Friday, May 18, 2012

The Ghost of Minnie Quay

There are many stories of hauntings that are a direct result of two lovers being torn apart cruelly. One ghost legend that fits this category has been told in Michigan for several generations. This story is told in the “thumb” region of Michigan in the small town of Forester near Lake Huron.

In the 1800s Forester, Michigan was a thriving logging community. It was the main port of call for ships that carried lumber throughout the Great Lakes. James and Mary Ann Quay built a tavern along the lake. They became a prominent family in the area. They had a daughter and son. Their daughter, Minnie, at the age of fifteen was considered the local beauty.

The Forester townsfolk looked down upon the seamen that the bustling shipping industry brought to the area. 

Minnie at the age of sixteen had the misfortune to fall in love with a young sailor who visited her families’ tavern. When the people in the town found out the two lovers were meeting in secret it caused a scandal. Minnie’s parents forbid her from seeing the young man again. But a tragic turn of events made their censure unnecessary.

In the spring of 1876 Minnie was heartbroken because she was not allowed to even wave goodbye to her lover as his ship left the Forester port. Within days the tragic news reached the town that his ship had lost its battle with a recent gale and was at the bottom of the lake. There were no survivors. Minnie was inconsolable.

Left alone to watch her younger brother one late afternoon in April, Minnie waited for him to fall asleep. In a daze she walked toward town. Several people waved to her as she passed by the Tanner House but she did not acknowledge their greeting. 

This group watched in stunned surprise as she walked onto the pier and flung herself into the cold churning water below. Attempts where made to save her but it was too late. Her body was buried in the Forester Cemetery. Afterwards, the locals stated that she was now at peace because she had joined her lover.

But sightings of her ghost since her death seem to reflect a much more restless spirit. In fact, one common sighting of her involves people seeing her along the shoreline waist-deep in water. She is heard moaning and witnesses state she beckons to them. The legend states that she wants help in the search for her lover. In one real-life twist, one young female witness after spotting her apparition did drown herself in the lake.

Nothing but pylons are left of the long pier that once adorned the Forester port. But witnesses have seen Minnie’s ghost in this area where she took her own life. 

Her ghost has also been seen near her home, the tavern her parents owned. It is long abandoned but still stands. Descriptions of her always note she appears to be very sad. Today locals and tourists intrigued by her story leave gifts on her gravesite. Some state her ghost has been seen near this area as well.

Here is a song about Minnie’s story.

No comments: