Halloween Rewind: Le Loup Garou

Where Wolves Play by Michael Seabrook

Where Wolves Play by Michael Seabrook

He was beloved by all, and most of all by the children.
For he told them tales of the Loup Garou in the forest.
And of the goblin thai came in the night to water the horses.
And of the White Letiche, the ghost of a child who unchristened
died, and was doomed to haunt unseen the chambers of children.
 ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline

My favorite Halloween book on archive.org’s Internet Book Reader is Legends of Le Détroit by Mary Carolyn Watson Hamlin, illustrated by Miss Isabella Stewart, and published in 1894 in Detroit by Thorndike Nourse. In addition to Ms. Hamlin’s descriptive prose that really sheds light on what life was like for early settlers in the Detroit area through stories that raise your hackles spark a feeling that Michigan is wilder and more wonderful than you may have known.

I featured this story back in 2015, but thought you all would enjoy Le Loup Garou which is a lot longer than usual. I’ve tried to share the highlights of the story, but you really should click that link to read it all! We begin at Grosse Pointe where:

…a trapper named Simonet had settled near there on the margin of the lake.

His young wife had faded away in the early years of their married life, but as if in compensation, had left the little prattler Archange to wean him from his grief and to cheer his loneliness. And the strong, hardy man, with his sunburnt face and brawny arms hardened by toil and exposure, in his yearning love for his child, learned to soften his rough manners and soothe her with the gentle ways of a woman. Anxiously he watched the unfolding of his “pretty flower,” as he called her, and with a solicitude touching in its simple pathos, he would select the softest skin of the bear to keep her feet warm, search for the brightest wings of the bird to adorn her hat. When she grew up he taught her to skin the beaver, muskrat and deer which he brought home, and to stretch them out on the drying frame near the house. He was wont to boast that no one could excel Archange preparing the poisson blanc (whitefish), poisson dore (pickerel), or give that peculiar shade of brown which is in itself an art, to the savory cochon au lait (sucking pig).

She was as light-hearted as the cricket that chirped on the hearth, and her cheery voice could be heard caroling away to the music of her spinning wheel. In the long winter evenings her deft fingers would plait the straw into hats which found a ready sale, and which, added to the sum she gained by her knitted socks and dried corn, enabled her to secure many little articles that her vanity suggested to enhance her charms. For the Canadian girl, in the rude surroundings of her forest home, was as anxious to please and be witch by her toilet as her more favored Parisian sister ; the instincts of the sex still lived in the wilderness. At the corn-huskings and dances on the greensward Archange was the reigning belle, and held her little court of homespun dressed youths fascinated by the magic of her dark eyes, her brunette complexion with its warm glow, her raven tresses and piquante tongue. Many admiring eyes followed her lithe form as she tripped in marvelous rapidity la jig a deux or as she changed into the more graceful, swaying motion of la dance ronde.

Enter the capable young farmer Pierre La Fontaine, whose marriage proposal was happily accepted by Simonet, was building a cabin for his bonnie bride, and apparently driving his fragile canoe along the rippling waters lit up by elfish moonbeams (Ms. Hamlin’s words) as they made wedding plans that included the gift of a red cow from Archange’s god-father. Well…

One evening as Pierre placed Archange on the beach near her home and she lingered, following him with her loving eyes as he swiftly rowed away until he had disappeared and only the faint echo of his Canadian boat song floated towards her, she was startled by a rustling sound near by. Looking up a wild shriek escaped her, for a monster with a wolf’s head and an enormous tail, walking erect as a human being, crossed her path. Quickly the cabin door was thrown open by Simonet, who had been roused by his daughter’s scream. Archange flew into her father’s arms and pointed to the spot where she had seen the monster, but the animal surprised by the light, had fled into the woods. Simonet’s face grew pale as Archange described, as accurately as her fears had allowed her to see, the apparition, and he recognized the dreaded Loup Garou.

Did I mention long?

Simonet worried about the Loup Garou (werewolf), but soon the wedding day arrived:

…Soon after she (Archange) joined Pierre and hand in hand, followed by all the habitants in their holiday attire, they entered the little church of logs hewn square, the interstices chinked in with clay, the roof of overlapping strips of bark. In front of the altar, decorated with flowers arranged by loving hands, they knelt. Father Freshet, who had baptized Pierre and Archange and prepared them for their first communion, now came to unite them in the holy bonds of matrimony. After the ceremony they went to the sacristy and inscribed their names in the registry, then hurried off to Pierre’ s new house, where the festivities were to take place. On the green lawn in front of her new cabin the blushing Archange greeted all her friends. The Seigneur of the neighborhood came to claim the right of premier baiser (first kiss). The refreshments were in abundance and all gave themselves up to the enjoyment of the moment, for the Canadians dearly loved a wedding and kept up its festivities for days.

Whilst the merry making was at its height the dreaded Garou with a rush like the wind sprang into their midst, seized Archange and escaped with her into the forest. All were paralyzed by the sudden, daring deed. But Pierre recovering, started in quick pursuit guided by the despairing cry of Archange, followed by all the men, whilst the women and children said their prayers and gave vent to loud lamentations. Long after the shadows had fallen they returned to report to the anxious, trembling crowd, and their sad, dejected faces spoke of the fruitlessness of their search. The monster had baffled them. But Pierre returned not. He was shortly after found by his friends wandering around and around a swamp, and clutching a piece of white batiste. When questioned as to how he had obtained this clue to Archange, he returned a maniacal stare and with a blood-curdling shriek, would have juimped into the swamp if he had not been held back by his companions, who with sorrowful accents said “La folie du bois.”* He would always return to the same swamp, remaining there for hours gazing vacantly in the weird reflections of its slimy, stagnant waters, until some friend led him home.

At the marriage of his sister, which occurred about a year afterwards, Pierre, always dead to the outside world, seemed to be roused by the preparations. After the ceremony he rushed into the woods as if in pursuit of something. He did not return until nearly sunset when he was seen, with wild eyes, flying hair, his clothes torn as if lay briers, chasing a Loup Garou to the very edge of the lake. All stood petrified by the strange apparition and feared a repetition of Archange’s fate. But the animal, seeing no escape, stood on one of the boulders strewn along the shore and stretched out his arms as if beckoning to some mysterious one. A large catfish was seen to rise on the surface of the water and open its mouth, into which the Loup Garou vanished. To this day no Canadian will eat catfish. The footprint of the wolf is still shown at Grosse Pointe, indelibly impressed on one of the boulders.

As I said, read the story in full and if anyone has a shot of the footprint in the boulder, please send it to me!!

Michael took this back in 2010. If you’d like to see some great shots for the Halloween season, check out his Ghosts gallery on Flickr!

More ghost & spooky stories on Michigan in Pictures!

*La folie du bois (the folly of the woods) alludes to the well- known insane tendency which prompts those lost in the woods to go round in a continuous circle, instead of following a direct path which would lead to a clearing.

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Big Red & Lunar Earthshine

Evening Lunar Earthshine by Kevin

Evening Lunar Earthshine by Kevin

Our friends at EarthSky explain that lunar earthshine happens:

When you look at a crescent moon shortly after sunset or before sunrise, you can sometimes see not only the bright crescent of the moon, but also the rest of the moon as a dark disk. That pale glow on the unlit part of a crescent moon is light reflected from Earth. It’s called earthshine.

To understand earthshine, remember that the moon is globe, just as Earth is, and that the globe of the moon is always half-illuminated by sunlight. When we see a crescent moon in the west after sunset, or in the east before dawn, we’re seeing just a sliver of the moon’s lighted half.

Now think about seeing a full moon from Earth’s surface. Bright moonlight can illuminate an earthly landscape on nights when the moon is full.

Likewise, whenever we see a crescent moon, a nearly full Earth appears in the moon’s night sky. The full Earth illuminates the lunar landscape. And that is earthshine. It’s light from the nearly full Earth shining on the moon.

Read more at EarthSky.

Kevin captured the crescent moon hanging in the western sky over the “Big Red” Lighthouse at Holland State Park. See more in his gallery The Moon on Flickr.

More of and about the moon on Michigan in Pictures!

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Mapping the Moon

Moon Beam & LIghthouse by RJE

Moon Beam & Lighthouse by RJE

Earthsky reports that for the first time, the entire lunar surface has been completely mapped and uniformly classified by scientists from the USGS Astrogeology Science Center, in collaboration with NASA and the Lunar and Planetary Institute. There’s a video below too. They write:

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced the new Unified Geologic Map of the Moon on April 20, 2020. They said it shows the moon’s surface geology, with rock layers and craters charted “in great detail.” The map is a synthesis of six Apollo-era regional geologic maps, updated with data from more recent moon missions.

USGS said it’s designed to serve as “the definitive blueprint” for lunar science and future human missions to the moon, and to be used by the international scientific community, educators and the public at large.

To create the new digital map, scientists used information from six Apollo-era regional maps along with updated information from recent satellite missions to the moon.

The existing historical maps were redrawn to align them with the modern data sets, thus preserving previous observations and interpretations. Along with merging new and old data, USGS researchers also developed a unified description of the stratigraphy, or rock layers, of the moon. This resolved issues from previous maps where rock names, descriptions and ages were sometimes inconsistent.

Head over to Earthsky for more, and if you like astronomy, I really recommend subscribing to their newsletter!

Check out more stunning shots from RJE on Flickr.

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Lights in the Darkness

Detroit lit up in red white and blue to honor medical professionals, first responders, service workers

Detroit lit up in red white and blue by kare hav

Here’s an absolutely stunning photo from yesterday that’s the latest cover for the Michigan in Pictures Facebook page. It shows the city of Detroit from across the Detroit River as it lights up the night in red white and blue to honor medical professionals, first responders & service workers.

They definitely need all our support. The Detroit Metro Times reports that the Covid-19 pandemic is hitting Detroit harder than New York City:

In just the past three days, Detroit’s death toll nearly doubled, reaching 221 on Tuesday. During that period, the city averaged more than 3o deaths a day. And public health officials warn that the worst is yet to come.

Detroit has a rate of 32.9 coronavirus deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 21.2 deaths per 100,000 people in New York City. More than 5,500 Detroit residents have tested positive for COVID-19 — a nearly five-fold increase since March 27. With a severe shortage of testing kits, public health officials believe far many more Detroiters have been infected.

Mayor Mike Duggan has made it a priority to increase the city’s testing capacity. Frustrated by the slow pace of testing, Duggan led the creation of a regional site at the former Michigan State Fairgrounds at Eight Mile and Woodward, where he expects at least 14,000 people will be tested for COVID-19 over the next six weeks. During the first two days, 43% of the people who were tested were positive for the coronavirus. The city is also working with doctors who are willing to see patients who don’t have insurance.

“We’re going to make testing available to every single person in this city who needs [it],” Duggan said Thursday. “It is critical that every single Detroiter have access to this.”

Duggan said the city is now testing 800 people a day.

More than 150 Detroit Police Department employees, including Chief James Craig, have tested positive for COVID-19, and an additional 524 officers and police civilians were under quarantine, as of last week. At least 43 firefighters and medics also have confirmed infections, and more than 75 have been under quarantine.

Read the rest at the Metro Times & see more of Michigan’s largest city in Kare’s Detroit photo album.

Please feel welcome to share photos or info about ways your community is coming together to support medical & essential people in this dark time & please stay safe!!

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2019’s Biggest Supermoon Flies Tonight!

Super Moon Muskegon Michigan, photo by The Shutter Affair

EarthSky, which by the way is a fantastic website for anyone who wants to get more out of the night sky that’s in great need of your support, has this to say about tonight’s supermoon, which will be the largest of 2019:

This year’s February presents the biggest full moon supermoon of 2019. From around the world, the moon will look plenty full to the eye on both February 18 and February 19 as it parades across the nighttime sky. It reaches the crest of its full phase on February 19 for much of the world. What’s a supermoon? It’s a popularized term for what astronomers call a perigean full moon. In other words, it’s a full moon near perigee, or closest to Earth for this month. This February 2019 full moon reaches its exact full phase closer to the time of perigee than any other full moon this year. Hence the year’s closest supermoon.

Will you be able to discern with your eye that this full moon is larger than an ordinary full moon? Experienced observers say they can do it, but – for most of us – the difference is too small for the eye to notice.

…here are other factors that make a supermoon special. For example, if you look outside tonight – assuming your sky is clear – you might be able to discern with your eye that the landscape is more brightly lit than usual by moonlight. Supermoons are substantially brighter than ordinary full moons.

Also, the moon’s gravity affects earthly tides, and a supermoon – full moon closest to Earth – pulls harder on Earth’s oceans than an ordinary full moon. That’s why supermoons create higher-than usual tides, which tend to come a day or two after the full moon.

By the way, that bright star accompanying the February supermoon is none other than Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion.

More at EarthSky & definitely consider helping to support EarthSky at helpsupportearthsky.org!

Julia took this photo of December of 2017 in Muskegon, Michigan. View it bigger, see more in her Lighthouse photo album, and also on her blog!

Much more about the Moon and about supermoons on Michigan in Pictures!

Lunar Eclipse coming January 20th!

October 8, 2014 Lunar Eclipse, photo by David Marvin

On Sunday night we have a chance to see the last total lunar eclipse until May 26, 2021! EarthSky shares information about viewing the lunar eclipse:

On January 20-21, we’ll have the first full moon of 2019, and the first lunar eclipse of 2019 (and this is an eclipse-heavy year, with three solar and two lunar eclipses). It can be viewed from North and South America, Greenland, Iceland, Europe, northern and western Africa, plus the Arctic region of the globe. More details – and eclipse times for North America, plus links for those elsewhere – below.

The eclipse will happen on the night of the year’s first of three straight full supermoons, meaning the moon will be nearly at its closest to Earth for this January, as the eclipse takes place.

The January 20-21 total eclipse of the moon lasts for somewhat more than one hour. It’s preceded and followed by a partial umbral eclipse, each time persisting for over an hour. The whole umbral eclipse from start to finish has a duration of nearly 3 1/3 hours.

Additionally, a penumbral lunar eclipse takes place before and after the umbral lunar eclipse. However, a penumbral lunar eclipse is so faint that many people won’t even notice it while it is happening. In our post, we only give the times of the moon passing through the Earth’s umbra – dark, cone-shaped shadow.

The lunar disk often exhibits a coppery color during a total lunar eclipse. Although the moon is completely immersed in the Earth’s dark shadow, the Earth’s atmosphere refracts (or bends) sunlight and the longer wavelengths of light (red and orange) pass onward to fall on the moon’s face. The dispersed light from all of the world’s sunrises and sunsets softly illuminates the totally eclipsed moon. Actually, if you were on the moon, looking back on Earth, you’d see a total eclipse of the sun.

They note that the partial umbral eclipse begins at (roughly) 10:34 PM with the total eclipse starting at 11:41 PM. The greatest eclipse is at 12:12 AM with the total eclipse ending at 12:43 AM.

David took this photo in October of 2014. Check it out background bigilicious on Flickr and head over to his Marvin’s Gardens blog for more pics from the eclipse & David!

Sunrise, Moonset

A Winter Morning and a Setting Moon, by TP Mann

He writes:

The moon was setting over this snowy hill on this cold crisp morning. Love the lines of the fences crossing and going up over the hill. A Pure Michigan​ winter scene found along the Breezeway.

Check out more from TP and The Breezeway​!

A wink from the Harvest Moon

With A Wink The Full Moon Sets Over Grand Haven, photo by David W Behrens

I watched the full harvest moon set this morning over the Leland Harbor among some clouds, and then saw this photo that David of David W. Behrens Photography shared from Grand Haven, Michigan. Click through to see more pics from David!

The full harvest moon rises tonight at 7:21 PM, so I figured that I would share a bit about the Harvest Moon from a past post on Michigan in Pictures:

EarthSky.org has a nice article about the Harvest Moon that explains that for all its mystique, the Harvest Moon is just an ordinary full moon:

Still, you might think the Harvest Moon looks bigger or brighter or more orange. That’s because the Harvest Moon has such a powerful mystique. Many people look for it shortly after sunset around the time of full moon. After sunset around any full moon, the moon will always be near the horizon. It’ll just have risen. It’s the location of the moon near the horizon that causes the Harvest Moon – or any full moon – to look big and orange in color.

The orange color of a moon near the horizon is a true physical effect. It stems from the fact that – when you look toward the horizon – you are looking through a greater thickness of Earth’s atmosphere than when you gaze up and overhead. The atmosphere scatters blue light – that’s why the sky looks blue. The greater thickness of atmosphere in the direction of a horizon scatters blue light most effectively, but it lets red light pass through to your eyes. So a moon near the horizon takes on a yellow or orange or reddish hue.

…The shorter-than-usual time between moonrises around the full Harvest Moon means no long period of darkness between sunset and moonrise for days in succession. In the days before tractor lights, the lamp of the Harvest Moon helped farmers to gather their crops, despite the diminishing daylight hours. As the sun’s light faded in the west, the moon would soon rise in the east to illuminate the fields throughout the night.

You can read on for more.

September’s Corn Moon is full tonight!

Reflections of the Moon, photo by TP Mann

Space.com’s article on September’s Full Corn Moon says in part:

Look up tonight (Sept. 6) to see the Full Corn Moon glowing in the sky. If you have binoculars or a telescope, you can also see the planet Neptune glowing faintly nearby.

The moon reached its fullest phase early this morning, at 3:02 a.m. EDT (0702 GMT), but it will still appear full to casual observers this evening. Look for it in the southern sky in the constellation of Aquarius, the Water Bearer.

Usually, the full moon in September is known as the Harvest Moon, but this year that name is reserved for October’s full moon. That’s because the Harvest Moon is the full moon that falls closest to the autumnal equinox, which occurs on Sept. 22 this year.

Check out the photo of the full moon over Torch Lake background bigtacular and see more in TP’s Night Shots slideshow.

Lots more about the moon on Michigan in Pictures.

Watching the August 21st solar eclipse in Michigan

The solar eclipse will be visible in Michigan on Monday, Aug 21, 2017 so in the interests of maximal eclipse enjoyment, I’m publishing this special Sunday Michigan in Pictures!

Solar Eclipse May 21st 2012, photo by John Kennedy

The brighter stars and the planets come out. Animals change their behavior. Birds and squirrels nest. Cows return to the barn. Crickets chirp. There is a noticeable drop in both light level and air temperature. It is an eerie feeling. Totality can last for no more than about seven and a half minutes but is usually less than three minutes long.
-National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Tomorrow is the day for the total eclipse, although in Michigan we will see only 70-80% of the sun eclipsed by the moon (less as you move northward) it’s still a rare opportunity. Here’s times for a range of Michigan locations:

NASA’s Eclipse 2017 website is definitely the place to go for all of your eclipse watching & info needs. In addition to the NASA Goddard Instagram feed and an Eclipse 2017 Flickr group where you can share photos from the eclipse with people from all over, there’s…

View the photo background bigtacular and see more in John’s Scenery slideshow.