Nipissing Swamp State Natural Area, Wisconsin. Photo by Joshua Mayer
I recently received a distressed email from a man named David W. who, along with his wife, had an encounter with something they could not explain (maybe a wendigo?) last month in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. They were hunting in Point Beach State Forest in Two Rivers, where they moved to only a few months prior, and were unfamiliar with the area.
“Me and my wife were walking a bridle trail bow hunting in Nipissing Swamp State Natural Area,” David wrote, “when I started to feel like we were being watched.”
David kept it to himself, however, and they continued walking the trail until they reached a point where the path branched off to the right, and a snowmobile trail went to the left.
“I went to that corner the last few days but always stopped because I just had a odd feeling about continuing,” David said.
They had just moved to Two Rivers a few months ago and weren’t familiar with the area. They had just started hunting there a few days prior, and the odd feeling had been enough to convince David to turn back on previous excursions. This time, though, something would convince him ignore that feeling to go further.
As David and his wife reached the fork, something not far off the trail ran off through the woods.
“It seemed so big I felt it in the ground,” David noted.
Believing it must be a large buck, the couple proceeded down the trail hoping to get a glimpse of it. They found it about 50 yards up, where the trail opened into a stand of tall pines. It was behind a tree, and at first appeared to be a bear standing on it’s back legs scratching it’s back against the tree trunk.
“It kept stepping to the side and I could see what looked like to be a shoulder and a really long arm,” David said, “but it looked black. Really black.”
“Then it did something funny, almost like it got down on all fours, and I thought I saw what would be its head. But it was very oddly shaped, almost like a football but horizontal with very long ears pointing up into the back, and I thought what I believe to be very long almost grayish hair.”
David estimated the creature to be eight to ten feet tall, with long, thin, gangly arms. He and his wife watched it briefly, unable to understand what they were looking at. Then it took three large steps and disappeared into the underbrush.
They slowly walked toward the tree where the creature had been standing, where they saw large impressions in the ground.
David thought maybe it had been another hunter dressed in a ghillie suit, though he knew it was way too tall to be human.
“Hello?” he said quietly. There was no response. He called out a few more times, but there was only silence.
“We decided we better get out of there because it was starting to get dark and we were both pretty freaked out,” David wrote. “All the way back it felt like somebody was trailing us alongside the trail, keeping up with us as we walked very fast.”
Nipissing Swamp sand dunes. Photo by Joshua Mayer
About a quarter mile from the road where their vehicle was parked, David and his wife walked out of the forest into a field. They saw a deer there, standing sideways out in the open. A perfect shot. They had come out to hunt, after all. So David raised his bow and nocked an arrow.
“I used lighted nocks so you can see the trajectory of my arrow,” David said. “When I shot, you could see that I shot low and I heard something like my arrow hitting something. But I wasn’t sure if I hit the deer or not so we walked over there and started looking for my arrow, still constantly watching around near us, and we couldn’t find my arrow anywhere.”
Then David spotted the glowing nock about 20 or 30 yards back toward the woods and the path.
“My arrow was stuck basically vertical in the ground except for leaning the opposite way I shot,” he wrote, “which to me and my wife seemed impossible that my arrow could be the way it was in the ground.”
As they made their way back toward the road to leave, a strong odor filled the air.
“I smelled the most horrible smell I’ve ever smelled my life, like rot and mud and sulfur,” David wrote. “A nasty smell that just was right in my face.”
His wife smelled it as well, and later described it to him as “a very strong metallic odor of metal.”
They hurried back to their vehicle and went home, but that night still haunts David.
“I’m a very avid bow hunter and have spent most of my life out in the woods,” he wrote. “I’ve never encountered anything like this or have felt the feeling I felt when I was out there.”
The experience has left David feeling uneasy about going back out in the woods, and is questioning whether he will ever go out hunting again. He’s hoping to find answers.
A wendigo in Manitowoc for Windigo Fest
In Native American folklore, the terrifying wendigo is often described as a gaunt and foul-smelling creature that roams the woods in search of human flesh to consume. In certain cultures wendigo are depicted as humanoid, but with pale skin like a corpse. Other stories describe it more like a thin bipedal bear creature with a skeletal head and antlers.
In recent years numerous wendigo sightings have been reported in Wisconsin.
What did David and his wife encounter in the woods? Have you had a similar experience in the Two Rivers area? Please share your story.
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