Ghost Guide to Detroit’s Most Haunted Places
Get spooky in Motor City!
Motor City is an urban explorer’s dream come true, but what you might not know is that on top of having some of the most epic abandoned buildings, Motown is also a paranormal playground. From military forts to cursed restaurants to a legendary red gnome, Detroit knows how to bring the weird and spooky. Grab your proton pack and get exploring at these haunted hotspots!
Historic Fort Wayne
People claim that most of the strange paranormal activity going on at Fort Wayne happens at 1:20am… and no one knows why. There have been sightings of spectral soldiers wandering around the fort’s 96 acres, while visitors claim to hear the sound of mysterious footsteps and voices from beyond the grave. Fort volunteers report that display items have a history of disappearing and reappearing weeks later. Fort Wayne is the last Native American burial mound in the city, and according to many, is haunted by the ghosts of the “Yam-Ko-Desh”, also known as “the Mound Builders.” In order to help the newly departed pass on, they would walk back and forth in a nearby creek until the ghosts passed over to the spirit world.
Detroit Public Library
There’s a very good chance that you’ll never get one of the Detroit Public Library’s librarians to admit it, but the city’s favorite library is most definitely haunted. There have been reports of books flying off shelves, and some are even rearranged by unseen hands.
Detroit Institute of Art
Many of the security guards who have worked the night shift at the Detroit Art Institute say that there’s absolutely something paranormal going on behind its walls. Often times the guards report hearing loud thuds that echo through the halls of the empty museum. Others claim to hear the sounds of people dragging something around the building at times when there should be no one on the property. The most active area of the museum is the African art gallery, specifically a statue nicknamed the “Nail Figure”. The wooden statue is completely impaled with sharp nails, and according to eyewitnesses, it has been known to move, and in some instances, even dance.
The Whitney Restaurant
The Whitney Restaurant was originally built as a home for David Whitney, Jr. and his wife Sarah. According to the legend, the couple died inside the home, but decided to never leave. In the 80s, people began recording the strange experiences they were having on all three floors. Witnesses claim to see the apparition of a man wearing a tuxedo on the second floor and hear the sound of people whispering to each other when no one is around.
According to eyewitnesses, the ghost of none other than the famed Harry Houdini haunts the Majestic Cafe, where he gave one of his final performances in 1926. He’s said to walk the floor of the cafe late at night, only to disappear if you call out his name.
On July 31, 1763, Chief Pontiac and 250 braves hid in the trees above what eventually became Elmwood Cemetery, and killed between 60 to 160 British soldiers. This incident became known as “The Battle of Bloody Run”, and as a result, many people claim to see strange orbs and other odd anomalies in the cemetery as well as the apparitions of the men who died that fateful day. One of the most famous ghosts at Elmwood Cemetery is known as “The Veiled Lady.” She is said to invoke terrible feelings of fear and dread in anyone who sees her. And those who are brave enough to stand in front of her grave under the moonlight report disembodied voices and strange smells.
Puppetart / Detroit Puppet Theater
There’s only one thing scarier than a puppet theater… a haunted puppet theater! According to eyewitnesses, the Detroit Puppet Theater is not only home to terrifying dolls, but a few ghosts as well. The scent of pipe smoke is sometimes smelled by guests, and many report feeling strange cold spots throughout the building.
The Leland Hotel
Not only is The Leland Hotel legendary thanks to clientele like Jimmy Hoffa and the Purple Gang, it was also Detroit’s most popular hotel in the Roaring 20s. Today, the Leland is an underground club that has been the sight of many deaths. Over the years, people have reported hearing the sounds of disembodied voices and footsteps echoing through the halls.
Detroit Masonic Temple & Theatre
Detroit’s Masonic Temple is the biggest in the world. It was built in 1912 by George D. Mason and has more than 1,000 rooms, including secret staircases, hidden passages, and even compartments hidden in the floors. Unfortunately, Mason may have gone a bit overboard building the temple, and when he went bankrupt, his wife decided to leave him. Mason spiraled into depression, and eventually jumped to his death from the temple’s roof. To this day, people say they see him ascending the stairs slowly towards the roof. Guests and staff also experience cold spots, strange shadows, doors opening and closing, and the overwhelming feeling of being watched.
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Haunted by famed Russian pianist Ossip Gabrilowitsch, guests to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra have experienced cold spots, strange smells, and even the sounds of music when no one is around.
Guests visiting the Cadieux Cafe have witnessed the ghost of Yvonne Devos, the mother of the owner, sitting quietly at the bar or seated at a table, forlornly looking off into the distance.
St. Agnes Church
Strange smells, cold spots, and mysterious bangs have plagued St. Agnes Church for the last 50 years. Some say it’s the spirit of a nun who still spends her days attending to the congregation from beyond the veil.
So, there you have it! If you’re headed to Motown and you’re looking to do a little paranormal adventuring of your own, look no further than this spooky-fueled tour of haunted Detroit!
Did you encounter any of these ghostly hotspots on your trip to Detroit? Share your own Motown paranormal encounters with us on Twitter.
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