The Ghostly Mystery of the Paulding Light

 The Ghostly Mystery of the Paulding Light

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.

Sign at Paulding Light

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:

And, of course, don't forget our Upper Peninsula RV Adventure Guide and Great Lakes Shoreline Tour…

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” meaning Upper Peninsula, of course.

Explore this Bundle and plan your next trip!

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Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.


  • Where is this place?

  • It’s from cars on the highway.

  • Go to youtube and watch a few video’s to find out the real story here.

  • Nope not lights from cars on the highway. Explain why you can see it during the day! Have you actually seen it your self?

  • It is just over the border in Michigan upper peninsula

  • Nikki, remember I mentioned some cool stuff in the Michigan U.P.? This is one.. Near Watersmeet..

  • Car lights

  • Paulding

  • Michigans Upper peninsula!

  • Check out the “Ghost of Gurdon” in Arkansas. Similar story. About 75 miles south of Little Rock.

  • Brian, people drive with their headlights on during the day, just watched a YouTube video on it, it’s obviously car lights because you have red lights (tail lights)going away from you and the white lights coming toward u and then disappearing into the trees when they get too far down the hill.

  • I think they did a special on the discovery channel about this. After all of the test, they found out that it was the traffic lights coming towards them from the road

  • Jon Morgan remember greenlight cemetery. Me in The back of the station wagon with Barbara pencil. Lmao and what we seen that night.

  • Yeah, & Old Mill Rd.

  • We did have a great childhood

  • A very good childhood trust and believe out of 40 chapters you will be in 15 of them in my book.

  • Similar story told at the Moonville tunnel in southern Ohio around Zaleski . Tunnel is still there.

  • I wonder if there is methane in the area?

  • “The sight of his untimely death?” Shouldn’t that be “site”? This is a National Park Service sign! What is happening to the English language?!?!

  • Site, not sight!!!!

  • Scary im not going around it oh no not me never

  • Nice Place to Go!

  • Still looks interesting to visit! –

  • Been there saw that

  • Where??????

  • Theres a paulding county Georgia as well

  • Sounds like moody lane in francesville indiana

  • Just down the road from us, been there several times. Creepy, especially if there are wolves howling, or big game (deer, bear, etc) rustling in the brush. You can see the light only after dark.

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