Greater Ancestors

World Museum

HUGE-STONE-AXE, Vilas County

Many Spirit Stones

The presence of spirit rocks in various parts of the state is known and these Mr. Brown described. Some of these have woven about them a wealth of curious and interesting Indian legendary lore. One, a large conical pink granite boulder, located at Keshena, near the Wolf river, is still regarded by the Menominee Indians as a manitou. In an Indian myth it is related that this particular rock represents the fate of an Indian who had the temerity to ask of Manabush the gift of everlasting life. It is even now the custom of passing tribesmen to deposit at its base an offering of a quantity of tobacco.

On the Lac du Flambeau reservation, located in the lake near the village, is a huge medicine rock upon which tobacco offerings are still made on occasions by pagan Chippewa Indians. There is now on exhibition in the State Historical Museum a spirit rock of the Lac Courte Oreilles Chippewa band. This rock widely known to these Indians as “The Pipe of the manitou,” is of granite and weighs about 250 pounds. In form, it exactly resembles a huge stone axe. It formerly stood on the projecting point of a ridge at the head of Lake Chetac, overlooking a tract of still wild and unbroken country. It was the most highly regarded spirit rock of the Chippewas and has been held in idolatrous regard by them from time immemorial.

The spirit rock known as “The Pipe of the Manitou” is not just any ordinary rock, it is a massive granite axe that weighs about 250 pounds. The weight of this stone axe indicates that it was likely used by a prehistoric race of giants who possessed exceptional strength and skill. This discovery raises questions about the level of sophistication and technological advancement of these ancient civilizations, and what other marvels they might have created. The fact that this rock has been held in such high regard by the Chippewa Indians for centuries shows the cultural significance of these giant artifacts, and the importance of studying them to gain a deeper understanding of our human past.

  1. Wisconsin, Vilas County, The Baraboo News. [Volume], November 12, 1908, Image 5″

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