There are two types of people when it comes to being spooked.
Those who thrive on the goosebumps of a good scare, and those who shrink from the shadows of the unknown. If you revel in the rush of feeling fearful, you may like to know who has a haunted reputation here in Muskegon County.
Here are a few spots rumored to have hauntings:
Photo Illustration by Christopher C. Cordle
👻 Pennies Appearing at Watermark 920:
Prior to the opening of Watermark 920, Sarah (President, Watermark Center) had her tarot cards read at a Halloween party. She was told the opening of the new event center, condominiums and coffee shop, located in an old and once disused factory, would be very bittersweet. Five days later her father passed suddenly and unexpectedly "on the very day we broke ground on Watermark 920".
Her brother later made a visit to a medium and was informed their father attends all of Watermark 920 events. Sarah reports that when you are alone in the building, you can feel a presence; "and I’ve heard my name called".
Since the day her father passed and ground was broken, they constantly find pennies... "like loads and loads and loads of pennies everywhere". The pennies that consistency appear out of nowhere are ceremoniously saved in a jar. This jar is accompanied by a statue of St. Anthony. "When I get a couple hundred, I donate them to charity".
👻 Someone is Still Watching Over the Frauenthal Theater:
The historic Frauenthal Theater was built in 1929 as a Movie palace in the Moorish architectural style. Originally named the Michigan Theater, the construction was contracted by Paul Shlossman. According to the Frauenthal Center "History" page on their website, Paul was "Muskegon’s own movie mogul...with a trademark camel-hair coat, his hat tipped over one eye, and a striking demeanor" Nicknamed P.J., Shlossman is rumored to still remain in parts of his beloved theater...and cause friendly mischief.
A former House Manager for the Frauenthal Center, Kirsten Jorgensen Smith, reported to MLive that during her time with the theater, she witnessed theater seats that would go down as if someone had taken repose in them, ropes falling off stanchions and doors being held shut; then mysteriously opening. (See full article here)
Others have reported seeing an apparition in a black clothing, hearing footsteps, catching a glimpse of a man in a restroom mirror - only to turn and find they were alone, lights being turned off when no one is in the area and reports of feeling a "benevolent" hand being laid upon one's shoulder while in the costume room. (Find shared experiences on this Facebook thread)
There seems to be a strong and sentimental tradition of bidding P.J. "good-night" as employees and volunteers leave the theater for the evening.
👻 Continuous Keepers of the White River Light Station:
The White River Light Station, constructed in 1875, is one of the spooky stories told in the book "Michigan Haunted Lighthouses" written by Dianna Higgs Stampfler.
Lighthouse legend says William Robinson, who watched over the White River Light Station for 47 years, never left!
He, and sometimes his wife Sarah, can sometimes be heard walking the second floor & stairwell.
Towards the end of his life, William walked with a cane. The footsteps are said to sometimes be accompanied by the tapping of Robinson's cane. The Robinsons may still taking care of the Light Station. Rumors report "someone" has assisted with housekeeping duties on the second floor on more than one occasion.
👻 Misty and Mystical Mouth Cemetery:
Mouth Cemetery, located in White River Township, was established in 1837 and named so because it is located at the mouth of the White River. While it was placed on the State Register of Historic Sites in 1989, it had fallen into disrepair and sadly became a target of vandals in the 80's.Along with it's Pure Michigan Historical Marker the cemetery comes with a spooky reputation of being one of Michigan's most haunted places!
Before the area was settled, a Jesuit Priest recorded a battle between two tribes, the Pottawatomi and Neuter Indians. The 1642 event resulted in the massacre of the Pottawatomi. Many of those who died are buried there in unmarked graves.
Captain William Robinson, the first lighthouse keeper mentioned above was buried here in 1919.
The oldest marked grave dates to 1851, belonging to Christian Merke. The White Lake Historical Society's Barbara Bedau Brow has archived much information about the cemetery here.
Strange experiences have included seeing strange mists among the bushes and trees and a young girl donning a period-style white dress.
The sounds of disembodies footsteps, cries or screams have been reported. There is also an urban legend that comes with the tales...that of the cursed chair! The lore goes that a young man sat in a chair that was in the cemetery. One year later to the day he passed away in an accident. Many people came to the cemetery to see, and if brave (or foolish) enough, sit in the abandoned chair. The legend goes that police removed the piece of ill-fated furniture to deter curious visitors.
If you visit the cemetery now, you may find offerings of respect left on graves. Several are placed on a stump that was once adorned with a large wooden cross. These offerings include coins, candles or trinkets.
We are pleased to know vandalism has given way to respect for this historical and peaceful setting.
👻 A Haunting at Hackley Library:
Opened as a gift to the city of Muskegon in 1890 the Hackley Public Library is listed on the Michigan Register of Historic Places. Designed in the American Romanesque architectural style, with a turret, winding stairs, stained glass windows, ornately carved wood, metalwork and seven fireplaces, the library sounds like a setting for a ghost story!
Stories circulate of books flying from shelves, a face appearing in the mirror, an apparition of a bearded man in Victorian era attire and disembodied whispers and voices.
In 2021 Great Lakes Ghost Hunters of Michigan presented the findings of an investigation of Hackley Public Library and Torrent House. A virtual Zoom program was aired on the 22nd of October. Team members showed and explained how their technology worked that was used during their visit. A video was also shared of their investigations.
👻 Mysteries of the Maritime Museums:
According to Dan Holroyd, of Southern Michigan Paranormals, the USS Silversides is the second most haunted place in West Michigan, and the USS LST 393 Museum is the fourth most haunted; making overnight stays even more exciting!
In 2019 Marter Paranormal led an investigation aboard the USS Silversides submarine and museum. One member of the group reported to MLive that there was "lots of activity" and "good evidence"" during their overnight investigation. A video can be viewed on the Mater Paranormal YouTube channel here.
Look for the forthcoming book "Haunted Muskegon" by Marie Cisneros. Marie also has written a number of articles for the series "Paranormal Muskegon" on the Muskegon Channel.