Local tales of the supernatural
MARQUETTE — While staying at a hotel in Sault Ste. Marie, Jennifer Billock, the author of “Ghosts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula,” had her covers ripped off of her during the night even though she was alone.
About 15 years ago, local maritime historian and author Fred Stonehouse was on a small cruise ship near Beaver Island chatting with the captain in the evening when both men noticed a “small, fast moving target” making a turn toward them on the radar. However, whatever was on the radar wasn’t visible to the naked eye. The radar — on the other hand — showed the vessel moving toward the cruise ship, making a turn and cruising straight past.
Even though Stonehouse doesn’t believe in ghosts or supernatural entities, he said there are “certainly things we see that we don’t understand.”
Tyler R. Tichelaar, author of “Haunted Marquette: Ghost Stories from the Queen City,” sat near the tombstones of several family members who passed away years ago. Without giving Tammy Krassick — a medium and paranormal investigator — information about his relatives, Tichelaar asked if she communicate with them. Krassick was able to describe physical and mental characteristics of each person without being prompted.
While supernatural lore goes back centuries, some things still can’t be explained to this day.
The following is a short list of supposedly haunted places in Marquette:
The Holy Family Orphanage
Located at 600 Altamont Street, the former Holy Family Orphanage is undoubtedly one of the most well-known places in Marquette thought to be haunted.
One popular story involves a little girl who snuck outside to play in cold temperatures. The story goes, the little girl caught pneumonia and died. As a lesson and warning to the other orphans, the nuns put the dead girls’ body on display for them all to see.
Another story, is that a young boy was killed by a nun and buried in Park Cemetery. He is said to crawl out of his grave and when he gets back people can see this green glow coming for the orphanage.
“I saw this letter from the priest who was in charge of the orphanage at the time, he said they had a Halloween party at the time and how they actually have a coffin and had one of the kids laying in the coffin,” Tichelaar said. “I think maybe the kids that were there told this story describing the party and it got bent out of shape.
“The little girl, though, Tammy (Krassick) knew her name and showed me where her grave was and I went to find out the specifics about her death and found out she died in May. She died of pneumonia and it could be cold enough in the U.P. that you could get sick in May. We’ll never really know the truth, but there’s enough evidence where that particular story could be true.”
Edward Breitung died in 1887 and in 1892, Mary built a sandstone Gothic mausoleum in Park Cemetery and had her husband buried there.
Even though Mary remarried to Nathan Kaufman in 1893, she was buried next to Breitung.
Tichelaar’s book states: “According to Rosemary Michelin, former research librarian at the Marquette Regional History Center, years later, in 1990s, Mary’s great-grandson, William Richter, who lived in California, began to have a recurring dream about Mary.
In the dream, Mary told him she was getting wet and needed his help. When Mr. Richter finally came to Marquette, they discovered that Mary’s wooden casket, which had been placed on the dirt floor, had deteriorated so that her remains were becoming wet from the damp soil. The sexton moved Mary’s remains to an upper shelf of the mausoleum and Richter quit having the dream.”
In 2012, Krassick contacted Tichelaar because she had seen two male ghosts outside the Breitung Mausoleum but didn’t know who they were. After talking to Tichelaar, Krassick believes one of the ghosts to be Edward Breitung, but still doesn’t know who the second one is.
The Marquette Lighthouse
While researching haunted places in the U.P., Billock discovered that “lighthouses are more intense” than she thought.
“Usually the lighthouse keeper is seen on the grounds or the tower,” she said. “Sometimes it’s a kid.”
On several occasions, guides at the Marquette Maritime Museum have seen a small girl on the upper floor of the lighthouse.
“Over time, a number of our lighthouse guides have reported seeing her from the outside walkway,” Stonehouse said.
She is thought to be possibly the daughter of a former keeper who was badly injured during a fall. However, there is no record indicating she died.
The Landmark Inn’s Lilac Room
Known for its elegant and historic decor, the Lilac Room on the Landmark Inn’s sixth floor is thought to be haunted by a heartbroken librarian. After her sailor lover became victim of a Lake Superior ship wreck, the librarian committed suicide in the room by tying multiple lilac imprinted napkins together and hanging herself outside one of the room’s many windows.
“Guests report a woman in a lilac-patterned dress” wandering the halls of the sixth floor” and visitors have reported hearing a crying woman close to the window, objects moving by themselves and furnishings looking used after the room has been empty,” according to Billock.
Northern Michigan University
In the late 1960s, a Northern Michigan University student who stayed in 304 Halverson Hall room hung herself from her top bunk. Allegedly, her ghost haunted the halls of the dorm’s third floor before it was torn down.
In the early 1970s, a university janitor died from a serious heart attack in the elevator shaft that connects the Forest Roberts Theatre to the Thomas Fine Arts Building.
While no ghostly sightings have ever been reported, strange occurrences with the elevator have. After class hours, cameras installed in the hall frequently capture the elevator changing floors, doors opening with no one inside and the operational lights turning on and off, according to “Haunted Marquette.”
Jaymie Depew can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.