And with a lineage of spiritually gifted ancestors and a lifetime of ghost sightings of her own, Desirae Dine is the perfect guide to our otherworldly phenomenon. She owns Haunted Traverse, a tour company in Traverse Ctiy that takes guests on a jaunt through the creepier side of Northern Michigan. We asked Dine and her team about the best, and scariest, parts of the job.
Kandace Chapple: Tell us about a ghost encounter that chilled you to the bone.
Desirae Dine: Out at the Ghost Farm of Kingsley, there was the spirit of a woman. During one of our haunted walk nights in October, this woman presented herself to a participant, causing her to press her back against a tree. I got out my camera and started snapping pictures. In the middle of one of the photos, you can see a woman’s face smiling. I get chills whenever I see it.
KC: What are some other things guests have experienced?
DD: We always seem to catch really neat EVPs (electronic voice phenomena) at the site of Traverse City’s first cemetery on Sixth Street. We’ve also personally had a sighting of a spirit in the basement of the State Theatre.
KC: What’s the most haunted place in TC in your opinion?
DD: The Front Street Hotel, which once stood at the southwest corner of Park and Front, has an interesting past. Early one morning in 1896, our fire chief at the time, Chief Dupree, was sitting outside the Cass Street fire station when he noticed a glow in the distance. The whole fire house was roused and the water wagon, The Queen City Broiler, was hitched. But, by the time they arrived, the hotel was already lost. Today, some people on the upper floors of the building that’s now there, report smelling smoke or being startled by paws on the hard floor followed by a flurry of frantic barking, only to turn and find nothing behind them. You see, there were two souls lost the evening of the fire. One, Ed Newberry, a Swedish porter, passed from smoke inhalation. The other, found at the foot of his bed, his dog.
Photo by Haunted Traverse
KC: You have a family history of spiritual giftedness; fill us in.
DD: My great-grandmother, Addie-Bell, was a witch. She was a midwife who came from the foothills of Kentucky; a small woman, under five feet tall, with long hair and healing hands. Our mother would tell us about a game she would play—she would ask Addie-Bell: “Make it knock, Grammy!” and Addie-Bell would make things knock all over the house. She could mix something to cure a headache, soothe your stomach or help you get rid of a pesky boyfriend, if need be.
KC: Tell us about your different tours.
DD: We offer a Historical Ghost Lantern Tour, a Ghost Hunting Experience and a Weird 101 Walking Tour. The Ghost Farm of Kingsley begins the first weekend of October and runs every Friday and Saturday evening all month long. We love changing what we do every year so that it is fresh, fun and terrifying. We also use this as a fundraising opportunity for local groups, including 4H members and Boy Scouts.