Scare Aware: Where to Find Some Frights Around Minnesota

From Duluth to Stillwater and places in between, Minnesotans best beware these haunted sites


The Palmer House Hotel

Kerry Peterson

After watching “The Conjuring,” “Scream,” and “Halloween” for the 100th time, horror movie junkies may crave a scare that’s up close and personal. Fear not, because Minnesota has loads of locations that are infamous for paranormal activity, where so-called ghosts tease guests by supposedly whispering in their ears, slamming doors in their faces, and moving items from their places. From Duluth to Stillwater and places in between, Minnesotans best beware these haunted sites, some of them with tragic histories.

Enger Tower, Duluth

Resting on a site once called Grand Mountain, this local landmark on Duluth’s West End has wicked views and a spooky past. Made in the 1930s, the narrow stone tower is five stories tall and said to be haunted by a man who jumped to his death from the 80-foot tower in 1948. People claim to have seen someone circling the tower through the top floor’s window. Yet, when they go inside to take a closer look, the person has vanished.

First Avenue, Minneapolis

While First Avenue today bills itself as the “epicenter of live music and entertainment in Minneapolis,” it used to be a Greyhound bus station. Rumor has it that the venue is haunted by a woman who hung herself in the bathroom after learning her lover, a World War II solider, would not return home from combat. Employees of the establishment have nicknamed the ghost “Slippy” and say they have seen an apparition of the women hanging in the fifth stall—the same stall in which she died. The Record Room upstairs is also known to be a hot spot for paranormal activity. DJs report hearing growls, voices, and screams through their headphones.

Glensheen Mansion, Duluth

One of the most visited historic homes in Minnesota, the Glensheen Mansion sits on a beautiful estate overlooking Lake Superior. Originally built by the wealthy Congdon family in 1905, the stunning home has a bit of a dark history in that Elizabeth Congdon and her nurse were murdered here. Congdon’s son-in-law was later convicted, and her adopted daughter was acquitted. Now owned by the University of Minnesota, the mansion hosts flashlight tours for adults, plus trick-or-treating and crafts for kids.

Mounds Theatre, St. Paul

Studies conducted by the Minnesota Paranormal Investigative Group, the Minnesota Ghost Hunters Society, and many psychics reveal that this silent movie theater built in 1922 is super haunted. A trio of ghosts reportedly inhabit the building: a cursed old man who lurks in the old projection booth, an usher who paces up and down the aisles in search of his lost love, and a little girl who bounces a ball on stage. Immersive ghost tours are hosted here throughout October. Past attendees have encountered flickering lights, strange smells, and cold spots.

Northrop, Minneapolis

The performing arts center at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Northrop presents both state-of-the-art shows and thrills for those who work there. Two former stage managers have reported strange occurrences in the auditorium. Justin Burke and Mike Damman told the Minnesota Daily they have seen a man who resembles a former stage manager who passed away standing on stage. They also said they had heard doors being slammed, footsteps in the rafters, and creaky pipes that sound “distinctly human” while working night shifts.  

The Palmer House Hotel, Sauk Centre

This hotel is considered one of the most haunted locations in the United States and has been featured on shows such as “Ghost Adventures” and “Ghost Hunters.” The Palmer House was erected in 1901, one year after the brothel that previously stood there burned to the ground. Guests have claimed to hear strange voices, see doors close, and watch furniture move.

Wabasha Street Caves, St. Paul

While the Wabasha Street Caves in St. Paul
today is a lively venue filled with swing dancing and weddings, during the
Prohibition era, it was known as a gangsters’ hangout. One night, as the tale goes, several gangsters were playing cards when shots rang out. The waitress on duty said she saw three bodies and called the police, but no blood or bodies were found. Their spirits are said to still haunt the area.

The Warden’s House Museum, Stillwater 

Built in 1853, the Warden’s House was home to 13 different wardens in Stillwater. In 1914, the prison moved seven minutes south to Bayport, ending the home’s moving carousel of owners—yet one guest never seemed to leave. The last warden to live in the house was Henry Wolfer. His daughter, Gertrude, died from appendicitis shortly after giving birth to her son in the house. Today, reports state that Gertrude can be seen still in pain, holding her stomach, wandering the home in search of her son.

Emma is an editorial intern studying journalism and mass communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her love for storytelling stems from her hometown of Cannon Falls, Minnesota. In her free time, Emma loves watching college sports, spending time up north, and sharing food with friends and family.