Friday, February 24, 2012

Wisconsin Werewolves

The Legend Trippers Journal

Wisconsin Werewolves


Werewolves. I may have had some grandiose plans as a child that never came through to fruition, but werewolf hunter? Let me think back…astronaut…race car driver…police officer, yeah I think I saw myself doing those things at some point. Well that last one not so grandiose, but if you know anything about me now, it just doesn’t fit. I could have never guessed that I would be on the trail of a large hairy unexplained creature sighted in several counties of south eastern Wisconsin. Then again, the more I think about it I remember hanging topographic maps of the ocean floor from the area consisting of the Bermuda Triangle on my basement walls. That along with some really cutting edge research I had been compiling on dragons, all at the age of seven or so was really going to take me places. But here I am, sitting in front of a roaring fire in zero degree Wisconsin winter weather, burrowed into a snow bank that is the result of a record snowfall year. At least I’m not alone in my insanity. 

With me on this shall we say crisp legend trip in no particular order, long time friend and fellow outdoor adventurer to many a desolate destinations in our days John Albrecht. Brandon St. Germain braves the insanity as the only one among us with anything close to resembling an applicable science degree. Chad Lewis co-founder of the Unexplained Research Publishing Company rounds out the adventurists with respectable degrees. Kevin Nelson long time researcher of anything and everything occult and of course myself already established sitting in the snow bank. So more specifically how did we all end up investing this particular weekend of our busy lives to the wintry pursuit of werewolves?

I think it’s Chad’s fault…I mean doing. It all started with a conversation between Chad and I regarding winter camping. It was something he had never partaken in, so plans were made, gear was readied, and all we had to do was wait for winter and the predetermined weekend. Word quickly spreads of such an adventure among adventurists and the list of attendees quickly grew to a respectable number. Having the paranormal interests we most all have allows us to multitask in these situations. But what outdoor legend should we trip to this snow filled January? A phone call later to Linda Godfrey author of The Beast of Bray Road and Hunting the American Werewolf and we were up-to-date on the most recent cryptid reports in the area. It was settled, we would be seeking to place ourselves in the path of a large hairy yet-to-be-identified creature. The creature had been sighted in the area we were headed for around 100 years, longer if you can believe some ancient oral traditions. 

Our caravan of three vehicles strong is on the road. After the few required stops for such an expedition, gas for the vehicles, food for us, bait for the reported creature and of course booze but only to keep the fridged edge at bay after the investigative responsibilities are completed—probably. Wisconsin winters can bring snow on a regular basis and today was no exception. The several inches of fresh snow still on the roads only causes one near accident between our caravan of four vehicles. The further off the beaten path we stray in search of our final fury destination, the snow of a few inches turns into drifts of a few feet. Plowing through those with plowless vehicles we all miraculously make an area that we deem fitting. Unpacking the vehicles only to re-pack our bodies we make way into the wilds to build our base camp for the night. 

With plenty of light left, we make two base camps. Several tents in a small clearing through the woods and a second out on the middle of a frozen lake. Chad, Kevin and I dredge our way through the sometimes nearly waist deep snow to set up motion cameras surrounding base camp one on land. We even go as far as hanging some raw chicken in a tree a ways from camp hoping to lure anything in for several cameras mounted nearby to capture. In the news before we left, the DNR had finally, after years of outright denials, conceded that Wisconsin is now home to at least one or two mountain lions. The news helps this trip by adding an additional danger element just in case some mysterious 7 foot tall hairy creature that has been known to attack 1 ton cars isn’t enough, we have zero-degree snow-filled weather coupled with bears and now mountain lions. We keep with the equipment and split roving teams hoping to happen upon something that would shed light on the recent rash of unidentified hairy creature sightings. Late into the evening and then further into the next morning we all stay hopeful, even taking some plaster casts of prints we found in the snow. Brandon with the large professional shoulder mounted camera is required to make most trips twice, getting footage and back up shots for later editing options. 

A few dozen….ehh…I mean few nips of the flask around the fire later, we all wind down for the evening. I make a couple trips into the eerily quite winter woods needing more fuel for the fire. Chad breaks the peaceful silence with wrapping large pieces of wood together known as wood knocking. This has been reported in many locations that also have Bigfoot type sightings. We are hoping for a response or perhaps to lure something in so that it might linger long enough in front of one of our many motion cameras mounted in the woods. 

The final morning comes with a clear sky and colder temperatures. After literally thawing boots and pants both in order to make them pliable enough to put on again, we make our final rounds. Pull the remaining plaster casts, and check on the bait. Not surprisingly the bait doesn’t even have a nibble on it. Rounding up the motion cameras and breaking two separate camps in the welcomed morning sun took less time than setting them up. Though this is no ones first wilderness investigation for a cryptid creature, it is another opportunity for us all to experience what has been reported from this area. The comradery and the challenge, coupled with the possibility of what if, brought us here. I have a feeling this won’t be the last time.

The woods are someplace always familiar to me. For most people they are happy to have for local parks and day hikes. It is when they grow dense and dark people avoid. They are very much two entirely different realities for most, one welcoming and the other genuinely ominous. For those few in the Wisconsin area that have had face to face encounters with something they could only best describe as a werewolf, this area will always hold a third and terrifying reality only few could ever imagine. 
Until next time, remember, adventures come to the adventuresome!

Noah Voss (Bio)

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