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If you find yourself in Bath Township next weekend, chances are you’ll run into ghost hunter Brad Mikulka. He is the director of the Southeast Michigan Ghost Hunter Society, and next up on the organization’s list of investigations is a weekend trip to Bath Township to the site of the 1927 school bombing that killed 44 and injured 58 — still the deadliest school massacre in U.S. history.
“We have been there many times, and there’s always activity happening over there,” he said. “I’ve gotten permission from the Police Department to be there after hours, and we will have all the equipment, and we also have access to the graveyard where some of the victims are buried also.”
This trip is completed annually by the society, though last May 18 — the anniversary of the tragedy — the group was investigating a haunted spot in another state.
Mikulka said that this time, attendees can observe the ghost hunters in action and potentially see them record some evidence of spirits at the site.
Mikulka warns that investigations of haunted areas are “not like you see on TV” because they aren’t as theatrical as one might imagine. Rather, they are designed to either identify spirits, or to help them pass to the other side.
Ghost hunting seems to have been in the cards for Mikulka since the outset. After all, he did live in a haunted house.
“I was only about 2 or 3 years old. My parents and aunts and uncles said they never felt it to be threatening, but they didn’t know what was going to happen next. It kept everyone on edge,” Mikulka said. “As I got older, they would tell me stories.”
Those stories would fuel a desire to learn about the world’s spiritual side that would never fade with age for the ex-marine. He said that in his childhood home, it all started with a loud bang that startled his mother and aunt.
“She said, ‘My first impression was that somebody missed the corner and crashed into our house, but when we ran into the living room, there was nobody there,’” Mikulka said.
Things escalated when Mikulka’s father saw a visitor on his way to work.
“He worked third shift, and he heard footsteps coming down the hallway. ‘Your mom wasn’t home. I heard them coming toward the living room where I was. They were around the corner, but when I looked there wasn’t anybody,’” Mikulka said. “‘There was a shadow, somebody walking through our living room toward our kitchen.’” After a few more incidents — the sounds of animals fighting in the basement and locks being mysteriously undone from the home’s interior — the events hit their peak.
“My mom was getting freaked out, so my uncle came over and spent the evening. She put him on the couch, and she slept on the floor. Around 3 o’clock in the morning, she woke up,” Mikulka said. “She said she felt something behind her, watching her. She rolled over to the side, and there was a gentleman on his hands and knees staring at her, and she could see through him. He was transparent.”
That final encounter, with what the family assumed must have been the previous owner of the home, led to them moving away from their Middleton home — the unpredictability had gotten too difficult to handle.
That occurred in the late ‘60s, and besides having a special interest in all things spooky, “I read everything I could about ghosts growing up.” Mikulka said he had a fairly normal, ghost-free childhood. It wouldn’t be until 1995 that his ghost hunting days would officially begin.
“I looked up on Yahoo, ‘Michigan ghost hunter society,’ and this group popped up. I clicked on the link, and the founder of the Southeast Michigan Ghost Hunter Society was a gentleman named Bill Rhoades and he lived in Troy — hence the name,” Mikulka said.
Twenty-one years later, and the name has stuck along with Mikulka. Now 52, the ghost hunter has been on 100s of investigations across the nation and the state, some of which have occurred in the private homes of Lansing residents — and some have been more public.
“Last year, we did a fundraiser at the Turner Dodge House in Old Town, and we did an investigation there,” Mikulka said. “We got EVPs, electronic voice phenome non, which is something that you hear not while you’re there, but something that you hear on investigation of your evidence.”
It wasn’t until he played back the tapes that he noticed peculiar clicking sounds and a distinct, seemingly disembodied exhalation at the home. Mikulka said that his job is made easier because he is a medium — a person who can communicate in some fashion with spirits.
In another locally famous spot, Mikulka said he encountered a ghost at the Michigan State University Auditorium.
“It was one of the handymen that used to work there years ago, and they just recently passed,” Mikulka said. “He knew that he had died, but he enjoyed the place, and he didn’t want to leave.”
According to Mikulka, there are four reasons a spirit might be haunting an area.
“One is they don’t know that they have passed; two, is they have unfinished business; three, they know that they have passed, but they don’t know where to go; and the fourth reason is that they know that they have passed, but they enjoy where they are so much that they don’t want to leave,” he said.
At the end of the day, Mikulka said he continues his work because he wants both to learn more about his craft and to help people who might be struggling with an earthbound spirit or even help tormented spirits themselves.
“Everything that we do is free of charge, but it has to be pretty bad for people to invite perfect strangers into their house,” Mikulka said. “If they’re having problems, why would anyone charge you for this? We’re here to help you; we’re not here to make money.”
Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like help with a haunting.
Bath Investigation Saturday, Oct. 14 7 p.m.-Midnight Bath Township See Facebook Page