While driving through the Manistee National Forest, a Michigan trucker named Joe Barger had an encounter with a creature that thrust him into the heart of one of the state’s most enduring urban legends: the Michigan Dogman. This incident, with one of America’s most famous cryptids, changed his life forever.
Barger, now 59 years old, shared his harrowing tale with the host of the YouTube channel What Lurks Beneath. With over 700,000 subscribers, the channel delves into stories of the mysterious and supernatural, captivating audiences worldwide. Posted on September 12, 2022, Barger’s interview has garnered nearly 343,000 views as of the time of this writing, drawing attention to his extraordinary experience.
In his interview, Barger urged viewers to remain skeptical even of his account. “Even if you don’t believe what I’m saying is truthful, it might be something you can draw on in the future in case you ever do have an experience with the Dogman, which is an advantage I never had,” he stated in the video.
A former army veteran with six years of service, Barger was on his usual route, transporting a load from a northern Michigan paper mill through the Manistee National Forest when the encounter took place. Unfamiliar with the cryptid before that moment, Barger found himself face to face with the Dogman in a fleeting, heart-stopping encounter lasting no more than 15-20 seconds.
“I would swear, as a Christian on a bible, that this is all 100% factual, truth,” Barger affirmed in the video, underscoring the sincerity of his account.
The events leading up to the encounter were mundane enough. Barger, noticing an air leak while driving, decided to address it before venturing deeper into the forest. As he inspected the issue near the back brake chamber of the trailer, a sense of unease crept over him, accompanied by an otherworldly vocalization that sent shivers down his spine.
Describing the moment, Barger recalled, “I was hearing a vocalization that wasn’t natural… It wasn’t a sound I had ever heard before.” Initially mistaking the shadows in the woodline for a black bear, Barger’s perception quickly shifted as he realized the gravity of the situation.
Returning to his truck after confirming the air leak, Barger resumed his journey, only to be confronted by a chilling sight in his side mirror. A wolf-like creature, towering in stature, paced alongside his truck, its presence both surreal and menacing.
“I thought I was in like, an alternate reality or something, because a creature like this don’t exist in a reality I’ve ever known of,” Barger recounted, his disbelief palpable. With its striking features—a wolf head, yellow eyes, and human-like hands—this entity defied all logic, surpassing even the realm of Bigfoot lore.
In a desperate bid to defend himself, Barger retrieved his .45 Colt handgun and fired two shots at the creature, watching as it slumped out of sight. Yet, his relief was short-lived, replaced by a gnawing dread as he grappled with the aftermath of his encounter.
Despite his efforts to verify the creature’s demise, Barger’s subsequent search yielded no trace of the creature, leaving him bewildered and shaken. Encountering a jeep with two individuals shortly after, he opted to keep the ordeal to himself, wary of alarming others.
After what happened, Barger had a tough time with nightmares and feeling on edge, constantly haunted by what went down. It took him a while, but eventually, he started feeling better. Still, getting past it wasn’t easy, especially with the feds poking around and making things even more complicated.
Is this conversation helpful so far?
Recalling a chilling confrontation at a scale house with federal agents, Barger recounted their accusations and intimidation tactics, alleging a sinister cover-up surrounding the existence of the Dogman. Forced into silence by threats and coercion, he remained steadfast in his resolve to share his story, shedding light on a phenomenon steeped in mystery and intrigue.
As Barger’s account resounds, it echoes the enduring fascination with the Michigan Dogman, a legend spanning over a century, entwined with tales of lumberjacks and enigmatic sightings. Rooted in folklore and folklore, the Dogman continues to captivate the imagination, its presence looming large in the collective consciousness of Michiganders and beyond.