Minnesota’s Creepiest Legends


There’s nothing better than a good ghost story to set the mood for Halloween. You don’t have to search far, as Minnesota is no stranger to the weird and mysterious. Gather your friends and turn out the lights to retell Minnesota’s creepiest tales…

Hairy Man of Vergas Trails

Minnesota's Creepiest Legends

The legend of the Hairy Man may make you think twice before venturing out deep into the woods. The eerie twists and turns of the Vergas forest trails and tales of the Hairy Man even caught the attention of Syfy’s show “Haunted Highway” which traveled to Minnesota for their own investigation. Aggressive and thought to be the cause of many strange animal attacks, each witness describes the Hairy Man as a 7 or 8 foot tall humanoid with shaggy, long hair, an odd musky odor, and always barefoot which is notably an unnatural sight in the frigid north winters.

One resident recalls their clash with the Hairy Man. As she was snowmobiling through the trails, the enormous bigfoot jumped out brandishing a large stick. Another witness recounts his frightening encounter when the Hairy Man charged out of the woods and pounded huge dents into the hood of his car. Additional evidence surfaced when a local resident discovered a skull with bizarre nonhuman features. The nasal cavity bone was missing, the eye sockets were quite small, and there wasn’t enough room in the skull cavity to hold a large human brain. While the skull hasn’t been scientifically studied, it remains a curious discovery. The only way to find the truth may be to trek into the dark woods of the Vergas trails yourself and search for the Hairy Man.

The Wendigo

Minnesota's Creepiest Legends

I hope I never cross paths with a Wendigo. Originating from Native American legend, Wendigo means an “evil spirit that devours mankind” or as a German explorer translated to mean “cannibal”. The Wendigo roams the upper regions of Minnesota with an insatiable hunger for human flesh. This supernatural creature stands 15 feet tall, severely thin and gaunt, with glowing eyes, long yellow fangs, an overly long tongue, and matted hair. The Wendigo’s sallow yellow and ash gray skin emits a sour odor of decay.

According to legend, a Wendigo is created when someone resorts to cannibalism. In the bitter north winters many settlers stranded by severe weather would resort to cannibalism creating the Wendigo. A Wendigo is also said to be capable of possessing humans resulting in several documented cases of cannibalism where men consume their own families even when there were food supplies near. From the 1800s to the 1920s reported sightings of the Wendigo occurred in Roseau, Minnesota. After each sighting an unexpected death followed. Never satiated, the Wendigo will wander searching for its next meal.

Lake Pepin

Minnesota's Creepiest Legends

Lurking beneath the waters of Lake Pepin is said to be home to the giant serpent Pepie. Sightings of Pepie stretch back to the 1800s when both Native Americans and white settlers were frightened of the monster submerged in the waves. Lake Pepin bodes an eerie similarity to Scotland’s famous Loch Ness. Both bodies of water are approximately 2 miles wide and 22 miles long surrounded by rocky bluffs. Though, while Loch Ness reaches depths of over 700 feet, Lake Pepin only reaches around 60 feet at its deepest point. Seemingly deep enough to conceal a lake monster. Sightings describe Pepie ranging from 8 feet to 200 feet and when rising out of the water as large as an elephant or rhinoceros. At one point a local of the town of Lake City offered a $50,000 reward for anyone who could uncover evidence of Pepie from the murky waters. However, eyewitness accounts remain the only evidence. Minnesota is home to over 10,000 lakes. There’s bound to be something lurking in one of them.

Looking for more spooky stories? Read this next: Visit 5 of Minnesota’s most haunted places – if you dare

Previous articleCity and Nature Side-by-Side in St. Paul
Next articleVitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin
Lauren is a filmmaker and writer. She loves capturing and sharing Minnesotans’ unique stories. And when not behind the camera, she’s always on an adventure traveling, exploring new bike trails, and subjecting her friends to taste testing her latest baking experiments.