The Two Strange legends Of Bete Grise (Grey Beast) In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Michigan has hundreds of myths and urban legends that surround the state. many come from Native American stories while others come from some of the first settlers. Here are two that come from the Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. One Native american and the other from French settlers. The name, Bete Grist, pronounced 'bet grey' from the French meaning of Grey Beast. The legends are described in Wikipedia as,
Local legend says that the musical "voice" that emanates from the sand is that of a Native American maid who lost her lover to the Great Lakes and still calls to him from the shore with the aid of visitors who "play" the sand. The sand can be made to "sing" by pressing down with the palm of the hand or "bark" when struck. The sand loses its musical properties when removed from the beach.
It is said that the beach was named due to sightings of a strange gray creature that roamed the area. Another local legend is that when the Native Americans burned off the blueberry bogs next to Bete Gris after the harvest, the smoke rolling across the bay looked like a gray beast.
An old family friend, Ernie LaPointe, was born and raised in Copper Harbor which is just North of Bete Grise. As a kid, Ernie would tell stories of the beasts running through the forest and along the beaches, searching for young people who were out at midnight or were "up to no good". The beast would attack and eat them, according to his story. Looking back now, I think it was just to scare the kids into behaving. Ernie passed in 2002.
The Preserve is in a East facing bay that protects it from strong winds and also helps keep the water warmer then other bodies of water in the area. The waters are almost perfectly clear, as you can see in this video below.
While I cannot confirm that this video comes from Bete Grise, I imagine this is what the sand would sound like.
Have you been to Bete Grise? share with us in the comments.