The Island Of The Dead!

Mackinac Island.

IT has been said that “every square inch” of this inhabited island, frozen in time, is haunted.
On Mackinac Island ghosts reportedly outnumber the living.

Mackinac Island is located just northwest of the farthest point on Michigan’s mainland and is accessible by boat or plane.

The island has maintained its quaint, charming historic look and appears very much today as it would have back during early European settlement of the island.

A ban on all motorised vehicles — except snowmobiles in winter and emergency or construction vehicles — has been imposed since 1898.

But its history dates back much further, with artefacts discovered on the island’s ancient Native American burial grounds from as far back as 900AD.

During the summer months, it is packed with tourists who come to see the State Park, but in the winter months Lake Huron turns to ice and the population of the island drops down to only a few — in addition to the many souls said to haunt the site.

The site has long attracted ghost hunters and documentary makers because of the high number of reports involving paranormal activity.

Author of Haunts of Mackinac, Todd Clements told Keweenaw Video Productions that Mackinac Island was one of “the most haunted locations in the world”.

“Based on its small size and sheer number of ghosts and ghost stories that come from numerous locations around the island, I truly believe that Mackinac Island is ‘The Island of the Dead’,” Clements said.

Clements told the Midland Daily News that several ghosts — too many to list — haunt the island, including a college student nicknamed Harvey, who died in suspicious circumstances in the late ‘60s or early ‘70s.

He said Harvey was believed to have shot himself behind Mission Point Resort (then leased to Mackinac College) after his love for a woman was not returned. His body wasn’t discovered for six months.

Clements, who spoke with a state police officer about the case, believes that there was more to Harvey’s story, which he said might explain why his spirit allegedly never left the island.

“They ruled it a suicide at the time,” Clements said. “But, we believe there was another guy involved in his death.”
Clements said it was later discovered that Harvey died from two bullets to the head.

He said the gun was not found near his body, which added more fuel to the mystery.

“If that doesn’t say ‘unfinished business’, I don’t know what does,” he said.

Today, Harvey is often reported lingering in the Mission Point’s theatre, where he’s known to pinch and poke young women in the dark.

Clements maintains he saw Harvey back in the mid 1980s.

It was in July and he was 12, swimming at the resort’s outdoor pool.

“I looked up on the bluff and saw someone standing there,” he said. “It wasn’t solid.”

He said he told his mother to look but when she did the figure was gone.

“It was sorta’ like a mist. You could tell it was a person. You could see the face, hair, T-shirt. You couldn’t see much beyond the T-shirt because bushes were in the way.”

He claimed he inspected the site but found nothing.

“It was a difficult spot to get to, and dangerous, too,” he said.

Clements said he learnt of Harvey’s real identity years later but his parents asked that his name not be revealed.
Many other spirits are said to inhabit the resort, from ghosts of a young girl nicknamed Lucy heard calling her parents, to Native American spirits wandering the property, to a woman heard singing old-time music near the theatre.

One blogger said “every square inch” of the island was haunted.

It is believed Lucy, named by locals, became sick on the island and her parents had to leave to take care of some business in Detroit.

She died before they got back. Clements said people have reported seeing an apparition of a little girl as well as hearing a young female voice calling for “mummy” and “daddy.”

Most of the time she is found on the balcony of Mission Point, and sometimes in the theatre or in the auditorium, according to Clements.

A little girl is reported to be found at other places on the island.

Although there are no documented reports of a child dying on the island, Clements said that wasn’t surprising because record keeping was poor prior to 1900.

The ‘drowning pool’ or a lagoon, on the Lake Huron side between Mission Point and downtown is often a site at the centre of reports about paranormal encounters. It is a dangerous area which has a sharp, 6m drop.

“In the late 1970s, a man got tangled up in the seaweed and drowned,“ Clements said.

But the legend of that lagoon is much creepier, according to Clements.

“Back in the 1700s and early 1800s when Fort Mackinac was at its heyday, a lot of brothels popped up,” he said.

“Seven women were accused of being witches and enticing unsuspecting soldiers, fur traders and husbands to their houses.

“It is said that rocks were tied around their ankles and they were thrown into the lagoon. If they sank, innocent, sorry.”

If not, they were deemed witches and were hanged. The women’s bodies did sink and it is believed their restless and angry ghosts haunt the drowning pool.

“We’ve seen shadows come out of water that make no noise or ripples. We’ve heard huge splashes that were too big to be fish and no one is around,” Clements said.

He said that the drowning pool was the creepiest place on the island, and the Mission Point theatre and sound stage, the scariest.

Staff who work on the island today still tell tales of recent encounters with the paranormal.
Michele Dobbs of Patrick Sinclair’s Irish Pub told ABC 10 News:

“I was closing one night, and I was working with the till, and one of the wine bottles from the top shelf fell off the rack and then hit the floor, but it didn’t roll or bounce, and it didn’t break, and there’s a lip at the top of the shelf so they can’t slid down on their own. It was a little strange. I don’t know, I think that something just wanted us to know that it was here and say, ‘Hello.’”

Legends say that when the construction crew was digging the Grand Hotel’s foundation, they found so many human skeletons that they lost track of them all.

To this day, rumours persist that the workers, increasingly unsure of how to handle the situation, simply gave up on collecting the bones and started building the hotel anyway. Many workers and visitors have since reported seeing an “evil” spooky black mass in the Grand.

A cemetery battlefield of 1814, listed as a historic site and also located on the island, is a reminder of its dark past.

A plaque tells visitors an American force battled the British in a vain attempt to recapture the island which the British had seized at the outbreak of the war of 1812.

“Coming ashore at what is known as British Landing, the Americans under Colonel George Croghan soon ran into strong resistance as they advanced inland,” the notice read.

“An attempt to outflank the British line was repulsed by Indians hidden in thick woods and resulted in the death of Maj. Andrew Holmes.

“Croghan withdrew when he found that he could not defeat the British.”

The cemetery has also been the source of many reports of paranormal activity including apparitions of soldiers glimpsed walking the Rifle Range Trail, piles of phantom limbs spotted in the hospital, to furniture that moves on its own and tripping motion detectors in Officer Hills Apartment Quarters.


About Andrew

Co-founder & lead investigator of Paranormal Encounters. I've experienced the paranormal all my life, having encountered ghosts, angels and demons. I live in a haunted house and when not exploring and researching the unknown, I enjoy single malt Scotch whisky & potato chips (though not necessarily at the same time).