With spooky caves, schools, cemeteries, and more, you'll find plenty of haunted places in Minnesota. In fact, the midwestern state is practically teeming with ghosts. So if you're in the area and looking for a spooky time, consider visiting some of the most haunted places in Minnesota.
Wabasha Street Caves
What about a former underground speakeasy doesn't seem like it would come with a creepy haunting? With a Prohibition past, it's said that famous gangster ghosts roam the Wabasha Street Caves in downtown St. Paul. The caves are manmade, carved out of sandstone in the 1840s and used for mining glass-making silica. Later, the caves were used for food storage and growing mushrooms. Likewise, during the 1920s and 1930s, they were the ideal hangout for St. Paul's upper crust seeking to indulge in prohibited alcoholic beverages. Various gangsters, such as Ma Barker, John Dillinger, and Babyface Nelson, enjoyed the Caves for entertainment, rubbing elbows with the local gentry.
Ghostly encounters in the cave include gangsters that seem to like interacting with kids, the ghost of a woman who seems to be looking for something, and an apparition of a man in a Panama hat and 1920s clothing. At night, the bar area is teeming with ghosts ready to get their drink on, and in the theater, a male apparition watches rehearsals. It's currently closed but for sale, so if you're looking to add to your ghostly real estate, this is the investment for you!
Holy Name Cemetery
Located in Wayzata, Holy Name Cemetery is one of Minnesota's oldest cemeteries (it originated in the mid-1800s). It is also the resting place for some of the earliest pioneer settlers, missionaries, and Civil war veterans.
And, not unlike many other haunted cemeteries, this one seems to be filled with ghosts and odd occurrences. There's an apparition in white that floats through the grounds at night, but as soon as anyone approaches it, it disappears. The cemetery also seems to have a ghost car--visitors often see headlights entering the cemetery, but on further inspection, there's no vehicle there. People also report hearing footsteps and disembodied voices. Perhaps strangest of all, however, is that the cemetery seems to have its own weather system. Even when the weather outside the cemetery gates is calm, inside the wind howls.
Palmer House Hotel & Restaurant, Sauk Centre MN
The Palmer House Hotel & Restaurant in Sauk Centre is extremely haunted. The original hotel, Sauk Centre House, was built in 1863 but burned down in 1900 in a mysterious fire. It is said that several people hiding in the basement perished in the fire. In 1901, a couple named Palmer rebuilt the hotel with 40 rooms. The hotel is listed as a National Historic Site.
Many paranormal investigation groups and television shows, such as Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures (GA) have investigated Palmer House Hotel. GA had several incidences recorded, such as footsteps, voices coming over the team's spirit box, and team members pinched and scratched.
Over the years, guests have had an array of experiences. Witnesses see a young blond boy on the staircase to the second floor, and some report hearing the voices of young children and the sound of a bouncing ball. The bar is filled with poltergeist type activity including objects that move on their own, and the basement is said to be pretty darn spooky. In the cellar, visitors feel unexplained terror. Throughout the hotel, staff and guests frequently experience electrical disturbances such as electronics that turn on and off on their own. Could it be the ghost of Sinclair Lewis, who is believed to haunt the hotel?
There's also the spirit of Lucy, a prostitute who isn't fond of male guests. She hangs out in Room 17, making the room chilly and drafty. Lucy's a door slammer, and she also likes to touch guests with her ghostly cold fingers. Lucy's pimp, Raymond, hangs out in Room 22, where he is not shy with guests, and in Room 11, there's a ghostly cat.
Heffron Hall, St. Mary's University of Minnesota
In 1915, Father Louis Lesches tried to kill Bishop Patrick Heffron while the latter was celebrating a private Mass on the second floor of St. Mary's Hall. Lesches fired three shots, one striking the bishop in the thigh, but the bishop recovered from the wound. Lesches was tried and found guilty. In 1931, "Father Edward W. Lynch's charred body was found in his bed" located on the third floor in St. Mary's Hall.
Ever since the 1940s, there have been reports of all kinds of paranormal activity at this location that include a hooded figure knocking on a student's door late at night, students waking up to find a dark figure in their room, and temperature drops recorded by the school newspaper investigators. There are many anecdotal ghost stories that have been told and retold over the decades.
KQAL interviewed Heffron Hall ghost expert and St Mary's graduate Patrick Marek in two parts about the history of the hall and the ghost stories that followed. He told his own ghost story of Heffron Hall. Marek woke up one night after a dream of being choked by a dark figure to find the bedsheet wrapped around his throat and the other end of the sheet tied to the bedpost.
Other stories about Heffron Hall encounters include sounds of footsteps and tapping, cold drafts and winds, and an invisible force that prevents students from entering certain rooms.
Grey Cloud Island Township
Grey Cloud Island was named after a local Dakota woman, Grey Cloud Woman. The history of Grey Cloud Island dates back to indigenous Americans and Woodland burial mound-builders from about 100 BC to 600 AD. The island has the "largest concentration of mounds in the county." Due to the burial mounds, the island is considered sacred ground by most Native Americans.
The only known indigenous village in Washington County was located on the island. A small channel, Grey Cloud Slough, separates the island from the "mainland."
Visitors report green glowing orbs and clouds that hover along the roads. Another light hovers about the ground and moves around the island, woods, and cemetery. A mysterious dark figure leans against the cemetery smoking a gatepost, only to disappear when visitors approach. And in the cemetery, people hear a woman's scream and report seeing a young mother wailing over a dead baby. This is considered sacred ground, so visit respectfully.
The Old Jail Bed & Breakfast
Located in Taylor Falls, the Old Jail Bed & Breakfast is said to be Minnesota's oldest jail building. The northern building on the property was used as a funeral home during the 1800s and a haberdashery (sewing goods store) during the 1920s and 1930s.
The one-story stone structure was built in 1869 by the Schottmuller brothers and was connected to a cave tunnel that led to a brewery they owned that was located further up Angel Hill. The brothers opened a saloon and stored their beer in the cave. In 1884, the jail was built beside the saloon. Now, the building serves as an Inn for weary travelers. Stay if you dare.
Visitors report seeing the apparition of a boy that moves about the second and third floors and a ghostly woman moving around the third floor. Other apparitions include a cigar smoking steamship captain, a mother and son, and a spirit that wears a rather pungent perfume.
Minneapolis City Hall
The 120-year-old Minneapolis City Hall has long been rumored to be haunted, especially on the fifth floor. Many people blame John Moshik as the ghost haunting City Hall, and he creates quite a stir. In 1898, Moshik was the last man hanged in the entire state of Minnesota. He was tried and convicted of murder in a botched attempt to rob $14. According to the Southwest Journal, Moshik shot and then beat to death his robbery partner John Lemke for refusing to steal from people.
During Moshik's execution, the hangman made a mess of things. It took over three minutes for Moshik to die. The place where he was hanged is a modern day waiting area for jail visitors. Many locals believe that Moshik's angry spirit haunts the courtrooms. Some of the paranormal activity includes strange shadows in the courtrooms of the fifth floor, along with items that are moved by an unseen hand. Other poltergeist type activity occurs in the courtrooms as well, including judges and lawyers who suddenly and inexplicably fall ill in court, pictures that fall off walls, doors and windows that open and close by themselves, and flickering lights.
Greyhound Bus Museum
As if a building painted to look like a Greyhound bus wasn't creepy enough, it turns out the Greyhound Bus Museum in Hibbing is also haunted. Historically, the Greyhound Bus Museum marks the place considered to be the starting point of the US passenger bus industry. What makes the museum so interesting to ghost hunters is that it is beside a cemetery. The museum was built on land that was used for a 1918 yellow fever outbreak quarantine camp. Hibbing Park Cemetery was ideally located so that bodies could be easily disposed of from the camp.
So, perhaps its no surprise that visitors and staff have had some strange experiences. Resident ghosts move about the museum and engage in what seems like playful interaction. Employees notice bus windows that open and close on their own, and tools disappear, only to reappear neatly stacked. Visitors also notice strange shadows and hear all kinds of weird noises.
St. James Hotel
Located in Redwing, the historic St. James Hotel is considered one of Minnesota's most notorious haunts. Built in the mid-1870s, the hotel was a study in modern design for its time, and it did brisk business due to an advantageous location near railroads and steamships. Now it's on the National Register of Historic Places.
Along with serving as a hotel for weary travelers, the St. James was also used as a makeshift morgue in 1890. Nearly 100 people died in a river disaster called the Sea Wing disaster when a paddle wheeler capsized. The incident is the likely source of many of the hotel's current hauntings, but not all of them.
It's said that one of the hotel's former owners, Clara Lillyblad, haunts room 310. Guests have seen her sitting in chairs in the room, and others have seen her floating apparition. But this is far from the only haunted spot in the hotel; guests, visitors, and staff report haunting activity practically everywhere. People experience the full spectrum of haunted experiences here, from seeing specters, to hearing voices, to being touched, to doors and windows slamming and opening on their own.
Montgomery Golf Club
The Montgomery Golf Club is a notorious haunting. A farmer, the former owner of the land, was buried at the first hole. His spirit has been seen watching the clubhouse from different areas along the golf course. Employees see the farmer in his hat and overalls when they are locking up at night
Another ghost is said to be one of golf club founders. His ghost is seen sitting at the bar, and he peers into windows as employees lock up. He also looks out for the club's electric bill, turning off televisions that have been on too long and turning the thermostat down below 50 degrees. It's nice he's looking out for the club that way.
These are just a few of the many unusual ghost stories that often seem as plentiful as the 10,000 lakes found in this amazing state. If you look close enough, you're sure to find at least a couple of ghost stories in almost every town.