The stories shared in this article are folklore and The Index cannot vouch for their authenticity.
Kalamazoo College came to be in 1833, while the city itself wasn’t named Kalamazoo, meaning “Boiling Pot” in a Native American tongue, until 1836. A lot has happened around here, and with Halloween around the corner, here are some places where the ghostly dwell around our city.
Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital
There are some rumors about the Psychiatric Hospital, which resides less than two miles away from campus. It was built in 1854 and it housed patients who suffered from mental illnesses, many of whom were rejected by society. Rumors include that the patients were dehumanized, often tortured, and that throughout its existence, it has seen countless murders and suicides. There are mysterious writings, noises, lights and ghost-like figures that are said to be seen at night. Prior to the completion of the hospital, the state held the patients in cottages near the Asylum Lake Preserve on Drake and Parkview, where many more murders took place in the woods. As the legend goes, you can still hear their screams in the wind on the lake.
The Kalamazoo Civic Theater
Built in 1929, The Kalamazoo Civic Theater is a local treasure to theater arts. However, actors and other workers at the theater tell the legend of “Thelma,” the theater’s residing ghost. As the story goes, she was an amateur actress who threw herself to her death after losing the lead role in a play. People see her shadow in the back of the stage during shows, she moves actors’ belongings, and she plays with the lights.
The sprits of Mary and Frank Henderson have occupied the castle on Monroe long after their passing in the 1800s. Travelers and managers alike have had strange experiences in the mansion, including feeling a tap on the shoulder, hearing voices through an unplugged radio, and seeing figures appearing at the top of the stairways. The castle is across the street from the Mountain Home Cemetery.
Previously a dormitory at Western Michigan University, Vandercook Hall closed when three girls supposedly committed suicide in the first floor bathroom. Different groups on campus have occupied the building for brief periods of time, but all end with experiences of the supernatural, and the building has been unoccupied since the 90s.
There are many more places that locals claim to be haunted: The Vine and Stewart Neighborhoods, Bronson Park, the Radisson, the old Gibson Guitar Factory, the State Theater, the Park Club, and the Whistle Stop Depot.
There’s rumor from an old edition of The Index that a professor was buried at the top of Arcadian Hill, where the Arcus Center now stands today.