Haunted Places to Visit in Michigan: 30 Spooky Destinations
If you’re in the mood for a scare, check out these 30 most haunted places in Michigan and get into the spooky spirit.
What better way to embrace that eerie feeling than with some ghost stories scary enough to keep you up at night?
Luckily, we have no shortage of ghost stories here. From populous Wayne County to the most remote destinations in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan is full of unique haunted destinations.
These Michigan spooky spots lay claim to bone-chilling ghost stories and there’s enough evidence of paranormal activity to make you believe them…perfect spots for a Michigan road trip.
Pour yourself some hot cider and grab a cinnamon donut, curl up in a blanket and read on to learn about Michigan’s most haunted attractions.
Michigan’s Haunted Hotels and Inns
The Doherty Hotel in Clare
Looking to spend the night in a hotel reportedly haunted by ghosts? Look no farther than Clare, Michigan.
The historic Doherty Hotel in Clare was built in 1924 by former Senator Alfred James Doherty, a friend of automobile magnate Henry Ford. Since that time – almost 100 years – the Doherty family has owned and operated the mid-Michigan hotel.
During prohibition, Doherty Hotel was a speakeasy and meeting place for the mafia, with plenty of illicit activities. It was also a favorite hangout for the Detroit’s infamous Purple Gang.
The Purple Gang was a notorious organized crime gang, dating back to the 1920s and 1930s, that terrorized southeast Michigan and the Detroit area. Their criminal enterprises stretched outside the city limits, all the way to a tiny town in mid-Michigan named Clare.
One of Michigan’s most notorious murders occurred here in 1938 when Isaiah Leebove, former Purple Gang attorney turned Purple Gang Businessman, was shot dead by his cousin and business partner Jack Livingston.
Today, numerous accounts of hauntings have been reported. Guests at the hotels have reported hearing unexplained knocking, along with ghostly apparitions that lock and unlock the doors.
Some say that Isaiah Leebove may still be at the Doherty Hotel along with his family matriarch, Helen “Grandma” Doherty.
Is he really still there? We’ll let YOU be the judge.
In the mood to visit a historic haunted house with “friendly” ghosts?
If so, head to Kalamazoo in southwest Michigan to visit Henderson Castle, one of Michigan’s Top 10 Haunted Places. This ornate Queen Anne-style home now operates as a successful Bed and Breakfast and Event venue.
Since the late 1800s, Henderson Castle has sat perched on West Main Hill overlooking downtown Kalamazoo. Built by successful businessman Frank Henderson and his wife, Mary, the castle cost $72,000 in 1895 – about $2.5 million in today’s dollars. The 25-room home included a ballroom and an elevator to reach the third floor, which was pretty swanky for those days.
Across the street from the sandstone castle, the final resting place of the original owners, Frank and Mary Henderson, can be found at Mountain Home Cemetery.
Frank didn’t live long after the completion of Henderson Castle, but guests have reported seeing, hearing, and feeling unexplainable phenomena.
It is said that the ghosts of Frank, Mary, a Spanish-American War veteran, who served with the Henderson’s son, a peculiar little girl, and a dog have all been seen or sensed in Henderson Castle.
Additionally, strange noises and disembodied voices have allegedly been heard.
Don’t worry, though, far unlike the demonic hauntings in horror flicks, these spirits have a friendly demeanor and seem to be caretakers of the haunted house.
Landmark Inn in Marquette, MI
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula isn’t immune to paranormal activity, as evidenced by The Landmark Inn in Marquette MI.
This elegant hotel near Lake Superior is the site of a few bone-chilling stories dating back almost 100 years.
Built in part as luxury accommodations for wealthy business owners from Boston and New York who would visit the area to check on their business interests, the stories surrounding the Landmark have attracted ghost hunters and paranormal investigators over the years.
One such story chronicles the events of a man who killed his girlfriend in a jealous rage when the inn was still under construction. He then took her body to the basement and buried her there.
The hotel’s sixth floor “Lilac Room” is the setting of another ghostly tale.
This story revolves around a ship worker who fell in love with the local librarian and conducted their love affair in the Lilac Room, where the man was staying.
The couple was said to have planned a wedding upon his return from his last voyage on the sometimes-treacherous Lake Superior. Unfortunately, their love affair ended in tragedy when his ship met with a storm and sank to the bottom of the lake. He never returned to the shore, and the librarian mourned the man in the Lilac Room, eventually dying of a broken heart.
These spooky stories are not over, though, as visitors report ghostly occurrences that seem to continue the spooky legacy.
One workman who came to complete construction on the hotel in the 1930s claimed they heard a weeping and whispering female trying to get them to find her body.
Additionally, the librarian from the second story is said to be seen on the 6th floor either pacing or weeping, still mourning her love.
The Terrace Inn opened in 1911 in Petoskey’s historic Bay View area, a gorgeous 38-room Victorian resort. Since its opening, it’s been the site of two deaths.
According to a rumor, two workers died when a beam fell on them during the construction of the inn.
However, another story suggests a pregnant woman called Elizabeth Abbey Sweet was staying in room 211 when she fell, miscarried, and died. Her husband is said to have died some years later of a broken heart, still mourning the loss of his wife and the twins she was carrying at the time of her death.
Regardless of whichever story you believe, the inn is believed to be haunted by at least three ghosts.
The first is a lady in white who wanders the halls and rooms.
A second ghost is a man in a tweed suit who overlooks the balcony at the front of the inn, and the third, a child in the basement.
Guests have reported seeing, hearing, and even feeling these ghosts while staying here.
More Haunted Hotels and Inns in Michigan
Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island’s Mission Point Resort is said by some to be haunted by Harvey, a college student who dies in the 1970’s somewhere near the Lake Huron resort and still comes back for “visits.”
Holly Hotel in Holly, MI
Don’t let that charming green awning fool you: this popular hotel in downtown Holly has been the scene of some real strange happenings, attracting the attention of ghost hunters paranormal investigators from all over the country.
Considered by some to be the “most haunted historic building” in Michigan, the Holly Hotel has been home to numerous visits from otherworldly guests.
Bowers Harbor Inn
It’s now known as Mission Table restaurant, but this two-story mansion on Traverse City’s Old Mission Peninsula is home to a playful ghost whose hijinks have been pretty well-documented. Said to be the ghost of Genevieve Stickney, the one-time caregiver of the owners of the Inn. You can read a fascinating, detailed description of her visits here.
Fort Shelby Hotel
Now known as the Doubletree Suites, this historic downtown Detroit hotel was built in 1916, and is also said to be the home of a friendly ghost named “Al,” who can be seen at times walking the halls.
Haunted Forts in Michigan
Tourists on Mackinac Island will find Fort Mackinac hard to miss.
This Revolutionary War-era fort housed soldiers and engaged in battles using cannons and rifles. Today, the fort is protected as part of Mackinac Island State Park and has been restored, but its history of violence leaves it teeming with spiritual energy.
There are a few known hot spots in and around Fort Mackinac where visitors have encounters with the paranormal:
In the Post Hospital, now a museum providing a peek into 19th-century medicine, severed limbs appear in photos.
In the Fort’s guardhouse, cold spots (even on the hottest summer days) are felt in the building.
Other ghostly sightings have taken place in other locations in the Fort, where restless spirits seem to appear. Sometimes, visitors will see apparitions with their own two eyes, including a crying woman in the cemetery and a soldier near the Sally Port North Entrance.
If you’re in metro Detroit look no further than the historic Fort Wayne, on the shores of the Detroit River.
Named after “Mad Anthony” Wayne, a brigadier general in the U.S. Army, Historic Fort Wayne was built in Detroit during the 1800s.
Today the fort, now part of the Detroit Recreation Department, is rumored to be haunted. – in fact it’s known as one of the most haunted Detroit locations – and for good reason.
When it was built, the project required the excavation of an indigenous burial ground, creating a sense of unrest on the property.
Visitors note some spooky anomalies while touring the fort, including seeing strange apparitions or being touched by unseen beings.
Some believe these to be the ghosts of deceased soldiers, others relate this haunting to the disturbance of the burial ground Fort Wayne was built upon.
More Haunted Forts In Michigan
River Raisin National Battlefield Park in Monroe
It’s not technically a Fort, but it IS the site of the War of 1812 “Battle of Frenchtowns,” one of the bloodiest battles in the history of the state. This battle, between British and American troops saw over 500 American soldiers killed, and left dying on the field.
It’s their restless spirits that are said to walk the grounds day and night. The Monroe historic site has been visited by paranormal activity hunters from around the country, who are said to have recorded eerie sights and sounds indicating the presence of “others.”
Michigan’s Haunted Lighthouses
Not all of Michigan’s lighthouses are haunted, but here’s a few that have some…interesting stories behind them. Want to learn more about Michigan’s picturesque lighthouses? Your can use our Guide to Lake Michigan Lighthouses or our Guide to the Lake Huron Lighthouses. if you wan to see something very cold and sometimes spooky, read our post on Michigan’s Fabulous and Frozen Lighthouses.
Seul Choix Point Lighthouse
In Gulliver, Michigan, Seul Choix Point Lighthouse stands tall against the waters of Lake Michigan in the Upper Peninsula.
Here, Captain Willie Townsend worked from 1902 to 1910, when he passed away.
Because of the remote location and time period, the Captain was embalmed in the light’s basement and laid in the parlor for nearly three weeks while his family made the journey north to pay their respects.
Today, haunted happenings engage guests with all of their senses.
The odor of cigar smoke fills the air, hazy faces become visible in bedroom mirrors, and the sound of furniture moving echoes through the tower as though Captain Willie Townsend is still tending to the tower.
White River Light Station
Locals like to thank Captain William Robinson for the existence of the White River Light Station in Whitehall.
When he arrived in the area in the 1860s, he was surprised to see that traffic flowed in and out of the White River without a light to guide them, so he began petitioning the lighthouse service to build one.
Once built, the Robinsons became the first lighthouse keepers and the Captain worked diligently for 50 years to maintain it until he died in 1919. Captain William Robinson and his wife, Sarah are said to still be the permanent residents of the home.
People have reported that William can be heard walking up the spiral staircase to the lantern room to tend to the light he cared so much for, while Sarah finds solace in the room once belonging to their children.
More Haunted Destinations in Michigan
Former Holy Family Orphanage in Marquette MI
In Marquette, the Old City Orphanage, formerly known as the Holy Family Orphanage, stands as an iconic Michigan haunt. The first occupants were 60 Native American children and eight nuns who moved in when it opened in 1915.
Former residents claimed as adults that the nuns abused the children mentally and physically, often using cruel and extreme punishments. Rumors suggest that they even went so far as beating the children to death or leaving them out in northern Michigan’s bitter winters to die.
People who have explored the grounds report that on quiet nights, the tortured souls of little girls can be heard moaning and crying. Those brave enough to enter the building say they’ve seen the apparitions of ghosts as well.
Masonic Temple in Detroit
During the 1920s Detroit was a bustling city with a booming auto industry and an illicit but profitable liquor trade. During prohibition, secretive networks like bootleggers and Freemasons thrived.
As a result of the growing popularity of Freemasonry in the city, George D. Mason was commissioned to build the Masonic Temple.
Tragically, during construction his wife left him following his bankruptcy, leading him to commit suicide by jumping from the roof of the temple. Security guards working at the Masonic Temple claim to have seen his apparition heading upstairs towards the roof, as if stuck in a loop of his darkest moment, making the Masonic Temple one of the most haunted places in Detroit.
Michigan’s First State Prison
Michigan’s First State Prison, in Jackson, MI, was built in 1838. It was the largest walled prison in the world at the time, housing thousands of inmates.
Riots, neglect, escapes, wrongful deaths, torture, cruelty, and sickness litter this prison’s history, solidifying its reputation as a place of unrest.
These inmates are said to dwell in the halls, rooms, and tunnels underground – lingering in search of redemption, forgiveness, or perhaps a pardon, or just peace. Visitors report seeing apparitions, hearing voices, or being touched by those unseen.
Additionally, the prison is known to be quite noisy, with reports of hearing unearthly moans and phantom screams as well as the sounds of slamming doors and banging on pipes echoing through the halls.
Traverse City State Hospital
The Traverse City State Hospital was developed as the Northern Michigan Asylum in 1885 and remained in operation for over 100 years.
Dr. James Decker Munson ran it on the belief in an outdated medical theory that suggested “beauty” could be used as therapy, meaning that a beautiful and tranquil environment could cure the mental illnesses that brought patients to the psychiatric hospital.
Naturally, the former asylum near Grand Traverse Bay is purported to now be a vastly haunted hospital. Some people have reported seeing lights flicker when the electricity was cut or hearing disembodied voices or footsteps that couldn’t be explained.
A few have claimed to have seen shadowy figures or feel invisible forces. Allegedly, dark spirits drove a priest of the asylum’s chapel to hang himself there, causing some to experience strong energy in the chapel as well.
Be sure and use our Guide to Traverse City if you plan to visit.
More Haunted Places in Michigan
Watch this space for Haunted Places in Michigan, Part Two. We’ll share details on these must-see spots:
- Eloise Asylum
- Mary Mayo Hall in East Lansing
- South Manitou Island in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
- Pere Cheney Cemetery near Houghton Lake
- Hell’s Bridge near Grand rapids
- Findlay Cemetery near Grand Rapids
- Paulding Light
- Calumet Theater
- Old Presque Isle Lighthouse on Lake Huron
- Felt Mansion in Saugatuck
- David Whitney House in Detroit
- Fayette Ghost Town Fayette, MI
- Quincy Mine in Hancock, MI
Map of Haunted Places in Michigan
About the Author
Bella DiMascio is a Content Editor with mymichiganbeach.com. She grew up in the Detroit suburb of Westland and later attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo where she majored in Communication Studies and minored in English: Writing. Creative writing has been a hobby and interest of Bella’s since she was in elementary school and she is thrilled to be using her talents to highlight the Great Lakes State. Outside of writing, Bella enjoys getting outside with her two Australian Shepherds, playing video games, and binging shows on Netflix.
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