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We’re Going to Hell for the 15th Annual Hearse Fest

Hell, MI is home to an annual hearse car show and parade organized by Hell’s own Just Hearse’n Around car club.
Hell's hearse Fest 2016
Hell’s 15th annual Hearse Fest

I had an opportunity to buy a hearse when I was 17. It was parked on a farm just outside town. I don’t remember anymore what make or year it was, but it was probably a late 70s or early 80s model in beautiful condition. It was black, of course, much like my horror, Halloween and death-obsessed teenage heart…and I wanted it badly. I stopped one day to talk to the owners, and they offered it to me for $5,000. That was probably a great price for a hearse in that condition, but, frankly, there was no way in Hell I could cough up that much money.

It’s been a long time since that day, and if I was offered the same price on that hearse now, I still couldn’t afford it. So instead I bought a Matchbox hearse, and I’m going to revel in the macabre majesty of the annual hearse gathering in Hell, Michigan known as Hearse Fest.

1963 Cadillac Matchbox hearse
This 1963 Cadillac Matchbox hearse is as close as I’m getting to being a hearse owner. via @mentalshed

The event, now in it’s 15th year, is organized by members of the Just Hearse’n Around car club. Festivities include a PineBox Derby race, hotdogs and burgers from the casket grills, Halloween costume contest, hearse parade, vendors, and live entertainment throughout the day by Creepy Clyde and DJ Surfer Joe. Awards are given for various categories including Scariest Hearse, Best Casket Cart, and “How the Hell did it make it here?” I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the beginning of the Halloween season.

I’ll be there with Cult of Weird resident mad taxidermist and morbid candle maker Rob Reysen at the Grave Digger Candles booth.

See you in Hell!

15th annual Hearsefest in Hell, MI
Hearse Fest flier by one of my favorite artists, Robert Paul Nixon. Prints of this killer design are for sale right here.

World’s Longest Parade of Hearses…in Hell

Hearse parade in Hell, MI
World record-setting hearse parade in Hell, 2011. Photo via Just Hearse’n Around.

In 2011, during the 10th annual hearse car show then known as Last Rides Reunion Hearse Show, Just Hearse’n Around set the Guinness World Record for the longest parade of hearses with a total of 51. Unfortunately, the record was beat the following year with a parade in the Netherlands consisting of 107 hearses.

Hearse Fest starts at 10am on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 4025 Patterson Lake Road, Hell. More info at hearsefest.com

What is a Giant Marble Crucifix Doing at the Bottom of Lake Michigan?

Giant crucifix at the bottom of Lake Michigan? For the first time in two years, the winter viewing will be held in Petoskey to see the unusual memorial through the ice.
An underwater crucifix at the bottom of Lake Michigan off the shore of Petoskey will be open for viewing

Nearly every year crowds pour onto the ice of Little Traverse Bay of the shore of Petoskey to get a glimpse of the large white marble crucifix lying at the bottom of Lake Michigan. The 11-foot Italian sculpture serves as a memorial for divers who have lost their lives in the frigid waters, but that is not what it was intended for.

Related: Lake Michigan Shipwrecks Visible from the Air

In 1956, a 15-year-old boy named Gerald Schipinski died in a farming accident in Rapson. His family commissioned the sculpture, but it was badly damaged during its voyage across the Atlantic. The family refused it, and it spent the winter behind the church. A local dive group purchased the crucifix from an insurance sale the following spring for $50.

Petoskey crucifix on display before it was sent to the bottom of Lake Michigan
Petoskey crucifix on display before it was sent to the bottom of Lake Michigan

Following the death of a local diver, the group agreed to dedicate the cross to deceased divers. It was lowered 65 feet to the bottom of Little Traverse Bay in a dedication ceremony held on Aug. 12, 1962. During the dive, the right arm of Jesus fractured and vanished. After several years the crucifix became buried.

The underwater crucifix being raised for repairs in 1985
The underwater crucifix being raised for repairs in 1985

It was raised for repairs in 1985, the missing arm returned from the desk of a photographer in Detroit who was on the original dive team. When it was completed, the sculpture was resubmerged in a new location in 22 feet of water where it could be seen through the ice under the right conditions. The first winter viewing was organized by Little Traverse Bay Dive Club president Denny Jessick the following year in 1986.

An average of 1,150 people turn out for the viewing each year. Jessick is hoping for 2,000 this time around.

Photo shows the damage to the underwater crucifix in Petoskey, Michigan
The Italian marble crucifix missing both arms of Jesus

This Saturday, March 7th, weather permitting, will be the first time the viewing will be held since 2012. A tent will cover a portal carved into the ice with a viewing box where the crucified form of Jesus can be seen haunting the cold depths.

For updated info on the winter viewing go to the Petoskey Visitor Bureau website.

Denny Jessick on the Mysteries of the Little Traverse Bay Crucifix

via Detroit Free Press