True Tales from Michigan -"true tales of ghostly & creepy experiences around Michigan..."

 

The Lonely Ghost of Fulton Street

I have been told that the building at 731 Front Street, Grand Rapids is the oldest house still on its original foundation in Grand Rapids.  During 1993-1995, I worked in that building.  Our conference room was downstairs in the former living room and our offices were upstairs in the former bedrooms.

My office was in the southeast corner. Right next to it in the northeast corner was a small room that we turned into a mini conference room.  If memory serves me, we had an oval table and four office chairs in that room.  The room looked out on the street intersection and a street light was on the corner.

In late October of 1993, I was working late at the office. It was dark outside and the street light was shining in through the windows.  Earlier, I had gone down and locked the front and back door and walked through the offices, so I knew no one was there and no one could get in.

Somewhere between 8 and 10pm, I got up from my desk in my office to go get a cup of coffee. As I passed the open door of the mini-conference room, I saw a man sitting at the conference table. He was on the far side but because the room was small, he was only eight to ten feet away from me as I paused at the doorway. He had his hands in his lap, head bowed down. I could see just enough of his face to see that he looked incredibly sad. My first thought was, “What the hell are you doing in there?"  (Back then, I was 6'8" and weighed 250lbs, so I wasn’t too frightened by most people no matter what situation I was in.)

Then I realized that I was seeing the chair right through him. In hindsight, I'd say he was about 50% or 60% opaque. I could see the streetlight shining through him and even the fabric pattern in the chair back he was sitting on. I could see all that right through him.

As I looked at him, he raised his head to look right at me and I got chills and I felt the hair on my arms, neck and body stand up.

He appeared benign and sad but extremely spooky. I remember clearly thinking, "It's time for me to go home." And I can remember hastily gathering up my things, turning off the lights and scooting out the back door into the parking lot.  

Later that night, as I thought about it, I had a strong feeling that if I had not gotten "spooked", I could have actually communicated with the ghost.

The next week, one of the building's owners stopped over to say hello. We had never met the owner before and had always dealt with his partner. He was probably 80 years old at the time, and in hindsight, I don't think his visit was at all a coincidence. It was the only time we ever met or talked with him.

I told the owner about my experience.  He acted like it was no big deal and said he knew about the ghost. In fact, he told me a story that he had heard about the ghost and why it was there.  

He told me that the building we were in was originally a residence. Then it was purchased earlier in the 1900's by the guy who owned the factory across the street on Front Street.  (The factory now houses offices and the IRS.)  The factory owner used the home to "entertain" customers and vendors who came into town. There were chairs and a bar downstairs. The owner said the upstairs often had women in it who "made the visitors more comfortable."

He also said the owner was a hard charging, highly successful, very driven guy. But his son was a  true never-do-well who just couldn't "measure up" to his father.  And that apparently was a real issue between them. With the son feeling down and depressed because he couldn't fill dad's shoes, one night in October, the son took a pistol right in that room we were using as a mini-conference room and killed himself.

If I remember correctly, the old owner said that the ghost was said to come back on the anniversary of his death. I never saw the ghost again, but then I never worked at the office after dark after that.

That's pretty much all I know.  But unless something major has happened, I'd bet that the ghost is probably still coming back on the day and the time of the anniversary of his death.

Story Submission July 2008

 

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