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Mitchimakinak: Big Turtle Island


I fell, head over heels in love, in the summer of 1985. I had finally been granted permission to watch the movie Somewhere in Time, released five years previous. (It was a bit "racy" and not fit for one so young) The Grand Hotel made me sigh and my heart sing.

I watched the movie as often as I was allowed, and felt I knew just about every room of the hotel by heart. I thought I could be able to navigate the entire building and grounds, with no map. I poured over brochures and pamphlets, looked it up in our encyclopedias (remember those?) and drew it as well as I could.

My father surprised me, two years later, and took our family on a trip to Mitchimakinak (Mackinac) Island. There are no words to describe the feeling within me as I watched the Island approach from the Ferry. I was so excited, I talked to just about everyone on board and spewed facts about the island, and the hotel as well. MUCH to my parents chagrin, I even talked to those who appeared to be traveling to the tourist shops, and a day without cars.

As we rode up to the grounds of the Island on a glorious carriage with tassels swaying to the rhythm of the horses trot, I felt my heart would simply burst. The grounds were immaculately kept, the porch was glistening, the flowers vibrant and the doorman looked like an Angel.

I was in Heaven. For a week I was allowed to wander the hotel, the grounds and the town. It was marvelous. I found a little hidden path that led down to the water, where, if you leaned over your body just right, you could see the hotel though the trees. I loved that spot. The only sounds to reach it were the sounds of nature. It seemed it was not only MY secret though, as just a few yards away, a boy about my age used to sit and just stare out over the water.

Occasionally he would look in my general direction, but, like me, he was lost in his own thoughts and in the beauty of the lake.

On the day we were to leave my fairy tale land, I went down to the lake one last time. Even though I had never shared a word with the boy, I thought to tell him he would again have the lake to himself. It was a one sided conversation, and I could not help but feel saddened that I had wasted the week by not talking to him sooner.

Maybe we could have explored the Island together. He never spoke a word, but the look in his eyes were so sad, that I flattered myself to think that he would miss sharing his secret place with me.

On my walk back to the hotel, I stopped in The Mission Church, to say a few words. There I met a man I talked with briefly, and I asked him about the boy. With only a little over 500 residences on the Island, I thought for sure this man would know who he was. He had no clue.

The ferry ride back across to the main land was a depressing one. I could not help but to stand at the aft quarters and watch the hotel until it could no longer be seen. I then went up to talk with the employee's of the Ferry. I told them about our stay, and they humored this young girl who seemed to be filled with the magic of the Island, as so many before me.

When I mentioned the little boy, their expressions changed, and Eric Lightfeather told me where it was that I saw him. I agreed.

Seems that, on a snowmobile ride to the Island one blustery winter day, a young boy and his father fell through some thin ice near the shore of Mackinac Island. The father was not found until the spring thaw, but the boy made it to the shore. When he was found, he was frozen on the banks of Lake Huron.

Just an added note to this story. The hotel in the movie Somewhere in Time is NOT the Grand Hotel, but the Island was used. The actual hotel that was in the movie was The Hotel Del Coronado, in California. Once I was made aware of that, I decided to visit IT as well.

The Island of Mitchimakinak (Mackinac) is a sacred place in the tradition of some of its earliest known inhabitants, the Anishinaabe (Ojibwa) tribes, who consider it to be home to the Great Spirit.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, whitebuffalo, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

dragonwalker (5 stories) (77 posts)
13 years ago (2010-01-08)
Funny thing about this story is that I read an article about the island sometime early to mid last year and the name Mackinac stuck in my head. Something about the name just sits in my head, like knowledge I don't yet know or understand, waiting to be used. 😊
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
14 years ago (2009-02-01)
Hriste tofos toalithinon, tofotizon kai agiazon panta anthropon iston kosmon simiothito efimas tofostou prosopousou, ina enafto opsometha fostoprositon kai katefthinon tadiavimata imonpros ergasian tonentolon sou
whitebuffalo (guest)
14 years ago (2009-02-01)
In the Name of The Great Spirit,
And by the power of His Blood and His Mercy,
We bind all spirits in the air, and the fire and the water,
In the ground and the underground and the nether world,
And we bind any satanic forces of nature.
We bind all curses, hexes, or spells, or any occult activity previously used.
We bind the interaction and interplay of spirits.
And we claim the protection
Of the Great Spirit
Over this house and grounds, and over every person here.
We call upon the ancestors of the land
And the company of angels to surround this place,
Making it both safe and sacred.
And we call out to you, O Great Spirit.
Come now and fill this place, never to leave!
We pray in the name of the Great Spirit, Amen.
whitebuffalo (guest)
14 years ago (2008-10-18)
Thank you Kecoughtan. I had serious doubts when I posted the comment that it would even be read. Mostly as it was not a comment made to a new story.
You are right. The gross assumptions deny who we really are. Just as assumptions make any group of people more dynamic, or less nefarious.
I see people constantly "calling out" people for OTHER stereotypes, but never have I seen someone say something about the stereotype that only the resting place of a Native can create the mass hallucination of paranormal phenomenon.
SO MANY of the new stories cite that there is a mound nearby, or on the premises. I find it hard to comment to most of them, as I try NOT to show my frustration. It DID "slip", though, in a recent posting.
Nice to know that someone knows me on here well enough to sense the emotions hidden within the words.
Thank you, my friend.
Kecoughtan (1 stories) (211 posts)
14 years ago (2008-10-17)
Whitebuffalo, I detected a hint of your frustration in one of your recent postings and I want you to know how much I appreciate you addressing these gross generalizations. As a rule, Europeans settlers and Americans have never had a nuanced appreciation of American Indians. We have always tried to oversimplify and generalize American Indians as though conflicts with hundreds of distinctive peoples (speaking different languages and practicing unique cultures) could ever be solved with a simple solution to the "Indian Problem". Unfortunately, that never discouraged Washington and Ottawa (or London and Paris long before that) from implementing simplistic, one-size-fits-all policies. Historically, Americans have typically depicted Indians in unrealistic (and racist extremes) such as the "noble savage". Best selling books like The Last of the Mohicans popularized these characterizations of extremes. Not until the nineteenth century did a few scholars attempt to document the life ways and beliefs of Indians. Knowing very little about Indian cultures allowed authors and local lore to fill in the blanks. I recently read a preposterous article published in a St. Louis newspaper in the early 1900s. It was accompanied by an illustration of Indians sacrificing victims on Monks Mound at Cahokia. Disturbingly, the Indians were drawn as stooped, screaming, blood-thirsty brutes that resembled Neanderthals. As a boy growing up in eastern Ohio, I was surrounded by countless place names attributed to Indian battles, massacres, lovers' leaps, burial grounds, etc., and local lore concocted sensational stories to "commemorate" them.

My point--in a long winded way--is that most Americans today still know very little about the first peoples. I believe that many Americans (sometimes including myself) often assume that because Indians lived in "harmony" with nature that they had access to a more honest/potent spiritualism or secret power. I don't think that Americans necessarily single Indians out in this aspect. For centuries people all over the world have created absurd tales to explain mysterious monuments on the landscape that they don't understand like Stonehenge. But, in your posting, you made an excellent point--that this behavior denies who Indians are, attributes unrealistic powers to them, and creates an artificial mystification that obscures them. Thank you for speaking out and sharing your thoughts, whitebuffalo.

I, for one, have no intention of spending my haunting years hanging around a bone yard. 😁
whitebuffalo (guest)
14 years ago (2008-10-16)
This seems like as good a time as any to say something that has been on my mind lately as I read through the stories and comments, and what better place to post a generalized comment but then on the page of my own experience?
It has never been my intent, since the first time that I placed my keyboard in my lap, to hurt anyones feelings, or belittle any experience. This is no exception. In the event that I do this time, I would like to say in advance that I am extremely sorry.
It amazes me the amount of weight that a story holds once it is stated that the occurrence happened over an Indian Burial Ground. What makes that ground more sacred than the average cemetery?
Natives are just human. Just as Catholics are human, Italians are human, Pagans are human, Atheists are human. We all return to the dust from whence we came.
Movie makers and publishers of books enjoy the royalties that sensationalism brings them, and do not seem to mind that in portraying certain persons as superhuman they create a myth that does not seem to hold any truths in the least. Yes, there are traditions of guardians of the grounds, but in actuality, there are guardians of cemeteries as well. That is what the large stone statues of Angels are for.
It is my belief, brought on by years of living in The Way, that the ground in which the Ancestors BODIES rest is not more likely to be haunted than the "average" resting place of the bodies of those who are not Native. It frustrates me to no end that in the questioning of a story, as SOON as it is written that the house/school/building/playground (whatever) is placed OVER an old Indian Burial ground, the questioning ends. As if THAT is evidence enough to prove the place is haunted.
We hold no special powers. There is no added gene in our DNA that promotes the haunting ability. There is NO guarantee that our spirit will rise up to join the masses greeting and BEING in the human world after death. The place in which we are buried has NOTHING to do with what happens in the afterlife.
What nationality we are a part of has NOTHING to do with where we spend our haunting years.
Thank you.
Wildone (guest)
14 years ago (2008-09-30)
Ah, Baby, she never was, but strong willed, opinionated, stood up to those who opposed, (all except her Daddy) and stood up FOR all who needed it.
I don't think I could ever picture her saying "I carried a watermelon". She would have come right out and said "Just thought I would check things out on this end".
Full of surprises, that one.
Kecoughtan (1 stories) (211 posts)
14 years ago (2008-09-30)
I know the Grand Hotel is the location of Somewhere in Time, but Wildone's description of you helping and hanging with the summer staff brings to my mind the powerful image of Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing. Bully for you for bucking the system, whitebuffalo--or should we start calling you Baby? 😜
whitebuffalo (guest)
14 years ago (2008-09-30)
Mike, Head on over to the left of the screen, all the way down to the bottom. Other haunted Pages: Got it Mike?
Wildone (guest)
14 years ago (2008-09-30)
Still the fiery red head, I see. I WILL e-mail you. It will be welcoming to catch up. I find it refreshing to see that you still put the feelers out. I thought that was only around your parents, and making sure they were not going to overhear something that you did not want them to know!
So... Post what the seer said, or no?
whitebuffalo (guest)
14 years ago (2008-09-30)
Without knowing me, I should think it would be a bit misleading to pass judgement, wouldn't you? You are a bit premature in making an assesment of the situation, and therefore, your thoughts on it COULD be a bit off.
I do know the roll of the number three in my life, and it has nothing to do with the phrase "Et tu, Brute?" As the number encompasses BOTH my screen name, as well as my given name, I have been around it for quite some time.
Thankfully "three" people are happy people who do not harbor grudges. Being unpredictable and imaginative is what makes me, <shrug> ME.
I HAD a purpose for doing what I did, and that is neither here nor there. What IS, is that had I found his message BEFORE you, you would have had the whole picture, and not been forced to read more into it than what was really there.
Thank you.
whitebuffalo (guest)
14 years ago (2008-09-30)
Hello MIKE,
You were absolutely accurate. I WAS trying to make sure you were who you said you were. There HAVE been times in which life was rough, but in all honesty, not enough to make me cynical.
Only cautious.
If you care to e-mail me, please DO so. To "open the air", THAT is how I really knew it to be you. WE would NEVER make a separate connection WITHOUT the consent of the other, right? My e-mail is posted on my profile.
I DO hope you are still around reading these stories. Perhaps you can spot your name on the left and hop back in for some more catching up. You alluded to a story I was going to tell, but perhaps YOU should tell it from your point of view.
Sai_Chan (15 posts)
14 years ago (2008-09-30)
To Wildon,
Let it out. Your anger of injustice. This is a free world. Not to get even. But to settle unfinished business. I came to this net, not to find the truth, but to tell my truth. I know that there is ghost. But 90 % of the ghost claimed events are self-inflicted by the see-er's physical condition of health and that can be easily corrected as soon as the see-er is willing to accept this fact and fortunate enough to meet an ethical physician to pinpoint the ill. Wildon, after around 20 years, you finally are standing up, you have proved your candid heart to yourself. I admire that. But don't expect the return of same from others. Let it be. The world is like it is, as long as you are true to yourself.
To WhiteBuffalo:
3 is the number.
6 men, 6 knives, stabbed in the heart, self-inflicted. 1 of them is the relative. The others are his friends. Stupid daring game.
Wildone (guest)
14 years ago (2008-09-30)
You are not being entirely truthful, are you, Autumn?
You ARE the girl.
Either your memory is less than sharp as a tack, or you are trying to see just who I really am. I can assure you, I am who I state I am.
I have not been called Mikey for a few millennium, it seems, but yes, I AM him. But from there, some of our memories seem to differ. I do not remember ever meeting anywhere other than the stables. As I remember it, you used to come sauntering in just after tea time. My memory could be slipping, but I recall that we rode Spanish Barb horses, but I do not recall a Samantha being present at the time (unless that was the name of the young girl that only you could see in the stables). I'm sorry, I just do not remember anyone by that name.
You have me guessing, and I do not like that. Why are you trying to feed false information? We never had anything but innocent child play. You filled our time with something none of us ever had up until that point in life, and that was complete honesty.
Has your adult life been so hard that you forgot what it was like to BE that child? Have you forgotten the words of the Seer we all went to see? I happened to have written down what he shared. Shall I post some of that as a continuing proof of who I am?
whitebuffalo (guest)
14 years ago (2008-09-30)
WOW, Wildone.
MAYBE I should have checked on the comments on THIS story first.
I feel I may have caused an injustice toward you in a few of my previous comments TO YOU, I am sorry.
To be honest (and no reason not to be) it really sounds as if you read a page out of my past, and I MAY be that person which you described.
You are not going to tell all MY ugly secrets, are you?! 😆
Let's see what we CAN connect. Lipizzan horses? Shelly, Samantha, Miquel, Marshuvio, Penny or Michael?
I see your name is Mike. COULD you be Mikey?
IF you ARE, where did we meet to avoid my Fathers prying eyes when the group of us went out riding?
Wildone (guest)
14 years ago (2008-09-29)
This may be a really odd comment, but I am going to post it anyway.
I have been reading these stories for a while, but under a different persons name, and decided it was time to speak up, or shut up. Not surprisingly, I thought I would speak up.
In the summer of 1985, I was working in the stables for the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. In fact, I had worked there for several summers. There were so few people that left a lasting impression on me, a young 20 year old uneducated BOY, that I have to write this out.
That summer, I met a fiery red-headed gal who never seemed at ease with those of her station. She was always wandering through the hotel, the grounds, and meeting new people. There was an old Mission Church where the employees of the many tourist traps would worship, not surprisingly, she joined us several days. What was perhaps the most difficult thing for us to understand was that she was upper class, and we could just TELL that she immensely enjoyed her time with us, the working class.
I witnessed on many an occasion her being reprimanded in public for the folly of her ways, her hanging her head, and lifting those deep chocolate eyes (almost black, if I recall correctly) to her Dad's to mumble some sort of apology. She was later found, disobeying again, in either the stables, the fudge shops, the fields or on the grounds HELPING the summer employees.
I vaguely recall her name being one of the seasons, and I DID look up your profile, and see that Autumn is yours. If I am being too bold, please shut me down. Put me in my place.
IF you are this same fiery red head, who did not know her place well enough to leave the workers who smell like horses alone, and if you are the same gal who set the waitstaff on their haunches laughing at your depiction of what the upper class act like, and IF you happen to be the young lady that told us that there is a reason for everything, I have NO DOUBTS to the validity of every word you have written, and in fact I will be checking out the other tales in this site, written under this name.
If I have finally found you again, after all these years... I can not BEGIN to tell you how much I would like to hear the voice of that young lady again, telling us the "way life SHOULD be", and almost BURSTING with enthusiasm. NOTHING was beyond ANYONE's reach. There were no dreams too high, and no valley's could trap our deepest, ugliest secrets. All we had to do was let them fly. Once they were out in the open, they were no longer secrets. And no longer deep and ugly.
Does any of this sound like YOU?
whitebuffalo (guest)
14 years ago (2008-09-26)
Oh! **clapping** a revival of Somewhere In Time! How magnificent, when Elise and Richard were outside of the gazebo, and you could see the strand of trees in the background? THAT is where the "hiding place" was.
Yes, the Ojibwa did inhabit the island, as well as many other bands. It is RICH in history and traditions, but you have to go beyond the tourist attractions to get to the heart of the Island. It is a truly beautiful place!

Hi Wicked! Ah, yes, the fudge. I spent many an afternoon in the fudge shops watching the formation of such nectar of the gods. Truly sent from Heaven, and unmatched anywhere else that it is manufactured. Thank you for reading my account.
Wicked (1 stories) (16 posts)
14 years ago (2008-09-26)
ok so I don't really have a post about the story (altho it was great and very touching) all I wanted to say was one word...FUDGE! My family used to go to mackinaw city and island every year for our vacation and we've come to find that the fudge on the island and in the city is completely addictive! We stopped going some years back and I still miss that place to this day.
Kecoughtan (1 stories) (211 posts)
14 years ago (2008-09-21)
Guess what movie I watched tonight, whitebuffalo? You got it--"Somewhere in Time"! I convinced two friends (who were too young when it was released) that they needed to see it. And, they loved it! While watching it, I thought about your story and Native American occupation of the island. Did the Ojibwa and Ottawa inhabit the island? As an island with permanent indigenous occupations, the shore line would have been very important as a place of greetings and farewells. Sadly, that reminded me of the young boy you saw on the beach waiting for his father. The scenes of Richard and Elise meeting on the shore and gazing at it longingly reminded me of your story and how many sorrowful partings and joyous celebrations occurred along that shore where you saw the young boy tragically waiting for his father's return. I hope you locate your notes. I would love to read your stories from when you stayed at the Grand Hotel.
whitebuffalo (guest)
14 years ago (2008-09-17)
I forgot to mention, Bodoc, that I am in the process of locating my handwritten account of the happenings WITHIN the Grand Hotel. Should they be found, I will probably be posting them here (if they are coherent enough to translate now). You may be interested in them as well.
I wonder if it is possible for you to tell me of YOUR experience in the sight of this young boy? Was it similar? And were you fortunate enough to get a name, or an estimated date of his death? As I was so young, none of this seemed to stick in my memory. Only that he and his father had tried to make it to the Island to worship.
Thank you, and sorry for the split response to your comment.
whitebuffalo (guest)
14 years ago (2008-09-16)
Hi Tonith. I believe it does have it's own vibration. And it is in the form of the ancient drums. It is always amazing to me the ones that do get to see the Others, and I count myself among the Blessed.

Bodoc, a fellow Michigander. (Well, FORMER for me) It is nice to finally meet someone, other than those on that ferry, who have seen him. He is beautiful, is he not? Thank you for lending verification to my story. 😉
whitebuffalo (guest)
14 years ago (2008-09-16)
Hello Rhodes,
It IS a magical place. It is too beautiful for words. Breathtaking hardly describes it at all. Thank you for enjoying it, all the way up to the part with the little boy 😊.

Hi Chris.
I agree. I LOVE encyclopedia's. They are easier for me to navigate than the Internet. I also agree that children who remain behind simply break my heart. I just want to embrace them all an love them straight to the Other Side. Thank you for enjoying this story.
bodoc (1 stories) (4 posts)
14 years ago (2008-09-16)
hello, thank you for the story. As a native of michigan I have been to the island countless times.
I have heard about the boy, I know the spot, I have seen him as well.
there are other places on the island, with similar spirits, the grand hotel hosts many, but this boy is one that has prvailed.

Its so funny to think that we have both seen the same boy! 😆
bodoc (1 stories) (4 posts)
14 years ago (2008-09-16)
hello, thank you for the story. As a native of michigan I have been to the island countless times.
I have heard about the boy, I know the spot, I have seen him as well.
there are other places on the island, with similar spirits, the grand hotel hosts many, but this boy is one that has prvailed.

Its so funny to think that we have both seen the same boy! 😆
Tonith (1136 posts)
14 years ago (2008-09-16)
Sounds like one of those places that have a vibration all of it's own. Some places are like that. I agree with it being residual haunting. There was no interaction. You did get to see a full blown apparition even if it was residual. Very few people get to experience that. When a ghost interacts I think that is a whole other ballgame. I just think it odd that they don't show up to those that understand all this and are not frightened by it.
ChrisB (6 stories) (1515 posts)
14 years ago (2008-09-16)
Thank you Automn for sharring this story with us. As you described this place I felt warm and happy (in Poland its cold now). By the way the Encyclpedia shouild be our best friend 😁.I was realy happy when I was reading this story but when you mentioned the boy it did get sad. I bet he wants to find his father. He probably is waiting for him. It is sad to hear about children who can not cross over. Sometimes I wonder why and how come no one can help them. And I don't mean people. Thanks for sharring this story with us. It realy does sound like a beatiful place. I hope to hear from you soon and take care
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
14 years ago (2008-09-16)
I felt you were describing the most magical place on earth Autumn and even more, your excitement and love for the beauty of that island was contagious! I was spell-bound!

And yet, the last revelation was a rather sad tune to the rest of this beautiful "melody"! How terrible that someone's pain and sorrow would leave such a permanent "scar" on time!

Thank you for an amazing account!
whitebuffalo (guest)
14 years ago (2008-09-15)
My dear friend FRAWIN. I have to agree. I PRAY that he was a residual haunt. I am inclined to believe that he was for the same reason as you. He MAY have looked in my general direction, but I WAS sitting on the shoreline. It would be logical to look up and down it if you were searching, or waiting for someone.
I have prayed often for his spirit, and even thought once that I heard a mans voice utter "He is here" after my chants. Wishful thinking? Perhaps, but I truly hope not.

Thank you, Bellissima. I hope so too. I have to admit, I was very much younger at the time and was not near as thorough as I try to be now. I SHOULD have asked after the first meeting, and maybe then I would have known more, or at least been able to visit a grave site. I do not even know where the two were buried, or the simplest thing as their names.
whitebuffalo (guest)
14 years ago (2008-09-15)
Hello Brownie09.
In my strongest of prayers, I hope that this young boy was only a residual ghost. I DO hope that once his Dad was discovered, he joined him in the Afterlife.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story, HazzardSyndrome. It is always nice to see new members taking an interest in others stories and not locking themselves into their own pages. Thanks.
whitebuffalo (guest)
14 years ago (2008-09-15)
Ok, now for the comments. 😉

Kecoughtan, you felt the magic too. It is undeniable, is it not? There is just a quality present there which is no where else that I have experienced as of this date. Some day, when I join my elders in The Land of Many Summers, I hope to feel that magic once more.

KimSouthO, thank you for reading this (even the part I screwed up) and enjoying it. Ever since I was in journalism in high school I dreamed of the day I could let people "see" what I wrote, and you just helped me realize that dream. Thank you.

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