"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.