The last Wednesday of every month is a “Weird Wednesday” on Absolute Michigan.
According to maritime historian Wes Oleszewski – via Haunted Great Lakes where you can read about their investigations and perhaps a second ghost at “Wobble Shanks” – the ghost story belonging to Waugoshance is always the first told by lighthouse enthusiasts and historians. The tale below is patched together from their excellent web site and also from the Waugoshance Lighthouse Preservation Society.
In the 1800s, Waugoshaunce was kept by John Herman, a lighthouse keeper well known both for his penchant for practical jokes and for his heavy drinking on the job. Legend has it that one night while drunk, he locked his assistant in the lantern room as a practical joke. When his assistant finally gained his freedom, he searched high and low, but Herman was nowhere to be found and never seen again.
Future lightkeepers who knew the history refused the assignment. Those that did not, however, experienced such pranks as having their chairs kicked out from underneath them when they fell asleep and even having coal shoveled into the boiler with no one around.
Eventually the story, the loneliness of the light and the opening of the larger and more powerful White Shoals light a few miles to the north, closed the light in 1912 and left the ghost alone at Waugoshance. Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light relates that the Waugoshance Light sat undisturbed by all but the forces of nature until the early 1940s when hotshot flyboys decided that the old lighthouse would make a perfect target for bombing practice during their military pilot training. Apparently a number of missiles hit their target, as a massive fire broke out on the structure, completely gutting the interior of the tower and keepers dwelling of anything combustible.
Again the light lay dormant until 1998 when Chris West formed Waugoshance Lighthouse Preservation Society. The society is working to raise funds to stabilize the lighthouse structure and they have applied for a US Coast Guard Property Lease in order to begin plans for the restoration of the lighthouse. Find out more at waugoshance.org.