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Out of the Night

The Haunting Of Morrow Road

By James Donahue

Among the eerie ghost stories of Michigan legend is the tale about the ghostly spirit of a woman in a blue nightgown that haunts a lonely stretch of Morrow Road, a rural byway of just under three miles passing between the towns of Algonac and Marine City in Clay Township.

Drivers on the road at night tell stories of seeing her in her gown, walking the woods near a small stream that passes through a culvert under the road. Some have described her as a ghostly figure with hollow eyes and bloody hands. They say she is constantly searching for a lost child.

The story of the Morrow Road ghost has been told and retold for so many years it has become legend. Its origins go back so far into the past that the name of this woman and just what happened has fallen victim to folk lore that has so many variations, no one knows if the story is even true.

Some believe the child, a little boy, was lost, died in a snow storm, was kidnapped, drowned in the stream, or died some tragic death. The mother’s spirit is seen wandering the road and the wood nearby, always searching. Some say they have even heard her calling out for the child.

One particular frightening story by an unidentified woman who said she and some friends encountered this ghost in 1989 reads as follows:

"We drove out to Morrow Road, parked on the little bridge and honked the horn three times. We started hearing this horrific screaming coming from the woods. Then the sound of a baby crying. I was scared and insisted we should leave. My friends were laughing and yelling for the ghost to ‘show herself.’ That’s when we saw the light. A bright green pulsating orb lit up in the woods and floated onto the road. It died out as it was making its way toward the car. Like a flare blowing out.

"Out of nowhere she came running out of the woods. She was translucent and had no eyes. The fear was overwhelming since I had never experienced anything like this before. . . She ran right up to the driver’s side window and pounded on it. We floored it and to our horror she was chasing us."

The Morrow Road story has gained some notoriety in recent years. It was the subject of a report by Detroit Channel 4 News and the television show Unsolved Mysteries featured the story in one of its programs. Naturally paranormal researchers sometimes visit the neighborhood.

Historical researcher Francis Sampier said the road had its origins as a dirt trail that later became a narrow dirt road in the 1800’s. There was an old wooden bridge that passed over the stream and a single old house on the road. The house and bridge were torn down in later years.

Sampier wrote: "What makes the legend more interesting and startling is the different beliefs of what exactly happened to the mother and child. Research shows there are about ten theories as to how this occurred and each has slight variations. Nearly every version of the legend has these common denominators: A middle-aged woman died in her nightgown searching for her child, and that her spirit remains as a vengeful ghost to this day – still searching for the young boy."