Tag Archives: michigan

Ghosthunting Equipment for the Weekend Ghosthunter

Tips for the Weekend Ghosthunter from Helen Pattskyn

Helen PattskynProfessional ghosthunters, like the folks from Motor City Ghost Hunters, use some pretty sophisticated—and expensive—equipment. Chances are, that’s more of an investment than the average person wants to make. The good news is that the weekend ghosthunter can get by—and still get good results—with just a few ghosthunting tools.

A good-quality digital camera is an absolute must, and the greater the resolution (the more pixels) the better. I use the camera that I bought a couple of years ago for vacations. It has the added bonus of being small enough to fit easily in my purse. I use rechargeable batteries—but always carry a backup set (except for that one time at the Baldwin Theatre, the one time I needed them!). It is commonly reported that batteries die and electronics stop working in haunted places.

A second indispensable piece of equipment, according to everyone I spoke to, is a digital recorder. Most digital recorders are small and inexpensive. All of the ones I looked at had a record time of several hours.

Digital recorders are used to pick up EVPs, or electronic voice phenomena. Paranormal investigators frequently seem to record sounds and even voices on electronic devices, even when no sounds or voices were heard by the team members themselves during the investigation. Many paranormal teams post these recordings on their websites, allowing visitors to decide for themselves whether the “voices” caught on tape are real or just white noise.

A digital camera and digital recorder were the only pieces of equipment I took with me on my adventures around the state, and I really only used my digital recorder a few times. I left it on all night when I stayed at the Blue Pelican—but if anyone was there, they didn’t feel like talking to me.

About the EMF Device

Probably the next most popular ghosthunting device is an EMF detector, which is used to detect electromagnetic fields. The theory is that, where there are ghosts, the electromagnetic fields “spike.” Other things can cause electromagnetic fields to jump, too, such as outlets and major appliances. So you need to have an idea of what’s in the area before jumping to conclusions. Natural and man-made (not paranormal) electromagnetic fields can cause people to have that same “eerie feeling” so many people get when they believe there are spirits nearby. Bearing in mind that you get what you pay for, weekend ghosthunters can purchase a decent EMF meter for $30–$50 from most larger hardware stores. More expensive models start at $100.

Ghosthunting Michigan
Ghosthunting Michigan

A couple of the paranormal investigators I spoke to recommend using a 35mm camera, preferably loaded with black-and-white film, as a secondary source for ghostly images. If you’re going out with a friend, it might be interesting to compare images taken with a digital camera and the good old-fashioned way with film.

If you’re more serious—or as you become more serious—you can purchase additional equipment for your ghosthunting arsenal. Full-spectrum digital video cameras are popular, as are night vision or infrared camcorders.

It has been suggested to also document your adventures with pen and paper—or maybe start a ghosthunting journal or blog.

Helen Pattskyn is the author of Ghosthunting Michigan.

Haunted Holly Hotel

Historic Holly Hotel haunts staff and guests

Holly HotelThe historic Holly Hotel is said to be the single most haunted building in the state of Michigan. It has been written about in newspapers and magazines and has been featured on both local and national television. In 2009, it was the subject of an episode of the popular Travel Channel program The Most Terrifying Places in America. Numerous paranormal investigators have visited the Holly Hotel, including the Motor City Ghost Hunters, the Ghost Hunters of Southern Michigan, the Michigan Paranormal Research Association, and well-known parapsychologist Norman Gauthier, who concluded that the building was “loaded with spirits.”

Despite its name, the Holly Hotel is no longer an inn and does not accommodate overnight guests. However, the dining room remains a favorite spot for dinner, afternoon tea, and Sunday brunch. Dinner is served nightly, while a traditional Victorian-style high tea is served every day except for Sunday. The restaurant’s menu is an award-winning blend of traditional signature dishes, some of which have changed very little over the last century, and contemporary seasonal fare. In addition to being featured in magazines and on television for its ghosts, the Holly Hotel is known nationally for its fine cuisine.

The Holly Hotel suffered two major fires in its long history. The first occurred on January 19, 1913, and the second was 65 years later on January 19, 1878. Reports have it that both fires started at “exactly the same time, to the hour.”

Former owner most active ghost at Holly Hotel

In fact, the Holly Hotel has been the sighting of a number of apparitions over the years. One of the most frequently seen is believed to be the spirit of Nora Kane, a former hostess of the inn. Many guests claim to have seen her in the bar area and in the back hallway, which used to be the main entrance to the hotel.

The inn’s most famous ghost is probably former owner Mr. Hirst, who passed away in the 1920s, but who, many believe, has never let go of his hotel. He is reputed to be the most active—and most unhappy—when renovations have been made to the property. A myriad of other spirits are said to inhabit the 120-year-old building.

Helen Pattskyn visited the Holly Hotel and interviewed the staff and owner. Find out all about their ghostly tales in her book Ghosthunting Michigan.

New Book Uncovers Windy City’s Ghosts

The newest addition to the America’s Haunted Road Trip series, Chicago Haunted Handbook, brings you 99 ghostly places you can visit in and around the Windy City. Authors Jeff Morris and Vince Sheilds profile 99 of the most haunted spots in Chicago, covering all the important information such as location, directions, a brief history of the spot, the ghost story behind the spot, and tips for when and how to visit.

Are you ready to hunt for ghosts in the Windy City?
All 99 locations are open to the public, and suggested tours are included in the back (Paranormal Pub Crawl, Gangland, etc.), which make this guide the perfect tool when planning your next ghosthunt in the Midwest. Combine this book with John Kachuba’s Ghosthunting Illinois or Helen Pattskyn’s Ghosthunting Michigan and make a real road trip out of it!

Chicago HH Cover (2)Ghosthunting-MI-lo-resScreen shot 2013-09-30 at 2.01.58 PM

All books in the AHRT series are $15.95* and are available at www.clerisypress.com.

*Except Beyond Delicious: The Ghost Whisperer’s Cookbook ($17.95)