Ghost stories from Mackinac Island

Once fall arrives at the USA’s Best Summer Travel Destination, a different feeling comes to Mackinac Island. As the crowds thin, the leaves change and nightfall comes earlier, the atmosphere can become a bit mysterious. Spooky, even.

No wonder it’s the busiest time of year for the Haunts of Mackinac history tour. During the 90-minute walking tour that covers about one mile at a leisurely pace, a guide tells entertaining stories while leading the group past several haunted sites on Mackinac Island.

Fog shrouds Mackinac Island's historic Fort Mackinac as seen from below in Marquette Park

Haunts of Mackinac Tour

In a place such as Mackinac Island with so much history, there’s no shortage of stories to share. Todd Clements has compiled many of them in his book, “Haunts of Mackinac.”

The book tells of a mother seen weeping over the late 19th-century graves of her two young children buried in Mackinac Island’s Post Cemetery. It speaks of a presence on the Rifle Range Trail that just may be the ghost of the first person executed on Mackinac Island.

Among other stories shared in the book are how several of the places to stay on Mackinac Island have reported hauntings of one kind or another, from footsteps in the halls to furniture moving around. There’s also the curious case of the oldest building in Michigan, which now houses the Kids’ Quarters at Fort Mackinac. The toys in the room always get put away neatly at night, yet staff sometimes arrive in the morning to find the toys out of place as if they were played with.

Large House with All its Lights On During Night on Mackinac Island

Ghost Sightings on Mackinac Island

Clements and other guides on the Haunts of Mackinac tour can tell you stories for hours, and even skeptics find them to be a little creepy:

  • There are many accounts of ghosts being seen inside Fort Holmes, the restored British stronghold atop Mackinac Island’s highest point. It’s a popular spot for stargazing, but many people also have reported seeing three soldiers conversing, then – poof! – they disappear as if they’ve been startled. Are the soldiers talking about how to combat the ill-fated American attack of Major Andrew Holmes during the War of 1812? Did they perish during the time at the fort, with their remains buried somewhere nearby? No one knows for sure.

 

  • There’s also a story of “Lucy,” a young girl who reportedly has been seen in many locations on Mackinac Island through the years. She has curly hair and wears a light-colored sundress, and she has been seen following people on the staircase at Crow’s Nest Trail by Anne’s Tablet, peeking out the windows at Pine Cottage B&B and on several occasions during Haunts of Mackinac tours. Not much is known of “Lucy,” either, how she died or why she’s haunting the island still today.

What is known is that the ghosts of Mackinac Island are not menacing in any way. They just appear from time to time, especially in the fall as leaves tumble down the streets and there’s an aura of quiet and calm. (Maybe they just want to get in on the fun of trick-or-treating and costume parties that happen during the Mackinac Island’s Halloween Weekend each October!)

There’s no reason to be frightened by any of the ghosts on Mackinac Island, even if you believe they’re real. But a Haunts of Mackinac history tour still makes for a spooky thrill. Then again, so does a hike in the woods of Mackinac Island State Park after dark.

“I’ll be honest,” says Clements, “that’s scary.”

A soldier stands by a lantern and looks out from Mackinac Island's historic Fort Mackinac at night

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