‘Haunted Marquette’

Author releases latest book

Marquette-based author Tyler R. Tichelaar is releasing his latest book, "Haunted Marquette: Ghost Stories from the Queen City." The book details local tales that have been told through the years. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

MARQUETTE — People who have lived in Marquette for decades might have heard a spooky tale or two about the city. Whether they are true is up for debate, but they at least can enjoy learning about them from Tyler R. Tichelaar’s latest book, “Haunted Marquette: Ghost Stories from the Queen City.”

The Marquette-based author of “My Marquette” and “Willpower” is one of those people who has heard the stories.

“For years I’ve been collecting stories about places that are supposedly haunted, and you hear all kinds of rumors about, you know, the orphanage, the Landmark Inn, places like that,” Tichelaar said.

The former Holy Family Orphanage and the Landmark Inn are featured in his book, but so are other places, such as the Wooden Nickel, the Peter White Public Library and even residences.

He kept track of those stories.

“I thought maybe I’d have enough to make a book, and so I decided to that,” Tichelaar said.

The back cover of the book provides a short list of tales found among the pages:

≤ the wicked nun who killed an orphan boy;

≤ the librarian mourning her sailor lover;

≤ the glowing lantern of the decapitated train conductor;

≤ the drowned sailors who climb out of Lake Superior at night; and

≤ the mailman who gave his life for the U.S. mail.

Also on the back cover is a quote from the author of “Murder in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula,” Sonny Longtine: “‘Haunted Marquette’ weaves history, urban legends, and unexplained phenomena into a kaleidoscope of ghostly hauntings that reveal a side of the Queen City most of us have never experienced but perhaps always feared was there.”

“Haunted Marquette” is being released at an appropriate time: Halloween. However, frightening people isn’t the author’s intent.

“My real purpose was not just to tell scary stories or try to freak people out, but more to get at the truth of what was behind the stories,” Tichelaar said. “Was there any truth to them? Was there any historical evidence of who they claim these people are that are haunting these places?”

Take the former orphanage, one of the most well known “haunted spots” in town. In the book, Tichelaar speculated this is in part because of its being abandoned for decades and becoming dilapidated, giving it the appearance of being haunted.

Online, he discovered people recounting “ridiculous” incidents of what they saw there. There were recurring stories, though, so he tried to get to the truth of those stories and find out if orphan children died there.

In other cases, he talked with people who simply wanted to learn the history of a certain place.

He also spoke at length with medium Tammy Krassick, who has been involved with the former Northern Michigan University Paranormal Research Team. In his interview with Krassick, featured at the beginning of his book, she said: “I came into contact with a girl named Mary at the orphanage who showed me her experience as a child living there; it is controversial, but I saw what I saw. It will forever be a part of my life because it reminds me how lucky I am to have had the childhood I had.”

Understandably, another notable spot for her was a cemetery.

“Of course, Park Cemetery is always a great place to connect with spirits,” Krassick was quoted as saying. “Never a dull moment there.”

She also clarifies the difference between a ghost and a spirit. A ghost, she said, is the replay of an event while a spirit is aware and can interact with people.

Tichelaar acknowledged not having a personal experience with his subject matter, having never seen an apparition.

However, he’s aware they’re a popular topic.

“I was kind of leery about writing the book because I was afraid once I started writing it, a whole bunch of crazy people would come out of the woodwork and I just didn’t want to deal with crazy people,” Tichelaar said. “But I ended up talking to people who were very sincere and very rational about what they experienced.”

Like him, they hadn’t seen a ghost, but came upon something they couldn’t understand.

“Things happen that you just can’t explain, and we only know so much,” Tichelaar said. “We don’t know what happens after death. All these religions tell us what happens, but we don’t know for sure.”

The subject probably requires an open mind.

Tichelaar said one interviewee told him he couldn’t say what is and isn’t valid since he didn’t have the experience.

“Who am I to say that’s not true?” Tichelaar said.

Regardless of a person’s beliefs, his book might have an appeal beyond the paranormal.

“There’s a lot of history in the book, and I get at the facts, the history of the buildings, the stories of the people who lived in the buildings,” Tichelaar said.

One of those buildings is the Pendill home at 401 N. Front St. According to the book, the house has been home to several sightings of a ghostly woman dressed in white. The house, built in 1878, was the property of Frank Pendill, who owned Pendill Drugstore in Marquette.

A sister, Olive Pendill, who also was a nurse who served in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, reputably haunts the house, even though Tichelaar noted in the book that he doesn’t believe she ever lived there, but was only a frequent visitor.

“I think weird things happen to all of us that maybe we can’t explain,” Tichelaar said. “It may not be seeing a ghost or a vision.”

Tichelaar will give a presentation on the book at 6 p.m. Wednesday, followed by a book signing at 7 p.m., at the Marquette Regional History Center, 145 W. Spring St.

Part of the proceeds from book sales at the event will go back to the center.

“Haunted Marquette” will be sold at the MRHC, Amazon, Snowbound Books, Book World and other sites. It also will be available from his website at MarquetteFiction.com.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.