Most Haunted Places in America: Murphy’s Lamplight Inn
Murphy’s Lamplight Inn is a quaint, two-story bed and breakfast located off M-88 in Central Lake, Michigan. The inn has changed proprietary hands a multitude of times over the last 80+ years, but for about 60 of those years, some of the residents remain the same; most notably the numerous ghostly apparitions that haunt the Murphy’s Lamplight Inn.
Murphy’s Lamplight Inn was first known as the Wegota Hotel, structured by three area stone masons in 1924. At the north end of the hotel, an elegant dining area and bar were established in the ground floor. On the south side, and mostly on the second floor, the builders erected 22 guest rooms and 4 bathrooms. The Wegota Hotel became extremely popular for tourists and traveling salesmen, mostly due to the free transportation services provided to and from the hotel and train depot.
After some years, the Wegota was closed down. It was purchased and reopened by Cliff Springstead and his wife Etta, serving home cooked meals to patrons. Charles Cronover and his wife Ruth, along with business partner Archie Dayton, purchased the hotel from the Springstead’s in 1946 and reinstated the transport service to/from the hotel and train station. It was shortly after this time that the first reports of the Murphy’s Lamplight Inn ghosts began to circulate.
In the 1960’s, the Wegota would undergo rebranding, but not yet to Murphy’s Lamplight Inn. The hotel was sold to Gary Morse, who started major renovations on the structure and renamed it The Palace. The bar was moved to the south side of the hotel and extended down into the basement to make way for a much larger dining area, confining all guest rooms to the upper floor, which received several new additions as well. The larger dining room offered enough space for live entertainment, enhanced by the addition of seafood and a buffet menu.
The Palace changed hands once more, this time going to Doug and Mary Lou Denny in the 1970’s. Undeterred by whispered rumors of paranormal activity at the hotel, The Denny’s chose to rename the establishment, calling it the Lamplight Inn and making a few more renovations. In 1986, Ted and Betty Strzempek acquired the Lamplight Inn. A few more decorative details later, they closed the guest rooms and the bar, turning the bed and breakfast into a full time dining establishment.
Finally, the inn was sold to Mary Ellen Murphy in 1996 after moving her entire family to Central Lake, Michigan to run the business. It was renamed for the final time (to date), Murphy’s Lamplight Inn.
Nearly 15 years later, Ms. Mary Ellen Murphy can surely relate more than a few accounts of paranormal phenomenon at Murphy’s Lamplight Inn. There are numerous ghosts believed to be haunting the Lamplight.
The most common, chillingly similar claims refer to a couple dressed in 1930’s attire roaming the Inn. Their ghosts have been seen looking out the windows on the upper floor. In recent years, it has been reported that the very same couple was seen dancing in the bar area as the apparition of a little girl looked on.
Traversing the upstairs hallways is the ghost of a young lady who is believed to be the daughter of a former manager at the hotel. She was getting ready to elope with her fiancé when she died quite tragically, tripping on the hem of her gown and plunged to her death. Her apparition has been reported many times as walking into a guest room, but upon inspection, no one is in the room.
The last known ghost at Murphy’s Lamplight Inn is that of one Mrs. Gill. She and her husband were the very first managers of the Lamplight Inn. They left the inn when their employment was over, but Mrs. Gill returned to live out the final years of her life at the Central Lake inn where she died in her room during the 1950’s. Reports of Mrs. Gill’s ghost are usually that of her staring out the window in one of the upstairs rooms.