A spirit of Detroit
May 27, 2008
Surveyor Philetus Norris helped get Yellowstone National Park on the map over a hundred years ago. Can his ghost help to revive a faltering Detroit neighborhood?
The ghost's long white beard, cowboy hat and buckskins seemed out of place when Henrietta Malak saw him one night three decades ago at the Two Way Inn, the north Detroit watering hole she and her husband owned.
For years she talked about his Western look and wondered what he was doing in her industrial neighborhood.
It wasn't until a couple years later, when Malak's daughters collected some historical materials about the neighborhood and its early inhabitants, that she identified the ghostly figure she claims to have seen sitting on her bed in the living space attached to the bar.
"She knew him right away when she saw a picture," says her daughter, Mary Aganowski, who now lives at and runs the Two Way. "She said, 'That's the ghost I saw that night.'"
He was Col. Philetus Norris, a New York native, Ohio legislator, Civil War spy, early Yellowstone National Park superintendent, poet and surveyor who died in Kentucky in 1885. ...
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