Cloudy is a true ghost story about a haunted creek in Michigan and a young Native American man who told stories warning of a terrible creature that would rise from the murky waters and drag men to their deaths. This is based on a story that appeared in “Myths and Legends of Our Own Land” by Charles M. Skinner.
There was a young Native American man named William Cloud who left his tribe to work with the white men. He got a job as a lumberjack in Alger, Michigan and worked on a log chute at a creek a mile and a half outside the village.
After chopping down some trees, the lumberjacks would load the logs onto a raft and float it down the creek. They stopped at a log chute which had a huge, heavy gate that would hold the logs back until it was time to send them through. The work was tough but he was glad to earn a decent wage.
The other lumberjacks called him “Cloudy” and he was a quiet fellow. The only time he ever spoke was when they asked him to tell them scary Indian legends and ghost stories. One story that Cloudy often told was about a ghostly wraith that haunted the creek.
“The old ones tell tales of an evil creature that preys on humans,” he would say. “They call it the wraith and they say it lurks in the creek. It has horns like a devil and white scales all over its body. After midnight, when the spirits roam freely, it rises out of the murky waters and waits for a fresh victim. If you stray into its clutches, it will pounce and wrap its long arms around you. Then, with its fearsome claws, it tears you to pieces and pulls you down into the depths of the creek…”
That Spring, the rains were heavy and the creek had swelled to its highest point. It was on a cold April night that the lumberjacks got the order to lower the gate and send the logs through. It was pitch dark outside and the rain was falling in sheets. None of the lumberjacks wanted to venture out in the storm, so they agreed to draw lots to see who would have to do the job.
As it happened, Cloudy drew the short straw. Without a word of complaint, he opened the door and set out into the storm. He made his way silently to the log chute and disappeared into the night.
An hour went by as the men waited in the warmth of the cabin for Cloudy to return. They began to wonder where he was and joked that perhaps the wraith had got him. As time went on, the jokes stopped and the men began to get worried. Eventually, the men decided to go down to the creek and look for him.
They made their way, through the pitch black and the pouring rain with only a lantern to guide their way. Finally, they came to the log chute and one of the men lowered the lantern and peered into the creek’s murky depths.
Suddenly, he cried out. He had spotted something floating in the water. It was the mangled body of Cloudy.
The lumberjacks lifted the gate and used poles to pull Cloudy’s corpse out of the creek. He had been cut to ribbons and his head was only hanging on by a thread.
The next morning, news of the murderous wraith in the creek quickly spread through the lumber camp. The men were all terrified and before long, many were packing their belongings and leaving the camp for good. They buried Cloudy near the creek and put a small marker above his grave. By sundown, the camp was completely deserted.
They say the wraith still lurks in the creek, waiting for another victim to stumble into its clutches. However, it will probably never get its claws on another victim, because according to the legend, the ghost of Cloudy haunts the banks of the creek, appearing to anyone foolish enough to wander near the edge and warning them away with terrible groans and piercing screams.