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'Creepy flashlight tours' offered after dark at Muskegon's Hackley & Hume homes

If 131-year-old houses could talk, imagine the stories they'd tell. Now, imagine learning those stories shared in the dark, while armed with only a flashlight.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — Muskegon's Hackley and Hume homes are historic and iconic structures along West Michigan's lakeshore. They represent the bygone Victorian era and how lucrative the lumbering industry was near the end of the 19th century for tycoons Charles Hackley and Thomas Hume.

But, are the homes haunted?

The Lakeshore Museum Center is offering a first-time event this fall where people will get a chance to find out while touring the structures after dark, armed with only a flashlight.

"When the tour begins, there will be no lights on in either the Hackley or the Hume homes," said Erin Schmitz, who is the program manager of historic sites for the Lakeshore Museum Center.

People who choose to join the guided tour will be provided with a flashlight.

"Throughout the tour, we will be spilling the beans on some crazy things that might have happened in some of the rooms," said Schmitz.

Credit: Lakeshore Museum Center
Julia Hackley was the wife of Muskegon lumber baron Charlies Hackley. She died inside the Hackley house in Muskegon, Mi.
Credit: Lakeshore Museum Center
Charles Hackley was a lumber baron from Muskegon, Mi. in the late 1800s. He died inside his home in 1905.

Schmitz says multiple people died inside both homes and many funerals also took place inside both homes.

"Inside the Hackley house, both Charles and his wife Julia died there," said Schmitz. "Inside the Hume house, Thomas Hume and his wife Margaret, along with two of their daughters, Helen and Annie Eliza, all died there."

Credit: Lakeshore Museum Center
Margaret Hume was the wife of Thomas Hume. The couple was a part of the lumbering landscape in Muskegon, and were philanthropists.
Credit: Lakeshore Museum Center
Thomas Hume was the business partner of Charles Hackley. The pair were lumbering tycoons in Muskegon, Mi. in the late 1800s.

Schmitz adds that the tour-goers will serve as the curators of the event. Whatever they choose to illuminate with their flashlights will be topics of the tour.

"This is the first year we're hosting an event like this," said Schmitz. "Many of the staffers who work closely inside these two homes have never been in there after dark, so this will be a bit of a creepy experience for all of us."

The tours are filling up quickly. Because of the pandemic, groups of no less than four and no more than 10 will make up each session.

Credit: WZZM
Prominently displayed in the parlor inside the Hackley home is a painting of Julia Hackley, who died inside the home. Her funeral was there, too.

Tours will take place on the evenings of Oct. 23 and 24. There will be two sessions each night: 7 to 8 p.m. and again from 9 to 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.

If you're interested in attending, click HERE, or call Aaron Mace: (231) 724-5534.

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