Cryptid Profile: The Cumberland Beast (AKA: Wisconsin’s Bigfoot)
When most people think of states the legendary creature known as Bigfoot could dwell, they tend to think of Washington, Oregon, California, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida (just to name a few). But a majority of people rarely think of Wisconsin as a place this large hairy hominid could call home, and that’s a shame as Wisconsin is as suitable a habitat for the creature to be as anywhere else.
Just listen to this fact; Wisconsin has a total land area of 34.7 million acres, and 16 million of those total acres are covered in forest (mostly the northern half of the state). That means 46 percent of the state is a potential home for a Sasquatch to live, and it appears that it already does, as eyewitness reports of the beast trickle out of the dairy state as frequently as reports of badger land Lake Monsters.
One such location for frequent sightings of a Bigfoot-like creature is the city of Cumberland, located in Barron County. For decades, residents of this 4.04 sq mi city have told of their encounters of a creature that possesses the stereotypical characteristics of a Sasquatch; large frame, strong build, putrid smell, and covered in hair. Sightings of the creature go so far back that even the local Native American St. Croix Tribe tell stories of an encounter that took place generations ago.
The story goes that one day, a large hairy creature that the Tribe referred to as ‘The Screeching Demon’ wandered into a St. Croix camp and frightened members of the tribe so badly that many feared for their lives. Eventually, a group of women protecting their children drove the beast away. The protective mothers grabbed whatever objects were around them (mostly brooms) and proceeded to swat at and beat the Demon until it fled back into the woods. The tribal elders tell of how the Screeching Demon never again entered the camp, but it would often be seen lurking around and watching from the woods.
While the encounter story above could be played off as just that, a story, many modern sightings of the Cumberland Beast add to its lengthy history and possible credibility. In 1974, young sisters Sharon and Shelly Brunette were playing tag in a cornfield near their family property when they both had an up close encounter with the creature. As the girls chased each other through the tall stalks, they naturally made their way to the last row of corn. Upon exiting, the girls came to a dead stop because 20ft in front of them stood a large hair covered, human-like beast.
The girls stated that the beast seemed just as startled as they did after locking eyes with one another. After nearly 30 seconds of standing in shock, the Cumberland Beast turned and ran off into the adjacent tree line. The girls turned in terror and fled back into the corn and ran toward their home screaming. Once there, the two sisters told their parents about seeing a large monster that stood nearly 7ft tall, was covered in black hair, had arms that hung down to its knees, and smelled like rotten onions.
Fast forward twenty years to the mid-nineties when eyewitness Dennis Murphy was traveling through Wisconsin from Minnesota and sighted not just one, but two of the beasts standing in a corn field. Murphy stated that as he drove up alongside the corn, one of the unknown creatures (the smaller one) turned away and tried to crouch down. The larger one however, who Dennis believed was around 8ft tall, continued to stare though as he slowly drove by watching. After his sighting, Dennis Murphy described the creatures as being 7ft and 8ft tall, with a wide build, long arms, human-like faces, and covered in whitish-gray colored hair.
Jump ahead another 8yrs, and we get two reports of the Beast, only this time it was reported as looking in through the eyewitnesses home windows. The first sighting comes from St.Croix reservation animal control officer Val Hogner; while home one night at her rural residence, Val took notice of an odd yet putrid smell drifting in through her windows. When she approached the window to look outside for the source, Val witnessed a large (nearly 7ft tall) hair covered bipedal creature turn and duck down. Obviously frightened, Val turned from the window and ran back into the safety of her home. Sometime later, on that same reservation, a woman by the name of Loretta Potter would have her own sighting.
On the morning of July 19th, Loretta woke at 5am and headed to her kitchen. Upon arrival into the kitchen, Loretta looked out the window and noticed a large black figure staring into her daughters window at the other end of the house outside. Worried that it was a possible intruder, Loretta yelled out at the unknown thing causing it to spin around and look towards her. Shocked at what she saw, Loretta let out a scream and the creature, in keeping suit, turned and ran off into the surrounding woods.
Loretta Potter would go on to describe her early morning visitor as standing around 8ft tall, being totally covered in dark matted hair, and having a hairless gray face that looked somewhat human, but not fully. The local sheriffs department was contacted the next day as well as the St. Croix reservation police who would go on to send out an officer to investigate. Upon arriving at Loretta Potters residence, officer Marvin Halverson would take notice of several large footprints with human-like toes fleeing across the dirt driveway, and would also go on to discover that two of the family pet rabbits that were kept outside were missing from their broken enclosure.
While the few select stories above could be considered proof that something strange and unknown does in fact call Wisconsin home, they are most certainly not the only ones out there. Reports of the Cumberland Beast have been occurring regularly in the area (and surrounding area) for years and still continue to this day. So what do you think, should Wisconsin be listed among the other states in which Bigfoot calls home? Personally, we believe so, and we’d like to thank The Cumberland Beast for that.
-The Pine Barrens Institute
*Image Credit: Getty Images