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Column: Stories of the paranormal around East Otter Tail County

Be forewarned: This column is not really seasonally appropriate.

In past months, I've taken a look at a late winter storm that hit the area hard on the first day of spring, and I've looked at some cases of crime around the county; now, I turn my attention to East Otter Tail County's paranormal activity.

What brought me to this subject was the tale of the Hairy Man of the Vergas Trails, which I've actually read two separate versions of. Unfortunately, though, Google searches haven't given me much to go on, and I wasn't able to find much in the archives of the Perham Enterprise Bulletin or the New York Mills Herald, so it's entirely possible what I've heard is completely made up.

One version I found, according to the City Pages publication out of the Twin Cities, was that a crazy man killed some teenagers out in the Vergas Trails, and then retreated into the woods where, like any good crazy hermit, he let his hair grow long. Thus, the Hairy Man of Vergas. It's possible, I suppose.

The second version of the tale - and the most plausible, I think - is that there is a Bigfoot living in the woods around the Vergas Trails. Some Internet posts report seeing a Bigfoot-like creature in the woods, and one person even said that his brother (naturally, the story happens to somebody else - that always seems to be the case with this particular subject) had his truck attacked by the Hairy Man. He even had a big dent in his car to prove it.

Honestly, they said, what else could dent a car like that?

The lore of the Vergas Trails doesn't seem to end there, though. Some other stories I came across said that the plot of the Friday the 13th film was taken from something that happened in Vergas, and that the real Jason Voorhees is actually buried in a Vergas cemetery. The movie actually filmed a couple of scenes at the Vergas cemetery, they say.

There's more to the cemetery, as well - supposedly at night, the headstones glow and visitors can see candles burning, but the flames don't actually touch the wick.

Then, there are rumors about a cult, or big animals with glowing eyes, or the fact that people have been killed when their car has run into a tree back in the trails. And on and on.

So, really. What am I to think? To me, all of these stories are just that: stories. Maybe a visit to and investigation of the Vergas Trails or the infamous cemetery is in order.

Or, even better, if anyone out there has had an experience with the Hairy Man of Vergas, or any of the abovementioned paranormal experience in the Vergas Trails area whatsoever, let me know. Give me a call (218-346-5900) or send me an email ( to let me know what you've experienced. Or, if the legends I've mentioned are completely false, email me and set me straight.

Of course, I'm all for fairness, so if there are other paranormal sites in East Otter Tail County that I've neglected to mention in this column, let me know about those too. There must be urban legends that local kids tell each other that are passed down from generation to generation, right?

I can't say I've ever had much of a first-hand experience with the paranormal myself (except for watching that Paranormal Activity movie), but I've always been a big fan of The X-Files. I was watching that show one time when the power went out. Then, suddenly, some eerie shimmering lights shone through my bedroom window.

Alien spacecraft, or car headlights from across the lake?

Bigfoot, or just some really hairy guy out there in Vergas?

I want to believe.

The truth is out there.