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Thirteen Haunted, Creepy, or Spooky Detroit Places

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This post was authored by Paul Beshouri and Lauren Ann Davies.

For some people, a map of scary places in Detroit is a map of the whole city. But we at Curbed know you are too smart for that. In honor of Halloween, we've mapped thirteen really spooky spots in the Mortis Motor City. Please explore responsibly. And by responsibly, we mean from the safety of the Internet.

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1. Belle Isle at Tacoma Lake

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875 Picnic Way
Detroit, MI 48207

Legend has it that if you park on the bridge near Tacoma Lake facing the trees and honk three times, the ghost of a Native American woman will appear. She is alluring and dressed in white. The Great Spirit has placed her on the island to protect her beauty. She’s lonely, so she will motion for you to follow her into the woods. Occasionally, she’s mistaken for a white deer meandering the island.

2. Elmwood Cemetery

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1200 Elmwood Ave
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 567-8861
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Elmwood Cemetery is the site of the Battle of Bloody Run, an ambush by Chief Pontiac’s army on British soldiers. The bodies of fallen British caused the nearby creek to run red with blood, resulting in its present name. As one of Michigan’s oldest cemeteries, it’s known to be one of the best ghost hunting locations in Detroit.

3. Two Way Inn

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17897 Mt Elliott St
Detroit, MI 48212

Having worked as a Union spy, archeologist, and superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, the life of Philetus Norris sounds like that of a folk hero. Past and present owners of the Two Way Inn, his former business and residence, say his cowboy-like ghost has been seen keeping watch over the place, protecting it from arson.

4. St. Aubin Massacre

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3587 St Aubin St
Detroit, MI 48207

This location once housed a cult-like and mostly made up religion created by self-proclaimed prophet Benny Evangelista. If that wasn’t creepy enough, in 1929 Evangelista was discovered prim and proper at his desk, with his severed head at his feet. His wife and four small children were found murdered upstairs. No one was ever charged with the crime.

5. Majestic Cafe

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4140 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 833-9700
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According to the depths of the internet, mystical master Harry Houdini’s ghost wanders the Majestic. He gave one of his last performances (but not THE last) at the theater in 1926, then promptly died. We can’t prove a single part of this true, but Harry Houdini seems like the kind of guy who could orchestrate a haunting.

6. Le Nain Rouge @ Traffic Jam & Snug

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511 W Canfield St.
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 831-9470
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Since the very beginnings of Detroit, this creepy red gnome with bad hygiene has be popping up to cause mischief. He is said to have cursed Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac and Chief Pontiac, and caused the 1805 fire and the 1967 riot. Finding this little guy means doom in the near future. These days, Detroiters kick off a yearly march at Traffic Jam and Snug to ward off the notorious Detroit icon.

7. Masonic Temple

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500 Temple St.
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 832-7100
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If the rumors are true, the Masonic is something like ghost Cedar Point. Anything ghosts enjoy doing—slamming doors, reenacting their deaths, pantsing—has been said to happen here. With 12M sq/ft filled with creepy Mason decorations, you can’t blame them for making the most of it.

8. Alhambra Apartment Poisoning

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100 Temple St
Detroit, MI 48201

In 1905, Rose Barron allegedly went Snow White’s wicked stepmother on the Alhambra apartment building after being demoted from cook to scrubwoman. She slipped arsenic into the biscuits and poisoned 40 families; two people died. After a long and theatrical trial, she was acquitted. The Alhambra building still stands today, and there are at least two people who have earned the right to haunt it.

9. Leland Hotel

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400 Bagley Ave
Detroit, MI 48226

Despite being Detroit’s best hotel in 1927 (Jimmy Hoffa and the Purple Gang were said to be regulars), the Leland exists today as a notoriously terrifying flophouse/underground club spot. Highlights include the now-shuttered fourth floor lounge, basement, and sub-basement. Although many have died in the Leland over time, the living sound just as concerning.

10. Fort Shelby Hotel

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525 W Lafayette Blvd
Detroit, MI 48226

One-eyed and homeless, Al spent most nights drunkenly harassing the patrons of Fort Shelby. He drowned in the Shelby’s basement when it flooded with sewage. His ghost is known to loiter just outside the hotel.

11. Detroit Journal Disaster

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W Larned St & Shelby St
Detroit, MI 48226

The Detroit Journal building and most of its inhabitants died in 1895 when a boiler exploded. The building was destroyed. What was left of it caught on fire. Notably, the building engineer was not one of the 37 people that died. It was assumed he was not at his post at the time of the explosion, and he was arrested.

12. Scotten and Co. Cigars

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4005 W Fort St
Detroit, MI 48209

Daniel Scotten’s cigar factory closed shortly after his death in 1899. Shortly thereafter, two family servants said Scotten’s ghost confronted them, swearing he wouldn’t rest until his factory was reopened. He’s likely much crankier today, as his factory is now a parking lot. Many claim to have seen his spirit patrolling the plant’s former footprint on West Fort Street.

13. Historic Fort Wayne

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6325 W Jefferson Ave
Detroit, MI 48209

Although its condition suggests having endured a lengthy siege, Fort Wayne has never actually seen any sort of battle. It did house displaced people, both in the Great Depression and the 12th Street Riots. As with any crumbling historic structure, general creepiness pervades.

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1. Belle Isle at Tacoma Lake

875 Picnic Way, Detroit, MI 48207

Legend has it that if you park on the bridge near Tacoma Lake facing the trees and honk three times, the ghost of a Native American woman will appear. She is alluring and dressed in white. The Great Spirit has placed her on the island to protect her beauty. She’s lonely, so she will motion for you to follow her into the woods. Occasionally, she’s mistaken for a white deer meandering the island.

875 Picnic Way
Detroit, MI 48207

2. Elmwood Cemetery

1200 Elmwood Ave, Detroit, MI 48207

Elmwood Cemetery is the site of the Battle of Bloody Run, an ambush by Chief Pontiac’s army on British soldiers. The bodies of fallen British caused the nearby creek to run red with blood, resulting in its present name. As one of Michigan’s oldest cemeteries, it’s known to be one of the best ghost hunting locations in Detroit.

1200 Elmwood Ave
Detroit, MI 48207

3. Two Way Inn

17897 Mt Elliott St, Detroit, MI 48212

Having worked as a Union spy, archeologist, and superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, the life of Philetus Norris sounds like that of a folk hero. Past and present owners of the Two Way Inn, his former business and residence, say his cowboy-like ghost has been seen keeping watch over the place, protecting it from arson.

17897 Mt Elliott St
Detroit, MI 48212

4. St. Aubin Massacre

3587 St Aubin St, Detroit, MI 48207

This location once housed a cult-like and mostly made up religion created by self-proclaimed prophet Benny Evangelista. If that wasn’t creepy enough, in 1929 Evangelista was discovered prim and proper at his desk, with his severed head at his feet. His wife and four small children were found murdered upstairs. No one was ever charged with the crime.

3587 St Aubin St
Detroit, MI 48207

5. Majestic Cafe

4140 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201

According to the depths of the internet, mystical master Harry Houdini’s ghost wanders the Majestic. He gave one of his last performances (but not THE last) at the theater in 1926, then promptly died. We can’t prove a single part of this true, but Harry Houdini seems like the kind of guy who could orchestrate a haunting.

4140 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201

6. Le Nain Rouge @ Traffic Jam & Snug

511 W Canfield St., Detroit, MI 48201

Since the very beginnings of Detroit, this creepy red gnome with bad hygiene has be popping up to cause mischief. He is said to have cursed Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac and Chief Pontiac, and caused the 1805 fire and the 1967 riot. Finding this little guy means doom in the near future. These days, Detroiters kick off a yearly march at Traffic Jam and Snug to ward off the notorious Detroit icon.

511 W Canfield St.
Detroit, MI 48201

7. Masonic Temple

500 Temple St., Detroit, MI 48201

If the rumors are true, the Masonic is something like ghost Cedar Point. Anything ghosts enjoy doing—slamming doors, reenacting their deaths, pantsing—has been said to happen here. With 12M sq/ft filled with creepy Mason decorations, you can’t blame them for making the most of it.

500 Temple St.
Detroit, MI 48201

8. Alhambra Apartment Poisoning

100 Temple St, Detroit, MI 48201

In 1905, Rose Barron allegedly went Snow White’s wicked stepmother on the Alhambra apartment building after being demoted from cook to scrubwoman. She slipped arsenic into the biscuits and poisoned 40 families; two people died. After a long and theatrical trial, she was acquitted. The Alhambra building still stands today, and there are at least two people who have earned the right to haunt it.

100 Temple St
Detroit, MI 48201

9. Leland Hotel

400 Bagley Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

Despite being Detroit’s best hotel in 1927 (Jimmy Hoffa and the Purple Gang were said to be regulars), the Leland exists today as a notoriously terrifying flophouse/underground club spot. Highlights include the now-shuttered fourth floor lounge, basement, and sub-basement. Although many have died in the Leland over time, the living sound just as concerning.

400 Bagley Ave
Detroit, MI 48226

10. Fort Shelby Hotel

525 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226

One-eyed and homeless, Al spent most nights drunkenly harassing the patrons of Fort Shelby. He drowned in the Shelby’s basement when it flooded with sewage. His ghost is known to loiter just outside the hotel.

525 W Lafayette Blvd
Detroit, MI 48226

11. Detroit Journal Disaster

W Larned St & Shelby St, Detroit, MI 48226

The Detroit Journal building and most of its inhabitants died in 1895 when a boiler exploded. The building was destroyed. What was left of it caught on fire. Notably, the building engineer was not one of the 37 people that died. It was assumed he was not at his post at the time of the explosion, and he was arrested.

W Larned St & Shelby St
Detroit, MI 48226

12. Scotten and Co. Cigars

4005 W Fort St, Detroit, MI 48209

Daniel Scotten’s cigar factory closed shortly after his death in 1899. Shortly thereafter, two family servants said Scotten’s ghost confronted them, swearing he wouldn’t rest until his factory was reopened. He’s likely much crankier today, as his factory is now a parking lot. Many claim to have seen his spirit patrolling the plant’s former footprint on West Fort Street.

4005 W Fort St
Detroit, MI 48209

13. Historic Fort Wayne

6325 W Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48209

Although its condition suggests having endured a lengthy siege, Fort Wayne has never actually seen any sort of battle. It did house displaced people, both in the Great Depression and the 12th Street Riots. As with any crumbling historic structure, general creepiness pervades.

6325 W Jefferson Ave
Detroit, MI 48209