Five historic Minnesota homes where ghosts are permanent fixtures
Looking for a property with a little spook appeal? MNR’s Realtor® members know more than a few of the best homes in Minnesota to find skeletons in the closet, spirits in the attic, and unseen things that go bump in the night. To help you plan your haunted home tour, we’ve assembled this handy guide. Before you go, make sure your flashlight is fully charged and your running shoes are laced and ready. And remember, it’s probably a good thing that none of these historic homes are actually for sale.
Christie Home, Long Prairie
If you’re looking for an elegant, early-20th-century residence with loads of antique charm, the Christie Home is a prime find. It even comes staffed with a maid! The only catch is she’s not very lively. In fact, she’s not living at all. But that doesn’t stop her ghost from frightening visitors who stray into the kitchen. And she’s not the only spirit regularly raiding the pantry. Dr. George Christie, who built the house in 1901, was fond of performing surgeries on the kitchen table. It’s not surprising that some patients did not survive his less-than-sterile operating room. That’s why at least a few of them are still hanging around waiting to be discharged. Think Dr. Christie should have been sued for malpractice? Well, you can tell him yourself. Just go up to the attic and gaze into the dusty mirror mounted on the old dresser. He’ll be staring right back at you, ready to address all your concerns.
Arrange a tour by visiting the Christie Home Historical Society.
Boyd House, Boyd
This charming little fixer-upper features big drafty rooms, long dim hallways, and a collection of restless, rowdy spirits. Former residents of the home recall being awakened in the middle of the night by Roaring 20’s jazz music drifting up from below. Occasionally, the couple would see a spectral man staring at them from the foot of their bed. When they put the property up for sale, it was scooped up by Jill Shelley, a paranormal investigator who recognized it as a hotbed of paranormal activity. Bringing an arsenal of high-tech ghost-detecting gadgets to the home, Shelly and her team of investigators claimed they used special audio equipment to communicate with the spirit of a little girl who said her name was Sarah. They also heard garbled words from a disembodied man. During the night, team members heard footsteps, pounding on the basement door, and an old upright piano playing discordant notes. One of the investigators had a very close encounter when she felt a “child-like person” crawl into bed with her. Despite alarming encounters like these, Shelley believes the home’s resident spirits “are all very friendly.”
If you’d like to experience the Boyd House’s otherworldly hospitality, visit St. Croix Paranormal to learn about arranging a private, overnight stay.
The Warden’s House, Stillwater
History buffs won’t want to pass up a chance to be a part of this storied piece of real estate. Built in 1853, the Warden’s House was home for the prison wardens who administered the Minnesota Territorial Prison until it closed in 1914. The last warden, Henry Wolfer, lived there with his daughter Trudy until she married and moved away. Shortly after giving birth to her son, she died from appendicitis. Henry adopted the boy and raised him in the Warden’s House. Apparently, Trudy moved back in, too—if only in spirit. To this day, visitors report seeing her staring out from windows on the upper floor; rocking a phantom cradle in her son’s room; or just quietly sitting in the master bedroom.
Arrange a tour of the Warden’s House by visiting the Washington County Historical Society.
Glensheen Mansion, Duluth
If you’re in the market for something higher end, the stately Glensheen Mansion offers 39 rooms, 27,000 square feet of living space, and stunning views of Lake Superior. It is also said to offer something a little more ethereal: ghosts. Following the tragic homicides of the home’s owner, Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse Velma Pietila, the grand estate was given to the University of Minnesota. To help pay for its upkeep, the school opened it for public tours. Over the years, numerous employees and visitors have seen shadowy figures slipping down the halls and felt chills on the landing where Velma was murdered by Congdon’s enraged son-in-law. Elisabeth’s bedroom remains closed off to this day, but some guests on the grounds have reported seeing apparitions of two women looking out from an upstairs window. If you’re searching for a rational explanation, you might consult one of the many volumes in the family’s library. Just watch out for the chilling mist that sometimes spreads across the floor there. You might not like what you’re stepping into.
You can arrange a visit at the Glensheen Tour Options page.
Griggs Mansion, St. Paul
If you like your homes with a shadowy touch of Goth, check out the Griggs Mansion. Built in 1883, this sandstone beauty has 24 rooms, high cathedral ceilings, intricate woodwork, and at least six ghosts, including a Civil War general. The place was an idyllic urban retreat until 1915 when a young maid hanged herself from the fourth-floor landing in the wake of a broken romance. More tragic events followed, like the overly zealous gardener who died before he could complete his masterpiece and has haunted the grounds ever since. Other spirits include a black suited, top-hatted professor who taught when the house served as an art school in the 1930s. He is sometimes seen prowling the library before disappearing in a flash of blue light. There is also a departed teenage girl who plays on the mansion’s piano, and a lost child whose head is known to float above the beds of overnight guests. As for the soldier, paranormal aficionados speculate that it is none other than General Chauncy Griggs himself, builder, and original owner of the mansion.
No tours of this privately owned residence are available.