early 1970s, someone giving his name only as "Skywalker" claimed to have seen a man-sized ape-like creature run across the road in the northern Adams County hills (it is notable that though discussed in connection with the werewolf legends, nothing in the description indicates a Bray Road-type animal).
There are also the sightings of the Dorlan Devil, a leaping kangaroo-type reported from Chester County and the Brandywine Valley. Traditions of the Red Dog Fox, a werefox, exist further south along the Brandywine near Wilmington, Delaware and a sighting of a kangaroo was reported from the nearby town of Concord.
The South Mountain area, of course, is also home to reports of a black dog called the Snarly Yow, described in an article I wrote for Mysterious Britain & Ireland.