Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Michigan's Haunted Lighthouses

"What brings ghosts and lighthouses together? Perhaps they are haunted by
residual energy from the past... or the spriits of their former keepers, who cannot cross over
and leave their lights unattended..

There is no doubt that the Great Lakes, and the shores of Michigan, have more than their share of lighthouses. These lights have guided the way for sailors for generations....and may be still guiding the way today, for their ghosts.

Since Halloween is getting closer I thought I would share some of Michigan's haunted past.  Michigan has so much history, especially being surrounded by 5 Great Lakes, I thought I would focus on the lighthouses.

There are 116 lighthouses in Michigan, the most of any state, and it is said that 9 of those are haunted, of which I will share 5 with you.

1. Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse

It is believed that the two Saginaw River Lighthouses are the first range lights built on the Great Lakes. Range lights allowed mariners to line up the lights, one behind the other, to safely navigate through the center of the river's shipping channel. Members of the Coast Guard who stayed there reported hearing heavy footsteps on the iron staircase of the Rear Range Light's tower. When they investigated the noise, no one was ever found. It is unknown who is haunting the tower, but the lights were deactivated in the 1970s and no one has occupied the building since. The tower is not open to tours but you can still view the lighthouse by boat, and maybe you can be the first to spot the ghost through the windows that peer out over the river.

2. Old Presque Isle Lighthouse

This Lake Huron lighthouse was only operational for 31 years, but it is well-known for its ghosts. Many say you can hear a woman's screams some nights from the ghost of a keeper's wife who was locked away in the tower long ago. But it's the ghost of George Parris that is the most talked about. He and his wife moved into the keeper's cottage in the 1990s to run the museum and give tours. Since George died, the light in the lighthouse comes on at dusk and goes off at dawn every night. This may not seem that odd for any other lighthouse, but this one’s light had been permanently disabled. Air National Guard pilots have even reported seeing the light, and the Coast Guard has gone so far as to remove the old light from the tower—but it still shines. The building and grounds are open daily to the public from mid-May through mid-October.

3. Seul Choix Lighthouse

Overlooking Lake Michigan from Seul Choix Point, this 78-foot tower went into service in 1892. One of its keepers, Captain Joseph Townsend, is said to still haunt the lighthouse and museum to this day. Townsend died in the keeper's house in the early 1900s. For months they could not bury his body because of the winter weather, so his body was kept in the basement. Maybe it's because his body was not laid to rest for so long that today visitors and staff alike have reported the strong stench of cigars (he was an avid cigar smoker) throughout the buildings. Staff at the museum have seen the place settings and chairs in the museum’s kitchen disturbed, and some have even reported seeing a man peering through the windows. You can visit the museum and take a tower tour daily from Memorial Day through mid-October.

4. Big Bay Point Lighthouse

Here on the north shore of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, William Prior, who became this station's inaugural keeper in 1896, finally may have given up his duties. Mr. Prior began his lightkeeping duties in 1896, and stayed only five short years.  He was looking for an assistant and found the perfect helper in 1899; his son George.  Unfortunately, in 1901, George had an accident and was injured by falling down some steps, and eventually died in a hospital.  A month later, William Prior walked away from his lighthouse duty and unto the nearby woods with his gun and some strychnine, being presumably grief-stricken for his son.  His body was eventually found by a hunter seventeen months later in 1902, a skeleton hanging from a tree in the woods, not too away far from the haunted Big Bay Point Light. Surveying Lake Superior from atop a 60-foot bluff, the light station now operates as a romantic bed-and-breakfast with fireplaces and even spa services. William, dead these past 105 years, apparently still insisted on "helping"―until innkeeper Linda Gamble angrily told him off when his slamming of kitchen cabinet doors awakened her one night a few years ago. Neither William nor the other five resident ghosts have been heard from since. Well, so far, anyway.

5. White River Light Station, Whitehall

One ghost here apparently likes to help with the dusting. Oh, that we all could be so haunted! This Great Lakes lighthouse was deactivated in 1960, though its lens remains in the museum that now inhabits the limestone tower and keeper's quarters. Captain William Robinson, the light's first keeper, served for 47 years and died in the building. Some think the mysterious pacing sounds heard upstairs indicate that he still tends his beloved lighthouse. Meanwhile, the museum curator reports that if she leaves a dust rag near a certain display case, she returns to find the rag moved and the case dusted. The supernatural suspect: William's wife, Sarah. The museum is open June-October, and by appointment during the other months

This lighthouse is the closet to me and I have actually been there.  We did not go inside because we were just there to take photos of it, I had no idea that it was even haunted at the time.  
It really is a beautiful lighthouse.

To learn more about haunted lighthouses you can go to Coastal Living and they have the top 15 most haunted lighthouses in the US.

I hope you enjoyed.
Lighthouses are so beautiful and served an important purpose in history and today.  The keepers took their jobs very seriously.  Their stories are many, some romantic and others tragic, but they all seem to want to be Keepers of the Light forever.



once in a blue moon said...

i am glad i read this in the daylight :)

NanaDiana said...

We have seen 3 of these lighthouses, Michelle. The most fascinating one to me is the one on Presque Isle...but they are all a bit spooky! xo Diana

Jessie Saxton said...

Love this post! We have been to Seul Choix a couple times. My aunt and uncle actually got a piture of the Captain in the mirror. SPOOKY!!! Very haunted place;/ There is something so utterly romantic about haunted lighthouses:)

Hope you are having a wonderful week!!:)

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

Wonderful post and the perfect time of year for it. Midnight tours anyone??

beachcomber said...

i love your lighthouses!! ghosts & all.

Karena said...

Michelle there is something so intriguing about lighthouses. My daughter will love this post , she truly believes in haunted places (good and not so good)

Oh I have a Designer Pillows Giveaway! I hope you will join! (it is a great resource as well)

Art by Karena

Brandi said...

I'll be sleeping with light on tonight! LOL!!!

Tricia @ A Rosy Note said...

Wow, you sure have a lot of lighthouses in Michigan...116! I wonder how many are in Minnesota...and how many are haunted? (Insert creepy witch laugh here) LOL.

Green Willow Pond said...

I grew up near the Presque Isle lighthouse and went there 2 or 3 times as a child, and several times as an adult, the most recent this summer.

I had heard it was haunted, but had never heard the details until this last visit. We climbed to the top and took pictures. I'll have to see if I can find them and maybe post them. I looked for the "ghost" in my photos (he has reportedly shown up in some), but he must have been off-duty that day!

Anyway, it was a beautiful day and a beautiful spot to spend it. We also visited the "new" Presque Isle lighthouse. It was very beautiful too, and the keepers house was gorgeous.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh my dearest, these are stunningly beautiful! I just got a visit from a woman in Michigan that had fabulous photos of Lake Michigan.....so TURQUOISE IS THE WATER!!!!!!!!

I hope you are enjoying the beauty of this fabulous season!! LOVE TO YOU,Anita

Anonymous said...

I might be weird but i like to know and read haunted places and buildings. They somehow make me believe that fairies exist, santa claus exists and also exists something that's way beyond the human body and understanding. To betterment of that is what we should probably be working on- the betterment of the thing called soul, that never dies.

Debbie said...

We love visiting old lighthouses too. The one in Tawas is really nice. I never thought about them being haunted. I know they are hauntingly beautiful tho.

Simone @ Doberman's by the Sea said...

You have quite a few lighthouses in MI. I have only been to one that is hunted. Cheers

Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal said...

What great ghost stories! I have always loved light houses. Never new there were so many haunted one :)

Robin said...

I haven't toured a lighthouse in years. I remember loving it when I was a kid. Great post, makes me want to take my kids to tour one.

michele said...

i think the light river one is my favorite--and what a BONUS that the spirit life have some ocd. i have always appreciated that in an apparitiion.

the most beautiful lighthouse i have visited is one near Honolulu--breathtaking and my pics there look retro and very Brady Bunch hawaiian vacation which i love!


Val said...

These are magnificent...

Ivy and Elephants said...

Gorgeous pics but those ghost stories are the best.I think I'll be staying in tonight!
new follower

koralee said...

I so love lighthouses...but these..not so much. xoxox

Jenni said...

Ooh, this is the perfect pre-Halloween post! Just a little scary, but fun to read! :) We have a lighthouse near us that gives tours~ and I am thinking David and I need to take the kids next spring when it opens up! :)

I hope you have a good Thursday, my friend! :)


Debra from Bungalow said...

There is something slightly eerie and mysterious about lighthouses. They are beautiful and interesting aren't they?

Thanks for visiting my blog!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

We love lighthouses! I'm going to send a link to this post to my hubby and a girlfriend! So interesting! Wouldn't it be great to travel to lighthouses. I'd love to make a list and go to lots of them! ♥

Patti's Artful Design said...

I have an infatuation with lighthouses too, Michelle:) During our East Coast trip a few years ago, I had to take a picture of one in every coastal location that we visited. My thought was do use black and white photography decorating in my home with them. Haven't yet...someday:)

Thank you for stopping by. It is always good to hear from you!

Privet and Holly said...

So beautiful and
romantic! How lucky
you are to live close
to the last one. I think
the closest for us is the
Split Rock Lighthouse on
Lake Superior. Thanks
for all the great info, M!
xx Suzanne

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh Michelle, your header is so gorgeous, and your music is so special. Thank you for your kind comment. I feel so blessed to have made such connections through this wonderful world of blog...Anita

Lynda @ Happenstance Home said...

I really enjoyed your post - lighthouses are so majestic and their history is interesting.

Ann said...

Oh that was spooky...

and so cool ♥

Cindy Adkins said...

Hi Michelle,
Thank you SO much for your sweet message--that was so kind of you to stop by this morning!

DeeJae (Deb) said...

I just found your blog - wanted to say "Hi" and that I enjoyed this post so much. My family and I love Michigan and its Lighthouses. Lake Michigan is my favorite place away from home. One favorite Lighthouse of ours is Little Sable Point Lighthouse, although I don't think it is haunted but there could very well be some history there I don't know about. Thanks so much for sharing!

Carolyn@SweetChaos said...

Hey Michelle! I just nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award. You can check out the deets on my blog. Have a great weekend :)

Melissah from Coastal Style said...

I love a haunted lighthouse story! My blog has just had a re-vamp with seven new pages of coastal fun & inspiration.Take a peek when you are next stopping by!

Heaven's Walk said...

Hey lil' sis! What an interesting post! Hubby and I spent one summer years ago visiting as many lighthouses in Michigan as we could. It was so much fun! We also used to be members of the Great Lake Lighthouse Association. Those beautiful old lights have always held a special place in our hearts because we were married on the beach in front of Point Iroquois Lighthouse. ♥ Miss you, girlie!

xoxo laurie

Stormy said...

Jamie has always had a thing for lighthouses - we'd love to check out a few haunted! =)

thanks for stopping by -
i'm sorry i haven't been around much; a lot going on in the pain dept, but i push thru the best i know how, and keep going!

been doing a LOT of long walks, and hiking over the summer, and going to try and keep it up right thru winter! i'm determined to get strong again by spring!

hope all is well with U!


tinajo said...

Oooo - I love stories like these, how fun to read! :-)

Libbie said...

Hi Michelle! I had started to read these yesterday but the boys tore me away & now I am thinking I should not have read right before bed :)

Good idea for a Halloween Spoky post! It really does spook me a little!

The Wild Fleur said...

I love lighthouses as well, and I enjoyed reading this history about them.

You have a lovely blog here!

Hugs from your fan in Paris xx

Camille @ The Wild Fleur

beachside cottage Linda said...

Not only do I love lighthouses, but scary ones are even better!

Love being "scared" - thanks for sharing! Happy Hallowe'en!


beachside cottage

Gwendolyn said...

I live in Grand Haven, just a hop away from a great lighthouse. Aren't we blessed to live in such a great state with all these lighthouses.. spooky or not. :)

Burlap Luxe said...

Hi Michelle,
I so enjoyed your post, in fact it has always been a dream of mine to live in a light house, I am sure one of yours as well :)

See you and your beauty soon.

Julie@beingRUBY said...

hehe.. if ghosts didn't freak me out so much I'd want the dusting one!! I love lighthouses.. perhaps inherited from my grandfather who was a sailor in his youth

Have a great week.. I'm a bit late to pop over and visit.. ciao xxx Julie

Carmie of the Single Nester said...

I am drawn to lighthouses and feel that back in the day, I was a lighthouse keeper's wife. Just sayin :)

Anonymous said...

For a investigation at these locations go to


Related Posts with Thumbnails