The Twisted Tale of Ghosts and Insanity at Dudgeon Swamp, Manistee Forest
One of the absolute craziest episodes in the annals of Haunted Michigan tales comes a case of insanity, murder, forgery and incest in the area known as Dudgeon Swamp near White Cloud, a town 46 miles north of Grand Rapids in the Manistee National Forest (SEE PHOTOS BELOW).
It concerns the Dudgeons, a family that was considered dangerously crazy, and the poor guy that married into that family, Romie "Doc" Hodell.
In 1921, 20-year-old Meda "Meady" Dudgeon married Romie "Doc" Hodell....and not long afterward, Meady gave birth to two babies, fathered through incest by her own brothers. As soon as the two babies were born, they were taken to the Dudgeon's barn, clubbed to death and buried.
In February 1922, Romie's father David (Meady's father-in-law) was murdered by Meady. During an autopsy in September, it was later discovered that David's body contained enough strychnine to kill a dozen men.
In May 1922, Meady also put strychnine in her husband Romie's coffee; he was slow in dying, so she clubbed him with a rolling pin. That wasn't killing him either, so Meady's mother, Alice Dudgeon, took the rolling pin and finished him off. She then told her sons Lee & Herman to take Romie's body and hang him in a neighbor's barn, to make it look like suicide. Then she and Meady proceeded to write fake suicide notes, in an attempt to cover their crime.
(See pics of the Dudgeon house and murder barn on a Facebook page here.)
There is so much more to this tale: trials, a lynch mob, numerous confessions, accusations, more deaths, mistrials and appeals.....it all dragged out until the late 1920's, making this tale of madness and murder (regarding the Dudgeon family and the Hodells) go on & on.
You can read the full & complete details of this weird story by CLICKING HERE.
Nowadays, people say they have witnessed and experienced ghosts and floating apparitions, glowing eyes in the dark, strange noises, bodiless voices and hangman's nooses in the swamp trees. Those who are brave enough to drive through that area have experienced trouble with their vehicles and many, many, many more incidents.
In fact, you can read for yourself some of the creepy things that have happened to others who dared to go through Dudgeon Swamp by clicking this link to strangeusa.com.
This is a well-known murder tale in White Cloud - one that many locals respect enough that they do not want to venture on that land. Others typically scoff at such a notion that the land is haunted.
The cemetery is there and yes, you can visit the graves of the Dudgeons and Romie Hodell for yourself. You can see their graves in the photo gallery below as well as site pictures of where the Dudgeon House, barn and lynching tree used to stand.
Have fun...but be careful and cautious.
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