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COUNTY: Bayfield County
LOCATION DETAILS: North of Hwy 2 and West of Washburn in the Chequamegon National Forest near Horseshoe Lake Camp. Approximately one mile north of forest road 245 and one mile west of forest road 427.
NEAREST TOWN: Washburn
NEAREST ROAD: forest road 245
OBSERVED: Just after hunting hours on November 16, 2004 I started to gather my gear and got ready to climb down and head to my atv after bowhunting from my treestand when I heard several loud howls followed by a hair raising scream. It sounded like it was several hundered yards down the valley and deeper into the woods. Instantly I couldn't recognize what I had heard. I have been hunting for over twenty years and logged hundreds of days in the wood in Wisconsin, Canada and out west. I have personally heard every known animal in Wisconsin during my outings. My immediate reaction was to leave the area, quickly. I raced out of the tree, up the valley, and out to the logging road and my atv. I drove back to camp which was around 3.5 miles from my stand.
OTHER WITNESSES: No, I was the only one.
OTHER STORIES: The next day while I was out setting up a deer stand a hunter stopped into our camp and asked if anyone was there the night before around 9:30pm. When he was told that everyone went into town he proceeded to explain that he, and several others had heard something very strange which they had never heard before and it was just down the logging road from our camp. They were out baiting their hunting sights for the upcoming deer season which was opening on Saturday.
When I returned to camp they told me about what these fellow hunters had heard and that is was almost 4 hours later and 4 miles from my incident.
After that the entire hunting camp believed my experience.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 4:45pm
Just after dark.Very Dark and Calm night with no wind. It was dead still.
ENVIRONMENT: The environment was a pine forested valley with areas of thick logged overgrowth.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Paul Schnabel:
I spoke with the witness by phone. He seemed to be honest and credible.
As he states in his story, it became dark he turned on his red headlamp to climb down the tree. At this moment he heard three whoops followed by scream. He had logged many hours in the woods and had never heard anything like this before. He quickly gathered his gear and l left the area.
[Added by Editor MM]
Below is a comment regarding this report submitted to the BFRO after the report had been published.]
I came across your website by accident while “exploring” Chequamegon Forest on Google Earth. A “pin” in the map took me to a page on your site about a possible vocalization experience west of Washburn, Wisconsin. This caught my attention as I live on Madeline Island, one of the Apostle Islands and am somewhat familiar with this area. This triggered a memory that I had nearly forgotten about and has prompted me to write this email.
I have lived in this area for over five years and in that time, developed an interest in the local Indian culture and teachings. One of the first books I ever read about the Anishinaabe people was the “Mishomis Book” by Edward Benton-Banai. It is the spoken oral traditions written in a book for Indian kids for learning their culture and heritage.
The book is in story form as if an tribal elder were telling the stories first hand. If you are not familiar with the book, I think you will find this interesting. Here is an excerpt from the book…
"Waynaboozhoo dozed off but soon awoke with a start as if someone or something had prodded him. He looked around slowly. Even though he did not see anything, he knew he was not alone. Suddenly he noticed that just out of his direct eyesight was a being - a huge, dark figure with red eyes that peered out of a shadowy face. Again he felt his fear rising to an uncontrollable level. He wanted to run. He thought fleetingly of defending himself - of fighting - but violence was unknown to the world at that time. He was able to control both his fear and terror but still he felt a new, strange sensation. What was this strange feeling that possessed him? For the first time in many years, violence was evident on the Earth. But with Waynaboozhoo it was only a thought. He was able to put it aside. Violence, which is the twin of peace, must always be secondary and subservient to peace just as it was with Waynaboozhoo.
"The shadowy being spoke:
" 'I am Bug-way'-jinini [wildman]. Some of the people who follow you will know me as Sasquatch or Yeti, but they will seldom see me. It will be forbidden for them to look into my eyes. Some will not ever know of me. Many will not believe that I exist. I am your oldest brother!
" 'I have been with you on your journey. I have been ahead of you at times and behind you at times. Sometimes I have watched you walk by. The Creator sent me here to guide and care for those who become lost. I am to watch over those who go into the forests, swamps, hills and mountains to gather medicines and other things. If those who seek the medicine roots, bark, and berries will ask me in a good way, if their thoughts are good, and their concern is for others, I will help them to find the medicines they seek. I shall know their thoughts. Also I am to help those who choose to meditate, pray, and fast in the bug-way-ji' [wild and natural places]. I am the caretaker of all these places - the deep forests, swamps, mountains, and deep valleys. I am a natural man. I am to be the different one, different in all ways, I shall not build a home or gather in o-day-nah-wing' [towns]. Nor will I assemble with my own kind in tribes or nations. I will make no trails. Nor will I build ji-mon'-nug [canoes]. I am to be alone in the quiet solitude and majesty of the natural world of the Creator. I shall know of man's presence, and I will know his thoughts. But only the Anishinabe will know me. I am not to desire the companionship of Anishinabe or others...but only the Anishinabe shall know or honor me.
The Ojibwa people knew of these creatures long before the arrival of the Europeans.
You can type the name of this book into the internet to find out more about it. It’s a rather hard book to find, but one that validates the belief in such creatures by people pre-dating modern times.
The Chequamegon Forest area is sparsely populated and may be as good as place as any for a future expedition. The Apostle Islands even more so as only Madeline Island is populated. The rest of the islands experience human activity mostly in the summer months. A winter expedition could yield interesting results, especially if there were sufficient snowfall for tracking.
Personally, I have never heard of any BF stories or sightings in my time up here, but usually approach such topics with an open mind.
If you would like more information, please feel free to contact me.
PS. I also read about sightings near Spring Valley, Minnesota. I am also familiar with that area as well. During the years of about 1998 to 2002, I was a member of the Minnesota Speleological Survey, the states officially recognized “caving” club. During this time I explored area caves and occasionally assisted the group with various cave related projects. I also learned that there are many caves in this area, unknown to the general public. The terrain is somewhat hilly and wooded around the streams and rivers. Otherwise is flat or gently rolling farm land. Many of these caves can be accessed quite easily and some are quite large enough to provide protection from the elements, even during the winter months as caves in this area are slightly less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
If memory serves me right, Filmore County has the most sinkholes per square mile, or so I’ve heard others proclaim. New caves are discovered every year. The nearest, publically known cave, is Spring Valley Caverns, a private cave ran by John Ackerman, a devout Karst preservationist. His cave system, last I knew, contained almost 5 miles of passages in less than a square mile of actual surface area with new passages being discovered all of the time.
Minnesota’s biggest cave, Mystery Cave, is in Forestville State Park, maybe about 20 miles from Spring Valley. It has over 13 miles of passages under about 2 or 3 square miles. There are many other caves in the area as well.
I think you can probably see where I’m going with this. Karst areas may warrant a closer look to see if there are any correlations between the number of sightings verses the number of known caves. This would include areas of Tennesse, Alabama, and Georgia as well. Or maybe you’ve already looked at that. If not, I just thought I would point out these details about the Spring Valley area that you may not have been aware of.
In my neck of the woods, the only caves in the Chequamegon Forest area that I am aware of are the “sea” caves, formed by erosion from Lake Superior in the red sandstone which makes up much of geology. These are not really caves, but more like dead ended tunnels in the rock. However, as an “retired” caver, the possibility of finding a new cave always excites me and I have looked at some interesting geology here in hopes of finding one.
About BFRO Investigator Paul Schnabel:
Paul Schnabel is a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service and an EMT for the area search and rescue.
Paul attended the BFRO's 2006 Wisconsin, 2007 and 2008 Michigan U.P. expeditions and the 2008 Minnesota private expedition