Haunted GR: The Wealthy Street Ghost [Photos]
This is a relatively new phenomenon in the oeuvre of Grand Rapids ghosts. It first appears online in 2015 and revolves around a little boy who likes nail polish.
So I decided to investigate the story of the Wealthy Street Ghost.
Most of the ghost stories circulating around Grand Rapids have been around for ages, so it was interesting to stumble upon a new one recently. Even a couple of long time paranormal investigators I contacted about it, Team Coleman and Wayne Thomas, were not familiar with it.
The earliest telling of the story I found was a posting at Grand Rapids Urban Legends, which told of a boy who met an early demise at or near a Wealthy Street gas station, which is now abandoned. The poster says the story had been passed around at their elementary school for some time.
The story told at GRUL is about a young boy, the son of Italian immigrants, who loved the bright colors used to touch up cars at the body shop adjacent to the gas station. He used the paint to paint his nails like some of the ladies in his neighborhood around Eureka! and Wealthy on the Southeast side. He was either beaten to death or run over eluding some bullies who objected to his nails.
To this day, the boy haunts the neighborhood, most often to be found at the abandoned gas station, where he sometimes can be seen talking with stray dogs or standing staring up at the stars (though if approached, the boy will seem to vanish).
And it’s said that being a ghost gives the boy certain powers. He can influence—can slightly shift—how something appears. If you leave a bottle of nailpolish at the gas station for him as a gift, he’ll be pleased with you, and he’ll use his powers to improve your appearance. You might even feel the change come over you before you’re back home. He doesn’t change how you look; he changes how you’re seen. Forever after, you’ll appear slightly more handsome, you’ll appear slightly more beautiful, than ever before. To others, you’ll seem to have a type of glow, an almost irresistible charm.
But visitors should be warned: There’s a rumor that the boy hates to receive the same color twice in a row and that he won’t use his powers on you if you give him a color that he already has. For that reason, believers mark the gas station with a streak of nailpolish before leaving nailpolish there, to warn other visitors what colors have come before.
I decided to take a walk up to Eureka! (yup, that's an actual street name, complete with exclamation point) and Wealthy to see what evidence the old gas station might yield.
Like any abandoned building, there's an instant built in creepy factor, and this old strucutre was no exception.
I quickly came across the part of the building where people who allegedly left nail polish would leave marks. it looked more like latex house paint than nail polish and the marks were pretty wide for having allegedly come from a nail brush, so this whole theory seems suspect.
Here's a closer look at the paint. Does that look like nail polish to you?
Even if you buy into the whole nail polish theory, there really is no place to leave the ghost any, unless you're gonna try and balance it on this window ledge down the way. A reader on the Grand Rapids subreddit page said he made a visit with some polish and stuck it under the cage on the front of the building.
I really didn't get a spooky vibe from the premises at all. Sure these old pumps look like a place you'd fuel up for trip on the Highway To Hell, but they're still fairly modern and nothing out of the ordinary.
The building is actually in pretty good shape and had this logo painted on the side, which looks new enough to indicate the building hasn't been abandoned long.
Well behind it in an adjacent empty lot is this long bench, which looks like it is a place where teens might congregate to smoke and maybe scare their friends with stories about ghostly boys.
Overall, the property was well maintained, unlike may abandoned and supposedly haunted properties around town, and is probably on the market if you're looking for a business spot in East Hills.
There was this little locked opening behind the gas station which may or may not lead to a tunnel or maybe is just for maintainence of the tanks underneath. I would hardly call it spooky, but if you're looking for an entrance to the underworld, maybe this is it.
All in all, my skepticism overwhelmed any tingling I got that there might be some paranormal activity. Wayne says he will look into it further when he gets a chance. In the meantime, head down to Eureka! just to see one of the few street signs in Grand Rapids with an exclamation point, and maybe you can meet the Wealthy Street Ghost!!
Be forewarned, the property has a well displayed 'NO TRESPASSING' sign, so tread lightly.
I'm off to investigate ghosts at the old phone building downtown, who supposedly make prank phone calls. Now that's a style of haunting I can get into.