Bigfoot and the Christmas Star sounds like the title of a children’s book, I know. Far from it! As soon as I started looking into tales of unknown upright canids 20 years ago, people also began reporting other creatures to me. I’ve received sightings of everything from giant birds to flying Batman to small green humanoids. But chief among those other sightings, especially in Wisconsin, are encounters with Bigfoot.
The sightings date back to at least the early 60s, and I’ve collected 15 or 16 very credible Sasquatch reports from a certain section of Southeast Wisconsin alone. This area stretches from Delavan north toward Eastern Rock County, southwestern Jefferson County and Northern Walworth County. There are plenty of other sightings all around Wisconsin but this area is very close to where I live – – in fact, you could say I’m in the thick of it. That comes in very handy for study purposes.
I’ve been revisiting some of the older sightings in this area to compare with newer incidents, and one that comes to mind every Christmas is the one I call Bigfoot and the Christmas star. I covered it more thoroughly in Hunting the American Werewolf, but here’s a brief recap:
Every December for many years, a Palmyra inventor and philanthropist named Irvin Young and his wife, Fern, lit a giant, electric Christmas star on the Kettle Moraine hill known as Bald Bluff. Locals also referred to it as Young Hill since the star was then on property owned by the Youngs. Area resident Judy Wallerman told me that as a teenager in 1970, she often sat on a nearby hillside and watched the star through binoculars just to see the bright lights.
Judy was watching one winter evening after a fresh snow that made the star’s surroundings easier to see, when she noticed a shadow- like figure darting about beneath it. The figure was near human in shape and covered with shaggy brown fur!
“It seemed to be focused on something,” said Judy.” It didn’t stand fully upright and it had a lumbering gait, it was slightly stooped but definitely on two legs.” She witnessed the creature running around the star on several other occasions, and when she told her friends about it she learned at least four or five others had seen it, too. The creature even had a nickname, Bluff Man or Bluff Monster. Her friend Rochelle Klemp was willing to speak to me about it and said, “It seemed human because it was upright, but size wise, it was taller than an average human.”
I have included Wallerman’s witness sketch. I’d have to say it’s a classic rendering of a Bigfoot.
The star was taken down in 2003 after Fern Young passed away. She had ceded the land to the state of Wisconsin years earlier but had stipulated the star must remain standing and lit every December for as long as she lived. (You can read more about the Youngs and Irvin’s strange sculptures on the site in my book, Strange Wisconsin; More Badger State Weirdness.)
Bald Bluff boasts a half-mile hiking trail and is part of the Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit. The Kettle Moraine is comprised of plunging, bowl shaped depressions left by the last glacier. Most of it is heavily forested and teems with deer, wild turkey and other game perfect for a large predator. Hiking and biking trails wind along the ridges between the kettles, leaving plenty of space for a large creature to get around in between them. Bald Bluff is also very close to Blue Spring Lake, marshes and other water sources. And as I mentioned earlier there are plenty of other sightings of Bigfoot – – not to mention dog men, as well – –here to establish this was not a fluke incident.
I like to think perhaps that star-struck Bigfoot was doing a Christmas dance. But even if he was only chasing a deer or a rabbit, I love the mental image and hope it brings joy to you all.