Come along on a journey through Northern Michigan’s history in our captivating 5-part series, where we delve into the eerie tales of the most haunted locations in the region. Our inaugural installment focuses on the Northwest Lower Peninsula, where an array of ghostly encounters await, from haunted restaurants and theaters to chilling asylums. In northwest Michigan, the spirits of the past are far from scarce.
Former Escape Bar and Grill: Originally the Northwood Hotel in the 1800s and is rumored to be haunted. There have been reports of a woman in an old-fashioned dress in the ballroom and a workman carrying a ladder. One employee claimed that a glass ornament was thrown at her by unseen hands.
Grand Victorian Bed and Breakfast Inn: Henry Richardi built the house in 1895 in an attempt to woo a young woman for a wife. He was not successful in his marriage plans and never lived in the house. He moved to California in 1925. It is believed that after Henry died, his disappointed spirit came back to Bellaire to rest in the home he built. The house was unoccupied for many years, and there were reports of eerie lights in the cupola area during that time.
Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant: Originally a grist mill in the 1800s, it was converted into a restaurant in the 1950s. The main bar was made using planks from a shipwreck. Visitors and staff have reported hearing footsteps and seeing dishes move on their own. Cold spots have been felt at times in the dining room. The ghost is believed to be a miller who was killed on the job.
The Terrace Inn: Located in Petoskey’s historic Bay View area, has been the site of two deaths since it opened in 1911. There are a couple of rumors about who died. Some say it was two workers that had a beam fall on them during the construction. The other is a woman named Elizabeth Abbey Sweet that was staying in room 211. The story is that she was pregnant and fell in room 211 and miscarried and died. That her husband died years later of a broken heart mourning the loss of his wife and the twins she was carrying.
The Inn is believed to be home to at least three ghosts. A lady in white that wanders the halls and rooms, a man in a tweed suit that overlooks the balcony at the front, and a child in the basement. Guests and staff have reported seeing and hearing these ghosts while at the Inn.
Bowers Harbor Inn: A two-story mansion on the Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City is home to a well-documented ghost. The home was the summer residence of Chicago lumber baron J.W. Stickney and his wife Genevieve. It is believed that Genevieve Stickney is the ghost and is harmless and known to be playful. The Inn is now home to Jolly Pumpkin restaurant and brewery and Mission Table, an upscale restaurant.
Traverse City State Hospital: The state hospital was opened in 1885 as the Northern Michigan Asylum and operated for over 100 years. Dr. James Decker Munson was the first Superintendent of the hospital and ran it with the belief that beauty and tranquility could cure mental illness. Later years, the hospital accepted patients struggling with addiction and expanded during outbreaks of disease. The hospital consisted of multiple buildings with tunnels connecting them. The tunnels were also used as part of a state-of-the-art ventilation system. Rumors have circulated for years about strange occurrences in the buildings and tunnels. The sounds of footsteps and voices and shadowy figures have all been reported. The hospital is now home to condominiums, retail stores, restaurants, an event venue, and more. We highly recommend the tunnel tours that are offered.
Ramsdell Theatre: The theater was built in 1903 for TJ Ramsdell and is believed to be haunted. There have been many reports of strange happenings. Doors slamming shut, lights falling to the floor, and electrical equipment failing. Reports of windows opening by themselves and lights going on and off. It is reported that two apparitions have been seen through the building and floating near the balcony. One is believed to be TJ Ramsdell, the other is a woman whose identity is unknown.
South Manitou Island: The island is located 16 miles offshore from Leland. The island has 300-foot sand dunes, rustic campgrounds, and interesting legends. There are several legends of paranormal activity on the island. Voices heard in an ancient cedar forest, shadowy figures seen in the two cemeteries, and sightings of a young boy on the island. The young boy is rumored to be an island boy that died trying to explore the shipwreck of the SS Francisco Morazán. The voices and figures are believed to be the victims of a cholera outbreak on a ship. Local legend is that a ship full of passengers stricken with cholera stopped at South Manitou. The sailors buried the victims in a mass grave, some still alive at burial.