With some of its walls ripped out, no plumbing, and water leaking in through the chimney, the three-story house-turned-hotel called Raspberry Inn in Superior, WI (located just across a small bay from Duluth), has maintained a bleak fate—today going on nearly a decade of disuse. Built in 1905, the green, barn-shaped building has barely hung in there, condemned this year by the city for having been abandoned for almost 10 years…or at least, visibly abandoned. Beyond the house’s remaining Victorian architecture, the inn’s history lingers: It’s haunted. Residents of the inn, not visible to the naked eye, have occupied it for quite some time now, they say.
The city planned to confiscate the old, neglected inn for public use earlier this year until a Minneapolis couple showed up and decided to purchase it in the spring with the goal of restoring it to its former glory, then reopening it as a vacation rental and family get-a-way destination. But when the Riciglianos—Brandon and Jasmine—committed to saving this fleeting moment in Superior’s history, they had not known of the inn’s paranormal presence.
Courtesy of Jasmine Ricigliano
The first weekend, the couple cleaned up the century-old house and started encountering weird occurrences, including a woman’s voice saying “Help me, help me, save me!” and doors slamming and locking. Since discovering the previously unsuspected inhabitants, the family has heard ghost stories from neighbors. The Twin Ports Paranormal, a paranormal investigative team, came to visit. A book published in 2007 tells of a ghost maid at the inn who becomes feisty when guests disturb her room, such as by making it reek of pork rinds.
Despite the haunted reputation of the inn, the Ricigliano family continues to restore the house, hoping to make the neighborhood look better while saving a piece of Superior’s history.
And the Ricigliano family has their work cut out for them. They have several years of experience rehabbing homes, but they’ll need help from a few experts for this one. They’re working to raise $50,000 toward essentials, including a new boiler, insulation, a new water heater, and custom windows. Although they’re not ready for guests yet, they’re open to donations of time and labor from anyone looking to get their hands dirty.
If ghosts and spirits do lurk in the Victorian relic, one thing remains true: They won’t have to go apartment shopping anytime soon. Instead of slamming and locking doors, the least they could do is help with the handy work.