I grew up in a haunted house, at least that’s what my friends thought.
My mother kept mannequins in our upstairs room with a bank of windows that face the busy Petoskey street.
For the record, I don’t recall the mannequins, or any ghosts or spirits, visiting me over the many years I lived there. While the topic of my childhood house being haunted is still up for debate, there is plenty of talk about other haunted spots in Northern Michigan and the Great Lakes area.
In Mackinac Island, you can visit the Haunts of Mackinac during the tourist season. You will walk through a guides tour, stopping at locations such as the Island House hotel to hear tales of “Charlie,” the “gentleman ghost” who walks the fourth floor wearing an overcoat and top hat.
Up the hill at Fort Mackinac, there have been reports of children ghosts playing with toys as well as apparitions close to the north sally port, which is near the post cemetery.
Mackinac Island isn’t the only haunted spot in the Straits area. With more shipwrecks than anywhere else in the country, the presence of nautical haunts is not hard to find. In Lake Superior, shipwrecks also mean ghosts. Near Isle Royale, the SS Kamloops went down in 1927. One of the crew from the ship, known as Gramps, seems to shadow divers exploration near the area.
Another famous wreck is Le Griffon, built by famed French explorer Rene de La Salle, that went missing in September 1679. The wreck’s location remains a mystery, though it’s likely in Lake Michigan somewhere. Mariners have shared stories of a ghost ship on a collision course with their own, only to see it vanish at the last minute.
All along the shorelines, particularly Lake Michigan, there are stories abound of ghosts and spirits, the combination likely the result of ghoulish weather and large tracts of uninhabited forest.
Back here on Little Traverse Bay, some believe the Perry Hotel is haunted by the ghost of a woman named Doris. Doris is said to wander along the hotel’s top floors though issuing no ill will.
At the Terrace Inn in Bayview, a man in tweed appears, some say, looking over balconies but disappears as quickly as he materializes. Again, these apparitions are harmless, so they bring much curiosity for guests more than concern.
Looking back, I’m not sure my boyhood home was haunted, though, like these other tales, it always makes for a good ghost story