Inventor and millionaire Dorr E. Felt built the Felt Mansion in 1928. This “summer home” was to be a gift for his wife, Agnes, and was affectionately dubbed “Agnes’s House.” Sadly, she passed away in her new bedroom only three weeks after the mansion was completed. Dorr remarried, but his new wife refused to spend any time in the home.
Upon Dorr’s death in August 1930, the estate was turned over to his daughters. The family retained ownership until 1948, when it was sold to St. Augustine Seminary. The seminary, also a boys’ school, added several buildings to the property in the 1960s. Due to the declining enrollment in the 1970s, the seminary was forced to sell the land and buildings to the state of Michigan. The state turned the main dormitory into the Dunes Correctional Medium Security Prison.
The mansion was used for offices and the state police post. Due to budget cuts, the prison was closed down in the late 1980s. The land was sold to Laketown Township on the stipulation that the old prison would be torn down due to asbestos contamination. Left standing today is the 80-man trustee building and mansion. Official investigations for paranormal activity started in November 2001 when the West Michigan Ghost Hunters Society (WMGHS) had full access to the grounds of the mansion while giving “ghost tours” to help raise funds for the restoration.
During this time, WMGHS was able to pool a large amount of data to prove the mansion is haunted. These investigations continued until October 2002. A wide variety of paranormal activity was witnessed, including positive photos, physical touching, and the moving of objects. Apparitions were witnessed in the library, ballroom, and Agnes Felt’s bedroom. WMGHS determined that the most active room in the mansion is Agnes’s bedroom.
Activity included mists, extreme temperature variances (documented 15- to 52- degree Fahrenheit temperature drops), lights turning on and off, and windows opening on their own. WMGHS also caught on video Agnes’s French doors flying open on their own. Many volunteers who were working to restore the mansion have reported hearing footsteps, seeing doors opening by unseen forces, and witnessing apparitions.
Some restorers refuse to work in the ballroom for this very reason. WMGHS has deemed this location the most paranormally active building we have found to date. We believe the Felt Mansion holds both residual and intelligent hauntings. WMGHS also considers the last remaining building of Dunes Correctional Prison to be paranormally active. Footsteps in the hallways, doors slamming, and unexplained voices are continuous occurrences in this building.
WMGHS believes, however, that this building is mostly classified as a residual haunting.
– Written by Nicole Bray Founder, West Michigan Ghost Hunters Society
DORR E. FELT MANSION
SHORE ACRES TOWNSHIP PARK STATE PARK DRIVE
TEL: 1 (616) 896-7860
WEBSITE: www.ebold.com/~mansion/ FeltMansion.html