Friday, February 23, 2018


The Brandt Family Ghost Story 
By Leigh Collin Brandt

After World War II ended, my father Lee (Buster), decided to study accounting at Ferris State College in Big Rapids Michigan. He and my mother, Dorothy, rented several apartments over the years they spent in Big Rapids most of them, were really old and in bad shape. Finally, they settled into an old house on Bjornson Street with my sisters 2 year old Trina and, six year old Sandy. A friend of theirs, an English woman named Maureen with two little boys of her own, agreed to rent one of the rooms in the house to help defray costs. Maureen had husband who was still in the service but, she and her two sons had moved to America to her husband’s home town.

The two families, 3 adults and 4 children, liked the old house at first. It was near the campus and the factory where my father worked nights. My mother had a part time job at a restaurant just off the main campus. After a few days, things began to change at the old house. Late at night, after everyone had gone to bed, there were footsteps heard, slowing coming up the creaking stairway. Whenever anyone looked, no one was ever there.

One night, Sandy was in the bathroom and, when she looked in the mirror, there was a large man standing behind her in a black trench coat with a large hat. She did not see any face under the hat. She screamed and screamed until my mother and her friend Maureen ran into the bathroom. The two women did not see any man in a trench coat. They calmed down my sister and gathered all the children together in the master bedroom while the two ladies searched the house.

My mother and her friend Maureen decided to first check out the front door to see if maybe some bum had wandered in off the street. It was winter and had been snowing outside so, someone might have tried to get warm at the first place they came upon. The front door was made of oak and was bolted shut from the inside. My mother lifted the bolt and opened the door. Both women were shocked to find a set of men’s footprints in the fresh fallen snow. It was the only pear of footprints and had to have been made recently since the snow was coming down hard. The scary thing was the set of men’s tracks led all the way up to the door and that was it. There was no sign of any tracks leading away from the house only up to the door. But, the man could not have gotten into the house because the door was bolted shut from the inside.

My mother and her friend were now quite worried and after checking on the children again, they went on a room by room search, checking all the other doors and windows first downstairs, then upstairs, then finally, they went up to the attic.
The attic was full of old cloths and old furniture but, there was no man in a trench coat.

No one slept the rest of the night and, when my father got home in the morning from his job; he immediately researched the entire house and found no man in a trench coat. My father went outside to take a look around the house when he noticed that the old couple across the street, who were always watching out their front window, was outside standing in the snow. They seemed agitated and he couldn't tell if it was from the cold or if they wanted to say something to him. My father went over to them and asked them if they had seen anything or anyone peculiar hanging around the outside of the house. The old couple replied that 'there was some really strange stuff that went on in that house". They told him a man had murdered his wife and family there with an ax. Then, he hung himself. “That place is haunted and you had better get out of there.” They warned my father.

My parents and their friend Maureen found another place to live and moved out that day. Several years latter when my niece was attending Ferris State College, she went to visit the old haunted house at the location my mother had told her. My niece reported that it was still standing and, no one was living there or had lived there in a very long time.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Relating my own personal unexplainable experience with what some might call the supernatural is very difficult for me. I am a student of science. I have a Bachelor of Science degree. I am trained to be both skeptical and observant. For the most part my family was agnostics and atheists. I am not someone who has been raised in any religious or supernatural belief system. To understand a situation I need to observe, classify and quantify information and then postulate a theory based upon whatever proof that I see to affirm said theory. In summation, I am not one to believe in the supernatural existence of ghosts.

One day when I was about 8 years old, long before I formed all my ideas about reality and religion, I happened to have an overwhelming smell of flowers that made me sick because they were so strong. Within a few moments I overheard my mom talking on the phone to a relative. My mom had just been told that her aunt had just died after a long battle with cancer. By that time the flower smell had become a tremendous stink and I could not get it out of my head. I was inside the house and there absolutely no plants around. At 8 years old I did not put together the overwhelming smell of flowers with my great aunt dying. I just remember after all these years that the two occurrences happened at the same time.

Many years went by and then when I was 15 years old my father while working in the yard fell dead beside of me. He had suffered a major heart attack and he could not be revived. Almost at the very second of his death I was overcome with the smell of flowers. I did not understand what type of flowers these were until I went to the funeral home to view my father’s lifeless body. All around it were dozens of flower arrangements and most of them had lots of flowers. It was at that time that I realized what I was smelled there and what I had smelled when my grant aunt died and father had died were funeral flowers. Even with that realization I never said a thing to anyone about it. It seem preposterous that I could smell death and that it had the same smell as the flowers at a funeral home near the body that was laid out for viewing.

The shock of my father’s sudden death overwhelmed my consideration of the funeral flowers. I smelled these awful smells many weeks after my father was laid to rest. Many years past and in my studies of the sciences I had forgotten about the flower smell. Then one day my mom and two sisters were sitting and talking about some of our favorite relatives that had died and my mom said that before she received the phone call that informed her that my great aunt (her aunt) had died, my mother was overwhelmed with the smell of funeral flowers. My sisters then each said that they had had the same experience that day. I just had to acknowledge that I had had the same experience as my mother and my sisters.

Since that time I have noticed overwhelming smell of funeral flowers whenever I am around someone who is about to die. I try to ignore it but there is no whisky, wine or, beer that can ever drown out that smell. As a garden center manager I learned that the smell was mostly the smell of carnations with the hint or roses. However, the smell is far more intense than any carnation or rose. I do not share my knowledge of someone’s impending doom with anyone. I just keep it to myself and I tell myself that I believe in science and not the supernatural.