Occasionally—actually, far more often than I’d like—I stumble across a clear example of how uninspired reporting and clickbait journalism culture can lead to support for uncritical thinking and the advancement of fringe beliefs.
This time, the example comes from my own home state. Recently, Detroit TV news outlet WDIV posted the following article to their Facebook page: “Old Ghostly Orphanage Being Turned Into Apartments.” They tagged it with the question, “So, anybody want to live in an old haunted orphanage?”
The building in question is the Holy Family Orphanage in Marquette, MI. Built a century ago, the orphanage has a mixed history. It was clearly a place the locals viewed as a benefit to the community; however, the building has roots as one of the many orphanages used to house displaced Native American children. The orphanage is said to have been the location for stories of the type typical to old Catholic orphanages: cruel nuns, Medieval punishments, and even child deaths due to neglect or malice. These latter rumors are the seeds for the ghost stories that some people tell about the building.