When I was a child of about 10 or 12 years old, I was lying in bed and woke up late into the night. I looked out my bedroom window and saw a man standing on a ladder. He was quite dapper. He had tails, a top hat, and a cane. And I was scared to death! My older sister and a friend were downstairs, and I could NOT believe they were doing nothing to save me from this man watching me through the window! They had to know there was a ladder; there was a window directly below the one he was standing in, and how could they not have heard him put the ladder against the house!?! But, in the blink of an eye, he was gone.
My family did always joke about our house having a ghost. We named him George, and he was friendly. The worse he would do is knock the shampoo into the tub or turn the faucet on (which my mom would blame ME for even though I was nowhere near the sink), turn lights on or off. Little things like this. Thankfully, he was not a mean or scary entity (unless, of course, that was him standing on the ladder scaring me half to death in the middle of the night).
Since then, I’ve gone on a couple of ghost tours in Savannah, GA, but I never thought of Grand Rapids as being a haunted city. I don’t know why, I just didn’t. This has all changed in the past few years!
So, I went on my first ghost tour here. As “research” for a program the library will be having, I and another brave librarian soul went on a Cityscape Adventures tour. The Michigan Paranormal Alliance met up with us in a couple of places to give us a little history and try to get some voice recordings. Unfortunately, we didn’t capture anything.
We visited St. Cecelia’s Music Society, the Masonic Temple, and the basement of what is currently the Ritz Coney. We heard stories about various types of sightings and/or hauntings workers, members, and visitors have experienced in each location. We may have had an experience or two ourselves! We were able to use different pieces of ghost hunting equipment such as night vision goggles, digital voice recorders, EMF readers, and Dowsing Rods to help find any spirits. Although I did not have a personal paranormal experience, I did take this picture that quite possibly has a shadow person (the outline of a person). You have to be a believer to see anything, but trust me, something is there!
Watch for information coming soon on a program we’re having for teens! In the meantime, check out some of the library’s collection on Haunted Michigan.