Most Haunted Places in America: Detroit’s Fort Wayne
Sitting on the Detroit River about a mile from the Canadian shore sits a structure that is steep in American history, Fort Wayne. This star fort was started in 1844 when tensions were high along the border of Canada. It was finished in 1847 and ironically never used in battle; even the moat was never filled. It was however used up until the Vietnam War to house soldiers and swear-in draftees.
Building continued on this site until 1931 and included such buildings as shops, hospital, recreation building, officer quarters, additional barracks and other buildings. It holds the Tuskegee Airmen Museum and is home to Civil War Reenactments. During the Great Depression the fort was opened to homeless families and was so again used for this purpose in 1967 after the 12th Street Riot with the last families leaving in 1971.
Not every haunting can be attributed to the actual Fort but to the land the fort was built upon. In the late 1770’s the land the fort now sits on was occupied by the Potawatomi Indian village. An early map of the area shows reference to burial grounds along the river. In 1842-45 the U.S. Army destroyed the central burial grounds to begin construction of Fort Wayne.
In 1876 Archeologist Henry Gillman, excavated the remaining burial ground and sends the recovered artifacts to the Harvard University’s Peabody Museum. In 1944-45 Archeologist Carl Holmquist, completes the excavation of the remaining burial ground to include twenty-three burials. These artifacts were presented to the Michigan Museum of Anthropology and Holmquist notes two untouched burial remains still in the mounds.
In 1991 the City of Detroit’s Historical Museum opened Woodland Indian Museum and brought back some of the artifacts found in the excavation to display. In 1991 due to lack of funds, the museum was closed and is still closed today. All the artifacts were moved to a storage room.
These mounds are the reason local legend says ghost walk Fort Wayne. The ghosts are called Yam-ko-Desh which is the name given to the mound builders. According to the Indian local folklore, these people are still roaming the area.
There have been other paranormal activity reported at Fort Wayne including unexplained footsteps, apparitions of soldiers, disembodied voices, doors that open and close by themselves and an unusual humming sound.
The original barracks was built with limestone. Limestone is thought to be able to store energy at haunted locations. Could the abundance of limestone, the destruction of burial grounds and the removing of artifacts then putting them in storage combine to make Fort Wayne on of the most haunted places in America? Possibly but you can find out for yourself by participating in Historic Fort Wayne Haunted Tours.