The 8 Most Haunted Places in Minnesota
Minnesota may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of hauntings, but the state is full of all things spooky. From local family legends to outright paranormal experiences, Minnesota has them all. Starting with the infamous Schmidt family and continuing to the appropriately named Leech Lake, we’ve got all the harrowing details on each, right here.
Jacob Schmidt immigrated from Bavaria in the 1800’s and began a brewing company. He owned the North Star Brewery with his son Adolf, which eventually grew to become the seventh-largest brewery in the nation. The original building burned down, while the cave used by the company still exists. The brewery was one of the few that survived prohibition by continuing to manufacture non-alcoholic beverages. Ultimately, the brewery became so successful it won a contract with the government to supply beverages to active-duty troops during the war efforts.
Unfortunately, the success of the brewery also ensured its notoriety. Adolf’s daughter, Marie, and her husband experienced the troubles directly. Her husband Edward’s kidnapping by the Barker gang spurned wide police investigation. To secure his return, the Schmidt family paid a $100,000 ransom.
The brewery was also a source of legend. Two workers died in the late 1800s following an explosion. Another two died in separate accidents in the brewery in 1902, and local legend is swarming with illegal prohibition-era alcohol smuggling tales. The ghosts of these workers haunt the caves today. Residents claim a woman with brown hair, perhaps Marie herself, haunts the home. Even the cave once utilized as a brewing station is said to be a likely spot for the curious to capture a glimpse of the past.
Palmer House Hotel- Haunted by Guests who Can’t Leave
The haunting of the Palmer House Hotel is so famous that its notoriety goes beyond Minnesota. Ghost hunters have investigated the claims, and the hotel is the subject of more than one television show. The Sauk Center House was a hotel located on the same spot the Palmer House Hotel currently stands before burning down. Lucy, a woman who tragically died in the Sauk Center House haunts room seventeen.
Guests to room seventeen report ghostly figures, cold air, people calling their names, and slamming doors. On the top floor, the sounds from parties held decades ago keep guests on the floors below awake. More interestingly, the children’s playroom in the hotel is a source of complaints, as guests frequently complain of children playing all night. The ghost of a young boy often plays in the halls. Local word of mouth claims that a young boy, ill with influenza, died in the hotel in the early 1900’s.
While haunting reports in the hotel are common, it’s the basement that workers claim to be the most active. Employees say that stored decorations move on their own, the lights flicker without explanation and disembodied voices are all just part of their days.
The Haunted Soap Factory
Long closed to business, the old soap factory is still busy with ghosts and paranormal activity. The smell of sulfur permeates the building at times, and guests report a general feeling of unease. No known records of operations during the soap-making era exist. Locals repeat legends of factory workers forced to use stray animals in manufacture,
Haunted History Chase on the Lake
This hotel has a long and interesting history on the shores of Leech Lake. Originally the Pameda Hotel, Lewis “Bert” Woodruff Chase purchased the hotel in 1898. During the conflicts between settlers and tribes, the hotel found a second use as a temporary morgue.
The Battle of Sugar Point, historically known as the last native uprising in the United States, occurred on the shores of Leech Lake in October of 1898. The conflict between Ojibwe tribes and members of the Third Infantry ignited a battle that ultimately left six soldiers and one Ojibwe native killed.
If you believe those who say they’ve seen the unexplainable, those soldiers continue to roam not only the hotel but the shores of Leech Lake.
What’s a haunting story without a haunted theater? The Mounds Theater opened in 1922, entertaining Minnesota residents with silent movies and the occasional vaudeville act. Today, the jewel box-style theater supports local performance art with live performances. After one hundred years in use, the building has acquired a few legends of its own. An unidentified young girl sometimes appears on stage, bouncing a ball for an audience long gone. A spectral usher continues his duties, roaming the aisles. Most disturbing, however, is the rarely-seen ghostly apparition of a man in the projection booth. Flashing lights are seen coming from the booth as if he’s streaming movies to the empty theater.
Minneapolis City Hall
Constructed in the late 1800s, it was the one-stop location for all of the city’s legal needs. It functioned as a city hall, courthouse, and jail. John Moshik, a convicted murderer sentenced to death in 1898, haunts the building. Moshik’s execution went wrong, and his spirit roams the building over one hundred years later. The fourth and fifth floors of the building are still in use as a detention center, but the courthouse no longer holds executions. Prisoners report seeing Moshik’s image, walking around the holding area in the inmate uniform of his time. Guards and bailiffs also report seeing Moshik’s face peering into windows and walking down the hallways.
In 1977, wealthy heiress Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse, Velma Pietila, were murdered in her Duluth mansion. The murderer ransacked Elisabeth’s room and stole her jewelry. Police discovered Velma’s car parked at the local airport the next morning.
Eventually, Elisabeth’s daughter Majorie and her son-in-law Roger were arrested as suspects. Majorie was acquitted, while Roger was convicted. His conviction was overturned, however, and the state offered him a plea that they would allow him release if he confessed. Roger accepted the plea but denied his confession before his death. Today, the murders and their cause remain a mystery.
Today, the University of Minnesota owns the mansion, which hosts history tours in honor of the family and their social contributions to the area. Staff and the occasional visitors report feelings of sadness, shadowy figures, and unexplainable cold spots in the mansion, while onlookers have noted lights on in the windows late at night.
St. Olaf College
A haunted college is a classic, and St. Olaf College has a variety of ghosts to choose from. So many the Dean keeps an unofficial file on apparitions. Thorson Hall is haunted by a boy with a red cap. Mellby Hall is frequented by not one but two ghosts. A woman with black hair dressed in white is accompanied by a man in a long dark coat. Their identity is unknown, but they’ve been spied for decades. A friendly ghost helpfully whispers lines to performers in the theater. A former professor spends eternity reshelving books in the library, while students and staff enjoy ghostly piano serenades. Students report their electronics switching on and off by themselves.