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Sketch made by eyewitness of creature seen July 17 in Hartland WI.

Sketch made by eyewitness of creature seen July 17 in Hartland WI.

A Hartland, Wisconsin woman wrote me this past Monday to report one of the most chilling sightings I’ve heard lately. Her encounter took place the night of Thursday, July 17 on her property inside the Hartland city limits. And if what I later found in the landscaping around her home is what it looks like, a six-foot tall, bipedal canine creature may have been snooping on her family, particularly a young teen, since early summer. She wishes to remain anonymous, so I’ll leave out names and street locations.

She had arisen that night at about 1:30 a.m. at the insistent yapping of her small dog. She hadn’t actually fallen asleep yet, she said, so she was awake and alert. Thinking the pooch needed to relieve itself, she took it out to the deck at the rear of her home, expecting it to run to the yard as usual. Instead, it stopped barking and cowered behind her on the deck. She could see something moving by the trees at the back of her yard, lit by her deck lights and other lighting around the residential neighborhood.

“At first I thought someone was playing a trick on me,” she said, “or that it was a person wearing a thick, gray jacket.” Then she realized it wasn’t a person. It was gray all over, with the fur thickest on its muscular chest. The head was that of an animal, with short, pointed ears on top of the head and a “short snout” like that of a boxer or other short-snouted canine, but “definitely not flat like a human’s,” she said. Its forelimbs hung at its sides and seemed muscular at the top but ended in longish paws with noticeable claws. They weren’t long like a Bigfoot’s, she said. Its thighs were also muscular but thinned toward the lower limbs, and it walked on its toepads. “The legs were canine,” she said. She estimated its height at about seven feet, gauged by a tree it passed under, and when I measured the tree later the actual height turned out to be six feet tall.

As she watched the creature easily stride across the back of her yard along a treeline that separated her yard from the neighbor’s, the beast suddenly swiveled its head to glance at her. There wasn’t enough light that she could see its eyes or any eyeshine, she said, but she knew that it saw her.

“And then it kept on walking like it didn’t care,” she said. She grabbed her dog and scrambled back inside her house. She did not sleep at all that night, she added.

The next day she called the police and told an officer what she had seen. Expecting a negative reaction, she was surprised when the officer told her he believed her, and urged her to be cautious. She asked him if there had been other reports, and he did not answer. (Which leads me, of course, to think that there were perhaps other reports!)

Single print

Single print

I got to her property to examine it the day after her call, on Tuesday, July 22. We walked around the rear of her yard and found numerous deep impressions in the mulch-dirt mixture. Some were obviously the size and shape of a deer’s tracks, and the others appeared roughly canine and about four and one-half inches in length, with some give-and-take for the distortion caused by the helter-skelter quality of mulch. The prints appeared to be made only from the hind limbs of something taking two-foot strides in bipedal fashion, and led in a path across this landscaping feature to an adjacent small woods. While neither she nor I could make any sort of impression in that ground whatsoever, even by stomping or jumping, these prints were about an inch deep, on average.

They were also very evident in the mulch around her house, especially under several windows. One of the windows belonged to the couple’s young teen, who has a special needs disorder. The teen had been telling the woman that there was a “monster” peering into the window almost every night for a month, she said, but it was never there by the time she got to the room, so she thought the teen was imagining things. She does not think that any more, she added.

DSC03983 - Copy

We also found a couple of small piles of scat near the house and in the rear of the yard that looked canine but did not seem like they were substantial enough to have come from a creature of that size.

While it may seem unusual that such a creature could roam freely in a neighborhood like this, there are several factors that make it more likely. There are abundant deer for prey, and much water; Hartland is very close to Pewaukee Lake, with eight other closely connected small lakes to its east and north. Moreover, the Kettle Moraine State Forest, a source of many cryptid sightings, lies just to its north, as does Holy Hill, the site of the well-known encounter when a deer was taken from a carcass collector’s truck. I’ve dubbed this creature the Holy Hill Bearwolf in my blog posts and books, and I asked the woman if she’d ever heard of it. She hadn’t, she said, but she thought the term “bearwolf” very appropriate for what she saw. “I know it was definitely not a bear,” she said. “The legs were wrong and it was too different, but it had that thicker chest.”

The family had a previous incident in the past  year when a huge, white, blue-eyed wolf walked up to the patio door of a room with a hot tub, and just stared in for a few moments before casually walking away. The woman estimated it stood three feet high at the shoulder. She does not think it was the same animal she saw on July 17, however.

The woman added the reason she was willing to tell me her story was that she believed other people in that lakes area should know that this creature might be out there. I continue to communicate with her and will be checking on the property. In the meantime, she has put up a trail cam. I consider it an ongoing investigation, and hope we will find something definitive.

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To wish everyone a Happy 4th, here’s something I dug out of my WayBack File. The photo in this clipping from The Bee (August 2006) in Phillips, Wis., shows a reenactment of what had to be the most awesome summer Bible camp ever, since it portrayed Sasquatch (guy in gorilla suit) interacting with a Biblical character (unsure of what character but Noah would be my choice.) This was soon after a flurry of Bigfoot sightings in the hilly areas of nearby Lugerville had drawn the interest of Monsterquest and sundry Bigfoot researchers. I had previously interviewed witness Don Young and also tracked down another observer by poking around Lugerville myself. However, although my dad grew up in that area and I’ve spent much time in Price County woods my whole life, also still have many relatives there all hunters and fishermen, no one I knew there had ever mentioned Bigfoot. UFOs, yes, cemetery lights, yes. But not Squatches. Perhaps the Forest Folk just stuck to the nearby Chequamegon Forest until fairly recently. Or my relatives didn’t live close enough to Lugerville. But Happy Independence Day!

 

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Partly because it’s National Poetry Month and partly because a fan sent me some surprising poetry centered around unknown creatures, I give you a sample of the work of Jacob Gene Lenhardt of Menasha. This is not sweet or sentimental work, nor is it some sort of disguised sighting report. It is dark, a tad disturbing and I think it comes from some interior place that witnesses occasionally hint at but seldom know how to express. I found myself responding to these lines on a visceral level, and thought some of you might appreciate the chance to do so as well.

Poetry, I remind you again, is the most personal and subjective form of writing and not everyone’s cup of Starbuck’s. But if you’re game for a quick alternate look at the unknown, read on:

 Street Lantern
The snow apes that frequent our
mill-pond are losing their hair; it gets
caught in clumps when they
crawl under the barbwire
or gathers in the
basement drain during
spring floods. It’s because
of the shit I dump
in there to keep them
away or kill them off
but it only makes them
dumber and stronger
throwing up all over
and bleeding internally.
When I’m reading
my daughter a story at twilight
it gives me a stomach-ache
to see her eyes widen
over my shoulder
dancing with those
faint green lights;
I have to leave the room
to tell my mom
not to go out there
until the ship is gone.
Jacob Gene Lenhardt, by permission

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