Haunted Belle Isle Folklore With Paranormal Author Roxanne Rhoads
I recently did a story about some of the more haunted locations in and around Detroit. You can click here, or just scroll to the bottom of the page.
Author, Roxanne Rhoads contacted me and had this to say “I think all of Detroit is haunted, seriously. There’s just something spooky and weird about Detroit.” She might be right.
She told me her thoughts on some of the hotels in the Motor City. “Detroit’s hotels are very haunted. My next book is Haunted Hotels of Michigan and there are a lot of spirits wandering the halls of locations that are or used to be hotels and inns. The Two Way Inn, which is now a bar, has quite a few spirits, and not just the ones they serve at the bar.”
She said the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton, which is the old Hotel Fort Shelby, sat empty for years. “There is a rumor that in the 1980s the plumbing failed and a squatter named Al drowned in four feet of sewage that flooded the basement. Now Al’s ghost haunts the alley and the lobby of the beautifully restored Doubletree.” I’ll remember not to try to stay late on my next visit there.
What does she think is the most haunted place in Detroit? She had an answer no one else had mentioned. “Personally, I think Belle Isle is the most haunted spot in Detroit. There is something forlorn and desolate about Belle Isle. It is a space lost in time. A sense of unease hangs in the air. I can’t quite put my finger on what is wrong but there is something definitely “off”. Amidst all the beauty and nature malevolence slithers just out of sight. Many people have died on the island, on the bridges, and in the water surrounding the island.”
She passed along this story which I’d never heard. “Detroit folklore has a Lady in White story connected to Belle Isle. One legend says that a young bride was murdered by her new husband on their wedding night. Now her ghost wanders the island full of despair. She is drawn to young couples. Another legend claims that the Lady in White is an old woman who appears by bridges. Urban legend claims she is the mother of a girl who was murdered on that stretch of road (perhaps the mother of the bride?). If you stop on or by the Tanglewood Bridge and wait, she might appear. If you are in the car, honk three times, this seems to get her riled up and she’ll come out, perhaps to shake her fist at you for disrupting her peace and quiet. Or maybe, she’ll try to lure you into the woods. Some versions of the legend claim the Lady in White is the beautiful maiden who became the Snake Goddess. One version even claims that she transforms into a white doe.” Ok, that’s just straight-out creepy! I will NOT honk three times! LOL
She passed along a link to a more detailed version of this story. She said it was was collected by Dave Sprybrook in 1969 and detailed on Wayne State University’s Walter P Reuther Library website: http://reuther.wayne.edu/node/13851
Thank you, Roxanne!