The air is getting brisk, the leaves are changing, and…wait, what was that? Did you hear something?
It’s that time of year when spooky tales of legends and lore tend to rise up like the hair on the back of your neck when you hear them. If you’re a fan of scary movies, telling ghost stories around a fire, or finding out about the eerie and unexplained, West Michigan invites you to come experience some hauntingly good fun.
Haunted Places in West Michigan
Feeling brave? Visit these local haunts along the lakeshore, if you dare:
Stop #1: Muskegon
- The White River Light Station – Built in 1875, the White River Light Station is said to be haunted by the spirit of its first keeper, Captain William Robinson, and his wife Sarah. William died in his sleep the night others were to take over his duties after 47 years, and according to legend, he never left.
It’s been reported that Captain Robinson can be heard walking with his cane late at night and into the wee hours of the morning. There have also been reports of tasks being inexplicably completed on their own, many believing that Sarah is still helping with the upkeep of the lighthouse from beyond the grave.
- Frauenthal Theater – Located in downtown Muskegon, this historic theater was built in 1929 and remains a venue for performances (from the living and the dead) to this day. Visitors and staff have claimed to be followed by an apparition in black, to have answered a knock at a door with no one on the other side, and to have seen a man in the reflection of a bathroom mirror, only to turn around and witness no one there. There have also been multiple sightings of a mysterious person in the window of a balcony.
Stop #2: Grand Haven
- The Kirby – This popular restaurant in the former 1873 Gildner Hotel, has a long history, including that of the paranormal. The building is believed to be haunted by a ghost in a cowboy hat and another of a girl seen and heard so often, she’s been given the nickname of Emily. Staff have reported seeing apparitions, hearing laughter when no one is there, and also hearing a girl’s voice eerily calling out their names.
- Lake Forest Cemetery – While cemeteries are often touted as scary places that can make your skin crawl, Grand Haven’s Lakeforest Cemetery has some particularly eerie reports of paranormal activity, unexplained cold spots, and a legendary blue apparition.
There have been multiple sightings of a mysterious blue figure, believed to be the spirit of the town’s founder, Reverend William M. Ferry, who was buried at the top of Ferry Hill.
The stairway leading to his grave has become known as the “Stairway to Heaven”…or sometimes the “Stairway to Hell”. Legend has it that those buried here must travel up the staircase in hopes of finding a white light at the top — the doorway to heaven. If no white light appears, they must turn and descend to what awaits them below.
In addition, apparitions have been spotted at Potter’s Field within the cemetery where the remains of an estimated 1500 of the town’s poorest people have been buried in a mass, unmarked grave.
Stop #3: Holland
- Felt Mansion – located between Holland and Saugatuck, this 25-room estate built in 1928 was once a seminary and a correctional facility. So many reports of unexplained phenomena have been made that the mansion offers tours after dark where you can wander the halls by candlelight alone. Ah, but if you think the idea of being inside is frightening, beware of the surrounding woods where legend has it that dangerous mutants roam.
- Holland Castle – Built in 1890, this German castle is said to be haunted by a girl grieving a man she once loved. Her apparition has been seen looking longingly out the tower window. Have you the courage to gaze up and catch sight of her yourself?
Stop #4: South Haven
- Hawks Head/McDowell Cemetery – At this alleged burial site of Flora, Al Capone’s mistress, her ghost has been sighted wearing a white gauzy dress. It has been said that the sound of chimes conjures up her appearance.
- The South Haven Lighthouse – James S. Donahue lost his leg in the Civil War and was later appointed the keeper of South Haven’s lighthouse in 1874…where his spirit remains. People have claimed hearing hobbling footsteps down the halls as well as other unexplained sounds and self-opening doors.
Less Daunting Haunted Places in West Michigan
Of course, places believed to be truly haunted are not for everyone. For those who prefer an experience a little less daunting, there are plenty of “haunted” houses, mazes, and events around the area, along with color tours and other fun fall activities the whole family can enjoy.
Make West Michigan Your Local Haunt!
West Michigan is rich with history, culture, and local lore. To be a part of West Michigan history, reach out to BlueWest Properties. We can help you find the perfect home in the West Michigan area to start your next chapter, though we can’t guarantee it won’t be haunted! (Just kidding).
Looking for the perfect lakeshore home?
Contact BlueWest Properties to learn more!