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YEAR: mid 1950's
COUNTY: Itasca County
LOCATION DETAILS: This area of Itasca county is known for its expansive thick forests and swamps. Many people claim that they are some of the easiest forests to get lost in.
I have hunted those forests before and can definately say that I would never venture far without an experienced person from that area along with me. The deep forests are decieving, the undergrowth and game trails all look the same. Some of the most remote areas I belive have never been hunted. They are just to hard to get to.
NEAREST TOWN: Bovey
NEAREST ROAD: not sure
OBSERVED: My mother told me this story a few years ago. The incident happened when she was a young in the woods surrounding her child hood home.
She said she was picking blue berries one day. It was near dark and she was by herself. She wasn't far from home but she was on the edge of a very large forest and swamp.
She said she got a funny feeling, like someone was watching her. She looked up from her blue berry pail and noticed someone crouched in the blue berry patch a little ways away staring directly at her. Then it ducked quietly below a line of brush and berries
At first she tought it was one of her brothers or possibly her father who had come to bring home. She took a few steps toward the place where she had last noticed the person. At that point the "whatever-it-was" bolted unseen into some nearby brush. She saw alot of brush move when it bolted and she was sure at that point it wasn't a person. It simply moved to mush brush to be a person.
Thinking it was a bear enjoying the same blueberries as her, she began walking quickly toward home. A few steps from the blue berry patch she turned to look over her shoulder. She then noticed (I will describe it in her words) "something really, really tall standing by a tree. It looked like a huge man all covered with hair. When I saw it, it ducked behind the tree. I was so scared I started running for home as fast as my little legs would go.
"I looked back when I got near the edge of the woods. I saw it comming after me, but it was like it was keeping its distance and it was bent over. Its arms were huge and at its sides.
"I screamed because it was chasing me and saw it jump off the trail behind a tree. It almost hit its head on some low limbs but it put its arm up to move the branches away. It made alot of noise when it crashed into the brush. I kept screaming because I knew it was following me and I ran to the house and told my brothers."
Evidently her brothers went armed to the site and found an area of brush that had be matted down. They tought a bear must have been there because the whole area smelled bad. My mother never mentioned a bad smell. Just the funny feeling that someone was watching her.
She said that not much was mentioned after that evening about it and she only remembered it because it scared her so bad. She also said none of her family teased her about it and her brothers wouldn't talk about it. (Did they find something in the woods or have they had similar experiences?)
ALSO NOTICED: Mother stated that she felt as if some one was watching her.
OTHER WITNESSES: 1 witness saw the creature. 3 or 4 went to look for it and found a matted down area that smelled bad.
1st witness was picking blueberries late in the day.
Other witnesses were searching for it. Armed and looking for signs or tracks.
OTHER STORIES: Some of the people in that area used to talk about the "Swamp Lady". As the story goes, a young 13 or 14 yrs old got lost in the woods and was never found.
They say she must have survived deep in the swamp. Her hair grew very long and she was a very big woman. Hunters say they have seen or heard her over the years. They figure that she must have become scared of people after many years without human contact.
My mother said people would hear her screaming in the woods or swamps from time to time. But it was at night and no one wanted to go looking.
The problem I have with that story is I have been in those woods. I find it impossible to believe that anyone could survive a winter out there without some serious gear and knowledge.
The temp. plumates to 60 degrees below zero and blizards can effectively shut down entire towns for days. I don't doubt that a may have been lost in the woods or swamp and may have lived till fall but not through the winter. They get winters in that part of the country and I have seen damage to animal populations because of them.
I believe the locals were telling the truth about the young being lost. But I think what they saw and heard in later years was something much different.
I also believe my relatives, who still live in the area, have had other experiences similar to this but are unwilling to talk about them.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: It was a nice summer day, near dark. It would have been clear because my mother was afraid of storms as a little . Also it would have been when the blue berries ripen in that area.
ENVIRONMENT: Near the Prarie River, and a few small lakes. Thick woods and swamps in the area with heavy undergrowth. Homes in the area are many blocks apart.
Follow-up investigation report:
Spoke with witness's son. Very credible person who described his mother (the witness) as a very solid person not given to tall tales or dishonesty.