The day started with a quick croissant and coffee while looking out over Lake Huron (seriously, the views here can’t be beat) and then our first lecture in the theater. (Random trivia: This theater is the theater in the movie Somewhere in Time starring Christopher Reeves, and the chair that I sat next to had a small engraved plaque depicting the spot where Christopher Reeves sat in the film.)
Our first lecture was the very popular Newkirk duo (Greg and Dana) and their unofficial mascot Billy. The session was titled “The Study of Haunted Objects” – but really was a discussion of the reasons why it is so important not to be fearful of haunted objects but to seek to understand them and hear their message. A lot of evidence was shown – from their scrying mirror to the Crone to Billy himself. Billy’s EVPs were played, a three frame shot of the Crone showed her moving on her own, and reactions to the scrying mirror filmed during a session at the Stanley Hotel were all a part of this engaging session. Billy’s story always seems to surprise, enlighten and entertain the group. During the lunch break, we were able to check out the museum’s newest additions, have a lively discussion about different objects and theories, and take some quick photos with the Newkirks.
After lunch, we reconvened in the theater and listened to Todd Clements speak about the “Haunts of Mackinac”. This session was filled with the history of the island, and the theories behind its hauntings. From full body apparitions to ghost lights (Will of the Wisps) along the water’s edge and deep in the forest, there was plenty of visual evidence and EVPs captured in the theater to get us excited about the investigation to come. Todd spoke about the ghost called Lucy who is said to be found in the theater as well as in different locations at Mission Point. The picture hanging in the hotel of a young child holding a bunny is said to be Lucy.
We then had a session called “Investigation How To” with Tim Ellis and Brad Blair from Creaking Door Paranormal. They too shared the history of the haunts, along with methods to capture paranormal activity.
At promptly 7:30, we were split into 5 smaller groups to begin our investigation. One group stayed with Adam Berry in the theater, one group went with Greg and Dana Newkirk to Room 2200 (said to be haunted by a male spirit who had an eye for the ladies), one group was with Todd Clements in the grand hall, one group with Grant Wilson in the Sound Stage, and one group with John Tenney and Andrea Perron at the water’s edge.
My first area was with Adam in the theater. We split into several small groups and were able to move around to different areas of the theater to do our own EVP sessions. Equipped with EMF detectors, recorders, and flashlights, we huddled in groups and called out to spirit. Some spoke to Lucy, some asked for anyone to make their appearance, and Adam led us in a group EVP session. While we didn’t capture anything in that area, it was just the beginning of the evening, so we were excited to rotate.
The next area that we were led to was down to the water’s edge. We met up with John and Andrea and were treated to one of the most unusual and mind-boggling experiences that I have had. Andrea spoke to the group about her method of communicating with other-galactic beings and being able to summon UFOs. I had seen her do this once before at MIParacon, and was excited to experience it again. She told us how to look at the sky, what areas to ignore (flight path over the island) how to recognize stars, meteors, and the like, and then raised her arms to the sky and began to sing. She said that their favorite song is Sentimental Journey – and I watched her sing in a low voice as we all looked up. The sky was shockingly clear, full of stars. And slowly, I began to see more. Flashes of light, green, red, gold. Darting lights. Lights that couldn’t possibly be planes as planes don’t jerk backward midflight. I have no background or history with UFOs, no preconceived ideas, and am now a believer. This was an amazing experience. John helped us look for Will of the Wisps at the water’s edge and helped us differentiate from lights from the mainland vs. possible UFOs and unexplainable lights in the sky.
From there, we moved on to Room 2200 and met up with Greg and Dana as they performed the Estes experiment (involving Dana being blindfolded and listening to noise cancelling headphones attached to a spirit box) while we asked questions. Dana went into almost a trancelike state, rocking back and forth, while calling out what she was hearing through the spirit box. This at one point became entertaining as the male spirit she was communicating with asked for dollars, silver coins, and in response to my question of “How old are you”, she answered “ooolllllllllld”. It was strange, because she couldn’t hear us asking questions, and the responses seemed intelligent. Everytime one young woman in particular asked a question, Dana would answer “Pretty girrrrl” and made everyone chuckle.
Next stop was the grand hall, to try to communicate with anyone that we could. It was very very quiet, but we were able to visit with Todd about the island.
Final stop for us was the Sound Stage with Grant Wilson. Grant spoke to all of us about his method of communicating, and that he is no longer on a journey to capture evidence, prove the existence of spirit, chase ghosts. He is about helping people. The living and the passed. It was very interesting and enlightening – his method is very similar to Amy and Adam’s, where their ultimate goal is to help people. Grant spoke about respect, and how to communicate, and how to be patient. No provoking was going to be tolerated. He is a gentle soul, and really an excellent teacher and role model in the industry. No evidence was captured in the Sound Stage with my group, but what a great night! I was still trying to wrap my mind around what I saw in the sky earlier in the evening!
Sunday started out rainy and cold. I had slept with my windows open all night, listening to the wind and rain and the ringing of the buoy bell, which was pretty soothing! I was worried about our planned picnic at Fort Mackinac later in the evening, due to the weather. The rain didn’t look like it was going to let up any time soon.
I headed to the theater for the first lecture of the morning – “Haunted Science Old and New” with John Tenney. John always prefaces his talks (I believe I have heard him speak at least 8 times before) with “this may or may not go off the rails, I talk about where my mind goes, and I never know where that will be”. It’s always an interesting journey into his mind, and his experiences, and I enjoy his lectures every time, as each time it is both familiar and different. He adds to the “Cult of Tenney” at each event – and is often seen surrounded by people after his talks, wanting more. John spoke about his interest in the unusual and strange at a young age, and then abruptly said “and then I died”. John often speaks about the instance of his death (and obvious return to the living) but rarely delves into his personal experience of what it was like to die. I have only heard him speak of it once, and it wasn’t on Mackinac. He described how “what you think is weird is weirder than you think”. He told some of his best experiences (some I have heard before, and I cry every time), and it was both moving and unnerving at the same time. He spoke about his theories of why when you see a loved one, “they look like they always did”, and he spoke about how experiences have shaped his thinking. The best advice from John Tenney is “if someone asks you to do something weird…and it’s legal…say yes”. I was left wiping tears, as usual.
After lunch, we were entertained by the most loving, warm, big-hearted woman I have ever met. She has hugs for everyone she meets, and she welcomes you like an old friend. Andrea Perron took the microphone and began discussing her own rough year of losing those close to her, how that journey has changed her, and how she has gone through her own anguish and life changing moments, and has come out stronger on the other side. She spoke about her life in the farm house made famous in the movies “The Conjuring” and we were excited to hear that she is writing the screenplays for a three-movie deal about her and her family’s experience told in the “right way.” Some things were not able to be shown, or were cut from the film because they were too terrifying. Her own experiences vs. how Hollywood depicted them were also part of the discussion, and I am anxious to finish reading her three-part series of books called “House of Darkness, House of Light” which tells “the whole, unvarnished, truth.” More tears as she broke our hearts discussing her youngest sister’s passing, but she was as honest and genuine as they come.
Directly after, we were treated to a “Q and A” with Adam, Amy and Grant. It was our opportunity to ask anything we wanted, and of course there are always some of the same questions – “where is your favorite place to investigate,” “what was the scariest thing that ever happened,” etc. – but one really great question was asked: “If you could find out the answer to anything, any of life’s mysteries, what would it be?” After serious and thoughtful consideration from Amy and Grant (and equally deep answers) – Adam playfully replied “I would like to know what those 11 herbs and spices are in the KFC fried chicken.” Adam has a great sense of humor and kept us all laughing. There is a great rapport between the three, and it was wonderful to have a little personal interaction with them.
We ended up being rained out at Fort Mackinac, but were treated to a wonderful dinner at the Grand Hotel. We enjoyed laughing and visiting and getting to know each other, making plans to meet up at future events, sharing photos, and adding each other as friends on Facebook. Amy always pulls off a wonderful experience, even when it is pouring rain. We had blankets and rain shields in the horse drawn carriages on the way, and the meal was fantastic. After the meal, there was an option of a walking tour of Haunted Mackinac. I regret to say that I opted out of the walking tour (even after being provided a rain poncho) as I was ready to return to Mission Point. There were about 10 of us that went back, but a cheerful bunch braved the rain and enjoyed the tour.
Monday morning, there was a wrap up at 9:00 am where we shared our experiences with the investigation, any evidence that was captured (someone did capture an interesting EVP of a male voice breathing hard into the recorder, and then saying something, but it was hard to make out) and both Todd and Grant offered to listen to it more carefully if it was emailed to them, and then it would be posted to the Facebook group for all. We enjoyed final hugs and selfies with the celebrities, said our goodbyes, and boarded a carriage to head to the ferry.