Ten locations for paranormal activity in the Irish Hills, Michigan area

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October 31, 2004 (Hallowe’en) – rural Brooklyn, Michigan

Early afternoon light filled the rural three-bedroom rental I shared with my girlfriend X and her two boys, Y & Z.  Standing alone in the dining room and next to several opened windows, I paused and took in the scent of fallen maple, box elder and oak leaves. Ripples of relaxation began to pulse through my being. Two months earlier, the four of us packed our belongings and moved 120 miles out of a cramped two-bedroom apartment in Midland, Michigan, to a spacious home with a big yard just outside of Brooklyn, three miles from Cambridge Junction and the Walker Taverns in south-central Michigan.

Still standing in the dining room, I noticed an increasing pressure in my head and sinuses. It felt similar to being underwater. I could no longer hear the voices of the boys playing outdoors or distant crows calling out to one another. The interior of the house was noticeably darker. I remember wondering if a weather front was quickly moving through the area.

A tingling sensation appeared around the crown of my skull. Electrical and chilling, it raced down the back of my neck and into the shoulders and arms. I became hyper-aware that I was no longer alone in the house. My eyes were instantly drawn to an inky black figure standing perfectly still in the middle of the kitchen, just ten feet from where I stood. It was pure black, sharply outlined (not misty), vaguely human-shaped, slender and about seven feet tall. It’s ‘head’ seemed to be touching the ceiling.

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The moment I realized that I was looking at something “not normal”, it shrank down, perhaps a couple of feet, and rushed toward me inhumanly fast. Before I could react, it had passed in front of me, perhaps six inches away from the tip of my nose, and left no breeze in its wake.

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What you are about to read/listen/watch is a collection of ten local hauntings I’ve had personal experience with and captured paranormal evidence at.  This is by no means a “Top Ten” list.  Many locations famous for their ghosts have been perfectly silent during my investigations; McCourtie Park / Aiden Lair in northeast Hillsdale County and Little Mary’s gravesite in Jackson, for example.  Other locations are extremely active and communicative.

Please use headphones or earbuds with the videos and audio clips.   EVPs are often difficult to hear without them.

Enjoy!

Jeff Westover
Irish Hills, Michigan
October 28, 2016




10)  Elias Anderson / Dr. Increase S. Hamilton House (blt. 1840) – Tecumseh, Michigan

dsc00022-copyAnderson / Hamilton House (blt. 1840) – 402 W. Chicago Blvd., Tecumseh, MI

This modified Greek Revival house was built in 1840 by Elias Anderson, a carpenter of some renown in early Tecumseh history. The front hall and entry were designed and built to align with the house Anderson’s twin brother Elijah built directly across the street (aka “Anderson / Beardsley House”).

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inside entry Hamilton House

Both houses are basically Greek Revival but have modifications which render them infinitely interesting and unique.   A tunnel is said to run below Chicago Blvd. that further connects the twin homes.  The Beardsley children played in the tunnel before their father, James, closed it off due to safety concerns.

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Anderson / Beardsley House (blt. 1832) – 401 W. Chicago Blvd., Tecumseh, MI

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While undergoing restoration work during 1988, a tunnel was discovered below the foundation of the Hamilton House at 402 W. Chicago Blvd.

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Rumors have circulated around Tecumseh for decades linking both Anderson houses to the Underground Railroad.  History shows that the Anderson twins were from New York state and that their parents were members of the Society of Friends (Quakers).  The Friends, historically, were opposed to slavery but how they responded to the immoral institution was unique to the individual.   Many times outspoken abolitionists were criticized by their fellow Quakers.

Elias Anderson died on January 1, 1845, presumably from one of the diseases (smallpox, diphtheria, typhoid, malaria, etc.) that were sporadically appearing throughout the region at the time.   The outbreaks brought Dr. Increase Hamilton to Tecumseh just a few months earlier to help out an overwhelmed Dr. Michael A. Patterson.  Dr. Hamilton purchased the home at 402 W. Chicago Blvd. a few months after Elias’s untimely death.

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Elias Anderson gravesite, Brookside Cemetery, Tecumseh, MI

It’s not known whether the Anderson twins or Dr. Hamilton ever aided local abolitionists or freedom seekers.  The Underground Railroad legends seem to stem from the existence of the tunnel connecting the structures, which isn’t proof of clandestine abolitionist activities in of itself.   *If* Underground Railroad activity occurred on the property after 1845, Dr. Hamilton would’ve most likely assisted in a medical capacity to injured or ill freedom seekers moving through Lenawee County, perhaps accepting them through the tunnel from Elijah Anderson.  No evidence, however, has been found to support this theory.

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basement, Elias Anderson / Dr. I. S. Hamilton House, Tecumseh, MI
402 W. Chicago Blvd.

In 1848 Elijah Anderson built a steam engine factory in Tecumseh, located between Evans and Ottawa Streets and south of Evans Creek.  In 1858, Anderson sold his home at 401 W. Chicago Blvd. and his share of the factory to partner Horace Brewer.

The Hamilton House gained paranormal notoriety with its inclusion in Linda Godfrey’s “Weird Michigan” book as being haunted.  Several past residents have experienced disturbing activity in the basement and in an upstairs bedroom.  Strange scratching noises have been reported on the downstairs side of the basement door located in the kitchen. The house has been investigated multiple times by various paranormal groups (including myself).

This is an EVP I recorded in the basement that seems to be a woman saying “you’re not welcome” (listen with headphones).

Photographic tour of the Hamilton House….images taken during my 2009 investigations.   View YouTube video here.

4107334172_697d6ed05d_o-copyAnderson / Hamilton House (blt. 1840) – 402 W. Chicago Blvd., Tecumseh, MI



09) “Jacktown” – First Michigan State Prison in Jackson, Michigan

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From Wikipedia:
“The first prison was built in Jackson, Michigan, and became the original nucleus of the city. The enclosed area of the old prison was about 20 acres (81,000 m2). Almost from the beginning, the old prison was chronically overcrowded. In 1876, the problem was mitigated when new prisons were erected in Marquette and Ionia; this only somewhat eased the overcrowding. Throughout its history, new buildings were added continuously. At its peak capacity, the prison housed around 2,200 inmates in four cell blocks and a dormitory. In the older blocks, the cells were very small at only 7 feet (2.1 m) long, by 313 feet wide, by 6 ½ feet high. In the newer blocks built in 1904, the cells measured 9 feet (2.7 m) × 5 ½ feet × 7 feet (2.1 m). Women prisoners were confined at the Michigan State Prison up until 1852; there had been 10 female prisoners committed up until that date.

“During the first year after the prison was opened, 35 inmates were admitted, of whom seven managed to escape over the walls. The first mass break happened in 1840. Ten convicts overpowered two of the guards and broke free from the prison walls. They fled to Spring Arbor where they ran into a farmer, James Videto. He attempted to stop them, but the inmates took Videto’s shotgun, beat him with it and left him on the road. After a few days, George Norton, the leader of the escape, was killed by another farmer. All but two of the rest of the convicts were eventually caught.

“On September 1, 1912, a riot that is described by many as the worst riot in the prison’s history began. The first sign of trouble was when inmates starting throwing plates against the walls of the dining halls. Many fights followed after this and the riot lasted for six days. On the sixth day, the 90 or so inmates that were leading the riot were beaten and the riot eventually came to an end, but not until after the governor had called in the National Guard.”

* * *

From April until October, 2012, I worked for the Historic Prison Tours at the old Jackson Prison (now Armory Arts) assisting paranormal groups that came into the old prison on N. Mechanic Street.  Those tours usually brought anywhere from twenty-five to fifty people who were split up into groups and taken into various parts of the prison to ghost hunt.   The areas investigated included the tunnels beneath the still-standing cell block; the solitary confinement area (also beneath the cell block) and the mess hall.

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Solitary Confinement

It was my responsibility to ensure that the property was cleaned and secured by the end of the night (usually around 3 a.m.).   I walked the length of the tunnels and solitary confinement, alone, late at night after dozens of ghost hunters had amped-up the energy and stirred up the spirits.  Solitary confinement was always extremely unnerving to walk alone.  I caught many EVPs during those end-of-night solo walks.

Here’s a video I put together with the best EVPs and photographs captured during my six months in Jacktown.




08) Downs Hall – Adrian College – Adrian, MI

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Downs Hall, Adrian College (false color infrared photograph, 2014)

Could the legend of a Confederate slave hunter dying while chasing a freedom seeker on the site of Downs Hall be true?    Some claim to have witnessed apparitions of Civil War era soldiers in the tunnels below this old building.  The entire campus has a long history of paranormal activity.

Adrian College was chartered by the Michigan Legislature on March 28, 1859 and under its first President, abolitionist Esa Mahan, Downs Hall was built in 1860.  It served as the chapel and is the only original building remaining on campus.

Early during the Civil War, Adrian College offered its buildings and land to train the soldiers of the 4th Michigan Infantry after the original training site, Lawrence Park (aka Old Lenawee County Fairgrounds), was too wet and miserable to use.   It soon became known as Camp Williams.

The 4th Michigan Infantry was mustered into service on June 20, 1861 and came to be known as a fierce fighting unit, fought with the Union Army of the Potomac and participated in the Battle of Gettysburg.

I was invited to tour/investigate Downs Hall during the Summer of 2014.  Adrian College Theater Professor, Michael Allen, introduces the legend of Downs Hall in the following video:




07)  Clark Memorial Hall / Adrian Lodge – Independent Order of Odd Fellows (blt. 1888) – Adrian, MI

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Clark Memorial Hall, 124 S. Winter St. (digital infrared, 2015)

Banker Elihu L. Clark was widely considered to be southern Michigan’s most wealthy man during the 1860’s and 1870’s and has come to be remembered by the Second Empire-style Victorian Revival buildings he built or inspired.

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Elihu Clark residence, built 1869 (no longer standing), 413 E. Maumee St.
This location now occupied by the Adrian Post Office.

Just before his death in 1880, Clark donated $5000 to the new Adrian State Industrial Home for Girls, created by the Michigan Legislature in 1879 while Adrian’s own Charles Croswell was Governor.  The first building built at the site  was “Clark Cottage”, built in Elihu’s honor and first occupied on August 3, 1881.

Clark’s will left $10,000 to Adrian’s International Order of Odd Fellows and in 1887 they hired Adrian builders Leonard Beck and Andrew Vogt to construct the Victorian Revival structure that now stands at 124 S. Winter St. and is currently occupied by Maggard Razors.  The building’s design was reportedly based on the style of Elihu Clark’s home (see above photo).  I see a closer resemblance in Coldwater, Michigan’s Tibbets Opera House, built just five years prior.

Upon the building’s completion, Moreland Brothers and Crane, a local Tobacco and candy company, leased the main floor.  From 1888 until 1985, the I.O.O.F. leased the second floor.

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Adrian I.O.O.F. members, 1946 – Clark Memorial Hall

During the late 2000’s, before Brad Maggard purchased the Clark Memorial Hall and moved in his razor business, the building was occupied by Amedai Salon and Spa.  It wasn’t unusual for Amedai employees to see shadowy apparitions darting back and forth through the building late at night.

I was invited to tour and investigate the building during June and July of 2015.  The building was extremely active with EVPs, Ghost Box hits and light anomalies captured on infrared video.  An unusually high EMF field permeated the west side of the upstairs due to the close proximity of a distribution transformer pole.  The distribution transformer itself was extremely close to one of the second story windows.

The spirit of notable Adrian historical figure Emma Bixby, namesake of Adrian’s Bixby Hospital, may be one of the building’s permanent residents.


Investigator Jeff Rumsey’s infrared video of unusual light anomalies taken on the second floor of the Clark Memorial Hall.  This was the room with the distribution transformer sitting just outside of the window.




06) Dead Man’s Curve area (US-12) – Cambridge Twp., Lenawee Co., MI

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Northwest Lenawee County – Cambridge Township (1874 map)

The US-12 / Allens Lake area of northwestern Cambridge Township in Lenawee County is considered to be the western edge of the Irish Hills…and is known to be very haunted.   Many travelers know this area by the reduced-speed snakelike curve that winds around the northern edge of Allens and Wolf Lakes and by the old Siam School house sitting at its western end. The winding curve, for decades, has been known as “Dead Man’s Curve.”  Not for numerous traffic fatalities that may have occurred over the years but because of the Native American burial grounds located on the hills surrounding Allens Lake.  The burials predate the late 17th Century arrival of French explorers and fur traders.   Local legend (now debunked) had Allens Lake as being the final resting spot of Chief Tecumseh.

native-american-archeology-sites-se-michiganarcheological map noting the burial grounds at Allens Lake (marked with red circles)

A Potawatomi Chief named Metataugh (Metawa) was the leader of several villages in the Sand, Wolfe and Allens Lakes area.   Metataugh was followed by Chief Siam, for whom the school-house and district are named for.

Cambridge Township’s first land patentee (1827) , Isaac Powers, built a log cabin on the northern shore of Allens Lake (where the boating access is now located) and raised twelve children there.  The Powers family were the first settlers west of Tecumseh.  In 1830 Squire Powers built the first hotel in the area to shelter the increasing number of pioneers and travelers following the old Chicago Military Road (US-12) westward.  Eleanor (Powers) Secor was born on this land in 1835.  In a 1916 interview with the Adrian Daily Telegram, Mrs. Secor recalls many times in which human bones and artifacts were uncovered by early plow and shovel.

In about 1850, Mrs. Secor recalled two men, partners in a general store in the Springville settlement just to the south, who snuck onto her father’s land and robbed many of the Potawatomi graves of “copper kettles and camp utensils.”  When her father found out, he hunted the men down and made them rebury the artifacts exactly where they had found them.

In what may be the earliest recorded ghostly encounter in the Irish Hills, Mrs. Secor relates a strange incident that began with workmen digging a cistern near the Powers’ home.  The body of a Native American child was found “perfectly preserved in tanbark.  When the air struck the body it fell apart and was soon nothing but dust.”  One wonders how many decades the body had been buried before it was uncovered in this fragile state.   Mrs. Secore said that a Potawatomi squaw, who claimed to be the mother of the child, visited the Powers home soon afterward and made a great ado over the exhumation of the seemingly ancient, now-disintegrated body.

Could this have been the spirit of the child’s mother, no longer at rest?   Or do Potawatomi bodies buried in tanbark turn to dust in the moist Irish Hills soil within a very short period of time?

* * *

On November 24, 1924, when road crews began working on the portion of US-12 directly in front of Siam School, the remains of nine Potawatomies were unearthed.

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The remains were kept by Sylvester Marr and locked away safely until Rev. Frederick Hewitt, owner of the newly opened Walker Tavern museum/roadside attraction, offered to reinter the Potawatomi next to the old tavern, a mile-and-a-half to the west of where they were unearthed.

On an unusually cold and snowy late May afternoon, the bodies were buried underneath the old Rally Oak next to the Walker Tavern with a crowd of over 500 in attendance.

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from the Hewitt Family Scrapbook (courtesy DNR/Michigan History Center)

Attendees brought large stones and, as a community, built a cairn over the Potawatomi grave.

Indian Cairn, Historic Walker Tavern BrooklynPotawatomi Cairn – west side of Walker Tavern beneath the Rally Oak
Brick Walker Tavern in far background (right)
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Close-up of sign at base of  Potawatomi Cairn.

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In 1852, Isaac Powers deeded one half-acre of land on the north side of Allens Lake to the district in order to build a school.  The first school-house was constructed with logs.   Each family in the district donating two logs each.   Tuition for a term was one cord of firewood or one dollar per student.  The brick building that still stands to this day was built in 1862.  The first teachers at Siam School included an English woman named Jane Ayers; Alzina Blackmar, who previously taught at the first school in Tecumseh and  a woman named Mary Stafford.

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former Siam School (now private residence) – Cambridge Twp., Lenawee Co., MI

Past owners of the Siam School, now converted into a private residence, told me about strange activity occurring quite regularly, including photographs being removed from walls and lying face down on the floor as well as books being removed from shelves and sitting in the center of the room.  In some cases the books flew off of the shelves with a lot of force.  The books most often moved were racy romance novels.

The owner asked a Brooklyn-area psychic/sensitive who I knew quite well (she cut my hair for many years) to come into the house to try to communicate with the spirits in the hope that she could move the entities away from the bookshelves and on ‘into the light’.   The sensitive quickly found one of the spirits to be the first teacher of Siam School, a woman who did not approve of the racy romance books.

Over the years many tales of haunted homes in the Dead Man’s Curve area have found my attention.  Given the number of Potawatomi graves that ring the lakes of this neighborhood and of the thousands of years of history these old trails have been a part of, it’s no wonder the area is so paranormally active.




05) Private Residence – Woodstock Twp., Lenawee Co.

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arial photograph of Woodstock Township private residence sitting on the south side of US-12

On Labor Day Weekend, 2010, I investigated a property in Woodstock Township that sat on US-12, about four miles west of Cambridge Junction. The homeowner found me in a Yahoo Group two years earlier and reached out to relate the paranormal activity that had been occurring on their property, which had been previously investigated several times by West Michigan Spirit Seekers.  The owner, living in Texas at the time, contacted me on behalf of her son, who was living in the house with his girlfriend and her two children.  The four claimed to have witnessed the solid apparition of a small boy on a daily basis.

At the time of the call, I was actively investigating the Walker Tavern park at Cambridge Junction, located about four miles from their home.

The most disturbing claim of activity at the Woodstock Township home was the repeated sightings of “black-eyed children” appearing in front of doorways, on doorsteps and underneath windows; i.e. portals into the home.  The sightings would most often occur from the resident’s vehicle as they pulled off of US-12 and into their driveway.  Several times they saw multiple black eyed children, blocking every entrance into their home, almost as if they were locked out and wanted into the structure.

Note:
“Black-eyed children (or black-eyed kids) are an urban legend of supposed paranormal creatures that resemble children between the ages of 6 and 16, with pale skin and black eyes, who are reportedly seen hitchhiking or panhandling, or are encountered on doorsteps of residential homes. Tales of black-eyed children have appeared in pop culture since the late 1990s”  – Wikipedia

The Woodstock property was originally claimed by Maj. John Gilbert, who founded Manchester (MI) and served as Ypsilanti’s first City President.

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Isaac Smith purchased the land and settled on it in 1835.  Two of Isaac’s daughters, Mary Ann and Harriet, were married to Cambridge Township’s Francis A. Dewey.  Francis A. Dewey owned, lived and died in the Walker Tavern that I happened to be investigating at that same time!

Imagine my shock when I found myself investigating two properties simultaneously that Harriet Smith had lived on ;  the Woodstock Township residence of her childhood – 1835 until the 1850s and the old Walker Tavern of her later years while married to Francis Dewey – 1864 until abt. 1892.

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Harriet Smith Dewey, blind and knitting at the Walker Tavern,
where she lived from 1864 until at least 1892

Francis Dewey was also intimately connected to this property, having met and married Harriet’s older sister, Mary Ann, during his stagecoach driving days in the 1830s.  Dewey may have lived on this land for a short time until his log home near Dewey Lake (Cambridge Twp.) was completed.  Mary Ann died at the log home in 1852.

* * *

In 1855 Benjamin Van Camp purchased Isaac Smith’s property after having lived in Tecumseh since 1830.  Van Camp’s first wife, Sarah Nixon, died on the Woodstock property in 1869 from consumption (tuberculosis).  Benjamin married widow Mrs. Lucy (Nichols) Selby in 1870.  Lucy was struck by a massive stroke seven years later before dying on the property in  1881.

EVP that seems to say “Sarah ______”

EVP of a woman saying “I’m Van Camp”

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Benjamin Van Camp gravesite – Briggs Cemetery (Woodstock Twp., Lenawee Co., MI)

While examining the basement of the home, an electrical/static sensation raised the hair on my skin and, more disturbingly, I felt as if I were being choked.  That rattled me.  I became even more unnerved when I first heard the EVP that was captured during this same event.  Here it is…both the full clip and the EVP isolated.

Choking and EVP

Native American EVP?

This one’s strange given the resident’s reports of black-eyed kids appearing on the home’s door steps at night.

“door step night ____…” EVP




04) Pfeiffer’s Mineral Springs Hotel (former Adrian City Brewery) – Adrian, MI

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present day W. Maumee Trading Co. (formerly Mineral Springs Hotel)

Originally constructed as a two-story building during the 1840s, the Adrian City Brewery was purchased in 1866 by Joseph Pfeiffer and, after “drilling into a vein of mineral water” and adding a third story, became the Mineral Springs Hotel in 1871.   Joseph died soon after and Mrs. Pfeiffer continued to run the business, probably having done so from the outset.

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Adrian City Brewery / Mineral Springs Hotel before the third floor was added (left)
and Masonic Temple (right)
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image courtesy Columbus Library (Ohio)

During the early 1870s, Adrian became known as a ‘Spa Town’ with the opening of Pfeiffer’s Mineral Spring Hotel.  The purported healing properties of the mineral-rich water became a popular curative option for those who were ill and had money to spend.   The Mineral Spring Hotel had 44 rooms and 14 baths and drew people from all over the midwest to drink and bathe in the effervescent waters.  Many of the visitors were terminally ill and taking the waters may have been a last resort.  Some died in the hotel.

Written in pencil on the image below is: “Jacob Born died in this hotel, June 30th, 1877.”

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image courtesy Columbus Library (Ohio)

Jacob was the son of Columbus, Ohio brewer, Conrad Born Sr.  The Born Family were well-to-do Germans who ran the Born & Co. Brewery in Columbus.

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Jacob Born (died June 30, 1877)
image courtesy Columbus Library (Ohio)

On Thursday, October 2, 1879, at 2:50 p.m., the newly constructed grandstands at Lawrence Park, sitting directly across the river from the Mineral Springs Hotel, collapsed while holding 600 people.  17 people died immediately and six more died in the coming days.  The injured were taken into nearby buildings, including the Mineral Springs Hotel, where at least one person died from their injuries.  The Croswell Opera House became a temporary hospital and remained so for more than two weeks.

The Mineral Springs Hotel, in the latter half of the 19th Century, seems to have attracted the ill and the dying. The rushing waters of the River Raisin that run along side of and underneath the building may, as some theorize, amplify paranormal activity.

In 1903, the building was sold to Capt. Jerome Fee and his son Harry, along with investors G.A. Wilcox, H.A. Wing and Clark Baldwin for a new venture in the generation of electricity and distribution of power.  Citizens Light & Power generated steam heat and electricity for neighborhood businesses and homes.   A history of untimely deaths, running water and the generation of electricity on this same site would seem to be an ideal situation for strange phenomena to manifest, a ‘Goldilocks Zone’ for paranormal activity, if you will.

022-smCitizens Light & Power – early 1900’s

From 1958 through 2003, the building was an appliance store run by the Finerty and Kelly families.   The current owner, John, purchased the building in 2003.

John related to me a story about his wife Kristen (now deceased) whose wedding ring went missing inside the store.   They looked everywhere, including examining every piece of trash in the dumpster outside, but could not find the ring.   Days later, Kristen was climbing the stairway between the first and second floor when a bright flash of light was directed at her eye.   It was the missing ring sitting at the top of the stairway, perfectly refracting the morning sunlight directly toward her eyes.  Those stairs were climbed hundreds of times between the ring’s disappearance and reappearance…it would’ve been found had it been there the entire time.  Kristen’s daughter, Molly, verified the story.

Later, Kristen brought a psychic into the building who picked up on a woman spirit named “Prudy”…a name that I captured on the FM-scanning Ghost Box.

Today, there is an electrical substation sitting directly behind the building, further amping up the paranormal battery.

I’ve personally investigated the building three times.   Each time I’ve caught really good audio evidence, both in EVP and on the Ghost Box.  Disembodied voices and banging on the walls have happened in my presence, as well.

One of the most visceral experiences I had while investigating at the Mineral Springs Hotel was feeling a sudden blast of chilly energy that caused me to begin choking.   It felt like a spirit had just rushed through me or was standing, momentarily, in the same space that I was occupying.  I couldn’t breathe.  The wind was knocked out of my lungs.  There was no mistaking the feeling, as you’ll hear in the audio link below where I’m more concerned with the sensation of the energy than with the breathing difficulty.   What I didn’t know was that I had captured an EVP at the same moment the energy hit me.  It sounds like a man who seems to say “….talk to him”.  Listen to it:

Strange noise and ghost box hit “you’re welcome back here”

the welcoming spirits of the Mineral Springs Hotel “Hello Jeff”




03)  Reynolds (Crouch) Cemetery – Spring Arbor Twp., Jackson Co., MI

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Reynolds Cemetery (Spring Arbor, Twp., MI)

Perhaps the best-known ghost story in the Jackson area involves a small cemetery at the corner of Horton and Reynolds Roads in Spring Arbor Township.  It is said that the spirit of Eunice White travels from St. John’s Catholic Cemetery in Jackson to meet her father Jacob Crouch, buried in Reynolds Cemetery, sometime between dusk on November 21 and dawn on November 22.

I’ve yet to discover how the legend of the spirits meeting at Reynolds Cemetery began but it has certainly attracted paranormal enthusiasts and investigators to this little burial ground for decades, some of them claiming to have witnessed luminous mists moving about the old headstones of the burial ground on November 21 & 22..

On the night of November 21-22, 1883, a violent thunderstorm raged over the Spring Arbor area of Jackson County, Michigan.  During the storm, four people were shot to death in their beds inside the Jacob Crouch farmhouse.   Jacob Crouch, aged 74; Eunice White, Jacob’s daughter and eight months pregnant; Henry White, Eunices’s husband and Moses Polley, a former employee of Jacob’s who was visiting on business.

George Bolles, a 16-year old African-American farm hand, was sleeping upstairs.  Bolles was awakened by the shots and a voice saying “OH!  OH!” which sent him into a trunk where he hid until dawn.  Upon the breaking of day, Bolles descended the stairs to find Jacob shot in the head.  He immediately ran barefoot two miles to the farmhouse where Jacob’s daughter Susan and son-in-law Daniel Holcomb lived.

As Bolles ran to the Holcombs, the Crouch’s housekeeper, Julia Reese, w0ke up to no fire in the kitchen stove, a task which Bolles usually took care of.  Reese, still unaware of the murdered bodies in the house, was startled by a neighbor’s arrival.  The neighbor had passed a hysterical Bolles running toward the Holcombs.

Within a very short time, Daniel Holcomb filed charges against Bolles and Reese, who were held in jail in Jackson for about a month before being released. Eventually, the evidence began to point toward Daniel and to one of Jacob’s sons who lived on the Holcomb farm, Jud Crouch.

Jud, in 1859, was the last child born to Jacob and Ann Crouch.  Jud was born with a deformed right foot.  A few days after Jud’s birth, Ann Crouch died.  Jacob gave Jud away to his daughter Susan and son-in-law Daniel Holcomb to raise as their own.  A financial agreement was discussed.   For the first eight years of his life, Jud was raised believing that sister Susan was his mother and brother-in-law Daniel his father. Jud and Jacob’s relationship was icy bordering on non-existent up until the time of the murders.

The day after the murders, Jud and Holcomb farm hand, James Foy, moved into the old Crouch farmhouse, blood still wet in the floorboards.  Amazingly, without objection from the local Sheriff.

Eleven days after Jacob Crouch was laid to rest in Reynolds Cemetery, he was unburied and his stomach was removed by the Coroner, who was looking for evidence of drugs.

Funerals of Eunice and Henry White; Jacob Crouch (video)

I recorded the following EVP at Reynolds Cemetery *before* I knew the history of the case.   Had no idea who “Danny” was at the time this was captured.   However, I soon found out and was quite shocked.  The audio was shared with the authors of the Haunted Travels of Michigan book series, Kathleen Tedsen and Bev Rydel, which inspired them to pursue this fascinating case for their book.

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Daniel and Jud, along with a farm hand named James Foy, were believed to have been behind the murders.   The motive: control of Jacob’s wealth.   The crime, however, may have been orchestrated by another son of Jacob’s who lived in Texas at the time, Capt. Byron L. Crouch.

The crime was never successfully solved and the only suspect brought to trial, Daniel Holcomb, was acquitted of all charges.

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02) Walker Taverns – Cambridge Twp., Lenawee Co., MI

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Located at the intersection of US-12 and M-50 in northwest Lenawee County, MI, about four miles south of Brooklyn, the two taverns stand on the western edge of the Irish Hills area.  The roads that they sit on (12 & 50) are two of the oldest trails in Michigan whose age may precede the arrival of the Potawatomi by thousands of years.

The older two-story wooden tavern dates back to 1832.  Originally called “Snell’s Tavern”, it was owned by Calvin Snell, who also owned a hotel in Tecumseh at the same time.

Soon after, Sylvester and Lucy Walker, newly arrived from the Cooperstown, New York area where they were innkeepers, took over operation of Snell’s Tavern and eventually purchased it in 1843.  Sylvester also was Cambridge Junction’s postmaster, a member of the Masons, served a term in the Michigan Legislature in Detroit, was the president of a Brooklyn (Michigan) bank, had interests in several plank road companies and helped form the Episcopalian Church that still stands to this day near the Junction.  In 1852 he built the Brick Tavern.

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Lucy and Sylvester Walker

“Sylvester Walker was a born leader and a man of unusual intellect; I never knew a man who possessed a more abounding store of interesting anecdotes or could relate them more entertainingly than Mr. Walker.  He could charmingly entertain men like Ewing, (James Fenimore) Cooper or (Daniel) Webster, or the humblest traveler that appeared at his door.  He was a man of most pronounced opinions and made no hesitations declaring them.  His tavern was a rendezvous for the gathering and distribution of information, and in judicial fashion he laid down the law with an emphasis that meant something.” -Franklin S. Dewey in the Onsted News (1915)

Dewey, who knew Sylvester Walker very well, described him as “pro-slavery to the core” and despised the abolitionists as “having no right to exist” and as far as those they were helping to freedom, he declared them to be “nothing but an animal” and “without a soul.”  Yet, somehow, with these extreme opinions, he was still able to get elected to the State Senate in Detroit.  -F. S. Dewey (1915)

Legend of the Murder Room  (EVPs at the end of the clip)

New Year’s Eve 1863 fell on a Thursday night.  It was unusually warm and foggy.  A crowd of a thousand gathered at the Brick Tavern, dressed festively and for the warm weather.

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A short time after the arrival of midnight a roaring tempest blew in with wildly howling winds and sharp, cutting ice.  The temperature dropped almost 90 degrees in six hours.  The storm raged into the following days and is now known as the New Year’s Blizzard of 1864.

“For a thousand young men and women, there were no accommodations at the tavern.  As the storm drew on some, all too adventuresome, boldly tried to reach their homes.   All were badly frostbitten.  As a single illustration, a young man, with his sister, drove madly down the Monroe Turnpike (now M-50), he almost perishing with his sister dead in the carriage beside him. It was not the only sad homecoming from the ball that day.”    -Franklin S. Dewey in the Onsted News (1916).

I first heard of the New Years Blizzard on a hot and humid July afternoon in 2009, while standing on the third floor of the Brick Walker Tavern during renovations.   Building renovations, as many paranormal enthusiasts will tell you, can stir up quite a bit of activity.

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Brick Walker Tavern, Ballroom (third floor) – floor covered in plaster during renovations (July, 2009)

A construction foreman was giving me a tour of the building.  When we reached the top of the stairs leading into the ballroom, we stopped for a moment.  My tour guide began describing two women who had recently arrived at the tavern and asked to look around.   They related to him the story of the New Year’s Eve Blizzard.

As he was describing the events that took place in this very building on New Years 1864 my right elbow felt like it was falling asleep.  The tingling sensation soon became a buzzing vibration that I could feel in the bones of the elbow.   As he continued to describe the events of the disastrous ball, my elbow, still buzzing started getting very cold.  20 or more degrees colder than the 90-plus degree air temperature.  The buzzing suddenly subsided and the coolness immediately left leaving my elbow with a slight ache.

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Brick Walker Tavern (2009)

Nothing strange happened the remaining two hours I explored the Brick Tavern.   I loaded my car and left the property.   The moment I drove through the crossroads toward Brooklyn I was overcome by feelings of utter despair and sadness and had to pull the car over to the shoulder for a few minutes to collect myself.  Immediately, I thought about the cold elbow in the ballroom while learning about the New Years Blizzard of 1864 and wondered if someone or something had tried to communicate with me.  I started the car and continued toward Brooklyn.   As soon as I began to put distance between myself and the tavern the sadness disappeared.   So it goes.

* * *

Just months before the end of the Civil War, Francis A. Dewey and his third wife, Harriet Smith, purchased the old Walker Tavern and made it their home.  Dewey, a former stagecoach driver, Black Hawk War Veteran and Cambridge Township Justice of the Peace, served as president of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society, the grandparent organization of the Michigan History Museum.   The old tavern was a fitting home for one of the era’s most printed historians. Without Dewey’s works, no adequate record of Lenawee’s pioneer days would exist.

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Frrancis Asbury Dewey (1811-1892)

Dewey’s health gradually failed until the day before he died when “his voice was the clearest and his mind the freest it had been in many weeks and he was heard singing “Where shall me meet again”?   He also was heard singing “When a few more years I have wasted, When a few more years are o’er, When a few more joys I have tasted, I shall fail to rise no more”.

Betsy Dewey, Francis’s mother, died in the old tavern 24 years earlier, in 1868.

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Betsy Dewey gravesite, Cambridge Township Cemetery (Lenawee Co. MI)

Could this be the voice of Betsy Dewey?   Recorded inside the old tavern.

Isolated “Betsy”

* * *

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Walker Tavern, abandoned – abt. 1920

* * *

hewitt-family-portraitJames, Frederick, Jeanne, Edna Hewitt

In 1922, Rev. Frederick Hewitt of Dearborn, Michigan (a friend of Henry Ford), purchased both taverns from the Dewey family and turned the older tavern into a historical museum and the brick tavern into an antiques shop.

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postcard Rev. Hewitt used to promote the Walker Tavern museum
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James Hewitt, after World War II, moved his wife and children to the family home.
bca221d9fad43ae9two of James and Lucia’s daughters, their home (built in 1929) in the background

One of the best EVPs from two years of investigating the old Walker Tavern…a young child asks “are you Ted?” Ted Hewitt, the son of James Hewitt and grandson of Rev. Frederick Hewitt, was born and raised on the property just after World War Two. Ted had three sisters; Elizabeth, Anne and Nancy.

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James Hewitt holding his newborn son, Ted
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Rev. Fredeick Hewitt in front of the old Walker Tavern (abt. 1966)

Hewitt EVP (recorded in the old Walker Tavern)

* * *

On August 31, 2010 I took the following photographs inside the older wooden tavern.  I was the only person inside the building at the time yet I could hear adult voices upstairs and constant footsteps on the ceiling.   The floorboards in the bar area were creaking as if someone were pacing slowly and deliberately.  I called out to whoever was there but received no answer. The moment I snapped the image with the anomalous smoky trail coming through the doorway and toward the camera, a ‘flight reaction’ overtook me and I immediately grabbed my gear and left the building.  Whatever had manifested in front of the camera had been standing directly in front of me and I felt overwhelmed by a sudden surge of strange energy that coursed through my entire body.

Tumbling out of the tavern, camera stand in hand, I apparently looked quite shaken.   The Walker Tavern Site Historian, Cheryl Valentine, and a visitor were pulling up to the building on an electric cart at the same time I shot throught the doorway.   I’m afraid that the visitor quickly changed his mind about touring the old tavern upon seeing the look on my face.

The photographs are digital infrared, f2.0, 1/8 second exposures and were taken about one second apart.

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The small dark object on the floor next to the doorway is a Zoom H2 audio recorder.  It didn’t record any footsteps or unusual noises when this image was captured.  Whatever I photographed was silent.  A YouTube video of the actual audio and of the photographs taken during this investigation can be viewed/listened to here.

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* * *

EVP – conversation between a man and woman – upstairs Walker Tavern and captured on two different audio recorders

#1 (Zoom H2)

#2 same EVP (Olympus VN-4100PC)

* * *

In October, 2011, on the morning of a Victorian Hallowe’en event at the Walker Tavern park, I had an encounter with what I think was the spirit of a young child on the stairway of the Hewitt House (Visitor’s Center).   I was half-way up the staircase when I felt the cool breeze of something passing me extremely fast and saw a smallish blur ascending the steps.  At the same time I felt the breeze, I clearly heard quick footsteps and a girl’s voice say “I’m having fun”.  The blurry apparition disappeared as soon as it reached the top of the stairway.




01) The Croswell Opera House – Adrian, MI

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from the Croswell website:

“In existence for 150 years, the Croswell is the oldest theater in Michigan and one of the oldest continuously operating theaters in the United States.

“Named for Charles M. Croswell, an Adrian resident and the 17th governor of Michigan, the Croswell has seen more than its share of history.  In addition to some of the greatest actors of the 19th century — Edwin Booth, Maude Adams, Otis Skinner, Mrs. Patrick Campbell — it hosted legendary bandmaster John Philip Sousa, not to mention important political figures like Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony.”

On Thursday, October 2, 1879, at 2:50 p.m., the newly constructed grandstands at Lawrence Park collapsed while holding 600 people.  17 people died immediately, including former Adrian Mayor Henry Hart.  Six additional victims died in the coming days.  The injured were taken into nearby buildings. The Croswell Opera House became a temporary hospital and remained so for more than two weeks.  Three people died while in the Opera House.

* * *.

In 2014, I was invited by the organizers of Adrian, Michigan’s Art-A-Licious Street Festival and The Croswell Opera House to investigate the oldest theater in Michigan for paranormal activity and then present what I found on their hallowed stage.

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During the investigation, I recorded a series of stunning EVPs in the down stage left area of several women working out a harmony to an original song that was just performed live by my good friends, The Buzzrats.  Nobody heard them in the acoustically impressive theater yet I recorded them on three different devices (two audio and one video).  This amazing evidence is included in the video linked below.

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The Buzzrats on stage at the Croswell (September 6, 2014)

* * *.

Without further ado, this is what I found in the Croswell:

The Buzzrats and the “Maybe Don’t Go” EVPs




contact the author via the Ghost Highway Photography group on Facebook or at frequentflier66@yahoo.com




© Jeff Westover and Ghost Highway Photography, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jeff Westover and Ghost Highway Photography with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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