GULLIVER - Today is Halloween - that time of year when people dress up as ghosts, tell scary stories, and play pranks on each other.
That's nothing new at the Seul Choix Pointe Lighthouse in Gulliver where spirits have been known to haunt the lighthouse at any time.
These visits have included visions in mirrors, sudden coldness, the smell of cigar smoke, strange sounds, moving silverware, and doors opening, according to those who have witnessed the hauntings first hand.
Marilyn S. Fischer, author of “Spirits at Seul Choix Pointe,” is reflected above in a mirror at a haunted lighthouse in Gulliver. The publication recalls several ghostly encounters at Seul Choix Pointe Lighthouse. Proceeds from the book go towards moving and renovating the former assistant lightkeeper’s home currently being returned to the site. (Photo by Jenny Lancour/illustration by Mary Ann Heath)
Fifty of these accounts are recorded in a book called "Spirits at Seul Choix Pointe," authored by the president of the Gulliver Historical Society, Marilyn S. Fischer.
She wrote and financed the book which was published this year. All proceeds from the book sales go toward moving an original assistance lighthouse keeper's house back onto the property. (See related article.)
Fischer said she compiled the collection because people kept asking her to retell the stories.
"I had over 150 true things in my brain that have happened over the past 25 years," said Fischer, adding she had to write them down before she lost them.
Many of the same occurrences happened to different people including lighthouse keepers, Coast Guard employees, tour guides and the general public, she noted.
Fisher, herself, has experienced about 40 hauntings, or what she describes as "safe encounters," at the Seul Choix Pointe Lighthouse. She also says she is clairvoyant.
"The definition of the word clairvoyance is a visualization of objects which are hidden from the natural range of senses," she states in her book.
Fischer has witnessed several strange occurrences while working at the lighthouse such as visions of people's faces in a mirror and strange flashes of light.
Silverware and plates have moved from their original placements. A table has been turned and chairs rearranged. Cigars in one room have turned up in another room. Bed covers have been messed up in an upstairs bedroom. Unexplained footsteps have been heard.
The most recent hauntings at the lighthouse have been images of two little girls seen last fall and this year, said Fischer, explaining that someone saw one of the girls reading a book at the top of the lighthouse tower.
The two girls are said to be spirits of children who were born and raised there. In their elder years, the women had purchased an ice box for the living quarters. The door on this icebox keeps opening without explanation, said Fischer.
The haunted lighthouse has been featured on two televised videos including "Scariest Places in America" and "Beyond Chance."
During one of the tapings, an image of the deceased Capt. Willey Townshend appeared, she said. Townshend was lighthouse keeper from 1902 until he died in the upstairs bedroom in 1910.
His body was embalmed in the basement. Fischer said his spirit continues to watch over the lighthouse where he occasionally appears and sometimes plays harmless pranks.
In addition to the lighthouse hauntings, Fischer's book also includes stories about the "Rock Spirits." While doing roadwork on the Saul Choix Road in 1939, the county road commission unearthed an ancient Indian burial ground.
"Workmen desecrated this ground by hanging human bones in the trees," says Fischer in her book. Since then, black figures have been seen traveling on the road, floating on the shoreline, and walking in a home built in the middle of the ancient trail, she said.
More details are included in the "Spirits" book, said Fischer.
The books are available by mail or at the lighthouse gift store which is open Memorial Day through mid-October.
To order a book by mail, send $16 for the book and $4 for handling to the Gulliver Historical Society, 1906W County Road 432, Gulliver, MI 49840. Copies will be autographed upon request.
The lighthouse hosted tours for a Halloween haunted house fund-raiser earlier this month. On Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, the lighthouse will be decorated for Christmas and open for tours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Santa Claus arrives on Dec. 1.
The lighthouse has been guiding boats since 1892 when the 78-foot, 9-inch tower went into service. The Fresnel lens was visible for 13 miles. Today, no keeper of the light is needed because the lens tower is automated.
Seul Choix Pointe is located in the southeast corner of Schoolcraft County, eight miles southeast of Gulliver and 19 miles east of Manistique. Seul Choix (pronounced 'Sis Shwa') means "only choice." It was named by the French who found it was the only harbor of refuge in this part of Lake Michigan.