Legend Tripping – Cedar Bog Monster

Following in the Footsteps of the Ohio Bigfoot

Cedar Bog-Legend Tripping

Awhile back, Mel and I went legend tripping at the Cedar Bog Nature Preserve near Urbana, Ohio to see what it might have been like for those who said they encountered the Cedar Bog monster. Also known by locals as the Ohio Bigfoot or Ohio Grassman, the creature has left his mark on the area. Even today, those who travel at night down the remote stretch of road that cuts through the preserve report the eerie feeling of being watched.

Cedar Bog is located 4 miles south of Urbana and one mile west of US Route 58. In 1942, the Ohio Historical Society officially listed the location as Ohio’s first Nature preserve. Technically a fen, the 438 acres of wetland is home to over fifty plants and ten animal species that are on the rare and endangered list in Ohio. Approximately one quarter of all plant species in Ohio can be found in Cedar Bog, along with over 100 species of birds and many rare reptiles and fish.

Cedar Run creek runs through the bog and spills into the Mad River. The Mad River stretches sixty-six miles from Bellefontaine to Dayton through woods, wetlands, and farm ground. Sightings of Bigfoot have been reported along the river’s path. You can learn more about these sightings by visiting the Mad River Sasquatch Study Group.

The Story

Our story begins in the early 1940s, soon after Cedar Bog became a protected piece of land.

Up to this time, stories had been floating around that an ape-like creature roamed the area, and if you traveled down Woodburn Road, you might catch a glimpse of him. Those who had seen the Cedar Bog monster claimed he had red eyes, light colored fur, and was taller than a man, nearing seven feet. And he smelled horrific.

Woodburn Road in Champaign County, Ohio

In 1945, legend states three teenagers went camping in the Nature Preserve. While their car was found, the kids were never seen again. Rumors spread that it was the fault of the creature. It wasn’t long until a tall chain-link fence with barbed wire was erected around the property.

This didn’t keep teens from parking along the long stretch of remote roadway. One account, reported by the Mad River Sasquatch Study group, tells of a teenage couple who were making out in the backseat of a car until they heard a noise in the brush. When they glanced out the rear view window, they saw a large white creature standing about ten feet behind the car. It didn’t make any noise but it smelled awful. They took off and drove several miles down the road before they stopped to get dressed.

Cedar Bog Monster illustrated by Mel Cabre
Cedar Bog Monster. Illustrated by Mel Cabre.
A Few Years Later, Up the Mad River

In 1980, a Bellfontaine farmer went outside around 11:00 P.M. to check on his barking dog. As he rounded a corner of the barn, he stopped at the sight of a large, hairy man. Apparently startled, the creature ran off but left behind sixteen-inch footprints and an odor that smelled like “Limburger cheese on a hot muffler.”

Having grown up on a farm in West-Central Ohio, I can attest to how dark and narrow those country roads become at night. Mel and I stopped along Woodburn Road to take a look and imagine what it might have been like to see a seven-foot Bigfoot in the middle of the night.

Mel and Tammy after the sun has sapped their brains of common sense

Cedar Bog Nature Preserve

Inside the Preserve, a boardwalk allow for easy walking and a spectacular view of nature. Informative signs offer details about the fen and fuana. Privately funded, the Nature Preserve asks for a five dollar donation to help with upkeep. They maintain a nice visitor’s building and staff a naturalist during designated times. It’s good to note that the rest rooms are locked up when the building is, so plan accordingly.

For more information on the Cedar Bog, please visit their website.

After walking the mile long boardwalk, we didn’t see Bigfoot, or the rattlesnakes that live there, but we had a great time being outdoors. I highly recommend it. Also, if you’re in the area during lunch time, or just want a pick-me-up snack or coffee, drive into nearby Urbana and check out the Depot Coffee House. They have excellent food, coffee, and an amazing patio that looks out over an old rail yard.

Depot Coffee House Urbana, Ohio
Depot Coffee House Patio, Urbana, Ohio. Photo taken by author.

Have you been to Cedar Bog Nature Preserve?

Ever heard of the Cedar Bog Monster?

If you would like to read more on legend tripping, check out our trip to Point Pleasant, WV in search of historical context behind Mothman. Or check out our trip to Loveland, OH where we talked with residents about the Frogman. One of our favorite trips was to the Pope Lick train trestle outside Louisville, KY because…why not?

Thank you for reading. Hope you have a wonderful day!