The Ghost of Pere Cheney
Dennes and Haley had been married for several months but had not taken a honeymoon. They were both lovers of Halloween and decided to wait until then to take their honeymoon to the northern reaches of Michigan. They agreed that going someplace haunted would be the best honeymoon. After a few months of anxiously waiting, the time had arrived. They were both giddy as a child in a candy store. Little did they know, what was in store for them?
Arriving in Grayling at the bed and breakfast where they had reservations, the young couple took their belongings into their room and settled in for their week long honeymoon. Haley had done some research before they got married on a place called Pere Cheney. It was an old lumber town that sat outside of Grayling. Deciding to ask the mistress of the bed and breakfast about Pere Cheney, they both went downstairs to dinner.
At the table sat three other couples aside from themselves. The mistress of the house was Mary. When they arrived Mary was busy placing food on the table so that her guests could serve themselves. Taking their places at one end of the table, Dennes and Haley introduced themselves as did the other couples. Once Mary joined them, she said a prayer over the food and guests and then everyone dug in. It all looked wonderful and tasted fantastic.
During dessert, Haley turned to Mary and said, “Do you mind if I as a few questions about this area?” “Why, of course not young lady. I hope to be able to help you any way I can,” replied Mary. “This is our honeymoon and we decided that we would like to visit some places that are said to be haunted. I looked on the internet and found a place near here called Pere Cheney. Can you tell us where we might find this place? I did not see any signs for the place in town.” Mary looked at her and then shifted her eyes away and down towards the floor. “Haley is your name right,” she asked? Haley nodded and Mary said, “There’s not much to tell about Pere Cheney. It is located a few miles north of town and finding it will be very difficult. The only road leading there is a rutted out dirt road that may easily damage your car if you try to take it down there. There is a deserted town there and a cemetery that has been damaged over the years by disrespectful people. There are rumors of ghost sightings but I don’t believe it. It is best to avoid the area since it is so difficult to get to.” Haley looked at the mistress of the house and said, “Well, that is why we came here though. We love checking out haunted places and hope one day to be able to actually see a ghost. Thank you for your assistance ma’am. We will be heading off to bed now.”
Heading to their room, Haley said to Dennes, “did you get the feeling that the mistress was not enthusiastic about us trying to find Pere Cheney? She seemed reluctant a bit to me.” “Well,” he said, “I wouldn’t worry too much about what she said. We are here to explore a place that might be haunted and to enjoy our honeymoon. Let’s not worry about what others think of us.” Smiling, he bent his head and kissed her.
Haley was walking through the woods. She and Dennes were holding hands as they walked. Up ahead she could see a cemetery. Arriving at the gate, she dropped Dennes’ hand and opened the old and rusty entrance to the cemetery. She could feel the energy in the air, she was excited to explore this very old place. Walking through the gate, she walked up to the first headstone. The name on the headstone was not familiar to her. Moving on, she came to a plot with the last name of Ashby. Startled, she turned and realized that Dennes was gone. She remembered holding his hand as they walked the path to this cemetery but then had not paid any attention to where he had gone after she dropped his hand. Looking around the cemetery, she did not see her husband anywhere. Calling out to him, she received no answer. Turning back around, she took note that the dates on the headstone were December 21, 1899 to June 2, 1916. The first name on the headstone was Anna. Anna Ashby. She had been a very young 16 years old when she had died. Turning around to leave she was startled to see Dennes there behind her. She did not hear him approach at all. Wondering about this she asked, “Where have you been Dennes? I wanted to show you this headstone. It has your family name on it. Are you perhaps related to this young girl?” Looking down at the headstone Dennes said, “Why yes that is the family name but I certainly don’t remember anyone in the family ever talking about anyone buried here.” As they turned to leave, they both heard a howling coming from the trees behind the cemetery. Turning to look, Haley noticed a shadow among the trees. Trying to see what was there, she did notice it was an animal of some sort. Suddenly, the animal jumped out at them and Haley let out a blood curdling scream.
Sitting bolt upright screaming, Dennes leaped out of a sound sleep. “What’s wrong Haley? Why are you screaming?” Haley opened her eyes and started whimpering. Dennes sat next to her and wrapped his arms around her. “What is it baby? Tell me.” Shaking like a leaf, Haley could not talk right away. After several minutes of Dennes holding her she finally calmed enough to tell him about her dream. Listening to her story, Dennes said, “Not to worry baby, I am here and it was only a bad dream. All will be fine.” Laying back down again, Dennes fell asleep nearly immediately. Haley was not so fortunate. For some reason, the dream had felt too real for her. Now she was not sure if she wanted to see Pere Cheney at all.
The next day, after breakfast, Dennes and Haley went into the downtown area of Grayling. Haley was still shaken from her dream the night before and wanted to do more research on Pere Cheney before they attempted to find it. Stopping at a library, they went through the card catalogue to see what more they could find. Looking through several small books, they were unable to find much on the possible haunting of the place. Leaving there, next they went to the local newspaper. Searching through their files, they found some information about the ceremony and who was buried there, they could find nothing on the Ashby family.
It was now early afternoon and Dennes wanted to go in search of Pere Cheney. Haley was not so sure but agreed to go. Driving into a gas station, Dennes went in to get directions to Pere Cheney. Coming back out, he hopped in and started driving out of town. Taking the main road out, he drove about 5 miles before turning onto a dirt road. Heading down the road, he found the track that he believed would lead to the old town and cemetery. It was very narrow and their car would not fit through. Parking, they got out and started walking down the dirt track. Holding hands together, this was starting to remind Haley of her dream. This all looked the same, right down to the scenery. Soon they came to the cemetery and there was the rusted out gate of Haley’s dream. Looking at Dennes, she said, “Now, I want you to be sure and stay with me. This looks exactly like my dream from last night. Don’t let go of me, okay?” Shaking his head at her, he said, “Don’t worry baby, I am with you all the way.”
Walking through the gate, they both started looking for a headstone with Dennes’ family name on it. Walking through what they thought was the entire cemetery, there was nothing with his last name on it. Sighing with relief, they turned to leave and that’s when they heard the growl from behind. It had come from the same place that Haley had her dream. Turning around they both looked and saw what appeared to be a wolf in the trees. It was growling loud now. Dennes, eyes set on the wolf, said to Haley, “Don’t move. Maybe if we stay here it will leave and not bother us.” Haley heaved a huge sigh and said, “He’s not going to leave us alone. He will attack us and soon.” No sooner did she finish saying it than the wolf started pacing slowly toward them. “Okay,” he said, “Let’s back away slowly. No sudden moves.” As soon as they started to move, the wolf growled and bared its teeth to them. “Okay, get ready to run. I will keep your hand in mine but you need to keep up. We might be able to get to the gate before it reaches us. Ready?” She nodded and he grabbed her hand and they both ran.
Racing through the cemetery, it was like running an obstacle course. Weaving around headstones and trees. Trying not to step on the graves. Having a hard time keeping up with Dennes, Haley tripped over a tree root and fell, taking Dennes with her to the ground. She could hear the wolf growl as she hit the ground and thought this was it for her and Dennes. Turning around, she expected to see the animal coming at them ready to tear them apart. That’s not what she saw when she turned. Instead, the wolf was laying on the ground, its head turned up. Looking over, she saw what appeared to be a ghost. The ghost was of a young girl and she was bending down, smiling at the wolf. The wolf never moved or threatened them again. Finally, after several minutes of being petted, the wolf got up and walked away. The young girl came to us and said, “Hello, my name is Anna Ashby. My grave is over to the right from here. It is well hidden from the main cemetery. I am the guardian of this cemetery and have a way with the occasional animal that comes through here. May I ask what you two are doing here?
Dennes and Haley could not believe their eyes or ears. Dennes wondered how she knew who he was. Although they were firm believers in the paranormal world, they had never seen an apparition before let alone have one speak to them. If that was not shock enough, Dennes could hardly believe that this young girl was a family member of his from long ago. Getting up from where they had fallen, Dennes looked at the young girl and was fascinated that he could see right through her. Finally Dennes and Haley got over their shock and explained their fascination with the paranormal. Haley told her about the dream she had the night before as well. Anna then said, “You two are not the first to have had dreams of this place. There are many spirits here who would do you harm. It may have been a spirit that inhabited the wolf that came after you. You should leave this place and never return. It is not safe.”
Dennes spoke up then and said, “Anna, thank you for saving us. We might have been that wolf’s dinner if you did not happen along.” Anna replied, “You are welcome Dennes but you should leave now before it gets dark out here. You will never find your way back in the dark. It is not safe to be here after dark.” Nodding their agreement, Dennes and Haley turned and started to walk away. Dennes could not resist though and turned to look back at the cemetery but Anna was gone.
Arriving back at the bed and breakfast, Dennes and Haley decided not to go back to the town that had been deserted long ago. They felt like they had disturbed those in eternal sleep today and did not want to do that again. In the end they went back home, never to go back to Pere Cheney. They would however visit other places that were said to be haunted but never again did they see what appeared to them in Pere Cheney.