How Mackinac Island’s “Skull Cave” Got Its Name
The name “Skull Cave” is ominous as it is…it kinda reminds me of King Kong’s “Skull Island”, with some similarities. On Kong’s island there were plenty of bones – animal & human, left there by Kong himself after dining on animals he conquered in battle and humans that were sacrificed to him.
In Mackinac Island’s Skull Cave, there were plenty of bones. All human bones.
A fur trader by the name of Alexander Henry came across the cave in 1763, looking for a place to hide, seeking refuge from Pontiac’s rebellion. To his horror, he found heaps of human skeletons inside, almost completely covering the entire cave floor.
Choosing to keep hidden, Henry spent the night on, as he later wrote, “nothing less than a heap of human bones and skulls, which covered the floor”.
So where did the skeletons and bones come from?
The local Native Americans had used the cave to lay their dead to rest; not burying them, but lying them inside the cave. By the time Henry discovered it, there were countless bones, skulls, and skeletons.
Currently, the cave is free of bones – that we know of – and people still love visiting and reading the marker. Tourists used to be able to go inside but now it’s barred so you can’t, for safety reasons.
Still makes a good selfie, though.