Mt. Pleasant Center - Mt. Pleasant, MI
I moved to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan last year. Since I have interest in the paranormal, I asked around about any haunted locations around town. The name
that always came up was Mt. Pleasant Center. This is said to have been one of the largest but poorest run State Hospitals for the criminally insane.
Once someone was sent here, no matter what their crime, they were there forever...apparently no releases were granted. Other than one side of the
building where the worst of the worst were chained, the patients were allowed to wander freely, no fences or
electrical locking doors and, of course, many escaped. An orderly was tortured, raped then murdered when one of the patients broke into her house,
which was provided by the hospital and was only a few hundred feet from the hospital. Police guards patrol the grounds because there are still
buildings that are being used but the mental hospital has since been closed down. Still, shadowy apparitions are seen roaming the grounds and moans,
screaming, crying and voices are commonly heard. The entire 300 acre complex was shut down in 2010 and has been abandoned. That’s not all. After
doing a little research I found that the location used to be Indian Boarding School (large Chippewa population here).
In 1889 the U.S. commissioner of Indian Affairs declared, "We must either fight Indians, feed them, or else educate them. To fight them is cruel, to
feed them is wasteful, while to educate them is humane, economic and Christian." He suggested using boarding schools to prepare Indian children to
live in American society. At boarding schools, Indian children would be introduced to English, vocational skills and Christianity. On January 3, 1893,
the U.S. government opened an Indian boarding school at Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. It offered a nine-year program, beginning with kindergarten. By 1911
the Mt. Pleasant school had eleven buildings, including dormitories for both the girls and boys. Although the school grew from an original enrollment
of 59 students to more than 300 students a year, it created tension among the Indian community. Some Indian parents opposed sending their children
away to learn "the white man's ways." However, the poverty and hopelessness of living on reservations led other parents to hope that these boarding
schools promised their children a better life. Sometimes, the government took Indian children and forced them to attend the school. Life at the
boarding schools was often a shock. One girl recalled being held down as her hair was cut short. She later explained, "among our people" only
"cowards" wore short hair. Another student remembered that attending a boarding school was like being "suddenly dumped" into "another world,
helpless, defenseless, bewildered, trying desperately and instinctively to survive it all." Students awoke to reveille, dressed in military-style
uniforms, marched to class and went to bed with taps. Half the day was spent in class; the other half was spent in vocational training. The students
also kept vegetable gardens and apple orchards and cared for livestock. During the summer months, they worked as seasonal laborers on area farms.
English was the school's official language, and students might have their mouth washed out with soap if they spoke their native Indian language.
Students were also encouraged to take a Christian name in place of their Indian name. They had little privacy, sleeping in dormitories with 30 to 40
students in a large room. Violating the rules led to punishment, which could be harsh. Sometimes students were beaten with a strap or rubber hose.
Some endured the school; others ran away. The Mt. Pleasant Indian School closed in 1933. In exchange for the buildings, the state of Michigan agreed
to allow the Indian children to attend public schools.
Then, I found this story from the native news Network:
700 Possible Indian Children Remains Cause Concern for Tribal Officials
by Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents.
The reports that there may be as many as 700 sets of remains of American Indian children, who died while enrolled at the Mt. Pleasant Indian
Industrial School, buried on abandoned property are of great concern to tribal officials of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. The tribe
is based in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. The abandoned property is known as the Mt. Pleasant Center. Buildings on the property have not been occupied for
years - perhaps decades. Some have broken windows. There are signs at entrances that read: No Trespassing. State of Michigan Property Facility Closed.
“I very much try to approach my job from a business perspective, but I cannot deny the emotional side to this,” commented Frank Cloutier, public
relations director of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan, as he discussed the property with the possible 700 sets of children’s remains. West of
the empty buildings lies the cemetery with the remains of Indian children. The tribe is fearful other unknown graves may be present on other parts of
the property. “Our concern may extend beyond the known cemetery,” said Cloutier. “If it is determined children remains are found on property
beyond those known, we want to work with archeologists to ensure the remains are handled properly.”
Sounds like a creepy place with a pretty nasty history. I would like to check it out in person but it is heavily patrolled for good reason. Maybe get
Ghost Adventures out there?