Léon Degrelle inspecting new volunteers for the Sturmbrigade Wallonien in July 1943 in Namur, Belgium. This unit belonged first to the Heer, but was transferred to the Waffen-SS in June 1943 where will be listed on the order of battle as the 28. SS Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier Division Wallonien from 1944.

Cryptid Profile: The Man Faced Pigs of Brussels

*Note: While I don’t consider these creatures to be true flesh and blood cryptids, I do feel they are worthy enough of being shared on this site. I feel these are more or less the result of a curse rather than nature at work.

Founded on November 12th, 1858 (10yrs after Wisconsin was granted statehood), the town of Brussels, in Door County, is considered to be the third largest Belgian-American community in the United States. Originally settled by Walloons (French speaking Belgians), the soon to be residents of Brussels brought with them from their homeland their customs, folklore, and dedication to the catholic religion. It is because of this extreme religious dedication that the Man Faced Pigs also arrived in Brussels and left a mark on this area that continues to this day.

While the exact date of the incident has been lost to history, many locals believe that the Man Faced Pigs showed up sometime between the late 1800’s and early 1900’s (but no later than 1920). It is believed that the whole ordeal started due to the greed and anger of a local farmer who was mad at the realization that he had been removed from the will of a wealthy relative back in Belgium. Feeling betrayed, the farmer cursed the clergyman who read to him the will of his relative, as well as all the other clergymen in Brussels. Unknown to the farmer at the time though, the curse was not properly executed (or strong enough) and instead of the clergymen, it was placed upon himself.

Later that night, the home of the farmer began to experience odd noises and phantom music from an unseen fiddle. The furniture began to levitate and swirl around the room as if dancing to the sounds, and the livestock outside began to change in frightening ways. Of all the animals effected though, the pigs changed the most. The once normal and dull facial features were distorted into horrifyingly angry and somewhat demonic human-like faces. The faces were not the only thing to change on the pigs though as the once active swine were now compelled to constantly follow and stare silently at the farmer. Every where he went the Man Faced Pigs would follow. It didn’t matter if he stayed within in his home or travelled around the town, everywhere he went, there would be a Man Faced Pig somewhere within his line of sight, just staring with an unbroken gaze.

As the days went on with no end in sight for the pigs, the farmer began to mentally unravel. Quickly approaching his breaking point, the farmer decided that he must confess his mistake to at least someone before he truly went insane. Choosing to confide in his elderly female neighbor, the man worked up enough courage and made the long walk from his farm to hers, all while the Man Faced Pigs watched as closely as ever.

The farmer told of how his anger and desire for riches caused him to try and curse the clergymen of their town and how the curse backfired onto him. He spoke of how the pigs changed into hideous monsters and how they watched him every minute of every day. He spoke of how he was about to go insane due to the eyes constantly upon him, and after this, he asked for help.

The elderly woman stated that while she could not help the man, he may be able to help himself by simply asking for help from the Lord. She suggested that he build a small shrine on his land in which to worship and to ask for forgiveness from within. Desperate to rid himself of the Man Faced Pigs, the farmer made quick work of building the prayer house. Upon completion of his shrine, the farmer fell to his knees and begged for forgiveness. Confident his prayer was enough, the farmer exited the prayer house and saw with much relief that the Man Faced Pigs were gone. His livestock had returned to normal and the demonic man-like faces were never seen on the pigs again.

Now, could there be any truth to the story above? Could pigs with man-like faces have “terrorized” an angry farmer due to a curse gone wrong? Personally, I think not. While this story is more than likely nothing more than European folklore and superstition blended with settlers out of their element in a foreign land, it is worth noting that legends of Pig Men have been reported all over the world. While those legends generally speak of humanoid beings with pig-like heads, as opposed to pig bodies and human heads, there could be a tiny grain of truth to this story. But, that all comes down to what you believe in and how well you believe locals documented their history. Oh, and one more thing, the prayer house can still be seen in Brussels, WI to this day.

-The Pine Barrens Institute

Leutnant Léon Degrelle photographed during the offensive into the Caucasus in the summer of 1942. During this period Degrelle, serving with the Walloon Legion, was awarded the Iron Cross both Second and First Classes.

Jan Willem van Borselen - Dutch landscape with canal and trees - 19th century

Jan Willem van Borselen (20 September 1825, Gouda - 24 September 1892, The Hague) was a Dutch landscape painter, often associated with the Hague School.

His father, Pieter van Borselen (1802-1873), was the Director of the Walloon Orphanage, but was also known as a landscape painter and lithographer and gave Jan his first lessons. At the age of thirteen, he presented his first landscape at one of his father’s exhibitions in Groningen and would continue to exhibit frequently throughout his life.
In 1855, he moved to The Hague, seeking a more affluent clientele, and joined the Pulchri Studio. During his time at the studio, he held several positions, such as Librarian, Secretary and Treasurer. While there, he took up an apprenticeship with Andreas Schelfhout, which would eventually lead to contacts with the Royal Family. He was often invited to stay at Het Loo and paint in the surrounding forests.
From 1857, his primary subjects would be what he referred to as “Wicker, wolken en fladderende riet” (Meadows, clouds and fluttering reeds). Together with his friends, he painted near Gouda and Schoonhoven, making small paintings of 12x18 centimeters (roughly 4x7 inches) that would be converted to larger works at his studio.
In the 1870s, he became an advocate of watercolors and, in 1872, joined the “Société Royale Belge des Aquarellistes”; participating in their exhibitions and winning medals at the Weltausstellung 1873 in Vienna and the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.
Because of his work with the Royal Family, King William III made him a Ridder in the Order of the Oak Crown in 1869 and he was promoted to Officer in 1881. One of his best-known students was Théophile de Bock.


Pokémon GO! Teams’ Popularity Around the World

Interesting Notes:

Delaware is Team Instinct

◘ Belgium’s divisions are perfectly in line with its regional divisions. Flanders is Valor, Walloon Instinct, and Brussels Mystic.

◘ All of the United Kingdom is Mystic. 

 North Korea does not play Pokémon GO!

click photos for their captions

The fact that such a popular game is split into these three teams is a wonderful thing for someone like me who generates maps like these. They’re very fun to look at! I believe this is my third one on this blog.


Léon Degrelle presenting awards to members of the SS Sturmbrigade Wallonien in Charleroi, Belgium on 1 April 1944. Present and honoring the Walloons were also the old members of Leibstandarte: Josef Dietrich, Fritz Witt, Kurt Meyer, Wilhelm Mohnke, Max Wünsche and Hermann Weiser.

Léon Degrelle (June 15th 1906 - March 31th 1994)

Degrelle was a Walloon Belgian Officer during the World War II and later he joined the Waffen SS.
He fought on the Eastern Front and received the Eastern front medal (“Winterschlacht im Osten 1941/42) in August 1942.
After World War II, he was a prominent figure in fascist movements.
In the Waffen SS he commanded the 28th SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Division Wallonien

In 1994, Léon Degrelle died of an heart attack in a hospital of Málaga.

Léon Degrelle (15 Juin 1906 - 31 Mars 1994)

Degrelle était un officier Belge (Wallonie) durant la Deuxième guerre mondiale et il a ensuite rejoint la Waffen SS.
Il a combattu sur le front de l'Est et a reçu la médaille du Front de l'Est en Aout 1942.
Après la guerre il a été accusé de mouvement fasciste.
Dans la Waffen SS il a commandé la 28e SS-Freiwilligen-Grenadier-Division Wallonie.

En 1994, Degrelle est mort d'un arrêt cardiaque à l’hôpital de Malaga.

Oh fuck, I just remembered something from my senior year in high school!

Basically, we were having a debate about Flanders and Walloon (I believe it’s called in English?). To explain it quickly (because it’s complicated as fuck), Belgium is split in 3 parts: Flanders, Walloon and Brussels. Flanders is where most Femish/Dutch speaking people live, Walloon is where the French speaking people live and Brussels is a disgusting combination of both with mostly French and Arabic. There’s also some German somewhere, but no one remembers that.

There has been discourse over this for YEARS, because Flanders believe that Walloon is taking money from us (because they’re mostly touristic and Flanders is where the industries are and making all the money and Walloon is taking advantage of that and such, I don’t know the specifics, I don’t really care either) and there’s been talk about splitting for a good while now. Instead of Belgium, there’d be Flanders and Walloon and then there’s the discussion of where Brussels goes.

But anyway, so during the debate people are going pro splitting or contra splitting and there are some really good arguments here and there and then the teacher notices I’ve been quiet the entire time and asks for my viewpoint.

I say: “… Well, to be honest, I think there’s too much hate between us. I think we should erase the idea of two separate places, erase the terms Flanders and Walloon and erase the hate that way. Instead of talking about splitting because, like so many people have said, we won’t be able to handle it financially.”

And the teacher looked at me like she was so impressed?????? I think it was the first time where I felt my opinion was valid! She even said: “Yes, the unification standpoint, that’s a very good and unique way of looking at it!”

On another note, talk about splitting has died down by now and it doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen any time soon. Yay!

Men from the 28. SS Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier Division Wallonien pose for a photograph in the spring of 1945 in Pomerania. The second from left is SS-Untersturmführer Jacques Leroy which was decorated with the Knight’s Cross on 20 April 1945 for his personal heroism and the performance of his command at the Altdamm Bridgehead in March 1945. Leroy led a task force of 40 soldiers in the defense of Altdamm at the mouth of Oder River. For three days and nights this band of Walloon held off sizable enemy assaults even turning back an attack by 19 tanks on 17 March 1945, destroying many of them in the process. When they were finally relieved, only 8 of the defenders were still alive; 32 of them had been killed in action.

"Van Gogh, now 26, tentatively started to draw."

Alastair Sooke:

True to form, life for Van Gogh in the Borinage was not straightforward. He lived in a humble hut, gave away much of his money, and swapped his smart clothes for the practical work-wear of the ‘Borins’. Unfortunately, he was not a gifted orator, so his meetings were sparsely attended. His inability to connect with the local coalminers was compounded by a practical, linguistic difficulty: he couldn’t make head or tail of their quick-fire patois known as ‘Walloon French’, while they were mystified by his own attempts at French, which to their ears sounded overly formal and fussy. In July 1879, only half a year after he had arrived in the region, he received another setback: the authorities terminated his trial appointment as an evangelist, precipitating a crisis of self-doubt.

Yet it was at this rock-bottom moment that Van Gogh, now 26, tentatively started to draw. His religious zeal dissipated, and instead he focused on training as a draughtsman. “I often feel homesick for the country of paintings,” he wrote to his brother Theo in the summer of 1880 – suggesting, perhaps, that he missed the day-to-day encounters with works of art that he had enjoyed while working as an art dealer. That autumn, he left the Borinage for good and headed for Brussels, to study life drawing at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts.

Imagine if Van Gogh had succeeded as an evangelist and never started to draw? "Failure" gains a new perspective. 


Heroes welcome in Brussels for Léon Degrelle and his Walloons soldiers on 1 April 1944. The Wallonien crossed the city from south to north passing in front of the “Bourse” (the Belgian Stock Exchange Building). Degrelle was in his Sd.Kfz. 251 half-track with his children by his side, wanting to show them the parade.

SS-Untersturmführer Léon Gillis from the Wallonien Division scans for enemy forces in Pomerania in the spring of 1945. He is armed with a StG 44 assault rifle.

Officers of the 28. SS Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier Division Wallonien pose for a photograph during the heavy fighting in Pomerania in February-March 1945. From left to right: SS-Untersturmführer Georges Suain, SS-Untersturmführer Léon Gillis, SS-Untersturmführer Désiré Lecocq († 6 March 1945), SS-Oberscharführer Van Isschott and SS-Sturmann Collard.

Koninkrijk België

Name: Belgium

Language: Dutch, French, German (Depends on which part of the country you are in)

General Overview: Belgium is a small country in Northern Europe. There is no one “official” language as Dutch, French, and German can all be heard here. It is split between the Dutch speaking Flemish of the north and the French speaking Walloons from the south. I understand that there is a friendly rivalry between the north and south parts of the country, similar to the southern US distancing themselves from the rest of America. 

Belgium used to be a part of the Netherlands until it declared independence in 1830. Although a separate nation now, there are many similarities between the cultures of the Netherlands and Belgium, the most notable being the Dutch language spoken in the Flanders region.

Brussels, the largest city in Belgium, is home to the parliament of the European Union and has earned the nickname “Capital of Europe”. Because of this, as well as the various languages heard throughout the land, Belgium is one of the most diverse countries in the world and there are many regional variances of culture depending on where you go. 

Belgium has no formal government and they have been trying to put one in power for the last year with little success.

Notable Cities: Brussels

Cuisine: There are 3 culinary items that Belgium is notorious for: Chocolate, waffles, and beer.  

The chocolate in Belgium is legendary and you can buy the amazing stuff your country imports for fairly cheap here. Any town will have a variety of chocolate shops available, most of which create the chocolate right there in the store. Beware of chocolate shops in the tourist areas, as they will undoubtedly overprice the products and even offer “rare/delicacy” chocolates that really aren’t that great. A lot of the good chocolates can be found at supermarkets for ¼ the price of tourist shops and those aren’t even considered the best ones. 

Everybody has heard of the Belgium Waffle, but very few have had a proper Belgium style waffle. In America, waffles are considered a breakfast item that is doused in butter and syrup, but in Belgium this is not the case. Waffles are more of a snack than a meal, with most vending machines selling them. They come in oval shapes and are usually pretty thick. If bought at a store, they are normally topped with whipped cream and powdered sugar, as well as any additional toppings the customer prefers. These waffles are nothing like the toaster style “Egos” that Americans grew up; Belgium waffles are sugary goodness that would be considered “soul food” back home. A must do when traveling the country.

Despite Belgium’s small size (it’s population is 2/3 that of New York) there is a surprisingly large selection of home brewed beers available. At one store in Brugge, there were over 250 different types of Belgium beers available for sale. The Belgians take great pride in their beer and would not settle for the standard cheap beers like Carslberg or Miller Lite. Pale lagers are popular and are served in what look like large wine glasses rather than the standard pint glass.

One of the lesser known staples of a Belgian diet is fries. There are french fry stands all over the country and are usually served in a paper cone with topping of choice (the fries are popular with mayo, a salute to their Dutch neighbors).

Attitude: The attitude in Belgium is very laid back and friendly. It’s one of those rare places in Europe where you can actually get friendly service in a restaurant or bar. Everybody seems really happy and relaxed, making me wonder if they ever go to work or get stressed out.

Any time of the day people can be found at the parks enjoying some beer with their friends and family. In the urban areas, there is a really “cozy” feel to everything (besides Brussels, a fast-paced exception). I think that the Belgians feel a common tie to their neighbors, the Dutch (makes sense since they used to be the same country).

There isn’t the slightest tone of arrogance or superiority when speaking with Dutch people. They might feel a little overpowered by some of the large countries around them like France or Germany, but never inferior. This is a tiny nation that is proud to be just that; a small, cozy place to live and enjoy life.

Drinking: As said before, the Belgians take great pride in their beer. They love drinking in social situations and it can be quite easy to strike up a conversation with a local over a glass of pale lager.

Drinking in the streets is common, but acting like a drunkard is not. I rarely saw some of the rowdy street behavior that was common in Denmark and I believe that they try to maintain composure to look respectable in public. Hard alcohol like whiskey and vodka is not as common here and takes a noticeable backseat to beer.

Although unrelated to drinking, I should point out that cigarette smoking is much less common here than the other countries. There are very few stores that sell tobacco and they usually aren’t open very late. I am not sure what the laws against smoking are, but they seem to be working as the mass public doesn’t smoke that much (compared to previous countries).

Attitudes towards foreigners: The attitude towards foreigners is really good here. Belgians love meeting new people, and it is fairly common for foreigners to be in the country due to its small size. They always want to know what outsiders think about Belgium, and then will happily describe how they feel about your country.

When doing this, they won’t hold much back. They will tell you the good/bad things they perceive from your land without hesitation. At the same time, if you are from a place they have never been to, except a lot of questions. They are curious about foreign lands and love to learn about them.

English is spoken here at a pretty basic level. Most people you meet can speak English but might not be able to follow a natural speaker that well. Be sure to talk with common words in an understandable dialect; if you start talking as if they were fellow English speakers they might not be able to understand you. As long as you are polite, expect to be treated greatly in Belgium.

The rules: Belgium is much like Germany when it comes to following the rules. Streets are not to be crossed until the green man is up, trash is never to be thrown on the ground, and people are to be quiet when leaving the bar late at night.

Although Belgians follow the rules with complete respect, there aren’t very many rules to follow (could explain that). Written rules are not as commonplace in public areas.

It should be noted that Belgium holds the record for longest time without a formal government (breaking Iraq’s record last February) and to date has not settled on a real government, using what is called a “caretaker government” for the time being. Technically, Belgium is a state of anarchy, however there are still police forces keeping basic order and the citizens are living as if there isn’t a political problem. The government situation seems to have little effect on how people behave here.

Wealth: Belgium enjoys a decent standard of living as is on par with the rest of the industrialized world for wealth. There isn’t a high number of very wealthy people in the country, nor very poor people. The majority is middle-class and with the socialized system in effect, the distribution of wealth is pretty equal. 

I found it interesting that there were far less beggars in Belgium than anywhere else. Usually when traveling Europe you will encounter homeless people on the streets begging for change (highest in tourist places or train stations) but this is not as common here. Perhaps a testament to the countries wealth fare system working efficiently.