Fake News

Connecticut's Own Bigfoot: The Winsted Wild Man

From the New York Herald, August 25, 1895

In August 1895 Connecticut, a journalist with an imagination and a predilection for hoaxes named Lou Stone invented a story about a "wild man" who appeared to Town Selectman Riley Smith. The story spread like fire, appearing in newspapers all over the country and further igniting the imagination of the locals, who reported their own sightings of the Wild Man.

Residents attempted to explain the Wild Man, claiming it was actually not an unknown beast, but perhaps a gorilla, or an escaped mental patient. In many sightings, villagers swore to have seen details. Mrs. Culver describes a "savage face, almost brute in expression."

Eventually, the reporter admitted the truth: he just wanted to sell papers. And indeed he sold papers, and tourism, and put Winsted, Connecticut on the map.

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