One of the many buildings before the renovation. Photo taken in 2010. ©Michigan’s Otherside/Tom Maat

After all this time, the old Traverse City asylum finally have what they call, “Twilight Tours.” The description on their website reads:

“For those seeking an otherworldly experience, the evening skyline of building 50 is magical and unique. The tour begins on the front lawn with a formal toast to honor history’s advocates for moral treatment. Then, on to observe the fascinating shadow play, and listen for the creeks and groans of the asylum “cottages” settling at night.”

The tours are not  “ghost tours,” but this is totally catering to fans of the paranormal and especially people drawn to haunted tales told about the old hospital through the decades. Call it “shadow play” or “creaks and groans,” but fans of the spooky will LOVE this tour, even if ghost stories are not the focus. The real history of asylums are troubling enough and the Traverse City State Hospital has a history going back to 1885.

Photo taken in 2010. ©Michigan’s Otherside/Tom Maat


The hospital closed in 1989 and while the buildings sat and slowly decayed, people always hoped for ghost tours to start, but there were too many hazards. Rotting floors, lead paint, asbestos…no one wants to catch cancer on a ghost tour. But now that the Minervini Group has been extensively renovating the entire place for the past 17 years, it’s not such a death trap anymore. Although, the tour page does warn that it is an “active construction site” and there are a few suggestions to follow.

The tour focuses on the fascinating history of the hospital with stories about actual patients, including “eyebrow-raising accounts”, as well as, “a miraculous true-life story that we share,” according to an interview on MLive. Plus, tour participants get to see parts of the buildings not normally open to the public, such as the underground steam tunnels. How awesome is that?

90-minute tours can be booked ahead of time for $35 a person. You must be 18 or older with a valid photo ID. Tours are nice and small at a maximum of 15 people.

Check for tour availability here.

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Read more about the Traverse City State Hospital history and hauntings.