What is a Pukwudgie (aka “person of the wilderness”)? They are known as little magical people of the forest or spirits of the forest (Elementals).

The legend of the Pukwudgie began in Native American folklore a very long time ago. Their tribal affiliations are with the Ojibwe, Algonquin, Abenaki, Wampanoag, Mohican, Micmac, Adena, Hopewell & Miami and depending on the tribe, their pronunciations and name spellings were different but they were all about the same creature.

Resembling sort of a gnome or fairy that is about knee high or smaller and grey in color, they are described as having large noses, ears and fingers. Some say they “glow” and wear blue gowns. Although mischievous, they are usually a good-natured creature that like to play tricks on people. Among some tribes, they are usually sweet smelling and are associated with flowers.

However, if the Pukwudgie is treated with disrespect, it may become dangerous. They are supposed to have the ability to turn invisible, shapeshift, confuse people, and make people forget things or bring harm to people just by staring at them. Ultimately it depends on individual tribal lore if it is good or evil in nature.

Some of the talents they possess are supposedly:

  • Can appear or disappear at will.
  • They can transform into a hybrid creature that looks like a porcupine from the rear, the front is half troll/half human and walk bipedal.
  • Attack people and lure them to their deaths.
  • Use magic and have poison arrows.
  • They can create fire or fireballs at will.

Their legends have been told throughout the northern United States, parts of Canada & in the Great Lakes region. The folklore about them varies from tribe to tribe.

Now to the Mounds State Park in Anderson, Indiana. The park is mostly known for archaeological significance to the area. There are 10 different structures sculpted into the earth by the Native Americans. The 10 ceremonial mounds were constructed by the prehistoric Adena but later used by the Hopewell Tribes. The largest of the mounds is called, “Great Mound”, being built around 160 BCE. It is the most impressive structure there.

These creatures of legend are said to haunt or stalk the area mainly around the river and trail number one in the park and are supposedly still seen to this day. There are also reports of paranormal activity in the park. It has been said that the Pukwudgies can control the spirits of those who have died in that area, however that is up for contention as other legends claim they are the spirits of Native Americans who have died in the area.

According to Delaware Tribe legend, these are either spirits themselves or a real-life tribe of peoples. No matter what the legend, what tribe, they all say it is best to leave the creatures alone.

Interestingly enough the Moundsville State Penitentiary is another hot spot for paranormal activity. It seems that the Pukwudgie legends pop up everywhere there are supernaturally charged locations.

Pukwudgies have also appeared in poems, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s, “The Song of Hiawatha”, and in films by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter series).

Have you any experiences you want to share? Please comment below.

I am a published author that specializes in stories of paranormal, supernatural and children's books. My books are available as Kindle or paperback versions on Amazon. I have had many personal paranormal experiences besides having the best (late) Grandmother who could spin the best ghost stories ever.


  1. Rod

    January 15, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Moundsville State Penitentiary is 300 miles from the the park, as it is located in WV.

    • Lori Yaney

      January 16, 2019 at 9:07 am

      Thank you for that information. Article has been corrected! Great catch!

  2. Joslin Bronnenberg

    January 17, 2019 at 11:44 am

    My Grandpa lived out there for 20+ years as a child and never experienced a pukwudgie. Though lots of paranormal activity happens and I’ve experienced it myself especially in the Bronnenberg house there.. I don’t know if I truly believe this. Lol

  3. Bill Ragle Jr

    January 20, 2019 at 6:12 am

    These little creature like people have been seen and around the great Mound over a few hundreds year’s. Dated back to Chef Anderson tribe.and the Delaware Indians of this region.. some say there of the Polagise Sprits.. either way it would pay anyone going to our big Mounds Park of Anderson Indiana to have a cell phone with you..and go in a Group..these deep Hilly Trials in the Park are scary enough..the Stohler Family here in Anderson IND Madison County..had a big family reunion in 1965..keep in mind my Mother was the youngest of 16 Children in those days. it was getting late in the day every body had a great time untill 3 of my 1st cousins come up was almost dark by now and my grandmother the late Else (fox) Stohler was getting so worried about her grandchildren being lost as many in the family looked high and low trying to find them just before they called the local Police department and forming a rescue team.. when Suddenly they appeared one by one in a Trace like state..2 Of them couldn’t ever bring themselves to ever talk about what they had seen that Hot August summer day..but one thing for sure.. Grandma wouldn’t allow our Family reunion to ever be held in the Great Mounds Park ever again..

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  5. Tim R. Swartz

    February 16, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    I think that I was one of the first to draw attention to the Madison County Pukwudjies when I produced an episode for the PBS program “Across Indiana” in 1995. This episode featured Paul Startzman, author of the book “The Puk-wud-jies of Indiana.” At that time no one had ever heard of the Pukwudjies outside of their own regions…now, thanks to the internet, we have these great stories from all over the country.

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