We hear some great ghost stories from author Rev. Gerald Hunter. The good Reverend also gives his thoughts about so-called “stuck” souls and other supernatural questions.
We hear some great ghost stories from author Rev. Gerald Hunter. The good Reverend also gives his thoughts about so-called “stuck” souls and other supernatural questions.
You can find his books here at Amazon:
Haunted Michigan: https://amzn.to/3Wo8aCl
More Haunted Michigan: https://amzn.to/3Xkyn67
Haunted Michigan 3: https://amzn.to/3HbC1tp
Thanks Reverend Hunter!
I love using Grammarly to improve my writing here at The Spooky Studio. The right tone can move any project forward when you get it just right with Grammarly.
Go to grammarly.com/tone to download and learn more about Grammarly Premium’s advanced tone suggestions.
REV. GERALD HUNTER: They’re here in the sense that they either are, like you said, afraid to move on, afraid of some kind of judgment, or they don’t know they’re dead, or they’re very attached to a place or a person. In the sense of being stuck, I don’t see it as being stuck in the sense that there’s nothing they can do about it.
JIM HAROLD: That’s Reverend Gerald Hunter, who has a lifetime of paranormal experiences, and we’re going to talk about haunted Michigan and more on this edition of the Paranormal Podcast.
This is the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold.
JIM HAROLD: Welcome to the Paranormal Podcast. I am Jim Harold, and so glad to be with you once again. Today we have something – we’ve not done this a lot – we have someone who has been a Campfire caller over the years and asked him to come on this show because he always has such fascinating stories. He has a fascinating background. He is also an author and an ordained minister, so we’re so glad to welcome Reverend Gerald S. Hunter with us.
He is an ordained United Methodist minister. He was educated at Albion College, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies, and at The Methodist Theological School in Ohio, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. He has written for numerous publications, including, The Detroit Free Press, The Akron Beacon Journal – not too far from my neck of the woods – and The Michigan Christian Advocate. He has also taught creative and business writing at Saginaw Valley State University, and he lives in Michigan, which makes a lot of sense because he has a series of books, the Haunted Michigan series. I’m looking at two of them right now, Haunted Michigan and More Haunted Michigan. He also has a Part 3 of that Haunted Michigan series. We’re so glad to have him with us to talk about hauntings in Michigan and otherwise. Reverend Hunter, thank you for joining us. So good to speak with you again.
REV. GERALD HUNTER: Thank you for having me again, Jim. I’m glad you don’t get bored of me.
JIM HAROLD: Not at all. I think you’re fascinating, and you have a lot of great stories. Looking forward to hearing some of those. Let me ask you, how does a man of the cloth get into writing spooky books? It seems like it would be kind of mutually exclusive; you do one or the other. How did this happen for you?
REV. GERALD HUNTER: It happened for me because I grew up in an extremely haunted house in Brooklyn, Michigan – a house that is still very haunted, from what I understand, and I see no reason why it wouldn’t be. That led me to want to understand why these things happen to people. As far as a religious outlook, when people ask me how I can justify this with my religious beliefs, I simply tell them as Christians, we believe in life after death. So why would it be such a stretch to think that we would encounter life after death from time to time?
JIM HAROLD: Strangely enough – and I think people react to this in a surprised manner – but actually, if anything, it’s increased my faith in the sense of hearing so many of these stories, talking to so many people, I believe that we live on and there is an afterlife. If anything, it’s increased my faith. But people, sometimes it doesn’t jibe for them. It doesn’t make sense. But I’ve found that to be the case.
REV. GERALD HUNTER: I’ve had a lot of criticisms over the years, but I just don’t let it bother me.
JIM HAROLD: That sounds like a very, very good policy. Now, haunted Michigan. Do you feel that Michigan is maybe more haunted that the average state? Or did it just happen to be where you’re at, so you decided to focus on haunted Michigan?
REV. GERALD HUNTER: I started to focus just on haunted Michigan. I think every state is probably equally haunted per capita. My fourth book is actually going to deal with Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.
JIM HAROLD: Wow, so you’re expanding out. In your work as a reverend, how has it worked out in terms of experiencing the supernatural in your job? I know you’re retired now, but when you were actively serving parishes and so forth, did you encounter the paranormal, hauntings and things, on a regular basis?
REV. GERALD HUNTER: Absolutely. When you mentioned “regular basis,” it was regular only in the sense that I waited for things to happen. I could never make them happen or open myself up to it. I would just encounter it. But yes, there were several times during my ministry – I think maybe I told you this before, but when I would be awakened in the night by someone either from the church or in the community who had just at that time passed away. I certainly didn’t even know they were will, and they would show up in my bedroom in the middle of the night.
I’d awaken and there they’d be, and we would have a communication, one with another, without the spoken word, but we were communicating. They were basically looking for some kind of comfort and wondering, “What’s going on? Is it going to be okay? What’s happening?”, those kinds of things. That actually started the first time when I was a student at Albion College, and then it happened several times during the course of my ministry.
JIM HAROLD: Where do you think hauntings come from? Do you think it’s simply people who have passed? Do you think there’s different kinds of hauntings? There are people who believe hauntings are just dead people; then other people go to the extreme and say it’s demons or other kinds of entities. What do you think “haunting” really means?
REV. GERALD HUNTER: I can only answer that from my own experience, and I would say that I think hauntings are simply people who have passed away. For whatever reason, they’re sticking around, whether attached to a person or a place or they have unfinished business or they feel guilt or fear about moving on for religious beliefs. Sometimes I think they don’t even know they’re dead.
JIM HAROLD: Wow. See, that’s something that actually disturbs me. As much as I take comfort in all the stories I hear on Campfire about people who have had communications from their loved ones and those kind of things, I’ve heard people talk about this idea of “stuck spirits.” I think in the whole realm, even more so than people talking about demons and more sinister spirits and those kinds of things, the thing that concerns me the most is this idea that people are stuck, they can’t cross over because they’re afraid, they don’t know they’re dead, those kind of things.
That to me has always seemed like – I don’t know if it’s a moral dilemma or it just makes me – I tend to think the way I was raised, you go one way or you go the other. I certainly hope most of us go – if we try to do a good job, we go in a good direction. But I would hate to think that perfectly innocent people, through no fault of their own, end up stuck here. You are uniquely qualified to answer this concern, so what are your thoughts?
REV. GERALD HUNTER: I think if they’re stuck here – from my experience, because there are no paranormal experts, as we discussed before. But from my experience, they’re here in the sense that they either are, like you said, afraid to move on, afraid of some kind of judgment, or they don’t know they’re dead, or they’re very attached to a place or a person. In the sense of being stuck, I don’t see it as being stuck in the sense that there’s nothing they can do about it. They can do something about it, but they either don’t want to or feel a need not to yet, or they’re afraid to.
JIM HAROLD: Interesting. Something that came up as we were talking – you were asking if we’d ever talked about this subject, and I think it’s fascinating: the idea of haunted funeral homes. The thing is that, by virtue of the definition, there’s more death around there or people who have recently died, those kind of things. And I’ve heard people have different opinions. Some people say a cemetery is no more haunted than the college cafeteria. Then I’ve heard other people say places like cemeteries and funeral homes are spaces where there are more people that are floating around, so to speak. Can you talk to us about your perspective and your experience with haunted funeral homes?
REV. GERALD HUNTER: Yes, you would wonder why people would hang around after death at a funeral home. You and I have talked before, and that’s not a place I would choose to hang around. I’d want to go someplace interesting and fun. But maybe – again, I’m just guessing here – maybe they’re haunting the funeral home because they’re still attached to their body. We have a big identification with who we are because we have a body and we see it every day, we deal with it every day, we nurture it every day. So upon death, they’re still seeing themselves there. How easy is it sometimes to spiritually move away from our physical body? That may be one of the reasons why they experience those things.
JIM HAROLD: Have you had any experiences with a haunted funeral home or any cases that you’ve researched?
REV. GERALD HUNTER: Absolutely.
JIM HAROLD: Tell us a story or two.
REV. GERALD HUNTER: I can tell you the stories – as you know, and I just want to let your listeners know, I cannot give names of the businesses or their locations.
JIM HAROLD: Of course.
REV. GERALD HUNTER: It’s really bad for their business, I would suppose. But I have one from Pennsylvania. I was talking to a funeral director there, and he has a funeral home just on the suburbs of Pittsburgh. He said that they remodeled one half of the funeral home because it was the older half. They did a very nice job of it. The fella that did all of the rewiring, all of the electrical work on that addition had passed away. He passed away shortly after it was completed. So they were doing his funeral, and the minister was standing there, giving the sermon and said to the people there that he was a very good electrician, and that as a matter of fact, “he did all the electrical work on everything in this new addition in which we’re sitting.” And the instant he said that, all the electrical things quit in the entire building.
JIM HAROLD: Wow.
REV. GERALD HUNTER: Then, about 15 seconds later, they came back on. They didn’t come back on until the minister made a joke during that pause of, “Okay, if that’s you, could you put the microphones and the lights back on?”, and they all came back on.
JIM HAROLD: I’ve heard things like that before. The famous author Brad Steiger, who was tremendous and wrote on these subjects probably starting in the ’50s up until just a few years ago when he passed away – he was on the show, and he was explaining to me one time he was on a deadline or working on a book, and he felt that there was a presence or something bugging him. It just kept happening and kept happening, and at one point he got exasperated and said, “Knock it off! I’m trying to get some work done here!” And the spirit knocked it off.
REV. GERALD HUNTER: Yes. They’re trying to communicate. It’s like a little child that is trying to get Mom’s attention when Mom is maybe talking to someone else or involved in something else, and the child tugs and says, “Mom, Mom,” and Mom just keeps on going with what she was doing, so the child gets a little louder and louder until they’re recognized. I think it’s the same way with spirits sometimes.
They want you to know that they’re there, and they want to be recognized to validate their presence. And I think that’s one of the ways they do it. We used to play a little game with the spirits in our house about turning lights on and off or knocking on the walls. So yeah, they’re there, they want your attention, and we need to pay attention to them.
JIM HAROLD: When we get back, we’re going to talk more about your books, the Haunted Michigan series. Our guest is Reverend Gerald S. Hunter, and we’re on the Paranormal Podcast. We’ll be back right after this.
The Paranormal Podcast is brought to you by Grammarly, and we’re so glad to welcome them to the family of sponsors here because I have been a paying user for many years, and I love Grammarly. When I use it, I’m like, “Boy, that’s a great suggestion. That’s a great change of tone. That’s the way to do it!” And when I forget to use it, I send the email out, I send the newsletter out and then say, “I wish I had used Grammarly – it would’ve caught that!” It is awesome.
Here’s one, for instance: their Advanced Tone Suggestions. They help you communicate confidently and reframe your words to be more positive and productive so your team gets on the same page and projects get done on time. For example, you could say, “We may want to consider providing an update” – or, the Grammarly suggestion would be, “We should consider providing an update.” Or if you want to reframe negative language and be positive and solution-focused, you could say, “The marketing strategy isn’t right” – but wouldn’t it be better to say, “The marketing strategy needs to be different”? Doesn’t that come across better? I think that is great.
As I said before, Grammarly has saved my bacon on numerous occasions where I could say something better in a gentler way, in a kinder way, or maybe a little bit more assertive way. I love what they do with their things like their Confident Tone feature, the Positive Tone feature. You get to triangulate on what audience you’re speaking to, if you want to be super informative, if you want to be very formal, you want to be informal. It’s awesome.
When it comes to work, communication is key even if you don’t have a writing job. Grammarly works where you do so every important project gets done on time. I love all the great features. We talked about the tone suggestions. They have advanced spellchecking, grammar checking, punctuation checking, conciseness suggestions – that’s the one that they get me on a lot. I could say things in a more concise way, and it’s always better the way they suggest. It ensures your writing is professional, mistake-free, and clear. We’ve been using it in the Spooky Studio for years, and I highly recommend it because the right tone can move any project forward when you get it just right with Grammarly.
Go to grammarly.com/tone to download and learn more about Grammarly Premium’s Advanced Tone Suggestions. That’s grammarly.com/tone. I’ll spell that one more time. That’s g-r-a-m-m-a-r-l-y dot com slash tone, and we thank Grammarly for their support of the Paranormal Podcast.
If you love the Paranormal Podcast, be sure to check out Jim Harold’s Campfire, where ordinary people share their extraordinary stories of ghosts, UFOs, cryptids, and terrifying encounters. Find it for free wherever you listen to this podcast. Tune in to Jim Harold’s Campfire today. Now, we return to the Paranormal Podcast.
JIM HAROLD: We’re back on the Paranormal Podcast. Our guest is Reverend Gerald S. Hunter. Not only is he a man of the cloth, he is also an author of three books, the Haunted Michigan series. We’ve been talking for the last several minutes and before the break about haunted funeral homes. You told me off-air that you have some really interesting stories, so please share another one.
REV. GERALD HUNTER: I can tell you about one that’s in Redford, Michigan. Redford, Michigan is very large, so I can give the name of the community and you’ll still never be able to figure out what funeral home it is, there’s so many of them there. I got a phone call from them to come in and please talk with their staff. They were having odd things happen. Lights turning on by themselves, things disappearing from the embalming room that belonged to recently deceased, things like that.
But in particular, they wanted me to talk to one of the women that used to work in the office. She was a woman that was, when I met her, in her early sixties. She had worked there for many years, but she said she only worked in the office. She never dealt with anything else and didn’t really care to wander around throughout the funeral home. She said that little odd things would happen, but she would ignore them, but this one occasion they had a little girl who had passed away. I don’t know what from, but she was a young girl, probably about five or six. They had prepared the body and they had put her in her casket and into the viewing room. Viewing was supposed to begin in just a couple of hours.
She said she was sitting at her desk, doing her paperwork as normal, when out of the corner of her eye she saw the little girl. So she turned her head and looked, and the little girl walked further into the room toward her, stood about two feet away from her, and just watched her while she was doing her work, which made her feel extremely uncomfortable.
This went on for about 15 minutes. The little girl was just there, and she was too afraid to say anything to her or to call out to another employee or something. She just tried to keep focused on what she was doing. Then the little girl disappeared. This woman met me actually at a restaurant because that very day that she saw the little girl is the day she quit. She just couldn’t put up with that sort of thing. It frightened her too much. So she quit, and she really didn’t want to go back to the funeral home for the interview; she wanted to just meet at the coffee shop, so that’s what we did.
JIM HAROLD: One thing that I think of when I think of funeral homes are the workers. I think that’s a profession – for example, medical people – I think there’s a certain amount of empathy that people have, not always, but sometimes, for medical people, saying they’ve got terrible hours, they’re on call many times, they have to work holidays, they have to deal with these very sad cases, and then the potential of bringing it home and those kinds of things has to be very emotionally devastating to almost anybody. I know it would be to me. I think all that’s true.
But when it comes to funeral industry workers, I don’t think the same grace is extended in that. And we’ve actually had – there was an A&E series years ago about a family that were the staff of a funeral home, and I had one of the protagonists of the show on as a guest. I shared that I didn’t think that same grace was extended to funeral workers, because that is a really tough job. You see death each and every day. Now, sometimes it’s Grandma and she’s 95 years old and she’s lived a very life – yeah, it’s sad, but it’s kind of the natural order of things. But then you see the car crash victims, the gunshot victims, the kids with cancer who didn’t make it. That’s got to be a very emotionally devastating job in some ways.
REV. GERALD HUNTER: It is. That’s why most of the funeral directors that I’ve known throughout my career are very empathic people, and it’s genuine. It’s not practiced. I think that’s the only way they can keep themselves centered, to understand that they are truly in what I would call a ministry.
JIM HAROLD: I do believe it’s God’s work. Definitely, definitely, definitely. One more haunted funeral home story, and then we can talk about some more stories in haunted Michigan.
REV. GERALD HUNTER: All right. I think in my mind I saved the best for last here.
JIM HAROLD: Ooh.
REV. GERALD HUNTER: I was talking to a funeral director here in Mid Michigan and asked him if he had ever had any strange things happen as a funeral director, and he said, “No, I never have.” Then he paused and he said, “Well, one time…” He started talking about how they had done a funeral service for a man in his sixties, and at the end of the service, the pallbearers brought the casket out, they proceeded to the hearse, they put it in the hearse, and then he and the other funeral directors closed the hearse up and then they made sure that everybody that was processing to the cemetery was in their cars, had their headlights on, the flags on top of the cars.
Then he walked to the hearse; he was going to drive it to the cemetery. He said as he was walking up the side of it toward the driver’s door, he heard from inside the hearse a man holler out in a muffled voice, “What’s going on here?” He thought one of the workers was playing a joke, so he walked around the hearse completely. Nobody from the funeral home was there. Nobody else was around near the car because they were getting ready to leave. He opened up all the doors of the hearse and looked inside; nobody was there. But the voice had come from inside the hearse. And now he had to drive that hearse to the cemetery four miles away.
I asked him, “How did that feel knowing that that voice came from inside the hearse and you had to drive it?” He said, “Let’s just say I drove a little faster than normal.” Then I said, “Wow, that’s a pretty impressive story for someone who’s never had anything happen.” He said, “Now that I think of it, I did have another one.”
He said, “I was working on an elderly woman in the embalming room.” The embalming table itself is made pretty much out of the same material as sinks and autopsy tables and those kinds of things. Bit of a slant and a drain at the end, and the head is on a prop. He said there is a two-inch lip that goes all around the table that the deceased is on so the fluids drain out. He said, “We always put the arms next to the body, tucked inside the lip that goes around the table.”
He said, “I had washed the body and I was just getting ready to insert the needle into the carotid artery to start draining some of the blood, and the lady’s arm came up off the table, dropped down onto my arm, and her hand went around my wrist.”
JIM HAROLD: Oh my.
REV. GERALD HUNTER: Yes. I just said to him, “What in the world did you do when that happened?” He said, “I froze for a moment, I picked her arm up, I put it back where it was – because it was originally extended straight out, and it had to bend and everything in order to come down on my arm. I placed it back where it belonged carefully, and then I left the room and I had myself a bottle of Coca-Cola in the office and calmed myself down and went back in and finished the procedure.”
JIM HAROLD: Wow. I mean, that could’ve been some kind of reflex, but who knows? Wow. That would be something else. I could not do that job. There are quite a few jobs I couldn’t do, and that is one of them. [laughs] For sure. Those people are very, very brave indeed, and really, again, emotionally doing God’s work.
The Haunted Michigan book series. If we decide to pick that up – and I’ve got a couple of editions here, and they’re great – explain to people what they’ll find.
REV. GERALD HUNTER: What they’ll find are stories in there of places that I’ve actually visited. I don’t write about anything that I’ve never visited. Many of the places I write about, I’ve had experiences of my own in. When I decide to put a story in a book, I want to make sure I’m convinced it’s a good, real story and the people are being honestly forthright. There are times I will do title searches on the house to find out who used to live in it before and whether or not they had experiences.
But it’s different private homes, some of them very old homes, some of them rather new. It’s cemeteries. It’s places of business. I’ve done some work for the City of Detroit that they don’t want me to talk about. Historic places that I’ve visited. Hauntings take place anywhere, at any place. I’ve traveled the state for many years with a crew of trusted people that tag along with me, and I’m very careful who I bring with me. We don’t jump to any conclusions. We do everything we can to disprove the haunting because it’s only through trying to disprove that you can actually prove that something is going on.
JIM HAROLD: That’s a very good point. What kind of places did you look at for these books?
REV. GERALD HUNTER: For instance, the historic Fort Wayne on the Detroit River, which was built in 1848, the barracks building built in 1852. It served all the way through the Vietnam War as a supply depot, and that’s where I actually had my draft physical back in the early ’70s during Vietnam. That is an extremely haunted place. Again, the funeral homes private dwellings. restaurants. I’ve got restaurants in the book. You name it, it’s there, and I’m ready to do even more in other places.
JIM HAROLD: Do you find that certain kinds of places are more likely to be haunted than others? We of course talked about funeral homes. Are there any others?
REV. GERALD HUNTER: I think places that have had a lot of traumatic experiences, like the historic Fort Wayne, like the Schvitz in downtown Detroit, which was a Jewish bathhouse for the Jewish part of the community there built in 1929, I think it was. They dug a full-size swimming pool in the basement. It was a Jewish bathhouse. One of the funeral directors from Lynch Funeral Home in Milford, Michigan actually bought the place a few years ago and has restored it. It is now once again an active bathhouse, three days a week just for men, three days a week just for women. It has the largest sauna east of the Mississippi.
But what’s interesting about it is that it was built during the reign of the Purple Gang that pretty much ran Detroit, Jewish gangsters who were absolutely vicious. They were so vicious that Al Capone cut a deal with them that US 131 that goes north-south on the western side of Michigan was a boundary line. He agreed he would not do business east of that road and they would not do business west of that road. They were so vicious that they turned on one another. But that’s where they used to meet to settle differences, in that Schvitz, in that bathhouse. They used to meet there even with Capone’s people and with other people they had conflicts with, other Mafioso groups. The reason they would meet there was because they’d have their meetings in the saunas.
JIM HAROLD: I know why, I bet. They couldn’t bug the saunas because there was moisture.
REV. GERALD HUNTER: Not just that. You had to be naked.
JIM HAROLD: Oh yeah, good point. [laughs]
REV. GERALD HUNTER: So I spent three or four overnights in there and had some very interesting experiences. There’s even a blocked-off tunnel in the Schvitz that, back in the day, led to different locations in the neighborhood surrounding it in case there was a raid and they had to get out of there. So it is open for business, and if people want to visit, I understand they’re even letting some ghost hunting groups come in now and check the place out.
JIM HAROLD: Absolutely fascinating, as is our conversation with Reverend Gerald S. Hunter. He’s the author of the Haunted Michigan series of books, and we’ll be back right after this.
Happy New Year, everybody! And as we head into the winter, I’m sure you’ll need some audio entertainment. Now, of course, we have our free shows, but we also have our Paranormal Plus Club, and I would highly recommend that you check it out.
Basically, the Paranormal Plus Club is where you can go and get all of the archives going back to 2005. That includes a few hundred Campfires no longer on the free feeds. That includes several hundred editions of the Paranormal Podcast not on the free feeds. That includes hundreds of Plus shows that people don’t realize that we do each and every month. We do eight exclusive episodes for our Plus members. There are shows like UFO Encounters, Ghost Insight, The Cryptid Report, the list goes on. The Other Side. The thing is, people don’t know that we do all these extra shows. Even the members, I have to remind them from time to time. If you’re listening to this and you’re a member, make sure that you’re checking out those shows because those are part of your membership.
All told, it’s well over 2,000 episodes that you can’t get if you’re on the free feeds, so what are you waiting for? Go over to jimharoldplus.com and click on the banner with my face. It’ll take you to a page where it explains the Plus Club. There’s two different versions; there’s our classic Libsyn version where you have an app that you install on your device and you can listen on Apple devices, you can listen via Android devices, you can listen via Amazon device, you can listen via your computer. That’s for people who are like, “Hey, I want to be able to change from device to device, ecosystem to ecosystem. I want to be able to operate in any environment and listen to my Plus Club content.” And that’s great. They’ve been with us for years. They do a great job, and people love that Spooky Studio app.
This last year, we added another version, and it’s just as great. It’s like chocolate and vanilla, which one do you prefer. It’s the Apple Podcast version. If you tell me, “Jim, I’m not interested in a lot of different devices. I am an Apple device person and that’s all I want to listen on, and I listen in Apple Podcasts,” then I say the Apple Podcast version is for you. Now, with both systems you get a great deal. There are great discounts for the Libsyn version where you can get great discounts on monthly and yearly membership, and on Apple, they do something a little different. You can get a free trial, which is something Libsyn doesn’t do.
So each system has its own pluses. It’s just up to you to figure out which one you prefer. But the good news is, you get all those Campfires, you get all those Paranormal Podcasts on both versions, you get shows like UFO Encounters, Ghost Insight, The Other Side, The Cryptid Report – that Plus content, you get it on both systems. Get it today. Don’t delay. Go to jimharoldplus.com. That’s jimharoldplus.com. Make sure to click on the banner with my face on it at jimharoldplus.com. And thanks!
Follow Jim on Twitter and Instagram @TheJimHarold and join our Virtual Campfire Facebook group at VirtualCampfireGroup.com. Now, back to the Paranormal Podcast.
JIM HAROLD: We’re back on the Paranormal Podcast. Our guest is Reverend Gerald S. Hunter, the author of the Haunted Michigan series of books. I’m looking at your first book here, and this one caught my eye. It’s early in the first book; it’s called “The Little Girl Who Likes to Watch Television.” Can you tell us about the little girl who likes to watch television?
REV. GERALD HUNTER: That was in, as I recall, a historic lumber baron home. You just brought up a story that I first dealt with back in the late 1990s. The lumber baron homes in Bay City are a treat just to wander through and take a look at. They’re in a historic district. The people that bought the house did some remodeling. They said they would be watching television in the evening, and from time to time they’d glance over at the ornate, carved wooden stairway that goes upstairs, and the little girl would be sitting on the stairs, looking through the banister railings and watching the television as they would be watching the television.
At first when it happened I remember they would just get a little frightened, wondering who this is and what’s going on, but then they started to get more used to it, to where they would be watching TV and they’d keep looking over to see if she was going to show up. They said that it happened from time to time for a few years.
JIM HAROLD: Are there ghosts that are just having a little bit of fun? I think there’s this fear that all ghosts are scary spooky, but some of them just want to have some fun. Isn’t that part of the picture?
REV. GERALD HUNTER: Absolutely. I think if you are a good person in life and you’re hanging around afterwards, you’re a pretty good person in death. And the reverse is also true. I’ve been in homes where the spirit was a vengeful, nasty person in life, and they still are in death. There’s a place in Ohio just outside Mansfield, Ohio, that is a terrifying old farmhouse that overlooks the valley looking to the north in the city of Mansfield. The experiences we’ve had there – he is a very nasty spirit. I have been in other places where they’re absolutely playful, move things and not put them back until you say, “I need this. Please bring it back.” Knock on the wall, “please knock back.” Things like that. So yeah, I think whatever you were in life, that’s pretty much what you are in death.
JIM HAROLD: That’s something I’ve heard time and time again. I think so many people in the paranormal agree on that, which makes a lot of sense to me. You don’t automatically have angel wings, and you don’t automatically go the other direction. On that point, let me ask you this, because so much is made of possession, demon possession. I think a lot of that, probably the vast majority of it, is because of The Exorcist, going back that far. That movie had such an impact on people. But the Catholic Church, for example, does have exorcists. What do you think about demon possession and the subject of exorcists?
REV. GERALD HUNTER: I have never personally encountered anyone that I came to believe was possessed by a demon. I will say this much: those times when people thought that they had demons in their home or that a loved one was possessed, they had a religious background that believed heavily in demon possession. The Catholic Church, the Pentecostal Movement, those kinds of things. I’ve never run across that.
I have had people do a couple of things that I thought were humanly impossible to do, like the one story I told you about the incarcerated young man in two places at the same time. Those kinds of things. But I’m not ready to write that off or accept that it’s a demon possession. My mind is somewhat open to that because if I weren’t somewhat open to it, I would be a very biased person.
JIM HAROLD: What do you think about poltergeists? Have you run into a lot of poltergeists where things are actually physically moving?
REV. GERALD HUNTER: Yes, absolutely. Even in the home I grew up in. Sometimes you could watch those things move. Poltergeist, this “noisy spirit” is basically what it means, I think it’s just the spirits moving things to get attention. Again, it’s like the little child. You’re not listening, they’re going to get louder.
If you keep ignoring what’s going on – and I tell people, don’t ignore the paranormal things happening in your house. It may get worse. Recognize it. Try to communicate with it. If you’re not paying attention to them and they’re moving something or they’re making a little noise or they’re turning a light on and you’re ignoring them, and they’re trying to get your attention, it’s likely to get more obvious. Things flying across the room or something.
JIM HAROLD: Something I’ve heard multiple times – and I had a Canadian journalist on years ago, maybe 10-12 years ago. I think he had been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize at one point, so we’re talking a very serious journalist. I think he was kind of old school, if anybody remembers the old show Dragnet, “Just the facts, ma’am.” Michael Clarkson. He’s Canadian. But he did a book on poltergeists and he came out with the thought that there is something to it. Now, he believed that a big part of it is, from his research, that these things tended to happen in homes with adolescents or teenagers. I think he felt – and again, this is a dozen years ago, so I don’t want to misquote him – the general idea is somehow, whatever powers of a poltergeist somewhat feeds off of that youthful energy. There seemed to be a lot of correlation there. Is that something you observed or have any thoughts on?
REV. GERALD HUNTER: Yes, I agree with him. Especially when a child is going through puberty, there’s a whole lot of psychological changes and things happening in their lives, and we are basically energy. Yes, I have known of families with youngsters that have had strange things happen, and then after puberty, it stopped happening. Yeah, there’s something about who we are. We’re not just physical; we’re spiritual beings, too. We’re full of all kinds of energy, and I think sometimes that energy, without them even knowing it, manifests itself. The emotions they’re going through, the changes they’re going through. I think that energy sets things off sometimes.
JIM HAROLD: You are a great storyteller, you are a master storyteller, and I love it when you come on the Campfire. And folks, if you listen to the other show, Jim Harold’s Campfire, go back in the archives and listen to some of Reverend Hunter’s stories. They’re among the best ones we’ve had, so we always enjoying having him on.
So I can’t let you go without asking for just one more story, one of your favorites. It could be anywhere, anyhow, just one of your favorites you’ve not shared with us in the past.
REV. GERALD HUNTER: Ooh, one of my favorites. Wow, that’s a good one. I don’t think I’ve shared this in the past. If I have, you can stop me and I’ll dig up another one. When I lived in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in Gladstone, Michigan, in a house – and I’m going to give the address – 13 [address redacted]. Of course something’s going to happen with the number 13 all the time, right? I lived in this old house, and when I bought it I was told, “Why did you buy that house? Everybody knows it’s haunted.” Well, I was new to the area. I’d never heard the stories. My kids were very tiny. Not real tiny, but small kids.
We lived there for several years, and after I’d lived there for my first winter, I decided I needed to go down into the crawlspace and do some insulation because the winters up there are rugged. My uncle was with me, and we were down there on our bellies and putting insulation around the crawlspace, and we found what we can only describe, sticking up out of the dirt, mostly buried, but probably just the end of it sticking up out of the dirt, what looked like an old casket. We thought, do we really want to dig down and pull that out or just leave it there? I said, “Let’s not mess with it.”
And then, a few years later, we moved to Lower Michigan, and it wasn’t until after we moved that all three of my kids came to me and said, “Dad, we want to tell you about the house and the old man.” I said, “What old man?” They said, “Our bedrooms were upstairs. We had our own rooms, and every night” – and my grown son, who is now a PhD, and my daughter, who is – I won’t give her age, but at any rate, they all came to me and they said, “This old man, every night when we’d go to bed, you’d put us to bed, he would come up the stairs. He was tall, he was thin. He was dressed in older clothes but neat-looking. His hair was cropped short, wore it straight back.”
Rachel said, “He would come to my bedroom door every night and he’d stand there and look at me for a few seconds.” And then he’d turn and he’d go to my son Neil’s room, and he would stand there and look at him for a few seconds. And then he would go to Ron’s room and stand there and look at him for a few seconds before he would go back downstairs. As Rachel told me that, my son Neil said, “Yeah, Dad” – now, Neil was the youngest; at the time, he was only four to seven years old. He said, “I would just throw the covers over my head when he’d show up because I didn’t know what to do.” Rachel said, “I would freeze and stare at him.” Ron said he only got a glimpse of him once because his bed was situated in an area where he could not see the bedroom door from where he was lying.
To this day, they will tell anybody who’ll listen, “Yes, that man was real and he was there and he’d go room to room every night like he was just checking to make sure we were okay.”
JIM HAROLD: I believe it’s real, Reverend Hunter. I believe it’s real. I’ve heard too many stories from too many credible people telling amazing stories like that one. And for more amazing stories, you can check out Reverend Gerald S. Hunter’s Haunted Michigan series. Right here I have Haunted Michigan, More Haunted Michigan, and I know there’s a Part 3 as well. And I know you’re working, as you mentioned, on some other things. So we will look forward to that. Reverend Hunter, where can people connect to you and also get the books?
REV. GERALD HUNTER: They can connect to me – the best way is to contact my publisher, and that is Thunder Bay Press in Birch Run, Michigan. The reason I do that and not give my personal information is because you have to be very careful about letting people come to your home or find out where you are, those kinds of things.
JIM HAROLD: Indeed. I understand that certainly. I hope that everybody will check out Haunted Michigan. I know that Haunted Michigan and More Haunted Michigan are on Amazon, if you want to check those out. Reverend Hunter, thank you so much for taking time today. It’s always a delight to speak with you.
REV. GERALD HUNTER: Thank you, Jim. It’s great to be here, and we’ll do it again sometime.
JIM HAROLD: Thank you so much for tuning in. That was a real pleasure. We did that interview last month to try to get a little bit ahead in December, and really appreciate Reverend Hunter coming on the show and sharing his wealth of knowledge and paranormal experiences. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
If you did enjoy it, please text a link to a friend who you think might like the show. Rate and review it on the podcast app of your choice as well. That helps us immensely. And of course, please support our sponsors and be sure to check out our Plus Club, and follow us on social media. All the things. And we thank you so much. We’ll talk to you next time. Have a great week, everybody, and as always, stay safe and stay spooky! Bye-bye.
For more information on our podcast data policy CLICK HERE