The Ghostly Lighthouse


I am so excited to share this layout with you. The story it tells is one of the most important things to have happened to me in a long time.

It is of the Seul Choix Point Lighthouse in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on Lake Michigan. It is haunted and you can read of my experience with the ghost in the lighthouse. It was my first encounter with a ghost and had me shaken up for quite a bit, but that is just the sidebar to this story.

The real reason this will always be my favorite lighthouse is because it is here that I learned you can accomplish anything. It is here that I first pushed myself beyond what I thought I was capable of. And it is here that I conquered my fear of heights.

lighthouse-left-by-candy-spiegelA year ago, I was too afraid to climb up on the counter to clean the cabinets. And I was too fat and out of shape to walk up more than one flight of stairs — and I had to take a break halfway up in order to do that. Last June, after I lost 60 pounds and started walking, my husband took me to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to camp, hike and photograph nature and lighthouses. We stopped at this one, located at the tip of a peninsula far from anything but water. It was our first visit and, although eager to explore, we had to set up camp that evening, so we didn’t want to linger.

The lighthouse keepers were nice enough to let us take a shortened tour of the lighthouse and they told us we really needed to go all the way up to the top. At first I was eager, but then I learned it was 96 stairs to the top — and we were already up a flight of stairs from the ground. At first, I let my fears take over and I declined. I knew I couldn’t handle the climb, mentally or physically. But the tour guide kept on me until I gave in. I figured I could go up as far as my legs and fear of heights would let me go and then I would come back down.

lighthouse-right-by-candy-spiegelMy legs handled the steps with ease, but it didn’t take long for my fears to set in. About halfway up, something in me snapped. I suddenly had this urge to push forward. With my husband behind me assuring me I was OK and protecting me from falling backward (the main reason I was afraid of heights), I kept going. My heart was pounding so loudly, I was sure everyone could hear it. I was gasping for air and holding on to that railing for dear life. In full-blown panic attack mode, I climbed step after step after step, winding around and around the lighthouse as I continued my upward journey. I kept telling myself I could do it … chanting over and over in my head. My whole body was shaking and I was nearly in tears, but I made it to the top of that lighthouse and peered outside. I was practically paralyzed with fear and I had to go down the first few steps on my butt, but I did it.

That moment changed my life. Since that day, I have been up and down ladders, escalators and glass-sided elevators with ease. The fear of heights has been conquered.

But, more importantly, there is this new fire in me. I am no longer afraid to try anything new. I’m not afraid of failing. And I know, if I set my mind to it, I can do anything. It’s like I have finally given myself permission to “live” for the first time. And it is all thanks to that haunted lighthouse.

Yes, I did have a paranormal experience during this journey … you can read all about it, here … click on the photos to make them bigger.



This story was written soon after the experience … before I felt the continued benefits of climbing all of those steps. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t think of that journey to the top of that lighthouse. I always say a little thank you to that guide for encouraging me to climb. Had it not been for him, I might not have learned to ice fish, ride a bike, shoot a gun, hike through the woods, kayak, swim in public or do any of the other things I have learned to do since that day at the Seul Choix Point Lighthouse. And I certainly wouldn’t be thinking of learning to rock climb or taking escalators just to prove to myself they no longer scare me!

Thank you.


Facing Your Fears


My husband and I recently returned from a trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I’ve only been a couple of times, but it always feels like we are entering a different country — especially since you have to stop at a toll booth on the U.P. side of the Mackinac Bridge.



I am still working on developing my photos (yes, they are digital, but I run them through a program to adjust color, crop, straighten, etc.). I took more than 100 photos on my iPhone and another 996 on my camera, so it is taking longer than I would like. Fortunately, there are some duplicates and a few that didn’t turn out that I am deleting!

IMG_1373Our plan was to photograph lighthouses, waterfall and wildlife. It turns out I have way more wildlife in my backyard than is in the U.P. But we did hike to quite a few falls and saw several lighthouses.

This is Seul Choix Point Lighthouse. It is located on the northern shores of Lake Michigan, 60 miles west of Mackinac Bridge. The name is French for “only choice,” since this harbor is the only option to get out of a storm in the area.

IMG_1352The lighthouse was once the center of a thriving fishing community, with supplies for residents coming in from the lighthouse docks. The community is now gone, but the lighthouse grounds are wonderfully maintained with all of the original buildings.

The light tower, still operating although it is now automated, is 78 feet tall and was built in 1895. The Victorian details on it are unique and magnificent and you can see for quite a distance from the top. However, it takes climbing 80 tiny, open iron steps and a ladder to get to the top. When I heard that, I declined a visit to the tower, but the guide quickly talked me into it. And there began my terrifying journey up.


First of all, I wasn’t sure I was fit enough to make it up 90 stairs. However, since I recently lost 50 pounds through diet and exercise, I decided to give it a try. Physically, the climb was not difficult at all. But mentally was a whole different animal.

I am afraid of heights. Well, more like terrified of heights. I can’t be near the edge of a balcony, more than two steps up on a ladder or handle a shopping mall escalator. Heck, I cannot even walk up a staircase in a house if it doesn’t have a rail. And if I get stuck going up, I cannot get down without help. Needless to say, going up 90 stairs was terrifying. Several times I had to stop, refocus and push myself to get to the top. By the time I got there, my heart was pounding out of my throat, I was trembling and I was nearly hyperventilating. I had a paranormal experience on the way up, but that didn’t even hit me until I was safely back on the ground.

But, I did it — well, all except the top three ladder rungs. I just couldn’t do that. But I did get up high enough to see out the window.


This was, quite honestly, one of the hardest things I have ever done. But, the rewards of having accomplished this are so incredible. By the end of the trip, I was climbing steep hills and getting closer to the edge of the cliffs than I ever have before — without any trace of nervousness or even realizing that I would normally be afraid at that point. No, I don’t think my fear of heights has been conquered, but I feel like I am more in control of it.

Back to crafting!