Oral Tradition: Before television was invented our ancestors would sit around and tell scary ghost stories.
None of these stories are based on blood and gore but on the supernatural. The stories play with the mind. The method goes way beyond mutilating body parts, blood spattering, or guts. We believe in haunting, animal spirits, predictions, and visits from the dead. The deterioration of one's mental state has proven to be more devastating to a person than the physical realm. See for yourself. Enter at your own risk!!! We can't be responsible for the "aftermath." Your ancestors had to endure much. Everything written here was done for self-protection.
Dye Cemetery is located in Remus on Arthur Road in Mecosta County. If you have ever driven down Arthur Road, you know the road winds around and around through pine trees and swamps. Before television was invented our ancestors would sit around and tell scary ghost stories. None of these stories were based on blood and gore but on the supernatural. The stories play with the mind. We believe in haunting, animal spirits, predictions, and visits from the dead. The deterioration of one's mental state has proven to be more devastating to a person than the physical realm. See for yourself. Enter at your own risk!!! We can't be responsible for the "aftermath." Your ancestors had to endure much. Everything written here was done for self-protection.
UNCLE JOHN TODD LIVED NEAR DYE CEMETERY
Dye Cemetery is located in Remus on Arthur Road in Mecosta County. If you have ever driven down Arthur Road, you know the road winds around and around through pine trees and swamps. One night in November of 1932, Uncle John and Uncle Lou walked to John's farm on Arthur Road between Mecosta and Remus. As their journey ensued on that late fall evening, the skyline turned from amber to a blackened firmament. Crystallized snowflake formations landed and melted on their faces as the moonlight shadows of the night walked and lurked in front of them swaying like suspended shanks tugging at the electric wires suspended in the sky by tall poles.
They turned their backs against the snow-driven wind and waited for the wind gusts to pass them. Their eyes squinted as the wind blew, and shadow reflections illuminated from the moonlight in the sky. The shadows looked 20 feet tall against the road. It was then they noticed a pair of glassy eyes bobbing along like 4th of July sparklers in the distance. Accompanying the glowing stars in the sky were glowing eyes in the distance coming straight toward them.
The eyes followed them looking out, around, and down. When the eyes got closer, they realized it was a vicious dog. Lou's eyes enlarged with unrelenting fear while the brothers made their way down the road. They were afraid to make a sound and couldn't stop their legs and arms from going limp with fear. All they could hear were their hearts pounding and the pieces of gravel on the road scattering with each quiet, small, staggered step they made. The shadowy shape of a growling dog with glassy eyes moved in at a pace faster than they could walk or pretended to walk.
Then a reflective shadow alerted them to the approximate surroundings of the beast dog. They turned quickly, and the dog charged. The last thing Lou saw was a circle of dog teeth through a foaming, growling mouth as he picked up the pace to getaway. John kicked the dog, but his foot went straight through its dog body. The dog kept doubling and then tripling in size every time he kicked. On the third kick, the dog disappeared before their very eyes.
No longer being able to hold themselves still, they started running for their lives. They knew the dog was probably guarding its master who was out for a walk after being a confined corpse inside a pine box in Dye Cemetery.
Dye Cemetery is where my great-grandparents are buried. Stephen Todd was a slave. Dye Cemetery is also the burial grown of renowned witches who lived in the town of Remus where the spirits of its dead still guard the burial ground. In Dye Cemetery when flowers are planted, the next day the flowers disappear. The flowers sink in the graves below ground. This may happen because the graves are old and hollow. When you walk through the cemetery and look at the rows of aligned headstones, it is easy to imagine something grabbing at your legs. All night you can hear wild laughing.
About 10 years ago a man who lived next door to Dye Cemetery decided he was going to drive through the cemetery and mow down the headstones. On his way home from the Blinking Light Bar in Mecosta one Saturday night after having too many brews, he entered the cemetery and knocked down some of the headstones with his automobile. When he got home, his house was on fire. The fire continued to burn after destroying the man's house. The fire burned around the cemetery right up to the fence surrounding it, but the flames stopped and did not enter Dye Cemetery. Our ancestors commune with the Creator and with nature just as they commune with us.
One night Uncle Dick was walking home from Mecosta, Michigan. He took a shortcut through Dye Cemetery to get to his house. As he walked through the cemetery, a woman appeared in front of him. Already tired from working all day, the woman incensed him for just appearing out of no place. He was more mad than scared. He hollered, "Bitch, get out of my way!" The woman slapped him across the face and knocked him down to the ground. Now fearful, he got up and started running. When telling us about the story, he made sure to say that he wore the handprints on his face for two weeks after the incident in Dye Cemetery.
As you can see, the cemetery has quite a reputation. Dye Lake, located next to the cemetery, has no bottom because of all of the springs feeding the lake. Therefore, anybody who went swimming was pulled under by the swift current. Swimming in the lake was banned long ago. Neither the lake nor the cemetery is maintained by the township and/or county. Both are overgrown, and the cemetery is crumbling.
My forefather's spirits are not at rest. They ran for their freedom as slaves, and the spirits continue to live among us as spirit guides.
Five years ago I was awakened during the night by a woman calling, "Marsha, this is Emma." "Norma needs your help." "Help her!" The next morning I was telling my daughter about the dream. A few hours later Aunt Norma's car appeared in our driveway. When we went outside to the car, she was gasping for air: "Marsha," "Marsha," "I can't breathe." "Take me to the hospital." I took Aunt Norma to the emergency room at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Michigan, where she was diagnosed with "Congestive Heart Failure." I realized later that the woman named Emma who was calling me in my sleep was Grandma Emma Norman-Todd, who died 30 years ago. Grandma Todd was trying to get help for her ailing daughter.
Another incident happened that has led me to believe that Grandma Todd is my spiritual guide. It was late, and we were all asleep. Grandma Todd came to me about 2 a.m. and said, "Marsha get up." "GET UP NOW and come with me." I got up out of bed and followed her into the living room. Just as I got to the middle of the living room, the front door flew open. I ran towards the door and tried to slam it, but a man was entering our house. I hollered, "get out of this house" and then fainted. My children heard the screams. When I woke up, two policemen were there. We believe that Grandma Todd was protecting us from some harmful entity that came into the house and saved our lives.
There were four boys and one girl born to the parents of William Todd and Emma Norman-Todd. The boys' names were Durward, Virgil, Marshall, and Zane. They were named after western characters from Zane Grey's Comic Books. Aunt Norma was Colored when I first remembered her as a small child, and she is still Colored. She never used the terms Negro, Black, or African-American. Aunt Norma was born with a veil on her face. A veil is a thin piece of skin that covers a baby's face when it is born. When a person is born with a veil on their face, they are able to see things or are very psyche about people and the world around them. They have premonitions about people's death or are able to read the future. When you were born with a veil over your face, and the veil is removed from the forehead down, you are able to see things. When the veil is removed from the chin up, you can't see anything. When a relative is going to die, they call a relative in their sleep. If you answer them, they die. If you don't answer, they live. Grandma Todd kept Aunt Norma's veil in the family Bible. When Aunt Norma was well, it stayed brittle and hard, and when she was sick, it turned moist and very soft. That is how Grandma determined if Aunt Norma was well.
Grandpa Todd said, "My Mother and Father believed in protecting themselves from people who were out to hurt them." "Grandma said, "The neighbor put a "hex" on Durward when he was a baby." "One day a little skinny mouse ran under Durward's bed, and after that, he became very ill." "He became as skinny as the mouse that had run under his bed." Grandma and Grandpa knew they had to reverse the spell to make Durward well again. A few days later a windmill blade fell on a person's neck they had suspected put the hex on Duward. They noticed this person had removed a personal item from Duward's crib just a few months before.
We were all laughing (hearty laughs) on our way to the Lett Settlement Reunion in Zanesville, Ohio on July 15, 2005, and catching up on the happenings in Remus and Mecosta, MI. Ada Lett-Todd started the conversation by telling us what happened at Wheatland Cemetery just the week before. She and her husband Bike Todd went to Wheatland to put flowers on a grave. As they cleared the area to lay the flowers, Reverend Mortimer's grave, which was next door to where they were working, slid wide open. Was it 200 years of sediment shifting or was the Reverend trying to tell them something? They heard the slab S-L-I-D-E back. It opened far enough so they could see to the bottom of the grave. Reverend Mortimer was a Civil War Veteran in the 109th Infantry from Michigan whose grave was fresh 200 years before. Exit left! "Rock of Ages Cleft for Me!" They both ran to the car and drove away never looking back.
It was July 23, 2005, and 9 years to the exact date of Marshall Todd's untimely death. Diana Todd-Green was laying on the sofa watching a movie with her grandchildren who sat on the floor in front of the television. As the clock struck 8:15 p.m., they heard the front door open and distinctive footsteps walking across the kitchen. It was the clacking of boots. Tyler said, "Grandma, who is coming in?" "Diana said, "I don't know, but let's go and see. When they got to the front door, it was still locked. At that point, they both thought it was something they heard from the movie on TV. In Detroit, Michigan, the same evening Marsha Todd-Stewart was sitting in the kitchen with her grandchildren. All of a sudden her grandson Houssam hollered, "Grandma, there is a shadow in that room." Marsha said, "What shadow?" Houssam said, "There is a shadow man with boots walking." She went into the room and turned on the light to prove to him there wasn't anybody there. Her daughter Jillian said, "Grandpa always wore boots." Fifteen minutes later Houssam jumped up again. "Grandma, I saw him again." Children can see things that adults cannot sometimes see. At that point, Jillian gathered her children and left. The children kept hollering, "Grandma, Grandma, come with us to our house so the man doesn't get you." About 4 a.m. the next morning, Marsha was awakened by clacking boots walking across the room with a voice that said, "Your visitor is here!"
The spirits continue to live among us as guides. This story should have been told first. Judy Jackson-Caldwell showed up at Marsha Todd's house in July 2003 with four of her mother's picture albums. Marguerite Berry-Jackson was quite a collector of pictures and newspaper articles. She said, "Marsha, take these pictures up north." "Maybe somebody up there will appreciate them." "I don't know what to do with this stuff." As I opened the books, I realized she had possession of a treasure. It was the whole history of Mecosta, Isabella, and Montcalm Counties in picture and newspaper form. She had newspaper articles dating to the early 1940s about the Old Settlers' Reunion and various family pictures dating to the 1800s. Her hobby must have been restoring and recopying photos. When I opened the first book, a voice said, "Marsha, do something with the pictures and history." "The documentation has been made." "Share it with everybody else." It was then I realized that everything is in divine order!!! The spirits continue to live among us as spirit guides.
Morris Dye Family (1870) - Dye Family buried in Dye Cemetery
Cynthia, Morris, Dye Mother and Father
Children: Arthur, Ralph, William, Jacob, Amos, Mary Jane, Anna Lee, Susan, John, Morris & Ray
Picture Courtesy of Hugh Dye
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