Michigan Ghost Story: The Ghost of Minnie Quay

There are hundreds of ghost stories that circulate throughout Michigan. Most of them are pure legend. Some are based loosely on facts, but some are founded entirely in truth. My personal favorite is the story of Minnie Quay. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, the events leading to her death are true. The location is not a ficticious ghost town, but a real town that exists still today.

Along the shore of Lake Huron, in Michigan's "thumb" area, lies the town of Forester. In its heyday, Forester was a bustling logging town and port of call for ships carrying lumber throughout the Great Lakes.

In the middle 1800's forester boasted four large warehouses situated near a huge pier that extended well into Lake Huron. There was also a general store, a fabulous church, and several hotels.

The Ghost Of Minnie Quay Is Said To Walk The Shores of Lake Huron
The Ghost Of Minnie Quay Is Said To Walk The Shores of Lake Huron

The legend of Minnie Quay

While Forester is still a small town (population just over a thousand), it has stepped into this century. But if you look, you can still find remnants of that long ago life.

The most popular hotel of that time, Tanner House, still stands today. As do a few of the homes, though long abandonned and boarded up. Among these there is one which, until recently, had a sign above the door which read "Quay-1852".

I'm told this sign was removed, probably by a souvenir hunter, but it is widely believed that this was the house of Forester's most famous resident.

Minnie Quay was a beautiful teenage girl, known and loved by everyone in Forester. As the story goes, she had fallen in love with a young sailor, whose ship often docked at the Forester pier.

The affair bothered many of the people in town, none more so than her parents. Her mother was heard to say she would rather see Minnie dead than married to a sailor. At the age of sixteen, Minnie granted her mother's wish.

She was forbade to see the young man, and was not able to say goodbye when he left the pier in the spring of 1876. Word came to Forester that a storm had taken the young man's ship to the bottom of the lake, as often happens around the Great Lakes. Minnie was beside herself with grief.

On April 26, 1876, Minnie was left at home to watch her younger brother. As he slept, she donned a white gown and walked out of the house toward town. People at Tanner House waved as she walked by on her way to the pier. They then watched in horror as she threw herself into the storm-tossed waters of Lake Huron, to join her true love.

The Ghost of Minnie Quay lives on

It is said that Minnie lives on in Forester. She can sometimes be seen walking the beach in sorrow. I have also heard that she sometimes calls to women, trying to entice them into the water to join in the search for her young sailor. There is even one report of a young lady who answered this call before jumping into the water to drown.

She has also reportedly been seen around Tanner house, as well as the stone pilings that are all that remain of the Forester Pier.

Remnants of the Forester pier, where Minnie Quay is often seen.
Remnants of the Forester pier, where Minnie Quay is often seen.

Never forgotten

While there are many other ghosts reputed to reside in this town, Minnie is the only one to achieve legendary status. She is loved by local residents and tourists alike. People often seek out the Forester cemetery to leave small gifts on her headstone. I'm not sure how this practice came about, but among the gifts commonly left, are small stones and coins.

I have heard that she has occasionally visited there, as well. Perhaps to show gratitude to all who visit.

Minnie Quay's Grave
Minnie Quay's Grave

The Legend Of Minnie Quay Told In Song

There is a poem that was written nearly a hundred years ago that recounts Minnie's tale. It is still popular today. If you are interested, you can read it here. As always, thanks for stopping by my corner of the web.

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Comments 25 comments

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

rmr! I've always loved these tragic stories that are based on real people. Then I spend hours trying to figure out the how's and why's and what if's...Thanks for sharing this story.

great hub regards Zsuzsy


rmr profile image

rmr 8 years ago from Livonia, MI Author

Thanks Zsuzsy. I do the same thing. I always find it fascinating to read up on the history and folklore surrounding the area in which I live.


C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana


Hope Alexander profile image

Hope Alexander 8 years ago

Erm... perhaps I am missing something here, but doesn't this supposed ghost try to lure women to their deaths? If she was alive she'd be thrown in jail for that sort of carry on.

How come being dead allows you to be a jerk?


Angela Harris profile image

Angela Harris 8 years ago from Around the USA

What a sad, tragic story


tjmum profile image

tjmum 8 years ago from Isle of Wight

I love spooky stories. Coming from the Isle of Wight (UK) as I do I know all about them - it's not called 'The Haunted Isle' for nothing! Even better when it's backed up with fact. Hope you have some more spooky stories for us!


rmr profile image

rmr 8 years ago from Livonia, MI Author

Thanks tjmum, I'll see what I can do.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California

rmr,

Many a lover has lost their true love at sea, alas we add another. Great Hub. I loved it.


destiny 7 years ago

I enjoyed reading your story of Minnie Quay! Best told one yet! Just wanted to know if you have ever found a picture of what she looked like! My aunt and uncle own her old house! Well my uncles children have it now that he has passed away! It was really neat staying there as a child. Spooky as hell and lots of crazy things happened! They even found her boarded up room! And her baby sisters cradle! my aunt has it till this day! If you find any pics of her could you please let me know! No one seems to have ever seen them!


E&A 7 years ago

We are going to do a paranormal investigation at the Forester Inn tonight (9/10/09).


rmr profile image

rmr 7 years ago from Livonia, MI Author

Make sure you come back and fill us all in!


E&A 7 years ago

We had a great night at the Forester Inn. Still going through all the tapes and videos. Caught some awesome EVP's. Lots of bumps in the night for sure. We also walked down to Minnie's grave site. Like many others, we left her some pennies. We are interested in visiting the old Tanner House. If anyone could point us in the right direction on whom to contact we would appreceiate it.


Sunshine 6 years ago

what does she look like?


Lucy May 6 years ago

I was involved in a paranormal investigation of Minnie Quay in Sept,2009. If you would like to read the message she offered please visit me at my website/blog . Like all spirit contacts, there is something for everyone to learn, spirit as well as the living :)


rmr profile image

rmr 6 years ago from Livonia, MI Author

Thanks for the update, Lucy. Your blog looks great! Here's the link for everybody else: http://www.circlinglight.com/blog/2010/03/a-parano...


Jack 5 years ago

I read this to my grand-daughters,Ally and Jume, and they said this is what happens when true love is formed


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

A beautifully written hub. How sad Thank you.


Jay Cookl 5 years ago

Me, my brother, and a fried have swam the pileons of the old pier quite a bit when we were younger. We grew up in Forester. We knew about the stories told, but as youngsters we were carious to find out if rumor was true. We all heard faint gasps and callings at times. It was freaky! But it didn't stop us from swimming in the haunted waters.


andrew 4 years ago

town of 1000 haha


Cal 4 years ago

Hey !! My girl friend grew up in Forster and now lives in Florida. I see now why See's crazy some times. Ha Ha !! Got to get up to Forster this summer 2012 and check it out. It looks like a great place and love the stories that I have heard. Want to visit the Indian Store !!!! Hope its still there !!!!


ticked off ghost hunter 3 years ago

Sorry to burst some bubbles but the Quay house (which no longer stands) was not her home she lived down the main street of Forester away from the lake the "ghost story" was told to drum up business for a dying town the Quay house was bought by someone who wanted to make it a B & B her story is however true she was left home to watch her little brother and walked down to the lake and off the peir townspeople followed and tried to rescue her and held back her little brother who also had followed her. not sure if the links are still there but was a story in the Times Herald was a bit upset that people would add to her misery for a few bucks she had/has suffered enough its about time people start getting her story straight


devin 2 years ago

did you see cut up hair


Tims lady 20 months ago

I spent my summers in Forester as a child. I have never seen the "ghost", and the old dock was too dangerous to swim near. Forester was a very quiet town in the 60's. There was Mr. Deerlove's general store, Mr. Bill's gas station, the tavern (owned by the Laske's). There was also a methodist church. Near the end of the 60's another little store opened up. I guess it was supposed to be a souvenir store. We would go there frequently to buy candy.


Linx 20 months ago

Glad I've finally found somnhtieg I agree with!


M.d. Martin 15 months ago

At the present time the tanner home has been renovated and is the personal residence of the above.

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