Michigan's Haunted Happenings

Kirsten Borgstrom   (517) 335-1871

Friday, September 28, 2007

Near the tip of Michigan's Thumb area is a Victorian mansion built in 1890 that now serves as the charming Sweet Dreams Inn Bed and Breakfast. Guests enjoy views of Lake Huron, and when they turn in for the night they sometimes get more than sweet dreams. Active friendly spirits have been known to roam the hallways, open and close doors and throw objects down stairs. Old homes, cemetery's, theatres, concert halls, museums and Michigan's Great Lakes have ghostly legends attached to them. It all makes for good fun when traveling though the state during Halloween season or just any paranormal day.

The Great Houdini died on October 31, 1926 at Grace Hospital in Detroit. Harry Houdini's last magic performance was at Detroit's Garrick Theatre, now The Majestic Theatre on Woodward Avenue in the Midtown area. Employees and patrons of the Majestic have reported sightings of someone coming from what is a closed off area in the basement, and applause and screaming coming from the mezzanine area that is covered by a large drape. Could it be The Great Houdini? Houdini's wife, Bess, attended a séance on the anniversary of her husband's death every year until her death in 1943. Harry wasn't talking.

Haunting Maritime History
Raging storms, dense fog, ice, snow, and high winds have played a role in more than 10,000 shipwrecks in the five Great Lakes. Many of these tragic occurrences carry with them ghostly tales from Davy Jones Locker where the great vessels lie in repose. Tales of ghost ships coming in to port; visitors witnessing the light going on and off for passing ships at the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse that no longer has electricity -- but does have a resident ghost lighthouse keeper; a prankster cigar-smoking ghost at the Seul Choix Lighthouse who gets his kicks scaring visitors - these and more haunting tales surround Michigan's maritime history.

Upper Peninsula visitors to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Historic Whitefish Point can see artifacts and hear accounts of the "great gales of October" that sunk the Edmund Fitzgerald. The waters that extend west from Whitefish Point along the 80-mile stretch of rugged shoreline have earned the ominous title, "Lake Superior's Shipwreck Coast." The Edmund Fitzgerald was lost with her entire crew of 29 men on Lake Superior November 10, 1975, 17 miles north-northwest of Whitefish Point.

Scary Destinations
The scare factor for Michigan's haunted houses goes up a few notches as Halloween approaches. From the Haunted Depot in Sault Ste. Marie to Apple Charlie's Haunted Barn in New Boston, visitors should be prepared for frightful and delightful experiences for kids and adults. Many of the destinations offer not-so-scary hayrides, games and entertainment for youngsters. Plan a visit to meet Michigan's ghosts, goblins and experience hair-raising adventures. Most haunted attractions are open on weekends in September and October and have admission fees. Before families head out, they will need to double-check the scare scale for youngsters; most attractions give guidelines for kids and adults

If you are afraid of the dark and claustrophobic don't plan a trip to Michigan's famed Niles Haunted House considered one of the top scary places in the country by MSNBC. Kids are welcome to visit the 44-acre park filled with tamer attractions, hayrides and other Halloween-themed amusements. All ticket fees support area non-profit organizations - so you can get scared with a purpose.
 
Nights of Fear one of Michigan's newest haunted destinations located in Muskegon opened this month with three frightful attractions, Twisted Phobia, The Asylum and Chainsaw Creek that all play a role in the story of Meagan - a waif with a miserable past. Scariest of all? That has to be The Last Ride Burial Simulator - where you take a coffin ride to your "gravesite." Deadly Intentions Haunted House in Warren has select dates for adults only - just too scary for the kids. This deadly attraction is the recipient of several awards for best haunted house - go, if you dare. Looking for more ghastly destinations: log on at michigan.org.

Travel Michigan, a division of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, is the State of Michigan's official agency for the promotion of tourism. Travel Michigan markets the state's tourism industry and provides valuable visitor information services. For more information on traveling in the State of Michigan, visit the official travel Web site at michigan.org, or call (888) 78-GREAT.

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