It’s a beautiful campsite that overlooks Lake Huron in the Ossineke State Forest Campground, south of Alpena, Michigan. Not only is there a gorgeous view of Lake Huron, but plentiful & fragrant pine trees, fire pit, picnic table, wildlife, trails, swimming, sandy beach, cool & calming lake breezes…..and the grave of a man who drowned and was washed ashore on that spot.

WHAT???

It’s true. The man was A.J. Michalowski, who died here in 1865 at the young age of 26. There is an old, sturdy gravestone planted there under a tree, with pebbles left by visitors on top. Trinkets are sometimes left but they don’t last long.

There is even a marker there that reads: “A.J. Michalowski - Born 3-16-1839, Died 11-6-1865. Buried here in 1865, where his body washed ashore, he worked at the old Oliver sawmill. He lived in Ossineke. Drowned while attempting a trip to Alpena across Thunder Bay in a small sailing craft.”

Noting the month of his death – November – it’s logical to assume “the gales of November” may have been responsible for capsizing his small boat. This marker and grave can be found at Site Number 4 in the campground, in case you’re curious and would like to camp next to a dead guy.

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But why all the fuss over this man? All I can do is guess. This is where his body was found, so instead of moving him around and trying to locate the right cemetery to put him in, they probably just planted him there, with a gravestone chiseled and marking the spot where he was found.

Call it morbid, cool, fascinating, interesting.....or just call it “the way Michigan was”. Either way, it definitely does make for a unique camping experience. I wonder if any past campers have seen his spirit wandering around the campsite? Might be interesting to go and find out for ourselves.

The gallery below shows you a few photos of the area.

CAMPSITE WITH GRAVE

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