I wrote about Ora Labora, the failed Michigan Utopian society that was founded in what is now Bay Port in the thumb area…but what I didn’t mention was the old cemetery that contains past colony members of that society.

The Old Bay Port Cemetery is located off of Port Austin Road on Sand Road, east of Bay Port…..and is said to be haunted by spirits of former Utopian colonists.

German immigrants came here to start a religious commune in the 1860s, hoping to make this hunk of land a type of haven – a Utopia – a Shangri-La – where there was peace, happiness, prosperity, and no crime.

140 colonists settled here and built their town in the Michigan swampland and wilderness. Its downfall came when the able-bodied men were called to serve in the Civil War and the remaining colonists came down with disease. A little girl was the first resident to pass away, and she was buried in what is now the Old Bay Port Cemetery.

These graves hold the final resting places for the pilgrims who came here, searching for a fantasy life. Ora Labora is long gone, replaced by Bay Port. But the graveyard still exists, the only reminder of a failed Utopian society.

The cemetery has long been rumored to be haunted by the disappointed souls of Ora Labora with the usual occurrences: noises, voices, footsteps, orbs, ethereal white human figures, and occasional touching by unseen hands.

Whether you seek the paranormal or history, this is a good place to spend a little time.

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