Vikings, Phoenicians, Egyptians or the lost tribe of Israel in Michigan? What?! According to author Mark Jager and his Mystic Michigan series, Michigan may have had visits from these four cultures at some point in history. Jager wrote about a stone circle similar in nature to Stonehenge found on Lake Michigan’s Beaver Island that could have been built by any of these ancient groups, who some theorize visited North American in the past. I raised my eyebrow when I read this and wondered why us Michiganders had never heard of such an extraordinary discovery, if it was in fact true. According to the book, Beaver Island doesn’t want it to be a tourist attraction but there are “thirty-nine stones forming a 397 foot circle.” The stones vary in size and as to how the stones got there is the biggest mystery of them all.
The stones were noticed in 1985 by Terry Bussey who was looking for Native American artifacts when she noticed the stones. They just didn’t look as if they had been placed there by nature. The stones seemed to be in a pattern and some stones appeared to have been hand carved. Bussey used a compass, spent a couple nights under the stars with the stones and noticed that the stones connect to star positions and later research found the stones were aligned to the midsummer solstice. Most archaeologists shrug the stones off as nothing, while a minority speculate they could have been placed by the Mound Builders from thousands of years ago.

   The stones don’t look like much but there does seem to be a pattern to them when viewing them. Or not. The picture below is the main center stone. There is a carved indent on the top that serves as an offering bowl. Recent offerings sit inside it from Native Americans who regard the place as sacred.


Photo by Kristin Speer

There are smaller groups of circles that have been added onto for spiritual purposes and the pattern of the stones is similar to that of a Native American medicine wheel. The thing that perplexes archaeologists about the stones is the fact that the bands of Native Americans around that area didn’t create stone monuments. So who placed them? Is it even anything to bat an eyelash at? Or are we trying to make something of a pile of stones that are just there and nothing more…


I think it is relevant to mention that, while many of the stones on Beaver Island do show signs of carving or bowl-like depressions, many of the stones of the “circle” have been moved from their original positions when a road was built right through the circle. Having lived on the island for many years and looking into this phenomenon myself, I feel that it’s far less mysterious than most people hope; it’s just some rocks in a clearing.