Mighty Woodman's Axe

Glimpse of Paul Bunyan's Spirit

Fred Smith Paul Bunyan

The Sheboygan Press
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
February 4, 1935
Page 10

Ghostly Paul Bunyan Leads Lumberjacks' Celebration

Bayfield, Wis. -

Lumberjacks of a day when northern Wisconsin was the loggers' paradise today reveled in a new tale--that the ghost of Paul Bunyan, mighty woodsman, super hero, was here for their annual picnic.

Some there were who claimed they actually saw the apparition. Others smiled at that, but in fancy turned back the years and were at Paul's side as he stomped the shores of Lake Superior and made the trees sway with his lusty shouts.

The ghost story was a high spot of yesterday's annual outing of the mystic knights of the blue ox, an organization dedicated to perpetuation of the memory of Bunyan and Babe, his great blue ox.

On the word of the best Bayfield yarn spinners, 150 local Bunyan disciples were treated to glimpse of Paul's spirit.

Early in the sunny morning, their story goes, the 150 armed themselves with axes and cant hooks and hiked to the S.A. Feldmeier woodlot six mile north of town. Nearly 500 guests were coming for the picnic and they had to clear a 40-acre plot to make room for the crowd.

As they approached the lot a huge shadow moved slowly from the tract. A cloud of smoke partly covered the sun.

Arriving at the scene, they were amazed to find the forty cleared of snow and trees as if by one sweep of a mighty woodsman's axe.

Lying beside a pile of logs they found a six-foot axe handle, a set of false teeth big enough for an elephant, a cribbage board of railroad tie dimensions and the tally tick used in measuring lumber during the winter of the blue snow. Apparently they were left by the ghost--Paul's ghost they assured one and all--in his hasty departure.

Some one mentioned the eclipse and suggested the relics were merely an offering for the Bunyan museum. But the lumberjacks laughed him down. The shadow was Paul's spirit, all right, they declared, and the sun spot was a puff of smoke from Paul's huge pipe which the ghost was smoking.

A parade of horse drawn sleighs opened the festivities. Later there was story telling, Lumber camp style wrestling, and a professional match in which the wrestlers, clad only in trunks, tugged and hauled each other about an outdoor ring. Songs were to harmonica accompaniment.

Preside Over Kitchen

Gus Weber and his bull cooks presided over the outdoor kitchen, set up in the shelter of a wall of young evergreens. Beef stew, baked beans, potatoes, doughnuts, bread, butter, pie and tea were served from huge pots hung from a rustic tripod over open fires.

The knights held a short business session at which unanimous approval was given to make the Paul Bunyan statue, which is to be erected here on the shore of Lake Superior, 100 feet high instead of 30 as originally planned. Local officers expect to have the necessary funds within a year.

J.P. O'Malley, secretary of the Bayfield camp, said Green Bay has applied for a charter for Camp No. 2. It will be granted.

In addition to the things Paul's ghost left, offerings for the museum included a three-foot trout fly, an eight-foot sausage, Paul's three-gallon hip flask and a pair of trousers even a Bunyan could wear. Something resembling a turtle in outward appearance and size was found crawling over the pants and one sky hoker finally admitted it was a species of cootie that was common in Bunyan's days.

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