Is Henderson Castle Haunted?

Henderson Castle

Henderson family phantoms may still haunt the halls of this historic Michigan bed and breakfast

Paranormal Activity at Henderson Castle

  • The apparitions of former owners have been seen
  • A ghost dog reportedly roams the house
  • People report feeling people move by them on the staircase when no one is there
  • People feel taps on the shoulder from invisible hands
  • Footsteps are often heard around the house
  • An archway in the home has a name that repeatedly appears in the wood stain
  • A little girl’s presence is frequently encountered
  • The figure of a Spanish-American War veteran is sometimes reported around the house
  • Possible EVPs have been recorded by past investigators

Henderson Castle: Living History

While it might not have a moat or a drawbridge, Kalamazoo, Michigan’s Henderson Castle still lives up to its name. Just down the road from Kalamazoo College, perched on a hill over a cemetery, Henderson Castle looms large.

Its broad, wrapping porches and tall Queen Anne style tower exude the luxury of old world America. The revitalized interiors offer visitors an opportunity to live the life of a Gilded Age aristocrat, with some extra modern amenities.

While Henderson Castle’s inviting estate greets countless visitors every year as a bed & breakfast, it is said to be home to a few permanent residents as well: The Henderson Castle ghosts.

Yes, from tales of little girl ghosts to ladies in white, Henderson Castle has as much haunting lore as it does historic beauty.

Timeline of Henderson Castle's History

Swipe or use timeline points to see Henderson Castle through the years


Before there was Henderson Castle, there first had to be a Henderson. Frank Henderson. In the mid to late-1800s, Henderson, a prominent businessman, built a large textile business in southern Michigan, making uniforms for the government and secret societies alike.

After decades of success, Henderson wanted to build a grand home for his family. He began work on his family’s castle in 1888, and it wasn’t completed until 1895.


Henderson’s mansion cost $72,000, a princely sum at the time. The castle included an elevator, a third floor ballroom, seven bathrooms, and twenty-five rooms. But, Mr. Henderson had precious little time to enjoy his new home. He died in 1899, just four years after its completion.

His wife, Mary Henderson, lived in the mansion until her death eight years later, in 1907. The home stayed in the family through the Henderson children, but they eventually sold off their pieces by 1919.


After the Hendersons, the next owner of the castle was local stationary baron Bertrand Hopper. Through the 1920s, Hopper made updates to the home, including changing the stables into a garage. However, its time as a residence came to an end when it was made into apartments in the 1940s.

And, in 1957, it was hoped to be the future Kalamazoo Arts Center. But, that plan fell through and the mansion instead became Kalamazoo College dorms.


Henderson Castle returned to private ownership in the mid-1970s, with the new owners hoping to restore its historic splendor. In 1981, the home was bought by Fred Eagle Royce, who would own it for the rest of the century.

Royce set out on many restorations, often making updates to reflect both the home’s history and his great wealth. He also opened the home up to filming, including a 1987 low budget sci-fi ‘Housesitter.’ Royce sold the home in the mid-2000s, and it’s been a bed & breakfast ever since.


Since opening in the 2000s as a bed & breakfast, Henderson Castle has seen decent success and has greeted many guests. Since coming under current ownership in 2011, the property has also added a restaurant and day spa.

But alongside its luxury, another side of Henderson’s allure has grown: its ghost stories. Even since opening, guests have reported unexplained things around the mansion. And today, some guests book stays at Henderson Castle just to experience its hauntings.

Mysterious Mary at Henderson Castle

As the original owners and tenants of Henderson Castle, Frank and Mary Henderson are the most commonly reported ghosts around the house. Frank’s apparition has been reported around the grounds, but his wife appears more often.

Mary Henderson is frequently reported as an apparition lingering throughout the house. Her figure has been spotted floating around the Victorian Room and passing through the home’s many corridors.

Reportedly, one of Mary’s most active spots is the home’s main staircase. Reports of a misty, woman-like apparition on the stairs and strange breezes are two of the most common Mary sightings there.

There have also been photographs showing a ‘lady in white’ present around the house, but there’s dispute as to whether that is Mary Henderson or the specter of another lady of the house.

Henderson Castle’s War Veteran Ghost

Along with the Hendersons, several other specific spirits have been identified around the castle. One of these includes Clare Burleigh, a Spanish-American War veteran and friend of the Henderson’s son. The story goes that Burleigh loved the home so much in life, that he now resides there in death.

Now, shadowy figures matching his description sometimes appear in certain rooms. There have also been claims of a ghost dog roaming the Henderson grounds on several occasions. Some guests report the ghost dog jumping into bed with them at night.

The Little Girl Ghost of Henderson Castle

One of the home’s other notable ghost stories is of a little girl haunting the halls. According to lore, her father was a worker doing some wood re-staining on a first floor archway. While he was out, the little girl climbed the scaffold to write her name in the stain, only to fall and break her neck.

Now, the partially-written name reportedly remains in the archway stain, even after many attempts to cover it up. Additionally, psychics have reported sensing the little girl’s spirit roaming the bed and breakfast.

Henderson Castle’s Active Hauntings

Though many ghosts in Henderson Castle have been identified, unknown ghosts have been reported as well. Footsteps are often heard on empty floors. Additionally, visitors in some rooms report getting tapped on the shoulder by unseen hands.

Across the home, ghost hunters have recorded potential EVPs saying things like ‘Go Away.’ As more people have tried to record the home’s paranormal activity, more reports have resulted. These have included strange battery drains and lights flickering without known cause.

Popular Phantoms of Henderson Castle

While Henderson Castle focuses on its bed and breakfast work, there are still many options to explore the castle’s haunted sides. The castle hosts Haunted History Dinners monthly.

These tours offer a chance to learn about the home’s haunting lore and connect with fellow fans of everything spooky.

You can also always book a stay as a guest at Henderson Castle and seek out the spirits in your room during your stay. It’s as easy as giving them a call and booking ahead!

Just be sure to leave space at the end of your bed when you turn in, in case the ghost dog needs a place to rest.