The Dog Woman of Watts

The Dog Woman of Watts

bigdog

Being a Southern California native, I can’t help but have my curiosity piqued when I hear unusual stories about my home state…especially the southern half. I ran across the “dog woman of Watts” while researching cryptid sightings in Los Angeles. I had not heard of the dog woman of Watts but maybe my cousin, who lives in Watts, had. It turned out that she had not but said she would ask around. Her neighbor, Clifton (presently in his 70s), witnessed the dog woman of Watts. I asked my cousin if Clifton was open to talking about his sighting and if so, to call me.

Online resources concerning the dog woman of Watts are scarce, however, of what I could find, I summarized: In 1961, Watts, California, a neighborhood located in the southern region of the greater Los Angeles area, the Watts Police Department began receiving phone calls about a frightening creature roaming the streets. The first sightings of the animal occurred around 3 PM and both sightings, as well as phone calls, would continue for the next 3 to 4 hours. Citizens reported seeing a creature with the body of a large dog, but with the face of a woman. Police initially thought it was a prank call or drug-induced hallucinations, but as the calls kept coming in, they began to take it seriously. 

I had a brief conversation with Clifton who said he wasn’t feeling well. I asked what he could remember. He stated it was summer, and on a Friday. He got off work early and was walking home when he heard a woman scream. Clifton saw a woman pulling a child through a front gate by his arm. Clifton laughed, he thought the boy “done fucked up,” for his mama to be tugging on his arm like that. Clinton continued walking and saw them pointing at something across the street. He said the woman began yelling for her neighbor to come and look.

Clifton looked and saw a huge dog walking towards him on the sidewalk. Clifton remembers it had shaggy dark brown or black fur. The creature had an unnatural side to side gait like it was stumbling. That is when Clifton noticed the dog’s “face.” He said it looked more like an ape’s face than a human’s. Either way, it wasn’t a dog’s.

Clifton expressed how scared he was by this. He quickly crossed the street and was extremely grateful the woman let him into the yard. Clifton, the woman, and her son, all watched the creature from behind the gate. Clifton claimed the beast paid them “no mind” as it shuffled by and down the sidewalk. The woman and her son were both rattled, and Clifton admitted to being pretty spooked too. It was Clifton who suggested they call the police.

Before I got off the phone with him, Clifton stated he heard rumors the creature spoke to a man, a notorious pimp, from the neighborhood. The man was later found stabbed to death. Clifton wasn’t sure if the rumor was true. He recalls hearing the pimp was found dead before this happened. I thanked Clifton for his time. I might call him later this week, ask how he is feeling and if he remembers anything more about the dog woman of Watts.

In theorizing about the dog woman of Watts I came up with some postulations. If the rumor Clifton heard is true, the dog woman of Watts spoke to the pimp, that adds an element of the supernatural. However, I will begin with my less supernatural postulations.

The Wolf Ape. Fresno County, California, and in particular the Watts Valley area (interesting connection) is about 250-ish miles north of Watts of the greater Los Angeles area, and home to what is called “Wolf Ape.” The Yokut tribe had stories and artwork featuring a wolf bodied creature with the face of an ape, long before the Europeans came. The Yokut state the creature always appears sick, forever coughing and wheezing. Yokut history marks a dwindling presence of the Wolf-Ape before Europeans arrived. European encounters with Wolf Ape happened primarily during the California Gold Rush (1848-1855). The beast was sighted as far north as Oregon and far south as Arizona.

The dog woman of Watts shares many parallels with Wolf Ape. A dog or wolf-like body and as Clifton recalls, an ape’s face. The unnatural gait, or stumbling, support the Yokut claim of Wolf Ape appearing to be sick. Humans and animals who are sick, tend to shuffle or walk with an imbalance. Watts is only 250-ish miles south of Fresno, CA (a 3 or 4-hour drive). Wolf Ape sightings in both Oregon and Arizona demonstrate this creature is capable of travel. For me, Wolf Ape is a highly likely candidate for the identity of the dog woman of Watts, but I have a couple postulations left.

Human/Animal genetic experimentation. Southern California, for all its dark secrets, one secret is perhaps best summed up as “vile”. Southern California has a human trafficking problem. The slums of Los Angeles have long been used by US Government Agencies (C.I.A in particular) and private corporations, in procuring human test subjects for cruel scientist research and experimentation. The C.I.A run, declassified before a congressional hearing, MK-Ultra program targeted prostitutes, the homeless, and people with mental disorders (primarily schizophrenia) living or working on Skid Row for sinister mind control experiments. Individuals were kidnapped and regularly administered extreme doses of LSD while locked in coffin-sized boxes for weeks, put through horrible physical torture, as well as drowned and resuscitated multiple times a day. These poor souls where psychologically shattered to develop multiple personalities. Each personality would be separately trained in specialized skills, and could be brought forth using specific “command words.” That is what the C.I.A would admit too. Imagine what they won’t.

MK-Ultra success rates where low. What happened to individuals the C.I.A considered failed test subjects? Evidence suggests they were sold to private corporations (Dow, Merck, GE, Monsanto, etc.) for further human experimentation. I do not believe it a stretch to postulate the dog woman of Watts may have been an escaped Human/Animal genetic experiment. Watts, California was part of the C.I.A dragnet for human trafficking. The surrounding ruinous infrastructure on privately own land made the differentiation between discrete work site or abandoned building difficult, as well as problematic to investigate. This makes hiding a secret research facility in plain sight possible and keeping labs near designated abduction grounds cuts down on transportation issues. If the dog woman of Watts did escape such a facility, it could explain her sudden appearance and then subsequent vanishing, as she would have been close and quickly recaptured.

I am currently researching other Los Angeles centered cryptid sightings. I believe I could soon support an argument that Los Angeles is, or once was, home to a secret genetic testing lab, not dissimilar to Plum Island, and who used US citizens as test subjects.

Avenging spirit, Skinwalker, or similar magic worker (Brujo/Bruja, sorcerer, priest). My last postulation is rooted in the paranormal and given a modicum of possibility should the rumor Clifton heard be true. According to the stories, the dog woman of Watts spoke to a pimp, who was later found dead. In 1961 Watt’s was home to a large African American population, as such the religions of Vodou, various forms of Orisha worship and Palo Mayombe, had footholds within the community. I cannot speak to Orisha worship, however from the perspective of Vodou and Palo Mayombe, I can speak with authority. Followers of both Vodou and Palo Mayombe can petition spirits to seek retribution on their behalf. In particular priests of Palo Mayombe grant the spirit of a human the talents of various animals, and send the empowered ghost to perform tasks. One such spirit or empowered ghost might have been sent to avenge someone exploited, or worse, by the pimp.

Numerous problems arise with this postulation. The creature appeared physical and was seen by many. Spirits are almost never seen, and when they are, generally it is by one maybe two people. The spirit is often seen as an “apparition,” there but not physically tangible, and fleeting. The dog woman of Watts seems to have been solid, and her presence sustained for 3 to 4 hours. Keeping in the vein of the supernatural, it is possible the dog woman of Watts was a skinwalker, or similar magic worker, who through sorcerous means assumed the form of a large dog bodied creature and issued a death curse to the pimp.

While I use the term Skinwalker, I apply it loosely. The Skinwalker or “Yee Naaldoshii”  is distinctly Navajo, and is an overused and misappropriated term to describe any type of Native American shape-shifting phenomena. Los Angeles was home to both the Chumash and Tongva natives, along with a plethora of surrounding tribes. Their descendants still live in Los Angeles. We do not know the context each tribe viewed magic and shapeshifting. Skinwalkers of Navajo lore are primarily evil. Other tribes might see their brand of skinwalker as a protector. While a Navajo Skinwalker might have traveled to Watts to speak to a pimp, I find it more likely (assuming the dog woman of Watts was a shapeshifting sorcerer) the culprit was a Native American magic worker with ancestral land ties to Los Angeles, meting out punishment for someone who could not. In respects to the dog woman of Watts, I find the avenging spirits and Skinwalker postulations the least probable, but enough parallels of both exist (only in conjunction with the rumor Clifton heard) that I feel it’s a possibility…however remote.

If Clifton remembers anything more about the dog woman of Watts I will share it. If you discover any information regarding the dog woman of Watts, I would appreciate hearing from you.

-Kevin Wikse

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close