From his position with Grimstone, Inc., Director Chris Bailey of Warren, is quick to comment on the mix of individuals who comprise his paranormal investigations group. The 40-year-old family man serves as a research director of the varied staff of 20 stretching through two groups from Warren to Lansing.
“We range from Catholics and scientists to skeptics and believers — and everything in between — and we use all manner of diagnostic abilities to get at answers during our investigations,” he said during a recent appearance at Roseville Public Library in Roseville. “But, in my 18 years of doing this, I have seen some very diehard skeptics become serious believers in ghosts.”
In fact, the membership’s overall theme at Grimstone is “believing skeptics,” says Bailey.
To that end, Grimstone keeps a variety of knowledgeable staff members on hand to address assorted conditions and questions at homes and businesses. There are four departments within Grimstone: Investigations, Research and Analysis, Historical, and Administration, with a combined amount of 68 years’ experience in related fields.
“On average, for every six hours of investigations, we also provide about 60 hours of review to determine whether locations are truly haunted, or if there could be another, more scientific, explanation for disturbances,” he said. “Our electricians, psychologists and chemists are often able to throw out haunted conclusions, and they have access to making referrals to other professions for additional input, too.”
When not actively investigating hauntings, Grimstone also studies the psyche, global locations and buildings in depth. This year has seen members experiment with the statistical probability of Zener cards through Ganzfeld techniques by using images of stars, wavy lines, ovals and others, to see if mind-reading is possible. The group has also explored the more than 1,000 rooms at Detroit’s secret (and said to be very haunted) 88-year-old Masonic Temple, area home to the Masons’ organization, probably more than 1,000 years old in itself. The resulting high-quality color photos of both those events, as well as an interview with parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach; historical articles on Poveglia Island (the plague mass-burial island near Italy) and Lazaretto Nuovo Island (home to vampires and more mass graves); background on Detroit’s Le Nain Rouge (The Red Dwarf that precedes disastrous events in the city); and feedback on Smartphone apps for ghost-hunting are just some of the pieces in a recent issue of the Grimstone Gazette, the organization’s engrossing and well-researched newsletter.
“As a result, we are able to rule out craziness and help homeowners and business-owners move on,” said Bailey. “However, whenever doing so, the main thing we try to avoid is taking (ghost-like) things back with us!”
Often repeat investigative performances are necessary, he adds. About 50 to 75 percent of the places exorcised have to call back the exorcist within one month. Grimstone does not charge for such services and uses a holistic approach to remove spiritual interference. Members prefer to focus on the study of statistical aspects of the job as well as environmental conditions, mineral deposits and other details. There’s a lot of scientific weight in their investigations.
By poring over U.S. geological maps during that process, Bailey’s group made some discoveries, including that the more people there are in a given area, the more ghosts prevail.
Grimstone asks the owners of businesses and homes to sign a confidentiality agreement before an investigation is begun. And, having moved from using detection methods like divining rods to newer electronics, he now incorporates a series of tools. The group measures AC/DC current, infra-red and UV meters, uses miniature wrist recorders and cell phone detection, aerial drones, highly sensitive audio equipment and overlapping video cameras set at multiple angles. And, because they employ scientific methods, Bailey says having a sixth sense doesn’t necessarily have to come into play when ghost-hunting.
“I’m as psychic as a brick,” he said. Yet, he maintains a healthy curiosity about the events he studies.
It was during his childhood and while his family was house-hunting in Penn. that Bailey first was introduced to the concept of the paranormal.
“A hallway door inexplicably flew open while my parents were looking at houses, and that intrigued me,” Bailey said. “Another time as an adult, I experienced a strange event with my not-yet-wife. While she was napping, I had a vision during a type of dream-state, where I could see what she was dreaming at the time, and experienced temporary blindness from it. It was a very weird experience.”
Both instances nudged him to realize the universe is probably much bigger and more interesting than he says he ever gave it credit for. That led to he and a friend discreetly exploring old houses for even more feedback.
The Grimstone group grew out of that early influence, and has visited some impressive haunts. The Fenton Hotel, now a restaurant, was built in 1856 between Flint and Lansing. Its voices, mists and floating objects have been documented, as has the identity of a ghostly man named Emery.
The third floor has been closed off to foot traffic, boarded up, and is only accessible through board removal by crowbar. But in the dark, something brushed by Bailey, who was standing alone. He directed a flashlight on his arm, which had every hair standing on end.
“I watched as something brushed the hairs back into place, then pushed them upright again,” he said. “I was freaked out, but as it was also rather entertaining, I called to others in the group to join me and watch the scene be repeated, again and again. Something, or someone, was pushing the hairs up, then down again.”
Subsequent investigations of the hotel followed, including a series of fundraising events held during explorations. One instance revealed the appearance of a mysterious lady in a white dress as well as resulted in eight Grimstone female members having their hair pulled, and culminated in the hotel’s black ghost cat — often seen by wait staff — following one of the investigators home.
At a house in Brown City, Bailey dealt with what the homeowners had hoped was merely an imaginary friend to their kids. Bailey sat down in their haunted playroom and read aloud “Beauty & the Beast,” then conversed with the ghost, whose audible messages were recorded via Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP).
At another home, this time in Brownstone Township, a little girl made friends with a ghost, who communicated through a series of knocks. Grimstone could not be outdone by the spirit, who answered each knock exactly as directed, even if the required number of knocks for “yes” was 17 or 38 knocks! Surveillance equipment of the walls and attic ruled out any other explanation but paranormal activity, and dark shadows were seen rising from the floorboards.
A family of five became plagued by shadows of an 8-foot tall deer-like creature with antlers that reared up on two legs in the hallway of their home; they called it Deersquatch. Problems began after the father, who worked in construction in Plymouth, brought home a strange 14-inch, solid wood, ornately-carved object he found at his work site. Further inquiry identified the object as one originating with Native American culture.
At Mansfield, Ohio’s State Reformatory, the group encountered a strange phenomenon. The building is where “The Shawshank Redemption” was filmed and is reputedly unfriendly to visitors. While moving from one area to another, Bailey and one of the female Grimstone members saw her boyfriend, Josh — another group member — head down a hall. They called to him unsuccessfully; he seemed to be only focused in front of him. They both followed him through a doorway into another room where he was nowhere to be seen. Later, they discovered the real Josh, had never even been in that part of the building when his image was projected to be moving along the corridor in a most convincing 3-D manner.
Grimstone has worked in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New York and Hong Kong. In the beginning, Bailey says, came a lot of cemetery surveillance, including Pontiac’s Oak Hill Cemetery, where investigators witnessed a man walking from behind a tree to a tombstone, then dropping straight into the ground and out of sight.
This group leaves no (head?)stone unturned.
Its current focus is to replace important pieces of surveillance equipment that were lost in Michigan’s August floods. Well, that and to continue investigation and documentation of spooky places in and around Michigan.
For more info, call (313) 444-GRIM (4746), or go to www.Grimstone-Inc.com. The Facebook site for Grimstone is www.facebook.com/grimstoneinc and access to the seasonal newsletter is gazette@Grimstone-Inc.com.
Receive more news about the paranormal as well as other subjects; subscribe by clicking above for email notifications of new articles.