News Column

For a Spooky Stay, Check in at These Haunted Michigan Hotels

Oct. 26, 2012

Ellen Creager

It's a haunted hotel legend.

Back in the 1980s, the story goes, a man was shot by an angry waitress when he didn't leave a big enough tip.

He now haunts Room 117 at the Red Apple Restaurant and Inn in Wayne -- hiding the TV remote, moving the Bible and shrinking the bottles of shampoo.

"Even those ghost hunter people came from U-M and asked if they could sit in the room all night. I said, 'Sure, but you have to pay for it,'" said Red Apple owner Fred Elezi.

"They brought all their equipment. But they didn't see anything."

The Red Apple has been open since 1972, and Elezi says there has never been a murder there. But every Halloween, the hotel gets calls from people who want to rent the haunted room.

Elezi himself sat in Room 117 to see whether he felt a ghostly presence, but he hasn't heard a boo.

"You never know, though," he said. "A hundred years ago, this could have been a burial ground. I know this was a lumberyard, and it burned down."

'You'd get a chill'

When it comes to haunted hotels, Michigan has many -- at least many where stories exist.

In a survey, about 18% of Americans said they had seen ghosts, twice as many people as in a survey 13 years earlier, the Washington-based Pew Research Center reported in August 2009. The poll also found that 29% of Americans "felt in touch with someone who has died."

While some hotels play down connections to the other side, some court the image.

The Sweet Dreams Inn Victorian Bed & Breakfast in Bay Port, in Michigan's Thumb, hosts paranormal conferences and ghost hunter weekends. Its spirits regularly make things go bump in the night.

The National House Inn in Marshall reportedly has an elegant apparition -- a lady in red -- who wanders the house. The hotel is featured on a Haunted Marshall Ghost Tours itinerary.

The Inn on Ferry Street in Detroit has two eerie legends -- a woman in a wedding dress who roams the halls in the inn's Roehm House, plus a male ghost in the inn's Owen House Room 4102 who grabs your arm at night.

Then there's the 13-bedroom Nahma Inn bed and breakfast in Nahma, near Escanaba. Legend says there's a friendly ghost that tidies up the kitchen when the guests are in bed. But it goes way beyond that.

"We've experienced paranormal situations," said Charley MacIntosh, who has owned the inn for five years with his wife, Laurie.

He said Laurie once saw a little girl in the hall three times in one night.

"She had closed down and was doing paper work, and she saw a girl walk right by her," he said of his wife. "She appeared to be a 10-year-old girl.

"Another time, I heard a lullaby singing. I was in the basement and was doing a plumbing job, and I brought my tools back down in the basement, and the song came out of the rafters, a beautiful lullaby singing, and I could just about make out the words but not quite.

"Then, Thanksgiving, there were four of us playing euchre. One person had a drink on the table. Then the drink just went flying off the table. We had five witnesses on that," he said.

MacIntosh says they didn't set out to have a haunted hotel. It just happened.

"We have quite a few guests who know the stories, that there are supposed to be spooks. The hotel is over 100 years old, and we don't really have the total history on it. But a lot of locals say there are spirits around here. I never was much of a believer until we bought this place."

Some Michigan hotel ghosts apparently have upscale tastes. In Dearborn, there's a rumor that Room 418 at the Ritz Carlton had doors that swung by themselves. But when the Ritz Carlton was sold in 2010 and the hotel became the Henry, the ghosts may have slipped out on the wind with the Ritz Carlton brass. Nobody has reported doors swinging in Room 418 since the hotel changed hands.

The ghost hasn't made its presence known to the new owners," said sales and marketing director Alan Osborne, who sounds a tad disappointed.



Source: (c)2012 the Detroit Free Press. Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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