Halloween in Metro Detroit: Houdini, Haunted Houses and an Heiress

If you love haunted houses, ghost stories, and eerie legends, then Halloween in Pure Michigan is sure to send chills down your spine! Today, guest blogger Dan Fuoco gives us the inside scoop on some must-see haunts and spooky tales in metro Detroit

Haunted Houses

Erebus
The allure of a good scare is a tingling feeling that gets hearts pounding in excitement. A good scare incessantly makes you look over your shoulder, curiously and frantically imagining the worst scenario. It’s the reason Erebus is so wildly popular. This Top 10 nationally recognized haunted attraction claims its’ victims through 4 stories of unique and terrifying paths and hallways.

Slaughtered at Sundown

Photo courtesy of Michelle Andonian Photography

This haunted house, located off a dirt road outside of society, adjacent to a corn field, is the perfect location for a haunted attraction. Enter a dark, winding illusion of decaying zombies, evil carnage, a spine chilling cemetery full of agony and torture.

Harry Houdini Haunts Halloween History in Detroit

The rumor that Houdini drowned in a water torture cell on stage in Detroit is false. In fact, he died at Grace Hospital of peritonitis (an abdominal infection) brought on by untreated appendicitis.

Before coming by train to his performance in Detroit, Houdini was punched in the abdomen by a McGill University student in Montreal. The punch was in response to a claim by Houdini that he could take any punch as a test of his physical strength. This may have precipitated his decline.

Houdini went on stage at the Garrick Theater suffering from severe pain and a fever of 104 degrees. Houdini continued the show even after passing out, until he was eventually taken off stage and transported to Grace Hospital with acute appendicitis.

Houdini died on Halloween.

Spirits Among Us

The Masonic Temple
Built in 1912, the Masonic Temple has over 1,000 rooms, several secret staircases, concealed passages, and hidden compartments in the floors. During construction, wealthy owner George D. Mason ran out of money which prompted his wife to leave him and eventually a death via lunging from the roof top.
Periodically, Temple security guards claim to see his ghost ascending the steps to the roof.

The Whitney
Sightings of lumber baron David Whitney Jr.’s first wife, Flora have circulated throughout Detroit.

Flora told her sister that she always wanted to live in a mansion. Unfortunately, she was unable to fulfill this dream because of a natural death caused before the home was built. A year after Flora’s death, Whitney married her sister Sara.

David Duey, the Whitney’s director of operations, has witnessed the elevator traveling between floors and the doors open and close with no visible riders. “This has been caught on security cameras at night when there is no one in the building,” he says [AwesomeMitten.com].

Do you know any Michigan ghost stories? Tell us in the comments below! 

Dan Fuoco is the Interactive Marketing Manager for the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau (VisitDetroit) and is responsible for building and engaging with VisitDetroit’s social media and blog communities.  You can find him geeking out over: social media infographics, muscle cars and Detroit. Follow him on TwitterInstagram and periodically on Pinterest.

Pure Michigan 2013 Halloween Events Roundup

Halloween is fast approaching! Whether you’re dressed as a ghoul or a goblin, there is plenty of Halloween fun happening across the state. From haunted houses to family-friendly parades, below is your guide to celebrating Halloween in Pure Michigan. Visit michigan.org full a full listing of Halloween events happening around the state!

Amazing Acres Corn Maze
September 14 – October 31, 2013, Edwardsburg
If you’re looking for fun, family entertainment in Cass County, Michigan, make plans to visit the Amazing Acres Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch this Fall! The farm is over 90 acres and is packed with events for every member of the family, young or old. Explore the 14 acre corn maze with over 3.5 miles of paths. Keep a watchful eye for the 12 hidden check points. The Maze is available both day and night. In addition to the corn maze itself, there are many other fun activities for the entire family at Amazing Acres that includes hayrides with horse-drawn and tractor-pulled, pumpkin patch, child-sized haybale maze, thousands of pumpkins and holiday decorations, a goat walk and farms animals. Picnic area, snacks and refreshment stand, campfires available by reservation, face painting, hay jump, two straw mazes and two corn boxes. Located at 18430 US 12 East; Edwardsburg, MI 49112. Open Tuesday thru Friday 4pm to 9pm and Saturday & Sunday noon to 9pm. For more information, click the website link or call (574) 370-3403.

Niles Haunted House
September 13 – November 2, 2013, Niles
The Niles Haunted House Scream Park has 44 acres of multiple haunted attractions, hayrides, games and concessions. It’s guaranteed to scare the YELL out of you. Visit the web site for dates, times, coupon, and admission prices. Niles Haunted House Scream Park is located at 855 Mayflower Road; Niles, MI 49120. Phone for details at (269) 687-FEAR or visit the website. 

Corn Maze at BestMaze
September 13 – October 27, 2013, Williamston
The Corn Maze at BestMaze is great fun for the entire family on weekends from September 13th to October 27. Nineteen acre Corn Maze hours are Fri. 6-10pm; Saturdays 1-10pm, and Sundays 1-9pm. Tickets $8. The BestMaze Corn Maze is located at 3803 Noble Rd; Williamston, Michigan 48895.

Houpt’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch
September 21 – October 31, 2013, Dundee
We have a two acre corn maze, ten acres of U-Pick pumpkins, a Gourd Slinger, Craft Barn, and cider & donuts. We have hayrides on weekends, weather permitting. Offer field trips to groups. A huge favorite is our “Kid’s Weekend” held the third weekend of October every year. Both days of that weekend we have a clown for a couple of hours, a costume contest, and rides all day. We always have the following activities for free, Kid’s Haunted House, Petting Farm and Miniature Golf. Open daily, 10am to dusk. Located at Houpt’s Pumpkin Patch at 19929 Tecumseh Rd; Dundee, Michigan 48131. (Just five miles west of Dundee and Cabela’s on M-50.)

The Bone Yard Scream Park
September 21 – November 2, 2013, Stockbridge
Extreme haunted house, haunted woods, haunted corn maze, and haunted hayride. This attraction takes over an hour to enjoy and have the fear put into you. This is an indoor and outdoor event, please dress accordingly. Scream Park located at 5010 Green Road; Stockbridge, Michigan 49285, just west of Hell. Friday and Saturday, open at 8pm. For more information, visit the website.

Tee Lake Halloween
September 27 – November 2, 2013, Lewiston
Northern Michigan Haunted House & Halloween Attraction, Tee Lake Halloween, offers three unique treats for Halloween fans & families. First, the Drive-Thru Haunt is a FREE, family friendly, self-guided tour through haunted displays. Tune your car radio to our spooky station to hear creepy music. No monsters will jump out at you. Nightly September 27 – November 2, dusk – 10pm. Admission is free. Second, Terror at Tee Lake is a terrifying walk-through haunted house open October 19, 25, 26, and November 1 from 7-10pm, with an admission of $5. Third, stay over in a haunted cabin – The Witch’s Cottage or Igor’s Hideaway. For more information, visit the website.

Scream Machine
September 27 – November 2, 2013, Taylor
The Scream Machine is back with new special effects and scares for the 2013 season. Back by popular demand–the Hellevator. This portal to the unknown takes you to the depths of your worst fears where nightmares and reality collide. Open September 27-29, October 4-6, 11-13, 18-November 2. For hours and admission, click the website link or call (734) 309-0756. Coupon for $3 off found at website. Located at 21207 Eureka Rd; Taylor, Michigan (in the shopping plaza next to Gibralter Trade Center).

Shawhaven Haunted Farm
September 27 – November 2, 2013, Mason
Fear surrounds the Farm. All 140 acres have been lost onto a haze of despair, since the dark years when the crops and animals were lost to a devastating invasion of bugs. Fear had engulfed all the grounds. Local people have tried to face their fears on the Wagons of Fear. Some exit safely and unchanged only to be lost into the darkness of despair with time. Others try to make the trip through the Dead Maze to the next town only to join the Zombies that linger within the corn. Fee. We also offer an unhaunted corn maze. Open Fridays and Saturdays, September 27 to November 2. Open Thursday, October 31. Kids matinee tour Sunday, October 13. Shawhaven Haunted Farm located at 1826 Rolfe Road; Mason, Michigan 48854. For admission prices or more information, visit the website link or call (517) 676-1649.

Psycho Ward & Nightmares Haunted House
October 4 – October 31, 2013, Kalamazoo
Kalamazoo Speedway. Experience West Michigan’s most terrifying haunted attraction this October–if you dare! Many have experienced the terror of Floyd Cranston and his clan of twisted misfits. Their reign of terror has been inflicted on Psycho Ward visitors for more than a decade. Some have survived—but not without years of intensive therapy. What disturbing twist on Floyd’s unique form of horror does he have in store for you this year? There’s only one way to find out. Not recommended for children under 12 or the faint of heart. Open weekends in October: October 4, 5, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19 , 24, 25, 26, 30, 31 (open 7:30pm each night). Admission fee.

Hallowe’en in Greenfield Village
October 11 – October 27, 2013, Dearborn
The Henry Ford. Step back in time to a turn-of-the-20th century Hallowe’en. Follow an endless path of hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns, and meet colorful characters along the way. Feel the whoosh as the Headless Horseman rides by, banter with a clever witch and make stops at several treat stations spread throughout Greenfield Village. It’s frightfully fun for the whole family! For information call (313) 982-6001.

Pumpkin, Cider & Donut Wagon Ride
October 12 – October 27, 2013, Ray
Take a wagon ride with a guide to the pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect Halloween pumpkin, then stop for a cup of cider and a donut. This year, take a walk from the pumpkin patch to the farm’s 5-acre corn maze. Then, get into the Halloween spirit by visiting the Boo Barn. Wagon rides 11am – 4pm (Oct. 12-13, 20, 26 & 27). Pumpkins are priced according to size. Fee for wagon ride. Additional activities on specific dates for additional fee. For information call (586) 752-5932.

Haunted Horrors
October 18 – October 27, 2013, Armada
Blakes Big Apple has four attractions for 2013—Nighttime Spooky Hayride, three story Haunted Barn, Spookyland, and Zombie Paintball Safari. Open every Fri, Sat & Sun nights in October. For rates, hours, or more information, click on the website link or call (586) 784-9710.

Haunted Hayrides
October 25 – October 26, 2013, Suttons Bay
Black Star Farms Tasting Room & Inn. Miles of wooded trails, old barns and a bonfire area make the farm in Suttons Bay a perfect venue for haunted hayrides. Participants board a wagon that takes them into the dark woods and old orchards on the farm. The trail rides are approximately 10-15 minutes long and are $10 per person. Due to the subject matter of the scenes and the surprises lurking in the woods the rides are recommended for those 12 years and older as well as individuals who appreciates a good scream. Rides begin (7pm) and end (9:30pm) at the Hearth & Vine Café where ghostly refreshments, warm cider and wine will be served.

Halloween Spooktacular
October 26, 2013, Gaylord
Treetops Resort. Join us as we celebrate Fall. Treetops will feature wagon rides followed by a chairlift ride. Activity and game stations with trick or treating for the kids. Minimal fee applicable for activities. Public welcome to enjoy our holiday celebration.

The Legend of Sleepy Howell
October 26, 2013, Howell
Come to downtown Howell and experience the 11th annual Legend of Sleepy Howell from 5pm – 9pm. Activities include trick or treating at candy stations, business booths offering giveaways, games and prizes, costume contests, live music, hay rides, creepy campfires, a hay maze, food vendors and the 5k/10k Headless Horseman Run. Don’t miss the scary fun in downtown Howell – this event happens despite the fall weather.

For more Halloween-related events happening in your neighborhood, visit michigan.org. How will you be showing your Halloween spirit this year? Share with us below!

Annual “Fort Fright” Blends History and Horror in Mackinaw City

Fort FrightAn 18th century fort and fur-trading village in Mackinaw City will be transformed into a haunted hot spot October 11th and 12th for the annual Fort Fright. Guest blogger Kelsey Schnell gives an inside look at what visitors can expect from this year’s event.

As visitors venture inside the gate, British Redcoats of a different order patrol the wooden fort. A closer look reveals they’re not ordinary men, but skeleton soldiers with bony fingers curled tight around their muskets.

More campfires crackle inside the fort, but are surrounded by friendly faces. French fur traders and voyageurs are telling more tales, singing songs and playing traditional instruments of the 1700s. One campfire boasts a large, black, cast-iron pot of apple cider simmering over the flames as a colonial woman ladles it into cups for visitors warming themselves. The fire offers a respite from the mythical creatures that prefer other places, like the upper stories of the wooden buildings where they throw open shutters and cackle, howl or prowl around the palisade. “The majority of the activities at Fort Fright will be suitable for the entire family,” said Steve Brisson, Mackinac State Historic Parks’ deputy director. “But we’ll also have a number of interesting and scary activities designed to appeal to older children and adults.”

Fort Fright

A tour of the haunted rowhouse, a custom designed exhibit for this occasion, will not be easily forgotten.  New for this year, “The Demon Walk” provides an additional scary element. In other wooden buildings within the fort and fur trading village, colonial ladies serve warm autumn treats like homemade molasses cookies and toffee, and others play music on instruments from the time period. Guests can learn about death and burial in the 1700s, and the various traditions and ceremonies for the dead from over 250 years ago in the church. In addition to creatures, colonial men and women with friendly faces roam the village, following the lantern-lit paths that wind throughout the fort, a unique nighttime atmosphere available only on these two nights.

Fort Fright“The event is not just held to scare folks,” said Katie Mallory, Mackinac State Historic Parks curator of education. “There’s an eerie but real background to the event, which stems from French-Canadian tales that were passed on from person-to-person as voyageurs and other people traveled, and so there’s a strong history of oral tradition behind Fort Fright.” That oral history is shared around campfires much in the same way it was shared over two-and-a-half centuries ago.

The characters that roam Fort Fright, such as were-wolves, lutins, and Le Dame Blanche, meaning White Lady (Ghost), are drawn from a book called Were-Wolves and Will-o-the-Wisps: French Tales of Mackinac Retold by Dirk Gringhuis. The collection of short stores, published by Mackinac State Historic Parks, is based on French-Canadian folktales brought to the Mackinac Straits area by the voyageurs during the height of the French fur trade.Fort Fright

This annual event serves as a type of “kick-off” for the fall. Admission to Fort Fright is $7 for adults, $4 for children age 5-17 or $20 for a family. Children 4 and under and Mackinac Associates Friend Level and above are admitted at no charge. Tickets can be purchased prior to the event beginning October 1 at the Colonial Michilimackinac Visitor’s Center in Mackinaw City or online at mackinacparks.com. For more information, call 231-436-4100.

Kelsey SchnellKelsey serves as the Public Relations and Marketing Officer for Mackinac State Historic Parks, a family of living history museums and parks in northern Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac, an agency within the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Have you been to Fort Fright in Mackinaw City? Tell us about it!