Upon reflection of my previous post, Solidifying a Storyline, I realized that the story I was telling was strangely familiar. I then remembered an old legend we were told growing up in Cheboygan, Michigan. Yes, this is where Jake, Drew, Patrick, Dan, and I come from.
The legend tells of a strange man who lived outside of town, deep in the woods. His name was Henry Joseph Heike. One night, Jesus spoke to him in a dream, and told him to kill his family. (Sounding familiar?) As the story goes, he hacked his wife up into pieces and threw her into the well. He then buried his children, and constructed a large tombstone nearby in their honor.
The legend is only a story, but the house, well, and monument do exist. I have seen them with my own eyes. It was said that every Halloween at midnight, you could hear his wife screaming from the well. Naturally, we had to check this out as soon as we heard about it.
The road to Heike’s tomb is far beyond the city limits, and winds down 2 miles of dirt through some of the creepiest woods I’ve ever known.
Eventually you find yourself in a small clearing where a house once stood. In what would have been the back yard, a large stone monument stands, slowly deteriorating. To take a stone from it meant to be cursed. Still, local teenagers frequently take pieces of it as trophies. (I admit to being one such perpetrator…no curses though …yet)
In the front yard, a walk away from the house, lies the well. Engraved along the outer rim is “H.J. Heike 1951,” proof that at the very least, the man did exist. As 7th graders, we waited there on Halloween until midnight but, alas, we heard no scream.
It is clear that I have been inspired by this Northern Michigan legend, and rather than steer away from it, I think I’ll embrace it. Fortunately, we really don’t have to change much! Though it does mean that the wife will now get some extra special treatment from her loving husband, Abram. I think we need at least one more character though. I’ll get on that…