Wisconsin is home to some of the strangest UFO encounters in the country, if not the world. And it’s not always a Christmas light show, such as the case that made international headlines this past December. (Watch my video about that right here.)
In Eagle River, aliens served pancakes right out of their flying saucer. In Mayville, a retiree drank his morning coffee as he watched crop circles appear in the field across the road. A UFO landed on the road in Mellen. In Elmwood, a police officer was “zapped” by a blast of light from a UFO while on patrol one night, and died of a mysterious illness months later. When we were young, my cousins from rural Wisconsin told me about a farmer they knew who had seen a flying saucer that roared and rumbled like a freight train as it cruised over the countryside. A couple years before she passed, my grandmother even told me she had witnessed several UFOs in the sky over Lake Michigan throughout her lifetime living in Milwaukee.
My personal favorite Wisconsin UFO hotspot, however, is the little town of Dundee in the heart of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, where some locals swear a massive hill (known as Dundee Mountain) that was formed by glacial deposits many millennia ago is the source of the strange phenomena that’s been happening in the area for decades, if not longer.
“Something’s under there,” Bill Benson was known to say. And up until recently, you could hear all about it at Bill’s UFO-themed bar on the shore of Long Lake, where people gathered annually for over 30 years to flaunt their elaborate tinfoil hat designs and watch the mysterious lights in the sky.
I’ve lived near Dundee my whole life. Rumors about Bill’s UFO Daze festival, where flying saucers were said to make an appearance every year, have always just been part of daily life. The strangeness of it – this small town in the Wisconsin woods where crop circles appeared in the lake reeds and extraterrestrials dropped by to catch Packers games – didn’t even occur to me until much later.
Local folklore, however dubious the stories may sometimes seem, are woven into the fabric of a place and become its story. People like Bill Benson, who kept an alien in a jar and a binder of UFO photos behind the bar, are legends in their own right.
When I finally had the opportunity to meet Bill Benson in 2021 (and, sadly, snap the photo that would be used in his obituary later that year) he told me about encounters locals have had over the years, as well as a few of his own. And, because I had to know, he told me what he believed was under Dundee Mountain.
I previously created a Long Lake travel poster (and sent one off to Benson’s, where it was tacked to the wall last time I was there), but for my first serious foray into 3D, I wanted to bring the scene to life as I often imagined it, with a UFO flying in low over the lake toward the bar.
It’s a work in progress, but here’s a look at it so far:
And here’s a look at it in motion:
Check out some of my other Wisconsin UFO designs in the Wisconsin Frights shop.
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