What’s scarier than a haunted house? According to a recent study, 49% of Americans believe their home is haunted, and 36% of those either sold or tore down their home as a result. Another survey shows that 63% would be willing to live in a haunted house if they could get a discounted price.
But if you’re a haunted house enthusiast that doesn't want to live in one year-round, you’re in luck! We’ve gathered information on five of the most famous haunted houses across Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
Visit them if you dare... and please report back if you spot anything spooky.
The Glensheen Mansion
3300 London Road, Duluth, MN
Situated alongside beautiful Lake Superior, Glensheen Mansion is the most-visited historic home in all of Minnesota. The large, immaculate 12-acre estate was built in 1908. Now, visitors come to marvel at the property’s sprawling gardens, walking bridges, exquisite craftsmanship and, of course, the 39-room mansion.
So, where does the haunting come in? In 1977, the heiress of the estate and her night nurse were murdered. Mystery around the event still exists and sightings of ghosts and moving objects have been reported by employees and visitors alike.
If you’re interested in visiting the mansion, they host a variety of tours and events.
2097 West Larpenteur Avenue, St. Paul, MN
The farmhouse, now run by the Ramsey County Historical Society (RCHS), was once the scene of a grass fire that tragically took the life of a nine-year-old boy named William in 1867. Visitors have reported seeing a rambunctious young boy on the site, playing and causing mischief before disappearing into thin air.
Morning workers often find toys splayed out on a rug in the room. It appears as if someone has been playing with them, although no one claims to have moved the toys and the room is locked overnight. Doors and cupboards are also reported to open and close on their own (or, as some believe, by William).
The Warden's House
602 North Main Street, Stillwater, MN
The Warden’s house was built in 1853 with 14 rooms showcasing upper middle class living. Over the next six decades, the house would act as a residence for the 13 wardens of the Minnesota Territorial Prison (also known as the Minnesota State Prison). In 1914, the prison was moved to Bayport and the Warden’s house turned into a museum. You’d think the prison horrors that occurred would be the source of the haunting, but it’s actually the story of the last occupant that caused its haunted status.
As the story goes, Warden Henry Wolfer's daughter, Gertrude (“Trudy”), died of complications from childbirth in 1914, and the infant was sent to live with the warden. Since then, Trudy has been spotted wandering from room to room, looking for her son and holding her stomach in pain. Guests have also reported a cradle rocking by itself in the upstairs bedroom.
While the Warden’s House tour doesn’t usually discuss the ghost of Trudy, you can still visit the home to explore what it means for a house to be (or seem) haunted.
150 North Summit Street, Spooner, WI
Frank Hammill was a well-to-do man. He owned the local newspaper, engineered the railroad and was president of his town. Frank passed away in his home after suffering a mysterious stomach problem in 1922, but it seems as though he loved his town too much to leave it behind.
Rumor has it that even after he passed, his wife couldn’t escape the feeling that he was always there with her, and the current homeowners moved in after the previous family fled from fear of Frank’s ghost.
Now, the owners agree they feel they are living in Frank’s house... and Frank’s town. They’ve even heard noises and what they believe to be his voice — but that doesn’t keep them out! They welcome their “guest” Frank and continue to live happily in Spooner.
6666 East River Road, Fridley, MN
Built on the Mississippi River in 1847 by John Banfill (Minnesota’s first auditor and state senator), the Banfill Tavern was a welcomed rest stop to many wayside travelers. The property eventually landed in the hands of Cassius Locke and his wife Roberta Pratt in 1912, who turned the property into a dairy farm. The couple was reportedly hospitable and kind, and told their share of ghost stories, including accounts of a ghost living in the closet.
In 2014, a paranormal investigation was completed at the Banfill-Locke house. High-tech equipment was used to pick up video footage and audio recordings should there be any paranormal encounters. The group saw various figures and even heard a voice whispering, “Get out!” Others confirm that they’ve heard footsteps, noticed strange smells and seen ghosts on the property.
You can visit the Banfill-Locke House–now named the Banfill-Locke Art Center, which showcases beautiful creations and hosts educational courses throughout the year–and potentially run into a ghost along the way. The county even hosts the Ghosts of Anoka Walking Tour to help you see all the ghouls you can.
Ready to buy a less-than-haunted house?
If you’re more interested in touring homes for sale than visiting our area’s most famous haunted sites, reach out to Edina Realty or one of our agents today. We have more than 2,000 local REALTORS® who can help you tour and purchase the right ghost-free abode for you and your family.