The Haunting of Seul Choix Point Lighthouse
October 23, 2007
Hundreds of years ago, moving the across this region was a different story. Native Americans and French explorers were traveling in canoes and later small ‘Mackinac’ boats. It was readily apparent that along the 75 mile stretch, from the Straits of Mackinac to today’s Manistique, there was only one place to seek refuge from the storms that often sweep up Lake Michigan. Realizing that the bay near the present day Port Inland was their only choice, the French named the place Seul Choix, the French name for ‘Only Choice’. The French pronunciation is “Sel-Shwa”, while locally the name is spoken as “Sis-Shwa”.
He goes on to document the history, touching upon a ghost story that is fleshed out in The Keeper of Seul Choix Point by Ken Rudine:
Joseph Willie Townsend was the keeper there from 1902 to 1910 when he died in that upstairs bedroom. His body was drained and prepared for his wake which was held in the basement. He lay in state in the parlor until his relatives could assemble from other locations. He was buried nearby in a cedar coffin. Joseph was a cigar smoker in life, but his wife refused to let him smoke in the house. Now cigar smoke is often smelled in the house, as if Townsend now enjoys what his wife forbade.
The article tells other tales about the haunting, and you can get more information about this lighthouse (including an aerial view that shows the setting) at the Seul Choix Point Light web site. Beware! The site is “haunted” as well – by a song you cannot shut off … mu-hu-hahaha! There are a couple of children’s books based on these stories (well, probably minus the embalming part) called The Captain & Harry by Jan Langley.
You can also see more historical photos of Seul Choix Point Lighthouse at the Archives of Michigan and view modern-day photos of Seul Choix Light on Flickr (slideshow). Since I’m not sure that anything I linked to has good directions to the lighthouse (which is located near the ghost town of Fayette about 10 miles east of Manistique), here’s the Seul Choix page from Exploring the North.