The Bradford Mansion: Virtual Haunted House Tour Stop #11

Happy Halloween!!

Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year, and I’m offering up a treat for all of my readers today: a behind-the-scenes peek at the Bradford mansion, which as anyone who has read Edge of Shadows or Shadows Deep knows, is a very important location in the Shadows series.

It’s come through loud and clear that readers are fascinated by the Bradford mansion and its dark history. I put the house on the shoreline of the Lake of the Isles in Uptown, MN. The house itself is fictional, but I built it as a composite of two different Lake of the Isles homes- the Charles C. Gates mansion, which was torn down in the 1930s, and a house that currently sits on East Lake of the Isles Parkway (you can see that house in the short little video below).

This on-location video also gives you a first hand view of what the characters in Edge of Shadows see when they look out the front windows of the mansion.

A Dark History

For those of you who haven’t had an opportunity to dive into the Shadows series yet, here’s the backstory on the house:

The property was purchased by Joseph Bradford in 1906. There was a small, existing house already there, but Joseph tore it down to build his dream home.  Joseph was “new money” and built the home to coerce his wife, Lillian, to join him in Minnesota and forget about her comfortable Southern roots.

Construction took well over a year, and there were “accidents” along the way. Finally, the Bradfords settled into their home and began to enjoy their new social life, which included frequent entertaining in the home.

Unfortuantely, the Bradfords happy facade began to crumble over Joseph’s financial stability and their inability to have children. The colorful parties turned dark as the Bradfords become involved in darker activities that included psychics and seances. Then one day the Bradfords were gone, never to be heard from again and the house was empty.

The house went through several owners over the years, but no one stayed in the home longer than a few months, at least until Edge of Shadows begins, and we find Linda Jordan purchasing the home.

Is It Haunted?

I am not disclosing any spoilers when I tell you that unequivocally, YES, the Bradford mansion is haunted. But if you want to know by who and why, you’ll have to read the book to find out. 🙂


The Virtual Haunted House Tour Comes to a Close

I want to say a big “THANK YOU” to everyone who has joined me on the virtual haunted house tour this year. If you enjoyed the tour, and would like to see this type of event next year, be sure to leave me a comment below. (I’m thinking “haunted hospitals” for next year’s tour.)

(Halloween photo credit: Muffet)

(Charles Gates mansion photo credit: 1889 Victorian House Restoration)


Finally, don’t forget that today is the last day of the Monster Fest sale! Three of my monster-ish tales are on sale for $0.99 through the end of the day today. Click the book cover to snag your copy now!


The LeDuc Mansion: Virtual Haunted House Tour Stop #9

Today’s tour stop finds us in lovely Hastings, MN, a scenic river town just 20 miles southeast of the Twin Cities. Hastings boasts 63 buildings on the National Register according to the Hastings Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Board, and one of those buildings is the focus of the post today: the LeDuc mansion.

The History

The LeDuc mansion was built in 1865 by William G. LeDuc. It took several years to build the home as construction costs skyrocketed well beyond what the LeDucs had budgeted to spend.

Over the years, the LeDuc family lived in the home on and off, between their stays in Washington D.C. when William served as the Secretary of Agriculture.

William had two daughters, Alice and Florence, who never married. William was entreprenuerially minded, which meant that his finances often went through dramatic highs and lows and caused unease for the family. After William’s passing in 1917, Alice bought a home in Minneapolis for the whole family, although they continued to use the mansion as their summer home.  

The sisters sold the home to a family friend, Caroll Simmons, during the Depression after losing a good deal of their fortune. Simmons operated an antique business on the first floor and lived in the home.

Simmons came to an agreement with the Minneapolis Historical Society that he would transfer the house to them upon his retirement, which happened in 1986. The house was empty for twenty years before the Historical Society was able to completely return it to its former glory and open it to the public in 2005.

Former Residents Who Can’t Let Go?

The common paranormal occurances have been reported in the mansion: doors opening and closing on their own, cold spots, and objects being moved around the room. The speculation is that one of the mansion’s former residents, namely William or Alice LeDuc, or Carroll Simmons have returned to keep an eye on their beloved home.

Just to add to the list of potential ghostly occupants, William and Alice both had a flirtation with spiritualism, and some believe that they may have opened a door to the other world through those pursuits.

Whoever may still reside within the walls of the LeDuc masnion, it appears that they are friendly and no cause for concern.

(Source and photo credit:


Tomorrow we’ll be visiting the Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, SC. 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!


The Griggs Mansion: Virtual Haunted House Tour Stop #7

Can you believe we’re over halfway through the 2012 Virtual Haunted House tour? Hopefully you’ve been enjoying our tour stops as much as I have. 🙂

Today, I’m highlighting a house right in my neck of the woods in St. Paul, MN: the Griggs mansion. The Griggs mansion, which stands on Summit Avenue, a street noted for it’s string of period homes from the early days of St. Paul, is said to be the most haunted house in St. Paul. It has received that dubious honor by having reports of seven different ghosts within its walls.

The big difference between the Griggs mansion and many of the other haunted houses I’ve featured so far is that the Griggs mansion is a private residence. That made doing the on-location video below a little bit more challenging as I didn’t want to be too obvious about what I was doing. My film crew (my 11-year old stepson Ryan) and I found a quiet spot in an alley behind the house. Check it out:

Who May Still Walk the Halls?

In the early 1900s, a young maid reportedly hung herself on the fourth floor landing after a romance went sour. A team of journalists from the St. Paul Pioneer Press attempted to stay in the mansion in 1969, but were driven out before the night was over because of ghostly, unexplained sounds they heard on the fourth floor.

A former gardner, Charles Wade, is said to have enjoyed spending time flipping through books in the library. Visitors have heard an eerie rustling in the library, and the speculation is Charles continues his favorite past time even in death.

A man in a Civil War uniform has been seen in the house, and is thought to be Chauncey Griggs himself, the original owner and namesake of the mansion.

Looking to Buy Your Own Haunted House?

You may have noticed the “For Sale” sign off the left in the picture at the top of this post. Yep- the Griggs mansion is currently for sale for a cool $1.1 million dollars. I’m not sure if it’s because of the price tag, or the house’s reputation, but the house has been waiting for the right buyer for three years.

For an inside look at the house, check out its real estate listing here. Honestly- it’s gorgeous and maintains many of its original features. If you can just get past the ghosts, I think it could be a fantastic place to call home.


Tomorrow we’ll be visiting the Houghton Mansion in North Adams, 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!


Palmer House: Virtual Haunted House Tour Stop #5

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.

Case ID: I8003
Owner ID: Adam Nori
Case Title: Palmer Hotel
Status: Open
Investigation Type: Investigation
Investigation Date: 2008-05-23
Investigation Time: 07:00 cst

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!