The Blue Lady – The Ghost of Canton, Michigan’s Denton Road Bridge

In the spirit of Halloween, I offer up the generations-old legend of The Blue Lady – the Ghost of Canton, Michigan’s Denton Road Bridge. Enjoy and Happy Halloween!

For as long as anyone can remember, residents of Canton, Michigan and neighboring communities have grown up with the story of the historical, wooden one-lane bridge over the Lower Rouge River on unpaved Denton Road — and the ghost that haunted it.

An aerial image of the Denton Road Bridge as it appeared in 1952. Photo courtesy of HistoricAerials.com.

Even in surrounding states, the legend has been told of the ghost of a woman holding a lantern light crossing the road over the bridge, eerie cries from a ghostly baby, and mysterious orbs of light from disembodied spirits. Those bizarre sightings are even said to have been captured on video, such as the one below, shot in night vision on August 8, 2001.

For many years, the original wooden bridge was the target of vandals, who would set it on fire every year or so. Eventually, it was replaced with a concrete bridge, but that did not stop the nighttime visits of curious ghost hunters, who would graffiti the guard rails as a testimony to braving the bridge. And even after Denton Road was paved in 2003, the legend of the Blue Lady lives on.

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Although the original historical wooden bridge was replaced with a two-lane concrete bridge, the Blue Lady legend lives on. (October 28, 2016)

The Blue Lady legend has its origins in the first-half of the 19th century, when the area was being settled as a farming community. Supposedly, a farmer who lived on the north side of Proctor Road near Denton Road discovered that his wife had been unfaithful. One night, in a drunken fit of anger, the farmer murdered his wife’s lover with an axe, which he then intended to use on his wife. However, she escaped on foot with her baby boy in her arms, carrying a lantern to light her way. She attempted to elude her wrathful husband by hiding under the bridge but the lantern light gave her away and he killed her. The names of the couple and the fate of the baby boy are apparently unknown.

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The current two-lane concrete bridge over the Lower Rouge River, which replaced the original historical wooden bridge. (October 28, 2016)

A spin-off legend focused on the farm house on Proctor Road that was owned by the murdering husband and his wife. The house was said to be haunted, presumably by the murdered lover, and was particularly “alive” with glowing lights and other activity during the Halloween season. That farm house no longer exists.

More than 150 years after her death, the Blue Lady’s story continues to be told — with several variations. Those differing versions include claims that the bridge is haunted by a woman that drowned her baby in the creek or by a woman whose child was killed as the result of teenagers playing “chicken” near the bridge — one of the cars swerved off the road, crashing through the bridge and plummeting into the river below.

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The current two-lane concrete bridge and accompanying foot bridge over the Lower Rouge River, which replaced the original historical wooden bridge. (October 28, 2016)

The phenomena that are said to have been observed in the area seem to vary as well. The glow of the ghostly woman is said by some to be the manifestation of her spirit but other accounts say it is the light from her phantom lantern. Differing accounts have said the light is red, green, or white but most agree with the description of the Blue Lady. In addition to the crying baby and floating orbs, it is said that car windows would fog up for no reason and the footprints of an infant would appear on the glass. Others have described dark figures or phantom lights rising out of the river and chasing their cars, which locals would say belonged to the “Denton Demon”. At least one group even claimed that the lights touched their car and left burn marks. Still others have reported vehicles mysteriously accelerating on their own at the bridge.

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The current two-lane concrete bridge over the Lower Rouge River, which replaced the original historical wooden bridge. (October 28, 2016)

While the Ypsilanti Press newspaper once reported that a psychic investigated the bridge and surrounding road and detected unmistakable “spirit life”, some experiences were definitely not “supernatural”. In the 1960s, a couple of pranksters were known to drive up and down the road with lanterns attached to fishing poles to mimic the appearance of the ghostly orbs. The fishing pole pranksters were very nearly exposed one night when a police cruiser got stuck in mud and the young men had to help get the car out. Luckily for them, they had successful hidden their lanterns in the nick of time.

Another popular stunt by local college students was to strand fraternity pledges somewhere around Denton Road with instructions to find a lantern that had been hidden nearby in order to help them find their way out. As a result, witnesses driving by would see their lanterns swinging back and forth in the cornfields, looking very much like ghostly lights. One autumn night, it is said that a barn on Proctor Road was accidentally burned down by college students when a lantern that they had hidden there was knocked over.

Some kids would even hide under the bridge and imitate crying babies to frighten would-be ghost hunters. There were those who debunked the mysterious sightings as the glow of swamp gas and some even tried to attribute them to UFOs.

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The current two-lane concrete bridge over the Lower Rouge River, which replaced the original historical wooden bridge. (October 28, 2016)

Today, Denton Road, which runs north and south in Wayne County west of I-275 in metro Detroit, bears little resemblance to its former self — the spooky, remote dirt road surrounded by nothing but grassy swamps, woods, and fields. Now, resulting from the burgeoning population in Canton Township, Denton Road is a heavily traveled, paved thoroughfare in a rapidly-growing area of new high-end homes and condominiums.

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The current two-lane concrete bridge and accompanying foot bridge over the Lower Rouge River, which replaced the original historical wooden bridge. (October 28, 2016)

So what is it, if anything, that lurks beneath the Denton Road Bridge? Could it truly be the restless spirit of the Blue Lady, trapped there forever, reliving over and over again her untimely death? Perhaps we will never know for sure.

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What is it, if anything, that lurks beneath the Denton Road Bridge? Could it truly be the restless spirit of the Blue Lady, trapped there forever, reliving over and over again her untimely death? Perhaps we will never know for sure.

If you decide to try to find out for yourself, please keep in mind that the area surrounding the Denton Road Bridge is mostly residential private property. Please do not trespass, be aware of the busy traffic, and stick to the public area surrounding the foot bridge and sidewalk.

Note: If anyone wishes to share their experiences with the Blue Lady legend or has photographs related to the Denton Road Bridge haunting that may be included in this article, please email me at kristina@kristinascarcelli.com or send me a message using the comment form below. Full credit will be provided. Thank you!

Works Cited:

Dzwonkowski, Ron. “Sprawl May Scare Away the Legendary Denton Road Ghost”. The Detroit Free Press, October 31, 1999: p. 4F.

Godfrey, Linda S. Weird Michigan: Your Travel Guide to Michigan’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. Sterling, July 25, 2006: p. 174.

Parker, Virginia Bailey. Ghost Stories and Other Tales from Canton. The Canton Historical Society, 1998: pp. 47 – 55.

Online Sources:

Cara Boyer: Ghost Stories and Urban Legends in the D

Just A Pinch: Local Legends by Amy Herald

Michigan’s Other Side: Haunted Denton Road

The Shadowlands: Haunted Places in Michigan

StrangeUSA.com

Zombie Sites: Lights on Denton Road

10 Responses to “The Blue Lady – The Ghost of Canton, Michigan’s Denton Road Bridge

  • Yes, was chased by it in my teenage years I do believe it was on Canton Center Road. We called it the red ball light, always red.

  • What a good read!! Chills!

  • I lived In Michigan while I was growing up and I went to that bridge number of times waiting to hear the baby cry or see the lady. It was a lot of fun. I never saw anything, just had a good time.

  • I went to this place when I was about 15 and yes, it was scary.

  • Memories. I can remember getting out of the car with two buddies, as we walk down the road the bright light was following, it was wintertime cold snowy the creek was half Frozen. One friend ended up tripping and needless to say got pretty wet at this point we ran like hell laughing hysterically. My experience with Denton Road was scary and enlightening. Many fun memories, my two good friends that were with me are no longer with us, but this article sparked memories that cannot be replaced.

  • That place was scary as all get out. But it was fun. My cousin Johnny, myself and some friends went out there a few times and there is definitely something that goes on there.

  • We moved onto Denton Road in 1998 and had been told the stories of the hauntings…One of our neighbors, the son of a long time resident, he himself about 35-40 yrs, told us of how he and his brother, in the 60s and 70s would chase cars full of teenagers up and down Denton Road, trying to frighten them, and would take lanterns into the woods at night near the single lane bridge to try to perpetuate the legend…he seemed to get great delight from the recollections…

  • I grew up in that area, my bus went down that road. I went there at night (a few times) nothing happened. I could walk to that bridge from my old house, none of it is true, it’s all in your mind!!

  • We went there practically every night in the ’60s. Saw the blue lady, heard the baby cry, saw the lights. We might have been the ones that reported the car getting burned — we were chased by a huge ball of fire that burned the back of the trunk. We reported it and, after their investigation, we were told it was swamp gas. Scared the crap out of us so many times and each night, we swore we were never going back. But the next night, we’d be right back there at midnight revving the car on the old wooden bridge, scared out of our minds but adrenaline buzzed. Gr88t memories!

  • We used to travel that road when we were teenagers back in the 70s and 80s. Never saw the blue light but I did hear a wild high-pitched screaming near the bridge. There used to be a yellow caution light (don’t blink at the end of the road) every now and then it would go out. There are rumors that a man used to walk up and down that road carrying a sickle. Never saw that either but it was definitely a creepy road to be on. What memories we had.

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