Charles Haynes' Spirit is confirmed missing. I will recarve and replace soon. All other boxes are in great shape. Be aware that there are downed trees blocking the trail so you may have to climb around.
This series is guaranteed fun for the whole family. Read about the history, then scroll down for the clues. Wear hiking boots or tennis shoes. (Flip-flops and sandals are hazardous for this trip.) Bring your camera also!!!!
Grand Ledge is the ONLY place in the WHOLE world that bears this name, and was originally referred to as ”Big Rocks” by the Native tribes living in the area at the time before the establishment of white settlers. It is located west of Lansing, in Eaton County, at the junction of M-43 and M-100. It gets its name from the sandstone rock outcroppings found along the banks of the Grand River. Besides the amazing ledges, Grand Ledge was also home to the Seven Islands Resort and the Grand Ledge Spiritualist Camp Association.
At one time, Grand Ledge was the most visited tourist destination in Michigan, second only to Petoskey, known for its fabulous ledges, mineral springs, and the Seven Islands Resort, which was located on seven islands in the Grand River. Legend has it that the seven islands at Big Rocks were formed when a Native American mother threw her seven sons into the river rather have them captured by a rival tribe. In the place of each son an island appeared.
Eventually, a resort by the name of the Seven Islands Resort sprang up on these islands and was extremely popular during its day. The first island hosted an animal park with bears and deer. The second island was the centerpiece for the resort, with a large Victorian hotel, picnic area, fountain, and a peculiar round building dubbed “Mudge’s Folly”. It’s builder, J.S. Mudge, envisioned a mechanical tower with a revolving verandah. However, a devastating 1893 flood damaged the structure and it never came to be. The second and third islands were joined by a causeway and hosted a large pavilion, ballroom, theater, and casino. These were also damaged in the 1893 flood. In addition, these islands had a carousel and bandstand. The fourth, fifth, and sixth islands remained wild. The seventh island became a favorite picnic spot by boaters.
The Seven Islands Resort also hosted a roller coaster, steamboat rides, rowboat rentals, mineral baths, and nine hotels. The Pere Marquette Railroad offered excursion rates to the Seven Islands Resort, and a glorious railroad trestle bridge, which is still used, spans the river above the ledges. The Seven Islands Resort was THE place to be in Grand Ledge in the late 1800’s and helped create other “accommodations” in the community, most scandalously the brothels that lined North Bridge street, although the resort was never responsible for these. With the advent of the automobile, the Seven Islands Resort lost popularity and fell into disrepair. Subsequent floods and neglect soon took their toll and the resort disappeared into memories past.
In addition, Grand Ledge was home to a Spiritualist camp, known as the Grand Ledge Spiritualist Camp Association, and housed in a large pavilion near Sandstone Creek west of downtown along the Grand River. Although the Spiritualist camp no longer exists in Grand Ledge, the building remains. It can be found in Fitzgerald Park and is now the Ledges Playhouse. Over the course of time, this large structure also served as a factory and a roller rink.
Spiritualism was born in upstate New York in the 1840’s, largely in part to the Fox sisters, namely Margaretta (Margaret) and Kate, who “discovered” mysterious phenomena in their house. As the story goes, when the girls were 11 and 13, they communicated with a murdered peddler by the name of Charles Haynes and discovered that he was buried in their cellar. Another sister, Leah, was also involved in this “movement”, and the sisters became famous for their clairvoyant powers of communication with the dead, namely by holding séances. Thus, Spiritualism was born and was immensely popular from the 1840’s through the 1920’s. Seances were also conducted at the Spiritualist Camp in Grand Ledge and were one of the “extras” of a Seven Islands Resort visit. Eventually, the Fox sisters were discovered to be frauds with their “rappings” and “knocking” during séances (or were they?).
WARNING! Although beautiful, the ledges do pose a safety hazard. Please keep small children close by! ALSO, please rehide the boxes well! Don’t just replace the boxes out in the open. Cover with sticks/leaves and watch for onlookers so as not to give the locations away. Have fun and please email us about your experience. We would LOVE to hear from you! Enjoy!
Were the Fox sisters fakes? There is only one way to find out, and it involves the ghost of Charles Haynes. Legend has it that his murdered spirit has been seen lurking along the ledges, seeking his murderer and reeking havoc on the citizens of Grand Ledge. Only you can stop him and release his soul to peace, but it requires you to step back into time. Go to Fitzgerald park, find the old Spiritualist Camp building, pick up a park map, and descend the steps to the river on the Ledges Trail. Your quest begins here, but you must act quickly!
Cross the bridge over the mouth of Sandstone Creek and marvel at the ledges. Which way to go? Go straight upstream the Grand and stand on the nine planked “dock”. Ahoy there, is Popeye your captain for your steamboat ride? Look above him for about the number of “planked” steps to get on the STEAMBOAT. (Box #1) All aboard!
Continue on the path until you find #8 at the trestle. Wow! That is a long ways up! Alas, do not tread past the bridge. Your boat stops here. You must now climb to the top and follow a trail “right” along the ledge. Keep right when choices prevail to a rock in the path between two large oaks. About thirty paces farther is a tree blocking your way. Stop here, for J.S. Mudge has a secret for you. Apparently, he knows of Mr. Haynes and is hiding out. Go find him by looking straight west (and don’t let the river fool you…use your compass) to two trees with large scars near their bases on the left side of the trail. MUDGE’S FOLLY (box #2) hides at the base of the more distinguished citizen.
While here, Mr. Mudge reveals that he has spotted the Fox sisters and that notorious Mr. Haynes. They are trying to stop him. “Find the sisters to stop Haynes,” he says. “Go back to the edge and walk to the “point”. Once here, climb down and go left along the Sandstone Creek Trail. Soon you shall encounter and Indian Chief. He tells you that he has seen Kate about 10 “white man hops” away locked away in a wooden cave. Look for the “eye” to find her inside. Finally, you have found KATE FOX (Box #3).
“Is Charles for real?” you ask her. Kate replies yes, and relays that her sisters and her are not fakes! “Hurry,” she says, “We must stop him. My sisters are looking for him right now, but I don’t know where they are!” Kate then tells you how Leah continued on the trail and left a message for her in case she doesn’t escape Mr. Hayne’s spirit. She says to continue on through the valley of hemlocks to another Indian chief. This chief tells you to keep going past the PW face, past the etched in heart, past the CHRIS PHIL head, past the cracked heart near the hat headed lady to a crooked maple on the path above the cave. “Wait,” says the lady. “Look for the “ripped” maple to the right. Leah awaits in the bent maple cave to the left on the path heading up.” LEAH FOX (Box #4)
Breathlessly, Leah relates that Haynes tied her up and is after Margaretta. “We must stop him before it’s too late!” Both Kate and Leah know where Margaretta might be. Go back to the bridge to the River Bottom / Baneberry Trail to the concrete remains of a building long gone. Climb the steps to the right and look for a “Y” tree on the path to the right. Walk past to a tree with love’s declarations. Look for the massive oak. Left of this is a downed tree. Split it open in the middle to release Margaretta from Mr. Haynes’ trap.
MARGARETTA FOX (Box #5).
Margaretta quickly tells you how she nearly caught Mr. Haynes only to have been trapped herself. But wait! What are those “knocking” noises? Apparently, Mr. Haynes has escaped to the Robbers Caves that line Sandstone Creek. Go back to the bridge and head where Frisbee throwers play golf. Continue walking to the chained “frolf” victim by the ledge. You know, the one with the DOB of 6/25/07. Look to the creek and you will see another massive hemlock and two large beech stumps, with the remains of one laying towards the creek. They make a triangle. The northernmost point could be where Haynes is. Quick, grab some of those chains to tie him up! CHARLES HAYNES’ SPIRIT (Box #6).
“YOU will never keep me chained for long!” screams Mr. Haynes. “I will escape!”
How will you stop him? What can you do? “Remember” chime the Fox sisters in unison, “The building at the top of the hill and what it was used for. We must perform the séance to send Mr. Haynes back. You must help us. Hurry!” Now, which way to go? Should you go up the ledge or follow the water? (Remember the direction the steamer went?) Go upstream the bubbling creek along the River Bottom Trail. Follow the path along the water’s edge past a huge hemlock and a double tree bridge. A split gray giant lies across the water, blocking your way. Go ten “rappings” back to a double trunked tree downhill from a five trunked giant. Your séance awaits inside the opening behind the rock door. Knock to enter, and help the Fox sisters send Mr. Haynes for a peaceful rest. SÉANCE (Box #7).
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**To find out more about the history of the Seven Islands Resort, the Grand Ledge Spiritualist Camp Association, or the history of Grand Ledge, go to: http://gdledgehistsoc.org
**To find out more about Spiritualism and the Fox sisters, go to the following sites: