Samantha Harris is a real-life ghostbuster with the Michigan Paranormal Research Association.
By Daniel Lai
For paranormal investigator Samantha Harris, ghost hunting is a full-time job. Harris and her team at the Michigan Paranormal Research Association, spend their days investigating areas where unexplained spiritual activity has been recorded. Harris, who graduated from DHS in 2006, has been researching paranormal activity most of her life. “I have had psychic experiences since I was about 2, but began actual research when I was 11 or 12,” she said. “When I was in seventh grade, I captured an apparition (ghostly figure) of a spirit in a picture while at Camp Al-Gon-Quian in Burt Lake, which is what inspired me to begin researching the metaphysical.” Harris said she sent the picture to Huron Camera in Dexter, who reviewed the photo and could not explain the image. “All of a sudden they began sharing their own personal ghost stories,” she said. The experience inspired Harris to begin documenting her investigations through articles she wrote while in high school. One investigation in particular of an alleged warlock’s (male Wiccan) grave site located in a cemetery off of Huron River Drive near Zeeb Road still stands out in her memory. “It is believed that if you lay down over the warlock’s grave that a shadow figure will sink through you. When I was in high school I stopped by the police station to ask about it and ended up being escorted by three squad cars to the location,” Harris recalled. “All three officers made sure they were armed, which I found humorous since the paranormal isn't something you can typically fend off with weapons. We walked back to the cemetery and found the headstone of the 'warlock' growing into a massive oak tree.” Harris said the grave was marked with blood-red sap and lots of thorns growing on it. “The ground beneath the tree and headstone was completely dug out and one of the officers told me how they once discovered teenagers digging out the grave and trying to summon spirits,” Harris said. “There are no records of a warlock being buried there, however I can testify that the energy of the surrounding woods there is very eerie.” That same year, while visiting a friend’s home on Huron River Drive and Walsh Road, Harris experienced a haunting of her own. “One evening we had left the house, locked the doors and turned off the lights to go pick up some supplies and food for the investigation. Upon returning, we found all the lights on and the door was unlocked. As we walked inside the living room, the television turned on by itself,” Harris said. “The remote was sitting directly on top of the television so it wasn't accidentally turned on by one of us sitting on the remote.” Harris recalls the station switched from a program about Elvis Presley to a static adult station. “As my friend and I made a joke about the weird channel selections, his parents’ bedroom doors began slamming back and forth. We were speechless,” she said. After graduation, Harris launched the Michigan Paranormal Research Association in 2009 while attending Michigan State University to study demonology, spirituality and psychic awareness. Since launching, the group has garnered the attention of local and national radio and television programs, including the Travel Channel and the A&E Network. “It’s been real interesting,” she said. Harris said the MPRA receives hundreds of calls a year to explore paranormal activity and perform house cleansings. "Seventy-five to 80 percent of Americans believe in ghosts and spirits. No one wants to talk about them, or more so do not, because they feel they'll be titled as 'weird,'" Harris said. The group has held investigations in Ann Arbor, Howell, Northville, Manchester and Ypsilanti, among others. They also explored the Civil War battlefield in Gettysburg, PA. and the famed Holly Hotel in Oakland. Sample sound clips are included on their website. To read more on the MPRA's investigations, visit their website at www.michiganpra.com.