A West Michigan cemetery, tucked in the hills of Grand Haven, is claimed by many to be one of the most haunted in the entire country, and decades-worth of common, unexplained experiences have given birth to spooky legend.
"I got hooked on the whole idea of searching for the unknown when I was a kid," said Amberrose Hammond, who has authored many books on the paranormal, and runs the Michigan's Otherside website. "It comes down to belief and experience."
Hammond is a native of Grand Haven, and has done exhaustive research on Lake Forest Cemetery.
"I can still count on one hand how many times I've had something happen that I can't explain, and that amount of times is what keeps me interested and looking for more," she said.
Lake Forest Cemetery has been in existence since 1873. Many of the founding fathers of Grand Haven are buried there. Also buried in this cemetery are many people who suffered crime-related deaths, as well as thousands of unidentified people buried on top of each other in a mass grave.
"There are so many hidden stories in this cemetery for people to research," said Jeanette Weiden, who is in charge of local history and genealogy for Loutit District Library. "People don't realize how much cool, local history surrounds them at all times."
Every October, Hammond and Weiden combine their knowledge and experience and offer a free tour of Lake Forest Cemetery. Hammond primarily focuses on the paranormal claims, while Weiden makes her portion of the presentation about juicy back stories that led to some of the deaths of the people buried there.
"You learn about (Grand Haven), you learn about the people who created (Grand Haven), and you also learn about the stories of haunting claims that were made legendary many decades ago," Weiden said.
Two of the most talked-about hauntings in Lake Forest Cemetery are "The Blue Man” and "Potter's Field."
"There are many claims of people seeing a blueish figure standing atop Ferry Hill," said Hammond, referring to a hill inside the cemetery where the Rev. William Ferry and his entire family are buried.
Ferry died in 1867.
"Over the decades, people have climbed to the top of Ferry Hill and desecrated the graves, including William Ferry's grave," Hammond said. "Many believe the Blue Man is William Ferry, guarding Ferry Hill, his tombstone and watching over the entire cemetery."
Potter's Field is an open portion of land inside the cemetery which has very few gravestones on it. There's a reason for that.
"Potter's Field is where Grand Haven's poor and unidentified are buried," Hammond explained. "It's believed there could be as many as 1,500 bodies buried there in one mass grave, with many of the bodies buried on top of each other."
Hammond speaks of an unexplained experience that one of her psychic friends claimed to have had while passing by Potter's Field.
"I took somebody who claimed to be psychic on a walk past Potter's Field one day," she said. "This person wasn't told anything about the history of this spot in the cemetery beforehand. As we walked, he stopped and said, 'Wait a minute — what's going on here.' The only way he could describe what he was seeing was how he said he saw oil slicks just moving through the air above him."