Robert Whaley House, Flint, MI June 28th, 2014


100_2136The Whaley House was built in 1885 by Robert J Whaley and wife Mary (McFarlan) Whaley.  There is no connection with this family to the family of the Whaley House in San Diego, CA. Children consisted of Florence Bickford Whaley and Donald McFarlan Whaley. Robert’s half-sister Laura Whaley lived in the home too. Laura was born in 1880 in WI Robert was born in 8 Dec 1840 in Castile, Wyoming Co, NY and died 12 Dec 1922 (age 81) in Flint, MI.  He is buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Flint, Genesee Co, MI. He was the son of Jeremiah Whaley and Parmelia Ann Flint.   Following the death of his father-in-law, Alexander McFarlan, Robert was elected President of Citizens Bank. He loaned William C. “Billy” Durant $2,000 to start a road cart company which eventually became the General Motors Corporation.Robert Whaley Mary was born in 1847 in Wyoming Co, NY and she died 9 Sep 1925 in Flint, Genesee Co, MI.  She is the daughter of Alexander McFarlan and Margaret Ann Simpson.  According to the Genesee Regional Woman’s Hall of Fame, “Mary McFarlan Whaley’s greatest contribution to her home of Flint, Michigan was through her philanthropic gifts to the community. One of Mary’s earliest acts of philanthropy was joining her siblings in presenting land to the City of flint for its first park, McFarlan Park, established to honor their father, Alexander McFarlan, Flint businessman and mayor. Following the death of her husband Robert J. Whaley in 1922, Mary funded the creation of one of Flint’s largest parks in his honor. Perhaps Mary’s most lasting gifts were the Donald M. Whaley Memorial Home for Children and the McFarlan Home for Women. With her husband, Mary set aside land and funds to create the Whaley Home as a memorial to their son, Donald, who died at the age of ten from diphtheria. Through her will, Mary directed her estate to convert her residence at 624 Kearsley Street into a home for elderly women and named in honor of her parents, Alexander and Margaret McFarlan. Both institutions opened in 1926 and have been in the community since their founding.Mary Whaley Mary was actively involved with her church, St. Paul’s Episcopal of Flint and provided the church’s Five Sisters Chapel in honor of her mother and aunts. Mary McFarlan was active in the social affairs of her community. With her mother and sisters Mary belonged to the Ladies’ Library Association (the beginnings of the Flint Public Library). Additionally, she was active in Art Class, one of Flint’s pioneering women’s organizations that promoted the education of women in the arts, literature, and history.” Florence Bickford Whaley, adopted daughter of Robert and Mary, was born 17 Nov 1874.  She married William Crapo Orrell.  She died on 15 Mar 1959 in Daytona Beach, FL.  Her husband William died in 1927. Florence came to live with the Whaley family after the death of her parents. Her father died when she was just an infant. She was born in 1874. He died of consumption in 1875. Her mother remarried, and died in 1879 (if memory serves). Florence had at least two, maybe 3 brothers. After their mother’s death, the eldest brother Harry Waldorf Bickford, went to live with one set of grandparents who were very prominent in the area. The next oldest brother, Arthur F, went to live with the other set of grandparents. Florence left her husband and went back to live with the Whaleys.  She loved to sail and has a connection with Harson’s Island. Donald McFarlan Whaley was the only biological child of Robert and Mary and he died at the age of 10 due to diphtheria.  He was never in the Whaley House. The only confirmed death was that of Mr. Morrey Andrews, who was the brother-in-law of Mrs. Whaley through one of her sisters.  Other deaths may have occurred while to home was a functioning nursing home but those records cannot be verified at this time.


There were three claims the staff could report.  One was during reconstruction of the home, and a tarp the builders were using levitated to the first floor.  One staff member reported hearing a bell ring when she was in one of the rooms.  Another member of the staff reported feelings of being watched in the basement. No other paranormal team has investigated this site. Just to note:  There is a nursing home next to the home, which was created by the McFarlan Family.


Investigators: Bert, Heather, Lesley, Alley, Gayle, Brenda, and Jason #2 Researchers:  Brenda and Heather Weather: 69F with possible chance of Isolated Thunderstorms Winds SSE 30 mph; Humidity 79%; New Moon Phase Equipment: Digital Camera, Digital Recorders, Spirit Box, Dowsing Rods, Maglight flashlights

Parlor Room100_2148

This room is where the family held weddings and the wakes of family members.  While in this room, numerous investigators reported seeing a shadow figure by the windows at the front of the house that appeared to be scared of us or watching us.  Another investigator saw a shadow figure walking up and down the stairs.  Gayle attempted to put a ball at the top of the stairs to see if the entity would kick it down but that was not successful.  Gayle believes she say the ball move. During an EVP session, we believe we came into contact with Mr. Morrey Andrews.  Mr. Andrews was not aware that he had passed on and was able to answer questions through dowsing rods and confirmed as correct by the museum staff.  Flashlight activity was so sporadic that we do not feel we can use them as evidence. Bert did a Period Resonance session in the room while the rest of the team went to the second floor to begin investigating in the Master Bedroom of the Whaley’s and in the room of the adopted daughter Florence.


The basement has high EMF, which could be the cause of the staffs’ feelings of being watched.  No EVP session was conducted in the basement.

Master Bedroom100_2158

The team set up the video camera and digital records in the room.  While in the room we were getting some strange occurrences with a porcelain doll that was placed in the room.  It is believed the doll was turning its head while we were in there so staff took photos and the video camera was placed on the doll to verify this.  The room was extremely warm and the humidity was high inside and outside of the house.  The home is close to I-475 which gave a lot of contamination of traffic noise while in the room. Florence’s Room We began our EVP session in Florence’s room and received a lot of positive confirmations through flashlight activity while discussing the facts we knew about her.  She has some personal items in the room and seems to be very attached to the home and that room.

Parlor Room (Second Session)100_2153

Bert did a Period Resonance session with all team members present, due to information received that the grandson of Mr. Whaley, Bob, liked to celebrate Christmas in the home and had donated a lot of personal items to the museum. Team members, heard audio responses while the session was going on and possible walking on the second floor while all present were on the first floor. Fireworks were then being set off in the neighborhood so we ended the session.

Dining Room

100_2145All present went into the dining room and were seated around the dining table.  We began the session with the Lord’s Prayer then Prayer for the meal due to the family being of the Episcopal faith.  Much flashlight activity was occurring and a spirit box session was attempted.  While at the table, many reported seeing a shadow figure walk numerous times back and forth in the study Mr. Whaley used.  In that study is the desk that was at the place of employment of Mr. Whaley but we cannot confirm Mr. Whaley died at the desk.  We think the shadow was a residual effect and may have been the time when the family members would go to bed.

EVP’s Obtained during Paranormal Investigation

Sigh” While setting up for another session, Brenda let her recorder run.  

No” EVP Class B: Gayle’s recorder caught a “no” during a dowsing rod session. The EVP is from the Parlor Room and you can hear a faint “NO” from a female voice at around 18 seconds”

“Yes” EVP Class B: Gayle caught this EVP from Florence’s room . Gayle asks if she lived here too, “YES” or YEAH” is heard The EVP is at around 15 seconds

“HI” EVP Class A: We were still in the parlor and as we were discussing trying to talk to Bob, the grandson.Gayle’s recorder catches “Hi”

“No” EVP Class C: Bert is in the Parlor doing his Period Resonance session and talks about getting rid of the garland. You can hear a faint, “No” when Bert says, “About the Christmas items.”

Not yet” EVP Class C: Gayle caught the EVP in the last session in the Dining Room.  Brenda asks Bert if he wants to start dinner. “NOT YET” Or NOT NOW” is heard at around 18 sec


The home is a massive house which could be investigated over a couple of days.  The home appears to be occupied by family members of the Whaley’s and seem to love the home very much.  There is no evidence of anything threatening and has a lot of history.  We would like to thank the staff of the Whaley House for allowing us into the home to investigate and look forward to a great professional relationship with them in the future.

2 comments on “Robert Whaley House, Flint, MI June 28th, 2014

  1. Pingback: Whaley House, Flint, Public Ghost Hunt - Motor City Ghost Hunters

  2. Carrie

    This is going to be a long comment. Early December 1992 I was working as a journalist at a local paper. I don’t know if this is still an event but then Whaley House decorated for Christmas and held tours. The director had called in ill that day and I spent an hour touring the house with an elderly volunteer. We witnessed several phenomena. At first the volunteer ignored it but I know she saw things too. She acknowledged it when toys rolled into the hallway from the son’s room on the second floor. We saw curtain levitate, rocking chairs rocking, toys moving and heard bells ringing. At that time NO ONE talked about paranormal activity. All of the activity occurred on the second floor in the boys room and in the adopted daughters room. If you investigate there again the upstairs might be somewhere to focus on.

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