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May 27, 2014 | 12:27 PM
“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes” could be said about the weirder side of Williams Bay.

The “Mayberry-like” day face of Williams Bay gives way to a darker side once the sun sets over Yerkes Observatory. Strange sights, strange sounds and even stranger encounters with the supernatural can be found in Williams Bay when you least expect it.

Tales of unusual happenings go all the way back to the Potawatomi days, when Williams Bay was the summer camp of Chief Potawatomi’s tribe. Mighty Thunderbirds known as “Wami-go-huk-nen-kihuk” circled over the cliffs of Conference Point where the tribe resided, awaiting the appearance of their nemesis, the Great Horned Water Panther (Nampeshu), who loved to drag unwary native fishermen to the bottom of the lake. But Nampeshu was no match for the lightning that flashed from the Thunderbirds’ eyes.

There were also frequent sightings of the Water Monster, a huge eel that came out on stormy days and has been spotted as recently as the early 1900’s overturning small boats on the Bay.

These beasts were all part of the folklore early settlers learned of upon settling in Williams Bay.

Supernatural encounters, too, have left their mark – even as recently as 2013. One evening last summer, the infamous “White Lady” made an appearance on the shore path in Cedar Point, in the presence of a local jogger at sunset.

Rounding a turn in the path, the jogger encountered an elderly lady, dressed in a long, old-fashioned white nightgown, barefoot and with her long white hair blowing about her shoulders. As the startled jogger stopped, the elderly lady began to laugh loudly. The jogger quickly turned tail and ran the opposite direction.

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The White Lady has also been seen near Yerkes Observatory and Conference Point Camp over the years, as has our next weird Williams Bay apparition, The Man on the Bike.

The Man on the Bike appears to be a fairly young man, dapperly dressed in the fashion of the early 1900s (derby hat and stiff collar included), who rides an antique bike and rings its bell as he approaches, only to disappear from sight seconds later. First reported by star gazers on Yerkes’ lawn in the late 1990s, he seems to be a Yerkes phenomenon, not making an appearance anywhere else in town as far as we know.

While the 1970’s were a time of unrest for our nation, in Williams Bay it was a time of “Daddy, get the shotgun — the aliens are coming!”

Unidentified flying objects (UFOs) were reported around Williams Bay and the Geneva Lake area, appearing singly and in grouped formations that have remained unexplained. While no alien abductions were reported, the local citizenry were more than a bit leery about leaving home at night.

Even the most famous crypto zoological creature, the Beast of Bray Road, that 7-foot tall hairy roadkill-eating werewolf of movie and national broadcast fame, apparently considers Williams Bay part of its territory.

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Twice seen in the past 20 years, once near Conference Point and once atop the old gas station building just south of what is now the Frosty Moose, he seems to be a free range roamer giving residents a bit of a jolt when they glance out their windows and perchance see him in their backyard.

So when you are looking for a bit of excitement, take a walk on the wilder side of Williams Bay after dark. Wander the shore path, gaze at the sky — who knows what you will encounter?

Find out about these tall tales and more by joining the Williams Bay Historical Society. Contact President Judy Bausch at jbausch01@charter.net. for more information.

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