1848 was not long after the official inception of Southern Michigan University and the incorporation of Hopewell as the country seat of Muskogee County. Mayor Jacob Rayman was embroiled in scandal and eventually hung for the death of his wife, who disappeared during a picnic that spring. Rayman insisted that the last he’d seen of his wife was when she followed a black butterfly into an old farmhouse.

In 1888, Gerald Compton, a philosophy student at Southern Michigan University, didn’t return from an outing. A thorough search by the Hopewell Police Department and the Muskogee County Sheriff only uncovered Compton’s sketchbook. It was found in a disused silo and was full of nature sketches, apparently from life, of a black butterfly.

1938 saw a new society club appeared in the pages of the Hopewell High School yearbook. There were several photographs of the four young women in the club, frolicking and smiling. The yearbook was published in May; none of the participants were seen again after June of that year. The name of the organization was the Black Butterfly Club.

The 1978 underground musical scene in and around Southern Michigan University included a duo that lit up crowds at small venues. They has just pressed their debut LP when they vanished after a concert near the edge of town. A thorough search turned up only a pre-release copy of the album, signed by both members of Black Butterfly.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!