Wisconsin has its own Nazca.


That is Man MoundA thousand years ago, Native Americans in the midwest made mounds in shapes, like bears and birds and direction lines and you can see them from way up above, sort of like the Nazca lines, only not as huge. Man Mound is the only one in the shape of a man that still exists. Maybe there were a lot more, but this is the only one that survived. And honestly, he hasn’t fared all that well. His legs got lopped off when they put in the road.

A friend of my cousin Curt’s, Rob, is an avid cartographer. He loves, loves, LOVES all things having to do with maps and history of those maps, the older the better. He lives down the road from the Man Mound and has sort of become it’s semi-official caretaker/spokesperson. Sometimes, he even dresses up like William H. Canfield who was the first surveyor of the mound, and gives talks.


That’s Rob standing between the rabbit ear looking things. From this angle, you can see Man Mound’s arms, the belly and where the road is where the knees would be and the feet are in the cow pasture on the other side of the road. Being the UFO and alien aficionado that I am, I had to ask, WTF is up with those rabbit ear things? His response:

You have asked the 64 thousand dollar question.
One answer is that the image is of a Native American shaman wearing a headdress such as buffalo horns or a bear’s head.
Another somewhat more involved possibility is that it is an image of the White Water Spirit which, according to Ho-Chunk creation beliefs, was a powerful spirit from the watery underworld who “alighted upon the land and took the form of a human walking, with horns.”
It could also be an example of a really good practical joke on the part of the native people to make us white folks ten centuries later wonder what the heck it is.
Or it could be something else entirely!  I really don’t know, although I lean towards the White Water Spirit idea.
Well, I still think its an alien wearing a helmet. But of course, I would think that.
His enthusiasm for the Man Mound is not a hobby gone a little over the top. Rob, and people like him, are working to raise awareness of the land and our connections to it; not just to grow food, but to maintain its history and restore what has been lost due to neglect or capitalism’s ribald reign (or, in some instances, wresting control from the not-always-well-intentioned Wisconsin DNR.) Getting dressed up as a surveyor from the 1850s is just the fun part.
Gotta’ respect that.

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