Henderson Castle – Kalamazoo, Michigan

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 13 February 2024
  • Time to read: 6 min.


The mysterious Henderson Castle is located right in the center of Kalamazoo, Michigan. A mysterious building, with its soaring spires and elaborate design seems to guard a history of whispered secrets and disturbing lore. The castle’s dimly lit windows and ghostly figures entice daring adventurers to discover the terrifying mysteries that have been long-trapped inside its walls as night falls upon the city.


Henderson Castle, a captivating structure nestled in Kalamazoo, Michigan, holds a rich history that dates back to the late 19th century. Built in 1895 by Frank Henderson, a prominent businessman and philanthropist, the castle was designed as a testament to his success and an embodiment of his aspirations.

Over the years, the castle changed hands and purposes, witnessing shifts in its usage from a private residence to a seminary for young women, and even a bed-and-breakfast in later years. This transition through various owners and functions has lent an air of mystique to its history, as layers of stories continue to accumulate within its walls.

Inside the Henderson Castle there’s rumored to be a number of tunnels and secret rooms in the basement of the castle, which were allegedly used during the Prohibition era. These locations may offer an insight into the castle’s intriguing past during a period of social and legal transformation by acting as hidden passages for the smuggling of alcohol.

Today, Henderson Castle stands as both a historical landmark and a portal to another time. Its history speaks of prosperity, changing fortunes, and an enduring allure that captivates visitors from all walks of life. As you step into its chambers and traverse its halls, you’re not only witnessing a piece of history but immersing yourself in the enigmatic legacy that defines Henderson Castle.

Old Henderson Castle
Old Henderson Castle – Credit kpl

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Spirit Of Clare Burleigh

Henderson Castle is a location cloaked in mystery and paranormal lore. The history of the castle, according to the narratives compiled by Gowen-Krueger, a paranormal activity expert ,is not only rich in magnificence but also in strange encounters that have shocked many visitors.

One incident revolved around a dusty picture frame. Freshly written in the dust was the name “Clare,” a potential reference to the enigmatic Burleigh. This strange discovery blurred the lines between past and present, leaving all intrigued.

But the castle’s otherworldly intrigue didn’t stop there. Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVPs) emerged, where recordings captured voices unheard during recording. One instance was a woman’s voice whispering “Flowers and candy,” right after such gifts were presented. The uncanny timing left everyone astonished.

Amidst these unexplainable occurrences stood the spirit of Clare Burleigh. A veteran from the Spanish-American War, he had fought alongside the Henderson’s son. His ethereal presence lingered, a testament to an unbreakable bond with the castle.

Haunted Second-Floor Dutch Room

A specific incident leaves its imprint as an unforgettable tale within the tapestry of mystery surrounding the castle. The second-floor Dutch Room is highlighted since that’s where a guest, Ellen Creager had her own strange experience.

In her own words, Creager recollects the experience as if a dream and reality had collided. As she slumbered peacefully, an unexpected tap on her arm startled her awake. The room was shrouded in darkness, yet a woman’s voice emerged from the obscurity, urging, “Go away.” The surreal nature of the encounter left her in a state of bewilderment. Her skepticism clashed with the undeniable oddity of the event.

As the story deepens, Creager’s disbelief was further shaken. A person, unaware of her story, reached out to her, sharing a nearly identical encounter. This second account resonated eerily with her own, confirming that the unexplainable forces within Henderson Castle reached beyond the realm of coincidence.

Dutch Room
Dutch Room – Credit hendersoncastle

Wandering Ghost Of Mary Henderson

Peter Livingstone-McNelis, owner of Henderson Castle since 2005, has witnessed a series of unexplained events. Although he hasn’t experienced any himself, his staff members and even his son have encountered the inexplicable.

One particular incident revolves around Livingstone-McNelis’ son, Vincent. At a young age, well before anyone else reported such occurrences, Vincent saw a ghostly figure in the Victorian Room. This room, once Mary Henderson‘s changing space, gained significance as Vincent’s description of the apparition coincided remarkably with the period clothing worn by Mary Henderson depicted in images. The alignment between Vincent’s innocent account and historical depictions adds an undeniable layer of credibility to this eerie sighting.

Livingstone-McNelis confirmed, “She looked like one of these women, that’s what Mary was wearing,” pointing to period clothing images. This concrete connection between description and evidence solidified the authenticity of the ghostly encounter.

Within Henderson Castle’s enigmatic walls, the story of Mary’s ghostly sighting stands as a tangible enigma. In the face of doubt or belief, this account challenges our perceptions. The castle’s mysteries continue to beckon us to venture beyond the known, inviting us to explore the realms of the unexplained that linger in the shadows.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage

Henderson Castle is a compelling landmark in Kalamazoo, Michigan, steeped in history and wrapped in an ominous air. Paranormal researchers have been interested in it because of its mysterious past, while novelists and television producers have both been inquisitive about it. Similar to other well-known haunted locations featured in “Eternal Enigmas: Unraveling Haunted Legends,” Henderson Castle has become a hub for individuals interested in delving into the paranormal. I

In literary works such as “Haunted History of Kalamazoo” by Nicole Bray and “Ghosthunting Michigan” by Helen Pattskyn, the castle’s spectral history takes center stage. These authors delve deep into the chilling lore, revealing the unexplainable and inviting readers to explore the unknown.

While Henderson Castle’s darkened corridors and silent chambers may hold secrets beyond imagination, its allure remains undeniable. Just as Hollywood Forever Cemetery beckons to the curious and the brave, this castle stands as a testament to the timeless fascination with the unexplained. Whether you’re a historian, a thrill-seeker, or simply captivated by the eerie, Henderson Castle promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of the mysterious.


The atmosphere changes as you pass by the massive Henderson Castle; an echo of the past echoes, and the weight of its secrets still hangs in the shadows. You will always remember the legends of bygone periods and the mysterious incidents that occurred within its halls. Henderson Castle will continue to have a spooky effect on everybody who comes close, whether you believe the stories to be mere folklore or you embrace the strange.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Where is Henderson Castle located?
A. Henderson Castle is located in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Q. Are there any legends or ghost stories associated with Henderson Castle?
A. Yes, there are eerie legends. One involves a framed name “Clare” in dust, possibly tied to Burleigh. EVPs also captured ghostly voices, like a woman’s saying “Flowers and candy.” Clare Burleigh’s ghost, a Spanish-American War veteran, is said to linger.

Q. Have guests reported paranormal experiences at Henderson Castle?
A. Yes, reports include being tapped on the arm and hearing voices in the darkness, as shared by travel writer Ellen Creager.

Q. Has the owner or staff experienced paranormal events?
A. Yes, owner Peter Livingstone-McNelis mentions staff and his son encountering unexplained events, including his son seeing a ghostly figure in the Victorian Room.

Q. What’s significant about the Victorian Room in ghost stories?
A. The Victorian Room gained importance due to Livingstone-McNelis’ son’s accurate description of a ghostly figure, matching period clothing in images.

Q. Is there documented evidence of paranormal activity at Henderson Castle?
A. While photos might be lacking, accounts like Ellen Creager’s tapping experience and EVP recordings document the paranormal occurrences.

Q. Can visitors explore the areas of Henderson Castle linked to these eerie events?
A. Yes, visitors can explore rooms tied to these incidents, delving into both the historical and paranormal sides of the castle’s history.

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