Michigan in Pictures 8 Year Anniversary

I remember 8 years ago

I remember 8 years ago… by MightyBoyBrian

Every day except Sunday, the Absolute Michigan homepage features publisher Andrew McFarlane’s personal photo blog, Michigan in Pictures. The daily blog started on December 30, 2005 and has featured 2,494 photos of and from the Great Lakes State.

Here are some ways to share your photos if you’d like to be a part of it all:

Definitely head over to Michigan in Pictures and subscribe or like the Facebook page for a daily dose of Michigan!

Absolute Michigan Background Photos

Here are the photos we’ve used as Absolute Michigan backgrounds. If you’d like to share yours, add them to the Michigan Cover Photos Group on Flickr … and while you’re at it, share it in the Absolute Michigan pool.

Autumn Colors

Autumn Colors by AcrylicArtist

To Be In Green

To Be In Green by MightyBoyBrian

Grand Sable Banks Evening Light
Grand Sable Banks Evening Light by Gary of the North(Footsore Fotography)

We’ll add the rest soon.

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    North Country Dreamland: Northern Lights and the skies of Northern Michigan

North Country Dreamland: Northern Lights and the skies of Northern Michigan

I am going to guess that the video below is the most incredible thing you will see today, and quite likely for many days. There’s lots more about photographer Shawn Stockman Malone of Lake Superior Photo and this project below, but first please settle back, click the full screen view at the bottom right and enjoy her amazing video, North Country Dreamland.

North Country Dreamland from LakeSuperiorPhoto on Vimeo.

Please Stand By!

As I perform some much needed updates to Absolute Michigan, please enjoy one of my all-time favorites photos, Racing Down the Dunes by Diann.

Racing Down the Dunes by Diann

The Michigan Pages: Spring Peepers

Mike aka Mr. Toad shot the video above and wrote to us: I am glad you enjoyed my video of spring peepers. It is worth noting that video was taken at the University of Michigan’s ES George Reserve. There are several other frogs that begin calling very early in Michigan, including the wood frog and the chorus frog. A few videos and more information on these frogs can be found at my blog.

Peeper on a Leaf by Jamuudsen

There are few more signature sounds in Michigan than a chorus of spring peepers calling. While the peepers fired up early and then stopped during our incredible heatwave, they are back out in force as temps have become more normal. Regarding pseudacris crucifer (Northern Spring Peeper), the Michigan DNR begins:

Spring peepers are one of the earliest callers among the dozen frog species found in Michigan. During the first warm evenings of spring in late March or early April through May, their distinctive single note, high pitched “peep” is considered a harbinger of spring. The intensity of calling increases and can become a deafening chorus during humid evenings or just after a warm spring rain when many males congregate.

Only the male frogs call. They establish territories near the edge of permanent or ephemeral wetlands. They may call from elevated perches of submerged grass or shrubs near the water. The faster and louder a male sings, the more likely he is to attract a mate. (sort of like American Idol I guess)

Spring Peeperpedia


Today is Veterans Day

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.
~Elmer Davis

Today’s photo and quotation is provided by luna.nik and I think that it pretty much sums up what is asked, what is given and what we are called to remember and honor on Veterans Day and all the year long.

If you don’t get a chance to get out to Veteran’s Day parades or ceremonies to hear some veterans speak, you can see some interviews with veterans from the Southfield Veterans Commission that were produced as part of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. This one features Herbert Howard of Southfield and there are many more right here.

Much more Michigan Veterans Day information.

Weird Wednesday: The Nain Rouge, a Detroit Ghost Story

The following tale is from Myths and Legends of Our Own Land by Charles M. Skinner, available free at Project Gutenberg. You can get more recent accounts of the Nain Rouge from David A. Spitzley’s spooky & excellent Mythic Detroit and a slightly humorous account called Seeing Red from Model D.

Detroit Gargoyles by The Whistling Monkey

part of a set of detroit Gargoyles

Among all the impish offspring of the Stone God, wizards and witches, that made Detroit feared by the early settlers, none were more dreaded than the Nain Rouge (Red Dwarf), or Demon of the Strait, for it appeared only when there was to be trouble. In that it delighted. It was a shambling, red-faced creature, with a cold, glittering eye and teeth protruding from a grinning mouth. Cadillac, founder of Detroit, having struck at it, presently lost his seigniory and his fortunes. It was seen scampering along the shore on the night before the attack on Bloody Run, when the brook that afterward bore this name turned red with the blood of soldiers. People saw it in the smoky streets when the city was burned in 1805, and on the morning of Hull’s surrender it was found grinning in the fog. It rubbed its bony knuckles expectantly when David Fisher paddled across the strait to see his love, Soulange Gaudet, in the only boat he could find–a wheel-barrow, namely–but was sobered when David made a safe landing.

Michigan vs Michigan State Football Rivalry

Michigan State vs University of Michigan Football

It’s rights for the title of the state, state champions, who’s the best in the state, it’s huge, big for the fans, big for the alumni and big for the players and coaches.
~Ryan Van Bergen, UM Defensive End

This Saturday at 12 noon the University of Michigan Wolverines head to Spartan Stadium in East Lansing to face the Michigan State University Spartans . The Paul Bunyan-Governor of Michigan Trophy is awarded to the winner of the game between the Wolverines and the Spartans. U of M holds the series edge at 67-31-5, but the Spartans won again last year, 34-17 comeback to hang onto the trophy for the third straight year. For the 2nd year in a row, both teams are in the AP Top 25, with the Spartans at #23 and UM ranked #11. This game is always a fierce rivalry , but mLive explains that in 2011 it takes on another aspect due to the new Legends & Leaders division structure of the Big Ten12:

…all you have to do beat out five other teams to win your division and you’ve got a shot at the Rose Bowl. Nebraska isn’t what we thought they were, and Iowa just isn’t that good. The winner of Saturday’s game takes control of the Legends.

If you’re looking for tickets, stubhub has them for $188 – $499.  The Sports Bank has a brutally honest preview that leads with Spartan DT and NFL Prospect Jerel Worthy’s Anti-Michigan Wolverines Tattoo and breaks the game down very quickly and insightfully, and as always the folks at The Bleacher Report deliver with their slideshow of keys to the game and predictions for UM v MSU. The Freep calls it a smash-mouth showcase while the Detroit News lets a pair of former players, Michigan safety Marcus Ray and Michigan State quarterback Tony Banks, lay down the smack. On the blogs, A Beautiful Day for Football wonders if it’s “Little Brother No More” and gives some interesting rivalry facts. As Bill Simonson says: “I hope this sports ride never ends.”
MSU vs U of M Video Spirit Rally

Choose sides and get in on the discussion over at or MGoBlog. These are great resources with all the news and updates you need regarding MSU and U of M sports.

Michigan in Pictures has a couple of posts from awhile back about Spartan Stadium in East Lansing (where Saturday’s game will be played) and Michigan Stadium aka The Big House.

Somewhere we have to note Whack-a-Wolverine from the Lansing State Journal and we definitely want to hear what YOU think about the rivalry and the game!

Weird Wednesday: The Rowdy Ghosts of the Fenton Hotel

Linda S. Godfrey, author of the excellent Weird Michigan and Strange Michigan books is hard at work on her next book. While she is away, we are running a few of our favorites. The following is the first of our Absolute Michigan Weird Wednesday features, published originally in 2007!

The Bearded GhostThe Fenton Hotel, a former inn-turned-gourmet restaurant in the small, mid-state town of Fenton in Genesee County, is an establishment that prides itself on hanging onto things from its historic past. All the original tin ceilings still adorn the dining room, and the foyer looks much as it did back in stagecoach days. The second story’s glory days still exists in its tile-floor ballroom, the communal men’s and women’s bathrooms and the dingy corner room once reserved for Emery, the place’s late, longtime custodian. But the old brick building retains something far beyond old chairs and ancient porcelain fixtures in its aging halls.

Many people say the Fenton Hotel still hosts Emery, himself, along with an entire cast of ghostly hangers-on. People can hear Emery walking around in his former upstairs digs, his footsteps reverberating in the tin ceiling. Sometimes he thumps on the walls after customers leave, as if to tell the staff to get a move on. But Emery was a gentleman, say staff members at the Fenton. That’s how they know it’s some other ghost that sometimes gropes the arms or buttocks of unsuspecting waitresses.

And there are other spooks, each specter with his or her unique “signature” activity. The restaurant hostess told Weird Michigan in hushed tones that the incidents are not a thing of the past, either. “Things are still going on,” she said ominously as she seated us at one of the green linen-covered tables. We ordered baked brie from the extensive menu and waited for the unseen hotel guests to arrive and float around us. Surrounded by intricate stained glass windows and well-preserved architecture, it was easy to envision patrons of yesteryear enjoying the evening alongside the contemporary crowd.

Built in 1856, the Fenton boasts its own official state historical marker, which explains that the interior is still much the same, although the exterior’s old front porch fell victim to a team of runaway horses in 1904. The side of the building that faces the parking lot is embellished with paintings of ghostly inhabitants from another time, which only adds to the feeling of having stepped back into another century.

The bar area on the other side of the foyer is probably the building’s hottest ghost spot. A bartender named Brittany told Weird Michigan that she was standing at her work station one evening when one of the wine glasses hanging by its stem from a slotted nook suddenly flew off its perch and sailed across the bar, crashing and breaking. She has also heard someone call her name when no one else was in the room, felt something brush her leg, and on several occasions, customers have told her they saw someone hugging her at a time when she could see or feel no one.

Besides the phantom cuddler, there is the recurring case of the mysterious man at table 32. Every now and then, a man seated there will order a shot of Jack Daniels on the rocks and the bartender will duly pour one, but upon attempting to serve it to the “customer,” finds nothing but thin air. Speculation is that one of the house ghosts wants a drink badly enough to show himself and order one, but ultimately lacks the cash to pay for it and the throat to gulp it down.

The dining room is active, too. Two waitresses have spotted a disappearing black cat running across the floor. One staff person told us that last December, one of the ghosts decided to make merry by grabbing the posteriors of several waitresses, who invariably whirled around only to find no visible face to slap. December seems to be one of the restaurant’s most active months for hauntings, said one waitress. “It’s like they get excited with all the decorations and the parties,” she noted. She also said that staff have heard ghostly voices admonishing them that “no personal calls” are allowed, and that sometimes a man’s voice comes out of the bar speakers, either singing along with entertainers or making comments to customers.

Weird Michigan was able to take a guided tour of the closed upper level, which generally is not allowed since it is used for storage and many of the old rooms are no longer in good repair. We didn’t see anything unusual; even Emery’s small, cold room was quiet, although we couldn’t help but wonder if the old custodian was upset at our intrusion. But while standing in the darkened hallway, one of us heard a female voice whispering close by that we could not explain. Strangest of all was the fact that after we descended the stairs, we found a small glob of melted candle wax near the viewfinder on our digital camera. There was no candle on our dining room table, and we saw none on the second floor. Hallway GhostThe wax globule was not there earlier while we were shooting other pictures. Perhaps one of the old hotel guests was examining us at closer range than we realized, using the lighting methods available in 1856! Or maybe someone was trying to tell us not to look at the upper story inhabitants through that viewfinder.

The book Haunted Michigan by Gerald S. Hunter devotes an entire chapter to the multi-spirited Fenton Hotel, and includes tales of various apparitions seen by staff and customers, including the face of a bearded man outside a second story window, a tall man in a black top hat, and a strange figure who actually took payment from several customers.

One other strange incident happened as Weird Michigan enjoyed the bizarre ambience of the Fenton Hotel. A dining room guest said she was in the ladies’ room, sitting in the third stall, when she felt someone touch her hair and lift up a few strands. She thought that was odd, so we asked the waitress about it and her eyes grew wide.

“Back when the hotel was open,” she said, “the cheaper rooms on the third floor were rented by working girls in the town. Rumor is that one of them got pregnant by a hotel patron, and she hung herself in the hotel. Other people have seen her in that third stall.”

According to a hotel brochure, several séances have been performed on the premises, but the ghosts seem determined to stay. Perhaps for them, the Fenton Hotel is like the Eagles song hit song Hotel California… “you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”

You can order Weird Michigan online from Barnes & Noble and at fine bookstores everywhere. Check out a whole lot more Michigan oddities from ghosts and goblins to people and places that are just a little bit – or a lot – strange!

Linda Godfrey grew up in Milton, Wisconsin, spending the majority of her time doing the same things she does now; reading, writing, making art and reading comics. She continues to create commercial art (represented by Tom Stocki at and fine art, and often illustrates her own books, specializing in cut paper collage and forensic drawings of strange creatures from witness descriptions. She lives in rural Elkhorn with her husband, Steven, with whom she has two grown sons who are remarkably tolerant of their mother’s weird career.

Artwork for this article by Andy McFarlane, who enjoys Photoshop probably a bit too much.

Weird Wednesday: Michigan Sea Monsters

The last Wednesday of every month is a “Weird Wednesday” on Absolute Michigan. Usually we get a feature from Linda S. Godfrey, the author that fascinating tome of Michigan mysteries: Weird Michigan. Linda is hard at work on her latest book so we’ve gone down to the vault and pulled out some watery weirdness! Stay up-to-date with the uncanny at and on Linda’s twitter.

at Mackinac
at Mackinac
:: a composite from -3 and -43 by Emery Co Photo

Sea Monster of the Straits

The authorities tried hard to convince the public what they saw were only giant catfish, but even the oldest, orneriest cats would be hard-pressed to attain a length of forty-five feet! The owner of a resort along the Cheboygan lakefront reported seeing something of just that size, and two of them, frolicking in the Mackinac Straits on Lake Huron in front of his property, about 600 feet from shore, according to an article in the June 25, 1976 Grand Rapids Press. The day after the resort owner called authorities about it, Cheboygan County Sheriff Stanley McKervey stopped by to have a look for himself. To his surprise, he also was able to observe one of the creatures. “I went down to the beach, and sure enough, I’m looking at something 20, maybe 30 feet long, swimming just below the surface,” he said in the article. “I was amazed. I didn’t know what it was, but it sure wasn’t a publicity stunt.”

The sheriff continued watching the creature through binoculars. It only rose about an inch above water level, he said, but any disturbance on shore would cause it to dive deeper again. And that’s exactly what happened when the sheriff ordered a couple of deputies to surveil the thing in a canoe. It was gone long before the pair got there. Unfortunately, rough water conditions set in the next few days and no one could go out for another look. It wasn’t observed again, and other experts theorized that perhaps it was a giant eel or carp. But neither of those sound like what the sheriff and the resort owner saw!

Lake Leelanau Monster

The story of an early 20th Century sea monster sighting was sent to The Shadowlands Web site by a reader whose great-grandfather was the witness. The boy was fishing for perch one day in 1910 in the shallows of Lake Leelanau in Leelanau County. The lake had been dammed in the late 1800′s to provide water power for the local mill and to enable logging. The dam also flooded much surrounding area, turning it into swamps and bogs punctuated by dead, standing trees.

On that particular day, the young great-grandfather, William Gauthier, rowed out to a new fishing spot near the town of Lake Leelanau. Looking for good perch habitat, he paddled up close to a tree that he estimated to stand about five feet tall above the water, with a six-inch trunk. He was in about seven feet of water, and after deciding this would be a good place to stop and cast a line, began tying the boat to the tree.

That’s when young William discovered the tree had eyes. They were staring him dead in the face at about four feet above water level. The boy and serpent exchanged a long gaze, then the creature went, “Bloop” into the water. Gauthier said later that the creature’s head passed one end of the boat while the tail was still at the other end, though it was undulating very quickly through the water. Uncanny RadioThe writer noted that Gauthier always admitted to having been thoroughly frightened by his encounter, and that the event caused him to stay off that lake for many years.

The writer added that his great-grandfather came from a prominent area family and was very well-educated, and that he knew others who would admit privately but not publicly that they, too, had seen the creature. No sightings have been reported in recent times, but who knows how many people have believed they were passing by a rotting old cedar when in fact they had just grazed the Leelanau lake monster?