Join us at Northern Michigan History as we journey through our 5-part series, uncovering the secrets of the most haunted destinations in Northern Michigan. Our fourth installment leads us to the quest for specters in the Central Upper Peninsula. Surprisingly, we didn’t need to venture too far, as the Marquette area and its surroundings offer a multitude of uncanny encounters and strange happenings!
Old City Orphanage (formerly known as Holy Cross Orphanage): This Catholic orphanage was built in 1915 and was abandoned in the mid-60s after serving as a Catholic orphanage. The orphanage has a long history of abuse, both physical and mental, by the nuns that ran it. The stories of abuse have lived on despite being refuted by those who lived and worked there. The building is now an affordable living complex for residents. The anecdotal claims of abuse and neglect in the orphanage have lived on. The sobs of children have been noted by residents of neighboring homes. Previous visitors of the infamous orphanage heard the sobs as well.
The Landmark Inn: This historic hotel opened its doors in 1930 and is believed to be haunted by a famous ghost. In 1932, Amelia Earhart stayed in Room #502. It is believed that the switchboard in the main floor lobby receives calls from the Lilac Room on the inn’s 6th floor. The rumor is that it is the ghost of the heartbroken Lilac Lady. She is mourning her sailor lover never returning from Lake Superior. There are reports that she committed suicide in the room. That she tied lilac patterned napkins together and hanging herself outside one of the room’s windows. To this day, the switchboard continues to ring, and there are sightings of her on the sixth floor in her floral gown.
Marquette Harbor Lighthouse: Taylor Adams, the daughter of a former Coast Guard station chief, has claimed to witness a small ghost of a girl in the lighthouse. 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 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 staying at the lighthouse to be awakened by a ghost of an 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. He was working on the pier, fell and cut his leg, and continued working afraid of his father’s reaction. He fell ill with gangrene and needed medical assistance. His father took him by rowboat to Marquette, but the young man died en route. This was too much for William, and he decided to end his life by either a gun or cyanide and left a note for the wife of one of his other assistants. She found him in the wood not sure what to use. It is reported that she provided him with rope that she was carrying and assisted him in hanging himself. A walker found his head hanging from a maple tree two years later.
Marquette Monthly Building: The building 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 that produced timecards and delivery notes for the local train depots. 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. Because she worked alone, nobody heard her screams. When her husband returned home that evening, he found his wife with an 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.
Northern Michigan University
304 Halverson Hall: Legend has it that on the third floor late at night, you can hear the sounds of fingernails scratching along the blackboards. Rumor is that it is the ghost of an NMU student who hung herself from her top bunk in the late 60s.
Forest Roberts Theatre: In the early 70s, a janitor died of a heart attack in the elevator shaft that connects the theatre to the fine arts building. Although there have been no ghostly sightings of him, there have been strange occurrences with the elevator. Cameras installed in the hall frequently record these eerie events after class hours. The elevator doors open with nobody inside, the lights turn on and off, and the elevator changes floors.
John X Jamrich Building: In room 102, there have been reports of a young woman’s face appearing in the window. There are claims she is the ghost of a former nursing student.
Seul Choix Point Lighthouse: This lighthouse was established in 1892 and is located in the only harbor along a treacherous stretch of Lake Michigan. 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.