Father Rehrl’s Rectory Vandalized

Earlier today Washington County Historical Society executive director Patricia Lutz sent the following e-mail to society members regarding a vandalism and burglary at their St. Agnes Convent site in Barton:

Dear Friends,

We are sorry to report to that Father Rehrl’s Rectory will be closed until further notice. Today, while preparing for our open house, we discovered the rectory had been entered by pushing a window out of its frame. There was minor damage done to the walls, sills, and stove. Sadly, the exhibit was torn down and some tools stolen. The barn’s old side door was broken into several pieces, but nothing was damaged or stolen, just some things moved and tossed around. The West Bend police did come by and investigated. But we are aware how difficult it is to solve these type of cases. We are working on installing security, something we have not needed in the past.

We will open the site again next year on special days and will work towards having the Convent available for viewing. Thank you for all your support.

Patricia Lutz

Executive Director

WCHS executive director Patricia Lutz
Father Rehrl's rectory
Father Rehrl’s Rectory . Photo from the Washington County Historical Society

It is positively sickening that someone would break into, and steal from, a non-profit, historical site. I’m passing this e-mail along here in the hopes that someone out there will some information regarding the crime. If you love West Bend, Washington County, or local history, please, PLEASE share this post. Let’s bust some crime.

If you know anything about this crime please contact the West Bend Sheriff’s Department at: 262-335-4378

Washington County Paranormal

Washington County Paranormal on Kindle!

Exciting news folks! My first book, Washington County ParanormalA Wisconsin Legend Trip is now available on Amazon’s Kindle. While I’m a huge advocate for paper and ink books, this development makes the book available to readers in a number of exciting new ways. Not only can the Kindle version be purchased ala carte for $9.99 (the print version currently lists for $11.99), but the book is FREE to read for Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL) users!  Also, readers who’ve already purchased a print version Washington County Paranormal via Amazon.com can buy the Kindle edition for just $2.99! To get you’re copy today, just follow this link! In the coming months I’ll also be working on making the book available through other digital formats. Watch this site for details!

Washington County Paranormal
Washington County Paranormal

I understand digital books aren’t for everyone. I myself much prefer the scent of ink and paper to a cold, sterile, e-reader. Washington County Paranormal is still available as a tradition book through all major book sellers (if it isn’t on their shelves, they can order it for you)! Also, if you’re local to West Bend you can support the local economy by picking up a copy at any of the following small businesses or public institutions: The Exclusive Company, The Old Courthouse Museum’s Treasurer’s Vault Gift Shop, All In Books, Roots, or our newest member of the family, A Conversation Piece, LLC! If you’d like to sell print versions of Washington County Paranormal or any of my books at your local business just send me a message!

Baraboo’s Mysterious Man Mound

Around 500 B.C., effigy mounds of various shapes and sizes began to dot the landscape of Wisconsin and several surrounding Midwestern states. The people who built these mounds remain mysterious.

Known only as the Mound Builders, it’s now largely accepted that they are the ancestors of present day Native American tribes such as the Potawatomi or Winnebago, but long ago this wasn’t the case. Since the native population had forgotten both the purpose of the mounds as well as the identity of their architects by the time European settlers arrived, early European Americans began to theorize that a Lost Race was been responsible. Dubious theories regarding these people’s identities ranged from the lost tribe of Israel to refugees from Atlantis.

While it is exceedingly unlikely that Atlanteans or Israelis built these mounds, they are wondrous. Many mounds are simple linear and conical shapes, while others resemble birds, turtles, or large cats. Some of the mounds were used for burial, while others severed a purpose that is yet unclear. The most intriguing of all these earthworks are known as “the man mounds,” the majority of which were located in southwestern Wisconsin, in what is modern-day Richland, Dane, and Sauk Counties. Five out of seven of these huge mounds resembled men with huge horns protruding from their head.

Nearly all of these amazing manlike earthworks have been destroyed, with the most notable exception being a particularly huge formation in Man Mound County Park in Sauk County. Before its lower legs were destroyed by road construction at the dawn of the twentieth century, it was 218 feet in length.

Man Mound
Arial view of Man Mound County Park. Photo courtesy of SaukCountyHistory.org

It’s generally accepted that these works could represent effigies of shamans, who in more modern times often wore bison headdresses, or a Winnebago hero-god named Red Horn who was sent to earth to battle giants and evil spirits. All are highly plausible theories, but since we neither know if the Mound Builders wore bison headdresses or if they knew the tale of Red Horn, the man mounds remain a fascinating mystery.For more information on the history of Man Mound County Park visit www.SaukCountyHistory.org.

Me, I’ve done nothing but research satyrs, goat-men, and Sheepsquatch for the last two years. To my eyes, the long fellow at Man Mound looks a LOT like Goatman.

Artwork by winddragon24. Click this image for more great artwork.

Goatman: Flesh or Folklore? Cover Art!

Hi everyone! I hope you’re digging the new site. I’d become extremely negligent of my old website WashingtonCountyParanormal.com in the last year or so. Partly because I was expending so much energy writing Goatman: Flesh or Folklore?, but partly because I knew a new website was just around the corner. Now that this snazzy new site by Mental Shed Studios is up and running, I plan to post much more frequently.

This website was a long time in the making, and because of that I believe my first new post here needs to be special (all the older posts were imported from the WCP site). In my opinion, no other post could be as cool as this one. That little thumbnail below this text is the cover art work of Goatman! I believe it’s perhaps the most impressive take on the monster I’ve ever seen, and it’s by a beautiful Eau Claire, Wisconsin artist by the name of Amber Michelle Russel. For more information about Amber and her work, please visit www.AmberMichelleRussell.com.

To get a much better look at the artwork click the thumbnail for a larger view. To see the artwork minus my dorky looking text/watermark/advert, well, you’ll have to wait until this fall when Goatman hits bookstore shelves!

Goatman book cover art by Amber Michelle Russel
Goatman: Flesh or Folklore?

Goatman: Flesh or Folklore?

Goatman: Flesh or Folklore?
New Book Available October 2014!

Big News! I’m hard at work writing my second book Goatman: Flesh or Folklore? ! The book will delve into legends and sightings of this bizarre Satyr-like beast from all across the United States! The Goatman has many names: Lake Worth Monster, Pope Lick Monster, Sheepman, Sheepsquatch, Old Foamy, and of course, some just call him the Devil! The book hopes to provide a state-to-state history of Goatman, while trying to determine the animal/legend’s origins along the way! The Goatman’s presence in pop culture will also be examined!

I’ve put up a bare-bones page about the book on my website. Right now the page is just a graphic with links to various social networking sites, but the page will evolve along with the project. You can keep up-to-date with the project via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and a new Mailchimp e-mail list specifically for the new book!

Please spread the word about the project! My first book Washington County Paranormal was successful because of amazing readers like you telling your friends! The book will be available to purchase by October, 2014!

Amber Michelle Russel
Amber Michelle Russel

Amber Michelle Russel to Paint Cover!

Eau Claire, Wisconsin Artist Amber Michelle Russel has agreed to design and paint the cover to the book. Amber, besides being an absolutely gorgeous and amazing person, is also a self-taught, prolific artist. Amber’s work has been featured in galleries across the country and one of her paintings was recently used on the cover of the Thomas M. Malafarina edited book “Undead Living.” Hopefully my content can measure up to her artwork! Visit Amber’s website to sample her amazing art (FYI, she does custom work).

Looking Ahead

As I write this, the 2013 Downtown West Bend Ghost Walk season has just drawn to a close. I entered the season with more than a little trepidation. The first season (2012) had been wonderful, but I worried that during that first year I might had already depleted the fan-base. I soon realized that that concern was unfounded. Each week the walks maintained the average number of patrons and this October we set attendance records twice! One week we had 59 patrons, (the previous record from 2012 was 40, then the very next week we smashed that with 64 patrons! I want to thank every single one of you that have been supporting these tours. Much of this year’s income will go to publishing my next book, which hopefully will be published by Halloween 2014 (but more about that in the coming weeks).

Now that the walks are over it’s time to get back to my first love, writing. I’m working on various projects including both fiction and of course, non-fiction paranormal. I also plan to do several library and in-store appearances this winter and spring, so if your organization or business is interested please contact me.

Also, as the weather continues to deteriorate I plan on doing some work to expand the Ghost Walk business for the 2014 season! I’ve several ideas, all of which are still too raw to discuss publicly, but I hope to add a new tour for 2014. Also, I’m in talks with a local organization to bring back the Washington County Legend Trip bus tours, which were so popular in 2012. Keep your eyes on this site, my facebook pagetwitter page, or sign up for my e-mail list to find out news on all this exciting stuff as it breaks!

Orange Orbs over Southeastern Wisconsin

I saw 3 of these large bright orange orbs move slowly and silently across the sky last night. One would make a slow pass… 10 minutes perhaps… and then the other would follow. All coming from NE over the north beach, traveling SW over the Historic Lighthouse, then W over town and out west a bit before vanishing in the clouds. I’ve never seen anything like it. Each orb/light seem to have another orb/light that rotated along/under the perimeter. It was an incredible sight.