The Shores of Michigan


What brings ghosts and lighthouses together? Perhaps they are haunted by
residual energy from the past... or the spriits of their former keepers, who cannot cross over
and leave their lights unattended..

There is no doubt that the Great Lakes, and the shores of Michigan, have more than their share of lighthouses. These lights have guided the way for sailors for generations....and may be still guiding the way today, for their ghosts.

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Ghosts and old lighthouses often seem to go together. Many lighthouses have ghosts, or at least tales of ghosts, that usually revolve around lonely lighthouse keepers or shipwrecks caused by some failure to keep the tower light burning. The commonly haunted spot in an old lighthouse is invariably the stairs to the tower.... why? Those who are familiar with a "residual" haunting will say that the energy expended on those stairs has left an imprint that repeats itself over and over again causing the sound of phantom footsteps to be heard. When the human occupants of the lighthouse try to track down a source for the sounds... there is usually no one there.
There are also those other lighthouses.... haunted by phantoms from the past that still reach out to the present day. The tower of Michigan's old Saginaw River Light is said to be a place where a ghost of the past may walk.... or at least it sounds as if he does. This lighthouse is said to be haunted, but no one really knows who the ghost might be. Many believe that it could be the spirit of an old lighthouse keeper who died in the building. Before passing on, he begged his family to keep the light going and to never let it go out. By all accounts, the family did just that and the light was kept burning for many years.

Shortly after the Coast Guard took over the light, strange things started to be reported here. Namely it was the sound of heavy boots on the iron staircase that were often heard. When the men would go to check and see who was on the stairs, they would find no one there. Another haunted spot is the Presque Isle Light near Alpena, Michigan. The tale is told here of a lighthouse keeper's wife who went insane because of the loneliness of her husband's position. It is said that he imprisoned the madwoman in a cell below the lighthouse and she spent her last days there, shrieking insanely. It is said that her screams can still be heard today.

During the 1930's and 1940's, the lighthouse at Thunder Bay Island, east of Alpena, Michigan was reputedly haunted by the ghost of a former keeper named "Morgan". It is believed that his spirits walks here because of his death many years ago. He died of loneliness in this desolate spot, a place so remote that the lighthouse was automated in 1980. The island is abandoned now...except for the ghost of "Morgan", who still roams the island's shoreline.

Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor

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