Today in Michigan History

April 7, 1947

Henry Ford died.

According to one Ford biographer, “at the time of his death, Henry Ford was summed up as a patriot, philanthropist, philosopher, sociologist, reformer, economist, teacher, and above all, a man of simple tastes. He was widely depicted as an inspiration of youth and symbol of individualism, American ingenuity, free enterprise and America itself.”

Scores of Michiganders eulogized the 83-year-old Ford. Michigan senator Arthur Vandenberg noted that “he probably had as great an impact on his time as if he had been president of the United States.”

Thank you Michigan Start Pages for this glimpse into our past.  See more here.

Share

The Lake Michigan Triangle

Everyone has heard of the Bermuda Triangle and the strange things that happen there, but did you know that Michigan has its own mysterious triangle?

The Lake Michigan Triangle is connected by Ludington and Benton Harbor in Michigan and both cities connect across the lake to Manitowoc in Wisconsin forming the triangle, according to author Linda S. Godfrey in her book Weird Michigan.

The legend begins with sunken ships, but goes beyond that to the disappearance of airplanes and people to UFO sightings.  There have been so many sightings of strange objects and ghost planes in that area that the FAA created a special lake reporting service to keep track of them all.

Almost 40 planes have disappeared over Lake Michigan; the one most may know is Northwest Flight 2501.  In June of 1950 it left New York heading to Minneapolis, it went down into Lake Michigan near Benton Harbor.  There were no survivors and divers weren’t able to locate the plane’s wreckage.

In April 1937, one of the most famous Lake Michigan Triangle legends took place.  The freighter O.M. McFarland was headed to Port Washington, Wisconsin.  Captain George Donnor decided to head to his cabin for a nap and wanted to be woken around 6pm.  When the crew went to wake him, they found his cabin empty.  The story claims the door was locked from the inside and nobody knows what happened to him.  The disappearance of Donnor happened while the freighter passed through the nexus of the Lake Michigan Triangle.

Skeptics site the massive storms the Great Lakes are known for or the lack of GPS systems as the explanations of it all.  But it sure feeds your imagination when you look out across Lake Michigan and wonder what other mysteries are hiding beneath the surface!

Share

Haunted Michigan

The Paulding Light

Just off Highway 45 near Paulding and Watersmeet, in the Upper Peninsula, a phenomenon called the Paulding Light (aka Lights of Paulding, Dog Meadow Lights) occurs.

Just what is the Paulding Light?  It’s a light that appears after dark each night, regardless of season, that reportedly hovers and moves along the power lines.  The light has also been known to change color; red and white are most common, but blue and green have also been seen.

At the spot where people gather nightly to observe this phenomenon there is a sign that reads:

This is the location from which the famous Paulding Light can be observed.  Legend explains its presence as a railroad brakeman’s ghost, destined to remain forever at the sight of his untimely death.  He continually waves his signal lantern as a warning to all who come to visit.

To observe the phenomenon, park along this forest road facing north.  The light will appear each evening in the distance along the power line right-of-way.”

The posted legend is only one of the many stories of explanation.  Some tell the tale of an Indian ghost that is dancing on the power lines, some believe it’s just swamp gas, and still others believe it is a portal for spirits or to another dimension.

Several amateur studies have been done, but there is still no definite conclusion.  Theories of car headlights and taillights are debunked based on reports of the light going back to the early lumber days, long before cars.  But only one thing is certain, the Paulding Light does exist.

There are many amateur videos on YouTube.  Click here to view one of your choosing.  For more information you can Google “the Paulding Light” or visit the Wikipedia site.

Share

Michigan Myths and Legends

The Legend of the Sleeping Bear

On the northwestern shore of the Lower Peninsula is The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The National Lakeshore encompasses over 50,000 acres along Lake Michigan and has a unique legend of how the Dunes came to be.

The Ojibwa tale of the Sleeping Bear Dunes starts with a fire on the western shores of Lake Michigan (Wisconsin). The mother bear and her two cubs dove into Lake Michigan to escape the fire and swim for safety on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan (Michigan). The cubs are young and got tired quickly from the swim. The mother bear made it to shore and stood lookout for her two cubs. They never came. The Great Spirit takes pity on the mother and raises her cubs from the depths of the lake as North and South Manitou islands. The mother bear never left her spot, watching and waiting for the cubs, she became the dunes at Sleeping Bear Point.

For more information on Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakefront, please visit www.sleepingbeardunes.com

Share