Gitchie Manitou is a small nature preserve located in Lyon County, near Larchwood, Iowa or fifteen miles east of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Reports indicate the land was an ancient Native American burial ground. It’s a popular place for relaxation and recreation. But in November of 1973, it was the home of a gruesome murder of four Sioux Falls teens and rape of a young Sioux Falls girl.
Three brothers, Allen, David, and James Fryer, were poaching deer in the preserve when they came across the five Sioux Falls teens. They were sitting around around a fire, singing and talking. The brothers decided to retrieve their guns from the blue truck they were driving. Four of the teens were killed when the brothers opened fire on the camp.
The only surviving victim, 13 year old Sandra Cheskey, was tied up and placed in the truck. After being raped, the brothers went to a farm house to put gas in the truck. After filling the truck, she was returned to her home. Later, Sandra drove around the country side with police looking for the farm.
After a seemingly fruitless search, they finally happened upon the farm near Hartford, South Dakota. The farm happened to be owned by the employer of Allan Fryer. Almost as if by fate, at the same moment, Allen Fryer drove past the farm in the blue truck and was arrested by police. All three brothers were eventually arrested and sentenced to life. They are serving at the Iowa State Penitentiary.
Visitors to Gitchie Manitou have reported many spine-tingling occurrences. Evening visitors have reported feelings of being watched and general unease. Some report feeling cold and sad. Groups have reported a member taking ill, becoming disoriented and lost, often traveling deep into the woods. Even after the trip, they are reported to continue being disoriented and muttering to themselves for a period.
An overall negative energy seems to hang over the land and often makes visitors feel like they are being attacked, even after leaving. People have also reported seeing a black figure and hearing drum beats, thought to be a Native American warning for approaching danger. Near Jasper pond, people have reported hearing growling and grunting in open clearings with no animals present.
Another report in the 70’s involves a group picnicking at the preserve. They claim to have heard noises and a whistle. As the sounds began to get closer, they spotted a man, estimated to be about seven feet tall, in a blue suit. While not being able to take their eyes of the man, a pulsating, glowing object emerged from the large trees. They described it as the size of a haystack. After watching it for just a second, it and the man disappeared. The foliage encountered by the man and object remain defoliated.
Despite the cause or type of energy, it appears Gitchie Manitou State Preserve is not for the faint hearted. Visitors should take care when visiting and tread lightly as though unseen, it seems Gitchie Manitou stays full of other guests. A gruesome, ugly past seems to have left its lasting mark on the beautiful area.