Rhinelapus – Rhinelander, Wisconsin - Atlas Obscura
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Rhinelander, Wisconsin

Rhinelapus

Meet the "Green Monster" of Monico, Wisconsin. 

There are statues and tributes to bizarre local cryptids all over the country that are all worth visiting. And then there’s the Rhinelapus, or Green Monster of Monico, Wisconsin, which looks far stranger than any other.

Part folk art, part cryptozoological mythmaking monument, the Rhinelapus is unlike any of its odd brethren, including the nearby Hodag. The Green Monster was born in the 1940s when a local man Guy Dailey found a huge, strangely shaped piece of wood. The three-pronged mega-log was once the thick roots of a tree, but Dailey thought it looked like a monstrous cross between a rhino, an elephant, and an octopus, so he named his wooden monster the Rhinelapus.

Dailey dragged the natural tripod back home and put it on display in front of the Lake Venus Tavern, where it stood for more than 60 years. Eventually the Rhinelapus was painted green, both to preserve the wood and to finally transform the local icon into a real monster. In the early 2000s, the Rhinelapus, or Green Monster, as it came to be called, was moved to its own little pavilion, where it remains today.

While it stood in its original home in front of the Lake Venus Tavern, the people could walk right up and pet the Rhinelapus at their leisure. Today the local creature is surrounded by a chain link fence, which both seems too weak to hold the big green monster inside and too flimsy to keep all the esoteric cryptid fans out.