GHOSTLY LEGENDS OF MICHIGAN
The Blue Lady and Strange Lights of Denton Road
Written by Michigan’s Otherside
Mysterious balls of light? Phantom headlights charging down Denton Road? The ghostly cries of a baby, tiny footprints on cars and a glowing blue apparition of a woman? Does this really all happen in one place? Folks who have been “legend tripping” down Denton Road going back to the 1960’s will say it has.
Denton Road runs through the cities of Denton and Canton, just west of the Detroit area. Multiple versions of this story are everywhere, which is quite normal with legends. In her book Weird Michigan, author Linda Godfrey chose to write a version (similar to the classic Ada Witch legend told in West Michigan) that tells of a man who catches his wife cheating. He kills her lover with an ax and chases his wife (with their baby in her arms) to the Denton Road bridge, where he kills her and no one knows what becomes of the baby.
Internet stories about the legend lean towards a different tale that says a child was hit by a car on the old Denton Road bridge. Another story tells of a car driving off the bridge and crashing.
Bridges all over the world have legends and hauntings attached to them.
THE BLUE LADY
A glowing blue apparition of a woman has been seen in the area. The ghost is attributed to the woman killed in the legend. The tiny footprints and cries are said to be from her baby. Some say that the blue glow is from the lantern she had with her as she ran through the darkness of the night from her furious husband. “The Blue Lady” story was first compiled by Canton resident Virginia Bailey Parker in her book, Ghost Stories and Other Tales from Canton, which was published for the Canton Historical Society in 1998.
Parker wrote how very human teenagers used to prank thrill seekers who would venture to the bridge in the night hoping to glimpse something supernatural. It was common for people to arrive at midnight and unknown to them, be scared off by pranksters and not the supposed ghosts. She also collected stories from people who remember rigging lanterns to fishing poles while driving up and down the road in the 1960’s, making people in the distance believe they were seeing mysterious floating lights.
Fraternities in the 1960’s from nearby Eastern Michigan University would drop new pledges in the cornfields with nothing but a lantern on a stick to find their way back. Some speculate if this caused people to believe there were strange lights in the area, when in fact is was nothing more than a college freshman wondering if he was making smart life choices.
A woman told me about her experience at Denton Road in the 1960’s, but it didn’t involve a blue light or a ghost; it involved three white lights. She described the lights as somewhat large, glowing in the sky and moving over a cornfield towards them. This witness and a couple other people were driving and watching the lights in the sky. As the lights hovered over their car, the engine cut out. Everyone in the car panicked, thinking that the “ghost” of Denton Road was upon them. They started the car back up and got out of there as fast as they could! I told her that what she experienced actually sounded more extraterrestrial than ghostly.
I’ve also heard if you shine your headlights at the sky, a cross will appear in the sky or a ball of fire. So there are two more parts of the legend that has an interaction and response with things in the sky.
THE LEGEND CONTINUES
Even though the original old wooden bridge is long gone and road and bridge construction in 2003 made everything updated and new, reports about people genuinely believing they have seen strange eerie blue orbs of light and other paranormal happenings by the bridge persist. The new bridge still crosses the Rouge River and next to it is a pedestrian trail and bridge.
In decades past, people would park nearby, turn off their lights and wait for the “spook lights” to appear (which for all they knew, was a lost fraternity pledge.) Many were disappointed when lights wouldn’t appear, but a few claim they did indeed witness phantom lights come out of nowhere. Some reports have even claimed they were “chased” by the lights. This same report dubbed the lights as the “Denton Demon.”
This story takes on typical urban legend attributes and is what I like to call an “interactive legend.” These are places/stories where people attempt to interact with the legend in the hopes of getting a response, hopefully, a supernatural one. Think of stories like “Bloody Mary” and trying to get her to appear in the mirror by saying her name three times.
So what version do you think is the correct version? Tell me what you grew up with and email your story or comment below.
*Idiot Disclaimer – If you are legend tripping, be aware that Denton Road is public, but surrounding homes and areas are private property. Do not trespass and be respectful of motorists and people who live in the area. Don’t become a ghost by getting yourself hit by a car, looking for ghosts. Don’t be an idiot.