Every place, it seems, has its own ghosts and mysteries. So it is just north of the tiny Upper Peninsula town of Watersmeet where, for generations, people have gathered at the end of a gravel road to watch some mystery lights.
The lights appear nightly, year round near a crossroads community called Paulding. The first reported sightings were back in the 1960’s 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.
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 an Indian 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 few years 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.