7 Legendary Wisconsin Monsters

Jasmine Ferrell

Nice abs, Beast of Bray Road! Image:
Great abs, Beast of Bray Road! Image: MonstrumAthenaeum.org

According to some, Wisconsin is ripping at its cheesy seams with the strange and unusual. Classic creatures like werewolves, witches, and lake monsters have been our neighbors for as long as local legends have been told. With the help of longtime Chippewa Valley paranormal investigator Chad Lewis, we present to you a mere sampling of Wisconsin’s cryptozoological wonders.

1. Beast o’ Bray Road

Location: Elkhorn    
Physical Description: A bulky fellow, it walks upright on two legs, has a wolf-like face, and is about the size of a bear ... and has bright red eyes.

Also known as the “Wisconsin Werewolf,” the Beast of Bray Road was originally only sighted in Elkhorn but it seems its habitat has expanded across the very state. Being the carnivore that it is, it’s most often seen eating from some freshly killed prey near the road. Of course, if you can’t catch it there, just check out the movie.

2. Phantom Chickens

Location: Seymour
Physical Description: They look like chickens, but have a habit of vanishing into thin air.

On a legendary road called “Chicken Alley,” unsuspecting drivers have reported hitting a chicken, walking out to investigate and seeing nothing to be found. Others have even seen an entire flock (or, technically, a brood) of chickens storm the road, but disappear before any bird could be hurt. Yep – GHOST CHICKENS.

3. Witch of which road? Witch Road.

Location: Rosendale
Physical Description: Standard mysterious old lady.

This story begins like many witch stories before it, with an isolated woman in a dilapidated house. When the woman resided there nearly 70 years ago, it was said that ominous chanting could be heard coming from the house and naturally the rumor mill began churning out ideas that the old woman was involved with *gasp* unholy rituals. So, obviously the land is now cursed.

4. The Pale Vampire of Graceland Cemetery

Location: Mineral Point
Physical Description: Tall, thin, pale, and vampirey.

In the days of yester-year (the 1980s), a police officer was surprised to find one of Dracula’s relatives lounging about in Graceland Cemetery. Doing his duty, he chased the strange creature down, only to be cut off when it scaled the encompassing fence and vanished. Many believe that this was probably a practical joker or someone who was very confused. OR WAS IT?

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Above: Lake Pepin and ... something in it. Image: Al Knudson via Frontiers of Zoology

5. Pepie the Environmental Activist

Location: Lake Pepin
Physical Description: Serpent-like, 20 feet long, a lot like Nessie.

The legends of Pepie go back to Native American folklore, with stories of a strange creature, lurking just below the surface. As Pepie’s fame grew, so did her contributions to society. One myth claims Pepie as the inspiration for water skiing, another lists her as the reason for a village’s survival. On top of that, as you can see on its website, Pepie has become the spokesperson for a clean water system. “Don’t be mean, Keep my water clean.” Read about efforts to track the monster down.

6. The Rock-Tossin’ Gnomes

Location: Fifield
Physical Description: Your standard Gnome appearance – pointed ears, 3 to 4 feet tall with the obligatory coned hat.

As far as the strange and unusual goes, Holy Cross Road is where it’s at. Just for starters, local legend has it that, at night, you can see the ghost of a young mother killed on the train tracks. But if that still doesn’t get your gears grinding, there’s always the gnomes. Throw a rock into the woods, and expect it to be thrown back by these sassy, yet mysterious creatures.

7. The Many Big Feet of Wisconsin

Locations: Countless
Physical Description: Tall, hairy things with feet of abnormal size.

Given Wisconsin’s majestic woodlands, can you really blame Big Foot for wanting to hang around? There are ample stories of big foot sightings throughout the state, and although the creature may differ in appearance here and there, it’s always causing trouble. Why, in Plainfield, the darned thing is said to have trapped three teens. In Clark County, it was out and about carrying a goat like it was no big deal. And please. Don’t get me started on the Pickle Patch Incident over in Shawano. 

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