Doherty Hotel – Clare, Michigan

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 27 August 2023
  • Time to read: 5 min.


In the little Michigan town of Clare is the Doherty Hotel, which has a chilling embrace. As dusk falls, the hotel’s corridors leak old secrets, and an eerie presence trembles through the air. Get ready to solve riddles that have weaved themselves into this old establishment’s fundamental structure.


The Doherty Hotel is an example of how time has passed; it is a historic wonder immersed in fascinating stories and alluring mystery. In the late 19th century, a visionary businessman named John Doherty lay the groundwork for something that would later become a pillar of the town’s history.

During the Prohibition era of the 1920s, the Doherty Hotel inadvertently found itself entangled in the web of organized crime, specifically with the infamous Purple Gang. This ruthless Detroit-based gang was notorious for their involvement in bootlegging, extortion, and other illicit activities. As the shadow of their influence extended, rumors whispered of secret dealings and hidden transactions within the hotel’s elegant corridors.

With the onset of World War II, the Doherty Hotel’s role shifted. It transformed into a haven for soldiers on furlough, providing respite and comfort amidst tumultuous times. This era marked a transition for the hotel, as it adapted to serve a new purpose while maintaining its commitment to hospitality.

Doherty Hotel
Old Doherty Hotel – Credit Don

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Cold Blooded Murder – Spirit of Isaiah Leeboves

Within the Doherty Hotel, where history and tragedy intertwine, a chilling tale unfolds. In 1938, against the backdrop of a Michigan mired in the grip of the notorious Purple Gang, the hotel’s walls bore witness to a haunting event.

Isaiah Leebove, once a Purple Gang attorney turned businessman, found himself ensnared in a web of treachery. Jack Livingston, his own cousin and business partner, grew consumed by suspicion and fear. These emotions culminated in a fatal encounter within the hotel’s Tap Room—a single gunshot that ended Leebove’s life.

The aftermath of that night casts a long shadow. Over the years, reports of eerie happenings have persisted, tales of Isaiah Leebove’s lingering spirit. Witnesses speak of locked doors opening inexplicably, footsteps echoing down empty hallways, and fleeting glimpses of a spectral figure resembling Leebove himself. Some say they’ve seen him fleeing, as if escaping the clutches of his murderer once again.

The Doherty Hotel stands as a sentinel, its legacy forever intertwined with the specter of that fateful night. Isaiah Leebove’s restless spirit serves as a haunting reminder of a past stained by violence and betrayal—a presence that refuses to be forgotten, no matter the passage of time.

Isaiah Leebove’s Murder – Credit dohertyhotel

Spirit of Helen Doherty

A startling and unsettling tale that establishes a link between the known and the unknown is at the center of the Doherty Hotel’s history. Helen “Grandma” Doherty, a character whose presence defied the limits of life and death, is the center of this mythology. Enter the shadows of this mysterious story, where the ghosts of the past linger in unnerving whispers.

In the pursuit of uncovering the hotel’s mysteries, investigators stumbled upon something remarkable. They captured a voice, delicate and weak, responding to their inquiries. The words carried a weight of age and ailment, as if spoken by someone aged or unwell. Strangely, this spectral voice seemed to bear the likeness of Helen “Grandma” Doherty.

The Doherty Hotel, steeped in its mystique, offers a glimpse into the unknown through the tale of Helen “Grandma” Doherty. The lingering voice in that back room defies explanation, bridging the gap between realms. It remains a testament to the hotel’s intrigue, where history and the supernatural intertwine, leaving an indelible mark on its narrative.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage

The Doherty Hotel has made headlines in numerous television programs and documentaries that explore the world of the paranormal because of its illustrious past and enigmatic appeal. It is noteworthy that it was a key part of the fascinating series “Enigmatic Residences: Unmasking Otherworldly Secrets,” which investigated the hotel’s eerie legend and terrifying occurrences.

Within the realm of literature, the Doherty Hotel has solidified its legacy through works like “Spooky Michigan” written by S. E. Schlosser and “Ghosts and Legends of Michigan’s West Coast” authored by Amberrose Hammond. These literary creations unveil the spectral narratives enshrouding the hotel, presenting enthralling accounts of its paranormal history.

In the present day, the Doherty Hotel stands as an essential destination for history buffs and enthusiasts of the supernatural, drawn by its enigmatic presence in mainstream culture and media. This historical gem radiates an air of fascination and the unexplained, extending an invitation to all who seek to immerse themselves in its mesmerizing and ghostly ambiance.


The lingering sounds of long-forgotten whispers and the unsettling caress of invisible fingers will stay with you when you say goodbye to the Doherty Hotel. This ancient sanctuary still exudes mystery, a constant reminder that its tales and secrets are indelibly carved into its very structure. The mysterious appeal of the Doherty Hotel will always be a part of your journey, whether you come back for another encounter with the unknown or carry its mysteries in your mind.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Where is the Doherty Hotel located?
A: The Doherty Hotel is situated in the town of Clare, Michigan.

Q: What is the significance of the Doherty Hotel’s history?
A: The Doherty Hotel’s history is rich with stories that intertwine the past with the paranormal. Legends such as the tale of Helen “Grandma” Doherty and the haunting of Isaiah Leebove’s spirit have cemented its mystique.

Q: Can you provide more details about Helen “Grandma” Doherty’s story?
A: Certainly. The tale revolves around the inexplicable recording of a soft, aged voice in the back room—a voice believed to be that of Helen “Grandma” Doherty herself, hinting at a connection beyond the veil.

Q: What happened between Isaiah Leebove and Jack Livingston at the Doherty Hotel?
A: In a chilling incident, Jack Livingston fatally shot Isaiah Leebove, his cousin and business partner, within the Doherty Hotel’s Tap Room. This tragic event has left an eerie imprint on the hotel’s legacy.

Q: Is there evidence of paranormal activity in the Doherty Hotel?
A: Yes, reports of hauntings persist. Guests have shared experiences of locked doors opening inexplicably and sightings of a spectral figure resembling Isaiah Leebove, seemingly fleeing from his murderer.

Q: How has the Doherty Hotel embraced its supernatural reputation?
A: The Doherty Hotel has embraced its enigmatic reputation by preserving the stories and legends within its walls. It has become a destination for those intrigued by history, the supernatural, and the intersection of both.

Q: Can visitors stay in the room associated with the legends?
A: The Doherty Hotel offers rooms that are part of its captivating history, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the stories. Staying in these rooms provides a unique opportunity to experience the hotel’s mystique firsthand.

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