Haunted Island in Winter and Summer


We need a little air conditioning this summer and this picture of Haunted Island on Ice should do it. At this time of year you don’t need a boat to get there. You can literally walk on water to get to your destination. Haunted Island has beautiful trees all over the island but especially on the southern tip. And now that we’ve been air-conditioned sufficiently shall we turn on the heat? In this photograph we can see a little bit more of the island drenched in sunshine. There are two houses on the island now and I wonder if they have Beach area? Anyone know for sure? Both houses seem to be on the eastern shore of the island. How I miss going there each summer.

Aerial Haunted Island


As you can see from this picture, the haunted island is all forested with the haunted house almost directly in the middle of the island. Just to the north of that house is an old Indian burial ground where the BonePickers I said to reside. The island is best visited at midnight to get the full effect. The only way to the island is by boat and as you enter the tree line the island gets even darker. It was the perfect place to take the boys from my various boys clubs at the stroke of midnight. I think it was the most anticipated event of any trip to Michigan, that is until the moment arrived. Another look at Haunted Island.

Haunted Island Perspective


This is almost the view that our boys club kids had of the Haunted Island from our wooded beachfront. Our view was slightly west of this position and, of course, on land. From the moment we arrived on the scene the Haunted Island was in full view for the boys. Previous trips had let them know that on one of the upcoming nights, at midnight, they would be where others had been before.

Each camper used to stare at that island for a good few minutes before getting down to the business of getting the camp ready for their stay. On our first nights campfire that was largely the topic of the evening. Then that island was dark and foreboding and still in plain sight of our campsite. But what they observed then were the dark shadows that kind of draped the Haunted Island with a very spooky effect.

Some nights the kids even heard the sounds of loons, which they had never before heard, coming from that island. They drew closer together at that time. Yet each one still anticipated that coming night when they would all climb into two rowboats and make that journey out to the Haunted Island. It was a big draw for all trips to Michigan.

They all admitted that what had not looked so bad in daylight had been completely transformed at night, aided, of course, by their imaginations. And the question that remained on each of their minds was on which night they would be going there?

The Original Noreika Property Lines




My nephew, BJ Marks, has been doing some extensive research on the Noreika family and here has shown some rather remarkable information concerning the Noreika Property Lines which included one half of what I call Haunted Island (Matson’s Island). Apparently it is not ALL Matson’s Island. What you see here is our total property flanked by Big Bass Lake Road. You can also find the phone lines cutting through our property. Half of Haunted Island was ours as well.

My Aunt Beth had told me that just the northern tip of that island was ours originally but these maps created in the 1930’s show otherwise. Instead of owning just the northern tip of Haunted Island, the Noreika line clearly shows about half of that island was originally Noreika property including the area where the old Haunted House once stood.

Of course, my grandparents may well have sold their interest in that island to the Matson’s sometime thereafter but I have no record of that. My grandmother, Barbara Noreika, was a good friend of Albert Matson.

BJ is a band director for the Columbus, Indiana, school system. I greatly value the research he is doing into the Noreika family. BJ is my sister, Treva’s, son.

Amazing BBL


Big Bass Lake was not like other lakes in the region. There was not a single place on the lake where you could see everything. Most lakes you can see about everything but not here. The lake has five Islands on it. Grandma’s Hat is about as big as a living room. The North Twin Islands are Four Winds and Turtle. Four Winds Island once played host to Camp Martin Johnson which closed in 1976. The Cottages are still on that island. The Big Island has a bridge connecting it to the mainland. It is the only Island that has a great many houses on it. The last Island I affectionately call it the Haunted island. The island is largely forested and used to have a haunted house in the middle of the island. There is another unofficial Island called Sunken Island. A small area is 3 ft deep in the middle of the lake. What also makes this like unique is a passageway between Big Bass Lake and Little Bass Lake which is about a quarter-mile long. There is no speed limit on this Lake so boats can go as fast as they like. Yes, this is a remarkable Lake.

Another Haunted Island Loon Speaks


“I often take night flights over Haunted Island to catch a break from tiny Loon Island. This evening I got to observe a group of kids from the Hoffman Estates Boys Club take a ride out to Haunted Island and it was a hoot. From my aerial vantage point I could watch them row all the way from their wooded campsite to that island. As they approached the darkness of the island I saw their boat began shaking as if some wake from another boat had hit them only there was no other boat. The operative word that made that boat shake was FEAR!

Now what could little old me do to add to that fear?  Well, as they landed I flew directly over the trees crying out and those big babies hit the ground as if they had heard some ghostly scream.  They got up and dusted themselves off only to arrive soon thereafter at the old house in the middle of that island. 

They approached the house slowly just as I revved up my wingspan and darted over the top of that house and cried out loudly.  Those kids ran into the woods like they were on fire.  I wonder what they would have done had they seen a real ghost?  I’m glad that I chose this night to get some winged exercise.  I’ve been putting on a few pounds and the laughter I had from this night sure shed a few of them.

On their way back across Big Bass Lake I let out another cry and those kids hit the oars trying for a new speed record.  What fun!  I might do this again the next time they head out there?  Who loves ya baby?

Was Keith Hansel Possessed at The Haunted Island?


The Marion Boys Club made a visit to the Haunted Island on a stormy night. Ghost stories were told once there and we even looked at the burial mounds just north of the Haunted House. Outside of a little wind at times nothing spectacular happened there. Or so we thought.

I took many pictures on this trip and especially of the Haunted Island and House.  Several pictures of individual boys were taken by that house.  However it wasn’t until we were back in Marion, Indiana, that things started to develop. I showed the boys the many pictures that I had taken and the one of Keith Hansel showed his eyes flaring red and glancing upwards.  Unfortunately, that pictures was lost in a fire.  But it appeared as if Keith had been possessed by the spirits of that island.

That one picture had the most conversation around it and the boys could not understand why it was just Keith’s picture that had that red-eye effect.  Was it merely photographic red eye or something more?  Sometimes strange things happen at that Haunted Island and this was one of them!

Daytime Visit to the Haunted Island


Haunted Island

On one of our trips to our property on Big Bass Lake the kids actually requested a daytime trip to the Haunted Island. Of course that was done in the early morning hours since lake traffic was less at that time. As events would have it there was a low fog that morning and the air was brisk so the kids put on wind breakers.

Big Bass Lake was a little choppy that morning and as we arrived at the rickety pier the fog got thicker. Talk about an errie atmosphere. As the boys climbed the short hill they could hardly see one another even though none were more than five feet apart. The fog had gotten almost to pea soup consistency.

When the boys entered the opening where they could make out the haunted house, they couldn’t. They could only make out its form. But as we approached it the house moved out of its errie form and appeared as it always has. The boys took their time exploring the full exterior of the home peering through the glassless windows and for the first time some noticed the stairwell that led to the second floor.

Even with the fog they could see far more than they could at night. Some of the boys glanced at the towering trees that surrounded the house. I asked them how they would like living out here all alone and most said it wouldn’t be bad- Until night fell that is.

Having satisfied their curiosity for the moment, they asked to return to our wooded beach and halfway back across the lake, the fog mysteriously lifted giving way to the sunshine above. As we docked at our beach, even the lake ceased its choppiness and became smooth as silk. All in all, not a bad daytime trip to the Haunted Island as even then it still had its mysterious effects on the boys.

The Red Eyes at Matson Island by Larry


I just found this cool site plus the guy that runs its email address. He talks about a haunted island that I think is Matson’s Island. In the 1960s there was a haunted house there and I saw something out of the Second Story window that I’ll never forget. I even got a photograph of it. The fellow that runs this website says they never found the woman’s body who was killed there. When I saw those red eyes I ran to my boat and got the hell out of there. I managed to snap a picture before I left the island and this is it. I have never return to that Island again after the pharmacy developed this photograph. From what I’ve read on that island that house is no longer there but I wonder if the spirit is? I saw that with my own eyes and have a picture to prove it. I don’t care what anyone says that island is haunted especially at night.

Aerial Haunted Island


I hired a passing eagle to take this shot at Big Bass Lake with the haunted island in view. The eagle did his work to perfection. The haunted island is ever so green. At one time no one lived on the island. The only structure was the haunted house and it was so spooky especially at midnight when I took most of the kids out there with various boys clubs. All around our property was the Manistee National Forest and this is true yet today. Maybe I can get the eagle to take some other pictures for me?

Our Entry Port to the Haunted Island


As you can tell by the tree-lined island, what I term the Haunted Island can be most foreboding at night. Our boys club camping trips only visited that island once on each journey and only at the stroke of midnight. In fact, I tried to select the spookiest night when the elements of wind and no moon were in place.

The view you find here is just about where the old pier stands which is about as rickety as you can get. That served as the initial point where the kids imaginations began to take hold of them. After leaving the pier, a trail begins that leads up a short hill and then winds its way to the very haunted house itself. The house is found in a clearing with trees surrounding it. It is a two-story house and about as old as you can get. I’ve never been to the second floor because the staircase looks none to secure.

There was a mud cellar to this house but again the staircase appeared not safe enough. The floors on the first floor were okay to walk upon. A setting such as this, added to by a ghost story, was more than enough for the kids. They were only too eager to return to the boat. On the way back to Indiana, though, they were full of stories about how brave they were on their trip to the Haunted Island and for the majority of kids taken up to our property the trip to the Haunted Island was the chief attraction for them.

Was a Bear Ever on Haunted Island?


Hmm? There could be?? My father once told me that a bear ambled over to haunted island in the winter one year and decided to hibernate there. In the spring he found himself in a spot. When speed boats started to buzz the island the bear became somewhat nervous and cantankerous. After a day or so national forest rangers found no trace of the bear on the island. Speculation has it that the bear chose to swim off the island one night. Apparently all that noise disagreed with him. My dad said he learned his lesson and would find a better place to hibernate next year. Then again, maybe the legend of the island chased that bear away? Who’s to say or not say?