Haunted Places to Sleep at in Michigan
Written by Michigan’s Otherside
For the paranormal enthusiast, spending the night in a haunted location is the ultimate experience. Maybe they come home with a spooky story to tell everyone. A door opened on its own or they swear “something” sat down on the foot of their bed. Maybe they felt an icy, cold chill pass through them while putting on their pj’s. Or…absolutely nothing happened and they feel the hotel and the ghosts ripped them off. Here is a list of potentially haunted places you can spend the night at in Michigan.
This beautiful island in Lake Huron is home to the best fudge on the planet, no cars and more haunted history than one could ever ask for in such a small location. Every place on the island seems to have a ghost story. With its fascinating past, Mackinac is in no short supply of the kind of history that generates plenty of paranormal activity: British occupation, American occupation, wars, sacred Native American places, murder, mayhem — the list goes on.
First, if you spend the night on the island, take a ghost tour with Haunts of Mackinac and let them guide you to many of the locations rumored to have a few invisible guests.
Todd Clements, owner of Haunts of Mackinac ghost tours, is the “go to” guy for all things haunted on Mackinac Island and told the Petoskey News, “The island is full of limestone and that transmits electrical charges,” which according to some paranormal theories, is believed to make ghosts appear more often to people and possibly be a generator for paranormal activity. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the entire island seems to be haunted?
So what place is the most haunted? Um…anywhere if the above theory is correct.
Mission Point Resort
The TV show Ghost Hunters on the SyFy network made this place a haunted destination with episode 6, season 7 “Frozen In Fear.” The episode explores the Mission Point theater and the story of a man possibly murdered on the property.
“Harvey,” as he’s been nicknamed, was a student when the location was briefly the Mackinac College. It’s said he died in the 1960’s after he shot himself in the woods behind the school in the snowy, cold month of February. The story said he was distraught over a girl. They found his body six months later in July.
Researcher Todd Clements verified the death with the Mackinac police, who stated the man had actually been shot twice in the head, but a gun had never been found.
Ghostly EVP (electronic voice phenomena) have been recorded and the words “shotgun” and “soundstage” have been heard, making some speculate if the murder weapon was stashed in the theater somewhere, which has been a paranormally active location.
Grand Hotel is a Mackinac Island icon and is one of the most noticeable buildings visitors see as they approach the island by ferry. It’s huge! Built in 1887, it has the longest front porch in the world at 660 feet. Many people also know this hotel from the well-loved 1980 time travel movie, Somewhere In Time starring Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour.
Everyone would like to think Grand Hotel has plenty of ghosts, mostly based on its age and opulent appearance, but the hotel does not endorse or advertise any paranormal activity within its walls, even though stories exist.
Ghosts witnessed at Grand Hotel have been of the “classic” kind — luminescent women in Victorian gowns and a male ghost sporting a top hat in the bar. Even the hotel’s ghosts keep up with the old theme of the place. The excellent book Haunts of Mackinac does mention some ghostly activity, namely a mysterious “woman in black” seen walking a large white dog on the porch and the ghost of a child they call “Rebecca” who is said to haunt the fourth floor. But with the history and longevity of this old hotel, there’s no surprise a few reports of strange and unusual activity have been reported. You’ll just have to save your pennies and splurge for a night or two at this pricey place and see what happens if you are on the hunt for a ghost.
The Island House Hotel
Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973, this old place was built in 1852, making it the oldest running hotel on the island. While this hotel doesn’t seem to have a super exciting ghost story attached to it, there have been reports of a male entity seen and furniture moved on its own.
Harbor View Inn
Madeleine La Framboise, one of Michigan’s first successful businesswomen, built and lived in this beautiful mansion. After her husband was murdered, she took over his fur trade business and made a name for herself, continuing to expand and become very wealthy.
Of French and Odawa descent, Madeleine was able to speak English, French and Native American languages, which gave her an advantage with other peoples looking to trade.
Madeleine’s daughter died delivering her son in 1820 and Madeleine died 26 years later in 1846. The family was buried on the island beneath the altar of Sainte Anne Church.
What’s spooky is the fact that the remains of Madeleine, her daughter, and her baby son, were moved during construction in the 1950’s when the church wanted to add a basement. Todd Clements writes that the remains were stored in a basement for some time before finally being returned to a proper burial and that’s maybe when the paranormal activity kicked in, causing a possible “curse” on the church and a ghostly presence at the old mansion.
Pine Cottage and Chateau Lorraine
Could Pine Cottage be one of the most haunted locations on Mackinac Island?
Pine Cottage is haunted by four ghosts that simply go by the names: the man, the little girl, the woman and most disturbing — “the creature.” Thankfully “the creature” isn’t spotted often. He has been described as a man bent over “with horns lining his back.” No thanks.
Room number 4 is haunted by “the woman” who appears to be a helpful ghost. Some wonder if she is the spirit of the woman who was murdered there in 1942, a murder that went unsolved. “The man” is thought to be the woman’s killer.
“The little girl” is the most active of the four entities. People who have encountered her have reported blonde hair and a sad face. Her story says she was abandoned by her drunkard parents.
Across the street is Chateau Lorraine. Browsing sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, the occasional reviewer mentions a paranormal experience. One couple who stayed at the Chateau heard someone running in the hallway at night. Another man woke up to a man touching his shoulder and asking him “if he was okay” and then turning around and walking out of their room.
Overall, these two B&B’s are a good price and if you are staying in hopes of encountering the paranormal, you won’t break the bank. The biggest complaint people seemed to have was the decor. I guess some people need their rooms photo shoot ready in case Architectural Digest shows up.
The Murray Hotel
On Friday, July 29, 1960, national newspaper headlines read, “Rich Widow Found Slain On Mackinac.” Frances Lacey of Dearborn, Michigan had been staying at what is now the Murray Hotel. She went missing on Sunday, July 24, 1960, and her body was found five days later on the property of the Mission Point Resort, then owned by the Moral Re-Armament Organization who originally built it. She had been strangled and her murder is unsolved to this day. Because of the tragedy that happened, people are inclined to believe a ghost haunts the premises now.
Of course, there are a handful of other places on the island including many more B&Bs. Pick up a copy of Haunts of Mackinac by Todd Clements. It’s the perfect ghostly guide to all things haunted on Mackinac Island. I referenced much of the above from this excellent little book.
The Terrace Inn – Petoskey
Unlike some places that may not advertise their paranormal activity, the Terrace Inn embraces it. They have held paranormal conferences and ghost hunts for its guests in previous years that are always sold out.
The Terrace Inn has the classic “Lady in White” apparition, objects that have moved on their own, ghostly forms seen on staircases and the always disturbing — disembodied voices. There is also said to be a man spotted in a tweed jacket standing on the balcony, “looking in.” Haunted Travels of Michigan also reported a “little shadow person in the basement” they felt was the most active paranormal entity.
A definite spot to stay at for the paranormal enthusiast looking to get a few winks (or none) on Michigan’s sunset coast.
Stafford’s Perry Hotel – Petoskey
This old hotel has been in operation since 1899 and was “one of the original luxury hotels” during the early 20th century. It offers its guests a beautiful place to eat and sleep while overlooking Little Traverse Bay.
A business manager shared his personal experiences with a reporter from the Petoskey News in 2008 and said they have all been “friendly encounters.” People have reported seeing a ghost in the library and the reporter heard phantom music in the library. Who doesn’t love a library with a ghost in it?
In her book Michigan’s Most Haunted, Author Sandy Arno Lyons interviewed the staff in 2007. One report talked about a man who was pestering the ladies all night in the Noggin Bar. That night, he awoke in his bed to see a glowing lady dressed in white, floating above him, waving her finger at him with a mean look on her face. Terrified, he left the room in the middle of the night and sat in the lobby waiting for the restaurant to open so he could get his coffee and get out. The staff named her, “The Lady of the Lake.” Was the spirit annoyed by this man’s behavior in the bar?
This same glowing figure was also seen sitting in the library on the surveillance camera and many suspect her name is actually Doris due to the fact the book, The Autobiography of Doris Day” always turns up in odd places in the library.
National House Inn – Marshall
Built in 1835, the National House Inn is Michigan’s oldest, operating hotel and is on the National Register of Historic Places and is also a Michigan historical landmark. Having been a halfway stop for people traveling between Detroit and Chicago, the inn enjoyed success during the early railroad years but eventually became apartments and fell into disrepair through the decades. In 1976, it was renovated and preserved and has been a highly rated 16 bedroom B&B ever since.
Paranormal activity was said to have kicked in after the renovations, which is not uncommon. It’s a widely held belief in the paranormal that renovations in a building increase or awaken paranormal activity. The ghost of a woman wearing a red dress has been seen floating in the hallways and historically, it’s been suspected to have been a stop on the underground railroad.
If you don’t encounter a ghost at the National House Inn, join in on a horse-drawn carriage or walking ghost tour from the Marshall Carriage Company just 1.5 miles away from the inn. Marshall also boasts having one of the largest historical districts in an urban area in the United States, so it’s no wonder they have tons of history and hauntings!
The Inn on Ferry Street – Detroit
These four Victorian mansions and two carriage houses are on East Ferry Avenue in the Midtown historic district of Detroit. Around 2000, they were lovingly restored. Decorated with precision and style, there isn’t anything tacky about the Inn on Ferry Street. According to a lonely little blurb from a website called The Indulgent Traveler, an apparition of a woman in a wedding dress has been seen in the Roehm House and room 4102 of the Owen House has a ghost. True or not? I’m wondering if the many pictures of brides in the Roehm House have anything to do with what people are seeing. After a friend stayed the night at the Roehm House, he had peculiar dreams about a bride ghost lifting him from his bed!
Nahma Inn – Nahma
The Nahma Inn is said to be haunted by a woman who used to work in the kitchen. She will organize and move things about. According to their website, they believe the ghost to be Nell Flemming. Her boyfriend Charlie left and she watched for his return from a second story window, but he never came back for her and people say she is still looking for her lost love Charlie. Her room is reported to be haunted. People have witnessed glasses slide off tables on their own in the lounge.
If you have stayed at any of these locations and have a story to share, share it with Michigan’s Otherside.com to be featured in this article.
Michigan’s Otherside.com is not affiliated with any of these places nor does it endorse them. The ghost stories are based on the author’s research and people’s experiences that may or may not be fact. Please use websites like Yelp or TripAdvisor to figure out if these places are worth staying at. When looking up “haunted” places to stay, be cautious that some places may be fabricating their stories or exaggerating to cash in on paranormal popularity. I based this list on books, websites, and personal knowledge and tried to include ones I felt were hopefully worth it.
- Clements, Todd. Haunts of Mackinac: Ghost Stories, Legends, & Tragic Tales of Mackinac Island. Grosse Pointe, MI: House of Hawthorne Pub., 2006. Print.
- Creager, Ellen. “Haunted Hotels in Michigan.” Detroit Free Press. Joyce Jenereaux, 25 Oct. 2012. Web. 18 May 2016. <https://web.archive.org/web/20150610004430/http://archive.freep.com/article/20121025/FEATURES07/121025037/haunted-hotels-Michigan>.
- “Marshall Hauntings, National House Inn.” Haunted Houses.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 May 2016. <http://www.hauntedhouses.com/states/mi/national_house_inn.htm>.
- “The Official Haunted History Tour of Mackinac Island.” Travelling Assassin. N.p., 07 Aug. 2011. Web. 18 May 2016. <https://travellingassassin.com/2011/08/07/the-official-haunted-history-tour-of-mackinac-island-and-the-ghost-of-harvey/>.
- Singer, Marci. “Ghosts: Not a ‘believer’… Yet.” Schurz-Petoskey News. N.p., 23 Oct. 2008. Web. 18 May 2016. <http://articles.petoskeynews.com/2008-10-23/ghost-stories_24026035>.
- Tedsen, Kathleen R., and Beverlee J. Rydel. Haunted Travels of Michigan. Holt, MI: Thunder Bay, 2008. Print.
- Webb, Ali. “Things That Go Bump In The Night at Haunted Hotels.” Indulgent Traveler. Battle Creek Enquirer, 25 Oct. 2013. Web. 18 May 2016. <http://www.indulgenttraveler.com/?p=397>.