The buildings that we investigated on this March evening are all run by the Dearborn Historical Society. They have claims of disembodied voices, candles blowing out and objects moving. The McFadden-Ross House and the Commandant’s Quarters are formerly part of the Detroit Arsenal in Dearbornville and a bit of the history of each building is included below. The Gardner House is the oldest home in the City of Dearborn outside of Greenfield Village. The Dearborn Historical Society graciously let us investigate each of these buildings that have been part of the Dearborn Historical Society since 1950. Motor City Ghost Hunters now holds public ghost hunting events to raise money for the Dearborn Historical Society.
Video Evidence Obtained During Investigation
McFADDEN-ROSS HOUSE: Originally built as a powder magazine the Detroit Arsenal in Dearbornville in 1839, it was one of the last buildings completed as a part of the Dearborn Arsenal. This building was built 940 feet away from the arsenal proper in order to protect the arsenal complex in case of explosion. This building was eventually closed in 1875 and the building, along with six acres of land, was purchased by Nathaniel Ross in 1883. Mr. Ross ran a very successful dairy farm near the corner of Telegraph and Michigan Ave. Mrs. Elizabeth Ross (Born McFadden) was from a family of means that owned several properties (it is rumored that they were acquired through tax auctions) in West Dearborn and operated a general store. The powder magazine was gradually converted into a sprawling family home and housed the McFadden-Ross family until 1950 when the last surviving member, Miss Mary Elizabeth Ross (Lizzy) willed the home to the City of Dearborn for a museum to honor her mother, Elizabeth Ross (born McFadden) and Nathaniel Ross.
Lizzy had a brother named Liddell who lived with her until his death and had domain over the second floor. Liddell’s wife and three children died from sickness, quite
possibly cholera. Lizzy, who was reputedly very ornery and never married, died in the house on the ground floor.
When she died, the McFadden-Ross House was the last farmstead in the City of Dearborn that had several out-buildings which were subsequently demolished. In 1956, the McFadden-Ross house became the second building operated by the Dearborn Historical Museum.
CLAIMS: One of the museum volunteers was reading the will which left the McFadden-Ross House to the City of Dearborn in order to see if the City could sell or raze the house to move to a more suited property. While reading the will, the light burnt out above her head which was taken as a sign from Lizzy Ross. A book may have been pushed off a shelf and onto the head of a museum volunteer.
Audio Evidence Obtained in the McFadden-Ross House
“HEY EVP Class C:Investigator Gayle is giving a little background during our investigation in the archives section (formerly Liddell’s floor) of the McFadden-Ross House. A loud whisper in an apparent male voice seemed to be trying to get our attention.
GARDNER HOUSE: Richard and Elizabeth Gardner emigrated to the United States in 1828 from England. Richard was influential in the early politics of Dearborn Township. He served as the township supervisor, assessor and justice of the peace for the Township of Dearborn. Mr. Gardner originally purchased 80 acres of land in the old “Scotch Settlement,” an area around Warren Avenue and Southfield Road. His 80 acres contained a small creek which provided him access to Michigan Avenue.
This house is the oldest home in the City of Dearborn outside of Greenfield Village. Henry Ford saw to it that the original core of the home was preserved and moved it to the collection at Greenfield Village. The Gardner House as it sits today was moved next to the McFadden-Ross house in 1996.
“RUN” EVP Class B Investigator Caryn was paired with two male investigators, both of whom can be heard talking in the backgroud about protocol. A definitive male voice speaks up, louder than our two male investigators….
COMMANDANT’S QUARTERS: The Commandant’s Quarters are part of the sprawling 11 building complex formerly known as the Detroit Arsenal in Dearbornville of which only the McFadden-Ross House and the Commandant’s Quarters are currently run by the Dearborn Historical Society. When Detroit grew in size after the War of 1812, the arsenal in Detroit was too close to the blossoming population center and it was deemed necessary to move it outside of town to the Military Reserve in Dearbornville and the new Arsenal began construction in 1833 and finished with the powder magazine in 1839. The complex was surrounding by a wall that stood 12 feet high and was approximately 2 ½ feet thick. The arsenal contained a kiln and produced bricks for the buildings on site. There were approximately a dozen ordnance soldiers who were stationed at the arsenal at any given time. They were responsible for arms maintenance, saddlery and any other military equipment on site. During the Civil War, munitions were shipped from the arsenal by rail to troops mustering out of Fort Wayne in Detroit.
The Commandant’s Quarters housed 19 different commanders and their families between 1833 and 1875. The Commandant’s Quarters is the oldest building in the City of Dearborn standing on its original location. When the arsenal was closed in 1875, the Commandant’s Quarters were transformed into the Township Hall, town library, and it even served as both police and fire stations before becoming a museum in 1950. The brick wall next to the museum is a reproduction of how the arsenal wall looked in the mid-19th century, but the iron gate is original to the armory.
Audio Evidence Obtained in the Commandant’s Quarters
“GET OUT” EVP Class B Investigator Tim R. is alone in a bedroom across the hall from the other investigators. A gruff male voice apparently does not want him in this room. 12 minutes later, the track lighting in the room starts to respond to questioning as noted in the video above.
The three historical buildings we investigated had mixed results when it comes to recording paranormal phenomena. Nearly all investigators experienced cold spots, heard knocks and disembodied voices, and we witnessed several interactions with flashlights, tracklighting, and EMF meters of various sorts. We received some indication that there may be a spiritual presence in each of the three buildings we investigated, but there was not much in the way of usable audio evidence. What we are sure of is that if there are spiritual presences in any of these locations, they harbor no ill intent. We are pretty sure we encountered at least one of the Elizabeths who lived in the McFadden-Ross House, but we are not sure who the other persons we encountered were. Hopefully, over several more investigations, we may be able to nail down exactly who is haunting the buildings of the Dearborn Historical Society.