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Kalamazoo's Henderson Castle is a destination for fans of the spooky season

Henderson Castle Outside Front.jpg
The Henderson Castle was completed in 1895, after a seven-year construction project. Frank Henderson spent $72,000 at the time to complete the home. (WWMT/Will Haenni)

Just a mile west of downtown Kalamazoo, the Henderson Castle sits atop one of the county's highest points. As one of Michigan's most famous allegedly haunted destinations, the Queen Anne style Inn is registered on The National Register of Historic Places.

The castle was completed in 1895 after seven years of construction that cost $72,000 at the time. One of Kalamazoo's most successful businessmen, Frank Henderson, built the castle for his family.

Henderson was the owner and president of the Henderson-Ames Company, which specialized in supplying uniforms to the army. A Freemason himself, the company also specialized in regalia for various secret societies and fraternal organizations.

Now, the castle operates as a bed and breakfast and event venue. Aside from its 13 guest rooms, the castle boasts a steakhouse, bar, wine cave, spa, and banquet hall for events. In the last 10 years, there have been about 550 weddings held on the castle grounds.

With its extensive history, it's no surprise the castle is home to some mysterious happenings. The alleged paranormal activity has never appeared malevolent to those who have witnessed it.

“We have a lot of paranormal activity here taking place all the time. Very friendly. There’s no poltergeist here," owner Francois Moyet said. "It’s just Frank. He’s very much in charge. I don’t call myself the owner. I’m the guardian.”

Moyet has owned the castle for 10 years and remains committed to maintaining it as a historical timepiece while creating an exquisite experience for guests. A successful French master chef, Moyet also cooks all the food served at the castle - many of which use ingredients grown on site in the garden.

While Moyet has never personally seen one of the spirits thought to wander the halls of the mansion, he said he has witnessed numerous unexplainable events.

He said Frank and Mary Henderson are the most commonly talked about.

“I was told by several mediums they are the guardian angel of the castle, so they are here all the time," Moyet said.

One crossbeam in the dining area has strange markings that look like writing. Moyet heard of a medium that once envisioned a small girl fall off scaffolding while writing on the beam with her finger. He said markings remain, even after a series of restorations.

"The handwriting always comes back," Moyet said.

During renovations eight years ago, construction crews found a jewelry box underneath the flooring of a room that connected Frank and Mary's rooms.

"Before that the door was opening all the time, in the cabinet, and since I find it, there is no more activity," Moyet said.

The stairwells are also hotspots for ghostly apparitions and noises. Guests and paranormal investigators have captured images of faces in the beautiful stained glass window.

Tapestries, pictures, paintings, and other antiques adorn every wall in the castle, many of which have a story to tell. Some images even portray alleged paranormal phenomenon.

It's not just the paranormal enjoying their stay though. Moyet said guests commonly talk about how time seems to slow down while in the castle.

With how many nooks and crannies to explore, there's sure to be something for everyone to appreciate.

The castle hosts events throughout the year. On Halloween, the Henderson Castle Spooktacular Event takes place from 6 to 11:30 p.m.

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