When I started poking around for haunted locations here in Minnesota, I went straight to the experts. I put out a call to Minnesota Ghosts, a website run by the Minnesota Paranormal Study Group, and asked them which Minnesota haunted houses they would recommend featuring here on the blog.
The top of their list? The Palmer House in Sauk Centre, MN.
The Palmer House is a historic landmark in Sauk Centre, built in 1901, and was what many residents called “a first-class hotel”. But the Palmer House was built on the substructure of an older building that burned down in 1900.
That building, the Sauk Centre House, was a saloon, hotel, and brothel. And it’s the ghosts of people who supposedly lived during that time that are said to haunt the Palmer House today.
For a slightly different twist in today’s post, I’m featuring the work of two different paranormal groups who have investigated the Palmer House. For those of you who like video, check out this 8-min clip of the investigation led by historian, co-founder of the International Paranormal Society and host of Darkness Radio, Adrian Lee. There’s definitely a few chilling moments that will give you goosebumps.
I also gained permission from the Minnesota Ghost’s crew to republish the findings from their investigation in 2008. For those of you who appreciate reading about these encounters, here’s what they have to say:
Brief History: Palmer House is a hotel built by the Palmer family in 1901. It was built over the site of a former saloon and brothel which burned down.
Team Members Present: Monica Zacharias, Clay Cochran, AJ Spain, Eric Miller, Shannon Heier, Sean Heier, Kyle Krenz, Nancy Willis
Here are some public files from our team reports log.
Clay Cochran –
Outside Impressions: Rather unassuming building given that there are a lot of older buildings in downtown Sauk Centre. Not much to look at from the outside.
Walk-in Impressions: Very beautiful lobby, main staircase, bar, and restaurant with a lot of the original furnishings.
Closing Impressions: One of the neatest places I’ve ever stayed in ; the ownership/host was incredible as was the staff. While there is a definite erie ambience in certain areas of the hotel (most notably the basement), I don’t get the impression that it’s haunted, but could easily see how people could think it could be.
Lucy’s Room: Formally Room 217:
This is the room that’s supposedly occupied by a prostitute named Lucy – undoubtedly from the days when a saloon and brothel stood on the site the Palmer House now stands. According to Kelley, the owner, several experiences have been reported and a sensitive identified the spirit as this Lucy. One of the more outstanding experiences Kelley had with this spirit was when a sensitive claimed that Lucy was calling him to check out her room. Both the sensitve and Kelley felt a heavy feeling and could barely get up the stairs to her room. When the sensitive opened the door to this room, he was greeted by the apparition of Lucy sitting in one of the chairs, smoking a cigarette, while her body was in a state of decay.
I had no personal experiences in this room. Various EVP’s may have been recorded from this room, but many of them were inconclusive. One EVP that was picked up that was somewhat discernible was when one of the team members asked Lucy if it was OK to leave the room to investigate the children’s playroom. The EVP picked up seemed to be saying “It’s OK to play with the kids”….or something similar to that.
Raymond’s Room: Formally room 22:
Raymond is an apparition identified by sensitives as possibly being Lucy’s pimp. Experiences are not uncommon for guests staying in this room or staff cleaning it. He is apparently an ominous and domineering spirit.
I had no personal experiences while in this room although we think the staff may have purposefully moved some of the furniture around. There was an EVP picked up that clearly whispered “Luuuucy….” ; all other investigator’s voices were accounted for as this happened, so it’s unlikely that it was one of the investigators. Subsequent experiments seem to exclude the possibility of someone standing outside the door or coming from other external sources.
Child’s Playroom: Pursuant to reports of the ghost of a little child, we investigated the children’s room. Eric, AJ, and Kyle left the microphone and recorders running as they tried telling stories and laying out Leggo toys. They left the infrared camera running as they left. Video reveal nothing. The toys weren’t moved. However, there was an EVP picked up after Eric sneezed and Kyle said “God bless you” that seemed to be a child’s voice mimmicking “God bless you”….I find that EVP to be contentious and undetermined, but the rest of the group seemed to think it definitive.
Room 18: This room is reported to be haunted by the inexplicable sound of footsteps. To my knowledge, we were never able to pick this up or reproduce it in order to debunk.
Basement “Icky Room”: The Icky Room is a room full of old doors that previous sensitives claim is dominated by a rather mean male spirit and the spirit of Lucius – a Palmer family sibling who was responsible for the family dogs. There was absolutely nothing picked up in the Icky Room. One point of interest happened when using an EMF and the spirit (of Lucius) seemed to manipulate the LCD light, but when specific parameters for EMF light display manipulation were set to “yes and no” questions, nothing happened.
Basement: The Chair: There was a chair in a corner near the Icky Room next to a bunch of furnaces where a sensitive friend of Kelly claimed to have been possessed and flung off the chair. By possessed, I mean this person was tone deaf yet apparently was possessed to sing a child’s lullabye song in perfect harmony. I sat in the chair for about 20 minutes, all alone, and in the dark. Nothing happened. Didn’t feel anything. No EVP’s picked up. Nothing going on there.
Basement: The Hole: There was an inexplicable, perfectly rectangular hole dug in one section of the basement that was about 4 ft deep, 5 ft. long. I sat in it with a DVR running. Nothing picked up.
Monica Zacharias –
Outside Impressions: Beautiful, old brick building, one of original town structures. First building was involved in a fire, some of original structure was used in rebuild.
Walkin Impressions: You walk into the lobby/pub/restuarant, very welcoming feeling entering the building. Staff helps as they are very accomidating and friendly. Walking thru the floors of the hotel I felt very welcomed as well, no ill feelings at all during my time there.
Closing Impressions: The floors creak with every move you make throughout the entire location, this may explain some of the sounds that are reported – footsteps in hall with no one outside the door when you look, they could be hearing someone walking on the floor above them. If the are on the third floor they could be hearing from below them.
I spent most of my time in the basement and main floor of the hotel. My sleeping room was located on the third floor though.
I was present for only the first night of the investiagtion, it seemed like a quite night. The only report by members that was unexplainable was AJ hearing footsteps comiong down the basement all the way to the concrete floor, she thought I had returned to the basement but I was still on the third floor checking on members. This was captured on EVP.
Basement: I spent most of my time in the basement. I was with AJ and Sean, this was AJ’s first case and so I was trying to stay in her areas so that if she had questions or concerns I was right there for her. The basement area is quite large and so we were able to spread out comfortably without contaminating the evidence we were trying to collect.
Main Floor: The second half on my night I spent with Kyle on the main floor. We did notice that every semi truck that passes on the street outside makes the entire building shake. As well there is so many windows and glass doors with reflective surfaces that we had to debunk some of the sightings in that area.
(Reprinted with permission from the Minnesota Ghost website).
(photo credit cisc1970)
Tomorrow we’ll be visiting the Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, MA. If you are enjoying the virtual haunted house tour, please share it with your friends! See you again soon!
Don’t forget that there is a Monster of a Sale going on. Just in time for Halloween, three of my monster-ish tales are on sale for $0.99 through October 31st. Click the book cover to snag your copy now!