A Night with the Motor City Ghost Hunters


While some of you might name spiders or other creepy crawlies as your biggest fears, I recently faced down three common phobias in one evening: border patrol, the paranormal and state police.

It was a Saturday evening and my colleague and I were headed out to Port Huron to tag along with the Motor City Ghost Hunters as they investigated the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse and old Coast Guard Buildings. We were running a few (read: 40) minutes behind schedule, but other than that it was smooth sailing. Until, that is, we found our exit into Port Huron was barricaded off and our only option (besides breaking through the cement barriers) was to continue sailing along on the highway… right on through the bridge to Canada.

Fun fact about me, reader, when I accidentally get on the bridge to Canada, I start having a real life panic attack! Naturally, the next several minutes of our trek involved an in-depth chat with border patrol, where we were grilled about fun things like passports and birth cities. After that unnecessary hassle, we made a u-turn and were back on our way.

Once we finally arrived at our destination, we were introduced to the Motor City Ghost Hunters team. The group is currently composed of 30 official members, about half of which were present. John McCormick, Motor City Ghost Hunters team founder and leader, told me how he first became interested in the paranormal at the age of 14, when he experienced apparitions at his home in Howell.

The investigation I accompanied the team on in Port Huron was an experience I won’t soon forget. If you’ve ever watched “Ghost Hunters” or that guy who communicates with the paranormal and is always clad in Ed Hardy attire (ew), let me confirm that yes, those machines and devices you see are real.

McCormick is a self-proclaimed equipment addict with “14 cases and counting,” but believes the most essential tool is a simple digital voice recorder to pick up EVPs (electronic voice phenomenon).

I bet you’re on the edge of your seat waiting to find out if I talked to Casper, aren’t you? Well, as I saw firsthand, simple flashlights played a big part in the investigation process. If you’ve never been camping or are unfamiliar with the bare bones twist flashlight, it turns on in one direction and off in the opposite direction. Wouldn’t you know it, when several are placed throughout the room in a reportedly haunted location, you can use them to communicate with spirits?

To start off the process, the MCGH investigator simply asked that if any spirits were present, could they turn on one of several flashlights scattered throughout the room. After two of the lights turned on, the ghost hunter then asked a series of questions, requesting that the spirit turn the flashlight on if their answer was “yes” and off for “no.” For example, “Were you a lightkeeper in the lighthouse?” and “Are you looking for a family member? Are you looking for your wife?” all resulted in the lights turning on. Cue Michael Myers’ theme song!

If I’m being honest, and I always am, I was initially skeptical, thinking the batteries were wonky, or it was somehow staged. However, I can’t deny that the very same flashlights turned on and off on command in one room (the old Coast Guard Building basement) and did absolutely nothing in another (the same building’s attic).

If you need a moment to grab your blankey or call your mommy before I proceed, please take the time to do so now…

All set?

Here’s something to further freak you out: while the basement was freezing to begin with, there were instances where it suddenly seemed like the room dropped a good 15 degrees more. These cold spots, combined with the flashlights going on and off during questioning, were a tad… eerie.

If you’re rolling your eyes at this point or even the slightest bit doubtful, or if you’re simply hungry for the paranormal, you can contact the Motor City Ghost Hunters via their official website or Facebook page.

While I’d like to say my evening ended when the investigation was complete, that’s nowhere near the truth (see what I mean about the honesty thing?). It ended with me, a law abiding citizen with a spotless record, having to convince a police officer that I was not, in fact, driving while under the influence. DO YOU EVEN KNOW MY NAME? YOU’RE ABOUT TO FIND OUT WHO I AM! (I obviously didn’t verbalize this thought, because if it didn’t work for Reese Witherspoon, it wasn’t going work for me). But that’s a story for another time.