The Paranormal at Home: Hauntings in 50 States – Michigan’s Fort Wayne

Please click here if you would like to read the first article in the series.

Today we’re visiting yet another historic site with military ties. Forts are often places of death and fear, with soldiers in combat or waiting to move into battle. Even when there is no fight to be won, soldiers often spend a significant amount of time at these locations. This can lead to attachments because of an untimely death or strong emotional event.

Haunted Michigan: Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne Barracks

The original Fort Wayne barracks
c.2008

Fort Wayne is found in Detroit, Michigan. The building was constructed in 1701 but the site’s significance actually dates back to about 1,000 AD. 19 Native American burial mounds were located in the area with a larger monument built near the mouth of the Rouge River. These important  spiritual sites were consumed by the passage of time, with the last excavated during the early 20th century by University of Michigan archaeologists.

A variety of artifacts were uncovered during the dig, including a unique style of local pottery as well as human remains that were more than 900 years old. The current star fort now stands on top of the exact site of one of the old burial mounds.

The original fort fell into the hands of the British in 1760. A new fort, named Fort Lernoult,  was added a few years later and occupied by the British until 1796.  The Americans reclaimed the site after taking over Detroit and changed the name again to Fort Shelby.

Fort Wayne currently sits on 96 acres with 83 acres managed by the city of Detroit. The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. Fort Wayne has been utilized as an induction center for U.S. troops as early as the Civil War and as recent as Vietnam.

Paranormal Activity at Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne has earned quite a reputation as a haunted building. Sold out ghost tours have been held there with many big-name paranormal personalities making appearances, including Ghost Hunters’ Dave Tango and Steve Gonsalves, Haunted Collector’s John Zaffis, Destination Truth’s Josh Gates and Dustin Pari and Kris Williams from Ghost Hunters International.

The Metro Paranormal Investigations group hosts the ghost tours at Fort Wayne. Some members have come away with personal experiences. MPI founders Chris Forsythe and Wayne Miracle stated that strangely, the creepiest area in the entire fort is the visitors center bathroom.  Two female guests were, on separate occasions, waiting to use the restroom. They saw a pair of legs in the stall and politely waited.  A lot of time went by and the person did not come out. Tired of waiting, each woman walked in anyway and found no one there.

MPI members also witnessed lights flicking on and off and strange shadows in the bathroom even though it was after hours and the facility was locked tight.

The team initially overlooked the visitors center because it seemed the least likely spot for paranormal activity. It was added to the property in 1903 and was intended for use as a recreational facility for the soldiers. More on the experiences of MPI as well as their ghost tours can be found in this Night Train to Detroit blog post.

Fort Wayne was also featured on Coast to Coast AM’s October 19th, 2009 episode. Host George Noory spoke to Forsythe and Miracle who shared more on the site’s history and evidence gathered there, including EVPs. See video below to hear the segment.

MPI interview on Coast to Coast AM

Salley Port at Fort Wayne

Salley Port, site of soldier William Tasker’s death
c. 1934

One Fort Wayne story shared during the interview involved a soldier named William Tasker whose wife was giving birth. He was denied leave and working in the Salley Port when a cannon that was being moved broke loose. Tasker tried to get out of the way by hiding behind a door but he ended up crushed by the impact. Some believe that Tasker may be one of the first apparitions to be photographed at the fort. Click here to jump to this part of the interview.

Fort Wayne Today

Fort Wayne continues to fascinate those in the paranormal field. The site has a Facebook page dedicated to the ghostly activity experienced there. The Historic Fort Wayne Coalition along with MPI have been pushing to raise funds and awareness to continue to preserve the site, some of which has fallen into disrepair because of neglect from the city.

Have you been to the Fort Wayne (or would you like to go)? Share your personal experiences or investigative approach to this location in the comments.

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One comment on “The Paranormal at Home: Hauntings in 50 States – Michigan’s Fort Wayne
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