Thursday, December 24, 2015

Distressed Hauntings in the Detroit Area

Henry Ford Hospital courtesy of
"...the people living in the Great Lakes region are confused by their place on the country's edge - an edge that is border but not coast. They seem to be able to live a long time believing, as coastal people do, that they are at the frontier where final exit and total escape are the only journeys left." -Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon 

Preliminary Discoveries

Researching the Detroit area has been an interesting experience. To date, I have not yet found a geographical plot that has more reported hauntings in such a small area. I certainly attribute some of this activity to be the result of the presence of limestone and the immense amount of waterways in and around this Great Lakes location. The paranormal reports are extensive and surface in many of the major cities like Detroit, Bay City, Saginaw, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City. Even the famed Zilwaukee makes it onto the list with its interesting story:

          The owners of a local sawmill, Daniel and Solomon Johnson, had devised this aberration of the name with the hopes that German immigrants would confuse it with Milwaukee and settle in their town.

Michigan is peppered with these types of intriguing legends that give the area its rich history. Woven into its heritage is a slew of paranormal activity that for the most part is only briefly mentioned. Usually when I research an area it has extensive material that can be accessed and utilized to make some unusual connections. Detroit has been a challenge in these regards because there has not been extensive coverage of Detroit's claims - many paranormal sites are just quickly mentioned for their activity. 
Huffington Post

Places like Fort Wayne Prison; however, have been repeatedly covered by many different sources. They even have established haunted tours on its grounds for visitors to enjoy. I, on the other hand, am always searching to find the more obscure aspects of the paranormal. This endeavor would be particularly true as well with the Motor City's hauntings.

The Effects of Distress

When many people think about Detroit today, they think about the huge economic downturn that has happened to the city and how it has become America's first "ghost town." The city is in distress, as most cities are to a degree, and I am certain the residents and politicians are working hard to change that. And so the question might be asked - in what ways could some of the paranormal locations in the area be a result of "distress." For the sake of this article, I am defining "distress" as being overwhelming circumstances that have the potential to create some sort of intelligent or residual haunting. Could distress also be an explanation for the immense paranormal activity in the Motor City area?

The Henry Ford Hospital

I have chosen to focus on two hospitals in particular because they fall in line with the current fiction book that I am writing and researching - tentatively entitled Death by Sanatorium

The Henry Ford medical facility was opened in October 1915 by the named Henry Ford and quickly became the leading facility in its area with a focus on "its threefold commitment to patient care, research, and medical education built on traditions that came with the original staff from Johns Hopkins [in Baltimore, Maryland]." This commitment created a great reputation for the hospital that remains with it still today.

"In 1925, a 300 room Nurses Home named for Clara Ford was opened to house students of the newly formed Henry Ford Hospital School of Nursing." This school followed the high standards that had already been established and the graduates who came from here were known as the "'Ford grads' [and] were easily recognized by their unique caps as well as for their skillful care of patients." (

Flickr - Porsche Brosseau
Any student who would have attended this school would have been under intense pressure to do well and get good grades. This is where the paranormal story begins. The distress of academic performance drove one girl to jump from the top of the building to her death one year after its opening in 1926. It would seem that the intensity of failing grades was far too overwhelming and so taking her life appeared to be the only solution in her overwhelmed mind.

This kind of psychic distress would have left its imprint not only in the room where she lived, but it also will have left traces of itself on the roof and the spot on the stone walkway where her body hit in the courtyard below. As a result, it is reported that the door on this roof will not shut on the anniversary of her suicide. Although I have not found any reports of apparitions, it would not surprise me if her spirit doesn't still roam the grounds as a residual haunting. But then again, maybe the distress of the place would have caused her spirit to flee the campus, running away from the horrible pressures of academia.

There is another location in this Clara Ford school that holds my particular attention and this is a boardroom that reportedly has strong, constant cold spots in it. There is also the intense feeling of dread and the foul smell of decay. Cold spots naturally will predict the presence of one or more spirits, as they pull energy from the atmosphere to either manifest or communicate. The feelings of dread will more than likely come from high electromagnetic fields in the room and could be from the building's wiring. 

The foul smell, on the other hand, is concerning. Generally this will only happen when an strong evil presence is in the room, as it is only the demons and entities further up in the hierarchy that can emanate such putrid stenches. This is not to say this is the case here, it is merely conjecture, as I have not had the opportunity to investigate this location. It could be septic gases or the deterioration of organic material nearby. But perhaps the presence of negative entities might have influenced residents to do things they normally would not consider. Thus the student suicide. I would be curious of any thoughts from those of you who do live in this area. 

Eloise Asylum

Asylums and tuberculosis hospitals continue to hold a great fascination for me. They tend to be places where uncertainty about a patient's health would have combined many times with harsh conditions. If anything in the world could cause distress for a spirit, it would certainly be in one of these facilities. 

I have done some extensive research and investigating into the Molly Stark Hospital in Ohio, finding some of the same results that have been found at the Eloise Asylum in Westland, Michigan. To give you an idea of what to expect from Eloise, I have embedded this video by IPRA. (Note: I do not condone the language, but the content they capture is pretty good.)

As you would have heard from the video there is the presence of seven spirits in the room where they are. I had a similar experience in Molly Stark's basement where I could feel the presence of multiple spirits watching me from a stairwell. These spirits are in great distress and looking for help anywhere they can find it, torn from their families and uncertain as to what has even happened to them. It has been documented that some folks were locked up in these types of facilities because "back in the early 20th century diseases such as TB [tuberculosis] were highly unresearched and caused the affected people to behave in such a way they were thought to be insane." (

1911 photo Eloise Insane Asylum and Poorhouse - Don Harrison, Upnorth Memories
There is a great amount of mystery behind this asylum. Most of the medical records have been destroyed and it was first known as the Wayne County Poorhouse. From reading historical accounts, poorhouses themselves tended to be places where the desperate lived in harsh conditions, many dying from diseases and being buried in quick, local graves. The Union House in Missouri has a documented poorhouse very close to its location and there is speculation that it is somehow tied to the intense demonic activity in that house. This is not to suggest that there is demonic activity in the Eloise Asylum because there is no evidence to say so, but my point is that these safe harbors may be directly correlated with intense paranormal activity. In the case of the Eloise Asylum it may have laid a foundation for more activity to build upon.

"Workers and trespasses report hearing voices, and rumors of former patients walking the halls have been accounted. The playground built for worker's children and the cemetery that holds over 7,000 patients are considered to be the most haunted areas of all, with many incidents of growls and moans being reported." (

Concluding Thoughts

Any location that has suffered a degree of "distress" will have some sort of haunting tied to it. Intense psychic and electromagnetic energies do become absorbed into the buildings and objects surrounding the experience. This energy can diffuse into the atmosphere many decades after the traumatic event has ended. With intelligent hauntings, spirits can tap into the stored energy and manifest it for their own purposes, good or evil. 

Detroit Masonic Temple courtesy Boston Public Library
With residual hauntings events can play over and over again because they have left an imprint on the environment. A good example of this would be the apparition seen climbing the steps inside Detroit's Masonic Temple. There are claims that it is George Mason, the owners builder, who committed suicide after his wife left him. Some say this is not true, but regardless, a residual haunting is still reported on the grounds, seen by security guards. 

Detroit's geological composition makes it prime stomping ground for spirits to harvest energy - there's a buffet of food available. Add into this concoction a deep and rich history filled with moments of great "distress" and you have the recipe for some very convincing paranormal activity. 

What we ultimately learn from this area is certainly up for speculation, but I myself see great potential for discovering some answers to help...
                  "lower the spiritual veil so that we may better understand what lies on the other side."

Works Cited



  1. Great article, Tim. We'd always heard the Motor City area was chock full of paranormal activity and wondered why. You make a compelling case for the role distress plays in these goings-on. Makes sense for abandoned locales reporting both residual and intelligent hauntings, but we wonder if current economic "distress" also results in a higher incidence of poltergeist activity. Did you come across any reports of that nature? Keep up the good work, and hope your excellent book is doing well -- it deserves much attention!

    1. Sorry for the horribly late response, but thank you for your interesting suggestion! I will definitely check into the psychology of economic distress and its impact on the paranormal. I'll bet there's a definite connection. I hope you both and your book are doing well. As always, it is great to hear from you. :)

  2. Great post ! I didn't know that USA was haunted like this. I live in Scotland where paranormal things happened every day . I also have a blog on the most haunted places in UK that you can visited, if one day you wanna go there !

    1. Hi Arielle!
      Yes, I have found the entire world is full of paranormal activity, some more than others. Usually areas that have a deep and sometimes disturbing past unearth some of the best activity. Scotland is a beautiful example as it possesses some of the world's most ancient paranormal roots. Dare I mention the haunted forests as just one example?
      I will definitely check out your website as I love to meet new paranormal writers and investigators, especially in the United Kingdom. I wish you success with your blog. :)