Central Minnesota Urban Legends: The Hairy Man of Vergas Trail
Vergas is a small town in Ottertail County, in West Central Minnesota. Just over 300 people live in the town that is also home to the World's Largest Loon, which is actually a 20-foot-high sculpture. But Vergas is also home to the minimum maintenance roads of Vergas Trails and the Hairy Man legend.
For the past six decades, this urban legend has been floating around the area. The Hairy Man of Vergas Trail has been described as being 8 feet tall, having long and straggly hair, a musty smell, and always barefoot. He was also often blamed for deaths of animals around the area. Claims of his existence started in the 60's and peaked in the 70's, but then tapered off after the 80's. Some people and families in the area say it was a legend, while others claimed it was an old hermit who lived in the woods and wasn't keen on kids wandering his land.
The most infamous encounter with the Hairy Man came from a man named Ken Zitzow. Zitzow returned from driving in the woods one night with dents in his car hood, and claimed it was from the Hairy Man jumping in front of the vehicle and pounding on the car.
Another encounter came from Cheryl Hanson who claimed to have seen the Hairy Man as a kid:
"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. 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."
Cheryl says she knows what she saw that day, and it wasn't human.
There was once a human-like skull discovered on the trail by a private citizen. It was found in the area known as the Klondike, or the "old" Vergas Trails, where most of the Hairy Man sightings occurred. They never turned it over to the authorities though, so no one knows if it was a man, animal, or some sort of combination.
Syfy’s Haunted Highways featured this urban legend on a 2012 episode, but at the end of the show they didn't have enough evidence to claim if the Hairy Man was real or not. You can buy the episode on YouTube.
My grandparents have a cabin up in that neck of the woods. I find myself there a few weekends a year. I might need to check these trails out for myself next summer...
Abbey is on 98.1 Minnesota's New Country weekdays from 2-7 PM.