Ghost stories…we tell them around campfires to awe and entertain. But for those who’ve experienced the truly eerie, they cease to be tales and become haunting reality. The Marquette Harbor Lighthouse is home to its own restless spirit, a young girl who’s been seen staring out the tower window.
“Once we began doing tours up there, strange things began happening, at least the reports from some of our folks giving the tours, to include the imagery, for example, of a young girl looking out the window; another image seen of a young girl on the catwalk,” maritime historian Fred Stonehouse said. “These were seen by different tour folks, under different conditions. Whether they’re seeing something real or something of their imagination, of course, we have no way of knowing.”
“It’s a little girl; her name is Jessie,” Marquette Maritime Museum assistant director Taylor Adams said. “She’s got red hair and green eyes and she’s barefoot. She wears a little Sunday-best dress, looks about from the 1910s or so.”
The little girl’s presence is made all the more eerie by the fact that there is no recorded death of a girl at the lighthouse.
“We did find out that the daughter of one of the lightkeepers was badly injured falling from the rocks, and if there’s an explanation, that might be it,” Stonehouse said. “The young girl was injured just after the turn of the century, but again, whether that’s something that connects the dots or not we simply have no way of knowing. It does add to the lore and the mystery of the Marquette Harbor Light; it does add, I think, a little different twist to the maritime history of the Great Lakes.”
Ghosts don’t always make themselves known to all who come into their domain, and Jessie is no different.
“She’s really attracted to female figures, like motherly figures, and also children; she loves children,” Adams said. “Lots of times you’ll hear her skipping around the lighthouse, and you’ll hear giggles and nobody’s there. She’s a really nice spirit; she’s not threatening at all and she’s kind of nice to have up there.”
We often wonder if supernatural sights and sounds are true ghostly manifestations or just mirages born of our nerves and expectations. Either way, ghost stories offer an insightful and entertaining look at our history and lore.