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MICHIGAN GHOST TOWN: The 1968 Murders in the Village of Good Hart

In 1877, Good Hart’s population was 100, with 3/4 being Indians. This little village had a school for Indian children, two stores, a Catholic church, blacksmith, doctor and post office. By 1905, the entire Indian population had left. Added business included a butcher shop, fish store, tavern and shoe shop. Nowadays, there’s only one or two stores left (SEE PHOTOS ABOVE).

Good Hart is located in Emmett County in Readmond Township, southwest of Mackinaw City, north of Petoskey and on the Lake Michigan shoreline looking out at Beaver Island. It’s also located smack dab on the ‘Tunnel of Trees’ Scenic Heritage Route, so you know the area is beautiful.

But something NOT so beautiful occurred there in the summer of 1968.
According to michigansotherside.com, Neighbors in the area of the home of wealthy executive Richard Robison complained about a rancid smell coming from the house. Thinking it might be just a dead raccoon or some other wild animal, a local carpenter investigated the complaint and discovered the whole family had been slaughtered: the man & wife, three sons and 7-year-old daughter. All had been shot and a couple of them had also been bludgeoned with a hammer.

Richard was a Detroit magazine publisher and he evidently found out that an employee, Joseph Scolaro III, had embezzled $60,000 from the company. It was speculated that the employee drove hours up from Detroit, killed the whole family so nobody would find out he embezzled funds, and drove back before Richard had the chance to call authorities.

Scolaro was the main suspect and failed two lie detector tests. Just before police were ready to apprehend him, Scolaro wrote out a suicide note (saying he was innocent) and shot himself in the head.

Even though there were other suspects, including the carpenter, no charges were ever filed and the case is still unsolved.

To this day, Good Hart is a sleepy little place where tourists love to visit. You should visit too, for some photo ops, camping, or maybe a little crime investigating.

Haunted? Haven’t heard. But if I do, I’ll let you know.

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