The Ada Witch
No evidence, no ghosts or witches, but a humorous brush with the law.
(Ahem…cueing up my best movie announcer voice)
This legend is one of lust, betrayel & revenge. One women’s temptation becomes another man’s mortal enemy…got your attention yet? Read on for one of West Michigan’s favorite ghostly legends.
The Ada Witch is a well known legend on the west side of the state that originated in Ada. People have claimed for years to have seen the classic “lady in white” wandering around the area of Findley Cemetery and surrounding areas. But who is this lady in white? Over the years, she got the title of “witch,” but it’s nothing more than a nickname. Within the legend, there is nothing to support that she was a practicing witch or anything of that nature. I've heard a few different variations of the legend, but as I write this, this is the first version that comes to mind.
The legends says a woman during the 1800’s had been cheating on her husband. She would sneak off into the night to meet her lover. Her husband began to suspect she was up to something and pretended to fall asleep one night. After his wife got up and snuck away, he followed her and found her in the arms of another man. Rage welled up inside him and in an instant, the husband attacked the adulterous couple, killing his wife first. The two men fought until they both died from the wounds they inflicted upon each other.
For many years now, people say they have heard the sounds of a fight taking place around the Findley area, only to find no one around. The area at one point must have been open for hunting before it was developed into a residentail area. There have been reports from hunters feeling a presence in the area, hearing the ghostly fight, getting tapped on the shoulder only to find no one there and even seeing a ghostly woman in white.
The first time I went to Findley Cemetery to investigate the area was an interesting experience to say the least. It’s almost a mini adventure just to get out to the cemetery. I don’t remember much about the surrounding area because it was already dark, but to get to Findley, you have to take a lot of hilly, dirt back roads.
It was a nice night for an outdoor investigation. It was a full-moon and the place was lit up for us. The cemetery is small but well taken care off. We wandered in and headed towards the back where it was wooded and started setting up some equipment. The back of the cemetery is interesting because some of the tombstones are scattered in the woods, which makes an eerie little graveyard forest. It is also rumored to be a paranormally active part of the cemetery.
A broken, old tombstone that is half missing and held up by two wooden posts in the middle of the cemetery is supposed to belong to the “Ada Witch.” There’s no evidence that it is hers, but somehow over the years, the legend expanded to encompass that particular tombstone. People leave trinkets, jewelry and candles by it now.
We knew we were in for an interesting night when a couple of ghost hunters showed up smelling like beer. They introduced themselves as some members from another paranormal team in the area and we talked for a while and then continued our hunt for the spirits of Findley. The couple wandered off into the cemetery somewhere.
Some time passed and like any pair of drunken ghost hunters, when the police decided to show up and find out why there were cars parked outside the cemetery gates, the couple bolted from the front of the cemetery to the back by us yelling, “the cops are here, the cops are here!!”
“My God…what idiots…”, I remember thinking to myself. “Could they be any more suspicious?”
So we picked up our gear and proceeded to walk “calmly” to talk to the police. As we approached the gates, the cops had stepped out of their cars and were already interrogating us with their flashlights. One of our members was way in back and started to jog to catch up with everyone.
An over zealous cop thought she was fleeing the scene and yelled, “Freeze…stop running!”
“I’m just trying to catch up!” she yelled back in an irritated tone.
The cops had a rather confused look on their faces as we poured out of the cemetery. Our range of ages were from 20’s up to 50’s and I think the cops thought they were going to find a bunch of teenagers partying it up in the cemetery.
“What are you guys doing here?” the cop asked us.
“We’re ghost hunting,” we said, like it the was the most natural thing in the world to be doing.
The officer’s eyebrow raised. He asked for our ID’s and while he was checking us we explained what we did during our investigations. I was waiting for the cops to smell the beer on the drunk couples breath, but he never said anything.
The next thing we knew, a voice came through the officer’s radio and asked if everything was okay.
“It’s okay…they’re paranormal investigators,” he radioed back.
That was the last thing I was expecting to hear. He gave our ID’s back and told us to let the county know when we were going to be in the cemetery next time. They were happy they didn’t have to bust a bunch of teens and even told us to go back in and keep investigating because we’d probably scare the kids away.
The whole episode was kind of humorous after it was done. The police even asked us if we found anything paranormal yet. We stayed for a little longer and decided to pack it up. The Ada Witch wasn’t going to show up that night.
A few days later, “Dirt from the grave of the Ada Witch” was posted on Ebay, sold by none other then the drunken ghost hunters who showed up that night. I wouldn’t have expected anything less from them. The dirt never sold. Not even the Ebay community is that stupid. They would rather buy things like an x-ray of a duck with an alien in its body or a ghost in a jar.
Funny Reader's Submission
I have always been very interested in the paranormal but until recently, I have not done any research on the subject. Looking at your cemetery section, I came across Findley Cemetery. I have lived in Grand Rapids my whole life and I have heard of the legend several times. One night in October, about three years ago or so, a buddy of mine and I finally decided that we would drive to Ada and see if we could spot anything.
We drove to 2 mile and Pettis and we both had to pee bad! So I pulled over on the side of the road. It was a cloudless night with a beautiful full moon in the sky and very peaceful and quiet. I was at the front of my car and my friend was at the back of my car when all of a sudden I had a very cold chill come over me, almost like a cold wind was blowing. I'm not gonna lie. I zipped up and ran back to my car and sat there for a minute to gather my thoughts. I wasn't paying attention but my buddy was in the car right after me and I told him what I felt and then he admitted the same thing to me. I don't know whether it was just our nerves or if we really did feel some kind of presence that evening. I am not one to scare easy. I volunteered at The Haunt in Walker for the first three years and I loved it. I have always been intrigued by this kind of stuff!
--Adrian, Grand Rapids
*All cemeteries should be entered with respect. Leave them like you found them. Don’t liter, if you smoke, pocket your butts and for the love of every god, don’t vandalize anything or so help me, 10,000 demons will strike you down. If the cemetery has hours posted, respect that as well or find out how to get permission to be in there after hours. Many times a simple phone call to the right person will grant access into a cemetery after hours. If you can’t get access, enjoy the cemetery during open hours. We are firm believers that spirits don’t just come out at night. I think it’s just ghost hunters who only come out at night.