• Into the Rabbit Hole

Ep. 7 Minnie Quay's mom is a Dick

Updated: Jul 28, 2019

Welcome to Michigan where body parts are now maps. This is a ghost story from the tip of the thumb! Which, to be honest sounds freaking awful. 

Minnie Quay was just your average 15 year old. Madly in love with a sailor, beholden to her family, and a little bit haunty. Join us for a quick trip down sad story lane with this spooky historical story from Forester, Mi. 

Minnie Quay

The ghost of Minnie Quay is a legend in the paranormal circles of Michigan. Her tragic story comes from a small foresting town in the eastern region of Michigan, known as The Thumb, called Forester, in present-day Forester Township.

The Quay family, father James and mother Mary Ann, lived in the busy lumbering town of Forester. They had two children, Minnie, aged 15, and young James Jr, only 5.

Today, along an old street in Forester, there is an abandoned tavern with the name "Quay" chiseled into the faded wood sign and the year of "1852" lettered above the door. This house once belonged to the Quay family, who had come to live in Forester from New England.

Minnie, though only 15 at the time, had given her heart to a young sailor whose ship would dock in Forester often for either shipping or merchant reasons. Like most young woman, there lovers would return to the open waters eventually, leaving the girls to wait for their homecoming.

Minnie Quay

Not much is known about the gentleman, only that Minnie had fallen in love with him. Many in town warned her about this affair. A sailor’s heart was a dangerous thing. Her parents greatly disapproved of the young girls love and eventually forbade her from seeing him again.

Her own mother would often yell out loud enough for others in town to hear that she would rather see her dead than with this man.

Because of this, Minnie missed her lover leaving port. She hadn’t worried, however.

The men would return, and she would be reunited with him once again, despite her parent’s disapproval.

Rumors about Minnie and her “condition” began to circulate within the town and her parents eventually confronted their young daughter.

In the spring of 1876, word reached Forester that the ship that the young man had been working on had gone down in a storm.

Minnie was utterly devastated, especially since she had not even been able to tell him goodbye the last time that he had been in port.

On April 27, 1876 Minnie wrote a letter to her mother, “Charging her with being to serve and asserting her innocence.”

That same day, her parents gave Minnie charge to watch her younger brother, James Jr.

Minnie and her brother walked into town, and passed by the town inn, the Tanner House.

Townsfolk sitting on the porch waved to the young girl as she passed them and walked to the pier, taking her brother for some fresh air, as was the norm.

The onlookers, horrified as moments later they watched as she jumped off the pier, into the cold dark waters of Lake Huron.

Her brother watched, terrified. And when Minnie’s body did not resurface, he ran for help.

After her body had been located, an Inquiry had been conducted, proving that she had not been pregnant, nor likely to have been intimate at all.

The rumors and the shame they brought may have been the push over the edge for Poor Minnie Quay.

For nearly a hundred years, however, Minnie still walks the pier. Her ghost has been said to roam the beaches of Forester. Some have said that she just walks, waiting for her lover to dock. Some watch as a young woman jumps from the pier, only to rush over and realize no one was there.

Over the years, several young women have reported that Minnie has beckoned to them from the icy waters as if inviting them to join her.

The ballad has been popular in the region for over 100 years. It has been passed down the generations. Many versions exist. Here is one.


'Twas long ago besides Lake Huron,

She walked the sandy shore.

Where the voice of one sweet Minnie Quay,

'Twill echo ever more.


Sailors still hear her crying,

Young lovers hear her, too.

As she calls for them to join her,

In the waters, icy blue.


Young Minnie loved a sailor,

The sailor loved her, too.

And on the shore behind the trees,

The pair would rendezvous.


But gossips soon got wind of it,

And tongues began to wag.

The tale was told to Minnie's Ma,

By some old babbling hag.


Minnie's Ma was angry,

And to her daughter said,

"Married to a sailor?

I'd rather see you dead."


They knew that she'd been sneaking out,

To see the lad at night.

They boarded up her bedroom door,

And kept her locked in tight.


He waited for his love in vain,

A tear was in his eye.

When he set sail the next morning,

Without kissing her goodbye.


He never saw his love again,

For alas, a storm arose.

That raging gale sank many ships,

And his was one of those.


The ship that carried Minnie's love,

Sank like it was lead.

And when the news reached Forester,

They said that he was dead.


Minnie wore a dress of white,

She looked just like a bride.

She plunged into the water deep,

To die there by his side.


But Minnie Quay is not at rest,

Or so the people say.

Her ghost still walks the lonely shore.

Some see her to this day.

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