Swamp monster finds a new home just beyond the Naperville border

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Driving along Naperville Road in Plainfield, you may have seen this green swamp monster, but its owner Brendan Heffernan said there’s nothing to be afraid of.

“Everybody’s been very, very kind to Mr. Gillman,” said Heffernan. “People just like to come take pictures with him, everybody says that it puts a smile on their face. He’s got his own little fan base and fan club. I’m not 100% sure if all my neighbors love him, but I’m sure the majority of them do.”

From a mini golf course to a Plainfield swamp

Mr. Gillman, a knockoff statue from the 1950s horror film “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” has been outside Heffernan’s home, 23437 W. Lake Place in Plainfield, since last October.

Before arriving in Plainfield, the 10-foot-tall creature resided at a mini golf course in Sugar Grove for decades.

“My wife loves the miniature golf course,” said Heffernan. “We found out they were selling some of these guys on (Facebook) Marketplace, (and) they wanted to wait until we got to the end of the miniature golf season. Then, a group of four of us went over to Sugar Grove, threw him in the back of the truck, strapped him in, and brought him here to Plainfield,” said Heffernan.

“I just loved it so much,” said Bobbi Heffernan. “When they were selling him, I said, ‘Well, why don’t we get him?’ Then I wanted to dress him up and do all these crazy things.”

The 200-pound monster was Heffernan’s for quite a bit of green.

“A sound investment at $2,000, I’d say,” said Heffernan. “For a swamp guy of his stature? When I bought it, I remember my parents thinking, ‘You spent what? How much? And you did what?’”

Mr. Gillman goes viral

But his mom was soon won over when Heffernan asked for her help designing outfits for his new swamp guest…sized to scale.

“I’ll pick up the phone and I’ll call my mother and I’ll tell her exactly what I’m looking for,” said Heffernan. “She takes down some notes, and then she does all the hard work for me, so it’s really easy on my part. You gotta get creative when you’re a size 40X.”

Many of the costumes, like Santa’s suit, a Super Bowl getup, or a graduation gown, have helped Mr. Gillman go viral on Facebook over the past nine months.

“I was thinking kids are going to love this thing, but it’s not just kids, it’s adults,” said Heffernan. “Of course, he likes to take pictures, he likes to make new friends, meet new people.”

Heffernan said they have plenty of costumes lined up for the next few months…though we have a clear favorite…and is happy to feature this creature at his home.

“He needs to come live at our house, he needs to live on a swamp, he needs to be appreciated,” said Heffernan. “He was famous on the golf course, but now you can really get out in front of a new crowd, a new generation of people here.”

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