For the past several months, Crypto Four Corners International founder and researcher JC Johnson has been in northern Minnesota, near the Canadian border, investigating several cryptid encounters and phenomena reported by local residents. One of these cryptids is a race of small humanoids known by the indigenous Ojibwa as 'Bagwajiwinini' or 'Wild Man.' Other bands have different names for them, including Apa'iins or Pai'iins, which mean 'Little Person.'
The Bagwajiwinini are described as 2'-3' in height, with a greenish complexion...most likely from the heavy ingestion of plants containing chlorophyll. They live in a darkened world of thick Bracken Fern canopies that can grow up to 3 ft. high. This enables the Bagwajiwinini to freely roam among forest and it's edges without detection. There have been many stories associated with the Bagwajiwinini, including the possibility of human abduction.
The legends regarding these creatures almost uniformly state that it is best, if one sights these creatures, to just leave it alone and go away. In Massachusetts, there have been several historical and recent sightings of the Puckwudgie and even what some consider attacks. These small creatures have been blamed for some local suicides and disappearances as well. Hockomock Swamp, is locally noted by people who live in Massachusetts for being just a flat out creepy, swampy, mucky geographical location. It is a very thick soupy bog, and is and was considered by the local Native Americans to be a cursed evil land. A man by the name of William Russo wrote in his blog, then later in his book The Creature From the Bridgewater Triangle: and Other Odd Tales from New England his own personal account with these creatures. He was walking his dog near his home around midnight, which happens to be just south of the Hockomock Swamp when a 3-4 foot creature came just about 10 feet in front of him and his dog. The creature was first seen by Russo just under a street light, and was said by him to be trying to vocalize words, and was even beckoning him to come closer. This man Russo said that “I had never heard of the Pukwidgies until Aaron Cadieux interviewed me for his documentary on the Bridgewater Triangle.” As the Wampanoag Pukwudgie story goes, a good giant had dispersed the nasty Pukwudgie creatures far and wide, and the more benign of the bunch decided to take up residence in the northern Midwest.
During the investigating, International C4C researcher Ron Shaw interviewed an Ojibwa woman who stated that on one occasion, her son saw a Bagwajiwinini playing a flute. Another witness, an Ojibwa man, stated that he and his son were hunting, and at point were separated. The father tracked his son to a root system of a tree where only his legs were sticking out. He pulled his son free...and told his father that the Bagwajiwinini captured him and were taking him underground.
Noted in David Paulides' 'Missing 411' series is the disappearance of 39-year-old Kory Kelly. A newspaper account, published on October 16, 2007 give details of the incident:
Northern Minnesota effort: Search for Kory Kelly brought out hundreds of volunteers
From a day care owner who cooked for searchers to emergency personnel, K-9 partners and the Canadian Air Force, the effort last fall to find a lost grouse hunter showed the northern Minnesota spirit.
Kory Kelly, 39, went grouse hunting a year ago today in the Red Lake Wildlife Management Area in a wilderness northeast of Fourtown. He was armed with a shotgun and carried a compass. He was accompanied by Sammy, the yellow Lab he borrowed from his hunting partner.
On Oct. 17, he was reported missing and a search commenced, which eventually resulted in the activation of 62 agencies, hundreds of volunteers and 6,500 person-hours.
On Monday, the Bemidji Area Natural Resources Continuing Education Consortium sponsored a review of the emergency operations presented by Beryl Wernberg, 911 communications supervisor and emergency management director for the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Management.
The presentation detailed the emergency responses and lessons learned in a remote area of Beltrami and Lake of the Woods counties.
The search continued daily from Oct. 17 to Oct. 22 and picked up again from Oct. 28 to Oct. 30. Searchers went back to the area Nov. 7, Nov. 9 and Nov. 22 working in dense forest and swamp. The dog was found Oct. 26. Kelly's body was found less than two hours after the search resumed in the spring. At 10:20 a.m. April 27, Lake of the Woods Sheriff Dallas Block was flying over an area searchers had covered in the fall and saw Kelly's body. Searchers had walked within 15 feet of the spot the fall before but missed seeing anything in the 8-foot tall swamp grass. Kelly had apparently died of hypothermia. His body was cared for by the Helgeson Funeral Home of Baudette, and his brother, Brian, who was on the scene for most of the search was able to accompany Kelly's body.
One of the lessons searchers and professionals alike learned is how much courage is required to hike every day for 16 hours through nearly impenetrable forest, swamp and brush and at the end of the day face defeat.
"This was a gut-wrenching thing," Wernberg said. "I tell you, toward the end of this thing, it took a lot of courage just to get up and go."
Briefings in the morning and debriefings at night are important, Wernberg said, to find out what everyone saw. But the debriefings are also important from an emotional point of view.
"This becomes very, very personal for people," she said.
Keeping the family of the lost person in mind is also crucial, she said. In the case of the Kelly family, Department of Natural Resources officers built a campfire to comfort them as they waited for news. Volunteers would come by and sit with Kelly family members. DNE Officer Warren Thompson carved diamond will walking sticks for Kelly's parents.
"You don't want people to feel alone or isolated," Wernberg said.
Another lesson is that high-tech equipment has limitations in a wilderness search.
"We always carry our own generators," Wernberg said. "There's no place to plug in out in the middle of nowhere."
She said the tragedy also showed the neighborly spirit and willingness of people to give their all to help others, even strangers.
"Polaris paid the wages of their employees to come and search for us," she said. "Marvin Windows did the same thing. Many volunteers took the day off without pay. Every day, the people in Grygla would bring food driving 32 miles each way. You talk about generous -- the generosity was unbelievable. I don't think you can ever say thank you enough."
Wernberg said she was also amazed by the response from the Canadian Air Force. When the emergency was reported, the weather was socked in and no planes were flying. Wernberg called the Canadian Air Force stationed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and received an immediate OK. But Langley Air Force Base, where such international flights must be approved, balked saying no one in the United States was flying.
"I said, 'I don't care. The Canadians will fly,'" Wernberg recalled.
So, she called various sources to get permission for the Canadian pilots to land.
Another lesson: Make sure to maintain contacts and know the officials who will cut through red tape in emergencies.
Kelly went missing half a mile within Beltrami County. His body was found 12 miles into Lake of the Woods County. He died 1.25 miles from a road. When he realized he was lost, if he had headed northwest, he would have soon hit a road. But he turned southeast. Over the path Kelly took, searchers found his hat, sweatshirt, coveralls, cigarettes, lighter and a shotgun shell from the type of gun he was carrying. (People suffering from hypothermia often develop the illusion they are overheating.) They never found his gun. - Northern Minnesota effort: Search for Kory Kelly brought out hundreds of volunteers
Some members of the local band of Ojibwa, according to statements made to International C4C investigators, believe the Bagwajiwinini abducted Kory Kelly.
Any updates will be reported here at Phantoms & Monsters. JC and the Crypto Four Corners International team are busy investigating other anomalies in northern Minnesota...including Bigfoot & Dogman. The team is involved with other continuing investigations throughout North America.
Ojibwa Myths And Legends
The Creature From the Bridgewater Triangle: and Other Odd Tales from New England
The Legend of Minnesota (Myths, Legends, Fairy and Folktales)
Voices of the Winds: Native American Legends