Culture

Tales from the Trail: The Hairy Man of Minnesota’s Vergas Trails

An urban legend lurks the wilderness outside of a small Minnesota town.

Location: Ottertail County in West Central Minnesota

Trail: Minimum maintenance roads outside Vergas, MN (aka the trails)

Lifelong Vergas, Minn resident Cheryl Hanson told the local newspaper in 2012 of her experience as a 12-year old in 1972 snowmobiling with her cousin. The two pre-teens were driving their snowmobiles off of what is known as the Lost Highway, County Road 130.

“We were snowmobiling around and around this old cabin we found, and all of a sudden, a beast-like creature popped out of the cabin holding a huge stick,” Hanson said.

“I know what I saw that day,” and it wasn’t human, Hanson added. “It had very broad shoulders and I was trying to rationalize what it was, but what really stood out to me, is it was barefoot in the snow.”

For decades residents of the area have reported seeing what is now known as Minnesota’s Hairy Man.

The earliest documented sighting was in 1966. The late Ken Zitzow was driving County Road 130 with his brother Duane and Duane’s girlfriend, Pam, when the creature walked out of the woods, approached Zitzow’s truck, and hit it hard enough to leave a dent.

In addition to Hanson’s and Zitzow’s reports of the Hairy Man, there have been 73 total Bigfoot sightings in Minnesota with the most recent in April of 2018.

The Hairy Man has become such an icon of the area, there’s even an “I outran the Hairyman” 5K named in the legend’s honor.

Now, Cheryl Hanson owns the land where she first saw the Hairy Man so long ago and still fears what wanders the forest.

“I still to this day, can’t drive out there at night alone,” Hanson said. “The family still has campfires out there, but none of us wander out in the woods alone.” Would you dare try to outrun the Hairy Man?