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Paranormal Encounters in Butler Cemetery (William Ganong Cemetery) Westland, Michigan


By Dawn from Southern Michigan Gravesite Caregivers

William Ganong Cemetery, more well known as Butler Cemetery, is in Westland, MI off Henry Ruff Road. It is considered one of the most active spots in Michigan for paranormal encounters.

The summer of 2002 I visited it briefly during the day .Although I didn’t experience anything of the paranormal perusasion during my brief visit, I was appalled by the condition of the cemetery itself. Many tombstones has been vandalized, and you can tell that the legends surrounding the site have drawn many people to it, not all of them respectful of the dead.


In the 1980’s noted paranormal author Marion Kuclo (also known as Gundella the Green Witch) visited this site and made a gruesome discovery. It appeared that one of the grave sites had been disturbed and she found a human scalp with long blonde hair attached, as well as bones with the scraps of a white dress. She claimed to see shovel marks, and coffin boards stacked neatly nearby, but the authorities passed it off as an animal or rain damage.

Since that time there have been numerous accounts of people seeing a woman in white cross the road in front of their cars as the drive past, even causing many car accidents.


A Westland resident, Tony Pointer, claims to have seen ghosts at Butler Cemetery not once but twice. The first time, late at night, he saw the figure of a woman dressed in white crossing the road in front of the cemetery. He swerved to avoid hitting her, and she vanished in front of his eyes. A year later, he was again passing the cemetery. This time, it was just at dusk on a foggy evening in late October. The lady in white was standing in the graveyard next to a large monument. Nearby stood a second figure, a man dressed in what looked like a grey uniform. Tony stopped his car to get a better look at them, and they both seemed to dissolve in the fog. There were no other parked cars in sight. He was certain that the figures he had seen were not just ordinary people visiting the grave of a loved one, as has been suggested. “No sir,” asserts Tony, “those were ghosts. I saw them, and nobody is going to convince me otherwise!”


The cemetery was donated by a local farmer in 1832 from a portion of his property to be used for burials. Said to be one of the most haunted places in Michigan, it is now closed for burials but not before 350 people were buried there, notably 17 of the Ganong family along with several WWI and II veterans. It is now completely overgrown, its front gate rusty and covered with vines. In addition to the sound of voices and chains rattling emanating from the cemetery, there are two spirits said to haunt this area, a woman in white who is seen both in the cemetery as well as crossing Henry Ruff Road (causing a high number of minor accidents along this stretch of road) as well as a man in uniform but, when approached, they disappear in front of your eyes! If local legends hold true, the hauntings began with renovation to the cemetery in which some graves were moved. This has also been a site for some form of ritualistic activity as reported by the Detroit News in 2000 after a kettle with bones, feathers and charms was found as well as pentagrams painted on tombstones.

It continues to this day to be considered one of the most active paranormal spots in the states, and unfortunately one of the most unkempt cemeteries.

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