Piddly podcasts are our mini-filler podcasts. These will include things like corrections, fan base contact shout outs, confessions, and short stories. These aren’t be scheduled, they are little surprises when they arrive in your podcast queue.
Today we have…
Piddly Podcast #4: Ypsilanti Firehouse Museum Paranormal Convention and Michigan Folktales
Ali forgot the podcast with fake podcast music but did remember a couple words in.
Piddly podcasts, our mini-filler podcasts. These will include things like corrections, fan base contact shout outs, and short stories.
Starting in January we will have guest podcasters. Friends and family, mostly, but Jenn feels like a stranger with murderous intent will want to record. Ali wants to use a safe internet meet up spot by a police station. Jenn wants to be in the police station.
We went to a paracon, a paranormal convention at Ypsilanti Firehouse Museum, in Ypsilanti, MI. When Jenn told Ali that there was a paracon at a firehouse, Ali thought it was a convention for paramedics. Jenn gave her crazy eyes in response to Ali’s dumb answer. It is a convention for the paranormal, of course.
The Ypsilanti Firehouse Museum is separated into two buildings. The original building was built in 1898 and the second building is more modern, being built in 2002. The museum has a wide range of old fire trucks, horse-drawn fire wagon, tools, equipment and fire bells. The building has caught on fire twice, ironic for a firehouse, perhaps?
Jenn couldn’t find a lot of information on how the fires started, etc.
(At this point you can hear Ali’s phone get a text message. While transcribing the podcast, I (Ali) forgot that had happened and I went to check my phone. Aren’t I special?)
For years people have been trying to get a paranormal convention going, believing that the building is haunted. Out of all the places they have visited, Ali found the Ypsi Firehouse to be the creepiest. It gave her the spooks. It didn’t help that there were mannequins sitting in the driver’s seat of some of the fire wagons and trucks.
The two fires took place in 1901 and 1922. The 1922 fire, Elonzo Miller, fire chief, died. People hear him knocking, voices whispering, and doors opening and closing on their own. Jenn found one tiny blurb that claimed he didn’t die in the firehouse. It just led to confusion. The internet contradicts itself. Also, Jenn wants to know why it was hard to find information on the fires at the firehouse.
There were three speakers at the convention, Ali and Jenn disagree on whether they were good lecturers. Ali says yes, Jenn says no.
Jenn gets confused between wraith, a ghost, and wrath, which is anger. Ali brings up that there are different words for snow. Jenn doesn’t believe her and searches the interwebs to prove her wrong. Ali, weirdly enough, was right.
A director of the Ypsilanti Firehouse said there was an employee who said a filing cabinet was opening at night and he moved the furniture and adjusted the legs on the file cabinet, stopping it from sliding open. He didn’t believe that the paranormal liked to do office work.
Ali reiterates that the building is creepy. She lived the vendors and the people who were in Ghost Buster outfits. Ali did buy some stuff from different vendors. She has a different bend than Jenn.
Ali wants to tell Folktales! She goes balls deep into a story, only to find out that the Ogre of Seney was a real man who was just gross. He taps into Ali’s regurgitation weakness… spittle.
The Ogre of Seney (sane-ee)
Seney is a small town in the upper peninsula of Michigan. It is currently the entrance to a very straight highway route, called the Seney Stretch, that leads from the Mackinac Bridge to Picture Rocks and Marquette, two popular UP destinations. It is one of the longest stretches of straight highway in Michigan. The city turned their old train station into a museum that you can visit today.
Seney, like most of Michigan, grew up as a town due to the railroad and abundant lumber, and served as a lumber depot in the Upper Peninsula, in 1881. When the town was established, it quickly grew to have over 3,000 residents.
The booming economy from the lumber allowed several saloons to prosper, and Seney earned a reputation for being rowdy and dangerous. There were a lot of men, they had access to a lot of liquor and not a whole lot to do with their time and money. The nearby cemetery, Boot Hill, has residents in there due to being on the losing side of a drunken brawl. Muggings weren’t uncommon in the area. A lumberjack in Seney was known for stomping on the faces of people who argued with him, leaving an imprint of his boot sole on people’s skin.
By the end of the 1800s, the pine trees that were being harvested were depleted. The town’s population swiftly shrank down to 200 people.
Fun facts about Seney:
In August of 1919, Ernest Hemingway, who was 20-years-old at the time, visited Seney. Hemingway had been travelling with friends and they stopped at the town to go fishing. He later wrote a short story called “Big Two-Hearted River” that featured Seney and a man sitting on the riverbanks grieving for the now-shuttered saloons. An alcoholic complaining about closed saloons, huh.
The man who assassinated US President William Mckinley had been a visitor in Seney, before the murder, when he worked on the railroad.
What about the Ogre of Seney? He was supposedly a real man that was either called PK or PJ Small, who went by the name “Snapjaw” and sometimes “Ogre”. The man’s nose had been bitten off during a fight and had been stitched on poorly, disfiguring his face.
He earned the name “Snapjaw” by biting off the heads of living birds, reptiles, and even a bat. Side note: When people are beating other people to death in fights, mugging each other, and stomping boot impressions on faces, you have to be something else to earn the name Ogre in that crowd. People would bet him to eat fresh horse manure or spittoon-bob for the price of a few shots of whiskey.
All his disgusting exploits lead him to be the Ogre of Seney.
The Michigan Dogman was first seen in 1887 by two lumberjacks in Wexford County in the northwestern portion of the State. He can be seen in the northwest of the lower peninsula, as the original sighting, but sometimes he is also seen in the southern portion of the Upper Peninsula.
The creature is a male that stands around seven feet tall and is either blue or amber eyed. He is a canine-like animal that has the torso of a man and is bipedal. The Dogman’s howl sounds like a human screaming. The Dogman only appears every ten years, so that each year ends in a seven. IE: 1987, 1997, 2007, but a couple of accounts occur in years ending in six.
In Paris, Michigan, in 1937, a man named Robert Fortney was attacked by five wild dogs and he told people that one of them walked on two legs. In the 1950s the creature was again seen in Allegan County. In 1967 the Dogman was seen in Manistee and at Cross Village. An Army recruit in 1986 saw a creature out in the dark, eyes glowing in the reflective sheen of his headlights. Startled, the creature leapt over the two-lane road in a single bound.
The story of the Dogman became extremely popular in 1987 when a DJ recorded a song about him.
The song is pretty creepy. It has what sounds like a synthesizer playing with a man speaking over it. The man, Steve Cook, the DJ I mentioned earlier, tells stories of the Dogman sightings and encounters as the keyboard plays. In the weeks after the song played over the radio, it became the most requested song at the station. People began contacting Steven with reports of sightings of the Dogman.
DJ Steve made cassettes of the song and gave the proceeds to an animal shelter. Later verses were added to the song after an unknown canine broke into a cabin in Luther, MI. DJ Steven recorded the song again with a mandolin playing in the background, instead of the synthesizer.
In 2006, a man was driving down a road in Troy, MI when he saw what he described as a great big dog standing up in the middle of the road. He swerved to avoid the animal and ended up rolling the car into a ditch, flipping the can onto its side. OnStar recorded the conversation after the man called for help and he described what he saw. As the man was speaking to the representative, you could hear some weird animal sounds and the man’s passenger starts screaming.
In 2011 a film was released called “Dogman” regarding the creature. It must have done well enough because a second movie was made called “Dogman 2: The Wrath of the Litter”. They are both available on Amazon if you want to watch them.
Witch of Pere Cheney (pair-a-shane-e)
The municipality of Pere Cheney was once a small lumber town officially established in 1873, in the northern portion of the lower peninsula of MI. It was named after founder George Cheney, who owned the local sawmill, crucial for a lumber town. Pere (pronounced pear) Cheney would be father Cheney in French, but as Americans, we say pair-a-shane-e.
In the mid-1870s the population was around 1,500 people. Like most Michigan towns, it was built around a railroad stop. Michigan Central Railroad had been the one to provide George Cheney with a land grant. It also had a hotel, grocery store, post office, and doctor.
Diphtheria or cholera wiped out a large portion of the city in 1893, with the town’s children being particularly affected. Unfortunately, another wave of deadly illness returned to the city in 1897. There are undocumented stories of citizens of nearby towns trying to burn down Pere Cheney to stop the disease from reaching them. That story is said to be supported by the fact that the town is covered in a strange mossy grass where no other vegetation grows.
The timber industry died down in the area and the town couldn’t support itself. Two plagues also didn’t help the situation. By 1901, only 25 residents remained living in the town. In 1917 there were 18 people still living in Pere Cheney.
It was declared a ghost town in 1918, with the land being sold off in a public auction. One of the remaining town’s foundations is a cemetery containing at least 90 graves. Most of the headstones have been damaged or destroyed.
The abandoned town of Pere Cheney is said to be haunted by a witch, as well as other supernatural entities and curses.
Some opinions are that it was local natives that caused the downfall of the town. It is said that the land granted to George Cheney by the railroad, rightfully belonged to the Potawatomi tribe. When they were forced to give up their land, the tribe cursed the town and all who lived there.
Other people say that it was a witch that caused the residents to die and the town to fail. The witch was said to be a young woman who was chased out of town and forced to live in the surrounding woods. The woman bore a child out of wedlock, and the infant became ill without having proper shelter from the cold weather. When her child died of exposure, the witch placed a curse upon Pere Cheney, causing the town’s children to die of diphtheria/cholera epidemic. The townsfolk were to have said to have caught the woman and they killed her by hanging her from a tree inside the cemetery. They then burned her body and buried the ashes beneath the tree.
Why did they get mad at the woman for getting pregnant out of wedlock? She didn’t get pregnant by herself? What about him?
In modern times, people who visit the ghost town have been known to see handprints of children on their car windows after they return from exploring the area. There have been sightings of the witch herself. Children can be heard laughing in the trees. Ghostly figures are seen around the abandoned site as well as floating lights being seen in the trees.
Since the Kings don’t camp, Jenn doesn’t understand why someone would have wanted to buy land from an abandoned town.
Ali then f’s up the ending of the podcast. Like, twice at least. Jenn corrects her… and laughs, but Ali is so out of it she still has no clue. The English language is beyond her today.