Paranormal researcher John Tenney has established some guidelines for teasing true haunts from hoaxes. "The holy grail for ghost hunting would be a phenomenon that is recurrent," he says.

“Michigan is a great place to explore weird stuff,” according to John Tenney.

Tenney, a paranormal researcher, has been exploring the strange and spooky corners of our reality for many years and has developed a refreshing perspective on the possibilities of what causes paranormal phenomena.

He got his start in the supernatural when he was young. “I’ve always loved strange things since I was a kid,” he explains. “When I was 18, I had a heart attack and I died for 3 minutes. Obviously, I’m back … but just the experience of having a death experience and not being in my body and, perhaps, my mind being somewhere else … that experience really challenged my thinking on what is reality and what might be really going on.”

The Detroit writer and lecturer says that the biggest thing that a paranormal researcher has, versus a hobbyist, is an open mind. “I think the hardest thing I have to do is not have a belief whether ghosts are real or not, but just look at the fascinating folklore and the history and how it can tie us all together,” says Tenney.

Listen: Paranormal researcher John Tenney shares some of Michigan’s ghastliest ghost stories.

Tenney’s Haunted Handbook

In his years of delving into the paranormal, Tenney has established some guidelines for teasing true haunts from hoaxes. “The holy grail for ghost hunting would be a phenomenon that is recurrent — something that scientists could go to a location, they could test it, they could go back and have it be repeatable and verifiable,” says Tenney. 

He uses this criterion when exploring Michigan’s haunted history. He knows that something might have a paranormal tie when he’ll “get an occurrence that will happen in a location for multiple people in a very short span of time and none of those people are interconnected,” as is the case with a recent report he’s gotten of a person dressed like Superman wandering around Mount Olivet Cemetery.

“Being in Detroit and in Michigan, we have so many weird things around us all the time,” says Tenney. Over his years as a paranormal researcher, he has investigated Dog Man, the Humongous Fungus, the St. Aubin Street Massacre and more.

Tenney has some tips for individuals looking to engage with the ethereal. “Go out and do strange things. I really do think that the universe, if you engage with it, will engage with you,” he says.

His other advice? Go in respectfully. “A lot of times, you’re going to a place where there may have been trauma … so a huge part of being a researcher of this stuff is having some respect for the history and the people who have gone on before us, who are creating a really strange history for us to explore and investigate right now.” 


2020 Was a Big Year for UFO Researchers
Ghosts, UFOs, Bigfoot and More: Local Author John Tenney Explores the Weird Corners of Our Reality

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  • Meta Stange is the Digital Content and Engagement Manager for 101.9 WDET, overseeing the station's digital editorial content. She enjoys reading, making bad jokes, and hanging out with her dog, Salmon.