Minneapolis (WCCO) With Halloween just around the corner, this is your annual reminder that Minnesota is full of good feats, and a hotel in central Minnesota has become the subject of many paranormal studies over the years.
In Finding Minnesota this week, John Lauritsen takes us to the Palmer House in Sauk Center, for a closer look at “unregistered hotel guests.”
Every city in Minnesota has a main street, but not every main street has a book written about it. Before Sinclair Lewis became a Nobel Prize-winning author from the Sauk Center, he was a night writer at the Palmer House Hotel and Restaurant.
Owner Kelly Freeze said, “He was hired and fired several times before eventually graduating from high school and attending college.”
Is Louis one of the spirits still residing in the hotel?
“Well, we’ve had scenes,” Frieze said.
And a lot of counting. Ralph Palmer built the hotel in 1901 after the Sauk Center burned down. It was one of the first companies outside the Twin Cities to have running water and electricity. For 120 years, weary travelers and spectators have come and gone. But these days, many of them are looking for a more soulful stay.
“People will come from all over the world to investigate and hope to get a trial,” Freese said.
Cathy Vanderhof is a paranormal guide and researcher.
This is Raymond’s room and he is one of our ‘unregistered guests,’ Vanderhof said.
Raymond ran an upstairs brothel a century ago. Presently, his ghost is believed to haunt an upstairs room. Across from the hotel, a children’s playroom may be responsible for accommodations for events. Some say Palmer’s son Carlisle is responsible. It is a common complaint among guests.
“They might give you some prizes and then add, ‘You know, somebody let their kids play in the hallway all night. “After that, you should tell them that there are no children in the hotel,” said Freese.
One employee reported having a conversation with a lady who looked like Palmer’s daughter Hazel, before the woman simply disappeared. Among the believers in the paranormal is Palmer House, attorney-turned-author Natalie Fowler.
“I don’t think I’ve been here before and never had an encounter,” Fowler said.
She did a lot of her own historical research on the hotel. And while there haven’t been any suspicious deaths, some guests seem to have checked in and never left – at least not spiritually.
“You know these walls are trying to talk to you when you’re sitting here,” Fowler said. “I saw a dark shadow running back and forth across the hallway down in the basement.”
The basement is where the lights flash for no reason. Some researchers consider one hallway in the basement to be the most haunted part of the hotel. In another room, the snowman ornament is known to dance to guests even when it is not connected to electricity.
From the footsteps of the hallways to the shadows in the hallway, there’s a haunted history here. The crew embraces the spirits. They should, because it doesn’t look like they’re leaving anytime soon.
“I always tell people that they have to choose what they want to call it,” Freese said. “I tell people there are things that happen here all the time that I can’t explain.”
The Palmer House is on the National Register of Historic Places and just celebrated its 120th birthday.