Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April, 2020

 

Want a fast pictorial on how I became a creature investigator and author? Here’s an unsolicited, unexpected, unremunerated short video from art teacher Andy McGraff at Lakewood Elementary in Twin Lakes WI. He created it as part of his exploration of area artists for his students’ “learning at a distance” program. My connection with Andy is that I have a degree in art education and often subbed in the Lakewood art room where Andy now works (when the schools have not been closed due to a monstrous virus invasion.) Andy includes some of the original “Inside Edition” footage from  the early days of the Bray Road saga, and other undescribable things that made me laugh. It’s on Youtube at https://youtu.be/6bnAH8hpVQU

Read Full Post »

Their business names–the Dairy State’s “Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue and Educational Shelter” and Tampa, Florida’s “Big Cats Shelter” (a.k.a. Greater Wynnewood Animal Park) are similar–and both take in tigers, lions and other hulking felines with nowhere else to go. But the two animal parks could not be more different in their goals and personnel, says Rock Falls, WI’s Jeff Kozlowski. He and his wife, Jennifer, run a small non-profit specializing in programs for school children, while Florida’s Big Cats Shelter is something else–in any way you wish to take that phrase.

But in summer 2019, my fledgling crew (White Lhasa Studios LLC) and I were busy filming in and around Hillsboro, Wisconsin. Kozlowski was on our list for his knowledge of big cats. We were totally unaware of the concurrent production of a TV series titled Tiger King after its flamboyant and freewheeling Floridian owner, known as Joe Exotic.

While Joe Exotic is the mainstay of the TV series, Kozlowski isn’t featured on the TV show and he has said on area media that he doesn’t mind at all. His interview with us for our award-winning* indie documentary, Return to Wildcat Mountain; Wisconsin’s Black Panther Nexus, involved possible big cat escapes and whether romance between jaguars and pumas could produce hybrids or occur at all. Our big ask, then, was whether a black jaguar could mate with a mountain lion to produce the mysterious black “panthers” we tracked. Kozlowski had a reasonable answer. We found him knowledgeable and willing to share his thoughts on every facet of big cat rescue.

Since Kozlowski is an important presence in Return to Wildcat Mountain, we also wanted to show him at his well-kept compound with a few of his own words. If you’d like to see more of our film, you may click the options below:

 SEE STREAMING VERSIONS HERE

and DVD’S HERE. (Dvd’s on sale until June 20th, 2020. Use Promo Code SPRINGCATS at checkout.)

*Return to Wildcat Mountain, released April 2020, won Best Documentary in the 4th Annual Midwest WeirdFest film festival, April 7-9 2020

Random Synchronicity of the day: Joe’s shelter is located in Florida’s Hillsborough County, while the Wisconsin shelter is only a bit over 15 miles from the Village of Hillsboro where we did the most work. Some would call this association of certain human and place names, “the name game.”

Read Full Post »

Just in time for Easter…

Throughout the annals of cryptozoology, every once in a while a truly odd cryptid shows up. About this time this year I think of Virginia’s Bunny Man, hunted by Fairfax County Sheriff’s Deputies as it hopped through fields and neighborhoods, occasionally throwing  a hatchet through someone’s window. Everyone agreed it was a human dressed in a furry suit, usually white. There is a bridge named after him by locals, and a collection of crazed local lore in “Weird US,” 2004 by Mark Sceurman and Mark Moran.

Lesser known and more benign is the Michigan Bunny Man, which is more on the order of upright, over-sized animals.

BunnyManMI

In this version, the five-foot tall, upright rabbit creature was seen by a woman working at a camp in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in 1958, between Paulding and Bruce Crossing. The woman’s daughter said it ran away from her mother on two legs. The woman, whom I met at a book signing in Iron Mountain, said her mother wasn’t the type to make things up, and often marveled that she had seen such a thing. It also happens that this area is almost the exact spot of the famed Paulding Lights. The illustration is my own fanciful interpretation of the creature. Happy Easter!

 

Read Full Post »