What happened to Pere Cheney? Story of Michigan's infamous ghost town

What happened to the people of Pere Cheney, Michigan? 

Morning Musings 🤔

Michigan has so many urban myths and paranormal mysteries. Whether you believe in "ghosts" or not, many of the stories are still relevant history.

From Detroit's Historic Fort Wayne to Mackinac Island to the Werewolf of Grosse Pointe -- there's a Michigan mystery for everyone.

There are also more recent mysteries, like the Lake Superior ghost ship or the man who claimed he spotted Bigfoot while camping.

I'll bring you some of my favorites through the month of October. 

- Ken

Morning Dive 🏊

If you've taken a trip Up North from the Detroit area, you've probably driven right by this Michigan ghost town: Pere Cheney. It's about 15 minutes southeast of Grayling, east of I-75.

The village of Pere Cheney has been abandoned since 1917. What happened to the people?

How Pere Cheney became a ghost town

After being established in 1874 by founder George Cheney, the village received a land grant from the Michigan Central Railroad Co. to create a stop along the railroad.

The village had a general store, sawmills, a hotel and a post office.

By the 1870s, its population was approximately 1,500 people. Diphtheria, an infection spread through the air, wiped out much of the population in 1893.

While the village was trying to recover, fires broke out, leaving much of the village damaged. The fires were likely caused by sparks from mills behind the village.

Disease returned again in 1897, and by 1901 the town's population was only 25. In 1917, with the population under 20, the land was sold in a public auction, and Pere Cheney became a ghost town.

What's left there today

All that remains today is the Pere Cheney cemetery, which some call a literal ghost town. The cemetery is filled with ghost stories. Perhaps the most popular, is the legend of the witch.

Local legend says a witch cursed the village after she was banished to the woods, which many blame for the outbreak of disease and the disastrous fires.

Visitors to the cemetery have reported seeing ghosts, figures, glowing orbs, lights and hearing voices. Some have reported hearing children laughing and seeing hand prints on their cars.

Housekeeping 🧹

Hey, if you like this newsletter, let us know. We'd love your feedback. We also offer several other newsletters that probably cater to at least one of your interests -- unless you're only interested in crepes. We don't have one for crepes. Sorry.

- Ken Haddad (Have something to say or a topic idea? Contact me: Email | Twitter)

Let's Link 🔗

Be sure to check in with ClickOnDetroit throughout the day for the latest news, weather and traffic. We're always working to keep you updated on the stories that matter most to you. We also like to have some fun along the way.