Friday, August 3, 2018

The Palmer House Hotel Part II/III


I mentioned in a previous post that Eleanor and I are spending some quality time at home for a few days until school starts. We are having some fun lazy days at my mom's house, and this past weekend we attended a family reunion in a small town called Sauk Centre, Minnesota. This might be a familiar town to those of you who read Sinclair Lewis, as he grew up there. I was extra excited because my grandparents had surprised me with a stay at the Palmer House Hotel, while every else was staying at another hotel a few minutes away. And the reason for this is....

The Palmer House Hotel is haunted!

That was the rumor anyway, and I wanted to see for myself. The Palmer House has been featured on a couple different paranormal shows such as The Dead Files and Ghost Adventures. There have also been several write-ups in the media and such that you can check out HERE. You can also finds books with chapters dedicated to the Palmer House at that link. Mom bought me one, which I am looking forward to reading.

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Anyway, this post is going to be kind of long, because there was activity going on from the moment I was unpacking in my room, until literally the moment I left. While I am by no means perfect at this investigating thing, I have been lucky enough to have some interesting paranormal experiences at both the Villisca Axe Murder House in Villisca, Iowa and The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.  I also lived in an apartment for roughly five years that was also inhabited by what we called 'Ghost Baby', because 'Ghost Toddler' just didn't have quite the same ring to it. I try to look for logical explanations first, before jumping directly to paranormal. I have included a couple pictures and videos too, so if you decide to stick it out through the post, hopefully you find something of interest here. Again, I realize this is longer than any review I have ever written, but I wanted to give as many details as possible to give people some context.

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To pick up where I left off in the previous post, I am still sitting down in the bar area and talking to Kelley (the owner).


The above image is not mine. I rather stupidly did not take any pictures downstairs, so I had to search around for a while to find a picture of the bar where Kelley and I talked. This image is taken from the website Unexplained Research, from a post about their favorite Minnesota haunts.


As the conversation went on, I was suddenly overcome by coughing fits. Though I was barely starting a cold, I had not been coughing and had no sore throat or anything. I just knew a cold was coming because my nose was a little stuffy. Yet as we were sitting there talking, I kept feeling a scratchiness in my throat, and I coughed and coughed. It was hard to breath with all the coughing. Kelley took off her glasses as this was happening and began wiping her eyes repeatedly. I could see they were watering quite a bit. This spell lasted only 2-3 minutes, then passed. My throat was fine, I stopped coughing, and Kelley's eyes stopped watering. I am not sure what might have been the cause of all this, but it is worth noting once again that the original hotel on the site, the Sauk Centre House burned to the ground in 1900.

We then talked Annie, who I was most interested in. As I said previously, while Annie is not confined to the room, she seems to prefer #11. Kelley has determined, based on the consistent experiences of guests and investigators, that Annie's story is a sad one. Given her attachment, Annie may have been a maid at the original Sauk Centre House, or she could have lived there. It was not uncommon for people to reside in hotels. During her time there, Annie began a relationship with a man who was married. He was supposedly leaving his wife, or getting a divorce. When Annie became pregnant, the man left her instead and would have nothing to do with her. Given the time period which I (and Kelley) think Annie lived, it is likely her family also refused to have anything to do with her as well, being pregnant and unmarried. This would explain the overwhelming sense of sadness and despair that guests report feeling when staying in #11. Kelley feels like Annie is very empathic, and is drawn to others who also are. She advised me that if I were to feel myself becoming upset or emotional, to check myself and separate my own emotions from Annie's. She told me of how a guest was at the sink brushing her teeth and she found herself crying - even though she had nothing to be crying about as she was doing something so mundane. Kelley then told me about a pair of sisters from Wisconsin who were regularly guests, and one time stayed in #11. In the middle of the night one of the sisters began having terrible pains in her stomach. It got so bad, they decided she needed to go to the ER. As the two got ready, then stepped into the hall, the pain ceased. When discussing this in the morning with Kelley, who has no children, she asked the sister who had experienced the pain if she had children, and if it felt like labor pains. BINGO. That was it, the sister confirmed, despite not being pregnant at the time. Kelley also told me after sharing these stories that Annie is very sweet and kind, and has never intentionally hurt anyone (aside from the intense labor pains of course).

It seems like to me that Annie is simply trying to share her grief and sadness and pain with someone, to connect with someone who can understand her. As Kelley and I talked via text a couple nights ago, we pondered the idea that perhaps Annie stays for one of two reasons:

1. Annie is afraid to move on because she thinks she is going to hell
2. She is waiting for the father of her child to come back

Either way, both prospects are incredibly sad. It also may be neither of these options and maybe someday Annie will tell us why she stays, long after her check-out time.

The bar cleared out by 1 AM and for several minutes it was just Kelley, Maria, and me. I had continued to feel little taps on my right leg, my calf and above my knee throughout the conversation, but they had stopped by this point. What I did notice instead, was movement on the stairs. By this time all the lights were out on the main level except in the bar and the bathroom, which I could see from my perch on the end bar stool. The cafe was closed and dark, the lobby was dark,, but plenty of light spilled out from the bar's side door, plus the light from the bathroom located under the staircase. The stairs creak constantly when someone (living) walks on them, yet there was no sound as the movement continued up and down both sets of stairs.



This image is not mine. I failed to take pictures downstairs because I was so busy trying to talk to Annie upstairs. This is still that I found from a YouTube video, which can be found HERE. I did not create the video and have no association with those who made it. I am borrowing the still and added the markings myself to help readers understand the location better.

In my last few minutes downstairs Kelley and I stood in the side doorway facing the stairs, quietly observing. The movement subsided and from that point we said good night and I was off to my room.

I got back to my room around 1:15 AM. Kelley had given me a small ball and a ring to take to my room. Guests have reported, and Kelley has seen it as well, that unseen forces will often knock bouncy balls out of peoples' hands. I tried it a couple times while still downstairs, but had no luck. Kelley recommended leaving them out, because the kids seem to like Annie, so they might come up and play. At that point in the conversation I had told Kelley that I had left some mini Hershey bars out, unwrapped to see if Annie might like one. I had done this on a whim and it was not planned, just something I thought of while I was unpacking earlier. When I told Kelley this she visibly shivered and said that was definitely the right thing for me to do, and that both Annie and Lucy love flowers and chocolate. I wanted to ask about Lucy too, but it was getting late so I am saving that for my next stay!



After setting out the ring and ball and snapping pictures, I started talking out loud to Annie. I explained that our experiences were not totally the same, but that I also had a child and was no longer with her father because we broke up around the time I found out I was pregnant. I explained that it was rocky in dealing with both the pregnancy and break-up at the same time, but I knew at least her feelings of sadness. I also let her know that even though we lived in different time periods, it was still a hard thing to go through. I asked if I could pray for her, and when I received no response I went ahead and prayed that we would both find peace and comfort. I let her know that even though she might have felt like she had done this horrible thing and no one cared about her, that Jesus loved her and she was still a child of God.

By around 1:30 AM I was hearing a lot of very loud stomping from the room above. It sounded like the person was pacing. This had also happened earlier when I had first arrived that afternoon, and also when Maria was up in the room trying to figure out the AC. Maria attributed the stomping to Raymond, who inhabited the room above me - yet another unregistered guest. Raymond could get a bit agitated, quite easily, was my understanding. The heavy walking and stomping went on from that time to around maybe 3 AM-ish. While it is true that the hotel was full that night, thus some of the noise could be attributed to the guests, it can not account for what sounded like furniture or heavy luggage of some kind being dragged and dropped across a wooden floor - especially because all the rooms are carpeted. The stomping and pacing went on in bursts of a few minutes at a time.

A couple times throughout the night I asked Annie if she could/would tell me the time period she lived in. I got no answer out loud, but I kept getting this idea in my head of the late 1800s, possibly the 1860s. The original Sauk Centre House was built in the 1850s. From that point on, nothing occurred that I can confidently attribute to Annie's presence.

I got ready for bed and laid down to read a bit, with the KII and temp reader, as well as my phone and camera, nearby. Around 3 AM, I kid you not, I heard a soft meow. I thought surely I was imagining things, that I only thought I was hearing it, because I had been told about a possible ghost cat earlier in the day. Then, I heard it again. I got up and looked out both windows to see if there was a cat on the fire escape, but could not see one. As I got back into bed, I heard another meow and honest to God, it sounded like something was walking on top of the AC unit. There was nothing on the unit of course, so once again I looked out both windows, but could not see a cat. I laid down for a third time and heard the meowing continue. I grabbed my phone to record it, but it stopped and I did not hear a single meow for the rest of the night.

I began reading again and did so for a while, still keeping an eye and an ear open for anything odd. At about 3:30 AM I heard some very soft knocks on the wall directly across from the bed. I took several pictures, but nothing showed up in any of the photos.




The knocks were not loud and did not last long. I again tried asking Annie about the period she lived in, but got no answer and the knocks stopped after this.

Despite my best efforts to stay awake, I was out by 4 AM and would have a peaceful and relaxing two and a half hours of rest.

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Are you still interested? I hope so, because there is plenty more of this story to come, including my very last minutes at the Palmer House on Sunday morning, where I get a message that was reeeealllyyyy hard to turn down.

Have you ever experienced any paranormal-type activity? Do you believe there are 'no such things as ghosts'? I'd love to hear your stories and opinions!

Happy Reading!
Sarah

4 comments:

  1. Poor Annie. In that time period women weren't treated well if they got pregnant outside being married so I have real sympathy for her pain and what she had to go through, probably on her own. It's sad that she still feels like that all these years later, poor girl.

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    1. I feel that way too. When we could not get the AC to work, Maria said there was one more room being held for someone that night, but I could be moved in there if necessary. I said I would stay even if the AC didn't work. I really felt like my purpose was to be there with Annie. I am hoping we can find out more about her, and I am so hoping that both she and her baby survived child birth. I hope my words can help her see that she doesn't need to be afraid, or scared, or ashamed anymore.

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  2. Such a sad story. I guess people have already checked census records for the 1800s to see who the longterm residents there were at the time?

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    1. Agreed. I am not sure if there are any census records that far back. And the original hotel burned to the ground, so any guest records from that period are long gone. I will ask Kelley (the owner). I chatted with her last night for a bit and asked if Annie was so sad because maybe she or her baby (or both) did not survive child birth, and she said it is possible Annie had a second child, so they survived. I will ask her about the census records the next time we talk.

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