Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Palmer House Hotel Part I/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.


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.


I arrived at the Palmer around 4:00 PM on Saturday. I spoke to the owner, Kelley Freese, for several minutes about my stay and how excited I was to be there. She is wonderful, and answered all my questions. I had also stupidly forgotten my 'ghost hunting kit', so she let me borrow a KII (pronounced K2) EMF detector and a temp reader, as well as spare batteries for my camera. A KII detects electromagnetic fields. There is energy and electricity around us all the time and investigators use this piece of equipment to determine if there is an entity nearby. It is believed that the energy a spirit uses can be picked up by the detector. Kelley also let me know at that time that the hotel is pet-friendly now, and in her entire 17 years in owning the place no one has ever brought a cat with them. This matters because people who are allergic to cats tend to have rough nights in room #11, due to the ghostly cat who lounges around the room. Guests have also reported hearing meows and scratching, as well as the feel of a small animal jumping up on the bed to curl up with them.

Great, just great. Know why?


I made sure to get some Benadryl, just in case. My cat allergy is seriously awful and I did not want to risk missing anything due to itchy eyes, and sneezing my face off.

The moment I walked into the room, I made sure to say out loud that I was allergic to cats, so Annie, please help keep the cat from jumping on me during the night. Just an FYI, Annie is one of the 'unregistered guests' who seems to prefer room #11, where I was staying that evening.

Activity started as soon as I was in the room unpacking. I was setting out items on the bed, including my laptop, the equipment from Kelley, and my camera. My camera was still inside its case, where it had been since Eleanor's birthday party a few weeks back. I had put new batteries in it for her party, but it had not been used since. As I was unpacking, I was getting kind of warm. I tried to figure out the AC, but had no luck. Finally I said out loud, "I can't figure this out, can you please help me make it cooler in here?" Within two seconds of those words leaving my lips, I hear a dinging sound. I looked around and realized it was coming from my camera case.I opened it to find my camera, which had been off, dinging, and the dead-battery message flashing in red on the screen. As I was doing this, the room became significantly cooler. I grabbed the KII meter and turned it on; these work by the series of lights lighting up twice to show they are working. It did so, then flashed all the way to red a third time, indicating a sudden increase in energy. Just as quickly the meter returned to green, and that was that.

Equipment batteries being drained are often viewed as a sign that there is an entity present, as the theory is that they require energy to manifest or do something physical, or change themselves in some physical way. One way to get that energy is to drain nearby batteries and I believe that is what happened in this case. Out loud, I thanked whoever had helped me out and continued unpacking.

Around 4:30 an aunt and cousin of mine stopped by to see the room. We chatted a bit and immediately my cousin said she was feeling a prickly sensation around her ankles. My aunt and I did not feel it at that point, though as we continued chatting my aunt began to feel it also. I showed them around the cozy room, then we headed down to dinner.

My daughter, mom, and grandparents stayed at a nearby hotel with the rest of the family, and I hung out with them until around 10 PM. Upon my return to the Palmer House, I looked around to see if anything had been moved, but found everything was as I left it (except the hand soap, which I will get to later!) I had taken pictures of everything, so I could compare if I thought anything had been moved. I tried logging in to the WiFi, as I had quite a few friends interested in my stay and was planning to do a little Facebook Live to show off the digs. I could not connect and went downstairs to find out what was up, only to learn the WiFi was not working for anyone, and would not be back up until Monday. In hindsight, I am glad it was down. Otherwise I might have gotten myself distracted and missed some interesting little bits of activity.

Once such incident involves the bar of soap I mentioned above. I had washed my hands before going to dinner, and tried placing the soap back in the little dish carved into either side of the sink ledge, by the faucets, in a sea shell type design.

No matter what I tried when I attempted to keep the soap in the sea shell, it would slide slowly to the edge, because of course it was wet and slippery. Finally I gave up on trying to keep it from falling into the sink and left with it with a corner hanging off the edge. However, when I went to wash my hands after my return from talking to Kelley, the owner of The Palmer House, after 1 AM, the bar of soap was completely dry and sitting perfectly centered in the middle of the shell. Literally the ONE thing I did not think to take a picture of. So, when I noticed it was placed differently, I snapped the photo above in case it happened again. (Sad news, it did not.)

While on the subject of the sink area, previous guests and investigators have reported feeling a kind of heaviness in that area. From the collage above you can see that the whole bathroom area is blocked off by one current, but that the sink area is then separated from the toilet and shower by a second curtain. I did not necessarily feel a heaviness, maybe more like some light pressure? I did get dizzy when entering the sink area, but the feeling would go away whenever I stepped back out, and I did not experience that sensation in any other part of the room. The energy just felt really different in that space. This lasted for maybe the first twenty minutes of my time in the room once I returned after 10 for the night. After that, the feeling did not occur again in the sink area or any part of the room.

At that point in the evening I tried messing with AC again. I messed with the remote for quite a while but despite my best efforts, i could not get the temp to change to anything else and it remained at 70 degrees. I re-read the directions multiple times, then went back downstairs for help again. Kelley (the owner) was at the bar folding napkins and preparing silverware for the next day. I let her know the AC was on the fritz and her immediate response was, "Ask Annie to help." I let her know I had done that once already, but did not want to keep bothering her. But in seriousness Kelley then asked Maria, one of the waitresses, to go up and look at it because she helps with a little of everything around the hotel. I did let Kelley know that I wanted to talk about Annie, and would be back down in a bit. Despite Maria's best efforts too, she could not get the temp to lower either. She got me a fan to use, which was helpful. I do not necessarily think this was paranormal, but want to include everything of significance that happened.

After the AC thing I headed downstairs once more, this time to chat with Kelley about the 'unregistered guest' I would possibly be sharing my room with that night. I sat on a stool at the very end of the bar, with the side door to my right. I had a clear view of both the bathroom area, and the stairs leading up to the second floor. We talked for over two hours, not only about the paranormal activity, but the hotel and its history, her decision to involve tv crews, various events offered at the Palmer House, and a wide variety of topics. I shared about my previous experiences also and I feel like I really got a good feel for the vibe of the place and the staff. Kelley answered every question I had, and continues to via text, at this very moment as I am typing up this post.

About half an hour into the conversation I felt something on my right side, low toward my back, like someone had run two/three fingers across my side. I quickly turned, but saw no one. Kelley asked if I had been touched, and when I said yes, she smiled and said it was probably one of they kids; they like to play.

This is the first time (to my knowledge) that I have ever had physical contact with a spirit/ghost/whatever you would like to call it. I could not get over it, and how normal it seemed. The last few patrons had been in the bar area for the live music and were on the other side of the bar. From my vantage point I would have seen someone come in the door before they had a chance to touch me. I said out loud to whoever was there that they were not in trouble for touching me and I was not mad. I also said my sides are very ticklish, so please stay away from them! Kelley and I continued chatting, though every so often I would feel what felt like little fingers poking at my right leg, both down on my calf and up above my knee and to the right. It was never anything mean, no hard jabs or anything, just little fingers tapping my leg.

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.

Are you still interested? I hope so, because there is plenty more of this story to come. More activity too, 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!


  1. There was a set of old garages outside our school fence and teachers told us not to go near them. So a group of us 7/8 year olds crawled under the fence and inside. In two, nothing happened but the third went so cold then a shadow crawled up out of a corner and shot at speed across the wall and vanished in another corner with a weird sound like a groan. We all ran out screaming! Eventually teachers caught us and the fence was repaired. They were knocked down and I've never been able to find out anything about them.

    Second time, we were spending a week at a brownie retreat at Gorebridge and scary things happened in the adventure playground. On a day with no wind, an empty see-saw suddenly tilted, swung round 180 degrees and almost got one girl in the head. I was hanging off the rope swing, my arms beneath the rope, and burns and what looked like a small bite appeared on my arms and I fell off it. We were totally freaked out by this and other weird things. Turns out a lot of weird stuff happens in this area but I never found anything specific to that adventure playground but I keep looking. There was a nasty sort of atmosphere there and a lot of the girls wanted to go home early. I was about 10 at the time and I just shrugged it off by the time I got home. It kind of scares me now to think of it.

    Your stay certainly sounds interesting! Part of me would love a place like that but the other half might be too scared!

    1. I wonder if there would be something about the garages in old city records? Something in property deeds, or the like? Was anything ever built in their place? I would love to explore this, what an experience!

      Who knows what the area had been used for before it became a playground area - that would be something hard to research though I suppose, but it would be cool to see how far back in time you could find information about it. I think how you feel in a particular area really does make a difference and always listen to your gut instinct!

      I am excited to share the rest of the story, it was such a cool experience. I was nervous in general at first to stay by myself, but I never felt like anything was dangerous or anything. I can't wait to go back!!

    2. Nothing was ever built on the site of those garages. All I know is that they were abandoned before the school itself was built but I can't even get info on when that was! The school is still there though. I wish I'd researched it years ago!

      I've searched the internet and they still use that place for brownie camps but I can't find much about the actual site. I'm thinking about taking a day trip there to see what has changed and if it still feels as creepy!

    3. Strange. I wonder if they were destroyed, and the lot abandoned, because of experiences like yours? Maybe enough people had saw or heard enough creepy things that it was considered the best option. Also kind of odd that there is no info, you know? Nothing in any property deed/historical info like that?

      Yes, a day trip!! Take lots of pictures!

  2. I got goose bumps reading your post! The hotel is such an imposing old building and sounds like it has a fascinating history. What a brilliant treat to be able to stay there

    1. Thank you Stephanie! I have just posted Part II, and am working on Part III. It was so lovely, I wish I was back there right now to explore.


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