“The Gray Lady”
Most people mistakenly combine all apparitions under the blanket “ghost” moniker, or laughingly think of the pop culture image of the ghost of librarian Eleanor Twitty, the very first entity the Ghostbusters were spooked by before hightailing it out of a New York library; but there are actually very distinct differences in the appearance and behavior regarding these phenomena.
In proper parapsychological terms an apparition is defined as the projection or manifestation of a quasi-physical entity, the rarest being a full-body apparition.
A specific type of apparition includes the gray lady, often in folklore described as a female ghost who awaits the appearance or return of her long lost lover, child, or other person.
The Liberty Hall Mansion in Kentucky, for instance, is home to the ghost of Margaret Varick, who died of a heart attack in one of Liberty Hall’s upstairs bedrooms and started appearing a few years after her death when the graves of her and several other interred family were all moved. Seen by family members, visitors, and staff, she is described as a kind, calm entity with a small frame and dressed in a gray house dress. She has been known to do some chores and her appearances never frighten or upset anyone on purpose- although on occasion she has annoyed when going about her business in the middle of the night, opening and slamming doors. While she has appeared suddenly in every room of the mansion, her favorite places seem to be her old bedroom and the staircase.
Haunted roads make for fascinating stories but are the most difficult to investigate due to so many contaminating factors, least of which are other cars- something that also makes these locations dangerous.
Here, at home in Macomb County, Michigan, there exists a road infamous for its gray lady.
Morrow Road in Algonac, Michigan, is so popular a story that a movie was filmed about the legend. Interestingly, and perhaps an indication of the validity of the legend, there are widely-differing versions of the story.
In one version, a woman walking along Morrow Road was attacked and raped sometime in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. She became pregnant and left the baby by the bridge where she had been assaulted. A severe snow storm started and she couldn’t stop hearing the cries of the baby and when she went back out to retrieve the baby it was buried in snow and the mother died from exposure.
In another version, the child in later years wandered away from home one night during a snow storm. The mother ran out in search of the child and both never returned, dying from exposure to extreme conditions. Their bodies were never found and now the mother spends her afterlife in search of her lost child.
Whatever version you hear, both tell of the ghostly mother appearing to the random passerby looking for her lost child. She’ll ask people, “Where is my baby?!”
People have claimed to have seen her, been chased in their car by her, and have heard the sounds of a baby crying. Proponents of the story claim that if you park on the road by where the bridge used to be and wait with the car off, a light will appear down the road and if you speed off towards it the light will follow and then mysteriously disappear.
These apparitions appear in all locations and at various times in countless places around the world. That man who smiled at you as you passed by on the street, the woman walking alone at dusk- these may not be of flesh and blood, but in fact images flickering through from across the great divide desperately searching in death for the very same things we all do in life- lost opportunities.
**Author’s Note: Here we are at the end of another year. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I’ve been doing this column since 2009, but what a fun ride it’s been so far. I thank each and every one of you for following along each month as I explore the various aspects of paranormal research. I wish you all a very blessed season and good tidings in the year to come.
© 2012 R. Wolf Baldassarro/Deep Forest Productions