Is National House Inn Haunted?

National House Inn

Michigan’s oldest hotel may be haunted by a few ghostly guests who refuse to check out

Ghost Stories from
National House Inn

  • A Lady in Red is often reported around the inn
  • One ghost in the inn reportedly closes the door of whatever guest room they’re in
  • A man’s spirit is said to haunt one of the rooms
  • Claims of phantom cigar smells are common in some rooms
  • Guests to one supposedly haunted room report strange, vivid nightmares
  • Pictures are sometimes said to fall off the wall mysteriously in one room

Centuries of National House Inn History

In the picturesque town of Marshall, Michigan, a building needs to stand out. The town sports so many historic homes and manors it literally has a road called Mansion Street. But the most interesting house in Marshall isn’t on Mansion Street; it’s on Marshall Roundabout.

The National House Inn, with its traditional brick exterior and inviting white porches, stands out amongst its neighbors. Since before Michigan was even a state, for almost 200 years, National House has served weary Midwestern travelers.

Today, the inn remains popular, where every squeak of the floorboards sings a song of its storied past. Local lore suggests the inn may also be home to numerous ghosts!

Plenty of guests over the years have left National House Inn with a few spooky stories to share, leading some to call National House one of Michigan’s most haunted inns.

Timeline of National House Inn's History

Swipe or use timeline points to see National House Inn through the years

A suite named for Charles Dickey, rumored to be haunted by his cigar-smoking ghost


In 1835, Marshall was a small and brand new community. Despite being less than a decade old, Marshall had an important role to play. The town sat on the best route between Detroit and Chicago, seeing an endless line of travelers.

In 1835, Colonel Andrew Mann built a brick stagecoach inn in Marshall, then named the Mann Hotel. When the railroad came through the region in the 1840s, the inn became a well-liked railroader’s lodge. But, that same railroad would soon cause trouble for the inn.

The dark halls of the National House Inn


By 1878, train travel had changed. Railroad hotels were replaced completely by sleeper and dining cars. For the National House Inn, this seemed to spell the end, and the inn closed that year. By the 1890s, the building had been converted into a wagon and windmill factory.

In 1902, a local veterinarian turned the old inn into apartments, a role it played for almost 75 more years. But, by the mid-1970s, disrepair had taken over and its future seemed uncertain.

Tight hallways add to the ambience of the haunted hotel


Luckily, in 1976, a group of interested investors wanted to restore the inn as a bicentennial gift to the town. By Thanksgiving of that same year and after extensive restorations they had succeeded.

Like it never left, National House got right back to work as a lodge for weary travelers. In recognition of the building’s restoration, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. After that, it continued to see success as an inn for the rest of the century and beyond.

The ghost of a young boy is said to haunted the Dickey Suite at this Marshall, Michigan Inn


Since reopening as a bed and breakfast, National House has seen continued success through to today. It has been recognized as the oldest brick building in Calhoun County and the oldest operating hotel in the state.

While many stay at National House for its unmatched history and rustic charm, others lodge there for spookier reasons. As you might expect from a building as old as National House, there are plenty of rumored hauntings around the place.

The beautiful entryway of the reportedly haunted bed and breakfast

The Red Lady of Marshall, Michigan

The most well-known ghost story around the National House Inn is the report of a ‘Lady in Red’. The Lady in Red isn’t reported in one particular area though. Rather, she likes to wander the inn, as if going through an old routine from life.

Many of those who have seen her report her apparition walking the halls. Others have reportedly spotted her tell-tale red figure through windows from outside the inn.

Portraits on the walls seem to follow you with their eyes

Who is the Lady in Red?

While no one knows the identity of National House’s Lady in Red, many theories have been put forward. Some figure she is the ghost of an old apartment resident. Others think she is the specter of someone who died in a train accident when the inn was a rail lodge.

However, nothing has even been proven, and the Lady in Red’s identity remains a mystery.

Ghosts are seen throughout the National House Inn in Marshall, Michigan

Many Hauntings of National House

Another unique ghost story from National House Inn has an uncertain origin. Some figure it’s the work of the Lady in Red, while others believe it’s another, fussier phantom. There is said to be a room at the inn where the spirits always want the door closed.

Some report that the room moves around, as if following the spirit from room-to-room, while others claim it is always the same room. Regardless, one National House ghost reportedly demands their room door always be closed. And if you don’t shut it, then the ghost will.

National House Inn’s Haunted Room

One room of National House in particular is said to be haunted by a male spirit. The Charles Dickey Room, as it is called today, is reportedly home to a ghost who doesn’t like sharing spaces.

The ghost in the room will supposedly knock pictures off the wall when guests he doesn’t like lodge in the room. Additionally, guests in the room have reported odd and vivid nightmares. These have since been pinned on the Dickey Room’s ghost.

Sleep can be hard to come by in the haunted Dickey Suite

Also in this room, smells of old cigar smoke are said to be quite common. Despite this specter’s reported grouchiness, many guests to the Dickey Room have reported calm, undisturbed stays.

Others have figured this ghost is just standoffish and a little misunderstood.

Haunting Hospitality at National House

Understandably, National House Inn’s main focus is the preservation of their historic inn and the operation of the B&B. But, the ghost stories swirling around the old lodge have become closely intertwined with the inn’s historic charm.

To some, National House’s ghostly folklore is just an extension of its mystique as the state’s oldest hotel.

National House Inns most famous ghost story is that of the Lady in Red

While you can’t book a formal ghost hunt at the inn today, you can always book yourself a stay. Whether or not you encounter the Lady in Red going about her routine, you’re sure to enjoy the inn’s preserved historic aesthetic.

Just be sure to close your room door behind you when you check out, just in case the ghosts want it that way.