The question of whether spirits from the afterlife are among us here on earth has lingered for centuries, but according to one paranormal investigation team, Clifford Lake Inn in Stanton is officially haunted with their presence.
G.H.O.S.T. Paranormal Investigations, based out of Mount Pleasant, officially declared the restaurant haunted earlier this year. Their findings, despite what you may believe, were discovered using equipment and tactics similar to what you might see on several paranormal television shows, but without the theatrics.
Paranormal shows such as “Ghost Adventures” on the Travel channel and “Ghost Hunters” on the SyFy network fit everything together in an exciting half-hour or hour time frame. Minus the theatrics designed to attract viewers for ratings, members of G.H.O.S.T. set out to investigate Clifford Lake Inn in a professional manner looking for similar results.
“What you see on TV isn’t completely wrong, just more (exaggerated),” G.H.O.S.T. team member Kyle Carter said during an investigation of Clifford Lake Inn in March. “There are four of us here tonight and we’ll break into teams of two and explore the building. We’ll have audio recordings set out and if we’re lucky one of our cameras will catch something.”
Investigating the Clifford Lake Inn
During the group’s recent trip to Clifford Lake Inn in March, Carter said he and his fellow team members were hoping to gather more evidence to strengthen their case of the restaurant being haunted, or perhaps debunk some of the evidence they discovered in their previous two visits.
The team uses equipment and technology exactly similar to what you would see on any paranormal television show. From Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) devices to Electromagnetic Field (EMF) detectors, the group approaches their mission seriously in the late hours of the night, which start as early as 8 p.m. and can last until sunrise.
“The idea (with an EVP) is that you leave a voice recorder running in a location and when you listen to it later you can hear voices or sounds that weren’t there to your own ears at the time,” Carter said. “We were able to find several examples of that the last time we were here.”
The group’s investigation in March was their third time searching through the restaurant, and according to Carter, there was plenty of evidence suggesting spirits haunt the historic building.
“The last time we were here we heard footsteps, very, very loud footsteps,” he said. “One of the mirrors in the upstairs bedroom moved while I was sitting next to it, which was awesome.”
According to group member Scott Sheldon, the group has confirmed two voice recordings off of EVP’s, which they believe are former employees currently haunting the restaurant.
“I know there was a disgruntled employee who worked here long ago named Edward,” Sheldon said. “On our first visit we captured an EVP where we asked ‘What’s your name?’ and we did get a response of the name ‘Edward.’ We asked again later in the night and also heard the name ‘Megan.’”
Carter said those two employees were likely involved in a fire that burned down the restaurant many years ago.
“The building itself is like 130 years old, it has a long history,” he said. “At one point in the past the building did burn down and supposedly one or two of the spirits here are believed to have started or died in that fire.”
Three Michigan buildings labeled ‘haunted’
Clifford Lake Inn joins the Broadway Theater in Mount Pleasant and the Wexford County Museum in Cadillac as three locations that G.H.O.S.T. has officially labeled as “haunted.” The group has investigated more than 30 locations having only been together for just under two years.
According to Sheldon, it takes more than a whisper and a chair rocking in the wind to declare a location officially haunted.
“There’s a difference between being haunted and having paranormal activity,” he said. “We look for three separate pieces of evidence; audio, video and personal experiences. If we can come out of (an investigation) with good, solid evidence from those three groups, we can declare a location haunted.”
For group member Lisa Zwerk, being part of the team is a new and exciting experience.
“This is only my second investigation,” she said during the investigation of Clifford Lake Inn in March. “I actually won a raffle to participate with them when they checkout the Ionia Sentinel-Standard in Ionia. I was just a fan, I love ghost shows, but now I’m doing it for real.”
Zwerk said she is a firm believer in the afterlife and says she has a goal to set out and prove whether there really are spirits among us.
“When I watch the best paranormal shows on TV, I honestly can’t hear what they are claiming they hear,” she said. “Actually being there and experiencing it yourself is completely different. I do believe that there are spirits walking amongst us on this earth. Maybe they want to communicate, maybe they don’t, but I’d like to experience trying to find the evidence proving whether or not it’s true.”