paranormal - it's all a crock, right?
paranormal researcher Chad Lewis must hear
some version of that question all the time.
It seems the public is both fascinated by
and skeptical about the existence of the
paranormal and just what it means for
whatever comes next for those of us who
leave this world.
isn't your average job, or your average life
for that matter. Lewis spends his time
traveling the country, investigating the
usual unusual mix of ghosts, UFOs, crop
circles and unidentifiable creatures.
was spent in Wisconsin and he earned his
master's degree in applied psychology from
the University of Wisconsin-Stout.
Originally, Lewis was intrigued by why
people believe what they believe, and what
exactly was it about human belief systems
and perceptions that allowed some to believe
in ghosts, while others scoffed. His
interest spiraled into what he does for a
living today, traveling the country,
collecting and investigating stories.
compiled his cases by state, creating road
guides for the most haunted places all over
the Midwest and some parts of the rest of
the country, resulting in nine books. "The
Minnesota Road Guide to Haunted Locations"
explores locations from all corners of the
state. He wrote this guide along with Terry
Fisk, another paranormal investigator.
someone who's dedicated his life to this
activity, Lewis is unsure about the
paranormal in general.
years of doing this, I'm left with more
questions than answers," he said. "It's the
curiosity of not knowing that keeps me
there are ghosts out there. I just don't
know what they are," he said. "I've talked
to too many people to think it's all a hoax
And so he
brings his research to you. Whenever he
hears about a case, he goes to the location
to investigate it. First he and his team
compile the history of the place. If they
hear rumors of a murder or a suicide, they
set out to prove or disprove the rumor. Then
they talk to witnesses, as many as they can,
to get every story about unusual
experiences. Sometimes witnesses even come
to them, wanting to tell their story.
Ten of these
locations are right here in the Twin Cities.
You might have heard of some, and some you
might have never expected. You're more
likely to go to a wedding there, or see a
rendition of Hamlet, than hunt after ghosts.
That's the beauty of it all, he said. Ghosts
are where life and death happens, and
sometimes that's right in your backyard.
Dancing with Dead Gangsters
Street Caves, 215 Wabasha St. South, St.
•Ghosts and Graves Tour, 7:30 p.m. and
9:30 p.m., Oct. 26 and 27, 90 minute
•Ghosts, Graves and Caves Tour 5 p.m.
Oct. 26 and 27, two hours, $22
•Swing Nights, Thursdays, doors at 6
p.m., live music 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., $7
"Ghosts of gangsters dressed in 1920s
attire have reportedly been seen in the
caves on numerous occasions."
Wabasha Street Caves have a relatively long
history, and the Caves easily lend
themselves to the eerie. From a mushroom
factory to a speakeasy for gangsters to a
dance hall, the Caves have been a hotbed of
activity for most of the 20th Century.
Lewis's research, gangsters were gunned down
in the caves, and those might be the very
same ghostly presences seen haunting the
Caves to this day.
gangsters dressed in 1920s attire have
reportedly been seen in the caves on
numerous occasions. A bus boy appears to
lean against a table, but he always seems to
disappear, and the ghost of an unidentified
woman has been seen wandering the caves.
Guests have heard big band music when no
band was playing. Mists have shown up in
wedding photos that took place in the caves,
and employees have reported seeing strange
globes of light floating around the bar
reception received from employees was icy at
best, the Caves promotes its reputation for
being haunted by hosting cave tours
featuring ghosts and graves, but only in the
month of October. If swing dancing is your
thing, the Caves host a swing dancing night
every Thursday. On your break from dancing,
hang out around the bar and wait for the bus
Coquille St. Jacques with a side of
•Forepaugh's Restaurant, 276 South
Exchange St., St. Paul,
www.forepaughs.com, (651) 224-5606
•Dinner, Monday through Saturday 5:30 to
Sunday 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Lunch, Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m.
to 2 p.m.
Brunch, Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
"'There's a woman singing lullabies
upstairs right now.' Reid went upstairs
to see if anyone was there and found
2. Located in
what used to be one of St. Paul's most
lavish residential areas is Forepaugh's
restaurant - a big and beautiful old house:
A gothic, elaborate mansion that is dripping
with history. As the name suggests, the
house used to be owned and lived in by the
Lewis' research, Joseph Forepaugh was a
successful businessman who, busy though he
was, still found time to dally on the side
with the maid, Molly. When his wife learned
about the affair, she forbade him from
seeing Molly, and Lewis writes that this
might have been the cause of Forepaugh's
downward spiral. In 1892, Forepaugh took his
own life with a revolver, doing so out of
either distress for his lost love or for his
ailing finances. Before ending his life,
Forepaugh believed himself to be broke,
though in actuality he had an estate
Forepaugh's suicide, Molly was rumored to be
pregnant; after he died, she hung herself
from a chandelier in a bay window on the
third floor of the house.
have reported seeing an arrogant man
(believed to be Forepaugh) striding through
the restaurant, looking as if he owns the
place. The chandelier where the maid killed
herself has been seen rocking back and
forth, despite hanging heavily away from the
window and any other apparent disturbances.
has been working as a bartender at the
restaurant for a year and has heard all of
the stories. She showed us a photo from a
wedding in 1989 where what appears to be an
arm reaches out from the staircase. But it
is somehow transparent, floating above what
looks like the hem of a white skirt. Were
you to dine at Forepaugh's today, the
employees would politely seat and serve you,
rushing about in black bottoms and white
tops. The only skirts would belong to you or
to other guests, at least they should.
Reid told us
about an experience a few weeks ago. A
doctor who was new to the area came into the
bar early in the evening for a drink, she
said. He went to the bathroom and when he
returned, she said, no pun intended, "he was
as white as a ghost."
"You know you
have paranormals," he said. "There's a woman
singing lullabies upstairs right now." Reid
went upstairs to see if anyone was there and
found nothing. She said the man quickly
finished his drink and left.
"I do have to
admit it freaked me out," she said. When she
works on the second floor bar of the
restaurant, she yells hello to Molly, to let
the maid know she's coming.
gonna come out, I want her to be nice," Reid
Hipster Who Never Left
Avenue, 701 First Ave. N, Minneapolis,
www.first-avenue.com, (612) 332-1775
"People have reported seeing apparitions
out of the corner of their eyes in the
bathroom, but nothing is there."
Prince's music club is haunted. How fitting.
reported seeing apparitions out of the
corner of their eyes in the bathroom, but
nothing is there. Employees have reported
being tapped on the shoulder or hearing
music playing while they are closing up,
when no bands are playing and all the radios
are turned off.
concrete ghost story has emerged as to the
identity of this haunter, employees
speculate it could be the ghost of someone
who loves the club so much it just doesn't
want to leave.
•Washington Avenue Bridge
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
"The bridge is rumored to be haunted by
the very souls that choose its height to
end their lives."
February, a debate was sparked over whether
the city should fit the Washington Avenue
Bridge with safety barriers to prevent
suicide jumpers and accidental falls. Much
attention was given to the bridge's
unfortunate attractiveness to jumpers, and
the tragic consequences. It is really no
surprise that the bridge is rumored to be
haunted by the very souls that choose its
height to end their lives.
reported to Lewis and his team that they
heard footsteps following them late at
night, but when they turned around no one
would be there. Others reported seeing
someone walking towards them; then that
someone would disappear right before their
also rumors of a runaway psychiatric patient
haunting the bridge. Lewis' investigation
found that a psychiatric patient had died
after jumping off the bridge, though the
patient was released from the psychiatric
ward, not an escapee.
Ben, the ghostly handyman
•Fitzgerald Theater, 10 Exchange St. E.,
"He always appears to be doing work or
maintenance on the theater. The staff
has even jokingly given Ben his own
5. The place
where Garrison Keillor broadcasts his
Prairie Home Companion show each week isn't
simply filled with the presence of the
larger-than-life comedy writer.
are said to haunt the Fitzgerald Theater.
One of the ghosts is named Ben, rumored to
be a former worker of the theater at the
dawn of the 20th century. Whenever anyone
encounters Ben, he always appears to be
doing work or maintenance on the theater.
The staff has even jokingly given Ben his
of a woman is said to haunt the stage.
Employees report hearing beautiful singing
coming from the stage, but no one is
singing; no one is there. The theater is
6. May I
show you to your seat?
Theater, 818 South Second St.,
•Rush tickets available 10 minutes
before show times, $15 for previews, $20
for weeknights and matinees, $25 for
Friday and Saturday nights and openings,
cash or check only
"The Guthrie Theater may have moved, but
they didn't leave behind one of their
most dedicated ushers, who followed them
from the grave."
Guthrie Theater may have moved, but they
didn't leave behind one of their most
dedicated ushers, who followed them from the
investigation found the story about a boy
hired as an usher at the Guthrie at age 16.
He attended the University and lived in
Territorial Hall. He didn't have many
friends and was considered a geek. After
receiving bad grades and suffering a skiing
accident, he apparently had enough. He shot
himself in his car, wearing his usher
uniform, which he requested to be buried in.
There are rumors he might have even been
fired from his ushering job at the Guthrie,
the one thing he valued in his life.
been seen patrolling the theater after the
lights have gone down. Weird figures have
been seen in catwalks, elevators and
tunnels. Lights, props, seats and doors have
been seen to move and notes from a piano
have been heard, all on their own. Guests
have even reported being shown to their
seats by an usher dressed in an usher's
uniform straight out of the '60s.
Center, 75 West Fifth St., St. Paul,
www.landmarkcenter.org, (651) 292-3233
•Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5
Thursday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.,
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday Noon
to 5 p.m
"A hallway on the fourth floor is always
cold, no matter what time of year,
whether the heat or the air conditioning
is on, and throughout all the of the
halls, clanging chains can be heard."
Landmark Center now serves St. Paul as a
cultural center for dance, theater, music,
public forums and special events. In the
past, the building served as a federal court
house and a post office. Some of the city's
gangsters were tried and convicted in that
court house, and according to employees, a
few of the most obstinate gangsters decided
never to leave.
doors open without provocation, according to
one employee who declined to give his name
for fear of being fired. He said you can
press the button for the fourth floor and
end up on the 11th. He also reported seeing
a wedding photograph in which a man wearing
a hat and an army jacket stands uninvitingly
next to the ceremony's young ring bearer. A
hallway on the fourth floor is always cold,
no matter what time of year, whether the
heat or the air conditioning is on, and
throughout all the of the halls, clanging
chains can be heard. Doors in the women's
bathroom swing open and shut and toilets
flush when no one is there. The employee
claims this ghost likes the attractive
attribute all of this activity to Jack
Peifer, a gangster who worked his way up
through the ranks to be a gangster banker
from the humble origins of a bellhop.
In 1936, he
was tried and convicted on charges of
kidnapping. He hung himself in his cell on
the sixth floor of the building, and
employees say he never left.
At the Ye Old
Mill ride, one of the oldest rides at the
fair, a phantom bird is said to show up year
after year, allegedly the reincarnated sprit
of one of the workers at the ride. A phantom
pig is reported to haunt the swine barn, but
Lewis and his team were unable to find any
Phantom birds and pigs, oh my!
Minnesota State Fair, 1265 Snelling Ave.
N, St. Paul,
www.mnstatefair.org, (651) 288-4400
"A phantom pig is reported to haunt the
swine barn ..."
8. The Great
Minnesota Get-Together is exclusive to the
Lewis' book, the Star Tribune and Pioneer
Press have run stories of people who have
witnessed ghosts at the fair, mingling in
the crowds and near the grand stand.
Farm Museum, 2097 West Larpenteur Ave.,
•Tuesday through Sunday, Noon to 4 p.m.,
weekday mornings by appointment
•Adults $6.75, Seniors $5.75, Children,
ages 2 to 16, $4
•Closed mid-November to mid-April
"A rocking chair rocks inexplicably,
footsteps have been heard and toys
locked in a toy chest appear strewn on
the floor the next morning."
9. The Gibbs
Farm Museum is supposed to offer a glimpse
of pioneer and Dakota life in Minnesota in
the 19th Century. But some guests get more
than a history lesson.
haunting all occurred in the old farm house,
refurbished and roped off to provide a path
for visitors. The Gibbs family owned the
home for 100 years up until 1949. After a
fire in the farmhouse, the family's child
died a few days later of smoke inhalation,
and is said to haunt the home. A rocking
chair rocks inexplicably, footsteps have
been heard and toys locked in a toy chest
appear strewn on the floor the next morning.
An employee has seen a child's face through
the windows when the house was empty. A
former manager reported seeing impressions
in beds when he opened up the house in the
Hoven, the assistant site manager for the
museum who has worked there for 12 years,
has heard the stories of haunting, but said
neither she nor any of the other employees
had experienced anything. She didn't know
where the stories came from, and she said
the site manager, working on-site for 17
years, would give the same answer.
•Minneapolis City Hall, 350 South Fifth
"... But as they approach, the person
seems transparent and then disappears."
have contacted Lewis with reports of seeing
someone walking through the center for
Minneapolis' city government and police
department on South Fifth Street, but as
they approach, the person seems transparent
and then disappears. Others have reported
the sense they were being watched or
followed, but they couldn't explain why.
heard the rumor someone might have hung
themselves in the building, but he hasn't
had a chance to substantiate this claim.
He hopes to
be able to delve into the history of the
building after the chaos of the Halloween
For now, this
case remains open for your own