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Touched by a ghost: No paranormal skeptic

When it comes to controversial topics, something in my body must have a response to it, because lately things that have been interesting to me tend to have some sort of conflict in them as well.

For example, I've been becoming more interested in investigating the paranormal.

Though there is a majority of people out there who are very skeptic about the paranormal, I have to admit that I'm not.

Part of that just comes from personal experiences. Starting as a young kid (just old enough to roam around with my friends), we always found different types of things to entertain ourselves.

One extreme section of that was finding creepy houses and areas, and investigating (or pretty much just trying to scare ourselves). More than a few times the outcome was more than expected. Enough to make me believe in the paranormal at least.

When I wrote my column about the Vergas trails, it caught the attention of Brian Wierima (the newspaper's sports editor), who then talked to me about joining a paranormal group he was starting in the Detroit Lakes area.

It didn't take much convincing to get me to join.

Last Sunday was the first investigation for the Midwest Paranormal Files group, in which we investigated the Palmer House Hotel in Sauk Centre, Minn.

Most of you probably have a clue what the Palmer House is, but in case not, it's a hotel/restaurant that was built in 1901, and has become well known around the region for being haunted.

The house has many well-known "hot spots" including three rooms inhabited by three "ghosts" (Raymond, Lucy and Annie).

Raymond is supposed to be a grouchy (sometimes very mean) old man, who at one time managed a house of prostitutes. Lucy (who is supposedly right across the hall) has been described as a very strong, emotional spirit, and the story is that she was once a prostitute owned by Raymond.

Annie is the last ghost (with a name). She is described as a younger woman who was pregnant.

People that have stayed in this room (mainly women) have complained about getting extreme stomach cramps.

Other hot spots include several rooms in the basement (the cowboy room, the cage room, the door room, the snowman room, the workshop area and the back left corner room), as well as a kids' playroom on the third floor, and the main stairwell.

We investigated a small corridor in the back kitchen, said to be haunted by the ghost of a butcher who worked in the restaurant. But besides strange feelings, nothing really happened.

In the basement, I started the investigation in the snowman room, than moved to the door room, than went up to Annie's room, which is where the first recordable activity started -- with drastic, and moving, temperature changes.

Throughout the night I got to each "active" room in the house, but I didn't have any real personal experiences until about 11:55 p.m., when I was in the cowboy room.

When I was there, I got a very strong pressure headache, followed by nausea, and also the feeling of something wrapping itself around my feet.

From there we went straight into the back left corner room, which is where things got interesting. There is a wall in the middle of this room, and we had a motion-censored camera on the other side of this wall. We were not in range, yet the camera was still going wild.

Also three of us felt someone touch us, the last person being me. I got scratched, the scratch burned bad -- bad enough to leave a red streak on my back -- and that was enough of a sign to get us out of the back corner room for the rest of the night.

All in all, the Palmer House was a cool experience, and a good place to start out.

We are planning to go over EVPs (voice recordings) and video footage next weekend, which is when we will be posting our findings on our website (, where you can also see our investigation live, as well as upcoming investigations as we get there. So feel free to check us out.

Jonah Bowe is a sophomore at Detroit Lakes High School.