• Graveyard Shift

Creepy Stories And Urban Legends From Michigan

Michigan is an interesting state, one that's rife with creepy local urban legends, as well as stories of strange creatures, tragic apparitions, and haunted landmarks. The state's unique geographical build and tragic history certainly encourage these creepy Michigan sagas, which show the Mitten State may not be the best tourist destination for the superstitious. 

Surrounded by water and home to many rural enclaves, Michigan has a mysterious feel to it at times. This has led to tales of cryptozoological creatures and deranged humanoid beings roaming the deep dark woods and murky waters. Then, there's history to consider. Michigan's largest city, Detroit, was once the backbone of American enterprise before falling into despair. Could an impish red entity be to the blame? Those who believe in the Nain Rouge think so. From restless spirits and haunted cemeteries to old hotels and treacherous lagoons, read the scary stories from Michigan found below.

  • Photo: Fujiwara06 / WikiMedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    The Nain Rouge

    The Nain Rouge, French for red dwarf, is an ominous figure in Detroit folklore. According to legend, Detroit's founder Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac encountered a demon-like creature that called itself the Nain Rouge and cursed the entire city. The creature is said to have popped up throughout Detroit's history, usually during tragic events. Sightings were reported during the 1805 fire, which burnt almost the entire city to the ground, as well as during the 1968 riots.

    In 1976, two police officers claimed to see what they thought was a child climbing a utility pole during a harsh snowstorm only to realize it was the Nain Rouge. 

    In recent years, the Nain Rouge has become a beloved fixture in Detroit. In 2010, citizens began having an annual parade in celebration of the creature. In addition, local wine companies and breweries even make wine and beer in honor of the demonic entity. 

  • The Michigan Dogman

    The Michigan Dogman was first spotted in Wexford County in 1887 by a pair of lumberjacks who claimed they saw an animal they thought was a dog. Upon chasing down the animal out of curiosity, they discovered it was actually a dog's head attached to a man's body. Other stories followed.

    A farmer was supposedly found lifeless near his plow with giant dog tracks surrounding his body. A boat captain and his crew claimed they were targeted by a pack of dogs, only to see one dog stand up on its hind legs. The standing dog reportedly had narrow yellow eyes and a man's body. 

    With time, the Dogman story faded into relative obscurity and might have stayed that way if not for northern Michigan DJ Steve Cook. In 1987, Cook recorded a song about the Dogman, which became quite popular. This led to increased public interest in the Dogman, and - perhaps due to the power of suggestion alone - more and more residents reported sightings after the song's release. 

  • Photo: Google Maps

    The Ghost In The Michigan Bell Telephone Company

    According to local lore, the home of the Michigan Bell Telephone Company in downtown Grand Rapids was once a boarding house called the Judd-White House, which had quite the grisly history. The story states a young couple named Warren and Virginia Randall moved into the Judd-White House in 1907.

    At the time, the two were very happy together. In 1908, however, Warren was involved in a mishap at his job with the Indiana Railroad, costing him his leg. Their marriage soon fell apart as Warren became paranoid and thought Virginia was seeing someone else. She ultimately left him, but he eventually convinced her to see him again and lured her back into the Judd-White House.

    Warren then hit Virginia with his wooden leg before tearing a gas fixture from the wall. As the fumes began to fill the room, he took a straight razor and cut his own throat. Complaints of a terrible odor led to authorities discovering the bodies. The boarding house was eventually demolished and Michigan Bell Telephone Company built their offices on the empty lot.

    While the story isn't found in any official records, many locals believe it to be true. People claim they can still hear the Randalls wailing in the night and the tapping sound of Warren's wooden leg. 

  • Madame Modjeska

    If you find yourself in the Upper Peninsula, you may want to see a show at tMichigan's historic Calumet Theater. Home to many local productions, the theater also allegedly houses the ghost of Polish opera singer Madame Helena Modjeska. Modjeska passed in 1909, a few years after the theater opened, and had performed there three times. Many actors and visitors have reported seeing Madame Modjeska over the years. 

    In 1958, an actress fumbled over her lines during a performance of The Taming of the Shrew. She claimed Madame Modjeska appeared to her on the theater's balcony and mouthed the lines. Technical directors and janitors have also caught glimpses of her ghostly figure. Reports have emerged of unexplained music, random cold breezes, and door handles that lock on their own.