Minnesota is no stranger to the strange and paranormal. With a long history of gangsters, murders, and mysterious deaths, there are plenty of haunted and creepy places all around our state. And with Halloween just around the corner, this is the perfect time to summon up your courage and venture out to visit some of the most truly terrifying spots in the cities.
Not for the faint of heart, here are 5 of the most haunted places in Minnesota.
I’m not scared. You’re scared.
1. The Palmer House Hotel
Considered to be one of the most haunted places in Minnesota, both guests and staff of the Palmer House Hotel in Sauk Center describe countless paranormal sightings and experiences. So much so, that even the show Ghost Adventures traveled to Minnesota and featured the hotel in an episode. Some of the most common reports of strange activity include disembodied voices, rapid temperature shifts, doors slamming shut on their own, and feelings of terror in the hotel’s basement.
There are frequent ghost sightings of a young boy with blonde hair and green eyes making his way up the stairs to the second floor along with sounds of a child bouncing a ball and running in the hallway. Reports also indicate the Palmer House may be home to the ghost of famous Minnesota author Sinclair Lewis.
And if you’re brave enough to spend a night in the hotel, aside from the basement, rooms 11 and 17 are considered to be the most active. Get ready for a very restless night of sleep.
The Palmer House offers a two-hour haunted tour of the hotel and their infamous basement where you’ll be able to experience the frightening paranormal activity for yourself.
2. Wabasha Street Caves
Being that Wabasha Street Caves are, well, caves, there’s a good probability that there’s going to be some sinister activity happening in the dark caverns and twisting corners. The Wabasha caves have a long history going back to the Prohibition era when the cave’s secret nooks were turned into a speakeasy making it a perfect spot for gangsters to hide out from the authorities.
One infamous story tells of a mobster card game gone wrong in the caves when it ended in a triple murder. The bodies were gone by the time the cops arrived and rumors spread that the mob frequently hid corpses in the caves though no evidence has ever been found.
Along with these grisly gangster stories, visitors have also encountered paranormal activity witnessing strange mists, floating orbs, and ghostly men dressed in 20’s attire. Others have reported seeing an apparition of a madam called Nina Clifford who wears a 20’s style dress, and a ghost bartender who refills empty wine glasses. I could get used to a friendly bartender-ghost.
If you want to see for yourself, (and maybe get a free ghostly drink refill) you can sign up for the Wabasha Street Caves Ghost and Graves Tour or the Lost Souls Tour to hear full details of the horrifying tales and accounts from inside the caves.
3. First Avenue
This might not be your first thought when thinking of haunted spots in the Twin Cities. However, this lively music and dance venue has a rather dark and disquieting side. Workers and guests alike have experienced numerous ghastly paranormal encounters.
One of the most well-known paranormal events at First Avenue revolves around when the building was originally the Northland-Greyhound Bus Depot. The story tells of a young woman who hanged herself in the 5th stall of the women’s bathroom when she discovered her boyfriend had died in combat during WWII and wouldn’t be coming home to her.
For those unlucky enough, witnesses report seeing the ghost of this woman wearing a green army jacket and hanging from the stall in the women’s bathroom.
The upstairs dance lounge, called the Record Room, is considered to be the most haunted spot in First Avenue with reports of dancing apparitions with no legs, equipment malfunctions, and DJs frequently hearing strange noises in their headphones.
4. Mounds Theatre
This won’t be your average night at the movies. You’ll find there’s a few theater-goers who didn’t pay for a ticket.
Originally built in 1922 as a silent movie theater and venue for live entertainment, Mounds Theatre closed in the late ‘60s before reopening and undergoing renovations in 2001. However, once the theater reopened, the staff and visitors began to experience some strange occurances.
Many kept seeing a little ghostly girl named Mary who often appeared on stage bouncing a ball and performing for the audience. Another ghost sighting is of a melancholy usher, Jim, who is said to be walking the aisles looking for his lost love.
However, there is a more malevolent spirit that resides in Mounds Theatre named Red, the theater’s longtime projectionist. The entity known as Red has a bad temper, curses frequently, and seems to get quite handsy with the staff who have reported being touched and groped by this hostile ghost.
If you can stomach it, the theater offers a Mounds Theatre Real Haunted Tour where you can spend an hour touring the venue and learn more about the theater’s history and its paranormal residents.
5. Forepaugh’s Restaurant
Located in the historic district of St. Paul, Forepaugh’s Restaurant retains its beauty and 19th century style bringing the past back to life. However, the ornate Victorian decoration isn’t the only thing from the past that’s still residing in this building.
This mansion was originally built as a private residence for Joseph Forepaugh and his family. And unfortunately, the Forepaugh family legacy ended in a gruesome and tangled tragedy. Joseph’s wife discovered he was having an illicit affair with the maid, Molly, who was carrying Joseph’s illegitimate child at the time. Joseph immediately broke off his affair with Molly. However, Molly was so distraught, she hanged herself from the third-floor chandelier and threw herself out the window. When Joseph heard the news of Molly’s death, he went out for a walk and shot himself.
Staff and patrons of Forepaugh’s have sighted the apparition of Molly walking around the dining room and seating herself at tables. A man, considered to be Joseph, has also been sighted wandering the restaurant and making trips up and down from the basement.
Workers have also reported lights turning on and off in the basement, cold chills, and strange noises.
I hear the food’s great though. If you’d like a potentially paranormal meal head on over and reserve a seat at Molly’s favorite table. You may find you have an uninvited dinner guest.
Read this next: Minnesota’s Haunted Houses