Could your hometown be the site of a ghastly haunting?
A new book recalls tall tales of ghosts, spirits, and murder – all taking place in the small towns dotted along Michigan’s Genesee and Lapeer Counties.
“Ghosts and Legends of Genesee & Lapeer Counties,” by Michigan-based authors Roxanne Rhoads and Joe Schipani, casts its gaze at rural communities and unearths sordid true crime stories and plenty of local paranormal rumors and myths.
One nasty highlight of the book takes place north of Flint, at a salvage yard near Clio and Mt. Morris. It’s the location of the 1999 murder of Bruce Miller.
The murder drew national attention, including its own Lifetime movie, due to its bizarre circumstances. Sharee Miller, the wife of Bruce Miller, convinced Jerry Cassaday, a man she met online and developed relationship with, to murder her husband.
Cassaday shot Bruce Miller with a 20-gauge shotgun and later committed suicide just a few months later. Sharee Miller was charged with conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2001.
But the book covers much more.
Rhoads said she spoke with people that claim to see ghosts on the roadside leading up to the salvage yard. Some recalled stories of calling police, reportedly seeing injured people, though nothing was there.
Linda Bolduc, who previously managed the yard with her late husband, told Rhoads about strange activity.
“She said the office door would always open and close by itself and they would joke around and say, ‘Come on in, Bruce.’ They weren’t spooked by it, they just found it interesting,” Rhoads said.
Schipani and Rhoads faced some roadblocks researching the book, which was developed during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Unable to visit many of the locations and talk to people face to face, much of the legwork was conducted virtually.
“I love digging through online archives like Newspapers.com and Ancestry.com and I love it when the dots connect and I get the entire picture,” Rhoads said. “It’s almost like a treasure hunt, because so many historical records haven’t been digitized yet. It’s like finding gold.”
The book isn’t Rhoads and Schipani’s first foray into Michigan’s dark side. The pair also worked together on “Haunted Flint,” which was also published under the Haunted America line of books from publisher the History Press.
“I started out writing fiction, and I had a series set in Flint. I’d do research looking into urban legends to include in the book, and I ended up with a file of haunted locations and weird stories,” Rhoads said. “My friends said, ‘Why don’t you put that stuff together for a book?’ I posted online and Joe contacted me. We combined forces. He does the true crime, and I’m the hauntings and history.”
Rhoads and Schipani will be at several meet and greets through September, including one at the Festival of Oddities, which comes to Charlotte this weekend.
To catch their schedule and learn more about “Ghosts and Legends of Genesee & Lapeer Counties,” visit Rhoads and Schipani’s website.