Tour tries to scare up a ghost

By Tom Weber

04/30/07 - The Post-Bulletin


WABASHA -- About 20 people went hunting for spirits Saturday night at the historic Anderson House inn and found that spirits don't have to be scary.

In fact, they can be kind of mischievous, like when they set off your cell phone or drain your camera battery.

"I do believe we have spirits here," Teresa Smith, innkeeper, said by way of introducing Saturday's paranormal investigation. Simultaneously, three cell phones in the audience began ringing.

Chad Lewis, author of "The Minnesota Road Guide to Haunted Locations," and Noah Voss, a paranormal investigator, led the evening's activities, which included an introduction to various theories about the spirit world, a walking tour of haunted places in Wabasha and a late-night seance.

Participants also roamed through the hotel, built in 1856, armed with scientific and metaphysical equipment, or just their own senses, looking for spirits or "energy." Sisters Dawnette Cook and Tamara Gleason, "intuitives" from Wisconsin, found just such a bundle of energy in Cook's room at the inn.

"When we walked into the room, the air was really heavy," said Gleason, who was helping to conduct the investigation. "It was as if this room was already occupied."

A couple of brave guests accompanied Gleason to the room.

"You can feel them," she said of the invisible occupants. "They know we're talking about them. They become very active when you talk about them." All of that activity quickly drained two camera batteries belonging to a Post-Bulletin photographer -- one of the favorite tricks of spirits, according to those who commune with them.

Elsewhere, Dawn Jones, of Zumbro Falls, and her mother, Vicki Nehring, of Minneapolis, stepped into another guest room. Nehring said she immediately felt uncomfortable because of a child's small crib placed as decoration in the room. She used a laser thermometer to take sample room temperature, and found that the crib was about 10 degrees colder than the rest of the room.

"I don't really know what it means," she admitted.

"It's just for fun," Jones said of the amateur investigation.

"No, it's not," Nehring said. "I think the spirits want us to know they're here. It's a comfort. It's not a scary thing."

Of course, not everyone encountered spirits at the Anderson House.

"A lot of it is belief systems," Cook said. "But sometimes people don't believe until they're knocked on the side of the head by something."

Or until their cell phone starts ringing for no reason.

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