I was glancing through some legends online and I came across one that particularly disturbed me. In the secluded township of Algoma, Michigan, there is a tale dating back to the middle 1800’s of missing children and a seemingly benign older man…with a horrifying secret.
The town was just in the first phases of being built when many of the children started disappearing. Construction of the town was stopped as the people comforted the ones who had missing children, and formed search parties to locate them. One man who seemed to be the most adamant of all was Elias Friske.
Back in those days of towns just getting settled, people would often take turns preaching the sermons on Sundays. One particular Sunday, Elias was chosen to do the service. He began preaching of demons of Satan being responsible for the missing children. The town decided to search en masse, and asked Elias to watch over the children who remained.
It would be a fatal mistake.
Elias gathered the children in his care and joined them all together with a rope around their waists, so they wouldn’t “get lost”. He began walking them into the woods, telling the townspeople that he was concerned for the children’s well being and the possibility of trauma if they brought back any bodies.
He proceeded to lead the children into the woods. When he wouldn’t let them stop to rest, they became scared…and then the odor hit them. Elias showed them where it was coming from…it was from the pile of decomposing bodies of the children he had killed.
The fear those poor children who were alive and staring death in the face must have felt is overwhelming. He proceeded to kill them, one by one. Knowing he would be punished, he threw the bodies into the Rogue River, right near a bridge that had been constructed there not long before. He then ran deeper into hiding.
When the townspeople returned to find that Elias and the children were gone, their trust in this man turned to suspicion. It didn’t take them long to realize that they had been deceived. Their search led them to the Rogue River and the bridge…and the heartbreaking sight that lay there underneath.
When they caught up with Elias, he swore he had been possessed by the Devil himself..that he had no control over this. He was hung right then and there with the very rope he had used to lead the children to their deaths.
It is now said that some nights the sounds of children crying and screaming can be heard in this area. It is also said that the spirit of Elias himself remains there..and people have spoken of the sensation of someone trying to grab their legs while they are swimming in the river..only to discover that no one is there.
While the murders of the children were avenged…the horror of the crime remains. If this is a true account, (legends often have no more than a grain or two of fact to them) then I could certainly see where the energy from such a terrible event would remain for decades to come.