Devil’s Kitchen on Mackinac Island is more than just an old cave given a creepy name. Some pretty weird legends surround this old limestone cavern.

First off, this mountainside burrow was formed thanks to the melting glaciers, with waves that elevated and descended over and over again throughout the eons. With the waves pounding away at this particular area for an unimaginable amount of time, the cave now known as ‘Devil’s Kitchen’ has the appearance of a human face (some say demon) with a wide open mouth. Here’s where the legend ties in.

The most popular legend concerns a clan of people called the Red Gee-bis. There seem to be different theories as to what the Red Gee-bis were: either giants, or spirits…..or maybe giant spirits. No matter which one they were, they were also cannibals who captured unwary humans, roasted them over an open fire, and ate them. To this day, the inside of the cave is blackened, said to be caused by the fires of the cannibals who roasted and consumed their share of mortals.....tasty snacks, all.

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One Native American story is that of a little girl and her grandfather who were stranded on the island after their tribe took off and left them behind. Seeking a place for shelter, they made do in this particular cave. After a week of hardly any food, the girl woke up one day and discovered she was blessed with powers – she had the ability to split open rocks and make water flow from them. She then used the water to douse the Red Gee-bis fires, thus saving themselves from being that day’s entrée.

Is it an actual Native American legend or a tale that was ‘cooked’ up for tourists?
Maybe an old sacrificial altar?

Standing in front of Devil’s Kitchen today, it is an eerie-looking thing: a wide-open mouth that looks like it’s taunting you to come in for a picture.....only to end up on the menu. Take a look at some vintage and current photos below!

Devil's Kitchen


More Vintage Mackinac Island Photos

White City Amusement Park, Then and Now

The Shipwreck 'Atlanta'

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