Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ghost Of Minnie Quay - Forester Park, Michigan

Minnie Quay was a young fifteen year old girl who lived with her mother and father in a community known as Forester along the shores of Lake Huron on the eastern Michigan coast during the mid 1850s.  Over 160 years later, Minnie still walks the shores and haunts the waters of the Michigan coast.
Ruins of one of the piers on Lake Huron at Forester Park, Michigan

Forester was a community that thrived on the lumber industry and served as a port where ships would dock and load up lumber bound for destinations around the world.  James Quay and his wife, Mary Ann moved to this area to prosper from the community's success.  Here the raised their daughter, Minnie.  Minnie Quay became infatuated with a sailor on board one of the ships that docked in Forester to take on a load of lumber.  Her parents as well as the other locals warned her of the dangers of such a relationship and her parents outright forbade her from seeing the sailor.   Minnie of course, disobeyed this and continued to see the sailor.

One stormy night while out on the rough waters of Lake Huron, the ship bearing Minnie's lover disappeared in a storm and never seen again.  Minnie was so distrought over the loss of her lover, she spent many days wondering the shores hoping for her love to return.  After realizing this was not going to happen, in April of 1876, she apparently flung herself off of one of the piers and was found the next day floating on the shore of Lake Huron, joining her lover forever.

The remains of quite possibly the pier that Minnie Quay flung herself off of in 1876

Along the shores of Lake Huron near what is now Forester Park, the Quay home still stands to this day, abandoned however, as it was formerly a tavern marked with the family name and date it was built, "Quay 1852", above the door.  It is not the Quay homestead where the ghost Minnie Quay can be found however.  Her spirit is known to haunt the shores of Lake Huron where many have seen her apparition strolling along the waters edge.  It is said that she is mostly seen by young emotionally distrought women that are in such as state that she was in when she died.  They can hear her calling to them from the lake, urging them to join her in the icy waters.  In one known instance, a girl claiming to hear these beckoning calls, actually answered them and was found drowned to death along the shore.

The ghost of Minnie Quay is said to roam the shores of Lake Huron near Forester Park

The story of Minnie Quay is very populare folklore of the Michigan "thumb" region.  So much so that a song was written about her, "The Ballad of Minnie Quay" which goes something like this:

'Twas long ago besides Lake Huron
She walked the sandy shore.
but the voice of one sweet Minnie Quay
'Twill echo ever more.

Sailors still hear her crying.
Young lovers hear her, too,
As she calls for them to join her
In the waters,icy blue.

Young Minnie loved a sailor.
The sailor loved her, too.
And on the shore, behind the trees
The pair would rendezvous.

But gossips soon got wind of it,
And tongues began to wag.
the tale was told to Minnie's Ma
By some old babbling hag.

Minnie's Ma got angry
And to her daughter said,
"Married to a sailor?
I'd rather see you dead."

They knew she'd been sneaking out
To see the lad at night.
They boarded up her bedroom door,
And kept her locked in tight.

He waited for his love, in vain.
A tear was in his eye
when he set sail next morning
without kissing her goodbye.

He never saw his love again
For alas, a storm arose.
That raging gale sank many ships,
And his was one of those.

The ship that carried Minnie's love
Sank like it was lead.
And when the news reached Forester
They said he was dead.

Minnie wore a dress of white.
She looked just like a bride,
When she plunged into the water deep
To die there by his side.

But Minnie Quay is not at rest,
Or so the people say.
Her ghost still walks the lonely shore.
You may see her to this day.

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