Michigan Weird Science: The Menominee Crack

Birch Creek Michigan Crack in Forest

The Menominee Crack, photo courtesy Michigan Tech College of Engineering

Gizmodo reports that back in October of 2010 folks near Birch Creek in Menominee County heard a boom, felt the earth rock, and woke up to find a 360′ crack in the ground:

The first clue was the fact that the split happened at the top of a ridge. A pop-up isn’t a wrenching apart of some deep underground structure. It’s a large piece of ground suddenly pushing upwards, so that the ground above splits over it. The researchers discovered the pop-up by the sophisticated technique of slamming a sledgehammer against a metal ball sitting on the ground. The action caused sound waves to move through the rock beneath—and depending on the formation of the rock, the sound moves at different speeds. In this case, it moved in hugely different ways parallel to the crack, as compared to perpendicular to the crack. This indicated that there was a huge fracture in the limestone underneath the crack.

These sudden fractures occur due to extreme strain in the rock—strain that can be pent up for centuries. It’s more common around quarries, when removal of large pieces of rock can cause the rest to suddenly fracture and pop upwards. Other times, it can occur spontaneously. The Menominee Crack, as its now called, was probably the result of a spontaneous fracture—although the researchers speculate it might have happened due to the removal of a large tree from the area.

Read more at Gizmodo and check Michigan Tech for a detailed explanation of the Menominee Crack and Live Science for more photos. If you want to creep yourself out a little more, check out the probably related Wisconsin mystery booms!

Thanks Michigan Tech’s Engineering College for the photos and for all you do to help unravel the mysteries of Michigan!

If you like stuff like this, there’s plenty more Michigan weirdness on Michigan in Pictures!

Weird Wednesday: Hamlin Lake UFO

Strange Sunset on Hamlin Lake

Strange Sunset, photo by Craig Downing

On the last Wednesday of every month I used to do a “Weird Wednesday” feature in conjunction with Linda Godfrey. She’s still going strong and you can follow her findings at LindaGodfrey.com.

This isn’t one of Linda’s stories, but I thought I’d share it for old times sake. Via the Mutual UFO Network:

I am now age 78 but when I was about 6 or 7 and messing in the dirt with ants on the dirt dead-end road in back of the cottage about 10 miles outside of Ludington, Michigan, I saw a saucer like object flying toward me; it then stopped over Hamlin Lake and after a second, went back the way it came from the other side of Hamlin Lake and on perhaps in the direction of Lake Michigan. It didn’t make any noise and I didn’t see any windows. It just looked like a flying saucer.

The speed was relatively slow and it seemed to stop for a moment over about the middle of the lake there and then reverse course going back in the direction it had come as if to say, “Oh, I’m going in the wrong direction” I don’t know why I recall this event today as if it happened yesterday. I wish I didn’t. I recently saw on T.V. the Lake Michigan triangle between Benton Harbor, Manitowac and Ludington.

You can head over to MUFON for more reports. As to what’s actually happening over to Hamlin Lake, the Sunrays – Crepuscular rays page at Atmospheric Optics explains:

Sun rays, also called crepuscular rays, streaming through gaps in clouds are parallel columns of sunlit air separated by darker cloud shadowed regions. The rays appear to diverge because of perspective effects, like the parallel furrows of freshly ploughed fields or a road wide at your feet yet apparently narrowing with distance. Airborne dust, inorganic salts, organic aerosols, small water droplets and the air molecules themselves scatter the sunlight and make the rays visible.

View Craig’s photo bigger and see more in his Ludington slideshow.

Lots more Michigan weirdness on Michigan in Pictures!

Bigfoot comes to West Branch

"Foggy Forest Dawn" Lower Michigan Winter (FP explore # 9)

“Foggy Forest Dawn” Lower Michigan Winter, photo by John McCormick

Well, Bigfoot Days at least. The Ogema County Voice reports:

World renowned scientist/author Dr. Igor Burtsev from Moscow, Russia, will be the keynote speaker at the West Branch Bigfoot Days conference scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Feb. 6 and 7. Burtsev will have a meet and greet and book signing on Friday from 2-6 p.m. at the Peace Tree Station in downtown West Branch. The conference will be held at the First United Methodist Church, 2490 State Rd.in West Branch and will feature Burtsev along with several other speakers, a townhall meeting, panel discussions and more on Saturday starting at 9 a.m. To register for the conference contact Shelly Schwenkler at 989-329-2110 or email at wbbigfoot@gmail.com.

More at the West Branch Bigfoot Days event on Facebook.

Michigan has logged nearly 200 Bigfoot sightings according to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization. If you want to delve deeper, there’s also the Michigan Bigfoot Information Center, and you can check out an interesting video exploring one possible photograph from the UP on the Animal Planet show Finding Bigfoot.

John was pretty sure Bigfoot haunts these woods. View his photo bigger, see more in his Mystery & Imagination slideshow.

PS: I’d be remiss if I didn’t refer you to my friend Linda’s Weird Michigan website for some Michigan Bigfoot & cryptid tales that will definitely give you a little chill!

Weird Wednesday: South Arm Nessie

South Arm Nessie

South Arm Nessie, photo by Cvx_Wx

Absolute Michigan has been known to hold Weird Wednesdays on the last Wednesday of every month. Our Michigan Sea Monsters post featured two denizens of the deep courtesy Linda Godfrey’s Weird Michigan, the Sea Monster of the Straits and the Lake Leelanau Monster:

The story of an early 20th Century sea monster sighting was sent to The Shadowlands Web site by a reader whose great-grandfather was the witness. The boy was fishing for perch one day in 1910 in the shallows of Lake Leelanau in Leelanau County. The lake had been dammed in the late 1800’s to provide water power for the local mill and to enable logging. The dam also flooded much surrounding area, turning it into swamps and bogs punctuated by dead, standing trees.

On that particular day, the young great-grandfather, William Gauthier, rowed out to a new fishing spot near the town of Lake Leelanau. Looking for good perch habitat, he paddled up close to a tree that he estimated to stand about five feet tall above the water, with a six-inch trunk. He was in about seven feet of water, and after deciding this would be a good place to stop and cast a line, began tying the boat to the tree.

That’s when young William discovered the tree had eyes. They were staring him dead in the face at about four feet above water level. The boy and serpent exchanged a long gaze, then the creature went, “Bloop” into the water. Gauthier said later that the creature’s head passed one end of the boat while the tail was still at the other end, though it was undulating very quickly through the water. The writer noted that Gauthier always admitted to having been thoroughly frightened by his encounter, and that the event caused him to stay off that lake for many years.

The writer added that his great-grandfather came from a prominent area family and was very well-educated, and that he knew others who would admit privately but not publicly that they, too, had seen the creature. No sightings have been reported in recent times, but who knows how many people have believed they were passing by a rotting old cedar when in fact they had just grazed the Leelanau lake monster?

Could the South Arm of Lake Charlevoix hold similar creatures? Check this out big as a beastie and see more in Ed’s My Neighborhood slideshow.

More weird Michigan on Michigan in Pictures!

The Red Dwarf of Detroit and Other Ghostly Tales

2011 March Du Nain Rouge, Detroit, MI

2011 March Du Nain Rouge, Detroit, MI, photo by vanessamiller.

The last Wednesday of every month is a Weird Wednesday on Absolute Michigan, a time for stories of the spooky and strange. Definitely click that link to get your Halloween on, Michigan style, with stories from the Rowdy Ghosts of the Fenton Hotel to The Ghost of Minnie Quay.

Today’s tale is one of our favorites, the story of the Imp of Detroit, the Nain Rouge who some say has plagued the city since its founding over 300 years ago. It begins:

Among all the impish offspring of the Stone God, wizards and witches, that made Detroit feared by the early settlers, none were more dreaded than the Nain Rouge (Red Dwarf), or Demon of the Strait, for it appeared only when there was to be trouble. In that it delighted. It was a shambling, red-faced creature, with a cold, glittering eye and teeth protruding from a grinning mouth. Cadillac, founder of Detroit, having struck at it, presently lost his seigniory and his fortunes. It was seen scampering along the shore on the night before the attack on Bloody Run, when the brook that afterward bore this name turned red with the blood of soldiers. People saw it in the smoky streets when the city was burned in 1805, and on the morning of Hull’s surrender it was found grinning in the fog. It rubbed its bony knuckles expectantly when David Fisher paddled across the strait to see his love, Soulange Gaudet, in the only boat he could find, a wheel-barrow…

Read on for more, including more recent tales like the 1976 sighting by two employees of Detroit Edison of a small “child” climbing a utility pole on March 1st who then leaped from the top of the twenty-foot pole and scurried away. The next day Detroit was buried in one of the worst ice/snowstorms in its history.

Every March, the people of Detroit conduct the Marche Du Nain Rouge, a celebration to drive the Red Dwarf from the city. Vanessa got this shot there – see it bigger and in her 2011 March du nain rouge slideshow.

Seussian Scene, Yooper Style

Untitled, photo by Blondieyooper.

The last Wednesday of every month is a Weird Wednesday on Absolute Michigan. In honor of that, here’s a funny little still life from the UP.

Check it out big as a blueberrishroom and in April’s Dr Seussish File slideshow!

The Ghost of Minnie Quay

Sticks and Stones by Jeff Gaydash

Sticks and Stones, photo by Jeff Gaydash.

November is Shipwreck month on Absolute Michigan, and today we have one of the best Weird Michigan features ever, The Ghost of Minnie Quay, which tells a haunting tale of love and loss from Forester, Michigan.

The last Wednesday of every month is a “Weird Wednesday” on Absolute Michigan, when Linda Godfrey gives you a sample of what’s weird in the Wolverine State. You can listen to Linda’s latest podcasts and report your own strange encounters at weirdmichigan.com, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/lindasgodfrey and also check out her books including Weird Michigan & Strange Michigan.

Jeff took this shot of the remains of the Forester Pier last March in Lake Huron. Check it out bigger in his Great Lakes slideshow.

Safe travels and fair winds!