It was scary to think about at the time, but Nicole Beauchamp
published her first book in the midst of the pandemic not knowing where it would lead.
With the hopes of putting Bay City on the paranormal map, the founder of the Tri-City Ghost Hunters Society
wanted to combine her two passions – writing and ghost hunting.
“Haunted Bay City Michigan
” arrived via Arcadia Publishing’s Haunted America Series
on Sept. 14, 2020. Beauchamp couldn’t do much promotion initially. That all changed in early March. Well known for the mysterious side amongst readers and researchers, A&E’s Ghost Hunters investigator Richel Stratton
helped Beauchamp find success with a Facebook post praising the book.
Nicole Beauchamp hopes to hold book signings soon to promote her book celebrating the paranormal in Bay City. (Photo Credit: Amy Shabluk)
“She read my book and posted about it on social media, telling everybody what a great book it was,” Beauchamp says. “She posted a picture of herself holding it, so that garnered a lot of attention and sales.”
With Bay City now officially becoming a paranormal hot topic, her book has sold out nearly everywhere.
“It was crazy! Target sold out of the book (online) and Book Depository (online) sold out. Antiques Center and Anderson Pharmacy did too. Local retailers have already had to re-order several times.”
A longtime fan of mysterious activity and the history of it, Beauchamp has been intrigued within the paranormal for as long as she can remember.
“I think it was just something that was ingrained in me from day one. And while it sounds kind of crazy to some people, I'm hoping that I can make a positive impact on my community with it too. In addition to paranormal investigation and all that, I've really kind of taken an approach toward trying to help restore local Michigan and U.S. history. It’s my calling.”
Nearly 20 years ago, she found inspiration on the television.
“You could say I was inspired by the original Ghost Hunters, just because that was the first time (seeing) a paranormal team,” she says. “That was the first time I had ever seen anyone actually do that professionally. So it gave me inspiration to feel like I could go do that kind of thing as well.”
The inspiration to put her experiences down in words came from another source.
“As far as writing a book, my friend Frances Kermeen was the inspiration behind that. She has a best-selling book called “The Myrtles Plantation.” She was the owner of the Myrtles Plantation in St. Francis Hill, Louisiana, for a decade and she had all these crazy paranormal experiences.
“I read her book and just really connected with it. I felt like I related to her and how she felt in the story. I just wrote her a note on social media and we became friends. Then she kind of gave me the push I needed to get that motivation to write my own book too.”
That was 12 years ago.
“I don't have any prior books,” she says. “I actually officially started my team in 2009. But I was contacted by the publisher Arcadia Publishing, because they saw an article that I was in. They're also known as the history press and they thought that I would be a good candidate to write a book.”
Even though the book was published months ago, publicity has been a little slow due to COVID-19-related restrictions. She hopes to hold book signings before the end of 2021.
“I've been running Facebook ads. I also sent out postcards that have information on where to buy the book (with) a little synopsis of the book. I target businesses, especially Michigan local bookstores.”
Beauchamp’s social media and state-wide paranormal following has grown immensely as well.
“I have quite a decent following for the area that we're in, because I've been doing paranormal research investigations and all that for almost 12 years. I've done a lot of presentations through the library system and I've traveled a little bit up to Cheboygan, Caro, and Pinconning. So I haven't gone too far, but I've gone to different universities and libraries to do speeches. There's some people that have gone to all of them, so that's cool.”
The Bay City Central 2007 graduate has hopes of supporting local businesses with her royalties as well.
“I'm planning to donate a portion of my royalty checks to some of the places in the book that are in need of historical preservation,” she says. “If I have a platform, I want to be able to kind of use it for good. Most of the places in the book are either running off of donations or they're small businesses.
“For example, the libraries don't have a lot of money coming into them. All of these people that are in the book (and) all these businesses consented to being in the book. They're OK with people going into their business and trying to have an experience. So it's totally non-exploitative, in any way, shape, or form. But especially now with everything COVID-19 did, these people more than ever before, need people to visit.”
For Beauchamp, she found elements of all the Bay City places enticing, yet the Historic Masonic Temple
, 700 N. Madison Ave., remains a touchstone.
“All the locations in the book I love, but I guess the historic Masonic Temple is just one of those places that I just can't get over,” she says. “Like how beautiful and historical it still is. Just little elements of the building itself that kind of, when you step into it, take you back into like a different time. I think it's great that the book is garnering attention, because maybe more people visit not only Michigan, but Bay City, and give them the much-needed business. Hopefully they can flourish.”
“I'm sure that they would love it if I did another book,” laughs Beauchamp. “But I really want to do some kind of a collaborative project with someone else for my next thing. So I'm trying to put feelers out for another author in the paranormal or horror world that would be interested in working on something together.”
In the meantime, you just might catch her putting together a tour around town visiting her book stops.
“I'd absolutely love to also do some kind of a ghost tour thing around here,” she said. “I can't say for sure it's going to happen necessarily this year, but it is something that I am looking into and I really would like to do. I am thankful and humbled at the support and positive response for my book by the community.”