WEST MICHIGAN - - Scary movies have swept the mainstream, and while you may be safe watching from your couch with popcorn in hand, there’s always an opportunity to come face to face with a ghost, mutant, ghoul, or zombie this time of year.
Not only does West Michigan have stellar haunted houses, but there are also ghost tours, haunted corn mazes, and real ghost sightings around every corner. You may not want to visit these haunted attractions alone, so bring some friends and see if you can survive.
Actually Haunted Locales
Henderson Castle in Kalamazoo is said to have a handful of ghostly guests. Among these spirits are the castle’s original owners, Frank and Mary Henderson, a Spanish-American War veteran, a little girl, and even a dog. These ghostly figures often interact with guests, speaking to them, opening cabinet doors, even appearing as apparitions.
With Halloween right around the corner, it’s also the time of the year when unseen things go bump in the night. Visit Coldwater for the Historical Paranormal Penlight Tour on Saturday, October 20th. Following a presentation by local paranormal experts, the Paranormal Penlight Tour will kick off on the south side of Oak Grove Cemetery.
The Mackinaw City area is home to nearly 20 historic lighthouses located along the shoreline of Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and the Straits of Mackinac. Some lighthouse keepers have lost their lives during their tenure and a handful are still said to haunt their former lights. Waugoshance Shoal Lighthouse is one of the most haunted in Michigan, where former keeper John Herman was known to play practical jokes over a hundred years after his death. McGulpin Point is rumored to be home to the spirit of a young girl who has been seen looking out from one of the upper windows. Within a short drive of Mackinaw City, you can also find ghostly lights in the Upper Peninsula including Seul Choix, Point Iroquois, Whitefish Point, and New and Old Presque Isle Lights.
Situated in the middle of Copper Country, the AmericInn Lodge & Suites of Calumet has many ghost tales to tell. The Copper Country was once a booming copper mining area that was the destination for many immigrants from around the world. Once the copper mining slowed and then eventually stopped, people left the area to look for work elsewhere. This left at least 18 different ghost town scattered throughout the peninsula. As you travel through, you’ll see what’s left of these old towns and be sure to check out some of the local cemeteries dating all the way back to the 1840s. During your stay, ask the staff about their ghost pictures, where you will see children appearing in the picture and some days a bank setting will have a teller and other days a customer. They have over 100 pictures of the area lining their walls and they look forward to sharing their history with you.
Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island quickly became a popular tourist destination because of its unique history. Built in the 1950s, the resort was donated in 1966 to become the Mackinac College but only graduated one class in 1970 before it became a hotel. One of the most famous ghosts of the resort was a student of this short-lived school, named Harvey. The legend goes that he was so heartbroken after having his proposal to his girlfriend turned down that he took his own life in the woods. However, police reports have since refuted this and there is believed to be another person involved in the death since the gun was not found on the scene. Ghostly whispers of the word “shotgun” and “soundstage” can often be heard, which has led many to believe that the murder weapon is hidden somewhere within the large stage at the resort.
The Grand Hotel, one of Mackinac Island’s most popular tourist destinations, was built in the late 19th century and since then, many odd and disturbing stories have come from its grounds. Most notably, it is said that there were human skeletons unearthed when the foundation was originally laid. The horse corral on the grounds is right atop the island’s original Post Cemetery. The hotel is allegedly home to an ominous red-eyed shadow, a piano playing man in a top hat, and a wandering woman in Victorian clothing who all have been spotted in various places throughout the Grand Hotel’s grounds.
Ask the front desk at the Terrace Inn in Petoskey if they have had anything paranormal happen and they’ll bring you a thick folder titled “Ghost Files” with first-hand accounts from previous guests and workers. Throughout these documents, you’ll find that there are mainly three spirits that haunt the historic inn: a lady in white that spends her time in the hallways and rooms of guests, a man in tweed who appears on the inn’s balcony, and a young boy who roams the basement. Every October, the Terrace Inn hosts a Ghost Hunters Weekend where they invite the public to stay and try to witness ghosts with their own eyes.
“Jack” is the nickname given to the legendary ghost of a lumberjack who was killed in a barroom knife fight in 1847 at what is now the Grill House in Allegan. Occasionally, lights, radios, and television go on and off at odd times. Doors unexpectedly open and close. Faucets turn on by themselves. Sometimes, you can hear footsteps at night. His blurry presence has even shown up in photos taken at the restaurant. Jack’s legacy lives on over 170 years later.
The Blue Pelican Inn in Central Lake has a storied history with ghosts and the paranormal. Visitors and staff have experienced unexplainable noises and eerie figures since the inn’s construction. Paranormal investigation teams have visited the inn and experience some of the hauntings themselves. The inn’s haunted history is well documented on their website.
Shadowy figures, strange noises, and mysteriously shifted objects have all been witnessed at the Mitten Brewing Company in Grand Rapids. One night during the second week of operation, owner Chris Andrus was the last person to leave the Engine House, heading home at 2am after mopping the facility. He was also the first one to arrive early the next morning. As he prepared the taproom for opening, he checked the front lobby and noticed a few footprints left from the wet mop water the night before. At first, Chris thought nothing of it, but after a few minutes, he realized no one else had been in the building between his leaving and return, and that the prints were made by bare feet. He returned to the footprints and made a perplexing discovery: they were the footprints of a child. More footprints would show up over the following years, along with shadows, silhouettes, and noises.
Spooky Attractions & Haunted Houses
The Zombie Escape Room in Mt. Pleasant is great fun with friends and family. The escape room is open on October 19th and 20th, so get a group together and test your skills!
Now in its fourth year, the Michigan Maritime Museum is transforming into a maze of terrifying thrills and chills that are not for the faint of heart. This event is part of South Haven’s annual Haven Harvest Festival and will be open on October 19th and 20th.
The Tri-Cities Museum in Grand Haven is hosting their haunted museum event on Saturday, October 20th. This free event focuses on education and fun while visitors learn about how Halloween was celebrated in the past. The Victorian House exhibit in the museum will remain decorated for Halloween through October 31st.
Every fall, the SS City of Milwaukee is transformed into the Manistee Ghost Ship. Explore this enormous ship, but look out for the ghosts and ghouls that lurk around every corner. This experience is available every Friday and Saturday in October.
The Haunt in Grand Rapids has been West Michigan’s choice for fear since 2001, and they’re bringing new scares to a new location in 2018. Make your way through dark hallways and zombified nightmares inside the 50,000 square feet indoor facility. Your ticket gets you into each of the four terrifying attractions. The Haunt is open from now until the end of October.
The largest haunted attraction in southwest Michigan, Niles Scream Park, continues their mission to terrify everybody that enters the grounds. Visit all five of their main attractions, each of which is uniquely themed and professionally redesigned each year to scare you and your friends. Almost as popular as the Niles Haunted House is the outdoor Field of Screams attraction. It is full of mazes to disorient you and special effects that will dazzle and confuse your senses. Once they have you where they want you, the characters in the field will make sure to maximize the scare effect. Parking and entry to the midway are both free.
If you’re headed to Mackinac Island, check out some of the haunted houses that are right on the island, or visit a place that’s truly haunted with Mission Point Resort.
Haunted Events & Exhibits
The Haunted Hall in Muskegon, open Fridays and Saturdays in October, is a fun haunted event to check out with your friends and family.
It may not be as scary as a ghost or ghoul, but the Hotel Frankfort’s Murder Mystery nights will get your blood pumping. Join them on either October 26th or 27th for an interactive murder mystery dinner, and see if you can solve who shot the sheriff. This elaborate evening can only be solved by you, so put on your thinking cap and see if you can figure out who the murderer is.
Promote Michigan’s president Dianna Stampfler is hosting a series of free programs at libraries around the state to promote her upcoming book Michigan’s Haunted Lighthouses. The state has more than 120 historic beacons and nearly three dozen are rumored to be haunted. Lighthouse keepers were known to be extremely dedicated to their profession and it seems that many were never able to give it up, even after death. More than 30 lights in Michigan are rumored to be haunted.
Discover the magic of Victorian Halloween traditions and superstitions this fall at the Cappon House Museum, part of the Holland Museum. Tour the dimly lit rooms of this historic home to learn how Halloween was celebrated 100 years ago. Then, partake in spooky parlor games and broom races, listen to classic ghost stories, have your fortune told, and carve a mini pumpkin to take home. This is a family-friendly event great for families with kids and costumes are encouraged!
Scary Trails & Hayrides
Get the best of both worlds with the Spooky and Haunted Trail Walk at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville. Visit on October 20th or 27th and choose between the family-friendly Spooky Walk or the terrifying Haunted Walk. Ride the Loki lift and follow the lanterns before heading down your chosen trail.
If a ride filled with terror and surprises sounds fun, don’t miss the haunted hayride in Marquette from October 18th to 20th! The 40-minute tractor-drawn hayride weaves through the “scaregrounds” in darkness with eerie encounters awaiting those brave enough to board.
The Haunted Trail at Bundy Hill Off Road Recreation Company in Jerome is Friday, October 19th. Take an ATV or 4×4 through the woods as you pass clowns, zombies, and monsters hiding among the trees.
October is a month full of scares and family fun in Mecosta County. The area offers corn mazes and haunted trails all month long. The Haunted Corn Maze is open every Friday and Saturday in October, while the Haunted Fish Hatchery is open on October 19th, 20th, 26th, and 27th.
Don’t miss an eerie night of history’s most terrifying and gruesome moments as Michigan’s Heritage Park hosts their Annual Haunted Trail in Whitehall on October 26th and 27th. This after-hours event will examine the bone-chilling legends, myths, and tales from the 1600s through the early 1900s. With 10,000 years of horror, nothing is off the table during this two-night event!
Get scared and help a local charity with the Forest of Fear in Grayling. The forest is open every Friday and Saturday in October. This event has grown over the past 13 years, and this year is no different.
Located in Belmont, Cannonsburg’s take on a haunted hayride includes zombies and paintball. Zombie Paintball is an interactive spooky, action-packed experience designed for all ages. Ride through the Cannonsburg woods blasting zombies with paintballs along the way.
Cornwell’s Turkeyville in Marshall has haunted activities for the entire family. A scary barn will keep you guessing around every corner and the hayride through an alien trail is not as quiet as it may seem. See if you can make it through the corn maze, but beware of the signs that you may find along the way! When you’re done, stop by the Turkeyville restaurant and ice cream parlor for a bite to eat.
MyNorth is selling tickets for a terrifying haunted house in L’Anse. Teens and adults wander aimlessly through a maze of terrifying rooms and hallways with a scare at every turn.
The Michigan City LaPorte area in Indiana is hosting the Hesston Ghost Train every weekend from now until October 28th. The train will take you through a haunted woods, where you may see a ghost or two.
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