Investigation: Sioux Falls-area spots

By Robert Morast


10/29/06 - Argus Leader

Is Sioux Falls a haunted city? Terry Fisk thinks so.

Fisk, the co-author of "The South Dakota Road Guide to Haunted Locations," says, "I would say that Sioux Falls has more than its share (of hauntings) compared to other cities."

Ooooohhhhh. Spooky. Aside from the Orpheum Theater's resident ghost Larry, here are a pack of reportedly haunted spots in and around Sioux Falls, and what we found awaiting us.

Spook Road

Locals talk about this stretch of gravel road south of Brandon with the kind of supernatural reverence usually reserved for "Unsolved Mysteries."

Some people say you'll drive over five bridges while traveling east, but can count only four bridges when returning on the same path westward. Others talk about ghostly spectres hanging from trees that have grown together like high-rise, covered bridges. And at least one person claims that if you put a doughnut on your hood ornament, "someone" will take a bite out of it while driving down Spook Road.

Sorry to say none of these tales were true on a recent, chilly Friday night.

Riding in a friend's Chevy S-10 with 20-inch rims, we rolled over five bridges traveling east and west between the junctions of 264th Street and 481st Avenue and 264th Street and 484th Avenue.

While spooky, the trees don't grow together like something out of a Tim Burton film. However, my friend Brad did say it looked like the branches had been trimmed.

And our doughnut dangling around the radio antenna (the truck doesn't have a hood ornament) wasn't even nibbled on.

The stories of Spook Road are better than the reality. But it's still kind of a spooky path.

Pioneer Memorial

The phallic-looking monument that overlooks Sioux Falls just east of the State Penitentiary is said to be haunted by Judge Amidon and his son, who were killed in 1862 by a Native American scouting party on the site.

Supposedly, these ghosts haven't healed and still have arrows sticking out of their backs. Others have reported seeing growing orbs float around the monument. After sitting at the site for 90 minutes on a very early Sunday morning, the only lights I saw were from the ongoing stream of cars passing by.

Not even Art Bell's radio program with his wacko, ghost-loving callers could spookify the moment. Somewhat ironically, the most glaring feeling from this venture was admiration for the beauty of Sioux Falls' early morning skyline.

Actor's Studio

Though connected to the Orpheum Theater, this annex isn't haunted by Larry. Rather, the former bar and night spot is said to be the haunt of a ghost who whistles "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."

"People have reported being in there late at night or by themselves, and they report hearing whistling," Fisk says.

From the Orpheum's stage, we couldn't hear any whistling during an overnight stay. That's OK. A ghost whistling one measure of the tune would turn this benign song into a freaky dirge.

Washington Pavilion

The Pavilion people weren't too keen on the idea of allowing us to investigate the legend of the building's ghost. But the story says the downtown arts center's elevators are haunted by a worker who fell down an elevator shaft and died during the renovation of the Pavilion.

The story checks out in that a man, Andrei Lositski, did fall to his death in a Pavilion elevator shaft in July 1997. But that's as far as we can take it without the Pavilion's help.

Still, the stories about Lositski's ghost say he rides the elevators with people but disappears before they reach their destinations. He also messes with stage lights and props.

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