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History and Ghosts at the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse

Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, Michigan
Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, Michigan
Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, Michigan
Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, Michigan
“Ghost” at the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, Michigan
“Ghost” at the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, Michigan

Standing as a guiding beacon along the shores of Lake Huron in Northeast Michigan, Old Presque Isle Lighthouse still is seen today as a reminder of the Great Lakes maritime past. Built in 1840 of stone and brick, this historical site has quite the background and is even known for its eerie, spine chilling vibes! Read on to see the ghostly photo captured during our visit!


Following the War of 1812 and the increased use of Lake Huron being used for shipping and passage it was decided that a lighthouse should be constructed. Congress initiated funds in 1838 to pay for the beacon to be built. The total cost to build the lighthouse then was around $5,000.

This lighthouse was the first built along the desolate shores of Northeast Michigan. In 1840, it was constructed to provide a guiding light for the ships and sailors aboard passing by. It is still known as one of the oldest lighthouses on the Great Lakes.

Old Presque Isle Lighthouse was built of 2/3 stone and 1/3 brick. It stands about 30′ tall and is 18′ round at the base. The first keeper of the lighthouse was named Henry Woolsey. He served until 1847 and was paid about $350 a year.

Over the duration of the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse’s years in operation a total of five light keepers held the position. The final light keeper Patrick Garrity Sr. was appointed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1861. He remained in leadership over the lighthouse until it was decided that the old keeper station was deteriorating with time.

In 1870 it was determined that the New Presque Isle Lighthouse would be constructed. Patrick and his family moved to the new location in 1871. The new lighthouse was taller and more beneficial to passing boats.

Over the next hundred years the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse was sold to various people. Modifications were made as well as a new light keepers station being constructed. It was finally recognized as a historical place in 1964, and in 1995 was opened as a museum.

Spooky Sightings

It was during a family vacation that we stopped on our journey at this historical lighthouse. It seemed lost in time out on the desolated wooded area left to stand through the years of harsh weather of Michigan winters. As we toured the light keepers house the elderly tour guide warned us of mysterious occurrences that have been known to occur at the top of the light. Numerous visitors had claimed that they have experienced paranormal happenings. Some photographs are even on display in the light keeper house for visitors to see.

As we climbed to the top of this historic structure there was an eerie feeling in the air. Yet there was nothing to be seen that sparked a notice of a suspicious sighting. It was days later after we returned home and were reviewing our photos that we came across the photo shown below. The photo was taken by my father due to his fascination in the lens. We glanced over the photo to see what looked to be a ghostly figure staring back into the camera. Look at the photo below to see if you see the ghostly character in the center of lens. The reflection of his face is clearly below that of the ghostly figure. The figure also is wearing a captains hat, as the lady in the light keeper station warned us the sightings often are of an older man wearing a captains hat in the top of the lighthouse. This man is reportedly George Parris and after comparing photos of Mr. Parris and the ghostly character in the photo the similarity is spine-chilling.

Other visitors have described their experiences at the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse and local legends have their tales.

One story is of a young girl who was playing at the top of the lighthouse. When she descended from the lighthouse her parents asked who she had been talking to. Her reply was the nice old man, but no one else had been up there with her. Later she identified from a photo the man she spoke to at the top of the lighthouse as Mr. Parris who had passed away years before.

Mr. Parris’ wife had her own tales of encounters with her late husband. She was on her way out the door to go get groceries during a lightening storm when she was unable to leave. The door had been blocked to leave the light keepers cottage. Just as she let go of the handle realizing the door would not allow her to leave, lightning struck outside where she would have stood. Mrs. Parris believed that the door had been blocked by the late George Parris for her safety.

It is said that occasionally passerby of the lighthouse will notice a light casting from the top of the lighthouse but it has not been lit in years.

Violet Sky’s Visit

This is one of those places that I found very interesting to explore. There is so much history and its remote location makes for a step back in time feel. Although after discovering the ghostly image in this photo my mind is curious as to what caused that mysterious appearance.

How to Visit

Old Presque Isle Lighthouse and the keepers house are available for tours. Be sure to wear closed toed shoes if you plan on climbing to the top.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

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