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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The historic — and possibly haunted — Traverse City State Hospital is offering 'after dark' tours next month

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2020 at 3:59 PM

  • Photo courtesy of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons

'Tis the season for spooky shit. And no, we're not talking about the possibility of a second term for America's reigning butthole in chief.

The tour, billed as the "Asylum After Dark Experience,” is the latest offering from the historic Village at Grand Traverse Commons. The guided tour will walk willing ticketholders through Cottage #30, just one building on the sprawling campus of the former Traverse City State Hospital, also known as the Northern Michigan Asylum.

The groundbreaking hospital, founded in 1885, treated mentally ill residents for 100 years and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The hospital closed in 1989 but remains a hot spot on Michigan's most haunted listicles — and you can see for yourself.

The after-dark tours will take place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights throughout October and will guide participants through Cottage #30's four floors, including the attic and basement. The asylum docent will shed light — and dark — on what it was like for residents and hospital workers, as well as the facilities' innovative approach to mental health care, as expressed through the hospital's original superintendent, Dr. James Decker Munson and his “beauty is therapy” philosophy.

Don't expect to see straight jackets or other torturous restraints often associated with old psychiatric methods, as the Traverse City State Hospital had banned such treatments. But, according to MLive, there might be a story involving a glass jar full of bats. And though the tour is not labeled as a haunted experience, don't be surprised if you happen upon something paranormal.

“The sights, sounds … and darkness will leave you wanting to explore more,” the event description reads.

For those looking for something a bit less spooky, the Village offers tours of the hospital's tunnels, spires, and other unrenovated buildings during the day and at twilight. The main building on campus, however, has been converted into a mixed-use development, including condos, restaurants, and a winery.

Tickets are available for specific time slots and include a 30-minute guided tour, access to a bonfire, and a souvenir. Tickets are $45 per person or $80 per couple and can be purchased by visiting

The site notes that tours are for ages 18 and older and are not wheelchair accessible.

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