The Haunted Side of the “Motor City”

Detroit, Michigan, which has long been referred to as the “Motor City,” has a haunted side that can be seen within some of its historical, cultural and religious buildings. The General Motors Plant is the scene for a tale involving the ghost of a man who was crushed to death in the plant in 1944. He was given credit for rescuing another man from dying in the same manner as he.


When you want to explore some of the haunted spots throughout Detroit, you will find a handful located at some of the cultural institutions throughout the city. When visiting the Detroit Historical Museum, there is a stain on the floor located on the lower level. The stain smells like sulfur and has been known to disappear when touched. Some workers have said that sometimes an orb appears by the stain.


The Detroit Institute of the Arts has an art piece referred to as the “nail figure.” It can be found within the African Gallery. The sculpture has several shards of wood sticking out of it, signifying “nails” of some sort. Some workers have reported that the sculpture can be seen reenacting a tribal dance at night. As you reach the American Gallery, loud crashes have been reported to have been heard in a room that holds a painting by the name of “Court of Death.” More than one security guard patrolling during the night shift has documented this, describing the sound as similar to a very large painting falling. Upon turning on the lights, there is no trace of anything that has created the loud noise.


The theater where Harry Houdini put on his last show is called the Majestic on Woodward; and has now been turned into a bowling alley and pool hall. Located below the theater, the building features the former basement which has been transformed into a small room and hallway that has been bricked up because there have been reports of apparitions exiting from this area. A man can also be heard yelling, accompanied by footsteps, when the bowling alley is supposed to be empty.


Within the Orchestra Hall where the Detroit symphony plays, images of the second music director, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, has been reported to walk through his former office and rehearsal rooms. Another popular venue for concerts is called St. Andrew Hall, where many ghosts have been reported to be seen wandering about the basement, which is referred to as the Shelter. Some have claimed to be chased up the stairs by ghosts. The locked doors of the shelter have also been known to open and close at will.

The Detroit Masonic Temple is a mysterious building with more than 1,000 rooms, including a variety of secret passages and secret floor sections. The man who supported the funding for this building, George D. Mason, eventually lost his money and wife due to the project. He was also forced to claim bankruptcy. Dejected and poor, he jumped off of the roof and killed himself. It has been said that a transparent form, supposedly Mason, has been seen at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the roof. Other claims include: unnatural cold spots, odd shadows and the sound of slamming doors.


Other haunted Detroit spots include the University of Detroit’s Marion Hall where the ghosts of nuns have been reported; Our Lady Queen of Angels Parish Hall; the Department of Transportation’s Main Office; and the Henry Ford Hospital.