A railroad brakeman's ghost continues to wave his signal lantern to all who come to visit…
Every place, it seems, has its own ghosts and mysteries. So it is just north of the tiny Upper Peninsula town of Watersmeet.
For generations, people have gathered at the end of a gravel road to watch some mystery lights.
The Mystery of the Paulding Light
The lights appear nightly, year-round near a crossroads community in Michigan called Paulding. The first reported sightings were back in the 1960s and various investigations have been inconclusive.
Though a university team from a Michigan Technological University claimed the lights were from cars on a distant road and that they seemed to grow brighter and closer because of refraction. The Syfy Channel did its own paranormal investigation and said they could not find a scientific explanation.
The Legends of Paulding Light
Whatever, the Paulding Light is fraught with many different legends, the most popular appears to be the death of a railroad brakeman. The legend states that the valley once contained railroad tracks and the light is the lantern of the brakeman who was killed while attempting to stop an oncoming train from colliding with railway cars stopped on the tracks.
Another story claims the light is the ghost of a slain mail courier, while another says that it is the ghost of a Native American dancing on the power lines that run through the valley.
There's even an official US Forest Service marker at the site marking the spot. The light typically becomes visible an hour or so after sunset.
I spent an entire night there a while back on assignment for the Detroit Free Press, meeting people who had come from a wide region of Northwestern Michigan and Eastern Wisconsin and interviewing local people.
Check out the video below that I did and you can see the lights yourself…. and what I think they are.
There's lots of RV camping nearby in state and federal forests.
Other Great Articles About Michigan's UP
I may not have been impressed with the Paulding Light, but there's so much to love in the UP.
Michigan's Upper Peninsula is home to so many great destinations and adventures that Jennifer and I have a flurry of articles on it. Here are just a few to choose from:
- Awesome Camping in the UP: Michigan's Stunning Upper Peninsula
- 9 Best Events & Festivals in Northern Michigan
- 3 Amazing Destinations in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
- 7 Awesome Attractions in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
And, of course, don't forget our Upper Peninsula RV Adventure Guide and Great Lakes Shoreline Tour…
Mike and Jennifer's Great Lakes Bundle – 2 ebooks!
This bundle is our popular Upper Peninsula RV Adventure Guide PLUS our newest Adventure Guide – The Great Lakes Shoreline Tour! Both ebooks will give you plenty of ideas and resources to enjoy this part of the US.
The Great Lakes Shoreline Tour — One of our favorite RV trips has been driving the United States side of the five Great Lakes. It is a trip of over 4,000 miles and takes you to 8 states! And it’s filled with beautiful vistas, welcoming towns and villages, and fabulous places to camp, hike, and explore.
Upper Peninsula RV Adventure Guide — Whenever someone asks us, “Where is one of your favorite places in the US for RVing?” Our answer is unquestionably, in unison, “The UP of Michigan.” The “UP” means Upper Peninsula, of course.