History and Hauntings of Sault Ste. Marie

PalaceSaloonHaunted1PalaceSaloonHaunted2What about the beautiful town of Sault Ste Marie, MI?  Is it haunted?  If it’s appearing on this site, the odds are, yes.  Michigan’s oldest town (founded in 1668!) and site of the Michigan ParaCon, Sault Ste. Marie (pronounced “Soo Saint Marie”) has some haunted locations. We’ll start right where we get most of our food while we’re on location, the 1903-built Palace Saloon.  This restaurant has activity throughout the building including activity from the basement to the top floor, but most notably, a man in black seen sitting in one of the booths (pictured above).  See a video I shot of employees talking about the hauntings with Mike, Wendy and Allison from the “See You on the Other Side” podcast.

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Also, we got a tip about a number of haunted sites outside of Sault Ste Marie that might still be occupied by active Native American spirits.  These were given to us by a member of the Sault tribe while saying the locations are very active and paranormal occurrences are ongoing.  Here are the locations we need to research more before returning for a number of full investigations:

Sugar Island – Just 4 miles and a ferry ride away from the town center, this is a 49 square mile island with a population of under 700 people and is considered an ancestral homeland to the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians while also being important to the Ojibwe.  It was once in consideration (in 1945) to be the HQ of the United Nations.

MissionHillCemeteryMichiganMission Hill – about 22 miles west is the township of Brimley / Bay Mills and its secluded (click on the map to see just how isolated it is) and active Mission Hill Cemetery.  This location is known for its abundant ghost lights and disembodied voices.  This is possibly primarily a native American burial site.  Due to its seclusion, there has not been a lot reported on it, historical or paranormal.

Green Sky Hill – As tends to be the case with Native American legends, so much oral tradition is just that – only oral, not recorded in print.  We were told to look into Green Sky Hill, about 100 south, in the main “mitten” of Michigan.  Indeed, there is a book titled “Legends of Green Sky Hill” and categorized as “North American Indian Legends,” but the book was published in 1959 and little else can be found online.  A journey into the world of used books may be needed to understand this site.

Charlevoix – in the same area as Green Sky Hill is the town of Charlevoix.  Like all of this region, inhabitation dates into prehistory by tribes of this region and, as the name indicates, French explorers in the 1700s.  More modern establishments sprang up in the mid 1850s and by today we have a very old town with lots of ghost stories, particularly the Weathervane Restaurant that boasts three different ghosts who make their presence visually known.  One specter moves objects… big objects… like slamming heavy doors and even rolling a large banquet table from one room to the next.

Wolverine Hotel – Also near Charlevoix is the town of Boyne City, which boasts the Wolverine Hotel (pictured below, more recently known as the Dilworth Inn), a grand hotel from 1912.  Unfortunately, I could not find any tales of hauntings at this site, nor could I even find if this location is open for business.  Still, the fact that we were informed that this is a place to look into, tells us to pay attention.  So, we’ll keep our eyes open for this site and others!

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Locations within Sault Ste Marie that are reportedly haunted include the Soo Brewing Company, Antlers Restaurant, Museum Ship Valley Camp, Ramada Ojibway Plaza, The Satisfied Frog Pub, which is located just across the street from the Palace Saloon.

More than anything, this article is a call to action for anyone out there.  Do you have tips on interesting history, folklore or your very own personal ghost stories about these locations?  Please let me know in the comments.  Hopefully we can arrange a separate journey to the northern edge of America to further investigate these sites.

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The “Old Slave House” in Southern IL by Drone

I have long wanted to see the “Old Slave House” for myself since first reading about it in Michael Kleen’s book “Haunting Illinois.”  I knew even when that book came out in 2011 that the site was strictly off limits, currently owned by the state of Illinois.  Attempting to do things ‘by the book’ I contacted the state.  Saying that since it’s such a new addition to the DNR, I should contact the site directly, I was given a phone number that did not connect to anything.

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Do I think I was being thrown off my goal intentionally?  No.  Unfortunately, I think I got a feel for how much of a priority this location is to the state, which is to say, not much of one.  Despite being on the National Registry of Historic Places, this is likely an endangered location with little chance of the house ever being re-opened to the public.  Part of this is due to its seclusion. Seen in this map, the nearest ‘large’ town is Harrisburg, which only boasts a population of 8,800 (Eldorado is around 4,000), so the likelihood of the location generating revenue as a museum is unlikely. However, with the location infamous for its dark history (being associated with slavery and the horrendous “reverse underground railroad”) and with paranormal activity reported here for over 160 years, there is another option.  I think the building would have paranormal shows and ghost hunting teams lining up to rent the location nightly.

To hear more about the history and hauntings at Crenshaw House, watch the video above.


Recap of the 2018 Michigan ParaCon

This post originally came out a week ago in our free paranormal newsletter.  Sign up for that right here on our site at this link.

For the second straight year I headed to the Michigan ParaCon with a motley crew of paranormal nerds (Allison Journlin of Milwaukee Ghosts, Lisa Van Buskirk of Madison Ghost Walks, and two-thirds of the paranormal band, Sunspot and the hosts of the “See You on the Other Side” podcast, Mike Huberty and Wendy Lynn Staats) to hear the latest news from the biggest names in the game.  Feel free to check out our preview video, which we recorded on Facebook live while stuck in construction traffic.   If you’ve never been to an event like this, in some ways it’s like any other trade show.  New products and merch are available in the vendor area (usually in the form of books, DVD releases and clothes) while the main hall features constant programming consisting of panel discussions and lectures.

It’s a wonderful way to connect with fascinating people who share our somewhat unorthodox interests and to meet people we’d otherwise not have easy access to.  Of course, one of the real treat is the exchange of ideas, experiences and theories.  Naturally, a lot of the great first-hand chats happen after hours in the hotel bar (this is often worth the price of admission itself).  Last year, among other amazing stories, we had a conversation with John Tenney, who had been asked to observe an exorcism.  Talk about an amazing and unique (and damn, right – horrifying) story to hear straight from the horse’s mouth!

Sometimes you start to see a shift in ideas when you attend these events.  That concepts and methodology changes is exciting in and of itself.  The latest theory that almost became a theme this year is perhaps easiest explained in conversation rather than written out.  So, enjoy my attempt to throw a fascinating concept your way in the video here.

At a glance, here we some of the highlights this year:

  • John E.L. Tenney, as you may be picking up on, is a great storyteller and a wealth of information. In his lecture, he talked about some of his more recent fascinating investigations, along with a message of oneness and appreciating everything in our world.  Later, at the bar, John dropped some knowledge on us in the form of the incredible story of Ted Serios, a Chicago bellhop who had the ability to psychically imprint images of locations onto Polaroid film simply by touching the camera.  Challenged, he was even able to do this on live TV by touching the broadcast camera.  Oddly, most video of his work on YouTube is in German or Spanish.  It’s peculiar that an astonishing American is remembered more in other countries than our own today.  However, a full conversation on the man can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vFNVpUhiyk
  • Katrina Weidman and I talked at length about shadow people, individual stories and theories. I hope she’s working on a project on the topic as she seems very intrigued.  Wendy and I were both very impressed by the “Paranormal Lockdown” star who we first met two years earlier in Milwaukee.  Her memory of our meeting was so sharp, you would’ve thought we hang out all the time.
  • Finding myself in an elevator ride with Jeff Mudgett, HH Holmes descendant and subject of the recent series “American Ripper.” Jeff and I have known each other for several years at this point and it’s always exciting to hear the latest news in the quest to find out all there is to know about his infamous ancestor.  Meanwhile, Allison found herself sharing an elevator with Josh Gates of “Expedition Unknown,” which allowed her husband to gush to him directly over the phone.
  • Getting to see Sunspot play live. Okay, I’m biased here, but take a look below for a recent live performance about staying the night in haunted locations.  Let’s just say, they’re an ideal booking for a paranormal conference!

  • Though I can’t really say I was a big follower of the show, “Ghost Hunters,” I was still excited to meet Grant Wilson, who is still very interested in learning about the mysteries of the unknown world and is reaching out to audiences directly with a new YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/user/TheGrantwilson
  • Of course, it’s also always a blast hearing the latest from Greg and Dana Newkirk and the Traveling Museum of the Haunted and Occult.

The next newsletter will come out very soon with some podcasts, haunted sites in Sault Ste Marie (where the MI ParaCon was held), and a look at the movie based on the Bell Witch, “An American Haunting.” 


A Review of “The Nun” + Some Ghost Stories & Elisa Lam’s Mysterious Death

This is a review of the horror movie, “The Nun,” but we also get into a lot of real life Ghost Stories in LA, the mysterious death of Elisa Lam at the Cecil Hotel and the Bell Witch Cave in Tennessee.


Haunted Woods? Indian Burial Grounds? Urban Legends Galore on Sanatorium Hill, Madison, WI

This is a first look at a location I’ve wanted to explore for a while now.  Sanatorium Hill (aka Lake View Sanatorium, now Dane County Health and Human Services) lived up to my hopes as a fun place to explore.  Next step is doing a LOT more research, including hearing more about YOUR stories of the place, followed by, of course, actual ghost hunting!


Taking a Look at Some Paranormal Photos

Coming to you from Culver City, overlooking Culver Studios and the Culver Hotel, I take some time to analyze some possibly paranormal photos! If you have some of your own to share, please send them over to me!


Flashback: Haunted Bucktown Pub, Fort Sheridan & Robinson Woods.

Waaaay back when I was in college I interned just about everywhere I would get accepted.  I had the pleasure of working at HBO Films, and even got some of my first on-set experience on “Daddy Daycare” and the seriously underrated “Hollywood Homicide” with Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett when I worked at Revolution Studios.  However, one of the best experiences was right here in sweet home, Chicago working for CLTV.  The show was a weekly entertainment series called “Metromix.”  Even after finishing up my internship there, they brought me back on to help produce three “Haunted Chicago” segments for the weeks leading up to Halloween.

It’s insanely difficult to tell a ghost story, involving a location’s rich history, in two to two and a half minutes, so some of the segments feel disjointed (if you ask me), but it’s still fun to look back at what these locations looked and felt like in 2002 when these bits were shot:

Paranormal Activity at Robinson Woods Burial Grounds, Norridge, IL

The top YouTube comments on this video are

  • “This is where John Wayne Gacy killed the Peterson-Schuessler boys” (oy!)
  • “The deer aren’t possessed, they’re following you because people feed them.”

First thing’s first, those bodies were actually found at Robinson South. I should make a video pointing out these two different locations. They are close, but aren’t the same exact same place. It does get misreported quite a bit though. The location where the bodies were discovered is about 700 yards away and is south of Lawrence Ave. Also, those poor boys were killed in 1955 while Gacy was active from 1972-78. Totally understandable why there’s confusion as Gacy did do his killings not far from here. His house is almost exactly a mile from the Robinson Stone, to the Northeast.

As for the deer comment… well, the commenters are right.  The deer are definitely not possessed.  There was the issue of trying to tell a long, detailed story that got cut down to two minutes – most of the story was cut. Not hearing most of it, a lot gets lost.  I have an incredible story about how the deer reacted once activity started picking up on my first visit here.  I also share the native American belief that a chief may be reincarnated into a mighty buck, which I find fascinating (I’m into learning diverse cultural beliefs).  I spend a lot of time on this location in my book, of course mentioning the Peterson-Shuessler case and telling Alexander Robinson’s story. We include an interview with one of his descendants while also presenting evidence through a Pulitzer-nominated investigative reporter, that Hansen (the man believed to be the killer), was a bad guy, but possibly not the killer.

And shout out to Mary Czerwinski, my research partner on the first edition of my book, who gets some screen time!

Paranormal Activity at the Bucktown Pub

The top YouTube comments on this one are all suggestions on other haunted places in Bucktown.  Keep ’em coming!

I re-visited this location just recently and a bartender that was there when I first visited back in 2000 or 2001 (not pictured) has been working there since before the owners in the video took over.  He has spanned multiple owners and said that Tom & Piper, while nice people, chose not to see the paranormal events happening around them.  Today the location isn’t as active as it was in the years right after Wally’s death, but activity is ongoing.

Ghosts of the Haunted Fort Sheridan in Highwood

Top YouTube Comments on this video include:

  • “I’m in this neighborhood all the time – it’s not haunted”
  • As well as people telling their personal stories of paranormal activity sighted here…
  • …including, confusingly, both types of comments from the same user (huh?)