Secluded on a steep hill overlooking downtown Kalamazoo, opulent Henderson Castle first served as the private home of a prominent businessman and his wife. Constructed of Lake Superior sandstone and brick in 1895, the Queen Anne-styled mansion, now a luxury bed-and-breakfast, conveys the meticulous taste of a bygone era with modern-day aplomb — including a private bath, air conditioning, Wi-Fi and flat-screen TV in each uniquely tailored room.
But just as its French chef, upscale dining, rooftop hot tub, heated marble floors, day spa massages, organic garden and wine cave have drawn Henderson Castle acclaim, noted episodes with resident ghosts — variously said to be the home’s original owners, an unidentified little girl, a Spanish-American War veteran and a dog — have done the same.
Reported hauntings: Voices from unplugged radios, physical taps on the shoulder and full apparitions in period dress are among those reported by paranormal teams and guests. (hendersoncastle.com)
TERRACE INN AND 1911 RESTAURANT, PETOSKEY
Situated in the historic Bay View Association a mile from Petoskey’s Gaslight Village, this three-story landmark — a popular resort hotel during Michigan’s Chautauqua era that was rebuilt after a fire in 1911 — is consistently praised for its excellent guest service, Chicken Hemingway and authentic period charm, though spacious suites equipped with kitchenettes, air conditioning and jetted tubs attract visitors, too.
The gracious inn’s decades-long history of supernatural happenings has long held an appeal for paranormal investigators, whose mix of evidence underscores the presence of three resident spirits: The Lady in White, known to roam the halls; a man in a tweed jacket, seen on the balcony; and an active “little shadow person” in the basement.
ANCHOR INN, HOUGHTON LAKE HEIGHTS
Tucked just back from the state’s largest inland lake, this century-old family restaurant, lounge and hotel is renowned for supernatural incidents dating back to the 1940s.
While ties to tribal land, the logging era, a brothel, Al Capone and a portal of spiritual energy nearby are attributed to the array of eyewitness accounts, electronic voice phenomena and other eerie events, the bright, friendly spot also is lauded for its inviting mix of menu items, happy hour drinks and fun events — including dancing, darts, horseshoes and haunted tours.
Reported hauntings: Everything from full-scale apparitions, shadow figures, voices, orbs and mists to moving objects, faucets turning on/off and electrical disturbances. (anchorinnhlk.com)
SWEET DREAMS VICTORIAN INN, BAY PORT
Just south of Caseville in Michigan’s Thumb and offering views of Lake Huron, this historic bed-and-breakfast is a regular component in books and websites chronicling Michigan’s “Most Haunted” spots. Though a personal paranormal incident can’t be guaranteed, its website states: “Due to the hauntings, many guests don’t make it through their stay,” with an added, “No refunds. No exceptions.”
Built in 1890 as a private home by businessman William H. Wallace, the residence remained in the family for nearly a century before changing hands twice as a B&B — first in the 1980s and then in 2001. Ideally situated for outdoor pursuits near a public boat launch, Sweet Dreams has undergone notable renovations.
The Peacock Room and the third-floor suite — once a ballroom that hosted lively all-night parties — are said to be especially active with paranormal activity.
Reported hauntings: Lights turning on/off; doors opening/closing; disembodied voices and laughing; music from past eras; moving objects; electronic disturbances; stagecoach apparitions. (sweetdreamsinn.net)
For lodging details and to learn more about special events scheduled this fall season at these and other “eerie” inns, visit the listed websites.
Felt Mansion darkness tours
Maybe watching too much “Ghost Adventures” has you hyped to hunt ghosts, or you wonder about weird happenings at your family’s lake cottage, or maybe you simply enjoy the haunted lore of Halloween.
Saugatuck’s Felt Estate has decided to oblige paranormal enthusiasts by opening the “unhaunted mansion” for darkness tours during October.
The Felt Mansion is well-known as a hot spot for ghostly activity among paranormal investigators and has consistently made the Top Ten Haunted Sites in Michigan list. Due to the number of requests for late-night, lights-out tours, Friends of the Felt Estate offers tours from Oct. 12-31 for private group rentals or public tours. Cost is $30 per person for public tours; times are 9-11:30 p.m. Oct. 23-24 and Oct. 30-31. Private group rentals are available during other select days and times (see website for prices and reservations).
The mansion is not a decorated haunted house with ghosts and zombies looming in the darkness. Individuals take a self-guided tour of the mansion — in virtual darkness — and enter at their own risk. A flashlight is recommended, as the only lighting in the rooms is minimal electronic candles in the windows. Cameras and recording equipment are allowed. The basement, usually off limits to guests, is also open during the tours.
Chicago inventor Dorr Felt, who became a millionaire after inventing the first office processing machine, purchased several hundred acres on the shores of Lake Michigan and had the mansion built for his wife, Agnes. Construction on the 12,000-square-foot, Georgian-style home with 25 rooms began in 1925 and took three years to complete. Agnes died six weeks after the family moved in, and Dorr died in 1930.
The property later became the St. Augustine Seminary, a Catholic prep school for young men that also housed nuns. In the late 1970s, the state of Michigan purchased the property to use as a prison. It later fell into disrepair, and Laketown Township bought the land for $1 from the state in the 1990s.
For information on the darkness tours, call (616) 335-8982 or feltmansion.org/october-blackness-tours. — Marla R. Miller
Other spots to get spooked
The Inn on Ferry Street, Detroit. Comprised of four restored Victorian homes and two carriage houses in the cultural pulse of Midtown Detroit, the acclaimed inn offers 40 upscale guest rooms, each featuring a unique floor plan and furnishings. Legendary haunts include an amiable apparition in a wedding dress who roams Roehm House, and a male ghost in Room 4102 of Owen House who grabs visitors’ arms at night. (innonferrystreet.com)
Doherty Hotel, Clare. Shadowy apparitions, the sudden scent of perfume, loud knockings coming from the empty lobby and doors to guests’ rooms unlocking and opening during the night are among accounts noted at this lodging option, a renowned site for gangsters and murder in the 1920s and ’30s. (dohertyhotel.net)
Stafford’s Perry Hotel, Petoskey. Built in 1899 before northern Michigan tourism had yet bloomed, the comfortably elegant Perry Hotel — perched on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan — is storied to be haunted by a ghost named Doris (among others), whose presence is most often linked to the library. (staffords.com)
National House Inn, Marshall. Originally built as a train station hotel in 1835, this locale — most noted for its urban legend of the Lady in Red, seen in second-story windows — also served as a wagon factory and part of the Underground Railroad. (nationalhouseinn.com)
Landmark Inn, Marquette. A town librarian awaiting the return of a sailor she was to marry, whose ship went down in a storm, is said to haunt the Lilac Room of this historic hotel (est. 1930). She has been seen in the window looking out to Lake Superior’s shore. (thelandmarkinn.com) — Lisa M. Jensen