Ghost stories of Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island is one of Michigan's most iconic places. But is there something else lurking in the fog?

Morning Musings 🤔

If you've lived in Michigan for a long while, you've probably been to Mackinac Island. It's a popular tourist, field trip and family road trip destination.

It's also sort of creepy, right?

I don't know about you, but the fog, quiet streets and isolation makes me a bit uneasy. I'm not the only one who thinks so! (See more on that below)

Having said that, it's a beautiful place to visit, especially in the summer. The ferry ride near the Mackinac Bridge is glorious and the car-free island is truly unique.

But it's still a little spooky. 

- Ken Haddad (Have something to say or a topic idea? Contact me: Email | Twitter)

Morning Dive 🏊

Let's take a look at the history of Mackinac - and some of the ghostly legends that surround it.

Mackinac Island history

Before Europeans began exploring the land in the 17th century, the island was home to an Odawa settlement.

The island was an essential part of the Great Lakes fur trade, which led to the establishment of Fort Mackinac by the British. It was the site of two different battles during the War of 1812.

By the middle 1800s, the island was home to commercial fishing, which replaced fur as the island's biggest industry.

Mackinac became Michigan's first state park in 1895, after the federal government left the island.

Motorized vehicles were restricted on the island near the end of the 19th century, and the ban continues today.

Haunted history

With a rich, violent and colorful history - Mackinac Island is a prime candidate for hauntings.

The island essentially amounts to a huge Native American burial ground, where a military fort was built and a lot of people were killed.

The Grand Hotel is one of the hot spots for paranormal activity. Legend says construction workers uncovered human remains while digging the hotel's foundation.

One story tells of an "evil entity" which shows itself as a black mass with glowing red eyes.

A maintenance man, working on the hotel's theater stage, reported that the black mass rushed after him, knocking him off his feet. He awoke two days later, and never returned.

Staff have reported seeing a man in a top hat playing the bar's piano. Others see a woman in Victorian clothing who roams the halls, even getting into beds.

The Drowning Pool is another hot spot. In the 1700s and early 1800s, seven women were accused of being witches. Back in those days, one of the methods used for determining if someone was a witch or not was to tie rocks to their feet and throw them into water to see if they would float or not.

If they sank, they were deemed innocent.

The seven accused women were thrown into a lagoon on the island between Mission Point and downtown Mackinac - and all of them sank and drowned.

Legend says the women haunt the waters to this day. Visitors report seeing mysterious splashing, shadows and dark figures floating above the surface.

Fort Mackinac is a Revolutionary War-era fort on the island, and a popular tourist site. Visitors have reported strange orbs in pictures. In the hospital, some have felt feelings of sadness and have seen apparitions of phantom limbs.

The sound of crying babies is often heard, along with mysteriously moved furniture, and motion detectors set off with no one around.

At the Officer's Stone Quarters, ghostly children are said to be playing with toys, leaving them thrown around the floor in the morning.

Mission Point Resort was home to The Moral Re-Alignment, a religious movement started in the 1930s. It was built in the 1950s.

The resort's popular ghost story is that of a man named Harvey, who died in the late 1960s.

The story goes, Harvey, who was dealing with a broken heart, shot himself behind the resort, and wasn't discovered until six months later. But some believe there is more to Harvey's story - that perhaps he was killed.

Harvey is often reported in Mission Point's theater, where visitors have reported being pinched or poked.

A woman claims that while she was visiting a hotel on the island, she experienced some paranormal activity. She was alone in the hotel room, when the bathroom door closed, and the lights turned off. She never returned to the room alone.

Chatter 🗣️

Housekeeping 🧹

Hey, if you like this newsletter, let us know. We'd love your feedback. We also offer several other newsletters that probably cater to at least one of your interests -- unless you're only interested in beepers. We don't have one for beepers. Sorry.

- Ken Haddad (Have something to say or a topic idea? Contact me: Email | Twitter)

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About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.