A local ghost hunting group, the Gathering Research and Stories of Paranormal Phenomena Group, hosted ghost walking tours through downtown Grand Haven on Friday night, identifying 11 buildings that have experienced some type of paranormal activity.
“Tonight, we’re just going to highlight some of the businesses in Grand Haven where we’ve been told of things happening and we’ll have some historical stories,” said Bill Jones, who started the group with his wife, Connie, six years ago.
The Grand Haven couple began “ghost hunting” shortly after moving to Nunica in 2003 and being disappointed that the town didn’t participate in trick-or-treating.
They originally began training themselves in how to identify paranormal activity, then met similar groups on the Internet and used their expertise to gather information and share various techniques, Bill Jones said. The local group now has 13 members who meet monthly.
“If we learned something new, we bring it to the group,” Bill Jones said.
The group’s members are trained to identify paranormal activity and use various types of equipment, including electromagnetic field detectors, laser grids and a night vision DVR system when they investigate a building.
“Our main goal is to debunk what they’re hearing so they feel safe in their house,” said Stephanie Herder, a GRASPP member who led the first walking ghost tour Friday night.
The one-hour tour groups began at the Elks Lodge on Third Street where people have reportedly experienced hearing voices and loud noises, as well as being pinched, scratched and even had their hair pulled by someone who wasn’t “there.”
The tour also includes historical narratives and stories that “go bump in the night” at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum, as well as its train depot, Grand Theater Bar, Wharf Pavilion, Fortino’s and the former piano factory. There is also a stop at the Kirby Building, where the most widely known Grand Haven ghost stories live with “Emily” or those of young ghost children.
“I thought that was pretty creepy,” said 13-year-old Ready Frost, who walked the tour Friday night with his dad, Anthony.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Anthony Frost of Twin Lake. He has heard many of the tour’s stories as a friend of his recently published the book, “Wicked Ottawa County Michigan,” based on local haunted happenings. “It’s still cool to do the walking tour.”
Cadence and Ross Ziegenthaler of Spring Lake thought the walking ghost tour would be a fun date night, they said.
“I wanted to learn about the history of the buildings,” Cadence said, adding that she lived in a house that is believed to be haunted.
The tours are a fundraiser for the group. Tours are $5 and will continue from 7-11 tonight, beginning at the Elks Lodge, 15 S. Third St.
For more information, visit www.graspp.info.