Friday, December 31, 2010

Haunted lighthouse? Sherwood Point, Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin

This article is from the

May 31, 11:41 PM by Cheri Esperon

Sherwood point

Others may write about it, but Northern Alliance of Paranormal Investigators are the only paranormal investigative team ever authorized by the US Coast Guard to investigate this location.

History: Built in 1883 the lighthouse stands atop a cliff nestled in the woods in Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin. The following year, Minnie Hesh came from New York to visit her uncle, Lighthouse Keeper Henry Stanley. She stayed on and eventually married William Cochems in 1889. William acted as assistant keeper in the lighthouse until the death of Henry Stanley in 1895. At that time William was named first keeper, in 1889 Minnie was officially named as assistant keeper and joined the ranks of the few women to ever be lighthouse keepers in the US.

William and Minnie lived happily on the bluff, raising their children and tending the light until August 17, 1828. While rising from bed, Minnie collapsed and passed away. William lovingly erected a birdbath in memorial of Minnie, which still stands on the property.

Sherwood point

After Minnie's death, William tended the lighthouse alone until he retired until 1933. Conrad Stram assumed the position of keeper and maintained Sherwood point until 1945. The US Coast Guard maintained the lighthouse until 1983 when Sherwood Point, the last manned lighthouse on Lake Michigan became automated. The lighthouse is still property of the US Coast Guard and is now used as a morale retreat for members.

Claims: Numerous vacationing Coast Guard members and their families have claimed to have been visited by a ghost while staying at Sherwood Point. Claims include hearing walking on stairs, voices and mysterious cleaning such as dishes being put away and beds being made. In the bedroom in which Minnie passed away, numerous people claim that the bed will be left unmade, only to be found neatly made later. Another claim stated the kitchen table had been set for breakfast sometime during the night. Perhaps Minnie is still tending her beloved lighthouse.

Sherwood point

The Investigation: We were invited to spend the weekend at Sherwood Point lighthouse on the 80th anniversary of Minnie's death. The team was comprised of myself, Joe, Jeni, Mike, Chelle, Chelle's husband Big Joe, My husband, Rick and former member Rachel. We had planned to spend the first night experiencing the site and reading the volumes of journals left by past visitors that detailed their paranormal experiences. We did set up one audio recorder but no other investigative equipment.

Sherwood point

The following morning before we set out to conduct research at the local library, we listened to parts of the audio. Within 10 minutes of the recording a female laugh could be heard when the building had been empty. About 20 minutes later you hear, Mike & I discussing the computer while alone in the kitchen. A female voice was recorded, the tone was almost irritated or mocking, and it sounded like blah blah blah-blah blah, as if she was tired of hearing "tech-talk". We plugged the audio recorder into the computer to further analyze the audio and watched in utter horror when "reformatting" appeared on the screen and the audio recordings were erased. No audio was captured during the following night's investigation.

After conducting our research and paying our respects at Minnie & Williams Graves, we returned to the lighthouse to set up for the actual investigation.

The investigation plan was to send two very different teams, with two very different personality styles into the lighthouse while the other remained in the garage about 200 feet from the house. The first team, comprised of Jeni, Chelle and Rachel with Big Joe video taping, was much more softer in personality, speech and demeanor. Team two; Joe, Mike & I, again accompanied by Big Joe had a much different personality style, much bolder, stronger and less "polite." Several digital audio recorders, night vision cameras and video recorders were placed throughout the building. The Coast Guard had provided us with a thermal camera which was used in addition to EMF detectors, digital cameras and IR temp guns. As we set up for the investigation, we were treated to a rapidly forming thunderstorm that was amazing to watch. Black clouds quickly rolled in, the temperature dropped and within 30 minutes we were bathed in darkness.

The actual investigation was uneventful, after the investigation as team members headed off to try to sleep despite the sticky humid weather. I went to bed alone in the bedroom Minnie had passed away in, while her husband remained outside to cool off. Several times during the night she awoke to what she thought was husband entering the room, however when she opened her eyes, she was alone. At about 4am in the morning, the house was awoken by the sound of her bedroom door slamming open with such force it put a dent in the wall.

We placed a video camera in the room pointed at the door and settled down to go back to sleep. Several more times I thought she heard footsteps in the room and was anxious to review the video the next morning. However when she went to watch the tape, the first 20 minutes were completely blank. The remaining video only recorded a still door and the snores of the sleeping household.

Conclusion of investigation: While we did have some personal experiences and can't discount the stories left behind by visiting military personnel, we collected no concrete evidence of a haunting at Sherwood Point. The ceiling fan in the master bedroom does make sounds that may be interpreted by a sleepy mind a voices or footsteps. In addition tourists and looky-loos tend to wonder onto the property at odd hours to photograph the lighthouse, and generally are not quiet about their arrival. Footsteps and voices might be attributed to these visitors. The building is old and sound carries strangely through it. Team members upstairs heard the door bang while Jeni & Joe and Mike slept soundly in the rooms right next door.

The lighthouse is surrounded by woods on 3 sides and lake on the fourth. Animals may also be responsible for some of the sounds heard and mistaken for a ghost by other visitors.

A return trip to Sherwood is planned by some members in August of 2009. They will continue to try to collect evidence that the lighthouse is haunted, and try to make contact with the ghosts that remain at Sherwood Point Lighthouse.

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