My family and I used to visit Mackinac Island, northern Michigan, frequently when I was very little. Back then about all I did was wander around with them in town, check out the cheesy tourist shops, and visit the Haunted Theater, a sort of scary funhouse with wax exhibits. The last, especially, I found thrilling, and the displays inside, especially of the demonic wolf creature Ocryx, the cannibal giant Geebee, and the evil, mooselike Mitchi Manitou always piqued my curiosity.
I was too young, though, to fully understand what I was looking at, and that some of these displays were taken from the actual native mythology of the island. I just found them interesting. I didn't know they had real stories behind them.
As I grew older, however, I became more interested in these things, and finding a book that even described the myths of the Geebees and Mitchi Manitou in detail thrilled me no end. A best friend and I fell in love with these stories and began to play-act them whenever we went to the island and ran around in the woods further away from the town. I still remember the magical moment we found a sign that read "Manitou Trail" and just KNEW we had to go that way. We looked at each other with wide eyes, giggled, and went running down the trail. We never did see a manitou or a Geebee, but when we returned home to the mainland that night, our heads were full of ideas...and a great adventure began.
The older I grew, the more I wanted to learn about this island that I'd taken for granted for so long. I would end up losing touch with that best friend, but she did help contribute to something that was to much later become a huge and important part of my life. I have her, and Mackinac Island, which I still visit yearly, to thank for this.