Growing up in St. Paul, I often heard stories of strange occurrences and mysterious happenings that were said to have occurred in a few of the old Victorian mansions along Summit Avenue. Many were just tales of rumored supernatural activities that seemed to escalate as the keg began to empty.
However, during this run at finding spooky spaces around the Twin Cities and Stillwater, my informal research kept drawing me to the same locations. It was time for me to report to duty, dust off my early ’80s Ghost Busters Halloween costume, and find out just what makes these places so darn eerie!
To aid in my investigation I enlisted the assistance of Linda Lee from Twin Cities Ghost Tours. Here are Linda’s top picks for spooky spaces in each city.
St Paul City Hall is the site of the last execution in Minnesota. It is said that the building is still haunted by William Williams, who murdered a St. Paul teen and his mother. The first attempt to execute Williams failed due to the rope for the hanging being too long, resulting in Williams hitting the ground. The sheriff and his deputies had to suspend Williams by the rope until he died of strangulation. Williams’s botched hanging is rumored to replay itself in the cafeteria where he drops from the ceiling during lunch time. Many people also believe there is a thin place in the veil between the worlds in the “secret” tunnel below the building where ghosts and spirits are witnessed accidentally wandering into physical reality. Ghosts have been seen looking around confused before turning around to return through the veil back to their own reality.
The Landmark Center is said to be haunted by the ghost of a gangster who was convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to 30 years in prison. The kidnapper killed himself rather than do time in prison. Ladies have reported seeing an angry and menacing man in a gangster suit in the the women’s restroom. A former employee of the property was startled when the same gangster ghost suddenly appeared out of nowhere and leaped on to her desk.
Minneapolis City Hall is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of John Moshik. He is the only person to be executed at the city hall. Moshik was convicted of murder and sentenced to be hung. Moshik’s execution was a nightmare of errors, causing him to be hung twice. His angry ghost supposeduly felt that he was treated unfairly during his trial. In the office of the judge who sentenced John to death, framed pictures have suddenly fallen off the wall smashing to the floor. Several people who have occupied the office have become inexplicably ill, and some have even died.
First Avenue night club used to be a bus station. Rumor has it a young woman kissed her sweetheart soldier goodbye at the station to send him off to war, and then hung herself in the ladies restroom when she heard the news that he was killed. Now, people claim to see the hanging reenacted in the ladies restroom by the heartbroken ghost of the girl.
The Waterstreet Inn in Stillwater is said to be haunted by the ghost of a Confederate Soldier with stinky body odor and the smell of stale whiskey. One woman reported that she was alone in her hotel room, in bed, and she smelled the scent and felt the soldier climb into bed with her.
Lolitos in Stillwater is said to be haunted by the first owner of the property from back in the 1800’s. The property also is believed to have the ghost of a young woman who may have been murdered on the site. The bar has changed hands several times over the past few years but the previous employees reported that when they arrived for work in the morning all the cupboard doors would be open and the booze bottles out. If they had put all the chairs up they would be down. A ghost of a crying woman in a long dress has been seen at an upstairs window and a beast or demon has been heard growling in the basement.
To learn more about these spooky spaces and others in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Stillwater, check out Twin Cities Ghost Tours.