The Lost Souls of the Old City Orphanage

Innocence. Wonder. Vulnerability. Unconditional trust and love. These are the things that come to mind when I think of a small child. Children embrace life with open minds and open hearts, yet their needs are basic and simple. Food, a place to sleep, and the acceptance and love of family. Sadly, some children grow up without families and never get to experience that loving bond.

Orphanages all over the world are doing everything they can to care for these children. However, there are some orphanages, especially those of long ago, that treated children very poorly, subjecting them to abuse and neglect.

The Old City Orphanage, formerly the Holy Cross Orphanage, in Marquette, Michigan, has such a reputation. Built in 1915, the orphanage was run by extremely strict French Catholic nuns. Former orphans tell heart-wrenching tales of neglect and abuse, both physical and emotional. And where there is pain and suffering in life, there are often trapped souls in death.

One story centers around a young orphan girl that wandered off to play in the snow. She became lost in the blizzard and had to be rescued. The nuns were furious that she disobeyed. She died days later from pneumonia. Her lifeless body was put on display in the lobby of the orphanage, and the children and staff were gathered to see it. The nuns made the children look at the body of the dead girl, using her as a “lesson” on what happens to children who misbehave. This was very traumatic for the children, many of them small, and it is reported that visitors can still hear the children sobbing to this day.

Another tragic death that occurred at the orphanage was one of a young boy. Most accounts say that he drowned, but there are some that say he was beaten to death. In either case, there is a general belief that the death was not accidental as the nuns reported. The body of the boy was stored in the basement of the orphanage, and it is there that many have claimed to see the apparition of his little body, sometimes shrouded in a green light or mist.

Those who have lived near the orphanage report seeing glowing lights moving throughout the building, traveling window to window or floor to floor when no one was inside. Others report hearing unexplained noises. Could they be experiencing the energy of a spirit child still roaming the halls of their childhood home?

My heart aches at the thought of an innocent child, lost and utterly alone, suffering at the hands of those they trust to care for them. While visiting this orphanage would be a very emotional experience, I would love the opportunity to try to communicate with these children. I want to let them know that the things that happened to them were horrible and so very wrong. To let them know that they were good and deserved so much more. I hope and pray that these children can someday move on and find the happiness and peace they were not allowed during their tragically short lifetimes. Rest in peace, little ones….

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