For approximately 200 years, lighthouses along Michigan lake coastlines have guided sailors, captains, and their crews to safety. With all those Great Lakes coastlines, it’s no surprise that Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state in the country…at last count, 129 of them still remain. At one time, we had up to 250 of ‘em along the shores of three of our Great Lakes: Huron, Michigan, and Superior. The first one began operating in 1825.

Lighthouses that failed to operate at one time or another have been the cause of shipwrecks and the loss of their inhabitants…strong gales, blinding blizzards, and unrelenting torrents of rain are sometimes too much for lighthouses to successfully help a ship steer clear of the rocks ahead.

Of the 129 still standing, it’s reported that at least one in every five (making 26) is/are haunted. Of course, belief in ghosts and hauntings are left to each individual; whether you believe, are mildly interested, or just pooh-pooh the whole ‘haunting’ idea, the fact remains that these rumors exist and have for over one hundred years.

WFNT logo
Get our free mobile app

Of the 26 possible lighthouse hauntings, the one that seems to be Michigan’s Most Haunted is the Big Bay Lighthouse 25 miles northwest of Marquette. The lighthouse, which opened in 1896, is also a Bed & Breakfast, so it’s easy to go and find out for yourself if these supernatural tales are true. Five ghosts are said to still reside at Big Bay.

Lighthouse keeper Harry William Prior was the first keeper here. After being disappointed in one assistant keeper after another, in November 1898 Prior hired his son George as assistant. This went on until April 1901 when George fell on the steps, slashing open his leg down to the shinbone. In the hospital George contracted gangrene which eventually took his life. Depressed and despondent over his son’s death, Henry grabbed a gun and strychnine, and went off into the woods. His skeleton was found a year and a half later, hanging from a tree. It's the spirit of Henry that is said to be the "ghost with the most" occurrences.

After the old lighthouse opened as an inn in the 1980s, ghostly sightings started being reported by guests. Two separate guests saw a spirit dressed in a U.S. life-saving uniform walking around the lighthouse. The shower in the basement turns on when no one is there, loud banging is heard coming from nowhere, slamming cupboards, lights going on & off, the sight of a tall red-headed man in an 1800s uniform strolling thru the grounds, doors opening & closing, footsteps with no source, reflections in mirrors, and countless other instances.

As previously mentioned, the Big Bay Point lighthouse is open for the Bed & Breakfast business, and you should spend a night – or two, if the first night doesn’t scare you away.

Michigan's Most Haunted Lighthouse: Big Bay Point


The Lighthouse Ladies

The Lighthouse of Monarch Butterflies

Ghost Town & Lighthouse of Bete Grise