Join Northern Michigan History in our 5 part series as we explore the most haunted places in northern Michigan. This is our 4th installment in the series is finding ghosts in the Central Upper Peninsula. We didn’t have to go far, there are plenty of strange happenings in the Marquette area and beyond!
Old City Orphanage – This Catholic orphanage was originally known as the Holy Cross Orphanage and was built in 1915. The orphanage has a long history of abuse, both physical and mental by the nuns that ran it. The orphanage last resident was in 1967 and the building was abandoned in 1982.
The Landmark Inn –The Landmark has had many ghost stories shared by employees and guests that have experienced odd happenings. One that is repeated often by the hotel staff is about the switchboard. The switchboard in the main floor lobby receives call from the Lilac Room on the inn’s 6th floor. It is believed that it is the ghost of the heartbroken Lilac Lady. Longing for her sailor lover who never returned from Lake Superior. It is reported that she committed suicide in the room. She tied lilac patterned napkins together and hung herself outside one of the rooms windows. To this day the switchboard continues to ring. Visitors still report sightings of her on the sixth floor in her floral gown.
Marquette Harbor Lighthouse – Taylor Adams has claimed to witness a small ghost of a girl in the lighthouse. Adams is the daughter of a former Coast Guard station chief. She is also a long-time staff member of the Marquette Maritime Museum. The young girl will appear on the upper floor window looking out at the horizon of Lake Superior. She shows herself in broad daylight when the lake is calm. It is believed that the when the winds are stirring up the lake the sounds are a reminder of her long-lost mother and father and are too much to bear.
Big Bay Point Lighthouse – There are reports of visitors that are staying at the lighthouse to be awakened by a ghost of and elderly man in Coast Guard attire. He is described as having a thick red mustache and is standing at the foot of their bed. It is believed that it is the ghost of William Prior who was the original lighthouse keeper. Mr. Prior was known as an ornery taskmaster. His logbook was filled with his complaints about his assistant keepers work ethic and their incompetence. Prior’s son was one of his assistants and knew of his father’s temper. While working on the pier he fell and cut his leg. He continued working afraid of his father’s reaction. He fell ill with gangrene and needed medical care. His father took him by rowboat to Marquette, but the young man died on the way.
This was too much for William and he decided to end his life. He left a note for the wife of one of his other assistants and took a gun and cyanide and headed to the woods. She found him in the woods deciding what to use. It is reported that she provided him with rope that she was carrying. She then assisted him in hanging himself. A walker found his head hanging from a maple tree two years later.
Marquette Monthly Building – The building that that Marquette Monthly is headquartered in used to be a private residence. As the house was transitioned into the offices it was discovered that the top floor once operated as a small printing office.
The story goes that Beth Ann who was the first print press worker and lived upstairs died a gruesome death. She worked the dangerous job of managing all aspects of the printing press. One morning, Beth Ann’s shirt sleeve got caught in the card stock feeder. She watched helplessly as the letter press inched closer to her arm. She worked alone and nobody heard her screams. When her husband returned home that evening, he found his wife with arm missing and covered in blood. Workers at the magazine have claimed to hear blood curdling screams coming from the top floor of the building at night.
304 Halverson Hall – On the third floor late at night legend has it that you can hear the sounds of fingernails scratching along the blackboards. It is believed to be the ghost of a NMU student who hung herself from her top bunk in the late 60s. Halverson Hall was taken down in 2017 to make room for a 1,200 bed residential project.
Forest Roberts Theatre – In the early 70s and janitor died of a heart attack in the elevator shaft. The shaft connects the theatre to the fine arts building. There have been no ghostly sightings of him but, there have been strange occurrences with the elevator. Cameras installed in the hall frequently record these eerie events after class hours. The elevator doors opening with nobody inside, the lights turning on and off and the elevator changing floors.
John X Jamrich Building – In room 102 there have been reports of a young woman’s face to appear in the window. She is believed to be the ghost of a former nursing student.
Seul Choix Point Lighthouse – The lighthouse is located in the only harbor along a treacherous stretch of the northwest corner of Lake Michigan. It was established in 1892. Joseph Willie Townsend was the light keeper from 1902 to 1910. He died in the upstairs bedroom, was embalmed in the basement, and was laid in state in the parlor. Visitors have reported smelling cigar smoke throughout the lighthouse. His face has been seen in the mirrors of upstairs bedrooms.