Ghost hunters report paranormal activity at Octagon House

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published October 26, 2015

 The Motor City Ghost Hunters, a volunteer paranormal investigations group, conducted investigations at the historic Loren Andrus Octagon House in Washington Township in April and August. The group reported finding paranormal activity on both occasions.

The Motor City Ghost Hunters, a volunteer paranormal investigations group, conducted investigations at the historic Loren Andrus Octagon House in Washington Township in April and August. The group reported finding paranormal activity on both occasions.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP — The Loren Andrus Octagon House is a historic home completed in 1860 that has served many purposes during its 155 years. It also supposedly is a haven for paranormal activity, according to the Motor City Ghost Hunters.

The volunteer paranormal investigations group completed two investigations at the Octagon House, one in April and one in August, and lead investigator Tim Renaud said both resulted in evidence of hauntings.

Jan Donovan, chairperson of the nonprofit group that has maintained the building as a historical museum since 1986, said the family that built the house lived there until 1894.

“There’ve been so many different periods: It was a farm, a college, a restaurant, a rental, apartments. It’s been abandoned twice, and it was going to be destroyed,” she said. “Personally, I’ve been there for 15 years and I haven’t had any (ghostly) situations.”

She laughingly conceded that it is possible the spirits might come out after she leaves the building.

“There have been a few things that have been a little questionable, such as the silverware being moved or the candles being moved,” Donovan said. “It’s always been a very friendly (atmosphere) to me.”

Renaud, a St. Clair Shores resident and case manager for the Octagon House investigations, said historical societies often invite the Motor City Ghost Hunters to lead ghost walks. He said the group donates all the proceeds from those events to preserve the buildings and their histories.

During the April investigation, he said, seven team members experienced a number of things in the house.

He said he heard rumors that the house served as a hiding place for runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad, despite there not being much evidence, so he decided to play period music popular during that time as a trigger object.

“As soon as I started the music, we started getting flashlight responses and our (electrical impulse) equipment started to go off,” Renaud said. “One of my investigators seen a shadow behind me in another little room.”

He said he also heard a male voice speak, but couldn’t audibly understand what it said with his ears. Later, when he went over the audio recording, he said the voice said, “We’re here.”

He said a guest investigator reported feeling her arm being grabbed or pulled during a song.

“She got really scared, and she had to go upstairs, but nobody was ever injured throughout the investigation at all,” Renaud said.

In another part of the room that his team called the “doll room,” Renaud said they experienced more paranormal activity. He said Octagon House volunteers informed them that the children who used to live in the house slept there.

An investigator set up toys as trigger objects in the middle of the room, and Renaud said they began to try to talk to the spirits of the children.

“As we were talking, we could hear audibly through our ears little children’s laughter, like they were toying with us,” he said. “The ball in the room rolled by itself.”

Investigators then began trying to talk to the mother and father, and Renaud said they heard a female voice from a nearby room greet them.

In the April investigation, he said the Motor City Ghost Hunters brought a group of approximately 35-40 guests who had purchased tickets through the Octagon House for a ghost walk.

Renaud said the Motor City Ghost Hunters’ goal ultimately is to help people, whether that is through helping families with children who report seeing ghosts or through helping spirits pass on.

For more information about the Motor City Ghost Hunters or its investigations, visit www.motorcityghosthunters.com or call (313) 516-3001. For more information about the Octagon House, visit www.octagonhouse.org or call (586) 781-0084.

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