2006-10-07 / Top News

Just in Time for Halloween... New Book, Research Group Seek Island's Urban Legends

A ghostly young girl and a man are said to roam the rooms at Small Point Cottage, returning to what was once their home. A ghostly young girl and a man are said to roam the rooms at Small Point Cottage, returning to what was once their home. Mackinac Island is a place with many sites of supernatural wonder - a hot topic as Halloween approaches. It is no better time, in fact, to find out what is true and what is not.

Grimestone, Incorporated, a nonprofit "paranormal research group" from Ann Arbor, plans to visit the Island next spring to study legends, first-hand accounts, and hearsays of hauntings throughout the Island. It will be hosted by Mackinac State Historic Parks.

The group of specialists will visit such land marks as Skull Cave and Arch Rock but a bigger interest will be bed and breakfast homes.

"B and B's are interesting because of the ages of the buildings," said Charla White, codirector of Grimstone, Inc. "It stands to reason that people who owned those homes in the past may become so attached to them that they never leave."

Ms. White said members of the group are specialists who work in various career fields and have a common interest in the scientific study of paranormal activity.

"When we investigate, we look for the scientific answers," said Ms. White. "Though we have a professional psychic as one of our members we do not rely on that for evidence."

Case in point, Grimestone was told by one woman that she believed her stairs in her home were haunted and when she walked on them she felt she was being pushed and she became nauseated. After inspecting the stairs, the group found that the lady was stepping on an exposed, live electric wire.

Not all of the group's cases are as clear-cut. Take its experience at the Fenton Hotel in Fenton in February. Ms. White said a woman in a Victorian dress was seen on one of the many video camera television screens the group set up on the second and third floor of the hotel, now a restaurant and grille. The top floors are closed to the public.

"When we saw her on the screen we immediately checked the area out," said Ms. White. "We could see her as plain as day but there was no trace of any person being in that room when we checked it out. I do recall it being exceptionally warm, as well."

Group members experienced hair pulling, facial caresses, and watched as hair on a person's arm went up and down repeatedly during a tour the group hosted at the hotel in May.

The Island has many legends of hauntings, such as the two ghosts at Small Point Cottage near Mission Point Resort, or the woman who weeps at the military Post Cemetery, or the ghostly servant girl at Stonecliffe Mansion. Many of the Island's stories are in Todd Clements' new book, "Haunts of Mackinac," a collection of popular ghost stories on the Island and shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, and Native American legends.

The Island's Halloween trickor treaters will be involved in many activities on Saturday, October 28. Mackinac Island Public School will open at 2 p.m. for a party. Afterwards, Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau will coordinate a downtown business trick-or-treating

from Windermere Point to Doud's Mercantile. The group then will gather at the steps of the Haunted Theatre for a photograph. The theater will also stay open later that day.

A hay ride also will be offered.

For more information, call the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau at (800) 454-5227.

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