A Haunting at an Old School Manor

I have worked with paranormal societies a few times in my career. There are many old historic buildings which carry many a lost and restless soul. These souls have not crossed over. There are many reasons why a soul will not be able to cross over. Sometimes it’s just plain stubbornness.

This was the case in the account of the janitor at Old School Manor in Portland, Michigan. I was specifically drawn to this haunting because it was a haunting that my daughter and grandchildren were the victim of. For many months, Jewels my youngest child, had been telling me that she was having spirit activity in her apartment shortly after moving in. Her stack of cds were found in the kitchen one morning when she awoke with the children. She said, “Everything was taken from the refrigerator to the area where the cd rack was.” It was usually in the mornings she would find things that were neatly centered in her apartment the night before, scattered around the apartment or in a pile stacked in a corner. Noises were always heard by everyone in the building.

Knocking, scratching, voices, doors slamming, phones ringing in the hallways… This was an apartment building that had been a school many, many years ago. Being condemned, it was purchased and refurbished and sectioned off into areas of apartments. The old school left such a dark feel to the place. The original boiler room was still in the basement area, and the school recess bells were on every floor over the doorways.

The school bells went off randomly and everyone ran out of the building, as the owner had told the tenant’s that the bell was now being used for a fire alarm. We found that the bells were not connected to any wiring at all, and when they went off there was never any fire. This landlord knew a lot more than he was telling his renters at Old School Manor.

In our investigations we found that a small girl was killed in the late 1800’s in the gym there. The bleachers had been reported as weakening and shifting, so the janitor, who had been working at the school for many years, was sent to fix them. He never did do this job. That evening, the bleachers collapsed and it was then that the little girl was crushed to death.

It had been reported that the janitor disappeared a few months later, but the rumors about his disappearance were all centered on the father of the little girl. It was said that he killed the janitor and set the old school on fire. There was speculation that janitor was dumped in the building by the murderer and that he had been burned to ashes.

Much of the building was then rebuilt through donations from the community… but the janitor and the little girl never left. Reports of their antics started shortly after the rebuilding of the school. The little girl has been seen by many of the tenants there for years.

I only felt her following me as I walked through many of the school’s hallways in my investigation… I also heard her foot steps. The first time this happened I said, “Don’t you scare me!” Others have reported that she smacked them in the back and they flew ahead, and some fell.

Then, the janitor decided to move into my daughter’s apartment, and the activity was unbearable. He wrote sentences on her computer to tell her that her husband was cheating on her with the woman in Apt. 382, and even gave her the woman’s name. He started to terrorize my 2 year old granddaughter one day. When my daughter found her in a corner she asked her what was wrong, and why was she holding her hands over her face? She said ‘Henry wants us to move. He said this is his house.”

This was not the only communication that Henry (the janitor) had with this child. He would follow her everywhere in the apartment, and once she said to her Mother, “Wait! Wait! You just shut Henry in your room! Open the door! quick, he gets mad!”

Well at that point my husband and I decided to call some ghostbusters who had lots of equipment. We knew we had to get him out of there.

The following Friday, we showed up at the old school manor in full force. Some local ghostbuster friends came along with their camera’s, digital audio recorders, and magnetic resistance measuring equipment, and their own sensitive members in tow. Boy, we gave that place a going over, and Henry was not the only occupant of the school. Since the problem centered on my daughter and granddaughter, we concentrated on talking some sense into Henry. After a bit of persuasion, the janitor moved along to longer hallways (greener pastures). While he no longer bothered my daughter and granddaughter, a few months later they found their own greener pastures and decided to move from the Old School Manor.

14 thoughts on “A Haunting at an Old School Manor

  1. Darla

    I lived in the house next to the old school. I didn’t hear or see anything…. This was before it was apts. I would really like to visit the building myself.

  2. Dominic

    I live in Portland on brush street the same street that the school is on and Ive always heard rumors about it being haunted so I decided a couple weeks back to go in there what I saw was school hallways with broken walls and glass and classrooms that had been divided up into apartments some wich actually looked nice and vandalism on the walls from spray paint from other kids who like to hang out in there I didn’t see or hear anything creepy although the enviorment is a bit creepy especially the boiler room and all the windows are boarded so its dark. Honestly I don’t think its haunted but when someone can tell me first and last names along with dates I might reconsider.

  3. keely green

    i saw the girl twice the first time i saw her i saw her in the window on the second floor. i didnt think it was the ghost but then i saw her again a couple weeks ago. this time i saw her in the basement there was a boreded up window that was broken about half off with a tree branch inside it appared that someone busted it with the branch but a saw some one in the corner it was a girl who look around my age. im 15 years old so i think was the girl who was crushed.

  4. Portland Resident

    My friend and I went to check out the school today and we found broken glass EVERYWHERE and the base of the bell in the front door. My friend has been there before, and said that wasn’t there before. While walking up the steps, she didn’t see anything before. All the door were locked and the windows covered because people threw rocks at them, so we couldn’t see in. We also found an old JANITOR SHIRT!! We didn’t get close enough to see a name. We both felt followed and watched from the windows. The parking lot was plain old freaky! We found the mailboxes of the classrooms 1-25. We were too scared to read many of the signs. My friend thought she saw a girl that was short in the only uncovered window. In the drain, there was an old hanger and a VERY sharpened stick. The wood covering a door seemed to have been split like someone had opened it from the inside. There was two holes spaces out about how far your eyes are split. I was too frightened to look in though. I don’t know if we just saw what we did because we had heard stories, but that’s what we think we saw.

  5. also portland girl

    went to school there untill 1989. it was a beautiful building from top to bottom. no ghosts. no past tragedies either. look it up. the previous owner wasnt hiding any of these things, he was financially in over his head. as buildings are abandoned and/or neglected they tend to look spooky. and ghost story-tellers want to be interesting and special. thanks for the entertainment though.

  6. Portland Girl

    My mother, sister and I lived in apartment 1 in early 2000 or so. All of this is true. Scary shit went down there.

  7. Elaine Lambert

    We lived in Old School Manor for about 4 years, and I never saw anything! It was super creepy and quiet in the halls, especially at 3 or 4 am if I was coming in alone! I would practically run to our apartment, which of course was upstairs on the farthest side of the building. My husband’s father’s company owned the building so we had access to the everything, and never heard or saw anything unusual, but it definitely had a weird feel to it. Great apartments though!! It was kinda fun to catch kids in different areas, especially the basement, doing their own little ghost hunts!

  8. Chrissy Marcantonio

    I used to live there from 2007 – until it was condemned in apartment 1. The janitor did NOT move on. A lot of stuff happened to me and my mom. That place had the worst energy I have ever felt and I hated going to the downstairs laundry room. I will never go back

  9. mitchell lehnert

    i’ve lived in portland my whole life and wondered those halls from a kid till it was closed. I never heard or saw anything but a cool old building to have adventures in. I believe in ghosts and I never once felt uncomfortable in any part of that building.

  10. Gayle Thompson

    Interesting story. I attended this school from 1949 through 1962 and never, ever heard any telling of such a story. Not ever. No one ever reported being followed or scared by a janitor or little girl. We had classrooms in the basement. I never felt scared in that school. Not for a minute. Why would ghosts wait until apartments were built to make themselves known?

  11. Mary Schweigert

    I actually lived in apt.#12 from 2004-2008. My family and i have had many run-ins with both of the spirits that you have described in your article. We would be awoken in the middle of the night by laughs, and or screams. The screams would be so loud and real that we swore it was our child. When we would get up to look our son would be sound asleep with peaceful looks on his face. I even have a picture of what i believe to be the janitor. It is clearly a male face on my phone. My boyfriend was the maitence man and when he would be doing work down in the boiler room(which was were the electrical room and water tank for the laundry)our son would go nowhere near the door. He told us that “something bad was down there.” and screamed all the way back to our apt. My boyfriend was even overcome with a sense of wrongness with the boiler room. I don’t think that what is there is dangerous, we managed to live with there for four years,aside from an occassional supernatural prank. Truth be told I think that the girl has followed us to our new home. We now see her and she is alot more open in our lives now. We now have another child a daughter that was born to us while we lived there, and I think that maybe the girl has a fondness for her. My daughter is 2 years old and has told us there is a ghost in her room. We tell her to tell her to be nice and stop scaring her. Which always works. It was nice to read such a in-depth account of the history of old school manor this is what I was looking for. Thank you.

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