A Michigan Ghost Story
There once was a beautiful girl engaged to a soldier who caught the eye of an evil woodsman who had sold his soul for the ability to turn himself into a wolf at will. He lay in wait for the girl when she was walking home one day and accosted her, begging her to elope with him. The maiden refused, spurning his love and crying out to her love to save her from his advances.
The girl’s cries were heard by her eager fiancé, who had come searching for her when she was late returning to her parent’s home. The soldier drove the woodsman away, threatening him with dire consequences if he ever approached the maiden again.
The furious woodsman lay low for a few days, waiting for his chance. It came on the girl’s wedding day. She was dancing happily at her wedding reception with a group of her friends when the woodsman, in the form of a wolf, leapt upon her and dragged her away with him.
The enraged bridegroom gave chase, but the wolf and his bride had disappeared into the thick forest and were not seen again. For many days, the distraught soldier and his friends, armed with silver bullets, scoured the woods, searching for the maiden and her captor. Once the soldier thought he saw the wolf and shot at it. Upon reaching the location, he found a piece of a wolf’s tail lying upon the ground. But of the wolf to which it belonged there was no sign.
After months of searching, his friends begged him to let the girl go and get on with living. But the soldier was half-mad with grief and refused to give up. And that very day, he found the cave where the werewolf lived. Within it lay the preserved body of his beloved wife. The girl had refused the werewolf’s advances to the very end, and had died for it. After his murderous fury had died away, the werewolf had tenderly laid the body of the girl he had loved and had killed into a wooden coffin, where it would be safe from predators, and he came to visit her grave every day. Lying in wait for him, the soldier shot the werewolf several times as he entered the cavern, chasing him down until the maddened and dying werewolf leapt into the lake and disappeared from view. The soldier sat by the lake with his gun, staring into the rippling waters for hours as the catfish ate the bloody bits of the wolf that were floating on the surface of the water.
When his friends found him, the soldier’s mind was gone. He babbled insanely about a werewolf that had been eaten by a catfish when it leapt into the water, and he sobered only long enough to lead the men to the body of his beloved before he collapsed forevermore into insanity. He died a few days later, and was buried beside his bride in a little glen where they had planned to build there house. Their grave is long forgotten, and the place where it stands is covered with daisies in the spring. But to this day, the people of the area have a prejudice against eating catfish, though no one remember why.
You can read more Michigan folklore and ghost stories in Spooky Michigan by S.E. Schlosser.