Believers in the paranormal say several businesses and buildings in Livingston County are haunted by ghosts. 

Each year in October, local ghost hunting events attract people searching for evidence of an afterlife and a taste of local history. 

From strange happenings in a former morgue to ghostly faces in store windows, the ghost stories abound.

A woman on a 2018 ghost tour in downtown Howell with tour host Dianna O'Grady captures her reflection in a window. O'Grady claims the photo captured an image of a ghost standing behind the woman with his hands wrapped around the woman's hands.

Ghostly reflections in Howell windows

Did a woman really capture a photo of a ghost in a downtown Howell window?

Dianna O’Grady, who leads Howell Historical Ghost Tours every October, said people on her tours have captured ghostly apparitions in several storefront windows.

O’Grady said one of the most convincing photos is of a ghost tour participant’s reflection in a window near Advanced Medical Solutions on Grand River Avenue. 

“She’s just taking a picture into one of the windows, and she had bright blue nail polish on that night. You can see a man with his hands over her hands. She has smaller hands.”

She said people on the tours have captured multiple images of the same face of a man with long hair in store windows. 

“We’ve captured him several times over the years. Where the Howell Opera House is, there was a pub (The Eagle Tavern), and I feel he’s from there or connected to that property.”

The Howell Opera House, shown Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, is said to be haunted.

The opera house is said to be haunted. A few years ago, sales manager Sharon Fisher said she had one specter sighting, a young woman standing on a staircase to the third floor gallery dressed in clothing from a century ago.

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O’Grady’s ghost tours start from Howell’s MainStreet Winery, which is said to be haunted by several ghosts, including a young child and a dog. 

She said she has seen and sensed paranormal activity at several locations downtown, including Chinese Delight.  

Her outdoor walking tours will run through October, at 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays; from 8-8:45 p.m. and 9-9:45 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Advanced tickets are available at

Ghost hunt patrons are briefed by Portal Paranormal Society investigators Ken Suminski and Jen Main at the Historic Howell Theater in this 2017 photo.

Unseen in the theater

Ghost hunters can explore the Historic Howell Theater for the seventh year.

Portal Paranormal Society returns to the theater in October for Meet the Unseen 7, a series of events in search of the theater’s fabled ghostly residents. 

The group’s founder Ken Suminski, a Brighton native, told Livingston Daily a few years ago he started investigating the theater after hearing rumors of its haunting — including from former employees who reported seeing spirits in hallways.

Ghost hunts at the theater will be held from 9-11 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. to 2 a.m. Oct. 22, 23, 29 and 30; and from 9-11 p.m. on Halloween. Advance tickets are available at

In this Livingston Daily file photo from 2015, ghost tour guide Carolyn McCulloug, having tried the door of the Hartland Music Hall, seemed resigned to not enter as the door was locked. She suddenly got a surprise as the door was opened by Music Hall caretaker Don Thompson, who would later tell stories of weird happenings in the hall.

Strange happenings in old Hartland

Each year, Cromaine District Library hosts ghost tours through the historic village area of Hartland Township, which is steeped in local legends. 

Perhaps the most famous so-called haunted place is the Hartland United Methodist Church, which was built in 1859 and renovated in the early 20th century.

As the tale goes, a construction worker named Willy Shoemaker fell to his death while working on the church. A stained glass window there is dedicated to Shoemaker.